*This guide's reprinting is authorized by riftstrats.com
Grugonim is the most challenging boss of lower Hammerknell, but he is at least more forgiving than Sicaron when it comes to making mistakes.
- Original difficulty level: 9, current difficulty level: 8
- Health: 13.3m
- Hard enrage timer: 13 minutes
Ideal Raid Composition
- 3 tanks
- 4 healers (1-2 single target healers, and 2-3 inquisicars)
- 2 support (1 bard, 1 archon)
- 11 DPS
At the start, Grugonim is burrowed underground and invisible. You need to tab-target him or use your mouse to try and select him in the middle of his platform. He has an aggro range of about 40 meters, so be careful not to get too close until you're ready for the pull. Anyone that is not on the platform area (i.e., on the ramp leading up to it, or even at the top of the ramp) will be instantly killed when the boss is engaged.
Start by tanking Grug exactly where he spawns, facing him away from the ramp. He has a frontal breath attack and a deadly tail swipe attack, so non-tanks must be sure to always be at his side. Have all 19 of your players (that are not currently tanking) run into melee range on the pull and group up tightly (assign a reliable person with a "1" raid mark for people to stack on).
The fight consists of two main phases: the above-ground phase (that Grug starts out in on the pull), and the burrowed phase (that occurs approximately 55 seconds after he emerges). The duration of the burrowed phase will depend on your raid's positioning, but it usually lasts around 15 seconds.
During the ground phase, Grug will perform a breath attack called Necrotic Breath every 15 seconds (3 per ground phase). The spell cast bar gives a 2 second wind-up warning, and then performs a 6 second channeled cast. This attack leaves a debuff on anyone hit that reduces their max health by 10% per stack. This health debuff is also visible on the raid frames:
Simply use a new tank for every ground phase, and the stacks should reset themselves without ever causing much concern.
The other main concern during the ground phase is a spell called Rampant Decay. This spell always directly follows the first Necrotic Breath. As soon as Grugonim begins casting Rampant Decay (2 second cast bar), he picks a random raid member's current location and prepares to launch a deadly projectile towards it. So as soon as you see Decay casting, the entire raid (all 19 except the tank) must immediately run through the boss and reposition themselves on the opposite side. If you wait to move until the cast finishes, or move before the cast has a chance to start, people will die. This is a very important aspect of the fight that must be understood by your entire raid.
During the ground phase Grug will also spawn ant-looking adds called Bloodplague Crawlers. These adds have 15k health each, come at approximately 13 at a time, and grant a stacking buff when killed. Each stack gives an extra 1% damage done, and it stacks up to 100 with a duration of 30 seconds.
(12 stacks, 6 seconds remaining)
The first wave of adds comes after the second Necrotic Breath, and the adds should group up nicely on the raid since everyone is already stacked on top of each other. The tank that last tanked Grug should pick up all the adds. (Do not kill the first wave of adds until you complete the first burrow phase, which will be explained below.) The adds will automatically kill themselves if they aren't killed in short enough time (around 60 seconds), and they do not grant the buff when they die this way. The buff also has a very small radius (approx. 5 meters), so it's important the raid remains tightly stacked when they are dying. It is possible to keep the buff up and stack it all the way to 100, but it's simply not needed. Normally you will just AoE the adds down as they spawn, and not worry about the time left on the buff (but again, wait on the first pack, and don't try to kill them during the burrow phase).
The final concern during the ground phase is a spell called Seismic Disruption. This comes after the third Necrotic Breath, and knocks back everyone based on their relative position to Grug. As soon as the third Necrotic Breath finishes casting, the tank needs to stack on top of the rest of the raid so he is punted in the same direction. This spell does around 4,000 damage, which means all of the non-tanks must have their health topped off before being hit by it (adds should be the only thing that could cause any of them to lose health, and all adds should be on tanks by this time).
The burrow/kite phase begins directly after Seismic Disruption casts. During this phase, Grug will select random raid members and slowly move towards their position when he selected them. When he reaches that location, he pauses for a second, and then chooses another target. If he makes contact with anyone during this phase, they will instantly die. Everyone in the raid should have Grug targeted so that they may clearly see his location (signified by the huge red circle).
The goal here is to simply move just far enough out of danger to not die, and to slowly kite him. If someone runs too far ahead, Grug will pick that person and potentially "run over" other raid members when trying to catch up to him. Again, it is very, very important that no one moves too far ahead. Even when a player is snared by adds, it is impossible to die as long as they keep moving (and the unsnared players move only as needed).
Grug also leaves a purple trail of death behind him during this phase. Walking into it (or getting knocked into it by future Seismic Disruptions) pretty much means instant death. And just to reiterate, Grug does move quicker than players when he's underground; the reason you don't have to try to outrun him is because he stuns himself after picking a target. So if someone moves ahead of the pack, it will become impossible to outrun him. I suggest having your whole raid watch the video at the bottom of this page to see at least one successful kite phase, so they can all understand how easy it is when it is properly controlled. And here is a quick animation to give you an idea of what the raid's positioning should look like:
(And as a side note, to have enough DPS to beat the enrage timer, you should be able to get Grug to at least 89% before he burrows for the first time.)
Once you master the above strategy, you have the hard part of the fight down. The fight stays the same until 50%, when Grug goes immune and spawns 3 Manifested Death towers (109k HP each). This part of the fight is actually much easier than it might first appear. Simply have your raid stay together and move in the same rotation you have been (probably counter-clockwise), and pick off the towers one by one. Grug will appear to be "breathing" during this phase, but you can safely walk right in front of him or even through him. Also, be sure to avoid the purple trail of death left behind from any previous kite phases.
The towers will slowly reduce the maximum health of the entire raid (similar to the tank breath debuff), while pulsing a decent amount of AoE damage. This phase is where your inquisicars come into play; they should be using their AoE heals as needed to ensure the raid doesn't dip too low. Chloromancers are poor healers during this phase, due to the amount of movement and the fact that they usually don't have a target to attack. When the third tower dies, Grug will go active again (he won't do a knockback), and add another spell to his arsenal.
That spell is called Corrosive Bile, and it behaves similar to Rampant Decay, but there are a few important differences. Both Corrosive Bile and Rampant Decay will directly follow Necrotic Breath attacks; whether Bile or Decay is used is completely random. You will also get two of these casts per ground phase now (following the 1st and 2nd breaths), instead of only after the 1st breath like before. When Rampant Decay is cast, you will continue to move in the exact same way as you have been before (through the boss). But when Corrosive Bile is cast, you are going to strafe in the direction the boss is facing, and the tank is going to need to back Grug up as well during this.
Remember on how Decay you moved as soon as you saw the cast? Well, Bile is the complete opposite. You cannot begin strafing until Bile has completely finished casting, or people will die. It is incredibly important that your raid understands the two unique ways to react to these spells:
- Rampant Decay - Move through the boss as soon as you see it casting
- Corrosive Bile - Strafe in the direction the boss is facing AFTER the spell finishes casting
If someone does not understand that, they are very likely to die (or get others killed by moving too soon). It is very important that your entire raid is aware of what the boss is casting. Make sure they understand they only need to pay attention after the first and second breaths, and they should always be waiting to see what spell is being cast.
Once you survive a sub-50% ground phase without any deaths, you are very close to a kill. The boss will remain the same from 50% to 10%, at which point he will spawn another set of Death towers. There will be 6 of them this time instead of 3, but there is really no reason to panic. Start by killing the one closest to you, and slowly rotate around as a group (just like before).
After killing the sixth tower, the boss will go active again and begin his timers on a fresh ground phase. If your whole raid is alive, you should be able to do 10% of his HP within 55 seconds. If not, you will need to have all of your non-tanks back up 30+ meters when the third breath is casting, or they will be one-shot by the Seismic Disruption (due to the reduced amount of health they have).
If you have mastered the mechanics of the fight and are completely unable to beat the enrage timer, you can experiment with trying to keep the damage buff rolling (by killing the adds in a controlled fashion, rather than just AoE'ing them), or consider dropping one of your tanks for another DPS. If you have progressed to the point of Grug though, you should have enough raid DPS to beat the enrage timer, as long as people aren't constantly dying.
(Looks best viewed in full screen at 1080p)
*This guide was brought to you by Veev of Voodoo.
*This guide's reprinting is authorized by riftstrats.com