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Entering the Sanctum

July 22, 2010 4 comments

(Image courtesy of Bridgeburners Guild.)

The second of our guest posts this week comes courtesy of a personal friend of mine outside of WoW. Tokk is a long standing member of the Bridgeburners guild on the Emerald Dream realm. Due to my own forced raid break, I was left somewhat stumped when people began requesting strategies for the Ruby Sanctum. When I finally decided to approach a third party to produce the guide, Tokk was my first choice.

Bridgeburners are currently EU ranked 248 (world rank of 476) and the leading PvE raiding guild on the Emerald Dream realm. With their status as the realm’s leading guild secured, they offer realm first achievement and title kills to all their members. They’re also recruiting! Interested parties should head over to their forums to read more about this lovely group of people.

(Image courtesy of Bridgeburners Guild.)

Today Tokk (with the assistance of his amazing guild) are bringing us an insight into the tactics and strategy involved in a successful Ruby Sanctum raid.

Halion

It’s time to take a closer look at the latest member of the elemental-breathing, tail swiping, angry lizard familiy, Halion The Twilight Destroyer.

In this post we will discuss his various phases and abilities across all modes and difficulties, but the tactics below are meant for the 10-man Heroic version of the fight.

The Room

The entirety of the fight takes place within the big circle in the middle of the Ruby Sanctum where Halion spawns. Once you engage him he will wall it off from the rest of the zone, so make sure you don’t linger too long on the edge when pulling. Other than that the fighting area remains static for the duration of the fight.

Abilities

As with all dragons Halion uses the draconic hallmark abilities of frontal cone breathing, cleaving and tailswiping. The breath attacks occur in all phases and will usually kill non-tanks in a single hit. The tailswipe this time around is a knockdown stun that lasts for about 3 seconds, so be very careful not to get hit as it can be lethal throughout the fight.

Phase 1 – Physical Realm

Fiery Combustion

This ability is cast roughly every 20 seconds and puts a debuff on the target that ticks for 4000 damage every 2 seconds and builds up a counter every time, lasting for 30 seconds. Once the debuff wears off, is dispelled or the target dies, it will explode knocking nearby players back and placing a void zone type damage circle on the ground that leaves a DoT on anyone who stands in it. The size of the circle depends on the amount of stacks the initial debuff has ticked up to. The circle lasts for 40 seconds. Going through any kind of portal with the debuff on you will cause it to be dispelled on top of the portal, so be careful!

Meteor Strike

The second ability used in the first phase is used every 35 secons and summons a large meteor from the sky to hit the ground beneath a random raid member. Anyone hit by it is prone to death by fiery squishing, so make sure to move out of the area. When it lands it will also spawn 4 trails of fire that arcs out and around the zone dealing moderate damage to people standing in them.

Heroic notes

The only change in phase one happens in twenty five man heroic mode. When the meteor strike hits the ground it will spawn a large fire elemental called Living Inferno and eight smaller elementals called Living Ember. The big one has a short range fire damage aura, so should be tanked away from the bulk of the raid. The small elementals will gain a stacking buff that makes them grow bigger and stronger whenever they stand near the Living Inferno.

When his health reaches 75% Halion will vanish into the Twilight Realm and start phase two. A portal will spawn on his location that you will have to enter through.

Phase Two – Twilight Realm

Soul Consumption

This ability works exactly like Fiery Combustion did in phase one, with two exceptions. Firstly the circles will slow anyone who stands in them for a few seconds every application. So even when you get out you will still be slowed for a few seconds after. The second difference is that instead of knocking away nearby players, it will pull them into the circle.

Twilight Cutter

The only other ability used in phase two is the Twilight Cutter. Around the edge of the fighting area in the twilight realm two orbs will slowly go around clockwise. Every thirty seconds they will lock a beam between them that oneshots anything it touches.

Heroic notes

The change in phase two applies to both the ten man and twenty five man heroic versions. Instead of there being two orbs circling the room there will now be four, effectively splitting the room into quardrants every time Twilight Cutter is cast.

Upon reaching 50% Halion will give a short speech and enter phase three, spawning two portals in the twilight realm (to the north west and south east) that lead back to the physical realm as well as two in the physical realm leading to the twilight (north east and south west).

Phase 3

The third and final phase consists of everything from the first two phases happening at the same time. Halion will be active in both the physical realm and the twilight realm. Having no players in either realm will cause him to regenerate 2% hp every two seconds. On top of that, Halion will now display a corporeality percentage. It starts at 50% for both realms and will change in increments of ten depending on how much damage is done in either realm. Every time it increases Halion will deal 30% more and take 20% more damage and when it decreases Halion will do 30% less and take 20% less damage, so keeping it between 40% and 60% is recommended. If the physical realm Halion takes more damage than the twilight realm version, the corporeality in the physical realm will go down and the corporeality in the twilight realm will go up and vice versa.

Heroic notes

Both heroic mode changes from phase one and two will still be in effect in phase three. In addition the circles created by Fiery Combustion and Soul Consumption will now overlap between realms, giving you a lot less space to move on.

Strategy

Assuming the Twilight Cutter didn’t get you while you were reading, we move on to the actual strategy involved in killing this purple bastid. As stated earlier this will be focused purely on the 10-man heroic version. On with the show!

Basic notes for all phases

Halion should always be tanked smack in the middle of the room. This is critical for the twilight realm and amazingly useful for the physical realm. Stay in the same general area! For physical realm that means on the same side of the boss and for the twilight realm it means in the same quadrant.

Handling Combustion and Consumption

Always run them to the edge before dispelling, no matter what. A three stack circle at the edge is safer than a one stack or two stack circle in the middle. This is without a doubt the most important part of the fight to master as a misplaced circle will most likely wipe you instantly.

Abilities such as Blink, Disengage and Hand of Freedom (in twilight) will help you get out of the circle quicker while Sprint, Body and Soul and Rocket Boots will help you get to the edge faster. Use these as much as possible, especially when in the twilight realm.

Raid Setup

You’re going to be needing:-

  • Two Tanks (one for each realm)
  • Two to Three Healers
  • Five to Six DPS

I would presonally recommend going with three healers (one in the physical realm and two in the twilight.) It is doable with only two if you are feeling brave. Bringing a class that can crutch heal for the physical realm is also recommended for when the healer gets Combustion. The enrage timer should not be a problem either way, providing no one dies.

Phase 1

There is nothing really special to note here. Make sure you run the Combustions to the edge and dodge the meteors. After the latter crashes you will likely have to strafe a little bit around to avoid standing in fires, but just focus on getting him to 75% as soon as possible. Given the cooldown and lasting time of Combustion there will always be two circles up. This will matter in phase three.

Phase 2

As you enter the portal for the Twilight Realm the tank needs to pick up the boss asap and face it north. The raid then groups up to the left of the boss, a position they will keep for the rest of the fight.

Dealing with twilight cutters

The tank and the raid will be moving around in different quardrants to avoid Halion breathing doom unto the raid. It is advised to have a single DPS assigned to watching the orbs and giving the move command to everyone as the cutter doesn’t always start in the same spot. It is important that everyone moves when the order goes out though, as lingering behind will almost always spell certain death. The tricky part in this phase is when Consumption and Twilight Cutter overlap (and they will pretty much every time), as you have to move diagonally towards the edge in order to not get chopped in half after dropping your circle.

Heroism or Bloodlust (assuming you have one) is best used in this phase since it doesn’t work cross-realm in phase three.

Phase 3

Now the fun begins.

The raid splits in two as the physical realm group goes back up as soon as the coast is clear of cutters, to resume fighting with fire.

Since the last phase is just a repeat of the first two the only “new” thing you have to be aware of is the circle overlapping the realms. This means that there will at all times be four circles up in both realms and that it is possible to spawn them on top of unsuspecting raid members in the other realm. If the healers are on the ball it is survivable and it will probably happen a few times during progression, but there is one trick to minimizing risk.

The physical realm tank should rotate Halion so that the raid always stands in the area with the fewest amount of circles. As noted earlier the corporeality mechanic is also active in this phase and has to be balanced in order to prevent tank deaths. Simply stopping DPS in a realm if the corporeality hits 40% and waiting until it goes back to 50% is a safe and easy way of dealing with it as it will never really become an issue.

This phase feels like it takes forever, but just hang in there, play your best and the dragon will be giving up his precious lewts (and 10 achievement points) soon enough.

Zing’s Closing Thoughts

I’d like to give out a huge thanks to both Tokk (for producing the guide and providing the in game screenshots) and his guild (proof reading and ensuring the tactics were perfect) for taking their time to write this amazing strategy for me. Once again, I’d like to mention that they are recruiting. They boast amazing progress (11/12 in Icecrown Citadel heroic) and are a stable and long standing guild. I’d like to personally offer them the best of luck in finishing wrath content and with their future progression in Cataclysm.

TL:DR Boss Guides: Lord Marrowgar Normal

July 15, 2010 7 comments

In an effort to complete my Icecrown Citadel boss guides (there’s more incoming guys, I promise, particularly hard modes), I’m also going to be publishing a slight variation on the idea that I did quite some time ago. The TL:DR (too long, didn’t read) boss guides will be published to accompany my main guides and they’re designed for fun more than anything else. Never the less, if you’re starting a new encounter, it might be worth throwing them at your unprepared guildees!

For now, you’ll have to click on the image to get the full sized version, but I’m working on sorting something out. Enjoy!

Categories: TL:DR Comic

Icecrown Citadel – Festergut Heroic

June 30, 2010 1 comment

This guide will assume that you are familiar with the normal version of this encounter. You can read my own guide to this fight here.

Naturally, Festergut gains additional health in the heroic version.

  • 10 Man Normal – 9,412,000 Health
  • 10 Man Heroic – 13,700,000 Health

The main difference between the heroic mode of this encounter and the normal mode that you’re accustomed with is an additional ability. Luckily, it’s an ability that you’ll already be familiar with from the Professor Putricide fight. Throughout the encounter, Professor Putricide will be sat on a ledge, throwing Malleable Goo at your raid.

While the Malleable Goo is targeted at one member of your raid, it has a splash damage that is larger than the spell effect. Due to this, it’s vital you leave a large distance between yourself and the “puddle” that the Malleable Goo leaves on the ground.

It’s extremely important that you do not get hit by the Malleable Goo. If you are hit, you’ll receive a debuff that slows casting speed (or attack speed) by 250% for 12 seconds. Just as Festergut was a DPS race in it’s normal variation, it remains so in it’s heroic version. As such, DPS being hit by the Malleable Goo can result in the raid missing the enrage timer. Alternatively, healers being hit my the Malleable Goo can result in tank deaths.

Malleable Goo does have a flight time, it’s flung from a platform at the far end of the room and the puddle graphic appears prior to the spell hitting. In order to give the maximum amount of flight time (and thus allowing your raid members the longest period of time to react and move), we tank Festergut closer to the door than usual on normal mode.

The encounter is otherwise unchanged. That means the Gas Spore mechanic is unchanged and your raid will still need to move to ensure that everyone gets inoculated from the blight. It’s therefore more important than usual that your raid members return to their designated spots as soon as they receive the inoculation. If they fail to move, or move to slowly, the result can be your raid members being hit by the Malleable Goo.

Image courtesy of Owlkin.Org

The above screenshot captures the two mechanics (Gas Spore and Malleable Goo) in action. You can clearly see the ranged DPS stacking together to ensure they all receive the inoculation, whilst also steering clear of the neon puddle on the ground marking the landing point of the incoming Malleable Goo.

Summary

This is one of the easier heroic modes, particularly if your raid (and specifically, your ranged DPS and healers) are already accustomed to being spread out throughout the fight. This is precisely why I encourage the positioning featured in my strategy guide for the normal version of this encounter. Your main concern as a ranged DPS is avoiding the Malleable Goo. The casting speed debuff is extreme and with a twelve second duration, it’s a huge loss in DPS. Should multiple DPS be hit by this, you will fail the enrage timer. The key to this encounter is good raid awareness, both to monitor the path of the Malleable Goo and ensure that you’re receiving the inoculation debuff. Whilst it may initially seem quite chaotic, it’s an easy fight and shouldn’t take your guild long to master.

Categories: Heroic Mode

Icecrown Citadel – Festergut

June 29, 2010 2 comments

Festergut is one of three bosses in the plagueworks wing of Icecrown Citadel. While there are some mechanics you need to be aware of, this boss is a relatively straight forward DPS check and, as such, if you’re lucky with the RNG factors and don’t need to move too much, it can be great fun as a ranged DPS.

Unlike some fights in Icecrown Citadel, Festergut is a single phase tank and spank type encounter (so much so, he’s been referred to as Patchwerk 3.3 in some circles.)

The Positioning

The above diagram shows the positioning of your raid for the majority of this encounter. Some movement is necessary to deal with a mechanic known as Gas Spore. This will be explained in the next section. It’s vital that you spread out and return to your designated spot. Standing too close to another player will cause multiple players to be affected by Vile Gas and isn’t something you want. At worst, this can result in multiple DPS or healers being taken out of the fight for a few seconds and you could miss the enrage.

The Abilities

As a ranged DPS participating in this encounter, there are a few abilities that you need to be aware of:-

  • Gaseous Blight
  • Pungent Blight
  • Gas Spore
  • Vile Gas

Gaseous Blight

Gaseous Blight is a room wide aura so nothing you can actively react to. However, for the sake of being aware of what is damaging you at any given time, it deserves a mention. At the start of the fight, the room will be flooded with Gaseous Blight. Initially, this aura will deal between 4,388 to 4,612 shadow damage to all nearby players.

Periodically there after, Festergut will cast Inhale Blight. Following this he will cast Pungent Blight, exhaling and releasing the Gaseous Blight back into the room. (This is explained below.)

While not directly related to the role of an elemental shaman, it’s worth noting that every inhale causes Festergut to deal higher levels of damage and also increases his attack speed.

Pungent Blight

This spell occurs 15 seconds after the Inhaled Blight. Festergut will exhale and release the Gaseous Blight back into the room dealing high amounts of shadow damage. How high? We’re talking 48,750 to 51,250 of shadow damage to the entire raid. Fear not, there is a mechanic in place to deal with this insane damage.

Gas Spore

Two random players (in ten man mode) will be afflicted with a gas spore. It’s very easy to spot, you have a giant brown spiky blob placed over your head (and boss mods announce this clearly also). This spore will explode after 12 seconds dealing a small amount of damage to all nearby players. Upon exploding, players will receive a debuff called Blighted Spores. This debuff inflicts a small amount of damage for 6 seconds. Upon receiving this debuff, the players should return to their original raid position. When the duration of Blight Spores expires, they will become Inoculated. This increases the shadow resistance of the player by 25%. It can stack upto three times and this is precisely how you deal with the large amounts of damage dealt by Gaseous Blight.

The Gas Spore has a rather small range when it explodes, thus, to ensure everyone in the raid receives the debuff and ultimately becomes inoculated, your ranged and healers will stack together under one spore and your melee and tanks under the second.

There are two different methods for dealing with the movement required by the Gas Spore mechanic. I’ll detail these in the next section.

Vile Gas

The reason for maintaining an 8 yards distance between all healers and casters is to handle the Vile Gas mechanic. This spell is an instant cast with an 8 yard radius. It inflicts 3,900 to 4,100 shadow damage every 2 seconds for a total of 6 seconds duration. Whilst the damage itself is annoying, the biggest problem with Vile Gas is the disorientation effect it places on any players in range. This leaves them unable to do anything for the full six seconds duration. Should multiple players be hit by this, it can potentially leave you struggling for DPS or lacking heals. As such, it’s vital that when you move to receive the debuff from a Gas Spore explosion, you return to your designated position immediately. Be aware of those around you and be prepared to move slightly to prevent yourself being hit by this if someone else is out of position.

Handling the Gas Spore

With the positioning I detailed at the start you have two main “camps” during this encounter. Your melee are tightly stacked under Festergut and your ranged DPS and healers are spread loosely closer to the door.

In the ten man mode of this encounter, two people will be targeted with a Gas Spore. This equates to one spore being used to protect your tanks and melee and the second being used to inoculate your healers and ranged DPS. Due to the relatively small radius of the spore when it explodes, these two camps need to stack to ensure everyone receives the debuff.

Obviously, as your ranged DPS and healers need to spread out to avoid the Vile Gas, they also have to move together for the Gas Spore. You need to know in advance how this movement is going to occur otherwise you’ll have healers and casters running around randomly and run the risk of someone not gaining the inoculation debuff. As this is essentially a DPS fight, you can’t afford to lose people to the AoE. There are two different strategies you can employ to deal with this movement.

Firstly, you can mark a player in the ranged camp and have all your healers and ranged DPS move to this mark when the Gas Spore appears. Everyone quite simply collapses together onto the marked person. If you decide to opt for this strategy, then it obviously makes the most sense for the marked person to stand in the centre of your ranged group.

Alternatively, you can agree that everyone should move to the player with the gas spore while the targeted player remains stationary.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both of the above strategies. If you’re struggling to reach the enrage timer or cutting it very fine, I would personally suggest opting for the first method. This allows you to mark your highest DPS player and ensures this player should never have to move, allowing them to maximise their DPS.

The spore is placed on two random players and, as such, this can result in two players in the same camp being marked. That is to say, two members of your melee camp both receiving the Gas Spore or two members of your ranged camp. Due to the possibility of this event occurring, I would recommend good ventrillo communication as it’s essential that one player moves and delivers the debuff to your other camp.

Shaman Specifics

No specific totem configuration is required for this encounter so use your usual raid totems. If you’re free to use offensive totems, then this is an ideal encounter to be popping your fire elemental totem as aside from the relatively small amounts of movement, it’s a pure DPS check. We pop heroism very early in this fight but as always, check with your raid leader for his or her preference.

Summary

Once your raid have successfully learnt to handle the movement required by the Gas Spore mechanic, this fight will be a walk over for you.

Alternative Positioning and Strategy

There is a second type of raid positioning that can be used and indeed, my own guild utilised this method itself. Personally, I would recommend the above method for the simple reason that when you progress onto the heroic mode of this encounter, your raid will already be accustomed to the positioning required. Never the less, I will detail this tactic also.

This tactic sees most of your raid standing in melee range of Festergut. Three players will be in the ranged camp. If you have a hunter in your raid setup the naturally, this should be one of those players. These three players will draw all of the Vile Gas debuffs.

Your can roughly see the alternative positioning in the screenshot above. You’ll notice our druid healer stood at a distance to the right of the shot whilst nearly all the DPS (myself included playing as elemental) are in melee range of Festergut.

The same principles regarding the Gas Spore still apply, both the people at range and the people in melee need to be inoculated. There is a higher chance that both Gas Spores will spawn on players in the melee group so it’s vital your members are ready to move out and give the debuff to the two players at a distance. The people in melee range really do need to stack tightly. It’s tempting, particularly for casters, to hang back slightly. The range on the explosion of the spore if rather small so you will risk missing the inoculation if you do this. We have had incidents in the past where our tanks also miss the debuff because the DPS do not stack close enough to Festergut (underneath ideally.)

The advantage of this positioning is that it can limit the moving your ranged DPS need to do to ensure their inoculation so it’s worth considering if you’re really struggling with the enrage timer. With the Icecrown Citadel buff as it is currently however (25% on live at time of writing), this really should not be necessary. In addition, using the original positioning I detail at the start of the article ensures a smooth transition to the heroic version of this encounter (which does introduce an additional ability requiring your raid to spread.)

Categories: Normal Mode

Elemental Boss Guides – Icecrown Citadel – Lord Marrowgar Heroic

April 22, 2010 2 comments

This guide (and all following heroic or hard mode encounter guides) will assume that you are familiar with the fight on the normal level of difficulty. You can read my tactics for this encounter here.

Lord Marrowgar gains a significant increase in health on heroic mode:-

  • 10 Man Normal – 6,972,500 health
  • 10 Man Heroic – 10,500,000

Aside from the obvious differences in health pools, Lord Marrowgar’s abilities also deal more damage:-

  • 10 Man Normal – Coldflame – Deals 6,000 Frost Damage per Second for Three Seconds
  • 10 Man Heroic – Coldflame – Deals 8,000 Frost Damage per Second for Eight Seconds

His bonestorm ability now causes additional damage over time in the form of a bleed effect.

Phase One

We use identical positioning to the normal mode encounter.

It is vital that everyone stacks under Marrowgar. This allows for very fast removal of players from the bone spikes without your melee needing to run around the room. When correctly positioned like this, the coldflame will cause no problems in this phase of the fight. One thing to note, particularly when you begin to regroup after a bonestorm phase. As you’re in melee range it’s vital that you do not stand infront of Lord Marrowgar, his saber lash ability hurts. If marking the tanks ensures that your DPS always find the back of Lord Marrowgar then do so to avoid unnecessary DPS or healer deaths.

We use heroism as soon as every is in position and burn as much as we can in this first phase. The priority for all DPS should remain the bone spikes.

Phase Two

Due to the significantly increased damage of Bone Storm in heroic mode, it’s vital that your raid move away from Marrowgar just before phase two begins. All the boss mods provide timers for the incoming Bone Storm phase. He also emotes just before the transition with:-

  • Lord Marrowgar creates a whirling storm of bone!

Aside from the increase in damage dealt by Bone Storm and Cold Flame in this phase, there is one primarily difference between heroic and normal modes of the encounter. Throughout phase two on heroic mode, player will still be impaled by the Bone Spikes. As healing will be pushed due to the increase in damage from other sources, it’s vital that the DPS burn these spikes down fast.

Positioning in Phase Two

We make one slight difference to the positioning in the second phase of this encounter from the normal mode. Due to the increased damage taken by the entire raid, healing becomes very pressed. We have a lot of problems in our early tries with people running out of range of healers and thus dying.

In the centre of Lord Marrowgar’s room is a circle pattern on the ground. We stay within this during phase two. This ensures two things. Firstly, the bone spikes don’t occur on people so far away that the DPS have no chance of hitting them before the impaled person dies. Secondly, no one should be out of range of your healers. (For reference, we use three healers on this encounter.)

You will still get coldflame in phase two. Your melee DPS can’t always be expected to reach the bone spike due to flames and because of this, it is essential that your ranged DPS are fast and bringing down the spikes.

As with the normal mode, phase one and two alternate until Lord Marrowgar is dead.

Totems

As with the normal version of this encounter, no specific totems are required. For elemental shamans that are free to use fire DPS totems, the advantage of this positioning is that you don’t have to worry about range to the boss.

Summary

There is a lot of incoming raid damage on the heroic version of this encounter and it’s vital that you’re aware of this, even as a DPS. If you’re used to being able to continue DPS despite the bone storm on the normal version, be ready to move on the heroic version as it does a lot more damage. As an elemental shaman, your primary concerns during this encounter are:-

  • Being correctly positioned during phase one
  • Switch DPS to the bone spikes as soon as they appear in both phases
  • Avoid the bone storm during phase two
  • Avoid the cold flames. During phase one, these shouldn’t be much of a problem due to the positioning. In phase two, you’ll find them a much larger problem, particularly as you also need to be in range of the spikes to DPS them

At the time of writing, Decimation have just two more heroic modes left in Icecrown Citadel; Sindragosa and the Lich King. Never the less, this is still the hard mode that causes us the most stress (and annoyance) on a weekly basis. Be aware that while the mechanics barely change, the increase in raid wide damage is considerable and as a DPS, you should be doing as much as possible to avoid excess damage to ease the healer stress.

Categories: Heroic Mode

Elemental Boss Strats: Healing Valithria

April 13, 2010 3 comments

Valithria is an interesting encounter in Icecrown Citadel and undoubtedly, one that will quickly become a favourite of your healing team. As a shaman, you may find yourself asked to heal during this fight. For us, as an example, we run with three main spec healers (one of whom respecs for some two healer fights). The DPS requirements of Valithria are not high so we prefer to utilise four healers. The fourth? You guessed it; the elemental shaman.

The idea of the encounter is very simple. You have to heal Valithria back to full health while dealing with several waves of adds that spawn. These adds will either try to kill your raid or to harm Valithria herself. As the fight progresses, the waves come faster but the mechanics of the encounter do not change.

In this guide, I’ll talk you through the basics of both healing or DPSing this encounter for the main spec elemental shamans out there.

The above screenshot shows Valithria’s room. As with most of our tactics, we use the floor markings as an indication of where our raid should be positioned.

You will find four Risen Archmages channelling on Valithria. To begin the encounter, these must be engaged and killed.

Positioning.

The above diagram shows our general positioning for Valithria. Our healers all stand in the inner circle. Two of these healers will be going through the portals and into the dream state (more on this later). To make reaching these portals easier, we have one healer take the right side and one take the left (and stick to these sides once in the dream state.)

We use one tank for this encounter and as such, agro can be trying. Our paladin tank stays in the central area as shown as for the most part, we let the mobs come to him. This is somewhat dependent upon the adds and I’ll detail these in the next section.

Part 1: Valithria as a DPS

The Adds

Essentially, there are six different types of adds that will spawn and rush either your raid or Valithria. They have different abilities of their own and as such, have a different kill order priority.

Blazing Skeleton

These have two abilities:-

  • Fireball
  • Lay Waste

Fireball

  • Standard single target nuke

Lay Waste

  • 12 second channel
  • Can not be interrupted
  • Damages all enemies including Valithria

(Image courtesy of wow.com)

The lay waste ability is nasty as not only will it hit all members of your raid, but it will hit Valithria too. Due to this ability, the blazing skeletons are the DPS priority.

Suppressor

Suppressors spawn in waves of 3 or 4 and have no agro table. Rather than run to your raid, they will run to Valithria. They have one ability:-

Suppression

  • Channelled
  • Reduces healing received by the target by 10%

We have one or two melee take these adds as their kill priority. They have low hit points and can easily be dealt with by a couple of melee.

Risen Archmage

These adds have the most abilities of all:-

  • Column of Frost
  • Frost Bolt Volley
  • Mana Void

Column of Frost

  • Instant cast but with two seconds delay before the spell hits

A frosty coloured circle will be marked on the ground. Two seconds later, a frost spike will erupt and throw any raid members stood on it, into the air. It’s completely avoidable, however.

Frost Bolt Volley

  • Two second cast
  • Can be interrupted
  • Raid wide not single target

Should this be allowed to cast, it will hit all members of your raid for frost damage along with slowing them. It can and should be interrupted however.

Mana Void

  • Instant Cast
  • 6 yard radius

This places a purple void zone on the ground, draining the mana of anyone standing in it.

(Image courtesy of wow.com)

The screenshot above captures both a column of frost and a mana void.

Blistering Zombie

These have a stacking debuff that reduces your tank’s armour. As such, having your ranged DPS dispatch these as fast as possible is a good solution. They have two abilities:-

  • Corrosion
  • Acid Burst

Corrosion

  • 6 seconds duration
  • Can stack upto 5 times

Whenever the zombie lands a melee swing, the target will take around 2k nature damage every three seconds and suffer an armour debuff of 10%. This can stack to 5 and is particularly nasty on your tanks as the waves come faster later in the fight.

Acid Burst

Much as it sounds, these zombies explode on death dealing nature damage to all around them and applying a nature based DoT.

Gluttonous Abominations

While these have a fair amount of hit points, they have the weakest abilities.

  • Gut Spray
  • Rot Worms

Gut Spray

  • Instant cast
  • 8 yard radius

This deals 2000 nature damage per second and increases physical damage taken by 25% for 12 seconds.

Rot Worms

As the abomination dies, it spawns approximately 7 rot worms. These can be AoE’d down.

Handling the Adds

Our melee and ranged DPS have mostly different priorities during this encounter. As a ranged DPS, my priorities are normally as follows:-

  • Blazing Skeleton – pure DPS on this
  • Blistering Zombies – DPS and frost shock
  • Risen Archmage – help interrupt the frost bolt volley and DPS
  • Gluttonous Abominations – pure DPS
  • Rot Worms – AoE
  • Suppressors – Only if there is nothing else up, throw some chain lightnings at them

You may find yourself needing to switch targets depending on what the new waves of adds consists of and this is something to be aware of. If you use the positioning I detailed initially, you can use a magma totem to good effect (if you’re able to use fire DPS totems of course.)

There is no doubt that the blazing skeletons should die first and these will undoubtedly be your primary DPS target when alive. Whether your second priority is the arch mage or the zombies may depend on your raid setup. The best tactic for the zombies is to kite them and have all your ranged DPS burn them down. However, it’s imperative that the arch mage has his frost bolt volley interrupted also. For us, we have one melee (our enhancement shaman), switch to the arch mage instantly and interrupt the volley. This leaves me comfortably burning the zombies with the other ranged DPS. Should you be low on interrupts (or have slack melee that fail at them), it may be better for you to focus on the interrupts as soon as the arch mage spawns.

Regarding the suppressors – these need to die promptly due to their channelled spell. We run quite melee heavy and they are dispatched very quickly by our melees. With different setups, you might need to be switching to these earlier and certainly before the abominations (as these are generally quite easy to deal with). In this sense, you will need to be quite flexible in what you’re DPSing and setting priorities based upon your own raid setup.

The waves of adds will continue in this way until Valithria is healed to 100%. Remember, the speed at which they come does increase over time.

Part 2: Valithria as a Healer

There are two potential roles you maybe asked to fill on this fight. The first is to focus on Valithria and enter the dream state when the nightmare portals spawn. The second is to stay outside, healing both the raid and Valithria. The most likely role if you are not a main spec healer, is to enter the dream state.

Nightmare Portals

These are summoned by Valithria and on ten man mode, two healers will be entering the dream state.

Periodically, you will see green portals (red on heroic) spawn around her. Clicking on these will port you to the “dream state”. This is a version of Valithria’s room occupied only by dream clouds. These are bright green clouds floating around her room.

Some guilds have their healers stack together in the dream state and multiple players can be affected by the buff from the same dream cloud. We don’t do this. We have one healer take the right hand side and one take the left hand side. This ensures that they have more than enough dream clouds to stack the buff high.

Dream clouds are activated by proximity. As you can “fly” in the dream state, depth perception can be difficult to judge (that is to say, while it may appear to you that you’re on top of a cloud, you can be feet under or above it.) Flying into the cloud gives you a buff called Emerald Vigor

Emerald Vigor

  • Drastically increases mana regeneration
  • Increases healing and damage done by 10%
  • 35 second duration
  • Can be stacked to 100

This buff mechanic is what allows you to heal Valithria back to full health.

The Start of the Fight

If you are assigned to heal Valithria, then you can start the fight by casting Earth Shield on her. If you’re using the glyph of lesser healing wave this will allow your Lesser Healing Waves to heal for more. How you initially heal her (prior to the nightmare portals) maybe somewhat dependent upon your gear. I use a combination of Riptide every time it is off cooldown and Healing Wave. Be warned however, while healing wave heals for considerably more it will burn through your mana and if you have poor restoration gear, you may wish to consider sticking to Lesser Healing Wave until you have the buff from the dream state.

The Dream State

When the portals spawn, jump in as soon as you can. Your aim in here is very simple. Fly into as many clouds as possible (they will vanish if you have “hit” them correctly). Each time you do so, you’ll gain one stack of emerald vigor. You want to stack this as high as possible before you automatically get ported back into her room. The clouds have a very fast respawn so you won’t run the risk of running out of them. Be aware that because you’re flying and as you have to be close to the clouds to activate them, perception can be difficult in here.

You will gain access to the dream state for 15 seconds a time before you are ported back to Valithria’s room.

Upon being ported back, commence healing her. If you were initially using lesser healing wave, you should now switch to healing wave as the mana regeneration gained from emerald vigor should stop you from running out of mana.

The idea of the buff mechanic is to never let your stacks drop off. While this won’t necessarily mean a wipe on normal mode, it’s good practice for hard mode when losing your stacks will definitely result in a raid wipe (the waves of adds will become too overwhelming.)

Conclusion

Healing

Valithria is a fun and relatively straight forward encounter. She can, however, be a little intimidating for the elemental shamans out there who are asked to heal. Never the less, once you have gotten used to activating the clouds in the dream state and keeping up your buff, you’ll find this encounter easy. Be aware that Valithria can’t be healed by spells that have a group or raid wide mechanic. For shaman’s this includes chain heal so stick to your single target heals. Start with lesser healing wave if necessary and switch to healing wave once you have the buff.

Totems

I have heard of people using resistance totems on Valithria, so be prepared to do so if asked. We don’t find this necessary on either normal or heroic mode however. You can use your normal totem setup.

Heroism

This is best used when both healers have a good stack of the buffs (so towards the end of the fight). Obviously, to make the most of it, you want to be popping it just as you exit the dream state.

DPSing

If you’re DPSing it, keep your wind sheer and frost shock close at hand for interrupting the archmage and for slowing the zombies. Chain lightning can be very useful on the suppressors, though these are generally dealt with by your melee.

Totems

If you use a positioning similar to us, magma totem can be used to full effect (though wading in and out to place the totem down can become extremely annoying.) I use either totem of wrath or searing totem and, when placed centrally with the tank, fire nova can be used for the rot worms. As I mentioned above, I have heard of guilds using resistance totems on this fight though we don’t.

Heroism

Heroism should be timed to be of best use to both the healers and the DPS outside. As the fight progresses, you get increasing amounts of adds and popping heroism can be a way to catch up. You must ensure that the healers also benefit from this; they should have just exited the portal when it is used. Make sure there is good communication between yourself and the healers in regards to timing your heroism.

Valithria shouldn’t take you long to learn, particularly in comparison with Sindragosa or the Lich King. She also drops a nice caster cloak for anyone lacking hit 😉

Categories: Normal Mode

Elemental Boss Guides – The Lich King

April 5, 2010 6 comments

The Lich King encounter is a multi-phase fight and initially, there can feel like there is both a lot happening around you and a lot to remember. Due to this, and the fact I try to keep my explanations quite comprehensive, this guide will be a long one. Grab your tea / coffee (and biccies naturally). If you have any questions regarding our specific strategy, post them in the comments and I’ll be happy to answer them.

The Room and Initial Positioning

The room is entirely safe to portal to without the risk of engaging the Lich King. To start this encounter, you have to speak to the NPC, Highlord Tyrion. This gives you the opportunity to have a good look at the room in which you’ll be working and to establish your positions before you begin. It also allows you to clearly see which section of the room will fall away in the later phases. This is quite crucial since any members of your raid stood on these areas will die if they don’t move fast enough (or don’t realise when or where to move to).

The above screenshot shows the area in which you portal in. To the outer edge of the room, you’ll see a segment of the floor separated by a large icy crack (and marked on my screenshot with an arrow). This is the area that will fall away during certain phases of the encounter. It’s also the area where you initially tank and set up your raid.

Phase One

Positioning

The above diagram shows our initial positioning of the raid for phase 1. We use a hunter misdirect on the pull allowing us to start DPS very early (while the tank is still positioning him infact). If you don’t have this luxury, be very aware of your DPS until the boss is correctly positioned. Pulling agro on the Lich King will drag him into your range DPS and healer camp and he has a frontal cone attack. Basically, you’re rather likely to wipe your raid. That said, this encounter has a 15 minute enrage so the faster you can get through phase 1 (which is very simple), the more time you can allow for the following, more complex phases.

Abilities

There is one primary ability that you need to be aware of in phase one.

Necrotic Plague

This infects a random member of your raid with a deadly plague. If this isn’t dispelled within 5 seconds, that raid member will die. Upon dispelling this disease, it will “jump” to the nearest target. The mechanic of this is to force the plague to jump to one of the many ghoul adds that will be up during phase one of the encounter. You don’t have long to react to and cleanse this disease which is precisely why we position our ranged DPS and healers so close to where the adds are tanked. As an elemental shaman, it may seem obvious, given this is a disease, to use a cleansing totem. Be aware however, that if your totem was to tick and cleanse the plague while your raid member is closest to another player rather than the adds, the plague will jump to them. As such, don’t give into temptation and leave the cleansing to the others.

In simple terms, if you become infected by the Necrotic Plague then you move from your raid camp and position yourself just behind where the adds are being tanked (as shown above). For reference, they will be tanked facing away from you. At this spot, you must be cleansed and your plague will jump to one of the many ghouls. Move straight back to the raid camp and continue DPS. Both BigWigs and Deadly Boss Mods announce the Necrotic Plague very clearly. Remember to run instantly, there is no time to finish your current cast, this plague is nasty!

Once everyone in the raid has adjusted to moving promptly with the plague, phase one should be very straight forward. Prior to the phase 1.5 transition, the Lich King will run to the centre of the room.

Phase 1.5

At 70% health, the Lich King will flee to the centre of the room and begin casting Remorseless Winter. This is a huge AoE spell that will inflict a lot of damage to anyone with in 45 yards range. Fear not, if you’re tanking on the outer edge of the room as per my suggestion, you’ll be out of range for this already.

There are two main mechanics to deal with in this, relatively brief phase (one minute duration).

Ice Spheres

These are large orbs of ice summoned at the Lich King (so in the centre of the room). They will target a random raid member and slowly travel towards them. Should they reach their target, they will inflict 10k frost damage and knock the player back and over the edge of the room. This player would be out of range for any combat res.

On ten man, these are easily dealt with by one ranged DPS. We use a hunter.

Raging Spirits

Every 20 seconds for phase 1.5 (meaning three times in total), a raging spirit will be summoned. This is a spirit duplicate of a member of your raid (so it spawns from them). DBM and Bigwigs will both announce who these spirits are going to spawn from. These are the DPS targets for this phase unless you’re assigned to the ice spheres. These spirits have a nasty frontal cone AoE called soul shriek. This will silence. As such, the spirits should be tanked in a specific spot to prevent your whole raid being silenced.

To ensure the shriek is controlled, we position our tanks (and melee dps) and the ranged and healers away from each other. As such, anyone marked for a spirit should run to the tank, wait for the spirit to spawn and then move back to their position before DPSing the target.

As mentioned before, this phase lasts for one minute and you will get three raging spirits during this time. Phase two is easier if you aren’t carrying spirits with you, so try to DPS them down as fast as possible. (Don’t pull agro, remember the frontal cone AoE? It will wipe you!)

Once the minute is up, the Lich King will kneel and begin to light the egde of the room, this will include the platform area you have been positioned on so far. It’s very clearly marked during the encounter (it glows), but you need to move into the centre of the room as the whole area will fall away.

Phase Two

At the start of phase two, the outer edge of the Lich King’s room is going to fall away and you all need to move to him in the centre of the room. If anyone is stood on the edge as it falls, they will die and they won’t be in range for any battle res. You have been warned!

There are two main mechanics during this phase that you need to be aware of as ranged DPS.

Defile

Defile is cast on a random player in the raid. It will place a large black puddle effect under that player which inflicts are 3k damage per tick. The damage is not the problematic part of this spell however. Every time someone takes damage from the defile, it will increase in size. Potentially, should a few players be hit by the defile, it will grow to such a size that the entire platform will be covered and your raid will wipe. We spread out before the defile is due to be cast. I’ll speak more about this shortly.

Summon Val’kyr Shadowguard

The Lich King will summon a flying Val’kyr. This will target one random raid member, pick them up and fly towards the edge of the room. Should it succeed in reaching this destination before being killed, the raid member will be dropped over the edge of the room. Again, they will be out of range to be battle res’d. Before the val’kyr is summoned, we stack together in the very centre of the room. I’ll discuss this more shortly.

Handling Phase Two

The beginning of phase two will be signalled by the Lich King kneeling in the centre of the room. Your raid need to move to him as the outer edge of the platform (where you were positioned for phase 1 and 1.5) is going to fall away. Any member stood on there while it does will die and there is no option to combat res them back into the fight. Fast response on movement is imperative for the whole of this phase, beginning with this transition.

If any ice spheres are still up, your ranged DPS need to throw instant spells at them and get them down as the raid are moving in. They have little health so it shouldn’t be a problem but do remember that ignoring them isn’t an option as they not only damage, but knock back their targets.

Initially, the Lich King should be tanked in the very centre of the room as the first event you will encounter is the summoned val’kyr. On normal ten man mode, these have 450,000 health. They will pick up one member of your raid and head to the outer edge of the room, attempting to drop them over the side. Positioning all of your raid in the very centre of the room gives you as much time as possible to kill these and thus release your trapped raid member. They can be both snared and stunned but not rooted. We have a stun rotation for when these first spawn and then they’re snared with all DPS switching their attention to them. Who should be slowing the val’kyrs obviously depends upon your raid setup but be prepared to have frost shock ready. If you purely depend on one person to slow, the first time these are targeted by the val’kyr you may find said raid member dumped over the edge of the room very fast. In summary, if you don’t have frost shock key bound, ensure you do before you tackle this encounter.

The second mechanic to deal with in phase two is the defile. Defile is cast on a random raid member and leaves a black puddle effect under that person. For every tick of damage any raid member takes from defile, the puddle will grow and can, potentially, engulf the entire room and result in a wipe. To minimise this occurring, we have our raid spread before the defile is due to be cast. This should ensure that no other raid members are in range to take damage and spread the defile. As soon as the defile is cast, you should be stacking again in preparation for the incoming val’kyr.

Taking the above mechanics into account, phase two is a lot about the positioning of your raid. When the val’kyrs are due, you need to stack together as close to the centre of the room as you can. If a val’kyr targets someone stood right by the edge, you won’t have time to kill it before that person is thrown over. When defile is due to be cast, you need to spread out. Thus minimising the number of people that could potentially take damage from the spell. While this sounds simple enough, in practice these two mechanics can occur very close together and you may have defile and a val’kyr occurring within a second of each other. The placement of the raid for the val’kyr also has to be dynamic. While you should try to keep the very centre of the room free to stack your raid for the val’kyr’s this doesn’t always occur and a badly placed defile can make this area void. In such an event, keep in mind which area will give you the longest DPS time for the add. Moving your raid closer to the thrown (but still central on the y axis of the room) will still ensure the val’kyr has the longest flight time possible.

The chances are high that you will have entered phase 2 with one raging spirit alive. This is the main DPS target until it is dead. They will still be casting the shriek and as such, will be tanked away from your raid. Due to this, you need the spirit dead so everyone can be stacked in the centre before the val’kyr’s spawn. Do not forget to kill that spirit before you switch your DPS to the Lich King.

This phase continues until the Lich King reached 40% health. At this point, like phase 1.5, he will begin to cast remorseless winter and that’s your cue to leave the area. For reference, as we get close to 40%, we slow DPS to allow for the final defile. The Lich King is then dragged to the edge of the room (where the platform will soon respawn) and the raid stack there and DPS him down fast. This is to allow everyone to move back onto the platform and out of range of the remorseless winter as fast as possible.

Phase 2.5

As the Lich King begins to cast remorseless winter, your raid need to move back onto the outer platform exactly like phase 1 and 1.5. Here, you will be safely out of range of the AoE damage.

Once again, this phase will last a fixed one minute duration. Unlike phase 1.5, this time you will have four raging spirits spawn; one every 15 seconds. The more spirits you get down the better as carrying them over to the next phase is not ideal. As such, we pop heroism at this stage to help get as many of the spirits down before the transition as possible.

The positioning should be exactly like phase 1.5

Phase 3

After the minute duration of phase 2.5, the remorseless winter will end and again, the outer platform is going to fall away. Just as before, you need to move in as soon as possible and anyone lingering on the edge will die when the ground falls away. You can assume you will go into this phase with 1 or 2 raging spirits still alive and these should be DPS’d down as fast as possible.

This phase still features defile but you will no longer get val’kyr’s. Instead, we have two new mechanisms for this phase.

Vile Spirits

These are summoned spirit adds that spawn in the air. On ten man, you get ten of these spirits. They hover in the air for 30 seconds before charging down to the ground and towards your players. When they reach the players, they will inflict 14 to 15k shadow damage to all players within 5 yards. In conclusion, you have 30 seconds in which to try and get as many down or low in health as you can before they head towards your raid. As they’re in the air, this obviously lies with your ranged DPS. As an elemental shaman, your chain lightning is very useful on this phase.

Harvest Soul

This spell targets a random member of your raid and teleports them inside frostmourne. Here you will find two NPCs, King Terenas (friendly) and a Spirit Warden (attackable). Healers can heal Terenas while he kills the spirit warden. DPS should DPS the warden down. The spirit warden will cast an interuptable, channelled magic debuff spell called soul rip. This does increasing amounts of damage.

As an elemental shaman in there, you want to be interrupting the soul rip channel with wind shear. Personally, I do not raid with a demonology warlock so I’m always using totem of wrath during our raids. If I get ported inside frostmourne, I pop a fire elemental totem and the spirit warden is down in very little time. As an alternative, if you’re using your fire elemental totem outside, you can pop the earth elemental totem and he will taunt the spirit warden off of Terenas. You shouldn’t need either of these cooldowns to be able to kill the warden, but it’s nice to get outside and back into the fight as soon as possible (particularly if, like us, you run very melee heavy and are needed for the spirits)

Be warned that dying inside frostmourne will give the Lich King a fifteen second, damage increasing buff (200% damage increased). Basically, you don’t want to die in there 😉

Handling Phase 3

The defiles should be handled exactly the same as phase two so I’m not going to repeat that. The ideal situation is that all the vile spirits are dead before they begin to move to your raid. This depends a lot on your specific setup (the number of ranged DPS). We run quite melee heavy and as such, we usually have one or two spirits still alive as they begin to move towards your raid so we need a strategy for dealing with these.

Firstly, when the spirits spawn, our tank moves the Lich King to the opposite side of the room to the floating spirits. This ensures our main tank won’t be taking unnecessary damage from these exploding spirits (in addition, nor will the melee DPS). Our ranged DPS then kill as many as they can before the spirits begin to move. They can be snared, so you can kite them through traps or earth bind totems should you need to. As the spirits start to head to the raid, move away from them (dragging them through the traps or totems if you choose too). DPS can still hit them and the damage of any stray spirits that do reach your DPS should be easily healed.

The next round of spirits will spawn soon after and the main tank and melee DPS should move again to the opposite side of the room.

At 10% health, the Lich King begins casting Fury of Frostmourne. This will kill all members of the raid. It is a scripted event (that is to say, this is intended to happen). Do not release at this point.

Phase 4

Terenas will cast a raid wide resurrection and all members should accept this. Nuke the Lich King down and collect your loot! (For reference and I know some of you are wondering it… if you don’t accept the res, the Lich King does still die, albeit very slowly (approximately one hour :p))

Conclusion and Shaman Specifics

If you’re raiding with a demonology warlock or another elemental shaman dropping totem of wrath, this fight is perfect for glyphing your fire elemental. You can pop him in phase 1 and then again in phase 2 for maximum personal DPS.

If you’re using totem of wrath, then your fiery buddy will come in very useful should you be ported into frostmourne during phase 3. Using it here will allow you to solo the spirit warden down very quickly and get out to join the fight again.

Despite the fact that phase 1 features a disease debuff, the cleansing of this has to take place at a quite specific point. Using a cleansing totem could result in the debuff being passed to your raid members, so don’t do it.

We save heroism for phase 2.5 when we have the most raging spirits spawn. Obviously, ask your raid leader for his or her preference on when to use heroism, but this is ours.

The val’kyr guards in phase 2 must be slowed. Who does this obviously depends upon your own raid setup. We generally rely on our death knight using chains of ice but should he be the one to be targeted, myself and our enhancement shaman are always back ups with frost shock.

Chain lightning is amazing for handling the vile spirits in phase 3, keep it handy!

Good luck with this challenging encounter!

Categories: Normal Mode