Welcome to Skywall
Vortex Pinnacle is located in the Skywall, a complex that acts as part of the elemental plane of Air in Azeroth. It is home to three bosses (Grand Vizier Ertan, Altairus, and Asaad), and is one of the initial sets of instances released with “World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.”
The Vortex Pinnacle can be found floating in the air in the south-east of the Uldum zone. It is available on Normal (levels 82-84, item level 272+) and Heroic (level 85, item level 333+) difficulties. There are two quests found inside the entrance to the zone, and Tol’vir Hieroglyphics from Archaeology may be used to grant a buff to the entire party at the Magical Brazier.
The zone also uses tornadoes, through the vehicle mechanic, to transport the player to various platforms inside the instance. These tornadoes are unlocked as the party kills bosses inside.
Grand Vizier Ertan
Grand Vizier Ertan is the first boss encounter in Vortex Pinnacle. He is a spell-casting boss, and will never move from his position on the middle of the platform. Ertan will continually cast Lightning Bolt throughout the fight, so Nature resistance can help mitigate the damage he causes.
The main mechanic in this fight is Ertan’s Cyclone Shield ability, which forms a ring of tornadoes along the outside of the platform. Every 40 seconds, Ertan will pull the shield to himself. When he does this, every party member will be hit with a chain lightning effect, so it’s vital to spread out to avoid unnecessary damage. Additionally, any player hit by a Cyclone Shield when it retracts will be buffeted back and a movement impairing effect will be applied to them for 12 seconds. This debuff lowers your run and attack speed by 60% (85% on heroic) so it’s very important for melee to move out between the tornadoes before the shield fully retracts.
On heroic mode, he uses an ability called Summon Tempest, which summons a Lurking Tempest who cast Lightning Bolt on the group. These should largely be a non-issue in the encounter, however, as they will Feign Death when anyone is facing them. Make sure your group is spread out, and faces any Tempests that become active.
Altairus is a drake, and the second boss in the Vortex Pinnacle dungeon.
His first ability is Chilling Breath, which he casts on a random party member. This ability does 25,500 to 34,500 damage (47,500 to 52,500 on Heroic mode) in a cone in front of Altairus, so stay spread in a circle around the drake to avoid multiple people from being hit.
Altairus' signature ability is the control of the winds. He will frequently change the direction the wind is blowing, which can be seen through an obvious graphical display on screen. Everyone needs to position themselves so the wind is blowing at your back (e.g. so you’re facing Altairus with the wind blowing towards him at the same time). This will give you a buff called Upwind of Altairus. This increases movement speed by 30%, but more importantly, increases attack and casting speeds by 100%, giving a significant increase to the amount of damage your group can cause.
If you do not position yourself as such, you, instead, will get a debuff called Downwind of Altairus. As expected, this is completely the opposite of the previous buff, and reduces attack and casting speeds by 100% and movement speeds by 30%.
When engaged on Heroic mode, he will summon a large number of tornadoes on his platform. These travel randomly around at a slow speed, and will launch anyone they touch into the air. This will obviously disrupt any spell casting, so it’s important for healers and spell casters to avoid them. A safe spot for casters in this Vortex Pinnacle fight is toward the stairs and with their back to a pillar, rather than toward the free edge.
One final ability of the encounter is if someone should manage to fall off of his platform. Altairus will use Lightning Blast, which hits for 55,500 to 64,500 damage (83,250 to 96,750 on heroic) every second, preventing most characters from surviving the encounter should it occur.
Asaad is the final boss of Vortex Pinnacle. The fight is fairly straightforward, however, there are three major mechanics to be aware of.
The first is his chain lightning ability. Like typical chain lightning mechanics, it will deal damage to the main target and jump up to four additional targets, each taking less damage than the previous. It is vital to spread out to minimize the number of people being hit with this ability.
His second major ability is Supremacy of the Storm. This inflicts massive damage to everyone in the party, however, it can be avoided by standing in the grounding field he summons before the spell is cast. The grounding field is a medium-sized, triangular patch on the ground that Asaad creates, and will appear as three lightning orbs that spread out from each other and create a triangle. Just before this field finishes casting, all party members should collapse and stand inside the triangle. Doing so will prevent all damage from Supremacy of the Storm, and also allow the group to continue damaging Asaad, who will be in range of all players as he teleports above them.
On Heroic mode, there is one final ability that needs to be addressed: Static Cling. A couple of seconds after casting Chain Lightning, Asaad will cast this ability, which will root people to the ground for 18 seconds. A party member who isn’t cleared of Static Cling before Supremacy of the Storm will die.
Static Cling can be avoided in two ways. The first of these is to jump in the air before Static Cling finishes casting, as Static Cling will not hit players who are currently in the air. The second way to deal with Static Cling is to dispel it off, a task usually handled by the healer. Levitate used to also be an effective spell against this mechanic, but Blizzard has since put in Skyfall Stars which randomly cast on players to prevent them from being levitated during the fight.