The Maw of Lorkhaj is a 12 men trial in the Hew’s Bane area. It is located south of the Do’Krin Monastery in Reapers March. Alternatively, you can access the trial by engaging in a conversation with the NPC Bakhum on the Abah’s Landing docks. This trial requires you to own the Thieves Guild DLC.

Lore 

In Maw of Lorkhaj, adventurers offer their help to the Twilight Cantor in their fight against the dro-m’Athra. The Temple of the Seven Riddles is built high in the mountains, making it a perfect place to observe the Bright Moons. However, the proximity to the sky also allows some to see the Ghost Moon, Lorkhaj (the Khajiit interpretation of the Lorkhan myth), attracting Khajiit hungry for the power of the Void. Khajiit worships the moons and offers their prayers through songs and dance. However, some Khajiit fell to the appeal of Namira, the Daedric Prince of Darkness, and succumb to the void, becoming dro-m’Athras. Usually kept at bay by powerful seals, the dro-m’Athra invade the Temple of the Seven Riddles following a Moon Bishop mad for power, Kulan-dro. Thanks to the Bent Dance, a powerful song and dance making the local priests insane, the Lost Cats pour from the Void and invade the Temple. Your group will have to restore the seals, and close the Maw of Lorkhaj, a portal to the dark behind the World by facing Kulan-dro in his Daedric form: Rakkhat. 

Introduction

It is required to have 2 tanks for this one with range taunts. You will need them for one of the boss fights. This trial heavily depends on communication and teamwork.  You may want to consider not having any new players under level 300. You will need at least half the team to have experience with this trial if you run a low level or new players.

Starting out, your group will fight a few hoards of mobs they are straight forward aoe. You will be introduced to an add nicknamed “Sun Eater”. They can be spotted by locating a blue smoke circle on the ground around them. This circle will disable the player’s magic abilities and slow stamina and movement. Throughout the rest of the trial, the team must always kill those add first before any other.

​Below you will find helpful images, gifs, and rundowns of each boss fight in veteran Maw of Lorkhaj. The Run Downs contains a brief description of the strategy that I advise to use in the fight. If you are new to veteran Maw of Lorkhaj and/or this guide, you want to check out the mechanics of the fight and the boss’s abilities first. Pressing the respective button in the mechanic’s section of each boss fight will lead you to a detailed explanation.

First Boss – Zahj’hassa the Forgotten

“Nura-jhahul! Mine is the crown of ash and shadow. Kneel… Or die! You choose death. So be it!”

I recommend, that – at the beginning of the fight – your group (except the Main-Tank) stacks tightly right behind Zhaj’hassa’s spawn point for high initial burst DPS and to ensure that the first Void Pillar spawns close to Zhaj’hassa. This way, you can hide easily when the first Cataclysm arrives and your stamina DDs can still damage Zhaj’hassa with all of their abilities while hiding.
If you are just starting out to progress in vMoL and if the positioning is still an issue, you might want to use the positioning shown in the image above right from the start. Zhaj’hassa takes his sweet time to spawn and you have a bit of time to sort out positioning flaws right before the fight. More advanced groups divide their DDs into so-called ‘Slayer groups’ to ensure that the Major Slayer is equally distributed among their non-Slayer DDs, also referred to as ‘selfish’ DDs.
Your Main-Tank should be positioned on the opposite side of the group to immediately taunt Zhaj’hassa. The Tank should beware of the following abilities from Zhaj’hassa: Strike (Light Attack), Thunderous Smash (Heavy Attack), and Shatter. When shattered, the Tank needs to keep block up.
As soon as Zhaj’hassa summons the first Void Pillar, everyone should take their assigned position (you can see on the image below) as fast as possible. This prevents the incoming Curse from being spread (approximately five seconds after the Void Pillar is placed).
After the AoE of the Curse disappears, the three cursed players should cleanse the Curse by using one of the glowing cleansing platforms, preferably one that is close to their position.
Support roles should always have priority when using the cleansing platforms. Additionally, it is highly recommended to assign platform 1 as a Tank-only-platform. If it happens that both your tanks get cursed, your Off-Tank must cleanse the Curse first and then take Zhaj’hassa from the Main-Tank. Up to five Void Pillars will spawn, one every 10 to 15 seconds, until the first Cataclysm happens. The Cataclysm is a big explosion that will fill the whole room. It will destroy every Pillar and every player that does not hide directly behind any of those Pillars. Get back to your assigned positions directly after the explosion.
At 80, 60, 40 and 20% of Zhaj’hassa’s max health, sets of Sar-m’Athra Panthers will spawn. Your Off-Tank should immediately chain (Unrelenting Grip) them towards Zhaj’hassa and lock them in place using Choking Talons. This way, they can be cleaved down easily while DDs keep focussing Zhaj’hassa.

Note: If the Off-Tank stays right behind the Main-Tank while chaining the Panthers, they end up nicely stacked on Zhaj’hassa. Just beware of incoming Curses!

At 70% and 30%, Shield Phases take place. You have to ensure that everyone is in the correct position to not overlap the Shadow Burst AoEs. Just make sure, that your DDs are dealing with damage to the shield. If there are Panthers present during the Shield Phase, the players that have aggro of the Panthers need to block while damaging the shield. Your Tanks should try chaining those Panthers as fast as possible.

​Note: Curses might still need to be cleansed during Shield Phase, causing an ally not to be in the assigned position. Make your healers aware so they can support the cursed player with a Breath of Life. Blood Altar should be up for especially those cases. IF a player cannot cleanse the Curse e.g. due to no active platforms in range, they should move close to the group and continue damaging Zhaj’hassa until they die. This way another player can resurrect them fast from a spot that lies within Healing Springs and Combat Prayer and it prevents Pillars spawning far away.

​When you reach the execute phase (25% of Zhaj’hassa’s max health) and only if you are comfortable enough to burn Zhaj’hassa at this stage within approximately 30 seconds, I recommend stacking the group behind him and ignore the incoming Curses. While you are stacked, the Curses will be spread throughout your entire group, which leaves you with only this limited amount of time to kill Zhaj’hassa.

​Note: I suggest tab-targeting Zhaj’hassa during the whole fight and let the Panthers die to cleave. This however requires them to be stacked properly by your Tanks.

Positioning

Purple circles are the pads you can use to “cure” the curse
M – Melee DPS
R – Ranged DPS
MT – Main Tank
OT – Off Tank
H – Healers

While traveling to the next boss, the group will encounter a hoard of mobs and sun chargers. This fight will last a while and they add will continuously spawn. The group should just DPS, after awhile the Will no longer spawn and the group can proceed to the next boss.

Vashai & S’kinrai

“We are fear. We are suffering. Recondite and eternal. Drown in Shadow. Burn in light.”

The Room

The room is round and divided into two halves by a line of candles. The halves are usually referred to as “entrance side” and “exit side”. You can recognise the exit side by a blue glowing portal like structure close to the exit door. At the start of the fight, Vashai (black boss) is positioned on the right side of the exit side and S’kinrai on the left side of the exit side. 

Grouping

Prior to the fight, you want to divide your group into an “exit group” and an “entrance group”. For faster grouping, it is convenient to send the melee players of the Zaj’hassa (1. boss) fight to the exit and the ranged players of the Zaj’hassa fight to the entrance. Usually, Vashai will take less damage throughout the fight because of his mechanics; sending your melees to the exit side comes in handy because with the following strategy Vashai will be positioned in melee range of the exit group during the first few seconds of the fight and until colours get assigned. This way, exit group AND entrance group can focus Vashai at the beginning and thus, get a head start in damage. 

Assign a healer and a tank for each side, so that your group is equally split up. 

Before starting the fight, exit group should be tightly stacked on the exit side of the room, close to the candle in the middle. Entrance group should stack on the exit side of the room, close to the middle candle; just opposite of the exit group. 

The Fight

At the very beginning, the exit tank taunts Vashai while the entrance tank taunts S’kinrai. Both bosses will walk to the middle and can already be damaged. Make sure to use your Ultimates right at the start of the fight since they will hit both bosses as they are stacked in the middle. Ensure each group stacks tightly and stays stacked until colours are assigned. After a few seconds into the fight, Vashai and S’kinrai will assign their Aspects (colours) to the players of your group.

The colour assignment depends on proximity. During that animation, tanks should swap taunt. Meaning: The entrance tank taunts Vashai and the exit tank taunts S’kinrai. This will be the only boss swap during the fight. From now on, each tank keeps their boss until the end. If your group was positioned correctly, the entrance group should carry the Lunar Aspect (white colour) and the exit group the Shadow Aspect (black colour).

Immediately after colour assignment, your tanks should position the bosses a bit to the side to ensure that there is enough space for the colour swap mechanic. One add of each aspect (Will of Vashai & Rage of S’kinrai) will be summoned about one second after the colour assignment. All DDs and healers should stay in melee range behind their respective boss to avoid cleave damage (white boss) and badly placed Negates (black boss). 

Vashai Side

After positioning Vashai, this tank needs to chain and taunt the black add (Will of Vashai) immediately, preferably before Vashai places his first Negate field. They are ranged adds, that will do a lot of damage to the group with their Eclipse Bolts ability. Your tank needs to face them away from the group. Be aware that the Eclipse Bolts stagger players that block those Bolts. Staggering interrupts your skills and pushes you backwards. Thus, as a tank, you don’t want to block anything except the boss’s heavy attack. Getting pushed backwards will result in a repositioning of the boss and a DPS loss.
After the first Negate is placed, your tank should roll dodge immediately out of it towards the entrance and reposition the boss right at the border of that Negate. The tank might need to chain the add again if it has not died yet. Your tank should aim for placing the Negates in a way, that they take a minimum amount of space while leaving enough space at the entrance door. Because that is where either S’kinrai or Vashai will port too during Prayer Phase. Throughout the fight, Vashai will assign his Shadow Aspect to three random players close to him. As long as the tank has to taunt up, he won’t get the so-called colour swap mechanic. The three players need to move in a clockwise direction to the S’kinrai side. 

S’kinrai Side

After positioning S’kinrai, the tank needs to range taunt the white add (Rage of S’kinrai) as fast as possible. Make sure the Radiant Destruction ability of both S’kinrai and his adds are interrupted as fast as possible. Bashing is the fastest way to interrupt. This is why you want your DDs and the healer to be as close as possible to S’kinrai and the stacked add(s).
Throughout the fight, both the healers and the tanks should purge the Lunar Flare. The tank does not really need to block anything except S’kinrai’s heavy attack. Throughout the fight, S’kinrai will assign his Lunar Aspect to three random players close to him. As long as the tank has to taunt up, he won’t get the so-called colour swap mechanic. The three players need to move through the middle (but in a somewhat clockwise manner) to the Vashai side. They should not walk in front of Vashai because they will cause badly placed negates, which could result in a DPS loss, because the boss and adds might need to be repositioned. 

Prayer Phase

One minute into the fight, Vashai and S’kinrai will teleport to either the entrance or the exit door of the room on opposing sides and then enter the so-called Prayer Phase. It is completely random which boss ports to which side. Each group needs to watch out which boss is ending up at their side.

If the boss with the opposite Aspect ends up on your side, your group stays on that side and continues damaging the boss. If, on the other hand, the boss with the same Aspect ends up on your side, immediately move in a clockwise manner to the other side of the room – to the boss with the opposite Aspect.
Your group has five seconds to swap to the correct side. After those five seconds, an explosion removes all Aspects and kills everyone who is on the wrong side of the room. There is a time window of about 10 seconds until Aspects get reassigned. 
During this period of time, the tanks swap sides. If you are the tank, make sure to refresh taunt before you run to the other side. Once on the other side, your tanks should help debuff the bosses until Aspects get reassigned and then wait for their respective boss to walk over and position them according to the first stage of the fight. Now you repeat everything the same way as before until the bosses go into the next Prayer Phase another minute later. 

With each Prayer Phase after the 2nd, the number of adds will increase: 

Prayer Phase 1: 1 Add 
Prayer Phase 2: 1 Add
Prayer Phase 3: 2 Adds 
Prayer Phase 4: 3 Adds 
Prayer Phase 5: 4 Adds 

Make sure to kill every add before each Prayer Phase ends to prevent your group from being overrun by adds. 

 Execute

Continue to play through the mechanics until you manage to kill one of the Twins or even both at the same time. Once you kill one of the twins, you have 45 seconds to kill the other one before he wipes your group with his Blaze ability.
Only kill a twin when you are sure that your group will manage to kill the other within those 45 seconds. 

Important! Never kill a twin during a Prayer Phase as this will wipe half of the group because this twin will be unable to remove your Aspect during the explosion. 

Once a twin dies, every player will lose their assigned Aspect and the whole group can kill the remaining twin. A lot of adds, both Will of Vashai and Rage of S’kinrai, will spawn once the first twin dies. The unoccupied tank should now taunt and chain the adds away from the remaining twin so that the group can easily stack behind him and kill him. 

Note:

  • Chain the black adds before taunting. Stacking them as fast as possible avoids unnecessary damage to the group. Furthermore, chaining an add applies a soft taunt and gives you more time to actually taunt the add with Pierce. 

  • If a black add is too far away to reach it with the chain ability from your current position, you have to walk behind the boss in order to grab the add. This might cause badly placed Negates since Vashai would be faced towards the group for that period of time. To avoid that, you can wait until the Negate is placed. Thereafter, you have a grace period of at least five seconds before the next Negate is placed. This should give you enough time to chain the black add(s). 

  • During Prayer Phase, the floor of each side of the room glows with the colour of an Aspect, indicating where you are supposed to be. For example Vashai (shadow aspect) teleported to the exit door. The exit side floor will glow in a golden light (colour of the Lunar Aspect), indicating that the group carrying the Lunar Aspect should move to this side and vice versa. 

  • During the time when no colours are assigned, both bosses, as well as the adds, take increased damage, so it is the most advantageous time to kill adds that might still be alive. 

Positioning

Rakkhat & The High Lunarium

When entering the room, you will find an arrangement of round platforms representing the lunar cycle – one big platform in the middle surrounded by 8 additional, smaller platforms.
The room is encased by walls on the left, right, and entrance side. The wall in the back is partially destroyed and provides a doorway that leads to the backyard area. Each corner of the room contains 4 cleansing platforms, that allow a cursed player to cleanse themselves.
The fight against Rakkhat will start on the big platform in the middle and carry forward along with the subsequent platforms 1 to 8. On each platform, your group will encounter different mechanics to deal with. 

Role Assignment – Suggestion: 

Non Hard Mode

  • MT – Rakkhat
  • OT – Hulk
  • Healer 1 – Kiter clockwise inner
  • Healer 2 – Kiter anti-clockwise
  • MagDD 1: Kiter clockwise outer
  • MagDD 2: Backyard left side
  • MagDD 3: Backyard right side
  • MagDD 4: on Boss

  • All StamDDs on Boss

Hardmode

  • MT – Rakkhat
  • OT – Hulk & Adds
  • Healer 1 – Kiter clockwise inner
  • Healer 2 – Kiter anti-clockwise
    Backyard – Group 1:
  • MagDD 1: Kiter clockwise outer
  • MagDD 2: Kiter clockwise middle
    Backyard – Group 2:
  • MagDD 3: Kiter clockwise outer
  • MagDD 4: Kiter clockwise middle

  • All StamDDs on Boss

The Fight

At the beginning of the fight, the group should be stacked at the middle platform in between the first and the second small platforms. The Main-Tank should take a position on the middle platform – next to the spawn point of Rakkhat and taunt him as soon as he appears. Rakkhat will take his sweet time for that, so don’t use your Ultimates and AoEs too early. Throughout the fight, Rakkhat will transition from the middle platform to platform 1 and further up to platform 8 leaving each platform cursed after a Lunar  Smash attack.

Each time when Rakkhat flies up in the air to perform that Lunar Smash, your Main-Tank should run to the next platform in line and grab the Lunar Bastion Buff (the platform glows golden). As soon as the Lunar Smash animation is finished, the Main-Tank will get stunned and needs to break free to block the Swipe attack of Rakkhat when he lands on the golden platform. Make sure everyone steps off the current platform as soon as Rakkhat flies up for his Lunar Smash attack as you don’t want any of your allies to get unnecessarily cursed. During the Lunar Smash on Platform 1, 3, 5, and 7 a Hulk will spawn on the middle platform. Your Off-Tank should taunt that Hulk immediately and position it in the group close to Rakkhat. This way your DDs can focus on damaging Rakkhat while the Hulk eventually dies in cleave. 

While alive, the Hulk will shatter the armor of the tank, that has aggro on him with his Thunderous Smash attack. This is the reason why Tanks will need to swap taunt on the Hulks. While the Off-Tank can easily take two shatters, the  Main-Tank should preferably not get more than one shatter. Be aware of the Hulk’s Roaring Shout ability, which needs to be interrupted as fast as possible. I suggest having the Off-Tank on “interrupt-duty” at all times as the Main-Tank might be caught up in a Barrage during the Hulk’s Shout ability. Interrupting the Hulk in time is crucial since stunned players might get caught in an overlapping mechanic, like unstable void explosions in the group, meteors falling on stunned players, or a tank not being able to block a Barrage.

Darkness Falls (meteors) starts to happen at platform 2. Meteors hit very hard (around 8k damage). The Main-Tank needs to kite the meteors that land on the Lunar Bastion buffed platform. Getting hit by these meteors will result in the Main-Tank receiving a healing debuff. Make sure your assigned allies kite the meteors out of the group as fast as possible and don’t return to the group too early. Preferably you want both your healers to kite the meteors so your DDs can keep doing damage without worrying about a mechanic. 

Starting at platform 2, your group should watch out for Rakkhat’s Threshing Wing attack. Block the attack to avoid getting accidentally knocked back onto a cursed platform or into a cleansing pad. 

On platforms 2, 4, and 6 the Backyard mechanic happens. You can notice that it is time to send your assigned players to the Backyard when Adara’hai shouts: “Mind the shadows! They are stirring up the void!” 

While proceeding along with the different platforms your group will need to watch out for the following mechanics:

  • Unstable Void at platforms 2 and 3 

  • When you get the red AoE under your character, immediately move to the corner of the wall next to the platform. Don’t block and break free after the explosion and then go back to the group. Make sure your character​ faces the corner to avoid unstable orbs going through your group. Only use the corners.

  • Orbs of Torment at platforms 4 and 5 

  • Carefully drag the orbs out of your group without dragging them through your group. Go slowly and don’t sprint away from them when they are on you since they will just detach and find another target inside the group. ​Try avoiding the orbs when they are not attached to you.

  • Void Spheres at platforms 6 and 7 

  • The Void Sphere spawn is indicated with an AoE beforehand. This gives you time to move away from it. And you want to do so since the spheres do a lot of damage and are nearly a 1-shot for a DD or Healer.  

When Rakkhat’s health reaches 11%, he will port to the middle platform and start conjuring an Annihilation Sphere. Now the so-called “Execute Phase” starts. Make sure your group moves on the middle platform as soon as the Shadow Debuff disappears; this allows for easier healing. During the execution phase, you will encounter previous mechanics, such as Unstable  Void, Orbs of Torment, and Void Spheres. Try to stay closely stacked and avoid any damage as best as you can.  

As Rakkhat starts conjuring the Annihilation Sphere, a small Resistance Orb will spawn on the cursed platform 1. This orb is linked to Rakkhat and increases his resistances over time as long as the orb is up.  Every 5 seconds, subsequent orbs will spawn on the other platforms in a clockwise manner. Those resistance orbs need to be “taken” by players in order to stop the resistance gain. Orbs are being taken by walking over them or dodging through them. Be aware that the platforms are cursed and only non-cursed players are able to go on the platforms. After a player has taken an orb, that player will be cursed and cannot take another orb. 

I suggest the Off-Tank takes the first orb on platform 1, the Main-Tank the orb on platform 2, and the healers the orbs on platforms 3 and 4. If Rakkhat hasn’t died by then, assign DDs to take the remaining orbs. 

Be aware that 10 seconds after Rakkhat starts conjuring the Annihilation Sphere, a Hulk will spawn on platform 5. There should be enough time for the Off-Tank to taunt that Hulk after taking the orb on platform 1. 

Note: 

  • Kill each Hulk before the next one spawns. Otherwise they will kill your tanks with their Thunderous Smash ability. 

  • Don’t retaunt the Hulk after the first Pierce to avoid overtaunting. 

  • If a player dies a Sar-m’Athra Panther will spawn after a few seconds on the corpse of that player. Panthers will keep spawning on that player until that person is revived. 

Lunar Phase 

If Rakkhat manages to curse platform 8, Lunar Phase will start and last for one minute. All platforms now light up and contain the Lunar Bastion buff. An add will spawn simultaneously on each platform; except for the middle platform. This add can be a Sun-Eater, a Dreadstalker, a Savage, or a Shadowguard. The adds should be killed before the Lunar Phase ends. Otherwise, they will still be around when the next cycle starts.

The small platforms give the Lunar Bastion Buff only to one person at a time, so it is advised to spread your DDs amongst the platforms 1 to 8. The middle platform can give the Buff to 4 people. Your tanks and healers should step on that one. All 4 people in the middle will get a Celestial Purge synergy, which creates a radiant beam to the add they are aiming at.
That beam does a lot of damage to the adds and also increases the damage done by other attacks. Only two beams can be active at a time! It is advised, that a healer and a tank beam at the same time. You should not let both healers beam at the same time simply because they can’t heal while beaming.
Make sure that DDs on other platforms help to damage the currently beamed adds without stepping off the platform; meteors keep falling on the players and the Lunar Bastion buff mitigates a lot of damage. 

After Lunar Phase ends, a new cycle starts. This time, a Dreadstalker will spawn every 50 seconds, beginning on platform 1. Every mechanic of the previous cycle stays the same and cleansing platforms become active again. 

Hardmode

In hard mode, the above mechanics still apply. Mechanics now hit harder and happen more often.

Further differences to non-hard mode are the following:

  • Rakkhat will now have 80.7 mio HP instead of 64.6 mio.  

  • The Hulk has now 6.2 mio HP instead of 5 mio. 

  • Cleansing platforms are not available. The curse can only be cleansed by dying on a cursed platform. 

  • The curse now not only applies a healing debuff to the cursed person but also damages any player near the cursed person. A cursed link does around 800 damage per second to an ally. Having around 2 cursed players in the group is usually not a problem to outheal. Since there are no cleansing platforms, your backyarders will return cursed. So try to avoid unnecessary curses as they can become an issue to outheal when there are too many cursed players. 

  • Once one of the backyard paths is cleared, a Dro-m’Athra Assassin will spawn on the middle platform in the main room, which needs to be taunted by your Off-Tank. The Assassin’s only worrying attack is its Whirlwind attack which knocks players back when not blocked. 

  • Make sure to have 4 people kiting the meteors at all times. I suggest, dividing your Magicka DDs into two groups. While group 1 is doing the backyard mechanic, group 2 kites the meteors together with the healers. When group 1 returns from the backyard, they continue kiting instead of group 2 as they will need to perform the backyard mechanic next. 

Note: 

  • Since Barrage hits much harder, I suggest that the Off-Tank guards the Main-Tank. 

  • If your group is comfortable with mechanics, keep the Assassins with the Hulk in the group close to Rakkhat. Just make sure, everyone blocks their Whirlwind attack to avoid getting knocked back. If the group struggles with that strategy, your Off-Tank can keep the Assassins and the Hulk further to the inner side. But you then need to ensure, that the Hulk dies before the next one spawns. 

  • Vigor on your Stamina DDs can help with survivability. 

Thanks to www.diametra.live for the guide.

Below you can watch a video of how the last boss fight looks like. It’s a run for a Time Trial Achievement.