Tag Archives: lich king

The Dethroning

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.

Phase 1

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”.

Transition 1

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.

Phase 2

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%.

Transition 2

Now: RUN.

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.

Phase 3

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.)

The LK fight doesn’t seem that hard

First of all, the die is cast:

My first act was to kick all the Taurens out of the guild and put out all the basic campfires to prevent future challenges to my rule.

Moving on, last night we went back into ICC for our weekly 10man foray against the Lich King (I say weekly, though this is only the second night of attempts). There was some raid lockout shuffling because most of the people in the group went Wednesday night and cleared up to Sindragosa, so I ditched the raid lockout I was baby sitting and we starting the night two-shotting Sindragosa and then moving on to Arthas.

This just speaks to how disillusioned I seem to be with 25man raiding right now, but the group we had last night was so much fun. There was no impatience to speak of, everyone tried their hardest, no stupid mistakes were ever repeated. Spirits remained high the entire time. It got to the point on the last few attempts where we were just joking around during phase one because we had it down so pat.

But I get ahead of myself. Suffice it to say, 10 > 25.

Offtanking phase one

I’ve learned that tanking the Shambling Horrors in the first phase is something I excel at. I hold it off to the side, picking each up with a Hand of Reckoning and use my stuns every so often during enrages if Cendra (hunter) is otherwise pre-occupied. Picking up the little ghouls isn’t an issue either, saving the shield toss for when they spawn can usually pick them up. If not, I wait til they inevitably target the Ret pally and then Righteous Defense them all back to me.

We did an attempt or two at first with some issues killing off all the Horrors before Remorseless Winter began but afterwards we easily started coasting into phase 1.5 with the Horrors getting picked off by a disease megahit. We also got to the point where we were pushing it past 70% after the second Horror spawned.

Remorseless Winter we then had an attempt or two to streamline. Our biggest issue seemed to be when the phase ended and people would run for the middle but run smack dab into the orb chasing them. We had a few hilarious deaths with people getting blown right off the side of the Citadel.

Phase two issues

At this point I would take over maintanking Arthas because Soul Reaper was kind of a non-issue for me. The attack would hit, and provided I was at full health it would take me into the AD-reduced zone, paring down the 50k hit to a very manageable 47k hit. And, if worse came to worse, I had the extra life proc backing me up. Basically I could ignore the mechanic provided I was fully healed. If a healer got picked up by a Valk that’d be another issue, and then I’d pop a cooldown to be safe.

Defile was another one of those issues that popped up early but was quickly squelched. We got down a system of scattering a bit right before Defile’s cooldown was up, then the targeted person would hastily run out of the affected area. The first time we got to phase two, there was a hilarious Defile wipe where in short order the entire platform was covered in the oleaginous effect because we were so horribly stacked.

The last roadblock that we ended the night on was Valks carrying people off. This is easily fixed those with some discipline on stuns. It looked like everyone was blowing stuns immediately off the bat, which is a terribly dumb idea, if only just because it screws with the diminishing returns on stuns and makes future attempts to slow them down nigh impossible.

Our best attempt we got him to 43%. Next week I’m sure we’ll be cruising in the phase three territory… which honestly doesn’t seem that difficult. No Valks, just Defiles and keeping people alive during Harvests. Considering how amazing the healers are I’m not concerned about that in the slightest. I think next Monday or the Monday after I’ll be rejoicing in a LK kill here.

Back in the seat

Muscle memory is a huge convenience. After a week spent in the icy tundra of Orlando (I brought a cold snap down with me, sorry Floridians), I came back from the conference this weekend and was bamboozled into an ICC-10 run last night. Still sitting on a raid lockout I had the foresight to extend before leaving for my work trip, I reactivated it and we hopped in right to Sindragosa.

And despite having not tanked in a week and being incredibly rusty feeling, my fingers apparently were able to jump right back into the flow and managed to do the thinking for me. I couldn’t for the life of me remember what key Holy Shield was mapped to, but when the point came in 969 to use it my middle finger instinctively shot up and pushed 2 down. I felt like Doc Ock with his sentient mechanical tentacles.

I was just, as a lark, reading the wikipedia article on muscle memory and it mentioned that you need to repeat an action 740 times for your brain/muscles to “memorize” it. I have no idea if that’s true, but think about how many times I use Holy Shield over the course of a raid. According to this log it was almost 200 times in one raid.

Sorry, stupid digression–I just found the whole concept fascinating. Some people use muscle memory to make repair cars better, some for surgical procedures, I use it to lower my reaction time while tanking.

Anyhoo, Sunday night. Raid. Sindragosa.

We did a few attempts on the crazy harpy (BETRAAAAAAAAYS YOU) each time doing fantastic and then having some issues with phase 3. After a chunk of attempts people got the hang of getting away when targetted for ice blocking, breaking people in their group out, etc. The second to last attempt we got her to 5% or so, then the last one it was a photo finish, killing her with a few people dead and two people blocked, along with the boss nearly almost enraged. It got to the point where people shouted out “ignore the blocks! Kill the boss!”

So we did and then she dropped. It was messy, but the way attempts were trending we were probably going to kill her cleanly the next time. I’ll take a sooner messy kill over a perfect kill ten minutes later. Time is always a luxury.

Another digression: let’s talk about raid leading philosophy for a second. What did in the 5% attempt was two people got extra-blocked (ie, stood too close to the targeted person) and the attempt fell apart. On the run back I named names and stressed paying attention not just to where you are when targeted but also where others are when they are targeted.

I was then (jokingly, though) accused of bitchery. In your raids, do people get called out when the make mistakes? I know personally I usually let people chastise themselves in private, but lately I’m not so sure that’s effective. I feel a dignified public shaming would better reinforce “oh hey, standing next to this guy is a bad idea” the next time around.

Whenever I screw something up my first response is to apologize in vent and explain how I screwed up. I’m just extending that courtesy to everyone else now, haha.

But, again, I digress. After Sindra was downed we excitedly bounded over to the Upper Spire and then up the teleporter to the Frozen Throne. We all posed for pictures with Arthas (hence my pic above) and then kind of dawdled about how we were going to deal with the fight. It was a Sunday night and already kind of late, and as much as I’d like to take a 15 minute break to watch the video, we didn’t have the time for that.

I alt-tabbed and browsed stratfu’s strategy a bit (I know, for shame, not being prepared!) but I got lost in the mountains of descriptions and all the cascading diagrams. Ironically (maybe) for someone who writes a blog and guides about fights sometimes, but I for the life of me, cannot learn a fight by reading a description. Words just blend together and I get bored of what I’m reading. I’m a much more visual learner, or at least I need to wipe a few times for something to “click”.

Anyway, we decided to wing it. Yes, wing Arthas. We had about 20 minutes, we weren’t going to kill him that night, might as well have some fun.

We had some basic understanding of how Phase 1 worked based on how much we read before giving up and after the second try we were basically getting through it pretty easily, once positioning was worked out.

The Remorseless Winter phase went a little oddly with us dying in new and exciting ways each time we tried it. The first time we weren’t expecting the floor to crumble when it did (I blame Gandy’s saronite bombs) and a few of us tumbled to our deaths. Another time one of the ice clouds burst too close to a few of us and we got blown off the side of the map.

Like I said, we didn’t have a shot in hell of dropping Arthas in our short time window. I’m rolling over the lockout to next weekend and we’ll get a full night on the sucker then. At this point I doubt many people care about the 251 gear or the easy badges, we want our Kingslayer titles.