One of the many cool features added with the World of Warcraft 3.1 patch was a new boss in the Vault of Archavon instance, Emalon. Players who long ago mastered the art of easily downing Archavon figured that Emalon would prove little challenge. Imagine their surprise when he started wiping raids left and right.
Unlike Archavon, Emalon takes quite a bit of coordination and planning to down. You can’t just waltz in with an inexperienced PUG and expect to defeat him, you need to employ strategy.
Emalon has three special attacks to watch out for. He casts a devastating Chain Lightning that increases with power for each player it jumps to, Lightning Nova, a potential raid-destroyer if players aren’t paying attention, and Overcharge, the one attack you definitely do not want to see reach full power.
For this fight, ranged DPS is actually slightly preferable to melee, simply because they can switch targets quickly without having to run back and forth. Ranged DPS is also able to avoid Chain Lightning and Lightning Nova, for the most part.
Melee DPS really need to be on top of their game for this fight. Whenever he begins to cast Lightning Nova, they need to immediately get out of range. This AoE attack can do anywhere from 20k to 24k damage to a 10-man raid. This damage increases to 30k for the 25-man version.
The real challenge of this fight comes from Emalon’s ability to overcharge one of his Tempest Minions. Once he begins to charge, the targeted minion will grow to twice the size of his companions. All DPS need to immediately target and begin to attack this minion. Each stack of Overcharge increases the minion’s damage by 20%. Once it reaches 10 stacks, the minion will explode and wipe the raid.
Basically, you have 20 seconds to do 141k damage in a 10-man raid or 520k damage in a 25-man raid.
In a 10-man raid, the group should have two tanks, two or three healers, and the rest should be the best DPS available. Ranged DPS is slightly preferable, but competent melee DPSers will be just as effective, they just need to be extra vigilant for Lightning Nova.
25-man raids should use two or three tanks, five to seven healers, and the rest DPS. Ranged DPS is still slightly preferable for their ability to switch targets quickly, but Lightning Nova is no longer a concern, as it hits everyone regardless of positioning in a 25-man raid.
One tank needs to hold the minions while the other tanks Emalon far enough away to not be affected by Chain Lightning or Lightning Nova (10-man). Decide where each tank will be positioned before you pull so everyone knows what’s going on.
The minion tank should do their best to simply hold aggro on the minions, don’t worry about doing major DPS to them as any minion who is Overcharged is immediately returned to full health. Killing one that isn’t overcharged simply results in an additional add to catch and control.
The minion tank runs in first and grabs everything before the main tank taunts Emalon off. Hunters and Rogues can use their aggro redirection talents to assist.
Healers and ranged DPS need to position themselves outside the range of Lightning Nova and Chain Lightning (30 yards).
Give the main tank an opportunity to get solid aggro on Emalon, then unload with as much DPS as possible. Melee DPS should run out as soon as he begins to cast Lightning Nova, then resume DPSing as soon as possible.
Emalon casts Overcharge every 45 seconds (a WoW addon with a timer can help you anticipate this). Once he casts it on a minion, all DPS need to immediately switch to that minion and burn it down as quickly as possible. If Overcharge is allowed to reach 10 stacks, the fight is over.
Once the minion is down, another will immediately spawn. The minion tank must pick it up as quickly as possible. A third tank can sometimes help with this task. All DPS should resume attacking Emalon.
This process should be repeated as many times at it takes to burn Emalon down to zero health.
Recent changes to the game have made Emalon slightly easier to defeat, but he’s still a very tough boss to take down for those who don’t know what they’re doing. Fortunately, you are no longer one of those people.