DarthHater has already brought you guides covering the first three boss encounters in Operation: Explosive Conflict - Toth & Zorn, Firebrand & Stormcaller, and Colonel Vorgath. Now comes the final battle: Warlord Kephess. As befits a boss of his stature, he won't relinquish Denova without a seriously challenging fight. Making full use of all the armaments at his disposal, players are sure to find that this Warlord is no pushover. For the details necessary to bring this boss to his knees and reclaim Denova, hit the jump. - jump
For the eight-man version of this encounter, this guide recommends the use of two tanks, two healers and 4 DPS. For the sixteen-man version, we recommend the use of two tanks, four healers and 10 DPS.
This boss encounter will consist of several phases, alternating between an add phase and a burn phase. Upon entering the room, you will notice a giant Warstrider Battlewalker to the left of your Operations group, flanked by three Imperial Siege Droids. The encounter will begin when you engage the Siege Droids, and the Enrage Timer for this encounter is 9 minutes 30 seconds. To begin we recommend that everyone, save one tank, proceed to the left side of the room, carefully avoiding the Siege Droids.
Initial Pull / Phase One
The tank that remained near the entryway will be tanking the two Siege Droids by the door, while the tank that went with the rest of the group will manage the one remaining Siege Droid closest to the Operations group. Each Siege Droid has 92,000 HP, so they will die relatively quickly. Throughout the entire encounter, Warlord Kephess' Warstrider Battlewalker will be active and will use two distinct attacks. The first is a sort of "default attack" that hits raid members for a low-to-moderate amount of damage and cannot be avoided. As such, just heal the affected players and carry on as usual. The second attack, called Saturation Fire, bears much more concern. This is an AoE attack that affects one of five sectors around the Battlewalker, and moves in a sweeping pattern back and forth.
It deals a severe amount of damage and will often kill anyone caught in it. This demands the group pay attention to where Saturation Fire is currently active. The pattern always begins on the right side of the encounter, facing the Warstrider, and moves in an arc to the left, in one of five sectors. Once it has reach the far left, it will then begin to move backwards, one zone at a time. We assigned someone to watch the pattern and call out, allowing the Operations group to adjust accordingly. Also note that except during a burn phase - explained below - the Battlewalker is entirely immune to all forms of damage, so attacking him during a non-burn phase will do absolutely nothing.
Burn Phase One
As soon as the last of the three Siege Droids is defeated, a Baradium Bomber will appear and needs to be killed as quickly as possible. Players will notice an explosive icon over the bomber's head, and they have 20 seconds to kill this enemy. If your Operations group fails to kill the Bomber in time, he will explode and deal massive damage. However, if the group was successful in bringing him down, the person that dealt the killing blow will receive a Baradium Bomb buff.
This player must then run directly under the Battlewalker, and in a nod to The Empire Strikes Back, they will zip-line up to the Battlewalker's belly and toss the Baradium Explosive in. This will bring the Battlewalker to its knees and render it vulnerable to all forms of attack. We recommend that players go all-out against the Battlewalker, damaging it to about 60% health.
Just before the Battlewalker becomes immune again, a wave of adds will spawn, featuring one Trandoshan Warrior and several Trandoshan Trenchgutters. This group of adds will have a large purple shield over them, with only the Trandoshan Warrior vulnerable. Players must take great care to single-target the Warrior, as any damage dealt to Trenchgutters under this shield will be reflected back at the caster. This means that AoE attacks are out of the question while the shield remains intact. Have your Operations group focus down the Warrior, and then they can open up on the Trenchgutters. Two more waves of these adds will appear, and the same strategy applies. This phase can be a bit hectic if the adds aren't managed or killed in short order. Try to keep a cool head, and make sure that no one is AoEing the group of adds until the shield is down.
Burn Phase Two
As the last of the Trandoshan Trenchgutters falls another Baradium Bomber appears, and the previous strategy applies. Kill him within 20 seconds, receive the Baradium Explosive and bring the Battlewalker to its knees. Bring the Battlewalker's health to between 30% and 24%, but leave it there. This is because when the Battlewalker dies, Warlord Kephess himself will emerge, and we don't want that happening until after Phase Three.
This phase begins shortly before the Battlewalker becomes immune again, and will spawn two Pulsar Power Droids, one on each side of the encounter area. They will use an ability called Channeled Pulse, a large AoE that does considerable damage. This is a channeled ability that lasts 20 seconds. At the conclusion of one channel, the other Droid will begin channeling it, so the Operations group must be mindful of this and move accordingly. Also, the Droids will use an ability called Rail Shot, which will hit the player furthest away from it at the time of cast. It hits for between 13k to 15k, so make sure that your Operations group is topped off during a transition.
When the Droids spawn, the left one will always channel first, so toward the end of Burn Phase Two, have your Operations group gravitate right. This way they are already in position. Also, be aware that during this phase the Battlewalker's AoE attack Saturation Fire does not damage anyone standing in it. After the last of the two Droids is defeated, another Baradium Bomber will appear as usual, but Warlord Kephess will also become active, so be sure to have a tank ready to pick him up; he becomes active directly in front of the Battlewalker. During this time your DPS should ignore him and focus on bringing the Baradium Bomber and subsequently the Battlewalker down. Once these are out of the way, the real fight against Warlord Kephess begins.
Final Phase: Warlord Kephess
Warlord Kephess himself deals a substantial amount of damage, and our tank found success in kiting him around the engagement area, taking care to avoid facing him toward any DPS, due to his Cleave ability. Be aware that the tank handling Kephess will likely require large heals.
Periodically, Kephess will launch himself into the air and become immune to damage. A few seconds later, he will crash into the ground and deal significant melee damage to anyone in the area. The area of his fall is indicated by a large red circle, so be sure to watch for this and adjust accordingly.
At approximately 60% health, Warlord Kephess will cast Gift of the Masters, which will do two things: it will pull all players toward him, and it will leave a large purple AoE circle on the ground that ticks for between 3,000 and 4,000 damage. All players should make running out of this AoE their top priority. We found it useful to pick a common direction in which to run, and then coordinate heals to bring everyone back up to full. Some group-specific strategies that we found helpful:
- If you have a Sniper in your group, have them use Entrench shortly before 60%; this will prevent them from being pulled into the AoE. Afterwards, have him pop Ballistic Shield; this will give players a common direction to run in, and will reduce the damage the group takes by a decent amount.
- If you have a Sorcerer healer in your group, have them drop Revivification at the outside edge of the circle, or wherever you choose to collapse your group. This will provide ready AoE heals. This tactic saved our group a number of times.
After this, there is only one ability that bears mentioning: Breath of the Masters. This is where your second tank becomes immensely useful. Right as Breath of the Masters is cast, you should have the off-tank taunt Kephess. The tank afflicted with Breath of the Masters will begin dropping small AoE circles on the ground and must run off to distribute these away from your Operations group.
We didn't have trouble finding a good place to drop these, but it still bears mentioning that you should use caution in distributing the circles. DPS and healers should be mindful not to step into them, as they deal a considerable amount of damage. These circles will remain until the completion of the encounter, so in essence they serve as a soft-enrage mechanic. We recommend dropping them along the perimeter of the engagement area, taking care to not out-range your healers. A few important mechanics to remember during the fight:
- Warstrider Battlewalker casts Saturation Fire, an AoE with a pattern which sweeps from side to side; watch out for this!
- Kill Baradium Bombers as quickly as possible, and be sure that you are within a reasonable distance of the Battlewalker, in case you score the killing blow and are the recipient of the Baradium Explosive buff.
- Rail Shot, cast by the Pulsar Power Droids, will hit whoever is furthest away for a large chunk of damage. Be sure to move as a group during transitions.
- Don't AoE Trandoshan Trenchgutters until the Trandoshan Warrior dies.
- Stay out of the large red circle that Warlord Kephess leaves -- it means he's about to crash down and deal damage to anyone near it!
Assuming you followed this guide, Warlord Kephess should be defeated and the conflict on Denova resolved! Congratulations on your resounding victory, and enjoy the spoils of war.