Kael'thas Sunstrider (tactics)

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For character biography, see Kael'thas Sunstrider. For strategy on the Magisters' Terrace encounter, see Kael'thas Sunstrider (Magisters' Terrace tactics).
BossKael'thas Sunstrider
Image of Kael'thas Sunstrider
Title <Lord of the Blood Elves>
Gender Male
Race Blood elf (Humanoid)
Level ?? Boss
Health 3,186,960
Mana 1,693,500
Reaction Alliance Horde
Location The Tempest Bridge, Tempest Keep
Status Defeatable
The Eye

Al'ar
Void Reaver
High Astromancer Solarian
Kael'thas Sunstrider

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Kael'thas' Advisors

Thaladred the Darkener
Lord Sanguinar
Grand Astromancer Capernian
Master Engineer Telonicus

(lore)
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Loot
Other Tempest Keep instances

Kael'thas Sunstrider <Lord of the Blood Elves> is the fourth and final boss encounter of the Eye in Tempest Keep. It's a very interesting fight with five phases. Phases 2 and 3 are DPS races, while 4 and 5 are one big Battle for survival. Overall, many veteran raiders consider this to be one of the most challenging and most enjoyable boss encounters in the whole of The Burning Crusade.

Abilities

Kael'thas, his advisors, and the phoenixes are immune to Taunt, Crowd Control and all snare or slow effects. The Weapons are susceptible to all of these effects.

The advisors enter Phase 1 with half of their normal HP. After they are resurrected for Phase 3 they are at full health.

Thaladred the Darkener

  • 382,435 health (191,218 in P1)
  • Melee – 3-4k on plate
  • Rend – 2250 every 3 sec tick for 15 seconds
  • Gaze – Fixes aggro to a random person in raid; 9 second cooldown
  • Psychic Blow – 4-5k damage plus knockback to his current target, 30 yard range
  • Silence – Silences anyone within 8 yards for 4 sec

Lord Sanguinar

  • 382,435 health (191,218 in P1)
  • Melee – 3-4k on plate
  • Bellowing Roar – 35 yard AoE fear centered on himself, 1.5 second cast, no aggro reset
  • Thrash – Grants Lord Sanguinar 2 extra attacks.

Grand Astromancer Capernian

  • 382,435 health (191,218 in P1) 38,270,000 Mana
  • Fireball – 6-7k single-target fire damage
  • Conflagration – Randomly targets players within 30 yards; causes disorient effect with 900 damage per second plus 300 damage per second to all players within 8 yards of the debuffed player. Capernian will not attack players afflicted by conflagaration.
  • Arcane Explosion – 4.5k Arcane damage plus knockback and slow debuff; only used if players are in melee range

Master Engineer Telonicus

  • 382,435 health (191,018 in P1)
  • Melee – ~5700 pre-mitigation
  • Bomb – 7-9k fire in a small AoE centered on current target's location, 1.5 second cast; not subject to miss or resistance; cast takes the place of a melee attack
  • Remote Toy – 60 sec debuff placed on a random player, periodically stuns the affected player for 4 seconds
  • Shoot – Shoots at an enemy, dealing physical damage.

Kael'thas Sunstrider

  • ~3.6 million HP
  • Melee – ~4k on plate
  • Fireball – 2.5 sec cast, ~16-20k fire damage, interruptible
  • Flamestrike – 3 sec cast, ~120k AoE in a 6 yard radius plus 3k fire damage per second AoE for 8 sec in a 10 yard radius
  • Summon Phoenix – periodically summon a Phoenix
  • Arcane Disruption – 1750-2250 Arcane damage and a 10 second disorient to every raid member, 20 sec cooldown, can be removed with PvP Trinket
  • Shock Barrier – a shield which absorbs 80,000 damage, lasts 10 seconds and prevents spells from being interrupted

Phase 4 specific abilities

  • Mind Control – Mind controls 2-3 people in the raid
  • Pyroblast – 4 sec cast, 45k-55k fire damage, interruptible, 60 sec cooldown; begins casting immediately after casting Shock Barrier

Phase 5 specific abilities

  • Gravity Lapse – All members of raid are teleported to him and then swim in the air for 30 sec
  • Nether Beam – 1850-2150 arcane damage to a random target, jumps to nearby players, damage doubled for each jump (similar to C'Thuns eye beam)
  • Nether Vapor – Small black clouds floating in the air near Kael'thas. If touched they add a stacking debuff which reduces max health by 10% each time, stacking up to 9 times, to 90% reduction.

Raid Composition

  • Main Tank
  • Fire Resist Tank (~150 for use as Conflag target during P1 and Phoenix tank in P4/5)
  • 2 Off-Tanks
  • 6-7 Healers
  • 5-6 Melee
  • 10-11 Ranged

This fight favors ranged damage dealers because there are mobs which are highly dangerous for melee (Thaladred and Capernian), and the Phoenix eggs are much easier killed by ranged (only 15 sec time to do 70k damage), melee lose too much time running to the egg.

Strategy

Phase 1: Introducing the Advisors

The raid can leisurely kill each advisor. To make phase 3 easier, each advisor should be killed in a pre-planned location.

The advisors engage in the following order:

  • Combat Thaladred the Darkener fixes aggro on ("sets his gaze on" emote) a raid member at all times, and, for the duration of the gaze, walks toward that target, who must run away and thus kite him while ranged DPS attack Thaladred. For brief intervals between gazes, or if the gaze target dies, Thaladred may melee or follow the target with the most threat. Nobody should be closer than 10 yards when a gaze shift takes place.
  • Combat Lord Sanguinar is a simple tank and spank boss, made interesting only by his fear ability (which no longer resets aggro). Its best to keep his tank topped off due to his Thrash ability.
  • Combat Grand Astromancer Capernian casts Arcane Explosion if there are people in melee range, making this another ranged-only fight. Conflagrate must be avoided by everybody except her tanks. One possible setup is to have a fire resist tank stand rather close to her (about 15 yards, still outside Arcane Explosion range) to eat the conflagrations, while a Warlock kills her from 30 yards away. Such a setup needs two healers on the warlock, and one on the fire tank. Alternately, she can be tanked by two warlocks which take turns - when one is conflagrated, the other takes over. Warlocks tanking her must not have [Nether Protection], or she closes range, melees and casts Arcane Explosion after one of her spells is resisted.
  • Combat Master Engineer Telonicus is probably the least dangerous of the advisors. His Remote Toy debuff is potentially fatal if active on a tank during phase 2 (significantly hampering threat generation and making positioning difficult), so delay killing Telonicus until no tank has the debuff. In phase 3, the debuff is made irrelevant by the staff's anti-stun aura.

Phase 2: The Weapons

Layout showing the spawn locations of all the weapons around Kael.

After all advisors are dead, Kael'thas summons his arsenal of seven legendary weapons. By killing and looting these weapons all raid members can equip themselves with legendary weapons for the rest of the fight (the weapons are multi-drop but unique; one player can theoretically pick up one copy of each). Killing the weapons is a mixture of AoE and focus fire. There should be an AoE kill zone, where most of the weapons are held, while the remaining DPS concentrate on one weapon after the other. Here's an overview of the weapons in a reasonable kill order:

 [Netherstrand Longbow] 132,035 HP

Has a Multi-Shot attack, drops aggro if any melee or pet attack it. Preferably tanked by a hunter facing it away from the raid to avoid Multi-Shot hitting others. This is the most dangerous weapon and should be killed first by all hunters and ranged DPS which do not take part in the AoE.

 [Staff of Disintegration] 110,030 HP

Low melee damage, attacks with Frostbolt and Frost Nova. It likes to cast a Frost Nova, run away 10-15 yards and then start to Frostbolt. It's a highly desirable item because its "use" ability grants immunity to the Remote Toy debuff, and it increases the damage output of casters. It also has low HP and dies faster than the other weapons.

 [Cosmic Infuser] 176,047 HP

Low melee damage. Heals itself and friendly targets, which must be interrupted. The melee damage dealers should control and kill this first.

 [Infinity Blade] 132,035 HP

Hits normal but attacks very fast. Has a Thrash ability (similar to Prince Malchezaar's phase 2 ability) that grants it two extra attacks.

 [Warp Slicer] 176,047 HP

Hits for 1-1.5K every 2s on plate. Applies a stacking Rend DoT. Each stack ticks for an additional 500 damage every 3s for 15s; the Rend attack that applies the DoT can miss, be dodged or parried.

 [Devastation] 154,041 HP

Frequently Whirlwinds, which one-shots any non-tanks. Must be tanked slightly away from the other weapons, near the edge or even outside the AoE zone. Not very useful for most raid members, therefore it's not a problem if it doesn't die quickly.

 [Phaseshift Bulwark] 198,053 HP

Does high damage. Has a "shield spike"-like ability which when activated can reflect a lot of damage to a fast attacking melee DPSer. Also has much higher HP and armor than the other weapons. The tanks can manage phase 3 without it, but they must absolutely have it to tank Kael'thas in phase 4.

Weapon tank list:

  • Main Tank: Axe [Devastation]
  • Main Tank: Sword [Warp Slicer] + Shield [Phaseshift Bulwark]
  • Offtank #1: Mace [Cosmic Infuser] + Dagger [Infinity Blade]
  • Offtank #2: Staff [Staff of Disintegration]
  • Hunter: Bow [Netherstrand Longbow]

The weapon corpses despawn after 60 seconds, and the looted weapons disappear 15 minutes after being looted. Players also lose them when releasing (after a death) or when the encounter is reset.

It's not a big problem to have two weapons alive (e.g. the [Phaseshift Bulwark] and [Devastation]) when phase 3 starts.

Alternative strategy

Some guilds believe that managing to get all weapons down before phase 3 is the basis for a perfect Kael'Thas kill. Suggested raid composition for this is 3 tanks 6 healers and 16 DPS players. The DPS composition should include at least 2 hunters, 3 mages and 3 warlocks.

As soon as the weapons spawn the main tank should grab the axe. The bow should be tanked by 2 hunters. The staff should be tanked by your off tank (A good position is behind Kael'Thas). A paladin tank can and should tank all the other weapons.

The Two hunters should be left alone to kill the bow. The mages and warlocks should start by nuking the axe. The Melee should take care of the staff very very fast. As soon as the staff is down the DPS you have assigned to the axe should change their focus to the group of weapons tanked by the protection paladin regardless if the axe is down or not (it will be finished later by the hunters). Additionally they should proceed in good order to loot the Staff one by one (if all of them rush to get it then the AoE on the group of weapons will be too low to take them down in time). At the same time the melee should focus on the cosmic infuser which will now be tanked by the tank that was on the staff (assign a rogue or two to stop it from healing).

As soon as the two hunters finish with the bow they should proceed to loot it and then finish off the axe (hence freeing the main tank for phase 3)

The AoE group should by now have started their AoE (with at least 40 seconds remaining). The moment the cosmic infuser comes down the tanking paladin should move a few yards back to allow the healers to loot easily at this point melee and the mace tank should nuke the shield.

The AoE should continue non stop with the addition that the mages and warlocks should now target the Phaseshift Bulwark (shield) and cast any instant spells they have (such as fire blast or a curse) so the can hasten the downing of the shield. Each time a weapon goes down the tankadin should move another 3 yards backwards to allow for easier loot.

The last two weapons that will go down are the Infinity blade and warp slicer (in that order). Two rogues and possibly a DPS warrior or an enhancement shaman should loot the infinity blade to use it in the mind controlled of the raid during phase 4.

If you have followed this tactic then the last weapon should go down just about the moment phase 3 starts. Such a smooth handling of weapons is the half of a very smooth performance in phase 3 and hence a very promising phase 4 and 5.

Encounter legendary weapons

Item Slot Type Bonus
 [Netherstrand Longbow] Ranged Bow +Physical damage taken
 [Staff of Disintegration] Two-Hand Staff Stun/Silence/Disorient immunity
 [Cosmic Infuser] One-Hand Mace -Fire/Shadow damage taken
 [Infinity Blade] One-Hand Dagger +Magic damage taken, mind control dispel
 [Warp Slicer] One-Hand Sword +Movement speed/melee attack speed
 [Devastation] Two-Hand Axe +Movement speed/melee attack speed
 [Phaseshift Bulwark] Off Hand Shield Damage shield, fear/snare immune

Phase 3: All Four Advisors

Exactly two minutes after the start of Phase 2, Kael'thas resurrects all the advisors at once. The advisor tanks and their healers should start to move to their assigned advisors (or rather their corpse) about 10 seconds before the end of Phase 2, so that they can immediately pick up the advisors.

Advisor tank list:

  • Main Tank: Sanguinar
  • Off-tank: Telonicus
  • Warlock/fire resist Tank: Capernian

Kill order

As before, Thaladred and Capernian should be avoided by melee. All four advisors can be safely attacked by ranged. Since Thaladred is the biggest nuisance, ranged DPS should concentrate on him first. One melee damage dealer with the [Infinity Blade] should put the debuff on him, but very carefully - the player must be highly aware of imminent gaze shifts, move away *before* each shift, and get back in only when some other person gets the gaze.

All other melee damage dealers should concentrate on Sanguinar first and Telonicus second.

After Thaladred is down, ranged DPS can either help the melee group at Sanguinar, or start on Capernian. This decision mainly depends on whether the melee group is strong enough to kill Sanguinar on their own, or the ranged DPS have to help.

When all other adds are down, Telonicus is finished off last by all damage dealers together.

Alternative strategy

Since all of your tanks are now free and all of the weapons are down, the melee and your Main tank should head to Sanguinar (One healer needed and a CoH priest for the melee group).

One of your off tanks must tank Telonicus the engineer (one or two healers needed) and one of your warlocks tank Capernian (one healer needed - preferably a paladin in the group with the warlock for the fire resistance aura). That leaves one healer for the ranged DPS group (preferably a resto shammy or a CoH priest)

Kill Thaladered with your ranged DPS as fast as possible and then proceed to Sanguinar.

As soon as Sanguinar is down, the melee group and their healers should proceed to kill Telonicus.

The Ranged DPS should then start with Capernian (you should have approximately 1 min left before phase 4) and kill her.

As soon as Capernian is down everyone should move and finish off Telonicus (don't forget to rebuff the tanking warlock with salvation). The main tank should take position in front of Kael'Thas. Telonicus should be down just as Kael comes out to play.

You are now in a very good position to do a very clean Kael'Thas kill. The rest of this strategy (phase 4 and 5) is the same with the "classic" one.

Phase 4: Kael'thas Sunstrider

Three minutes after the start of Phase 3, Kael'thas himself enters the fight. If only one advisor is still up at that point, a smooth kill is close. If two or more are still up, a wipe is highly probable.

Fireball should be interrupted as much as possible.

Mind Controlled raid members should best be sheeped. It's also possible to use the [Infinity Blade] with low damage skills (e.g. Hamstring, Shiv) to dispel the MC. Stunning is not always effective because the buff from the [Staff of Disintegration] may be in effect. In addition to that hunter freezing traps must be set randomly on the ground, and all kinds of fears should and must be used when Kael is mind controlling your raid members. This will solve a lot of problems and it will improve the reaction time of your mages. (Decursive add on is a must for mages here)

Flamestrike MUST be avoided at all costs by everyone in the raid. Set Spell Details to High to see the glow on the ground, which is visible during the 3 sec cast time before it hits. The AoE looks similar to a Paladins Consecration.

Every 30–40 seconds Kael'thas summons a Phoenix. The graphic effect for this summon is identical to Flamestrike, however the cast time is much shorter, and it deals no damage.

Phoenix handling

After its birth, the phoenix can either be kited by a ranged damage dealer, or simply be tanked by the fire resist tank (it melees for ~800 on plate). It continually uses a hellfire ability which damages itself (5% HP) and everybody around it for ~5,000 fire damage per 2s tic, resulting in an (at most) 40 second life span. Upon its death, it will do an Ember Blast (4,500 fire damage melee range knockback, binary resist) and then turn into a Phoenix egg. This egg has ~70k HP and must quickly be killed, else it spawns a new Phoenix after 15 seconds.

Pyroblast

Every 60 seconds Kael'thas casts an invariable sequence of Shock Barrier, 3 successive Pyroblasts and Arcane Disruption.

Even with all the possible mitigations in effect, Pyroblast deals up to 23,265 fire damage. Tanks with the [Phaseshift Bulwark] can use it to absorb one Pyroblast. If the damage dealers are up to it, the best course of action is to burn down the shield fast enough to interrupt the second pyroblast. Failing this, a tank with ~20k HP can just barely survive one pyroblast (with the Infernal Protection buff from the [Cosmic Infuser], a  [Fire Protection Potion] or  [Nightmare Seed] and PW:Shield). If a raid consistently fails to interrupt the second pyroblast, it's possible to have the tank eat the first one and absorb the second. This gives the healers enough time to bring the tank up to survive the immediately following arcane disruption. The third pyroblast can always be interrupted, because the shock barrier autmatically wears off after 10 seconds, which leaves a 2 second window for the interrupt.

Event Cycle

In summary, there's a 60 second rotation which takes place over the entire phase:

[0sec]->[20sec](MC + Arcane Disruption)->[40sec](Phoenix + MC + Arcane Disruption)->[60sec](Shock Barrier + 3 Pyroblasts + Arcane Disruption).

Flamestrike can happen all the time.

Phase 5: True Power

Once Kael'thas' health reaches 50%, he does a short cutscene and becomes invulnerable for a while. During this time, all remaining Phoenixes and their eggs should be killed. With unlucky timing it's possible that he reaches 50% just as he begins a pyroblast cycle, and thus become invulnerable (and truly uninterruptible) while casting 3 pyroblasts. Although this is a rare event, it doesn't hurt to pay attention to this possibility, and slow down some DPS if it could occur.

Gravity Lapse

In Phase 5, he no longer uses Mind Control and Pyroblast, instead he regularly casts a combination of Gravity Lapse, Nether Vapor and Nether Beam. Gravity Lapse teleports the entire raid to Kael'thas' position and up in the air from there. In order to avoid the Nether Vapor debuff and Nether Beam chaining, the raid must move away from Kael and spread out, best in three dimensions. Near the end of the 30 sec duration, people should try to keep close to the ground to minimize falling damage, but must not get too low, else they take damage and get launched back up high in the air.

Kael'thas continuously uses Shock Barrier during a Gravity Lapse, and the phoenixes go into a kind of evade mode. There's no point in trying to deal damage during that time.

At the end of a Gravity Lapse, Kael'thas and the phoenixes return to their prior targets, there's no aggro drop. Mages should [Counterspell] Kael's first Fireball so that he runs to the MT. The raid should initially be careful with DPS because the tank needs to build some rage first. This is a good opportunity to burn down the phoenix and his egg.

Enrage

Kael'thas has no built-in hard enrage timer. The only problem is that the legendary weapons looted in phase 2 despawn 15 minutes after acquiring them. It's possible to bring him down using normal equipment, but the Arcane Disruptions cause the healers to run out of mana sooner or later.

Notes

It is a good idea to use [Heroism]/ [Bloodlust] prior to Phase 4, so that Kael'thas can't buff himself when mind controling a shaman. Some raids prefer to go all-out at the start of Phase 2, others wait until Phase 3.

Soloing Kael'thas

Even at level 90, using the legendary weapon buffs will be necessary. Specifically, the staff's immunity to stuns, silences, and disorients.

Save cooldowns for phase 3. In phase one, start the encounter, then run to the southern end of the room to drag Thaladred and Sanguinar as far away as possible when phase 3 starts. Thaladred must still be kited, as the 8-yard-radius fear will hit high-level players. Kill Capernian where she spawns (by Kael), then drag Telonicius down to where the other two are before killing him.

In phase two, single-target the shield, the longbow, then the infuser, then AoE all of the rest of the weapons. Equip the staff and use it's ability to gain immunity to stuns, silences and disorients. The staff must remain equipped or the buff will be lost.

In phase three, stand near where Capernian's corpse is, and quickly pop cooldowns to blow her up before the other three close the gap. Kill Sanguinar next (for the AoE fear), then Telonicus (for the stun debuff), then kite around and kill Thaladred. Feel free to swap back to normal weapons once the advisors are dead and all debuffs have worn off (like Telonicus's Remote Toy).

Phases four and five are straightforward, but make sure to get out of the Flamestrike area of effect before it lands. However, any pet-using classes should dismiss their pets at the start of phase four, and classes that can call temporary pets (such as mages' Mirror Image) should refrain from doing so against Kael himself, as he can cast Mind Control on the player; the player will then attack his pets until they are dead, and the encounter will be considered as wiped and come to an end and reset.

Even when winning seems in your grasp, beware. Several nether clouds will appear around Kael now and then at the end of the fight, stacking a debuff which can one-shot kill you if ignored. If you can avoid these, you'll be fine by this point.

Loot

Kael will drop the  [Verdant Sphere], three Tier 5 helm tokens, and three other pieces of loot. Any players on the quest N [70R] The Vials of Eternity will also individually see  [Kael's Vial Remnant]. His corpse also contains 10g per player involved in the kill.

Item Slot Type Focus
 [Verdant Sphere] Quest-starting item
 [Chestguard of the Vanquished Champion] Chest Tier 5 token
 [Chestguard of the Vanquished Defender] Chest Tier 5 token
 [Chestguard of the Vanquished Hero] Chest Tier 5 token
 [Ashes of Al'ar] Mount (300)
 [Band of the Ranger-General] Finger Attack power
 [Crown of the Sun] Head Cloth Spirit
 [Gauntlets of the Sun King] Hands Cloth Spirit
 [Leggings of Murderous Intent] Legs Leather Agility
 [Rod of the Sun King] One-Hand Mace Attack power
 [Royal Cloak of the Sunstriders] Back Intellect
 [Royal Gauntlets of Silvermoon] Hands Plate Dodge
 [Sunhawk Leggings] Legs Mail Spirit
 [Sunshower Light Cloak] Back Spirit
 [Thalassian Wildercloak] Back Agility
 [The Nexus Key] Two-Hand Staff Caster
 [Twinblade of the Phoenix] Two-Hand Sword Attack power
 [Kael's Vial Remnant] Quest item

Related Achievements

Quotes

Intro
Energy. Power. My people are addicted to it... a dependence made manifest after the Sunwell was destroyed. Welcome to the future. A pity you are too late to stop it. No one can stop me now! Selama ashal'anore! (Justice for our people!)
Advisor Introductions
  • Let us see how your nerves hold up against the Darkener, Thaladred!
Thaladred the Darkener yells: Prepare yourselves!
  • You have persevered against some of my best advisors... but none can withstand the might of the Blood Hammer. Behold, Lord Sanguinar!
Lord Sanguinar yells: Blood for blood!
  • Capernian will see to it that your stay here is a short one.
Grand Astromancer Capernian yells: The sin'dorei reign supreme!
  • Well done, you have proven worthy to test your skills against my master engineer, Telonicus.
Master Engineer Telonicus yells: Anar'alah belore! (By the light of the sun!)
Summoning Weapons
As you see, I have many weapons in my arsenal....
Resurrecting Advisors
Perhaps I underestimated you. It would be unfair to make you fight all four advisors at once, but... fair treatment was never shown to my people. I'm just returning the favor.
Engaging combat
Alas, sometimes one must take matters into one's own hands. Balamore shanal!
Mind Control
  • Obey me!
  • Bow to my will!
Summoning phoenix
  • Anar'anel belore!
  • By the power of the sun!
Casting Gravity Lapse
  • Having trouble staying grounded?
  • Let us see how you fare when your world is turned upside down.
Killing a player
  • You will not prevail!
  • You gambled. And lost.
  • This was child's play.
When Kael reaches 50%
I have not come this far to be stopped! The future I have planned will not be jeopardized! Now you will taste true power!!
Defeat
For... Quel'...Thalas!

Sound Files

See Sound files of Tempest Keep: Kael'thas Sunstrider

Notes

Patches and hotfixes

  • Hotfix (2012-09-12): "Kael’thas Sunstrider’s Gravity Lapse should once again function properly."
  • WotLK Patch 3.0.2 (2008-10-14): Health and damage reduced by 30%.
  • TBC Patch 2.0.3 (2007-01-09): Added.

Videos

Movies

External links