Eidotrope’s excellent article on how to solo Slabhide in Stonecore on normal mode inspired me to go for Altairus in Vortex Pinnacle on normal mode. Trainwrecked has already proven that you can solo most of this instance on heroic mode as long as you know what you’re doing, but the one fight he could not do was Altairus.
… and that’s not acceptable, Altairus is the one and only boss we really care to defeat! Why? Because he drops the amazing looking Drake of the North Wind mount. And yes, he drops it on normal mode as well.
This mount has a 1% drop chance (or 1 in 100) so you will probably be going in to this instance many, many times over to get it.
This is how it looked last night when I downed him in a drunken-red-wine-haze:
I used a modified Marksman build (7/31/3) to improve survivability by putting points in Spirit Bond and Hunter vs. Wild. I also found it absolutely necessary to use these three major glyphs; Raptor Strike, Disengage and Mending. The Mending and Disengage glyph have their obvious benefits and you most likely have used them already but the Raptor Strike glyph might be unfamiliar to you. Here’s what it does:
Reduces damage taken by 20% for 5 sec after using Raptor Strike.
Without this your chances of success are very slim.
What about the pet then? You should bring a Turtle or Beetle which are both tenacity pets that have the amazing “50% reduced damage for 12 seconds” ability. I used this specc myself but I imagine it would be slightly better like like this (Replacing Thunderstomp with Roar of Sacrifice for a bit extra damage reduction on you).
It’s also a good idea to bring some consumables:
- Skewered Eel for +90 Agility and Stamina.
- Drums of Forgotten Kings for +4% stats and 52 magic resistance.
- Prismatic Elixir for +90 magic resistance.
- Dense Embersilk Bandage for 35k self-heal every minute.
The magic resistance will reduce the damage from Altairus most dangerous ability. Having said that, in the video above I had no buffs (but as you can see, it was a pretty close call).
Clearing the way up to Altairus
There’s no need to kill any trash up to Altairus (just Camouflage through), you do need to do kill the first boss though to activate the whirlwindy-transporters. Keep in mind that the teleporters at the beginning of the instance activate as well and if you wipe on Altairus you can always use this shortcut to get back to Altairus quicker.
Grand Vizier Ertan is the awkwardly named first boss in Vortex Pinnacle. Defeating this guy as a hunter with the set-up mentioned above is not a challenge at all. Just send your pet in, keep Mend Pet up and dps away. Your self-healing from Chimera Shot and Spirit Bond will keep you at a comfortable 90%+ hp at all times and as long as you don’t stand in the cyclones you will have no problems.
There are two mechanics of this fight that you need to pay attention to (Source):
- The signature mechanic of this fight is the wind. Frequently Altairus will command the wind to change directions, and visible wind particles will indicate its direction. If you rotate – or move – yourself so that the wind blows in your back, you will receive Upwind of Altairus for as long as it blows in your back. If the wind blows in your face, you will be Downwind of Altairus.
- Chilling Breath – Inflicts 25500 to 34500 Frost damage to enemies in a cone in front of the caster.
The first ability is the one you need to react to whenever you do this instance in a regular group. You should always try to be upwind so that you get increased damage output and movement speed. As a hunter this is very cumbersome because of the enormous hitbox of the boss but this is why we have disengage. Disengage, disengage, disengage! If you have it glyphed you’ll have it off cooldown for every time he switches wind direction.
Funnily enough the enormous hitbox is actually to our advantage when it comes to ability number two: Chilling Breath. This is the thing that will kill you in this fight because he casts it very often; every 10 seconds. You can reduce the damage taken in several ways:
- Deterrence – Using this will cause you to take no damage whatsoever, you will probably only be able to use this twice during the entire encounter though.
- Feign Death – If you manage to feign death just as he begins the cast it’ll get interrupted and you take no damage. If you feign death closer to halfway-through then he will just continue to cast it and you’ll take full damage. Very tricky when you have a bit of lag.
- Glyphed Raptor Strike – This is the only ability you will have available every time he casts Chilling Breath. With this the damage gets reduced by 20% which helps you even out the self-healing vs incoming damage ratio. Remember that you need to be in melee to use this, so try to always stay just outside the boss’s hitbox so you can move in quickly.
And of course if you got the magic resistance consumables recommended above then you’ll take a lot less damage as well.
If executed perfectly you should be able to feign death every other Chilling Breath and use Raptor Strike on the ones when you don’t have feign death off cooldown. If you do this then you’ll probably never fall below 75% hp. However, being able to feign death perfectly will most likely depend on your latency being perfect as well and most of us aren’t that lucky… If you don’t feel comfortable with feign death, don’t use it. It’s much better to get Raptor Strike in than to do a failed feign death and take full damage.
And as always, if your health is dropping dangerously low, use some bandages.