A Hunters guide to Kael’thas Sunstrider

A hunters contribution to the Kael’thas fight.

Looking at Google’s stats, there is a great deal of interest in hunter tactics and strategies for some of the mid – end stage raid bosses. I’ve spent more hours than I care to remember in the company of Kael’thas Sunstrider, so here’s the Kael’thas fight from a Hunter’s perspective.

The Hunter class’s biggest contribution to this fight is Misdirection. Getting a misdirect fired on the correct tank on the correct mob at exactly the correct time is crucial to this fight running smoothly. The 2 minute cooldown being what it is, you will need a minimum of two hunters in the raid to pull it off successfully. Afterlife tend to take 3 hunters to Kael’thas, which lets the raid continue in case one of us pushes our i.f.a.i.l. button and dies.

I won’t go into too much detail on this fight because it’s complex and repeated adequately across the whole internet, but here are the key things for hunters to get right on this fight.

Misdirects in order of priority:

1) Warlock tanking Capernian in Phase 1

The 3rd of Kael’thas’ advisors, Capernian, is tanked at the back of the room by a warlock in appropriate gear. Capernian has a number of fire-based abilities that you do not want her to use on anybody the than the warlock and a conflag-eating tank.

You typically have between 1 and 3 seconds between Capernian becoming active and her casting her first fireball. There is some debate over whether you should let her cast this first fireball or not and whether it has an effect on her positioning in relation to her tank. My preference is for her not to cast it because it lets the hunter show they’re paying sufficient attention to stop it.

The object of this exercise is to get Capernian to run from Kael’s side to the back of the room near her Warlock without stopping to incinerate the raid on her way past.

It’s simple enough to do, make sure your misdirection is cast on the warlock before she becomes active, make sure you are the nearest member of the raid to her so you get the initial aggro from a body pull, then get an insta cast shot like arcane or distracting shot fired the instant she becomes an enemy target. Land the remaining two misdirected shots on her as she’s running past. I use a steady and an auto.

2) Warlock tanking Capernian in Phase 3

When you have all of Kael’thas’ advisors back up in phase 3, you will need to make sure that Capernian goes straight for her Warlock tank again, not whoever happens to be standing nearest to her when she fell. If all goes well in phase 1, she’ll be downed near the back wall so the warlock will be able to body pull her, but that gives scope for the healer to yoink early aggro.

Depending on your raid’s dps, this typically means that you have to really leg it down the room from looting your Netherstrand Longbow, spamming your ‘gief legendaries now’ macro as you go. You can head back up to Kael to finish off the weapons after doing your misdirection. Or stay in the middle and lend your dps to Thaladred the Darkener.

3) Pheonixes and tank in Phase 4 and 5

You want to minimise the amount of time the phoenixes run around the raid doing their aoe during phase 4 and, to a lesser extent, phase 5. You get a new phoenix every minute, so you’ll need at least two of you on a rotation misdirecting the newly spawned phoenixes to the designated fireproof tank. I find that a focus target misdirect macro saves valuable clicks here.

4) Spare weapons to offtanks

In phase 2, the weapons will be tanked by certain tanks in the raid. Typically two tanks will take two weapons apiece. The weapons with a higher dps priority will be targeted by the tank, but to avoid the 2nd weapon running amok in the raid, you will have to make sure you misdirect them to the appropriate tank. For Afterlife, that means the Shield and the Staff.

5) Other targets.

You should not need to misdirect Sanquinar or Telonicus to their tanks, although it doesn’t harm to do so. Afterlife do misdirect Sanquinar to their MT because we generally dps him so hard he’s dead by the time he’s in position, so the tank needs a bit of help with the initial aggro.

Other hunter priorities:

a) Tank the bow

The Netherstrand Longbow is a simple ranged tank for the hunter. Make sure that nothing gets on its threat list in melee range or the bow will blink around the room at random. This is typically unhelpful. The bow has a nasty multishot ability that you don’t want firing into the raid, so try to turn the bow away from the raid towards the wall. Remember to remove salvation so you keep on top of the bow’s threat list. A Marksman or Survival hunter is best at this because their shots do more damage than a Beastmaster.

If you’re feeling cunning, you can send your pet into the bow’s melee range when it’s on about 4% health so it blinks to your position for ease of looting.

b) Dps the bow

Sic your pet on something that’s relatively harmless like the Sword or the Dagger and dps the bow like you mean it. The sooner you get it down, the sooner you get your legendary bow and ammo and can start laying down your damage boosting debuff onto the remaining targets.

c) Dps the axe

The axe is typically the last weapon to go down. Afterlife use a bear to tank it near to Kaelthas, well out of range of toons stumbling into its whirlwind and use 2 of the hunters to single-target dps it down after Thaladred is killed in phase 3. If Thaladred is off down the wrong end of the room, don’t waste time on target by following him, change targets and hit something else.

d) Jumpshot

If you haven’t learnt how to do damage whilst moving, this is the fight for you to learn. You could do a lot worse than starting with BRK’s jumpshot videos.

Whether it’s running up and down the room or staying ahead of Thaladred without running into Capernian’s conflag range or avoid the lightning bolts in phase 5, being able to do non-zero dps whilst moving is invalable. This is the typical jump shot for serpent sting and arcane shot. If you’re marks, then Silencing Shot is good for several hundred damage too.

e) Drums

If you’re a leatherworker, don’t forget to use your Drums as often as possible. Most of the guilds I know have a bongo rotation going to make sure their groups are hasted as often as possible.

f) Mind Control curing

The Afterlife hunters try to loot the dagger to help cure mind controlled people in Phase 4. Spamming wingclip does much less damage than a fury warrior or a rogue so doesn’t have the side effect of ganking the person you’re trying to cure. Don’t forget freezing trap and scatter / silencing shot too.

g) Stay alive.

Hunters are remarkably self sufficient creatures. Don’t forget to bandage when you get blasted in phases 4 and 5, your raid healers are going to be exceedingly busy so do what you can to make it easier. Remember healthstones / dark runes / etc .. You have two 2 minute cooldowns and only 1 is used by potions.

Do not stand in the flame patches. Everytime you do, your raid leader dies a little more inside.

If it’s a wipe after you’ve looted the bow, it’s possible to get another set of legendary arrows conjured before you feign death in the corner. Do not get noticed feigning death as some juvenile members of the raid may try to get you killed by standing on you whilst they’re wiping.

It’s a fun fight, although it goes on a big long for my preferences. Any questions, just drop a comment.