WoW Ulduar Raid Boss Guide - Freya
Freya is one of the more beautiful - and difficult - encounters in all of the Ulduar raid instance, and arguably in all of World of Warcraft. Raid teams will face off against swarms of Freya's nature companions, and each of their deaths makes her more susceptible to your attacks.
Getting Back to Nature
Freya, understood from lore to be the daughter of the Titans, is the protector of life on Azeroth. Although her vibrant and lush conservatory appears to be in tact, her proximity to Yogg-Saron has also led her to be corrupted like the other watchers, Thorim, Hodir, and Mimiron.
The Conservatory of Life, where Freya can be found, is on the opposite side of the Ring of Observation from the Shattered Walkway (Kologarn). Three Elders assist Freya, and are found in the conservatory. A raid group new to the fight will want to kill all three of them before engaging Freya, as they drastically add to the difficulty of the encounter. Leaving 1-3 Elders alive unlocks varying versions of "hard modes".
Freya begins the fight with 150 stacks of a buff called Attuned to Nature. This increases healing done to her by 4% per stack. On top of that, she'll continually have a HoT on her making her pretty much invincible at the start of the fight. The adds are the key. Each add killed decreases the stacks of this buff, allowing the raid to actually damage her. So, by killing adds not only do you keep the raid alive, but you also make the boss killable.
Freya's Little Friends
Freya is an all-nature and life based encounter. And, what encounter like that would be complete without massive amounts of adds. In reality, the Freya boss fight is all about the adds, which come in three "flavors" of wave spawns.
While these will appear in a random order, you will always have two of each type of wave, with a total of six waves.
For a visual example, the wave order may look like this: B, A, C, B, C, A.
Or, it could look like this: A, C, B - C, B, A. There are many possibilities. However, the same type cannot spawn back to back.
Each add wave is one minute apart, which means your raid needs to be on top of things, handling these waves in a timely manner. To do this, they must understand how to handle each wave.
Into the Thick of It - Exploding Lashers
One of these waves is the Exploding Lashers, which will appear and swarm the raid. These can be tricky to handle, because overzealous AoE can easily wipe the group. As their name suggests, the exploding lashers do, in fact, explode upon death. For this reason, you don't want all of them dying at once. A good way to handle this type of add wave is to collapse the raid all together and have AoE DPS burn them to low health - somewhere around 15%. After that, AoE DPS needs to stop, and all DPS should assist a single player, such as a Rogue or Hunter, who will single-target burn them, allowing the healers a moment to top off the raid after each explosion.
Ancient Conservator's On 'Shrooms
Another type of add wave consists of a single mob - an Ancient Conservator. While this big walking tree is active, players won't be able to attack or cast spells unless they are "under" the effects of a healthy mushroom. This means, quite literally, standing under the big pinkish-orange mushrooms that spawn around the area.
Of course, there is always a catch. The Conservator will use an ability called Nature's Fury on a player. This ability is a debuff that causes that player to deal AoE damage to anyone around them. This means that if you're nestled up cozily under a mushroom that you're going to have to get away - quite possibly moving to an area where you won't be able to cast or attack for a time. It is very important that players affected with the debuff move quickly, as this is a long fight and you don't want to waste healer mana with unnecessary damage.
Three's a Company - Storm Lasher and Ancient Water Spirit
A third possible add spawn consists of three enemies: the Snaplasher, Ancient Water Spirit, and Storm Lasher. These enemies need to die at the same time, but because of their varying (and quite dangerous) abilities it isn't wise, or often even possible, to simply AoE them down. Each one of these adds should be assigned its own tank (on 25-man mode). On 10 man, you'll only have one spare tank so you need to decide whether
The Storm Lasher is best DPS'd by a ranged group. It does AoE damage around it and cannot be interrupted, so having melee in range is dangerous and a waste of healer mana.
Likewise, the Ancient Water Spirit is best handled by a group of ranged DPS. It will randomly charge someone in the raid, so ranged DPS is ideally suited to keep damage on it even when it is charging across the room.
Three's a Company - Snaplashers
Snaplasher - 25 man - The Snaplasher is one of the trickiest mobs to handle correctly, and also the most dangerous. It gains a stacking buff that increases its damage by 10% per stack as it is attacked. When this stack gets too high, it starts to deal considerable damage to the tank. For this reason the tank needs to watch the stacks very closely and call out for DPS to stop what they are doing. Fortunately this mob is stunnable, so it can be stunned prior to the DPS-full-stop, allowing time for the stacking buff (which has a 5-second duration) to wear off.
Snaplasher - 10 man - While it may be one of the hardest to handle on 25-man, this is one of the easiest to handle on 10-man. DPS, including melee, should focus their attention on the other adds, bringing them to low health. The tank alone should be attacking the Snaplasher, every so often stopping to allow the stacking buff to fall off, as in 25-man mode. The difference with 10-man, though, is that this stacking damage buff also reduces movement speed, so once it reaches 20 stacks the Snaplasher will be completely immobilized. Additionally, the snap lasher will still attempt to chase the person with highest threat, even if it's rooted in place. This means that the tank can run away from the mob once the stacks get difficult and allow even the melee DPS to burn it with all they've got - they won't pull aggro, and the mob will be rooted in place and unable to attack the tank, who will stand safely out of range.
Lifebinders Gift, Raid's Bane
Throughout the boss fight Freya will occasionally cause a tree to grow, called Lifebinder's Gift. When these trees are fully grown they will heal Freya and all the summoned adds. Since defeating adds in a timely manner is, pretty much, the entire battle, it is critical that these trees are not allowed to do their job. One or two DPS (on 10) and at least two DPS (on 25) should be exclusively assigned to spotting and taking out these trees as fast as possible. Several people should act as "spotters" to ensure no trees are missed, even for a moment, as this could be detrimental to the raid.
She's Big - And Now She's Angry
After the six waves of add spawns, her healing buff stacks are gone and the fight transitions into phase two - a fairly easy "burn" phase. During this time Freya appears to not be very pleased with you, and will start to throw sead bombs around. These explode, dealing a considerable amount of damage and must be avoided. They're easily spotted by their vibrant green color, but finding a safe spot can be a little bit tricky. One method for handling them involves kiting the boss slowly, moving into bomb-free areas.
She will continue to summon the Lifebinder's Gift trees during this part of the fight. Ranged should switch to the trees to burn them down, allowing melee to continue DPS on the boss. If you make it past the add phase it becomes a pretty easy fight, but the whole raid needs to keep their eyes peeled and stay away from bombs! If they do, you'll bring her down with ease.