Strategy: Heroic Zul’Gurub

Morynne —  May 5, 2011 — 8 Comments

Zul’Gurub is back! It’s now a 5-man dungeon in Cataclysm, and I’ll have to say it’s a really fun, and challenging, instance.  It was implemented in the 4.1 patch, the Rise of the Zandalari.  This instance drops ilvl 353 epics, which will help bridge the gap into raiding, if that’s what you want to do.

Here are the particulars:

  • Location: Northern Stranglethorn – right where the old one used to be.
  • Level: 85, this one’s heroic only.
  • Bosses: 6

You can do these bosses in different orders, but you ultimately end up at Jin’Do the Godbreaker.

High Priest Venoxis

This is a fight that’s all about movement and control.  During the fight, there will be a poison maze that is formed on the ground.  Do not cross the green stuff on the ground, don’t look at it, don’t even think about stepping on it, you’ll die.  At the beginning of the fight, you can pick up the Toxic Torment buff from the cauldron, but it’s not especially necessary if you’re careful.

Phase 1:

He will shoot green lasers at players causing lots of damage, which should be interrupted.  He will also create a toxic link between two players, and if your group is spread out enough, it will instantly detonate, causing loads of damage, just make sure your group is healed up before it’s popped by walking away from each other.

Phase 2:

This begins with Venoxis turns into a snake.  He forgets his original abilities, and learns new ones.  He also gets a 100% damage buff to his physical attacks.

He will begin dropping pools of green stuff on the ground, so make sure you keep the boss out of them, and your group.  He’ll breathe acid on random players, just do your best to get out of it.  The maze is still on the ground, so movement will be challenging.

At the end of phase 2, he will return to his altar and channel a spell creating more green lasers.  This time the lasers will chase people around, so just make sure you stay away from them.

Once the channeling is through, like any junkie, he’ll go into withdrawal, and take increased damage and not attack your group.  This is the burn phase, save your cooldowns for this, and blow your Heroism/Bloodlust/whatever the other classes get.

Once the withdrawal is complete, he will return to phase 1, rinse, repeat as needed.

What does a hunter need to know?

Stay out of the green stuff, DPS the boss.  Save your Rapid Fire cooldown for the withdrawal phase. As a hunter, you shouldn’t have to move too much, but be aware of the green puddles that get flung around, they seem to grow the longer they’re on the floor.  Find your safe spot, stick to it, and only move when you have to.

Bloodlord Mandokir

The fight just isn’t you versus Mandokir, you’re also fighting his raptor, Oghan.  There are 8 spirits around the room that will resurrect any fallen player (1 time per spirit).  The rez buffs Mandokir, so you want to try to keep this to a minimum.  Ohgan has learned how to kill the spirits around the room, so it’s important you kill Ohgan quickly every time you’re able to target him directly.

Mandokir will cast Bloodletting on players throughout the fight, and it’s unavoidable.  Your healer needs to make sure they quickly get the target back to full once it’s over.  Mandokir starts the fight mounted, but once he is on his own, he’ll start to use Devastating Slam, causing big spikes to come out of the ground.  Stay out of those.  He’ll also Decapitate players, causing an instant kill.  This should be the only time your spirits have to rez you.

When Ohgan falls, he’ll be down for a bit, but inevitably come back, so make sure you stay aware of if the raptor is active or not.  At 20%, Mandokir will frenzy, causing him to attack 100% faster.  Cooldowns should be used for this part.  Remember, the spirits that resurrect the boss buff his damage 20% each time they’re used, so if your group dies a lot, Mandokir will probably kill your tank in this frenzy.

What does a hunter need to know?

Stay out of the spikes from the ground, and make sure your prioritize your DPS to the raptor.  At 20%, blow your Rapid Fire cooldown and burn the boss.  Make sure if you’re resurrected during this fight that you re-apply your aspect, and re-summon your pet to prevent your dps from being hurt too badly.

Edge of Madness

This is a randomly summoned encounter each time you run ZG.  You must have a high level archaeologist in your group to activate this encounter.  As you walk into this room, you’ll find artifacts scattered all over the place, just click them, and you’ll find some you can activate.  One of each type is required to activate them.

There are 4 summons from this, and each has their own quirks, but mostly this is a tank n’ spank set of fights.

  • Hazza’rah periodically summons adds via Nightmare. These adds target a player and stun them with Waking Nightmare. If the add reaches the targeted player, it will useConsume Soul and kill the player.
  • Renataki, otherwise a tank-and-spank, periodically casts Ambush and Thousand Blades, a version of Fan of Knives on steroids. Run out of his whirlwinding path until he is done attacking and heal the ambushed target.
  • Wushoolay, a troll elemental shaman, casts several lightning abilities you must move away from Players close to Lightning Rod must run away to avoid being killed. Also avoid the Forked Lightning and Lightning Cloud.
  • Gri’lek, a troll berserker, is a typical melee mob that periodically targets a player. When this happens, he grows in size, deals more damage, and moves noticeably slower. He does an emote when targeting a player, so everyone has time to move. Avoid his tremor and dispel roots.

What does a hunter need to know?

Be familiar with each quirk of the mobs.  Ultimately, as a hunter, you’ll just want to stay out of the way, handle the adds as necessary, and pump as much DPS as possible.

High Priestess Kilnara

This is a 2-phase encounter, and has a few twists.  As you enter the room for Kilnara, you’ll notice 4 packs of 4 panthers around the room, with the boss in the middle.  The ultimate goal of phase 1 is to kill all the panthers before Kilnara reaches 50%.

Kilnara does some pretty annoying things, so make sure you’re aware of how to handle each of them.

  • Kilnara will cast Shadow Bolt throughout phase 1. This spell can be interrupted.
  • Both Lash of Anguish and Tears of Blood will also be frequently cast. While you can and should interrupt the Tears of Blood static AoE channel (purple flecks floating towards the ground), you cannot interrupt Lash of Anguish.
  • Another visible ability that cannot be interrupted is Wave of Agony, where Kilnara will channel a huge purple wave wall. If you fail to get behind her, you will be knocked back far and suffer shadow damage.  You can also get far enough to the side of this ability so you don’t get hit, so just in case you can’t get behind her.
  • She will also cast Wail of Sorrow which cannot be avoided. Simply heal through it.

In phase 1, the easiest way I’ve found of handling this is to just have your tank wake packs of panthers (groups of 4), kill those, and move on to the next one until all 16 panthers are dead.  After that, burn Kilnara to 50%, and you’ll enter phase 2.

Phase 2 begins at 50%, and Kilnara turns into her panther form, and the room will Cave In, dealing damage to everyone. Any panthers you haven’t killed by now will intervene in the fight.  Kilnara will also be gaining haste and damage buffs the longer the rest of this fight goes on. Kilnara will also use Ravage, dealing damage to a single target and Vengeful Smash, dealing AoE damage. At around 15%, she will briefly go into Camouflage to irritate your party, and then reappear.

Really phase 2 is just a tank n’ spank DPS race.

What does a hunter need to know?

The biggest piece to this fight is making sure the boss doesn’t drop too quickly before the panthers are dead.  We’ve tried having a DPS in plate tank the panthers and another tank handle the boss, but that just became too much.  We found it works better if the tank just drags around the boss to each group of panthers, and we kill them.  Multi-Shot is a good tool for this fight because it does great damage on the panthers, and doesn’t do too much to the boss, while still being helpful.  As a hunter, when the wave comes up, obviously stay at your range, but I found that instead of moving behind the boss, moving to the side of the wave works better, and becomes less confusing to deal with.  Just don’t wake up extra panthers on accident.


This is probably the most dynamic encounter of the whole instance.  It’s a little bit like Maloriak, if you’re familiar with the different colored cauldrons, and what happens with each — except this time, you have to pick up the cauldron buff based on what Zanzil does.

Zanzil regularly casts Terrible Tonic on a random player which cannot be avoided. Simply heal though it. He also uses Voodoo Bolt which should be interrupted.  Zanzili Fire will be cast frequently, creating a bright line of fire that deals ticking damage to anyone standing in it.

  • One of the random special spells Zanzil will use against you is Zanzil’s Graveyard Gas. The entire area will be flooded with green gas, and you should immediately getToxic Torment from the green cauldron to survive.
  • Another special ability is Zanzil’s Resurrection Elixir. This will resurrect one Zanzili Berserker on which you will have to focus while having him taking massive damage and stunned by Frostburn Formula from the blue cauldron.
  • When Zanzil uses Zanzil’s Resurrection Elixir to raise his Zanzili Zombies, have your tank pick up Burning Blood from the red cauldron and aggro the zombies. AoE them down and have the DPS pick up Burning Blood as well to speed things up. Remember that Burning Blood will also damage friendly players, so be sure to heal your party.

What does a hunter need to know?

Stay at range, and typically best between the blue and the green cauldrons.  Be ready to quickly grab the blue cauldron to freeze the berserker, and dps it down.  The green phase is just a survival phase, and continue to DPS any berserker still up.  During the red phase it’s usually best to only have 1-2 of your party pick up the red buff for the zombies to make your healer’s job easier.  Multi-Shot does enough damage on these zombies to help get them down quickly.

Jin’do the Godbreaker

The Jin’do encounter is also a 2-phase fight.

Phase 1: The Deadzone

Throughout this phase, Jin’do will summon a Deadzone several times. Have the tank pull Jin’do immediately out of it, but be ready to go in yourself when he starts casting Shadows of Hakkar to take less magic damage. Otherwise, your party should stay outside since it reduces your casting speed and ultimately, damage done to Jin’do. Deadzone is closely tied to Shadows of Hakkar. When you see him channeling Shadows of Hakkar, go into the Deadzone, but keep him out after he has finished his cast. Once his Shadows of Hakkar buff runs out, he will create a new Deadzone you need to drag him out of.

Phase 2: Chains

After a short time, Jin’do will Vanish, and you enter the Spirit World. The goal is to destroy the three Hakkar’s Chains, each protected by a Brittle Barrier. While your party members split up and position themselves near chains, your tank will need to pull a Gurubashi Spirit, and have him Body Slam at one of the chains. Once that chain’s barrier is broken, the party member should move to another chain. Keep doing this for the rest of the chains, and then finish the spirit off. Then destroy each chain one by one.

Throughout the phase, Twisted Spirits will keep appearing and pose a nuisance to your party. They can be soloed one-on-one, but you will be overrun if you face too many. Have your ranged DPS pick them off from a distance and have the tank taunt to avoid healers getting aggro. If you get too many spirits, DPS each chain down after it’s been broken apart before moving to the next one to help regulate how many twisted spirits spawn.

Black/purple spikes flying through the air are caused by Shadow Spike from whose impact you need to stay away. These deal huge damage especially if you stand in the purple void zones.

What does a hunter need to know?

Phase 1, keep in mind that the Deadzone doesn’t impact your cast time.  Hang out in the deadzone as much as you want. In fact, get in the deadzone and stay in there — your healers will thank you.  During phase 2, your job will be to kill twisted spirits and chains.  I found that using a tenacity pet on this fight, while reducing your DPS, makes handling the adds easier as there’s a pretty effective taunt from the pet, alongside the tank grabbing some other ones.  In this case, I used my volcano turtle because she’s awesome.  The best part about this fight is once you DPS down the third chain, you win.

Hunter Loot from Zul’Gurub:

It’s worth noting that 1-handed weapons for a hunter should not be the first choice, but if you happen to get 2 of them, and you’re stuck with some green weapon or something, they’re not so bad.

Good luck!


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Morynne is an avid hunter, and prefers Marksmanship. She has co-hosted the Hunting Party Podcast, and appeared on the Twisted Nether Blogcast. For more information, click here.

8 responses to Strategy: Heroic Zul’Gurub

  1. Feign death on Bloodletting for Bloodlord Mandokir works wonders. Healer kept thanking me because he didn't have to worry about healing through it on me.

  2. Great guide! Thanks!

  3. I was wondering if it would be a good idea to use Aspect of the Wild. I have never used this and don't really think it would out-benefit AotH. In the post I was refering to Venoxis.

    • It will certainly help. Nature damage resistance will help a group that might not have the most solid healer, or tank. Looking at it from a T-11 geared main who tends to group with like-geared guildmates, it's not as much of an issue. When I PUG; however, I do tend to run Aspect of the Wild to help reduce the damage going out.

  4. The one time I attempted this dungeon, I was decapitated and instantly kicked from the team because "you idiot, what do you think you're doing".

    Apparently getting 1-hit by a boss who's ability is an automatic 1-hit is now enough reason to kick players from dungeon teams…

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