TBC Classic raid guide: How to beat Serpentshrine Cavern (with tactics for each role)

 

World of Warcraft Classic’s first expansion, The Burning Crusade, is well underway with Phase 2. This new phase added a ton of new content, with some of the biggest pieces being two new 25-man raids. 

 

We’ll be taking a look at the longer of the two, Serpentshrine Cavern, and here’s everything you need to know about it before heading into the depths of the Naga lair. 

 

Serpentshrine Cavern — Location, attunement, and gear requirements

Serpentshrine Cavern is located in the Coilfang Reservoir in Zangarmarsh. You’ve probably already been at the entrance, it’s right next to the summoning stone, behind the big waterfall that’s between the other dungeons in the area. 

 

How to enter Serpentshrine Cavern (Attunement)

To enter the raid you first need to finish a short attunement questline. This starts from Skar'this the Heretic in Heroic Slave Pens, and requires you to take down both Gruul and Nightbane, then loot two key items from them. Afterward, return to the Slave Pens, hand in the quest and you’re good to go. 

 

Gear requirements for Serpentshrine Cavern

The raid is both strict and loose with gear requirements. This depends entirely on your role. Tanks need three sets of resistance gear — Frost, Nature, and Fire. These should be as high as possible, but keep in mind the max is 365. 

 

Other than that, you’ll generally want everyone in the raid to have a high level of gear, with most of their items coming from Phase 1 raids, as well as crafted epics. However, there are no specific requirements for DPS and Healers. 

 

Now, let’s get into the boss fights. 

Hydross the Unstable — Guide and tactics

Hydross is the first boss of Serpentshrine Cavern. He’s a Water Elemental that shifts between Water and Poison form, depending on positioning and is mostly a test of your Tanks gear and ability. Here’s what you need to do: 

 

Tanks:

 

  • One Tank needs to equip their Frost resistance gear, the other Nature resistance.
  • The Poison resistance Tank should pull the boss, making him run between the flags in front of him — this switches Hydross to Poison form.
  • Once Hydross has built up 4 stacks of Mark of Corruption (after 60 seconds), the Frost resistance Tank should taunt, pulling the boss back between the flags so he changes to Frost form.
  • Every time Hydorss switches form, he summons four smaller elementals which should be picked up by the Tank not tanking the boss immediately. 
  • Once Hydross builds up 4 stacks of Mark of Hydross (after 60 seconds), the Poison resistance Tank should taunt, changing Hydross to Poison form. 
  • From there, repeat the cycle until the boss dies. 

 

Healers:

 

  • Keep your assigned targets alive.
  • Make sure to keep an extra eye on the Tanks when Hydross builds up 4 stacks of his Mark, as they will be taking a lot of damage.
  • Stay 8 yards away from other players during Frost form to avoid Water Tomb.
  • Focus healing on players with the Vile Sludge debuff during Poison form.

 

DPS:

 

  • Focus the small elementals ASAP
  • Stay 8 yards away from other players during Frost form to avoid Water Tomb.
  • Take down Hydross!

 

The Lurker Below — Guide and tactics

The Lurker Below is the second boss of Serpentshrine Cavern and is generally considered the easiest boss of the raid. The fight is split into two phases, but is generally much simpler than Hydross, here’s how to handle The Lurker Below:

 

Phase 1

Tanks:

 

  • The main Tank should pull the boss with their back to a pillar to avoid being knocked back.
  • Avoid Spout — a spell where The Lurker Below will rotate 360 and fire a water beam. 
  • When The Lurker Below casts Whirl, move closer to the boss.

 

Healers:

 

  • Make sure to keep the Tank topped up during Whirl. 
  • Avoid Spout by jumping into the water when the beam nears you.

 

DPS:

 

  • If melee, move out of range when Whirl is cast.
  • Avoid Spout. Melee can simply run around the platform, while ranged should jump into the water when the beam nears them. 

 

Phase 2

Phase 2 starts when The Lurker Below submerges and is untargetable. Nine Naga then spawn around the platforms. After 60 seconds, the boss resurfaces and Phase 1 starts again.

 

Tanks:

 

  • Try to Tank any Naga near you, however, they don’t do much damage and should be crowd controlled.

 

Healers:

 

  • Focus on raid healing, especially any DPS being targeted by Naga.

 

DPS:

 

  • Crowd control any Naga near you - Polymorph and Hunter traps are great here!
  • Take down the Naga ASAP. 

 

Leotheras the Blind — Guide and tactics

Up next is Leotheras, another fight in which the boss has different forms. Leotheras switches between Humanoid and Demon form. The former lasts around 45 seconds, and the latter around 60. However, at 15% health, he splits into both forms. 

 

This is another fight where Tank resistance gear is required. It is most commonly played with a Warlock tanking the Demon form, but it can be done with any class. 

 

Humanoid Form

Tanks:

 

  • Pull the boss.
  • Avoid Whirlwind.
  • Be ready to regain aggro after Whirlwind, as Leotheras resets aggro and is immune to Taunt. 

 

Healers:

 

  • Avoid Whirlwind.
  • Be ready to heal anyone targeted by Leotheras’ Whirlwind.
  • Heal anyone affected by Inner Demon.

 

DPS:

 

  • Avoid Whirlwind. 
  • DPS when possible.
  • Hunters: Misdirect to the main Tank after Whirlwind to help them with aggro.

 

Demon Form

Tanks:

 

  • The Fire resistance Tank needs to get aggro.
  • Tank the boss.

 

Healers:

 

  • Make sure to keep the Tank topped up, as they’ll be taking increasing damage from Chaos Blast
  • Kill your Inner Demon ASAP.
  • Heal allies affected by Inner Demon.

 

DPS:

 

  • Kill your Inner Demon ASAP.
  • Focus the boss after your Inner Demon is dead. 

 

Split Form

 

Tanks:

 

  • The Fire resistance Tank should Tank the Demon form, while the other tanks the Humanoid form.
  • Avoid Whirlwind.

 

Healers:

 

  • Avoid Whirlwind. 
  • Make sure to keep the Tank topped up, as they’ll be taking increasing damage from Chaos Blast

 

DPS:

 

  • Avoid Whirlwind.
  • Focus the Humanoid form. 

 

Fathom-Lord Karatress — Guide and tactics

Fathom-Lord Karatress is a fight very similar to Gruul’s Lair High King Maulgar. There is one key boss and three different mini-bosses with a variety of abilities. 

 

The fight is more about positioning than anything else and once you get a good pull, it should go smoothly. The bosses should be killed in the following order: Tidalvess, Sharkkis, Caribdis, Karathress, and here’s what everyone needs to do: 

 

Tanks:

 

  • The main Tank should tank Karathress where he stands.
  • A Warrior should tank Caribdis away from the raid.
  • Two Off-Tanks should tank Tidalvess and Sharkkis away from the other two bosses. 

 

Healers:

 

  • At least one Healer should be assigned to each Tank to keep them alive. 
  • Make sure to keep the raid topped up, as Cataclysmic Bolt does 50% of an allies HP very quickly. 

 

DPS:

 

  • A few DPS should be assigned to interrupt Caribdis’ Healing Wave and Tidal Surge. Rogues, Shamans, and Mages are partially good here. 
  • Focus Spitfire Totems.
  • Focus Sharkiss’ Pets. 
  • Follow the kill order. 

 

Morogrim Tidewalker — Guide and tactics

The penultimate boss of the raid is Morgrim Tidewalker. This is a fight with a big focus on swarms of adds, so bringing a Paladin Tank is recommended. Other than that, there are just a few mechanics to worry about, which we’ll explain down below.

 

Tanks:

 

  • One Tank should Tank Morogrim near the top of the ramp.
  • The Paladin (or another Tank) should get ready to catch and tank the Murlocs after Morogrim casts Earthquake, then bring them to Morogrim. 
  • Once the boss reaches 25%, he should be moved to the entrance of the room, but otherwise continue the same method.

 

Healers:

 

  • A few Healers should position near the bottom of the ramp and focus on healing allies affected by Watery Grave.
  • Make sure to spread healing evenly to keep everyone healthy after Earthquake.
  • Once Morogrim reaches 25% he will stop casting Watery Grave, and all Healers should move to the entrance of the room.

 

DPS:

 

  • Give the Tanks time to get aggro, then use AoE to kill the Murlocs after every Earthquake.
  • Focus Morogrim after all the Murlocs are dead. 
  • Once Morogrim reaches 25%, move to the entrance of the room with the raid. 

 

Lady Vashj — Guide and tactics

Last in the Serpentshrine Cavern raid comes Lady Vashj. This is a lengthy fight that is broken down into three phases and requires quite a lot of coordination. Here’s everything you need to know about this fight:

 

Phase 1

This is a rather simple phase. All you need to do is hold aggro, overcome a few basic mechanics, and hit the boss until 70% health, which is when Phase 2 starts.

 

Tanks

 

  • Simply Tank Lady Vashj where she stands.
  • A Shaman should be in the Tank group and use Grounding Totem to absorb Shock Blasts
  • Paladin’s should use Blessing of Freedom on the Tanks if they are affected by Entangle.

 

Healers:

 

  • Keep everyone alive.
  • Move away from players affected by Static Charge.

 

DPS

 

  • Move away from players affected by Static Charge.
  • Spread out across the platform.
  • Focus on Lady Vashj.

 

Phase 2

Phase 2 is the difficult phase of the fight. It starts when Vashj hits 70% health, at which point she becomes invulnerable and summons a swarm of adds. This time, it’s easier to break things down by add, rather than roles.

 

Coilfang Elite:

 

  • Tanks should tank these adds.
  • Melee DPS should focus these first. 

 

Coilfang Strider:

 

  • Ranged DPS should kite these adds, as they cast a short-range fear, and focus them first.

 

Enchanted Elementals:

 

  • All DPS should focus these when they spawn, as they will heal Lady Vashj if they reach her.

 

Tainted Elementals:

 

  • All DPS should focus these ASAP, as they only last 20 seconds and are a vital mechanic. They drop a Tainted Core, which roots a player once looted, they must then be thrown to players closer to Lady Vashj to disable her Shield Generators and activate Phase 3. 

 

Healers and DPS:

 

  • Healers and DPS should split evenly around the room going into Phase 2, so everyone can take down adds as they spawn and complete the Tainted Core mechanic. This is something that is unique to each raid team, so make sure to clearly organize the spread ahead of time. 

 

Phase 3

Phase 3 starts once all four shield generators have been disabled. It’s essentially the same as Phase 1, but with one extra mechanic — Spore Bats. Here’s how it works:

 

Tanks:

 

  • Start with Lady Vashj in the middle of the room.
  • Move Lady Vashj as Spore Bats lay down poison on the ground.
  • A Shaman should be in the Tank group and use Grounding Totem to absorb Shock Blasts
  • Paladin’s should use Blessing of Freedom on the Tanks if they are affected by Entangle.

 

Healers

 

  • Keep everyone alive.
  • Move away from players affected by Static Charge.
  • Move away from Spore Bat’s poison.

 

DPS

 

  • Move away from players affected by Static Charge.
  • A few DPS should clear the initial wave of Spore Bats.
  • Move away from Spore Bat’s poison.
  • Afterward, all DPS focus on killing Lady Vashj as fast as possible. 

That’s it - everything you need to know about Serpentshrine Cavern. Best of luck taking down the Naga and their leader Lady Vashj - and, of course, enjoy the shiny new epics! 

 

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