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World of Warcraft: Legion: Black Rook Hold guide

Our strategy guide to Val'sharah's second 5-man dungeon.

Black Rook Hold is the second 5-man dungeon available in Val’sharah, a location taken straight from Warcraft’s backstory: the Hold and its lord - Kur'talos Ravencrest - were instrumental in the original fight against the Legion during the War of the Ancients, an event mostly depicted through the novel trilogy of the same name. In our Black Rook Hold dungeon guide, we’ll take you through each of the four boss fights, and provide the strategies that you and your party need in order to ensure a smooth, successful run.

Black Rook Hold is accessible in Normal Mode from level 98 and upwards, as well as Heroic / Mythic / Mythic + for players with either the appropriate item level or a pre-made groups. Thematically it serves as the conclusion to the secondary Val’sharah storyline. Don’t feel as though you should have to gather every relevant quest before attempting to run it though, because you will likely need to come back to Black Rook Hold several times for Word Quests, as well as profession and Class Hall questlines.

Black Rook Hold is relatively light on trash fights, although the ones that do feature are more challenging than most. Parties would do well not to rush things and avoid pulling more than one group at a time, unless they're considerably over-geared for the dungeon. There are also several unusual mechanics at play that require a less straightforward approach than you'll take in most dungeons.

In the first version of this Black Rook Hold guide, we’re covering Normal difficulty, but keep in mind that the principles will also largely apply to Heroic mode. In the next update, we’ll go through the extra abilities the bosses acquire when faced on the Heroic, Mythic and Mythic+ settings.

Amalgam of Souls - Strategy and Tips

You'll start the dungeon facing a bifurcation that leads to one of two corridors. Each one ends in a specific mini-boss, but only one is accessible per playthrough. This means the mini-boss you'll end up facing is left to chance: either Lady Velandras Ravencrest or Lord Etheldin Ravencrest.

Up until the mini-boss, one particular enemy is worthy of note: the Ghostly Protector. These mobs will cast the Sacrifice Soul spell, which will protect the enemy's allies from 75% of all damage for its duration. Ideally, your party should focus and stun lock the protector in order to kill it before it managed to get a single cast off. The other enemies place heavy damage over time debuffs on the party, so a prolonged fight will prove needlessly taxing on the healer.

If you get Lady Ravencrest at the end of the corridor, she will be accompanied by some trash mobs, including a Protector. These can't be pulled separately and must be killed with the mini-boss. The Lady deals heavy damage to the tank and randomly targets players with a ranged attack. This attack, Glaive Toss, jumps from its initial target to another nearby player, and so players should do their best to be spread around the arena in order to minimize the impact.

In the alternate corridor, Lord Etheldrin proves to be an easier fight, as his two main abilities are easily avoidable. His Spirit Blast targets random players, but can and should be interrupted, while his Soul Echoes debuff only targets non-tanks. Two seconds after receiving the debuff, the player will begin dropping ghostly versions of themselves at their current location, at the rate of one per second, for 10 seconds. These are effectively time-bombs on a 4-second timer, and as long as the affected player moves away and places them far from the party, they should prove harmless.

The Amalgam of Souls is a relatively simple fight that builds on the previous mechanics. It uses Spirit Blast as described above from the Lord Etheldrin fight, as well as a Swirling Scythe ability that places a damaging AoE at the location of a randomly targeted player, which is fully avoidable by moving out of the area before the Scythe lands.

Finally, the boss will cast a Reap Soul attack every 15 seconds or so, hitting everything in front of it for massive damage. This ability has a 3-second cast time and its area of effect is clearly signaled on the floor. It is easily avoidable if the tank keeps the boss turned away from the rest of the party, and then moves forward through it when it starts casting Reap Soul - the boss will not follow the tank before the cast finishes.

Illysanna Ravencrest - Strategy and Tips

The trash leading to Illysanna Ravencrest is quite varied and has a high damage output. In fact, most parties struggle with this preamble more than the bossi tself. Initially you will fight spider-type enemies, and then groups of undead up until the boss.

The key ability to take into account during the spider packs is the Soul Venom debuff caused by melee attacks from the small Rook Spiderlings - this should be dispelled from the tank and any damage dealers that happen to get it. It should also be the tank’s responsibility to pick up up as many spiderlings as possible to avoid other players getting the debuff.

The undead packs have several AoE attacks, and as such the party should keep spread apart as much as possible while facing them. The priority should be on neutralizing the Risen Arcanists and interrupting their Arcane Blitz, as this spell gets progressively more damage the more times it is cast.

After clearing the room before the boss, the players will face a surprise attack from another mini-boss, Commander Shemdah'sohn, which comes accompanied by one of each of the previously defeated enemies. The commander uses a wide frontal AoE attack that deals high damage and stuns. The tank should make him turn his back to the party, and try to avoid the attack as much as possible ( Commander Shemdah'sohn takes approximately 3 seconds to cast).

Illysanna Ravencrest is a relatively simple 2-phase fight. During the first phase, her Brutal Glaive is targeted at random players and deals heavy damage, as well as leaving a DoT and bouncing to nearby players. Healers should focus their efforts on the players with the DoT, while everyone should keep as spread apart as possible in order to avoid the glaive from bouncing onto others.

She will also target three players at the same time with Dark Rush, and charge to each one in turn, leaving the ground she covers burning with damaging fel fire. Players should try to get together as soon as they are targeted, so the flame won’t cover much of the arena, and then immediately spread apart after the Dark Rush to avoid extra damage from Brutal Glaive. The tank should use active mitigation abilities to minimize the damage from the boss’s Vengeful Shear attack.

When Illysanna reaches full Energy, she will enter phase two, rising into the air above the platform. From there, she will target a random player with Eye Beams, lasers that follow him/her through the arena and leave burning ground behind. The targeted player should keep moving while having the care to lead the fire in such a way that it does not harm party members.

A single add will spawn during this time, one that shares Commander Shemdah'sohn’s abilities, and should be handled by the tank in the same way. After the add is dead, the party may focus on the boss until she stops channeling her Eye Beams and resumes phase one. While she is flying during phase two, melee damage dealers may attack her by stacking near the edge of the balcony just below her.

More WOW Legion dungeon guides:

Black Rook Hold guideCourt of Stars guide
Darkheart Thicket guideEye of Azshara guide
Halls of Valor guideMaw of Souls guide
Neltharion's Lair guideThe Arcway guide
Vault of the Wardens guideViolet Hold guide

More WOW Legion guides:

Smashspite the Hateful - Strategy and Tips

The path to Smashspite consists of two sections: demon-guarded corridors connected by trapped stairways, and a final ascent guarded by Felspite Dominators and constantly spawning waves of bats.

While ascending the staircases during the first section, players will have to dodge rolling boulders, Indiana-Jones style. These stun and deal high damage upon contact so they can be fatal. They will, however, stop falling as soon as one of the players reaches the top of the stairs, so if you aren’t too confident with your boulder-dodging skills, just hang back and let someone else sprint for the finishing line.

The demons come in two main varieties: Wrathguards and Wyrmtongues, with the odd Felhound thrown into the mix. The Wrathguards should be your priority as they deal massive damage to the tank. The Wyrmtongues will periodically cast a random ability, the most dangerous of which is Frenzy, which you can identify quickly as the affected Wyrmtongue will grow huge and glow red. From this point on, he will attack 5x more quickly and gain a 5% damage boost each second, so it’s imperative the party stun and take him down as quickly as possible.

During the ascent leading up to Smashspite, waves of bats will constantly spawn, so the tank must catch them as he goes straight up and engages each pack of Felspite Dominators, stopping only for as long as the party takes to kill each pack of Dominators. The bats will only stop spawning once the final pack before the boss is pulled.

Smashspite the Hateful is a simple “tank and spank” fight that requires occasional player movement. His main attack deals increasingly large damage to the tank and cannot be avoided, so that should be the healers’ focus. He will periodically stomp the ground as well, dealing unavoidable damage and knocking everyone back, and so the tank should keep his back to a wall - or the edge of the balcony - to avoid being knocked too far away.

About 30 seconds into the fight, Smashspite will call upon one of the nearby Fel Bats to aid him. The Fel Bat will target a random player with Fel Vomit. After six seconds, a line of damaging vomit will be placed on the floor between the bat and the affected player. In order to avoid this from cluttering the arena too much, players should move to the edges of the room as soon as they are targeted, keeping the vomited area to a minimum. The tank should move the boss accordingly, so that melee damage dealers can attack without having to stand in green goo.

Lord Kur'talos Ravencrest - Strategy and Tips

The trash leading to Lord Kur'talos Ravencrest is the easiest in the dungeon and has no noteworthy abilities. Their attacks deal high damage and cannot be interrupted by normal means, so it's recommended that players use stuns as often as possible.

Lord Kur'talos Ravencrest is a two-phase fight. During phase one, he deals heavy damage to the tank, requiring this party member to combine defensive cooldowns with a healer’s focus in order to survive. Kur’talos will occasionally throw a Whirling Blade at a random player, dealing moderate damage and knocking back any player in its path. The blade will float back and forth between that player's location and the boss's location at the time the spell was cast. The tank should move Kur'talos away from the blade when it spawns, and ranged players should move away from its endpoint.

This phase’s most important event is Dark Blast. Latosius is untargetable for the duration and will assist Ravencrest from the sidelines, randomly targeting players with Shadow Bolts. Every 20 seconds though, he will cast Dark Blast, a thick line AoE that will go from one end of the arena to the other, and deal fatal damage - even to the tank.

It has a 2.5 second cast and is very visibly signposted on the floor, but the easiest way to avoid it is to position in a safe-spot beforehand. Latosius will never move just before a Dark Blast, so as long as both the tank and the other players take care never to be in front of him during phase one, his ability should be rendered harmless.

At 20% health, Ravencrest will stop fighting and be replaced by Latosius, now transformed into the dreadlord Dantalionax. This new boss will cast Shadow Bolt Volley as soon as he starts the fight, dealing heavy damage to all players. Healers should be very wary at the start of this phase, as players not topped up will likely die. After 20 seconds, Ravencrest will buff the party, making subsequent Shadow Bolt Volleys more manageable. Dantalionax will also place Cloud of Hypnosis at random spots in the arena. Crossing one of these will make a player fall asleep until he or she takes damage.

After about 30 seconds, Dantalionax will cast Dreadlord's Guile and split into 12 Image of Latosius spirits that line the edge of the room. One of these will cast Dark Obliteration - a souped-up version of Dark Blast that behaves in exactly the same way, but deals even more damage and will probably be fatal to anyone in its path.

From there on, each image will cast another Dark Obliteration in a counterclockwise sequence from the first, so the party needs to keep running counterclockwise in order to avoid the successive blasts. At the same time, they must be sure to not cross any Cloud of Hypnosis on the way. After 25 seconds of this frenzied activity, Dantalionax will emerge and fight directly once more for another 30 seconds. It is at this time that the party should deploy their main damage-dealing cooldowns.

With that, Black Rook Hold is beaten! Well done! While most of the above is equally valid for Heroic and Mythic difficulties, we will soon make a revision of this guide where we note the boss abilities exclusive to those settingss, as well as the best tactics for beating them.

In the meantime, please let us know in the comments if you have any suggestions for what you'd like to see in future versions of this Black Rook Hold guide!

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