Ok so the latest raid is here, and we've figured out a pretty solid strategy to crush it quickly and efficiently. Heres my guide to aid others to do the same:
Unlike the legacy epic raids, this one doesn't feature heroic difficulty at all, only Epic Normal, Hard and Elite. Also unlike them, Normal and Hard are not push over joke difficulties. So I do recommend any first time or limited knowledge groups try only on Normal the first couple runs. You could get through hard, but I believe you'll have a lot more fun on hard later if you first know the layout. Same goes for elite, a lot of experience on hard is recommended before you attempt elite. This is mainly due not to the fact you might fail (the raid has no real proper fail condition), but really just due to its extreme length - players tend to get pretty tired after about the 1.5-2 hour mark, and this raid can extend well beyond that on hard and elite.
Preparation and Party setup:
Have lots of time: As mentioned this is a very long raid. So if your new to it, preferably ensure everyone has at least 2 hours to devote to it. Later when you get very good at it, you can complete it in as little as 30-45minutes, but that's very unlikely for your first few runs.
- While no specific classes are really needed for this raid, there are a few that shine you should seek out if you can:
- Divines: Obviously like any raid, this one require a LOT of healing. Recommend at least 2 strong Clr or Fvs healers. Doable with just 1, but you'd want a very exceptional one if attempting to solo heal it.
- DPS: The raid features no less then 400-700 monsters on most full completions (all optionals). So yea, take as much DPS as you can manage. Top classes here are the same anywhere else however the raid does feature a good amount of red named bosses, so some classes strong against those like Fighter or Barbarian are recommended. Monks or anyone specialized in Grandmaster obviously excel at clearing trash due to the insane power of everything is nothing.
- Tanks: For a smooth completion at least 3 tankish builds are desired to fill three roles:
A) Main battle tank - This guy should use intim and high threat to keep the majority of the red/purple named on him.
B) Second battle tank - Many times there will be more then one boss around that needs to be tanked, so having a secondary tank is rather critical. They don't need top notch stats as the main, but they do need good threat generation/intimidate.
C) Hand-tank - Since U15, a fairly simple task. Ideally someone who can intimidate the hand, though untyped spells and ED abilities also work. The main or secondary tank can also do this, as hand doesn't appear along with any other bosses.
D) Mistress Evasion Tank - The Mistress are among the toughest bosses in the raid, and they love to spam cometfalls, so having someone with good hit points, evasion and a high reflex save is important for these.
Additional backup tanks for the main battle tanks are also recommended though not required.
Not really required for this raid, but certainly can pull there weight if they can deal some good DPS, instakill or provide strong buffs from bard songs and haste.
1. Assign the roles.
This is the most important part of the raid and benefits from some leadership as you'll need to determine the best player(s) for several roles:
- Escort - Escorting Ana is the primary and only critical objective to this raid. While Ana can't die, she can sometimes bug out if her Escort dies or falls off the side, so assigning someone reliable who won't die or fall can make all the difference. Generally any class is fine for this, but during the leg phase its preferable to have someone with a high Str take over, if only temporarily.
- Escort Backup - Assign 1 or 2 players to aid the escort in case Ana gets attacked. Ones with big AOE skills that generate good agro like players with intimidate or blade barrier tend to be best.
- Hand-Tank - Assign one unlucky player to get the boring task. Best classes are generally anyone with intimidate or Grandmaster, as grand masters are immune to knockdown, and can use there force/untyped KI strikes to get agro. This task is quite simple really: Get the hands agro, follow along behind the party. Just keep it far enough away to avoid damaging Ana or the party. Now in U15 it will disappear fairly quickly, so it's not a big deal.
- Main Battletanks: This player should have extremely good hitpoints, some PRR, intimidate and high threat generation. Other types of defense optional. His job is to stay at the forefront of the battle, intim the Non-Mistress red/purple named enemies and endure. A secondary player with similar stats should also be chosen.
- Main Mistress-tank: This player should have good hitpoints, evasion, high reflex save and preferably good saves all around. Paladins with evasion tend to be the best by far for this, but any class with evasion can work great. Or even ones without it and strong reflex in some cases.
- (Optional )Additional Backup battle tanks: At many times there will be more then 1 red named, sometimes as many as 3-6. So having alternate tanks to handle additional bosses can really help.
- (Optional) Backup Mistress tank: Generally there are only 2 mistress at a time, which one player should be able to handle. However at one point in the raid there are 4 at once, which is generally too hard for one player, so at that point you will want a backup, if not two.
2. Crush everything in your path:
First buff up - all the usual raid buffs are useful here:
- Mass Deathward
- Freedom of Movement
- Every resistance (Lolth can deal any and every energy Dmg type)
- Prayer (+1 DPS!)
- Holy Aura
- etc. Buff a lot. Buffs are good.
Next I'll cover each fight, going on memory so may be some minor inaccuracies on what you'll face, but nothing major. (Abbreviations: (R) = Red named, O = Orange named, P = Purple named)
1 Bebelith(R), 1 Necromancer (O), 1 Mistress
- Kill the Necro first, then Bebelith. Mistress are ALWAYS to be killed last due to there sacrifice ability.
Various orange named demons:
Easy fight. Can blow an EiN if you want to insta-clear it.
Battle 3 - First major boss battle against Lolth:
1 Necro (O), 1 Mistress (R), various trash... And Ana.
- Party leader - or someone fast - regardless of who is assigned to escort: Sprint up to Ana ignoring all enemies. Talk to her to get her up, tell her you'll be her shield immediately. Run off to safety - There are various pillars you can use, I recommend the one furthest from Lolth, near the entry web. Once there, tell her not to fight, and have the main escort grab her, and whoever buff her well. Do every buff except DO NOT invis her, enemies can see her regardless, so it just make sit tough for the party to spot her.
Fight: It's pretty simply, I rarely pay attention to it as I grab Ana. Usual startegy though: mistress last.
Battle 3.1 - Battle Lolth herself:
Once the trash is clear and Ana is correctly buffed - Have her escort stand directly by the orb. Positioning of the whole raid group is critical at this point:
People with mana bars who need said mana (mainly healers): Hide behind the rock closest to Lolth. Pop out occasionally to toss a mass heal/cure.
Everyone else: TRY to get Lolth to attack you, stand anywhere in her line of sight, though a bit away from Ana. Intim her if possible. Your goal here is to get hurt so Ana doesn't. This is important as one chest is dependant on her health. You could all hide though if you decide to forego the chest, not recommended.
Once she has the orb absorbed, she will face-laser Lolth. Once that's done, bring her back to the safety of the pillar and call the DPS in on Lolth. Beat her down while your healer occasionally pop out from safety to mass heal (They cannot stand out in the open or Lolth may drain there spell points). Melee should get there own curses when necessary. At some point the next phase will trigger:
Battle 3.2 - The Deadly Leg Phase:
This is the first really difficult fight of the raid. What makes it tough is the fact there are a lot of legs (8-9), and each one can knock players off the side, instantly killing them. Note the knock-back offers a strength check to save against. If you make it, you'll only be pushed back a couple feet, if you fail, you could be flung entirely off the platform.
You'll only have about 10-15 seconds to kill each leg before it disappears, so react quickly and kill the legs as fast as possible. Keep in mind once defeated, each leg will turn into a Bebelith soul (R).
Your main tank should intimidate these and keep them together off the party so they can focus on the legs. On normal difficulty it's generally ideal to just eliminate all the legs as fast as possible, then you'll have some 10-20 seconds to clear the huge amount of Bebeliths you'll have left before Lolth returns. On hard/elite, this is rather risky as you might end up with the tank taking too much damage from the many Bebeliths, or Lolth returning while Bebeliths are still around. So for those difficulties, I'd recommend only doing 1-2 legs at a time, then clearing the Bebeliths to be safe.
Escort Duty: As soon as this phase begins, the Ana escort should begin running around in a circle around the DPS to avoid getting tossed off the side, as the legs seem to pick random targets, but they more commonly target the escort or Ana. Since U15 is generally ok if the escort dies, as long as a backup picks up Ana quickly. However to be really safe you may wish to temporarily switch your escort at this point to a high-strength player to avoid them getting killed by knock-off.
Battle 4 - Lolth Battle 1.5
Lolth will return as soon as you finish off her final leg, regardless of if there are Bebeliths or not. When that happens it's critical you get your DPS on her ASAP. If not, Lolth will target the healers or Bebelith tank and they won't last long taking a beating from both enemies. So ideally keep your Main Battletanks on the Bebeliths if any remain, and secondary tank on Lolth.
She shouldn't last long, and will eventually retreat, leaving you with only her Hand to annoy you.
Battle 5 - The annoying hand and time to rest up
As soon as Lolth departs, her hand will show up. Get anyone to intimidate it and keep it away from the party. Most likely your casters will be low on SP at this point too, so have Ana create a shrine and rest up. Rebuff and continue on, ensure that Ana is also well buffed - give her everything EXCEPT invis. Invis only makes it hard for you to see her, not really the enemies. The hand will only be around for 2-3 minutes or so, so the hand tank can follow along behind and eventually rejoin the frontline.
Battle 6 - Wimpy spider warm up islands (two of them)
The next couple islands you go back the way you came, and will have just baby spiders spawn once Ana reaches the island. It is a nice time to use to have the escort learn how the spawns happen when Ana reaches an island though if they aren't already familiar with that. Have them stay back on the beginning of the island so Ana takes at little damage as possible.
Battle 7 - First serious trash encounter
1 Bebelith (R), 2 Mistress (R), various Drow trash
These enemies will spawn at the top of the next island. The Bebelith is fairly tough so put your main tank on it. Evasion tank should grab the mistress and everyone should focus on the Bebelith. It will become a soul after, so dispatch that too. Then the trash, and finally the mistresses last.
Battle 8 - First real optional gateway boss and orb
1 Glabrezu (Purple named raid boss), 1 Mistress (R), 1 Exalted Drider (R), 2-3 Dreagoloths (O), Various trash
Just behind where you defeated that Bebelith you will see a gateway. It's an optional but it's extremely highly recommended you complete it, as its worth 2 extra raid loot chests.
Strategy: This is the first fight where DPS is rather important because all of the enemies here will re spawn constantly as long as the purple named boss lives. So put as much DPS as possible focused purely on him, with only what's necessary on the trash to keep Ana and the party safe.
Ideally 1-2 of your top casters/DPS should be able to handle all the trash and kite/tank the red named as well. But on elite you may need your 2ndary tank on the red named driver as it hits extremely hard.
The boss himself has the usual Glabrezu special ability: Reverse gravity. However unlike the pointless one in Deal and the Demon, this one has set up some spikes on the ceiling that will deal quite a bit of damage. There are two safe spots:
1. Directly by the orb where he spawns.
2. Near where you zone in, on the right slightly.
So positioning is very important:
First instruct the Ana escort to remain outside the portal for now (Ana triggers this fight like any other)
Next set up the DPS and tank by the orb, in a semi circle, try to block him in as close to the orb as possible.
Finally set up 1-2 caster/DPS near the zone in, off the right slightly. Get Ana escort to come in and remain near those players. They will clear the trash and keep it off Ana, while the rest focus on the boss.
Once complete, you can bring Ana up to the orb to drain it and raise her hp. I also often find this a good moment to have her make a shrine (it wont affect her orb draining). But if your group has plenty of SP remaining you could forego it. Don't be afraid to make a lot of shrines though. I've made as many as 8 on Hard and still got all the chests. As long as your good about avoiding getting Ana harmed, you can use quite a lot of them.
Battle 9 - Major encounter against 4 Mistress and a ton of trash
4 Mistress (R), 4-5 Driders (O), Tons of trash (at least 15+ Drow/spider)
For some groups this can be the most difficulty part of the raids. As the mistress have huge a huge amount of stealth trash on this island available to drain, so if you make the mistake of fighting them first, you will suffer a lot of damage.
Set up one powerful upper island strike team:
Ideal kill class is monk for EiN to clear it instantly. But any top DPS can work if not available. Take 1-2 for killing.
1-2 Mistress tanks. 4 mistress on a single tank can be extremely difficult to keep alive. Pretty near impossible on elite, so consider spread them to two. Also place your best healer up here to keep them alive.
The monk should get near the very back of the top island to use his EiN, as there are a ton of stealth trash back there. Else just run over with some nukes or cleaves, then pull together and eliminate.
Bottom group (rest of the raid group):
The bottom has to be cleared too. It has mostly Driders which are easy enough but have high HP, and some Drow. Clear those quickly, then finally get the mistress.
Battle 10 - MORE Mistresses!?! (Note this island is optional, it leads to the next orb)
2 Mistress (R), 2-3 Driders (O), various trash, including stuff that spawns in walls..
From the last island, head to the upper path, then north to get to this optional island.
Similar to the last fight.. First clear what you can without agroing the mistress, then agro them on the mistress tank. Then set up a DPS group to head to the back of the island to clear it fast. I think some stuff spawns in the walls here as no matter how well you clear the trash, one mistress will gain her power up and sacrifice something. Once they are clear, head up to the top and clear a few spiders. Consider making a new shrine if SP is low before entering the next optional portal.
Battle 11 - 2nd real optional and the next Artifact orb
1 Bebelith raid boss (P), 1 Mistress (R), 1 Exalted Drider (R), 2-3 Dreagoloths (O), Various trash
Treat this one exactly the same as the last portal optional you did and it should go smooth. It's slightly easier then that one as theres no reverse gravity. Lots of DPS on the Bebelith, a couple strong caster/DPS on the strike team to protect Ana. End the boss fast to avoid re spawns.
On elite this Fight is actually pretty devastatingly more difficult, as the Bebelith gains incredible hp.. So you are pretty well guaranteed to get that exalted Drider trepanning. So avoid killing him tell the main boss dies.
Battle 12 - You know the drill by now
Some demons, orange named stuff. trash archers.
Take the long run back to the island where you fought the four mistresses. This time head down the lower path instead. Fairly simple fight against some trash, you know what to do by now.
Battle 13 - A Bebelith and you're nearly there
1 Bebelith (R), some trash
Tank and spank the Bebelith, clear the trash, you're nearly there.
Battle 14 - End fight is imminent
1 Mistress (R), various demonic trash
This is the last island before the end fight, so clear the easy encounter here and prep for the final battle. Be sure to make a shrine with Ana, and fully rebuff everyone and discuss your strategy for the end. Make sure everyone is on the same page. It's quite a difficult and complex final encounter, so use this as your staging ground for it.
Battle 15 - The ultimate end fight against the portal keepers and final battle with Lolth
Unlimited Mistress's (R), Bebeliths (R), Goristro (O), Dreagoloths (O), 1-2 Necromancers (O), tons of trash.
Ok some 300+ monsters later, you're finally here. Ready for the next 200+? Ideally you won't face that many. This is a fairly complex battle, that can result in infinite re spawns if your not careful. But follow this guide closely and you can get it done with fairly minimal kills.
There are two ways to go about it:
The fast and somewhat suicidal way - Charge on and crush everything in your path!
The slow and steady way - Carefully pull the keepers down to the island your on, one by one to keep the encounter size down
I'll go over both ways:
Either way: Bring Ana up to the web until you see Lolth speak, then bring her back to safety (This triggers the battle)
Fast way (Only attempt this on Normal, and maybe hard in extremely powerful groups, never elite):
Set up three groups:
Group 1 - Ana protector:
Leave Ana, her escort and at least one other player down bottom. Preferably someone with intimidate to keep Ana safe.
Group 2 - Lolth Strike force:
Get 1 tough tank and 1 tough healer to head up and to the right, the objective being to tank Lolth and 1-4 bosses at once.
Group 3 - Alpha strike force:
Rest of the raid runs up and to the left and goes nuts. Main tank should agro the major threats such as the Bebelith and Necromancer. DPS should eliminate the Goristro ASAP as he can toss players off the edge. You really should have at least one monk with EiN ready for this too, as there are a TON of enemies. At least 15-20+, and more will spawn as you fight.
Slow and steady:
Have one player carefully go up and use a ranged weapon to pull 1-2 keepers at a time. Eliminate them as a group until there are only a few left. Then all head up together. DPS + main healer heads to Lolth, while a few are assigned to clear any straggler trash.
The key to keeping the total kill count down to a reasonable figure:
Kill all the trash and most of the keepers, but Keep one or two keepers alive. Ideally a Bebelith. You should only need one if you did this right, as there is always a 2nd orange named keeper up on the final island that no one should have agro'd yet. In pugs people do often agro said island though, so you may need to find two to keep alive if they did kill that though.
You do this because Lolth summons a new wave of 3-5 keepers as soon as there are only 1-2 left. I find Bebeliths and Mistress are the most ideal to keep alive, since a stray death spell or EiN will clear out all the rest which tend not to be red named. So assign 1 tank, generally your lower DPS one to just tank a Bebelith and Mistress, or 2 Bebelith while the DPS take down Lolth. It's possible to simply get the Bebeliths stuck on the pillars too, to make this really easy.
Battle 15.9: Get the orb and take down Lolth for the final time:
Once things have calmed down, your tank has a Bebelith and your DPS is getting pounded by Lolth as they should be - Bring Ana to the orb.
Have her drain it, then bring her near Lolth so she can face-laser her. This renders her vulnerable to attack. So DPS in and bring Ana off somewhere safe.
This is something I didn't consider at first as my guild healers figured it out on there own, but trying it with pug healers they died a lot and couldn't heal.. So its important to know where to stand:
There are only 2 spots that really work: The ledge off to the right, you can avoid some, but not all of Lolth rays there, and jump up to heal the DPS. Or the pillar a little further past that ledge, closer to Lolth.
There is also a pillar farther back in front of Lolth.. But I think it's slightly out of heal range unless you have enlarge. It might be safer to use though, if you do have enlarge.
Lolth will be summoning trash a bit faster rate then last time here, so it's important to have someone assigned to that too. Especially on hard and elite. It's generally just 4-7 spiders or 1-2 Drow Souls.. So casters tend to be the most effective at quickly eliminating that. (One energy burst will generally 1 shot an entire spider group).
Battle 16: The final island - Escape and end it!
Once Lolth is down, she will say something about summoning more keepers and not letting Ana escape.. This means it's time to escape.
Have your Bebelith tank pull the Bebelith closer to the final island, and help him prep it to 10% if its not already done.
Everyone else including Ana head to the final island, there should be only 1-2 trash and 1 orange named keeper (random type)
Prep the Orange named keeper and then kill the Bebelith and other keeper at the same time. Done right, it will lower the portal every time. Quickly get Ana through and you've won the raid, congratulations!
If you did all the optionals, you should have 5 or 6 chests. If Ana is above 80% health, you should have all 6 chests. Each has the same chance to drop raid loot. Good luck.