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Too late...friends. Nefarius' corruption has taken hold. I cannot...control myself. I beg you Mortals, flee! Flee before I lose all sense of control. The Black Fire rages within my heart. I must release it! FLAME! DEATH! DESTRUCTION! COWER MORTALS BEFORE THE WRATH OF LORD....NO! I MUST FIGHT THIS! ALEXSTRASZA, HELP ME! I MUST FIGHT!" - Vaelastrasz

Vaelastrasz is a member of the Dragonqueen Alexstrasza's red dragonflight who fought against - and became enslaved by - the vile Nefarian, son of Deathwing, master of the black and chromatic dragonflights. He resides in Nefarian's citadel of Blackwing Lair. One of the red Dragon Aspect’s strongest children, Vaelastrasz takes it upon himself to oppose the black dragonflight.[1] (DF 148)

Vaelastrasz starts the quest N [60R] Nefarius's Corruption, to kill Nefarian within 5 hours and retrieve the Red Scepter Shard for Anachronos.

See Blackwing Lair NPCs.


Vaelastrasz is a red dragon. He is also known as Neutral Vaelan when he is in human form. He is initially a friendly NPC to the player, but eventually becomes a foe. In the WoW story, Vaelastrasz (commonly referred to as Vael) has sworn to hunt Nefarian and the black dragonflight until the end of his days.

Players may encounter Vaelastrasz three different times in WoW:

  1. He is hiding in LBRS near the beginning of the instance (first in Orc form, then Human). He gives players a quest to create the UBRS key. (If you're having difficulty finding him, try having your gamma way up, and look up - there's a hidden ramp you need to go up.)
  2. He helps a group of players to fight Rend Blackhand in Blackrock Spire. Vaelastrasz projects an illusion of himself to help the heroes, angering Nefarian. This effect must be activated via the Seal of Ascension. Vael will both attack Rend and heal your raid if you time it right.
  3. Vael eventually tracks Nefarian to Blackwing Lair and fights him, but loses. In the fight Vael is severely wounded and Nefarian corrupts him. When the raid enters the room you will see Nefarian, in his human form, corrupting Vaelastrasz with his magic. Nefarian notices the players and gives the now corrupted Vaelastrasz the order to kill them—then vanishes from the scene. Vaelastrasz buffs all the players before losing control so that they have a chance of killing him (he doesn't want to be the tool of Nefarian).

He is also said to possess a shard of [The Scepter of the Shifting Sands].

Vaelastrasz is considered one of the most intense fights WoW has yet to release. While the fight can be unbelievably frustrating taking some guilds months to get their first kill once he finally goes down it becomes a favorite of most people who experience it.

Attacks and abilities

Essence of the Red [1]

This debuff is cast on the raid at the beginning of the encounter and lasts for 3 minutes. Restores 500 Mana per second to mana users. Restores 50 Energy per second to Rogues and Cat Form Druids. Generates 20 Rage per second for Warriors and Bear Form Druids. And of Patch 3.0.2 gives +20 Runic Power for Death Knights. It essentially means players have infinite mana/rage/energy/runic power for the fight. It is not dispellable, but can be removed by Ice Block or Divine Shield (which is not advised because of it buffing a players damage at such an incredible rate).

Fire Nova

Inflicts 555-645 Fire damage to nearby enemies. Fire resistance is a must in order for healers to keep the raid alive. Player should wear as much quality FR gear as possible, but as a general rule, casters should have a little over 150, melee DPS over 200, and all Main Tanks the full 315 fire Resistance.

Flame Breath

Inflicts 3063 to 3937 Fire damage to enemies in a cone in front of the caster. Must be directed away from the raid by the MT. Every flame breath applies a stacking debuff (also called flame breath) that ticks for 1000ish fire damage every few seconds. Its maximum level, which is always reached by the time the MT is burning, ticks for 4600 damage. This debuff plays a huge role. Early in the rotation, the MT takes only 1200dps or so. By the time they are burning, they're taking more like 2000dps. The difference is all in this attack.

Burning Adrenaline [2]

Damage done increased by 100%. Attack speed increased by 100%. Spells become instant cast. Reduces max health by 5% every second; eventually causes player to die.
Vael only casts Burning Adrenaline in two scenarios: He will cast it on random mana users throughout the fight and he will cast it on the current tank every 45 seconds. 1 tank killed every 45 seconds for 3 minutes --> 3 / 0.75=4 tanks. When the MT is afflicted, healers must be ready to transition to the next tank while keeping the old one up at the same time until the debuff kills him. Thus, the fight requires 4 tanks in a threat-building queue. An acceptable scenario is the first tank going up and applying 3 Sunders before the second tank moves in, who applies 3 Sunders before the next tank comes in, and so forth.
The first person to get Burning Adrenaline should hold back from generating threat. However, as the fight continues, the tanks are able to apply threat by spamming every threat-generating ability available in addition to spamming Execute with nearly-full rage bars (once Vael gets below 20% health). Once in the safe position, players are free to go hog-wild doing damage as its mathematically impossible to catch up to the tank if he/she is doing their job.
When mana-using raid members are afflicted, they must move away to a designated area or bomb the raid with a 4376 to 5624 AoE blast. Non mana users will not be afflicted unless they are currently tanking Vaelastrasz. Note that ice blocks or divine shield will not prevent this debuff from killing the player.


Cleave attack that hits for 2k. This is a chain cleave, so if positioning is poor it can chain to the entire raid, even to behind him. It is critical that nobody be within approximately 10 yards of the main tank for this reason. Offtanks should be generating threat far enough from the MT to avoid chaining the cleave, but close enough to slide into place when BA hits the MT.


Vaelastrasz is an intense, time-critical encounter. It must be completed while Essence of the Red is active. Essence of the Red gives casters 500 mana per second, rogues 50 energy per second, and warriors 20 rage per second. While it is active, mana, energy and rage conservation are non-issues, but it will wear off three minutes after the fight begins, and then healers will no longer be able to keep up with the damage being constantly dished out to the raid. Encounters with Vael are often described as "won at 2:45" or "wiped at 3:15".

Given the short time window, Vaelastrasz is most easily killed when the raid has tremendous DPS and adequate healing power. The encounter is a balancing act between threat control and DPS. It will test the raid's abilities on both counts.

For the first attempt, Vael will be lying on the floor, flagged as friendly. The encounter will begin when the puller (the first main tank) talks to Vael. Should the raid wipe, Vael will be positioned in the middle of the room and the raid must stick to the walls when getting repositioned. In this case, the main tank should approach Vaelastrasz head-on to begin the encounter safely.

Positioning for Vael is critical because he has powerful raid-wiping attacks in both the front (cleave) and the rear (tail swipe). These are some suggestions:

1) Casters (warlocks, mages, and their healers) should be positioned on one side of Vaelastrasz, against the wall, clumped together. Hunters and the tanking line up should be positioned opposite the casters. Rogues will be meleeing Vael broadside, staying between front and hind legs to avoid the rear tail swipe knockback and the front cleave attack. Offtanks should be hacking away closer to Vael's front, around his shoulders, ready to move to the main tank's spot. To reduce healing strain, only the next warrior should move toward this position at a time, due to chaining cleaves. The rest should be in a similar position as the rogues.

2) Ranged DPS and healers should stand against the wall to Vael's right. Melee DPS should be positioned at or just behind Vael's right shoulder (don't get too close to his front). Tanks should stand on the opposite side (Vael's left) near the rear leg. The off-tank should be positioned somewhere near Vael's left foreleg. The purpose of this positioning is to limit the damage that chain cleaves can do. The inevitable spreading-out that melee classes will do if they aren't careful can leave a lot of players vulnerable to chain cleaves, which will propagate from the main tank through the off-tank through the rogues. Every such chain cleave can kill several melee DPS players, and you simply can't afford those losses. If DPS players stay by the right foreleg, they will not be hit by a tail swipe when Vael rotates to his left to attack the OT.

Burning Adrenaline and MT Transitions

Every 15 seconds, Vaelastrasz inflicts a member of the raid with Burning Adrenaline. This debuff effectively turns its target into ticking AoE time bomb, who must move away from their group to avoid a wipe. Every third Burning Adrenaline will be targeted toward whoever is at the top of Vael's hate list (the main tank). All other BA's will be targeted toward random mana users in the raid. Rogues and Druids in feral cat form should not be affected by BA unless they gain aggro, in which case it is generally a guaranteed wipe.

When the main tank is afflicted with BA, the next tank on his hate list must move into his position and take over as the main tank with healing shifting over to the new tank after about 10 seconds, giving the BA-afflicted MT time to deal out some high-damage moves before dropping dead. If the next tank does not pick up aggro after the main tank dies, Vael will likely turn toward the side groups and wipe them out with his flame breath. When mana users are afflicted, they must move away from the raid. A good spot for casters is in the very back of the room, behind Vael's tail where they can unload a series of instant cast nukes before they die, helping to mitigate the loss of DPS.


During tank transitions, it is important for rogues to Vanish and for hunters to Feign Death. This helps ensure that they aren't above the tanking lineup on Vael's threat list. Mages, Warlocks and Priests generally do not have to worry about their DPS out-threatening the tanks; DPS warriors who gain too much threat can more readily move in to main tank, as can feral druids in bear form. When BA hits the main tank, the next tank in line should move to the tanking spot, spamming threat-generating moves to ensure that Vael focuses on him when the MT drops dead.

Throughout the fight, mages (hopefully with Arcane Subtlety) should chain-cast Arcane Missiles, rogues should continuously Backstab and Feint, and other classes should keep as many DoT's on Vael as possible (Serpent Sting, Corruption, Shadow Word:Pain, etc.). Warlocks should have Curse of Shadows, Curse of Elements, and Curse of Recklessness on Vael at all times to bolster DPS. Priests must make sure to renew their Shadow Word: Pain between heals.

The main challenges in mastering Vael are having smooth tank transitions, having enough well-geared warriors to constitute the tanking lineup (4-5 is good), careful threat management from the rogues and hunters, having sufficient healing and having sufficient fire resistance on everyone. Mages and Warlocks aren't generally challenged in this fight since their mana is constantly replenished by Essence of the Red. Priests are likewise under no pressure to conserve mana, though they have to watch their timing as usual.

Rogues can do tremendous damage in this fight, especially those that are dagger-specced. Rogues are essentially set free by Essence of the Red. They can repeatedly backstab with little or no thought to their energy level. It is critical to use Feint as much as possible throughout the battle, however, and to use Vanish on the first transition or when the first MT gets BA. This will keep the rogue's threat relatively low so the second Warrior can hold aggro.

One technique that can prove useful is having a suitably geared druid in bear form as the first tank. As long as they are specced and equipped appropriately, they will have no aggro problems, and this keeps one more warrior alive to Execute when Vael's health drops below twenty percent.

Keys to the Fight

  1. Keeping the MT up until Burning Adrenaline hits.
  2. Keeping the OT topped off so they can survive the sudden burst of damage that will occur when Vael switches after the MT dies.
  3. Keeping the tank order clear. It is critical that the healers know who is next so they can prepare heals, and the tanks need to know who is next so they can move into position.
  4. Watch positioning, avoid chaining cleaves into the DPS.

Fire Resistance

Having high fire resistance for everyone in the raid is critical in this fight. Main tanks in particular should max out on fire resistance so they take as little damage as possible from Vael's fire nova and flame breath. Healers should also make fire resistance a top priority; the Essence of the Red buff provides essentially unlimited mana, so spirit and mana regeneration gear is unnecessary, while intellect gear is only useful for its increased spell critical bonus.

Hint: Take your raid (10 players at time) to UBRS and Mind Control one or more Scarshield Spellbinder (you can find them just at the entrance under the bridge). These mobs can provide all players with a +81-83 Fire resistance buff. This buff stacks with all other buffs that provide fire resistance. This takes a lot of time, so it is preferable to do it once your strategy is very well understood by your raid. A Blizzard representative (Caydiem) has confirmed that this is not an exploit.

You may also find it handy to bring along a batch of Magic Resistance Potions. They are cheap to make and last exactly three minutes. For raids with players that aren't especially well-equipped, this buff can make a difference, enabling tanks and DPS classes to replace inferior fire resistance equipment with something that provides better endurance and damage output (helping to end the fight within the crucial three minute window). Keep in mind, however, that magic resistance potions do not stack with Fire Resist auras or totems; these potions are therefore most useful for members of those groups that do not have a shaman or paladin, or players that are too far away to receive those FR buffs.

Another option for extra fire resistance is the Juju Ember, which adds +15 fire resist for 10 minutes.

Mages should Hotkey their Fire Ward and use those few precious seconds to fire off some Frostbolts. If timed right, you can get off two. In the long run, anyone with the following talent build will do much more damage with those two frostbolts every 30secs than all the Arcane Missiles being spammed. ( [3] is a good talent build for this instance for any mage as it gives mages the bonuses for their Fire Ward, as well as all the bonuses to damage for any and all Fire/Frost spells, cause yes... some mobs in there -will- take a lot of damage from Fire. It's only the majority of the bosses that Fire-Mages will have to fall to frost.)

Although fire resistance is a must for this fight, it's important to remember that the fight needs to be over within three minutes, so when preparing for the encounter you should make sure your raid does not sacrifice too much DPS. Mages, rogues, warlocks, hunters, and pure-DPS warriors should all ideally have at least 180 fire resistance, but after that DPS is important too. If you can't bring Vael down by the time Essence of the Red expires, the battle will likely be lost no matter how strong your fire resistance is!

Another good idea would be to get a [Blazing Emblem] trinket it adds 15 FR and has a use effect that increases fire resist by 50 more points as well as reducing all fire damage by 25.

Vaelastrasz was the first real guild killer in World of Warcraft. Guilds have broke down over Vaelastrasz. Spending hundreds of gold on repairs singly! He is arguably harder then Nefarian himself. - The World of Warcraft Dungeon companion.


Lord Victor Nefarius, corrupting Vaelastrasz:

  • Lord Victor Nefarius: Ah, the Heroes, you are persistent aren't you? Your Ally here attempted to match his power against mine....and paid the price. Now he shall serve me. By slaughtering you.
  • Lord Victor Nefarius: Get up little Red Wyrm, and destroy them!


  • Too late...friends. Nefarius' corruption has taken hold. I cannot...control myself. I beg you Mortals, flee! Flee before I lose all sense of control. The Black Fire rages within my heart. I must release it! FLAME! DEATH! DESTRUCTION! COWER MORTALS BEFORE THE WRATH OF LORD....NO! I MUST FIGHT THIS! ALEXSTRASZA, HELP ME! I MUST FIGHT!"

Reaching 15%:

  • Nefarius' hate has made me stronger than ever before. You should have fled, while you could, mortals! The fury of Blackrock courses through my veins!

Killing a player:

  • Forgive me (player), your death only adds to my failure.
Note: With sound on you can hear him say "Forgive me friend, your death only adds to my failure."


  • At last the agony ends. I have failed you my Queen... I have failed us all...

<Note: If Vaelastrasz kills a summoned creature, he will shout their name. This can lead to hilarious situations such as "Forgive me, Summoned Skeleton, your death only adds to my failure.">


Tier 2 Waist
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Vaelastraz non-set loot
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Inv helmet 10.png
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Vaelastrasz from a Hunter's Perspective
How to duo in Cataclysm

Patches and hotfixes

  • World of Warcraft Patch 1.8.0 (10-Oct-2005):
    • There is no longer a one-hour time restriction on the Vaelastraz the Corrupt encounter in Blackwing Lair.
    • Fixed a bug that caused the debuff "Burning Adrenaline" to be removed if enough other debuffs were applied to the target.
  • World of Warcraft Patch 1.6.1 (02-Aug-2005): The timer for Vaelastrasz the Corrupt is now more persistent. You can no longer reset the one-hour time limit for beating him by leaving the instance. Also, Vaelastrasz the Corrupt will not respawn for 12 hours if he has not been beaten when the timer expires.
  • World of Warcraft Patch 1.6.0 (12-Jul-2005): Added

External links

  1. ^ DF, 148