Raid Leading 101: Placement and Direction

Raid Leading 101: Placement and Direction


I’d like to share two stories today.

I remember years ago when my guild (at the time) set foot into Serpentshrine Cavern. We nuked the trash and faced Hydross for the first time. Our raid leader gave us directions on which elementals to DPS down first and which side of the room we had to drag her to. Since we had 4 tanks, each one was assigned a different elemental. One was assigned to the left, the other was on the right, and so forth. Things seemed to look good until the fateful question was asked:

“Wait, is that our left or is that Hydross’ left?”

And so the next fifteen minutes were spent debating which left was appropriate.

The next one is a little more recent and it comes at the heels of our Sindragosa attempts. We’ve sort of managed to stabilize our ground and air phase placements. Where we’ve struggled was during phase 3. Here’s a glimpse at our attempts:

Raid lead: “Okay guys, on phase 3, I want the frost beaconed player to stand on his tail.”

*Phase 3 hits, beaconed player runs very far toward the end of the tail, wipe ensues due to distance*

Raider: “You told us to stand on the tail.”

Raid lead: “Okay guys, well when I meant tail, I meant that you should stand where the tail and the butt meet, not the end length of the tail.”

*Phase 3 hits, beaconed player runs just below the butt, raid follows, gets Tail Smashed*

Raider: “I’m pretty sure that we stood in the right spot.”

Raid leader: “Well when I meant where her tail and butt meet, I didn’t mean directly behind it. You should stand just beside it so that the conical attack doesn’t hit you. Try a little to the left of it.

(At this point, he asks in officer chat if he wasn’t being precise or clear enough.

I looked skyward before burying my face in my hands.)

As you can see, good communication is a necessity. I’ve been in many pickup groups where raid leaders say one thing only to mean the other. They were not clear at all. In today’s post, I’d like to introduce a few terms and concepts that have allowed me to place players with pin point (almost smart bomb-like) accuracy.

Various terms

Set the orientation

The first thing I like to do is set the orientation of the encounter. In order to determine this, you need to figure out in your strat whether or not the boss is going to be mobile (constantly moving around like Professor Putricide) or static (like Festergut or Deathbringer Saurfang). Everyone needs to be on the same page and be reading from the same playbook.


  • Using cardinal directions, you’ll be standing…
  • Facing this boss, I want you over to the…
  • Boss will always be moving, so you need to stay within melee range on…

For bosses where they are tanked all over the place, sometimes it’s best to rely on relative terms (left of, right of, behind, close to, etc). On bosses where they get tanked primarily in one location, compass directions can work well (North, south, east, west).

Identify landmarks

Look around the area and see if there is anything you can use. Perhaps there is a pattern on the floor that will make an excellent bullseye for players to stand on. Or maybe there is an object that can be used.


  • The entrance
  • The orange wall (Professor Putricide)
  • Base of the stairs
  • Right pillar

Be as descriptive as necessary. Try to look for features that are unique. There is only one table in Professor Putricide’s room. One of the faucets are colored green (Exception: You may need to be more specific when working with colorblind raiders).

On the go

Most fights tend to involve a lot of movement. Players need to be instructed on the fly where to run to or where to run away from. Using land marks helps as well, but focus more on the words you’re using. Note the italics.


  • Run along the orange wall
  • Run away from the boss
  • Move toward the yellow star’d player
  • Tank the boss as close to the edge as possible

Really obvious directions are being given to players. It’s easy enough to hear these instructions and catch on to what the raid leader wants you to do.

Dress rehearsals

At the very top chamber where Blood Queen Lana’thel is, you’ll notice that there is a grate. When you kill her, you can simply drop down to the floor below. Until then, it can serve as an excellent way to place raiders before actually engaging the boss. I put a star icon on my head, run to a specific spot on the circular pattern on the ground, whisper a player and tell them to run to me. This is where they stand on the fight using the circular pattern on the ground that’s directly in front of the Blood Queen.


(Example instructions for avoiding oozes: Start at the orange wall when the green ooze comes out! Don’t stand in the middle pattern. When it’s dead, cut across and stand under the green faucet. Avoid standing in the middle pattern. When the orange ooze comes out, wait for it to cross the middle. Start going to the green wall, then head towards Putricide’s table at the back before running toward and along the orange wall.)

Simple communication cuts down on wasted time and attempts. Be as clear as possible. Try to think of ways where raiders might misunderstand what you’re saying and plan around that.

Be not afraid, as the forest nymphs will guide you on how to please your raiders.

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About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.



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