I realized that I never got around to writing this boss guide, but better late than never. Yogg Saron is the final encounter in Ulduar, and this guide will go over the basics of the fight (although “basics” is a bit of a misnomer) and talk about a few things hunters can do to really knock his sock(s?) off.
First up, this fight is all about execution. Execute well, and you will be able to get it down. In fact, there’s a guild I read about that executes so well that they got this down in pre-raid blues. The fight is complex, however you have help. The 4 keepers you needed to soundly thrash to get to this point will help you out- each one has a special ability that will aid in some way.
This phase starts with Sara telling you to kill the regularly spawning guardians. Your raid leader will have a strategy for this that will involve you either standing up near the entrance, or running around in the room trying not to hit a cloud (which will spawn another guardian). Most importantly- these things explode when they die, and the goal here is not to just to kill them, but to kill them next to Sara. One way or another, never DPS (especially with kill shot) an add that’s not being tanked next to Sara. Generally, as a hunter, you’ll be on kill shot duty, You’ll be rotating around the room with the clouds trying not to spawn any additional adds, and DPSing them down when they’re finally positioned next to Sara. You might also be on misdirect duty- you will be responsible for MDing new adds to the first tank (who holds them until they’re ready to be exploded next to Sara).
Edit/note: your pet will not spawn adds by running through a cloud.
If you don’t have the achievement yet, don’t forget to /tar sara and /kiss once she’s angry with you. Phase 2 is the most clusterfrak-y phase of this fight. During this phase, the only goal is to survive and take Yogg’s brain down. Sounds easier than it is. This is the phase where you get a “debuff” called sanity, and when it runs out, you get mind controlled and start taking our your friends. There are green beams of light in the corners (thanks to one of your guardians) that, when stood in, will replenish your sanity quickly. Your raid will be split into two groups- one will be focusing on the brain, and the other will be focusing on cleaning up the tentacles outside.
Brain team: every time Sara casts descent into madness, 10 of you (or 4 on 10 man) will have to go through the one time use portals created around the central area. You will be ported into Yogg’s brain where everything is a clever lore related illusion. The first thing to know is that you can not stare at the floating skulls, or else you will lose sanity due to lunatic gaze. The best way to avoid these is to use mouse look to aim your movements, but do your best to face your character away and strafe to get around.
The next most important thing to know is that you really need to take down all the yellow mobs in this room. There are several rooms with several types of mobs including humanoids, dragons, knicknacks, etc), but after they take a single hit, they turn into tentacles. You can’t get to the brain until you’ve taken these all out. Your raid will have a direction stated before hand (left to right, for example) but as a hunter, you’ll find none of your shots will actually land before the melee get to it and roflstomp the mob. My advice here is to stay a target or two ahead of them, and soften them up for them. Avoid expensive DoTs like serpent sting- you’ll never get your mana’s worth from them.
Once you’ve softened up the last mob and the melee are working their way to it, start running for the brain room (usually back where you ported in, and as soon as the last tentacle is down, pop aspect of the pack and leave it on until the melee are all on the brain). As a hunter, this is why you’re here. Those poor melee have to run around to their targets- we can stand still and DPS like mad. Start attacking on the move as soon as you can target the brain, and position yourself near the exit portal to the left or right so you can stay till the last possible second. Blow all cooldowns (including a DPS pot) here, and nowhere else. Your raid leader will call for the melee to run out when Yogg’s cast of induce madness is almost done, effectively ending the party (and the inevitable headache). You have to be out of the room when that spell goes off. Factor in lag. When your raid lead calls out “everyone out”, don’t click right away, because he’s warning the melee who have to run. You’re already at the portal. You wait until you see 3 seconds left on the timer, and then click. Your pet will stay on the brain until you go out of range.
Once you’ve escaped, get your sanity back if you need it (be aware that this will despawn your pet if he’s still on the brain), and help the sweep up team with any remaining tentacles until the next portals are spawned. Try not to clump up with a bunch of others from the brain team, or else you will have to run around the center looking for a portal.
Tentacle team: best team name ever. In fact, if I ever coach a minor league sports team, that’s what I’m going to try to name it. This team is everyone who doesn’t go into the brain room. If you find yourself on it, your job is to kill the immobile tentacles that spawn while the brain team is doing its thing. There are several types of tentacles, and the priority is:
- Constrictors are long thin tentacles that pick up and throw someone around. They go down fast, and will also die if their target bubbles (or casts deterrence or whatever). Since you’re being flung about like a rag doll, you can actually attack the tentacle with ranged attacks if you get grabbed, even though it feels like it should be in melee range. These always go down first- they immobilize a raider, do a fair bit of damage, and crumple quickly.
- Crushers are by far the target you’ll be attacking the most. They channel a raid wide debuff called diminish power that reduces damage done, however they won’t do this if they’re being tanked. They have tons of health, and only spawn a couple per brain phase. To make things interesting, every attack against them stacks a buff called focus anger on them, which will eventually get them so strong they can one shot a tank. Some groups just power through and shield the tank for the last burn, and some groups alternate between crushers to let the buff fall off. Your pet should never attack these- they don’t have enough health to survive the short range AOE.
- Corruptors spawn like mad, but are rarely single targeted. If you can hit them with AOE while you DPS a crusher, then go for it, and if somehow there are no crushers around, try to take a few of these out. To keep your healers busy while trying to keep the crusher tank(s) alive, they cast debuffs on single raiders that need to be dispelled: apathy is magic, black plague is a disease, curse of doom is a curse, and draining poison is a poison. It’s generally safe to leave your pen on one of these while you do your thing.
If you can keep on top of these and your brain team gets the brain down in 2 or 3 windows, you’re on track.
Ahh, phase three. In theory, if you get here with your raid intact, you should just coast to the end. Assuming you’re not leaving some of your keeper friends out of the fun. This phase is all about boss DPS and adds. As a hunter, you’ll likely be told to DPS the boss and not get any crazy on you. This means frequently looking away from the boss, and making sure you have DoTs refreshed before you do. If you’re a true min/maxer and you’re only having trouble with this phase, going BM will give you the most DPS on this phase, because your pet is already a lunatic and Yogg can’t seem to drive them any crazier. Thus, they don’t need to look away when he’s casting his lunatic gaze.
Assuming you’re staying with your main spec, however, just be aware of your sanity, and DPS like mad.
Now, there are things going on in the background here- your melee raiders are trying frantically to bring down the immortal guardian adds that keep popping up. Some ranged DPS with strong AOE will be tasked with aiding on the adds as well as hitting the boss. If you’re in this group, consider using a marks spec because of the much stronger volley. Be aware that these guys do more tank damage the higher their health is, and will periodically get an AOE heal from Yogg. When that heal goes off, they will be tanked far enough away that Yogg doesn’t get any of the healing, but the adds all need to be brought back down again. Also, only one of the keepers can kill them- if you’re not using Thorim’s help, these guys will stay at 1% health until the end of the fight.
That’s it, and thanks to Lyraat for some insights in the comments!