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Dark Animus is the ninth boss in the Throne of Thunder, and arguably, the second hardest boss after Lei Shen in Heroic mode. The boss doesn't have a specific Enrage Timer, but instead, it depends on the tactic that you use to determine when the boss will go Berserk. This boss fight resembles a puzzle in a way, and forces you to blow the dust off your math books. Definitely one of the most interesting bosses Blizzard has created in a while.

Abilities

Dark Animus has an energy bar which represents his Anima level. When it reaches certain levels of Anima he gains more abilities that make the fight harder. If the boss reaches 100 Anima, he goes Berserk.

Powered by Anima: Anima Golems cannot act or use abilities without Anima. Anima capacity is limited by the size of the golem: larger golems can hold more. The Dark Animus has the largest capacity, but cannot use most of its abilities until it reaches specific Anima levels.

Defeating any size Anima Golem will cause the Anima that was powering it to transfer to the nearest golem with enough available capacity.

Siphon Anima: The Dark Animus periodically drains Anima from its minions. 1 Anima is drained from each golem.

The boss starts casting this ability 2 minutes into the fight, and does it every 20 seconds after that.

Touch of the Animus: The Dark Animus periodically corrupts a random target, inflicting 30,000 Fire damage every 2 seconds for the remainder of the encounter.

Empower Golem: he Dark Animus targets the active golem with the least health, healing it by 3% and increasing all damage it deals by 24% for the remainder of the encounter.

Anima Ring: Upon reaching 25 Anima, the Dark Animus gains the ability to form several spheres in a circle around the target. The spheres move toward the center of the circle. Enemy targets that touch a sphere will consume it, increasing the damage they take from melee attacks by 200% for 15 sec. This effect stacks. In Heroic Difficulty each sphere also inflicts 180,000 Fire damage over the duration.

It casts this ability around the current tank every 20 seconds.

Anima Font: Upon reaching 50 Anima, the Dark Animus gains the ability to further corrupt a target already afflicted by Touch of the Animus, causing them to spew Anima bolts at nearby locations every 1 sec. Enemies struck by the bolts suffer 375,000 Fire damage.

Interrupting Jolt: Upon reaching 75 Anima, the Dark Animus gains the ability to release a burst of energy, inflicting 475,000 Nature damage and interrupting the spellcasts of all players.

The cooldown of this ability is approximately 20 seconds.

FULL POWER: Upon reaching 100 Anima, the Dark Animus gains the ability to unleash a torrent of Anima bolts that strike at random targets. Each bolt inflicts 500,000 Fire damage to enemies within 5 yds. of the impact point.

This is the Berserk mechanic of the fight. The raid will be wiped in around 10-20 seconds maximum during this.

(Small) Anima Golem

There are 25 Anima Golems all around the room, each one of them starting with 4/4 Anima from the beginning of the fight. They need to be handled properly, otherwise you will have an under 60 seconds wipe.

Acceleration Link: Anima Golems in close proximity link together, increasing each golem's attack speed by 250% and damage by 250%. In addition, linked golems gain 30% movement speed and immunity to movement slowing effects.

This ability is what prevents you from gathering all the Anima Golems together and killing them in one place. It also forces everyone to pay attention to their threat meter, since over aggroing an add from someone else can get you killed instantly.

Evasive: Anima Golems take 90% reduced damage from area-of-effect sources.                                            

Just something to further discourage any form of aoe tactic for these adds.

Large Anima Golem

There are 8 Large Anima Golems all around the room, each one of them starting with 0/8 Anima, which means that they are inactive at the beginning of the fight.

Crimson Wake: Anima repeatedly explodes upward from the ground in a line that accelerates toward a random target. Crimson Wake will pursue the target for up to 30 seconds. Enemy targets hit by the explosions suffer 200,000 Fire damage.

One of the most annoying abilities in ToT. It makes the person who is getting chased and everyone who stands is his way to run for half a minute away from it. This causes huge chaos in the raid, and is why we choose not to activate these golems in our tactic.

Massive Anima Golem

There are 2 Massive Anima Golems, one on each side of the boss, starting with 0/36 Anima, which means that they are inactive at the beginning of the fight. We take advantage of their huge Anima capacity to prolong the Enrage timer.

Matter Swap: Dematrixes the target enemy's matter. When this effect is removed, the target swaps places with its most distant ally and Arcane damage equal to the target's maximum health is split between them. The portion of the total damage shifted to the target's ally increases each second.

The debuff has a 12 seconds duration, and either when it expires or it gets dispelled, the person who had the debuff trades places with the furthest away from him player. The longer you wait to dispel the debuff, the person with the debuff will take less damage, and the furthest away guy will take more. So you need to find a balance between these 2.

Explosive Slam: The golem slams the ground, inflicting 275,000 Fire damage to enemies within 9 yards of his target. Enemies struck are seared, increasing the damage of subsequent Explosive Slams for 25 sec.                                 

This is the nuke that these adds do to their tank. It forces you to tank swap in order to reset these debuffs.

Enrage: 6 minutes 30 seconds

This fight is all about controlling the Anima, and making it so that the least amount goes to the boss. The more you delay the Anima going into the boss, the more time you have without Interrupting Jolts, and the more time you have to kill it before Berserk.

Even though this boss doesn't really have any specified phases, I will separate it into 3 different phases.

Phase 1

The best tactic is somewhat 'not intended', but is the only way to keep this fight somewhat controllable. So the concept behind the tactic is to skip completely using any of the Large Anima Golems. The reason behind this is that the Crimson Wakes are just causing way too much disruption in the raid, and the gain from using the Large Anima Golems in Berserk time is not worth the effort. If anything, the movement required to cope with these Crimson Wakes probably will end up causing enough of a DPS decrease to negate the gain of 20 or 40 seconds depending how many Large Anima Golems you would theoretically use.

So, by skipping the Large Anima Golems, that means that we are killing the small Anima Golems close to the Massive Anima Golems and thus giving all the Anima straight to the Massive ones. As we said above on the Abilities section though, there are 25 Small Anima Golems. That means 25x4 = 100 Anima. There are only 2 Massive Anima Golems, so they have a maximum capacity of 2x36 = 72 Anima. So what do you do with the last 7 Small Anima Golems? There is no room left in the Massive Anima Golems, so you need to figure out a clever way to handle it, so that you minimize the amount of Anima that the boss will drain.

Here is a picture showing the method we used to kill the Small Anima Golems. You need to have them all tanked separately, so that they don't link. That means that each DPSer, pets and some healers need to tank one add each. The Off-tanks can take two.

As you can see, the Off-tanks drag the Massive Golems a bit towards the raid and each side kills 8 Small Golems in each Massive Golem (8x4=32). For the rest of the picture to be understandable please read Phase 2 first, to understand the timings portrayed next to these movement arrows.

NOTE: The most important thing to keep in mind is that when you kill one Small Golem, it NEEDS to be closer to the Massive Golem than the Large Golems, otherwise you will have Large Golems coming to life, which completely destroys your attempt.

Phase 2

I am going to save you the trouble of figuring the math behind the tactic and instead link a picture showing the table we used to kill this boss.

So to explain the above table:
The Anima column shows the Anima level the boss has at that given time (time shown at the last column). In Heroic mode, the boss starts with 52 Anima from the get go.

- At the 2:00 mark, there should only be 7 Small Golems and 2 Massive Golems alive. That means that the boss will cast his 1st Siphon Anima and drain 9 Anima (7+2).

- At the 2:20 mark, the boss will do his 2nd Siphon Anima and drain another 9 Anima bringing him to 70 Anima (still no Interrupting Jolts).

As soon as that second Siphon Anima occurs, you need to kill 4 Small Golems. Two of them close to the Massive Golems, bringing the Massive Golems back to 36 Anima (they had lost 2 each from the Siphon Animas). The other two need to be killed close to other Small Golems, bringing those 2 Small Golems back to 4 Anima again (they were are 2/4 at that point). This whole thing needs to happen before the 3rd Siphon Anima comes, which is at the 2:40 mark, which means that you have a 20 second window. So make sure that the 4 adds getting killed are low enough already.

The remaining adds should then be 3 Small Golems (two being at 4/4, and one being at 2/4 Anima), and 2 Massive Golems (at 36/36).

NOTE: It is advisable to have some warlock/hunter pets tanking at least some of these remaining 7 Small Golems. The was we did it, we had one of them on the Main tank, 4 on pets, and only the last remaining 2 on rogues. The 2 Small Golems that are getting killed close to the Massive Golems can also be taunted from the Off-Tanks.

- At the 2:40 mark, when the third Siphon Anima comes, the boss will drain 5 Anima (3+2) bringing him to 75 Anima. That means that the boss will start casting Interrupting Jolts from that point until the end of the fight. Get that rotation of raid cooldowns started. There should be a total of 10-12 Interrupting Jolts.

- At the 3:00 mark, which is when the 4th Siphon Anima hits, the boss will again drain 5 Anima. Bringing it to 80 Anima. At that point, one of the three Small Golems will deactivate (the one that was at 2/4 at the 2:20 mark). At this point you want to kill the last 2 Small Golems on top of the 2 Massive Golems. That will bring the 2 Massive Golems back to 36/36 Anima.

- At the 3:20 mark, there are only 2 Massive Golems left on the field. The boss will do his 5th Siphon Anima and will only drain 2 Anima, bringing him to 82 Anima. After this point, the boss will keep draining 2 Anima every 20 seconds, until it reaches 100 Anima and goes Berserk.

NOTE: As you might have guessed, since we have one Small Golem getting deactivated after 4 Siphon Animas, meaning that the boss is absorbing it completely, there is a small room for error in this strategy. If an add accidentally dies too early before the 2:40 mark, you can replace it with the extra one that you have. We chose to have the extra one on our Main Tank, and if needed have it taunted out by our DKs.

Phase 3

The fight becomes somewhat easier for the DPSers at this point. All they need to do is nuke the boss. It basically is just a 'kill it before it kills you' scenario. At this point it is up to the Tanks to stay alive. All 3 Tanks should be Soulstoned, because they need to get instantly ressed in case they die. The Off-Tanks especially need to pay attention as the fight progresses, because the Massive Golems will hurt more due to the 'Empower Golem' from the boss.

The only mechanic which needs some handling is Matter Swap. The person getting the Matter Swap debuff needs to move close to the boss, while the warlocks (sick survivability with Spirit Link) move to the far right and far left of the room. That will make them the furthest away targets (your character's body becomes transparent when you are the furthest target from a Matter Swap player). Then it is up to the healers to communicate the dispels so that they do it when the debuff has 6 seconds remaining, which will mean that the damage is equally split between the two players.

Make sure to use personal cooldowns to survive the Interrupting Jolts,  avoid getting hit by the Anima Fonts on the ground, and you should be closing in on a kill pretty soon at this point!

Tanks: 3
Tanking is quite hard on this fight. There are many ways to do the tanking, but the easiest is probably to just have one tank always on the boss, and the other 2 tanks alternate on tanking the 2 Massive Anima Golems.

Boss tank needs to have some strong cooldown every time Anima Ring spawns on him, and he needs to break out of that ring while only getting 1 stack of it. If he is out of big cooldowns, he needs to ask for a grip from the priests/druids with Symbiosis.

Massive Anima Golem tanks need to switch tanking the 2 adds every 25 seconds so that the Explosive Slam debuffs drop off. Keep in mind that taunt has an 8 second cooldown, so the swap wont be complete until ~33 seconds (25+8) . The longer the fight goes, the stronger the Massive Anima Golems become with the 'Empower Golem' buffs that they get from the boss. That means that the tanks need to make sure to survive the deadly combination of Explosive Slam + Interrupting Jolt through using cooldowns, especially at the last 20% of the fight.

Healers: 5-6
Depending on your dps, you can chose to go with 6 healers for more safety, the fight is doable with 5 though. When the Interrupting Jolts start coming, healing becomes very intense for the whole raid, and it is up to the healers to top the whole raid before the next one hits (20 seconds). It is also the healers' job to dispel the Matter Swaps when they are around 6 seconds duration left. They need to be careful though, not to dispel them when an Interrupting Jolt is coming, because the combination of the two can be deadly to the two guys taking damage from the Matter Swap. A proper raid cooldown management is also necessary for all the Interrupting Jolts.

DPS: 16-17
The DPS have to handle the Anima Golems at the start of the phase so that they die at the proper positions. They also need to be careful to not over aggro any add which can cause a wipe straight away. After all the Anima Golems are dead, the only thing that DPS need to worry about is not getting hit by Anima Fonts, which means looking at their feet and Sidestep King it up! Apart from that, maximizing damage on boss is also necessary,  since the Berserk timer is not easy to meet, especially if your raid has 6 healers.

 

  Hunter (Rogerbrown)

1) Switch your pet to Tenacity to avoid any pet deaths while lead into chaos when an add is loose (best pet choice = turtle).
2) Use macros that will help you control your pet easily, and put the add which your pet is tanking on focus. For example:

  Warlock (Sparkuggz)

1) Affliction handles spreading damage on adds very well, while Demonology can do the same but you can gain a huge imp army to nuke the boss really well.
2) Play Soul Link to avoid deaths and your pet (Voidwalker) can even tank an add.

  Unholy Death Knight (Razie)

1) Glyph of Icebound Fortitude is really useful - you can use IBF on multiple Interrupting Jolts.
2) Spreading diseases on the small adds may not be a good idea if your raid dps is high, our dots last long and will kill the adds eventually.

  Shadow Priest (Artzie)

1) Choose Divine insight and Halo.
2) Get as many procs of DI as you can by multi dotting whats available.
3) Use your Halo after every shock and reach as many members as you can, it will help the healers a lot.

  Fire Mage (Vykina)

1) Don't use Mirror Images if you are assigned to take an add, since it bugs it out.
2) Don't use Inferno Blast on the boss since you will spread DoTs to others targets, instead make a focus target macro to use it on your add.

  Brewmaster Monk (Justmonk)

1) Guard has the perfect cooldown for this fight, you get hit by Smash every 30 seconds.
2) Diffuse Magic works on the Smashes, but also Zen Meditation. It just takes some timing in between melee hits when tanking 2.
3) Guard glyph is viable, but since the adds hit very hard in the end I don't recommend it.

  Protection Warrior (Justwait)

1) Save up rage for shield barrier, and make sure it's up when you`re getting Smashed by the adds.

  Resto Shaman (Sonie)

1) Spec your Primal Elementalist and save your Earth Elemental for one of the early Interrupting Jolt as a personal CD, and also spec Astral Shift for another personal at some later point when needed.
2) Spec Primal Elementalist*
3) Keep Healing Rain down and try to keep Ancestral Vigor up on as many people as possible by doing that.
4) You should primarily focus on tanks as a Resto Shaman there, just keep down Healing Rain at the same time.

  Holy Priest (Faerko)

1) Disc > Holy this fight. Simply just because Atonement healing is just too strong there. You're going to do very decent dps and ur healing is gonna be insane.
2) Dont forget to use ur archangel with full stacks right after Interrupting Jolt damaged the whole raid. Archangel+Cascade combo is gonna give you extremely good burst healing.
3) Obviously use Archangel every time off CD.
4) Glyphs: Glyph of Penance ; Glyph of Fade ; Glyph of Inner Sanctum. <make sure to use your Fade every time off CD just before the Interrupting Jolt it may save your life!
5) 90 lvl talent: Cascade