Zao is the last encounter I’m writing about, and as a result my witty repartee is broken. Uh, yes, it totally WAS witty. Throw me a bone here!
Zao has 2 old abilities and 1 new ability. The new ability is Charge, which is functionally similar to Deep Breath, where he charges up one round and then does huge damage the next. The old abilities are the typical beast damage ability Trample, and the pvp rage-inducing heal Wish.
The breakdown on my strategy for Zao is a lot of bursty offensive firepower. If you have stuns this is a good place to use them. Call Lightning is fantastic here too. Any kind of avoidance is good, because as seen in the screenshot below his Charge does borderline one-shot damage. He takes that down turn to power up though, so you know it’s coming, making it relatively easy to counter.
However, when I say “bursty firepower”, you need to be mindful of using abilities like Ion Cannon early on, because the “Boss” mechanic only allows you to do 35% of a boss’s health in a single hit. Those huge single hits frequently get partially absorbed, wasting that burst. I do like the Ion Cannon in my anchor slot as a last ditch Hail Mary, but not as primary offense. The Darkmoon Tonk or Menagerie Custodian are my choices for anchor, because they also have Shock and Awe, which gives a chance to stun. The boss buff is why I really like my trusty Clockwork Gnome with a Lightning Storm combo for this fight. It’s a good amount of DPS even halved, and there’s no way I’d hit that 35% per hit threshold because it’s all little hits.
In general, you want to just unload on his face. While you unload though, you need to be mindful of Wish. I like to get all set up with thunderstorms and turrets and debuffs and stuff, and then blitz him down after his first Wish. It’s on a relatively long, 5-round cooldown so it’s better to just eat the first one while you set up your offense, and then use your big damage cooldowns right after he casts it. There aren’t a whole lot of other options for damage debuffs among pets with mechanical damage, and debuff stacking is my personal favorite strategy for nearly all the single-pet fights. One pet I didn’t have available on the PTR that I’m eager to experiment with on Live is the Cogblade Raptor, with Exposed Wounds and Batter.
As always, the trickiest part of the scenario is where you need to think ahead and triage. The Gnome and Tonk are both fairly key in other strategies for the triads, but are also good here. Do you really need that Tonk to beat a pet in the early triad, or should you save it for Zao? I don’t know your stable, so I can’t give you that answer.
Here’s the video of me beating Zao on the PTR.