Well, we did it. The king is dead, long live the king. I want to talk a little bit about our kill, but also how we did the fight.
NB: We’ve only done 10man, so when reading this, please keep in mind this is from the ICC-10 difficulty.
Now, the Lich King as a fight isn’t that hard, especially in this, the age of the 10% pity buff. At it’s very core, the fight is all about movement and not standing where you shouldn’t be when you shouldn’t be there. Once everyone gets the hand of dropping Defiles and not giving the Valkyrs a head start on killing them, you’re pretty much golden. Phase 3, compared to Phase 2, is a joke. Once you find yourself blowing through Phase 2 with minimal difficulty you’re not going to be far away from a kill.
This phase is pretty straightforward. The maintank stands at the bottom of the stairs when Arthas runs down to give his little speech, positioning himself so the Lich King will be facing up the stairs. The OT (I did this) stands off to the side, next to the stairs. Throughout the phase, Drudge Ghouls will spawn around Arthas, three at a time. If you’re OTing you want to pick these up and bring them to you. The first batch is easy, have Seal of Command up, use HotR to grab their attention, drag them out. Later Ghouls, though, you’ll be standing too far away to easily pick up. A well timed Avenger’s Shield as they’re spawning can usually grab 2-3 (depending on if a bounce hits Arthas), but the most sure-fire way to handle the spawns is to have a Rogue tricks you and send them over.
On a set timer a Shambling Horror will spawn. These guys are nasty, they hit hard and do a pretty painful shockwave, so they need to be faced away from the raid. Like I said, I would stand next to the stairs, and then face the Horrors southward. These guys will also periodically enrage, so either have a Hunter tranq them, or use a Holy Wrath for the stun to slow the damage intake a bit.
During this phase the Lich King will put a disease on a random raid member. That person needs to then immediately run over and stand just about on top of a Drudge Ghoul, and then get cleansed, passing the disease off. We had a priest dedicated to this. She would go disc and basically spend the first phase bubbling people (Disc is OP for Infest) and watching for diseases.
Now, the way the disease works is it is first applied to a raid member with a set number of stacks. When it is cleansed off a player it immediately jumps to the closest person–another raid member maybe, or a Ghoul or Horror–and loses one stack. When the disease kills someone or something, it gains a stack. So, as OT, you need to keep an ever-increasing number of Ghouls in your pile, and your raid need to keep the disease bouncing among the Ghouls so it kills them, gains a stack (and potency), and then eventually infects a Horror and then kills them. No one should be dpsing the Horrors, just let the diseases eventually kill them.
Timing-wise, if your dps is good, you should be hitting the transition before the third Horror spawns. Getting the LK to 70% starts the next “phase”.
At this point Arthas will dash to the middle and everyone should take this as their chance to run for edge of the platform. We usually use the south edge of the map.
DPS will continue to ignore the Horrors as the disease finishes bouncing around and finally kills them off. A new mob will spawn in this phase, a Raging Spirit that will pop up next to the raider they copying, and if not picked up quickly probably two shot someone. Grab them quickly. Likewise, face them away from the raid, cause they do a “Soul Shriek” that will silence anyone caught in the path of the effect in addition to a lot of damage.
There will be frost orbs spawning from Arthas, pointing a beam at a random target, and then moving towards that person. Have a dedicated range to kill them before they reach their target. If they hit that person they will blow them clear off the Frozen Throne. There ain’t no battle rezzes where they’re going.
After three Raging Spirits, the transition will come to a close. Make sure nobody falls off the map when the outside edge of the platform collapses.
At this point, Nordic (the maintank in phase 1) and I switched jobs. He pulled any Raging Spirits off me and I ran to pick up Arthas. And yes, there will be a Spirit up at this point probably, so dps needs to get it down as soon as possible.
Now for the hard stuff.
Two biggest headaches this phase are Defiles and Val’kyrs. Defiles are like voidzones on crack. Standing in them makes them bigger, and an ill-placed Defile can easily break an otherwise flawless attempt. Val’kyrs, likewise, will spawn on a set timer, and swoop down to grab a raider. They will then move towards the outside edge of the platform and drop that unlucky soul off, unless killed first.
The key to this phase is making sure everyone is watch the counters. If a Defile is coming, ranged wants to spread out along the ring of the inner circle. Melee and the tank should move towards the circle as well. That way, when you know who is targeted, that person can run as far as they can to the outside edge of the platform and hopefully drop the Defile as far away as they can. Defile will not appear until the end of Arthas’ cast, so you generally have a second or two to get somewhere safe and deposit the Defile in a place where it won’t wreak havoc.
(If it isn’t evident by this point, this whole fight is very ranged friendly.)
For the Valks, you really, really want to be at close to the middle as you can when they are going to spawn. The more time they have to spend getting to the edge, the better for whoever is trapped in their grips. Work out a stuns rotation, so when the Valk spawns everyone doesn’t blow their stuns all at once (not to mention these guys have steep diminishing returns for stuns). The system we worked out last night was the warrior OT would stun the Valk first, then the Rogue would stun her. I’d follow up with Holy Wrath if needed, and if worse came to worse, I had Hammer of Justice as a backup. Chains of Ice is also terribly effective for these guys, a constant snare.
Where it gets interesting is sometimes you’ll have Defiles and Valks hitting at the same time (this will probably happen twice in Phase 2). These can b messy and everyone needs to be smart about where they’re standing at this point. Ideally you’ll have about a second between when someone gets picked up and when you find out who the Defile is targetting. In that split second, everyone needs to be ready to run for it when/if their name is announced while everyone else focuses on getting the Valk down.
The last thing I want to mention is Soul Reaper, which is something that hits like a truck but generally is not an issue on 10man. I honestly never popped a cooldown for it, nor did I even feel in danger from the effect. Then again, I did this fight in my hitcapped set (with about 1k less hp and 2k less armor than my EH set), so I really can’t be a good judge of how this might hit a person more geared just from 10mans. I apologize for not being able to speak to this better.
After back and forth between Valks and Defiles for a while, you’ll eventually get Arthas to around 40%. Watch your timers. Don’t push Arthas over to the next phase (at 40%) until the next Valk is dead. When that last Valk spawns, have everyone (even healers) follow it down to the edge. Even drag Arthas over with you all. As soon as the Valk drops (and hopefully not her cargo as well!), push Arthas over to 40%.
The reason you want to be at the edge is because once he hits 40%, Arthas will run to the middle and immediately start casting Remorseless Winter, which this time around will hurt a lot more. The first time we had this transition last night we lost two people in the hustle to the edge. When he first casts Remorseless Winter the outside edge will rebuild itself and give you a safe outer ring, so immediate beat feet to that outer ring and out of the effect. Divine Sacrifice is a great tool for this transition.
This transition generally is the same as the first one, with the biggest difference being you get four Raging Spirits. And you do not want these up during the next phase. Pop Bloodlust when the third one spawns and get those suckers down ASAP. Next phase starts a little after the fourth spawns.
This is it! You made it through Phase 2, everyone’s alive (hopefully). The hardest part is over, now you just need to hold it together and cruise to victory.
The key to this phase is spreading out. No more Valks, thankfully, but Defiles still happen. These though are pretty trivialized now that your healers and ranged can park themselves on those runes on the inner circle and be pre-spread out to drop Defiles. Just make sure your melee is fast on depositing their puddles and you’ll be golden on that account.
Two new things in this phase: every so often Arthas will attempt to Harvest the Soul of a random person, and Vile Spirits will spawn overhead and attempt to blow up people.
For Harvest Soul, the targeted raider will take a lot of damage and need to be kept alive so that they reach the end of the effect. If they die, the Lich King will gain a buff and probably kill your tank. If the target survives, they will be transported within Frostmourne where they’ll find Terenas Menethil doing battle with a Spirit Warden. The person inside Frostmourne has a critical job that can determine if a wipe will occur or not–but no pressure.
Healers need to heal Terenas and keep him alive, DPS need to attempt to kill the Warden. The Warden may channel a spell on Terenas that, if it reaches the end of the channel, kill him. This will give Arthas a huge buff and probably lead to tank death. To deal with this deadly spell, you have two options: either cleanse the effect off Terenas or interrupt the channel. As Paladins we can Cleanse or Hammer of Justice. Priests can cleanse, Shamans can wind shear, Hunters can (I’m told) distracting shot the Warden, Druids can shift to bear and bash the Warden, DKs can interrupt, Mages can counterspell, Rogues can interrupt easily, Warriors the same. Prepare your raiders beforehand so they are ready to do what they need to do to make sure Terenas makes it.
For those of us outside Frostmourne, we have the ever-important job of staying properly spread out. Those Viles Spirits that spawn overhead will do a lot of damage and we don’t want people getting hit by more than of them. Have a ranged that you trust assigned to marking a Vile Spirit to be burnt down and try to kill as many as you can before they descend. This is another good time for Divine Sacrifice: the Spirits do a huge chunk of damage when they explode, and two explosions will kill some of your squishier DPS.
Basically the entire phase is what I’ve outlined: staying spread out, keeping Terenas alive, killing as many spirits as you can and not eating too many explosions, and (of course) not screwing up the Defiles. Compared to Phase 2, this is a walk in the park.
The End of the Line
Spoiler warning if you want to save for yourself how the fight ends don’t read past this point!
You are warned!
When it comes down to 10%, Arthas will give a little taunt and then cast “Fury of Frostmourne,” instantly wiping your raid. Don’t panic, that wasn’t the enrage. And, for the love of pete, don’t release. Make sure no dopey raiders instinctively reach for that release button.
Congrats, you basically just won the encounter. And now for the fun part!
The Lich King will deliver a blathering soliloquy while Tirion presumably rolls his eyes. After he finishes his dissertation, Arthas is silenced by Tirion, who breaks out of his frosty cage (great timing guy) and then does some crazy acrobatics, flipping over Arthas and somehow destroying Frostmourne with the Ashbringer (our lvl 85 spell, Holy Backflip?). Souls then rush out of the sword, lifting Arthas up into the air.
Then, the sweetest words you will ever see in WoW flash on your screen: “Terenas Menethil would like to resurrect you.” Accept and get back up. Basically 10% to 0 is a free for all, just go nuts on Arthas and enjoy the freebie. Once he hits 0, Arthas falls to the floor and the cinematic begins.
Now, quickly ESC out, ninja the loot, and make a break for it while everyone’s enjoying the movie. (But not really.)