Story of Sanctum of Domination with Nobbel87
Nobbel87 is here to recap the story of Sanctum of Domination, the new raid added in Patch 9.1 with Sylvanas as the final boss. Despite our best efforts in the covenant campaign, the Jailer now possess four of the five keys he desires to unlock forbidden knowledge. We storm the Sanctum of Domination to prevent him from reaching the Arbiter, but will we be successful?
The Tarragrue is the first boss of the raid, and is a two phase encounter with a unique twist. Before engaging the boss, your raid will be required to defeat four Infused Goliaths, and each one will drop an Anima Orb that can be activated to offer you a choice between three Anima Powers. These powers will help you defeat the encounter by providing useful powers that interact with boss mechanics.
It's also an opportunity to get some revenge on the boss that tormented us in Torghast! And you can reunite Moriaz with Buttons once again for
The Tarragrue Strategy Guide
Eye of the Jailer
The Eye of the Jailer is the second boss of the raid. This encounter has a percent based intermission that is triggered at 66%, and 33% after which the boss enters Phase Three. In each Phase One, the raid will be fighting the Eye of the Jailer. In each Intermission Phase two Deathseeker Eyes will spawn that the raid needs to defeat to end the intermission.
Odyn traded his eye to Mueh'zala to peer into the Shadowlands, but he's not keen on how the Jailer used his eye to spy across domains, manipulating events without our knowledge. The
mechanic also prevented us from using our mounts in the Maw at launch, and through an early 9.1 Covenant Campaign chapter, Odyn helps us remove the mechanic!
Odyn, Helya, and the Jailer's Eye QuestsEye of the Jailer Strategy Guide
The Nine is an encounter referencing the fateful short story
"Edge of Night"
in which Sylvanas forms her pact with the Jailer and the nine Val'kyr.
Nobbel recaps their backstory and discusses some of the questions posed by this encounter and short story:
With the defeat of Arthas, Sylvanas’ motivation had to change. Up to that point it had all been about claiming revenge and with the job done, they decided her motivation would be to stay out of hell with the aid of the Val'kyr. In return, the Val'kyr would be free from the control of Bolvar the Lich King. We also later learn the dark pact Sylvanas struck with the nine Val’kyr forged her bond with the Jailer. Through the years, these winged sisters faithfully served the Dark Lady, even if it meant sacrificing themselves on her behalf.
Annhylde took her place first, leaving her with eight. Agatha, Daschla and Arthura upheld the bargain after Sylvanas was shot by Godfrey in Cataclysm, leaving her with five. In the Battle for Andorhal she lost Aradne, leaving her with four. Several expansions later, Tyrande took out Brynja at the Battle for Darkshore--leaving Sylvanas with three: Kyra, Signe and Skyja.
I do wonder if there’s going to be more behind the bargain they struck with Sylvanas. Even when the story was released, people wondered if the Val'kyr were up to something. Were they aiming for something greater than just being released from the Frozen Throne? Why exactly did Sylvanas end up in the Maw? Was she judged to be worthy of it or did the Jailer have some hand in it? If the dark pact with the Val'kyr is what forged her bond with the Jailer, then was she always aware of this allegiance and if not, when did she decide to be okay with it? Many questions still left to be answered...
You can check out Nobbel's video recapping the short story, as well as our strategy guide:
The Nine Strategy Guide
Soulrender Dormazain is a one phase encounter where the raid needs to keep Garrosh Hellscream from being tortured. Garrosh, disgraced Warchief of the Horde, made a cameo in
as one of Denathrius' faithful sources for anima, due to his immense pride. While Kael'thas originally served as another anima battery for Dentharius, we rescued him in
and the covenant campaign charts his rocky path to recovery.
However, there is another fate in store for Garrosh. When Soulrender Dormazain lies weakened at the end of the encounter, Garrosh bursts free from his prison with a roar and defiantly charges the boss, unapologetic for his actions. While this cutscene's visuals are low-tech, it's still satisfying to watch.
They said I must answer for my crimes...repent for my "sins"... But every choice I made, I would proudly make again. I submit to no one! Not you, not the jailer, and not that coward Thrall!
Garrosh remains true to his character to the end--a flawed hero, one who heroically takes out the boss, but refuses to repent for his crimes on Azeroth. His final words are "For the Horde!" but we have to remember his vision for the Horde excluded most races. He insults Thrall, whom many consider to be a hero, but Thrall's actions towards Garrosh have been interpreted by some in a negative light, such as possibly appointing Garrosh to Warchief without much guidance or speculating he cheated to win at Mak'gora.
Soulrender Dormazain Strategy Guide
Remnant of Ner'zhul
We then move onto Remnant of Ner'zhul, an encounter revolving around managing space limiting mechanics on a small encounter area. This is a three phase encounter, where each phase ramps up the difficulty of the mechanic the boss throws at you.
Remnant of Ner'zhul Strategy Guide
The story of the Lich King really began with Ner'zhul so Nobbel recaps his backstory:
Ner'zhul's failure in the eyes of Kil'jaeden landed him in a world of pain and unimaginable torture at the Legion’s hands. The orc’s physical body was torn apart bit by bit, but his spirit was kept alive, intact and utterly aware of what was happening. A group of dreadlords took turn subjecting Ner’zhul to the most horrific agony as he begged for death.. Kil’jaeden agreed to grant it to him, but only in return for absolute servitutde as the Legion’s new weapon. Death would just be the beginning and Ner’zhul, with his sanity cracking, finally agreed.
Kil’jaeden passed the orc’s spirit through death and revived him as a spectral entity. The orc’s consciousness expanded a thousandfold, granting him extraordinary psychic powers. The dreadlords bound his disembodied spirit to a specially-crafted set of armor and a mighty runeblade called Frostmourne. But Ner’zhul was still able to plot against Kil’jaeden and the dreadlords.
For many years people have wondered, what’s up with Ner’zhul?! He eventually managed to merge with Arthas proclaiming that they were one. Then in the Arthas novel there’s this sort of dream sequence in which Arthas reflects on his road of damnation, ultimately stabbing his last remaining shred of good and Ner’zhul. Did that really happen or did that only play out in Arthas’ mind? Who knows!
In-game we saw that good side of Arthas, even questing with them, while the Lich King still proclaimed that he used to be a shaman. Then during the Death Knight Legion artifact quest, we saw Ner’zhul and and Arthas as some part of Frostmourne, but that could have been an echo of the past. Safe to say, Ner’zhul’s fate was unknown and what an opportunity there was to use the expansion Shadowlands to dive a bit more into his story.
No longer is it just the Legion that created the Lich King, now there’s also the Jailer added to this story, who is responsible for the creation of Frostmourne and the Helm of Domination. The Jailer wanted Ner’zhul to be his herald, but apparently he failed, got taken over by Arthas, and now he's trapped in Sanctum of Domination.
The last remnants of Ner'zhul's soul have been encased in spiked shadow steel and condemned to everlasting torment for his failure as the Lich King. It's a sad story, but there's a ray of hope at the end when his soul is put to rest, as he calls out to his mate, Rul'kan, claiming he's going home.
Painsmith Raznal is the sixth boss in the raid, and it has two alternating phases. During Phase One, the raid will be fighting Painsmith Raznal, and dealing with various mechanics that require smart usage of the encounter space. Phase Two, which can also be viewed as an intermission will require the raid to dodge a series of spikes while enduring heavy raid damage. After each Phase Two, the boss will equip a new weapon, putting a twist on how the tank mechanic should be deal with each time it happens.
Painsmith Raznal Strategy Guide
After defeating the boss, Kel'Thuzad taunts us briefly:
How fitting that we should face one another here, upon the precipice of death’s victory. For too long I’ve had to disguise my true motives. Pretend to serve false masters. When all the while it was I who helped architect Azeroth’s end! The hour has come to make you pay for the indignities I suffered at Naxxramas! Now, at long last, you will kneel before Kel’thuzad!
Guardian of the First Ones
Guardian of the First Ones is the seventh boss in the raid, and is a single phased encounter where its energy continuously depletes and must be refilled by the three Energy Cores. This is the “Patchwerk” style dps check of the raid with the boss having very few mechanics, but a very short enrage time.
This malfunctioning guardian uses the last of its power to obliterate those would would plunder the secrets of its enigmatic makers. We're getting many hints about First Ones in Shadowlands, but many details are shrouded in mystery. We know they're the progenitors who created the Shadowlands and other realms, and that the Jailer is after forbidden knowledge.
What is the Sepulcher of the First Ones?Guardian of the First Ones Strategy Guide
Fatescribe Roh-Kalo is the seventh boss of the raid and consists of three phases. The first two phases will alternate two times, and the last phase will combine both phases together for the end of the encounter. The first phase is simple, and only has a handful of mechanics that are easy to deal with. However, the second phase becomes more tricky, because the boss uses the whole encounter area as a puzzle for the raid to solve in a limited amount of time.
Once entrusted with Korthia's secrets, Fatescribe has been abducted by Dreadlord in disguise, as we witness in
. He's now bound to the Jailer's will and seeks to author a new fate for the Shadowlands. What secrets might he have revealed, if he lived?
Fatescribe Roh-Kalo Strategy Guide
Kel'Thuzad is the ninth boss of the raid, and is a three phase encounter with alternating Phase One and Two. After Kel'Thuzad is defeated three times, he will enter Phase Three, where players must race to kill the boss before the entire encounter area becomes engulfed in ice and kills the raid.
Kel'Thuzad Strategy Guide
Kel'Thuzad has a long and storied history in Warcraft and now we face off against him for the third and final time. Here, we make sure to fight Kel'Thuzad in his phylactery as we've learned from our mistakes allowing him to survive the other encounters. You can check out Nobbel's video below for a recap of the early history of this storied character, and our Maldraxxus campaign guide to learn what he's been up to in the Shadowlands.
Necrolord Covenant Campaign
With the lower levels cleared, Bolvar and our allies show up to craft a death gate to the Pinnacle of Domination where Sylvanas Windrunner is the last thing standing between us and the Jailer. With Oribos in peril, a desperate battle at the pinnacle of the Sanctum begins. With no masks left to wear, the Banshee Queen unleashes her full power to protect the Banished One while his ultimate plan unfolds.
As we've seen in past expansions, sending all those souls down into the Maw has empowered Sylvanas, and she's able to hold her own not only against the heroes of Azeroth, but also the combined might of Bolvar, Jaina, and Thrall. We chase Sylvanas as she flies through the air, eventually reaching the Arbiter's platform in Oribos, where we find the Jailer battling her as Anduin guards the platform.
Sylvanas Strategy Guide
Sylvanas drops some items of great significance:
: Legendary Bow for Hunters.
Fire a Wailing Arrow, which deals Shadow damage to your target and additional Shadow damage to all nearby targets within 8 yds of your target. Lesser creatures struck by a Wailing Arrow are stunned.
: Back with a unique quiver appearance. Currently the unique effect may only be usable by Hunters.
Every 5 shots, trigger Withering Fire, striking up to 5 enemies in front of you for Shadow damage.
: A Rogue dagger resembling the one Sylvanas used to kill Saurfang.
Your attacks apply Banshee's Blight, giving your finishing moves a 3% chance per combo point spent to deal 256 Shadow damage. Banshee's Blight stacks up to 4 times as the target becomes more injured.
: Trinket referencing Saurfang, her enemy from Battle for Azeroth.
At the end of the fight, a cinematic plays, in which we see the Jailer has successfully obtained his final key, absorbing the power to reach his final form. With his goals achieved, he opens a portal and reveals his true motivations, reshaping the world so everyone will serve. Sylvanas, believing her pact with the Jailer to be a partnership of equals, defiantly shoots the Jailer with an arrow when she realizes she's been tricked. While the Jailer escapes through the portal with Anduin, he gives Sylvanas a parting gift--the "Courage" half of her soul, which has been stolen from her many years ago. The cinematic ends on a cliffhanger, as we see Sylvanas with her blue high-elf eyes for the first time in years.
Will her personality drastically change with both halves of her soul fused? Will she remember anything about her pact with the Jailer? How will she react to learning about the Banshee Queen's ruthless deeds? Does she still possess her special powers, or have they been severed by the Jailer? The cinematic raises many questions that are sure to be explored in a later Shadowlands patch. It also references details that occurred out-of-game, such as the soul split theory detailed in
Folk and Fairy Tales of Azeroth
, so you'll want to check out our cinematic analysis for more context and explanations on her backstory.
Analysis of the Sylvanas Cinematic
There's also a brief dialogue between Bolvar, Jaina, and Thrall following the cinematic, revealing that they didn't hear her final words and aren't aware her soul has been restored. They simply hope she'll reveal details about the Jailer once she is interrogated.
Sylvanas Ending Dialogue
We can expect more details to be revealed in the 9.1 Covenant Campaign finale, which has been kept under wraps during PTR testing, as well as the upcoming
novel, set to release in February 2022. Until next time, have fun in the raid and make sure to check out Wowhead guides if you need any tips!
Eye of the Jailer
Remnant of Ner'zhul
Guardian of the First Ones
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