Ready Check is a twice-a-week column focusing on successful raiding for the serious raider. Hardcore or casual, Vault of Archavon or Ulduar, everyone can get in on the action and down some bosses. Today, we step back a little and look at endgame in the context of sports.
Let's recap Ulduar so far, shall we?
You've wrecked the Flame Leviathan. With a touch of kindness in your heart, you euthanized Razorscale. In a moment of vengeance, you laid some justice down on Ignis the Furnace Master. Guffawing in humor at his odd voice, you looted Deconstructor.
Then it came time to "bridge your experience" by beating up Kologarn. The Assembly of Iron proved to be no difficulty for your incredible raiding prowess. Even Auriaya and her small legion of adds gave you little pause.
You've been working for his Sons, but now's the time to kill the big man himself. Poor Hodir. I actually feel bad for him (and the rest of the Keepers). Still, he drops gear, and all is fair in love and loot.
This is one of those fights that sound easy, until you realize the massive amount of damage being hurled about. It's not that the technique for fighting him is incredibly complex. The difficulty is created by the requirement to react to the situation, and continue to do so for a long period of time.
This fight also turns the world topsy turvy. There's white circles on the ground that your raid must stand in, breaking the general rule of WoW Raiding that your raid needs to "not stand in stuff." This is also a fight which includes some NPC help, which we'll talk about in a bit. It's still, basically, a DPS check
Let's start with . . .
- Biting Cold - This ability is similar to Keristrasza, except that simply jumping won't keep the aura from stacking. Your raid needs to move to keep from getting multiple stacks of Biting Cold. What's more, once you do have more than one stack on you, you'll only lose one stack for every second you move. But don't worry, there's hope for the casting-time-required classes. We'll get to it in the NPC section.
- Icicles - Icicles drops from the ceiling, doing significant damage to anyone standing in them and hurling the player backwards. Think of this as "Rocks fall, everyone dies," but with ice instead. You can tell icicles are about to drop on your head because little snowflakes fall as warning. There's also a white circle on the ground. Clearly, don't stand in it . . . yet. After the icicles fall, a Snowdrift will be spawned on the ground.
- Flash Freeze - Flash Freeze is like Frost Nova, but on steroids. It lashes out at the raid, freezing everyone in ice blocks. The only way to avoid this freeze is to be standing in the Snowdrift spawned by falling Icicles.
- Frozen Blows - Hodir will manifest Frozen Blows which reduces his physical damage by about 70%. And then massively buffs his attacks with Frost Damage. He also an AE Frost Damage aura to everyone in the raid. You might want a "Frost Tank" for this portion, who can taunt Hodir off the Main Tank during Frozen Blows. The "Frost Tank" is packing a lot of frost resist gear, but then will yield to the Main Tank when you're back to the physical portion. Also, your healers will want to be on their tippy toes, providing raid healing for folks getting devastated by the aura.
In the room where the Hodir encounter takes place, there will not only be Hodir himself, but also a series of NPCs. You will be able to free the NPCs from their icy tombs by doing damage to the tombs. When the NPCs are free, they will cast a series of helpful buffs on your raid. Generally, you want all your DPS at the start of the fight doing their best to free the NPCs as soon as possible.
The fight starts as soon as you fire the first shot, whether you're shooting Hodir, or an ice block to free an NPC. Free a Mage first, so that you can get some Toasty Fires down on the ground. These Toasty Fires will prevent the effects of Biting Cold, which is key to your casting classes who must use a cast time. You should be careful to make sure you're getting the benefit, though, since only a limited number of people can get the buff at once.
The other location-based ability to keep an eye out for is Starlight. The NPC Boomkin place these shining pillars of light on the ground. The folks standing inside a Starlight gets a bonus to attack and casting speed for the duration of the spell. These move around, however, so you'll constantly be wanting to go to each new location.
So, basically, do your best to stand in Starlight while DPSing. The tank should always be on the move, swapping to the "frost tank" whenever Frozen Blows are up. Healers should be on-target with raid heals. When icicles fall from the sky, get out of the way. Then, as soon as the icicles drop, get ready to get inside the Snowdrift left behind, to protect from Flash Freeze. Rinse and repeat until Hodir falls dead at your feet.
The fight sounds easy, and it should be. It's an endurance fight, not a technical one. He doesn't have any phases or special tricks that change through the fight. What you get at the beginning of the fight is the same thing you get through entirety of the fight.
You may want to consider having some of your raid in Frost Resist gear, especially if your healers aren't overgearing this fight. While most might say healers will be able to raid-heal through the frost aura damage, removing a little pressure from them is probably a good idea. I've heard of folks using a single tank in a mix of Frost Resist gear and regular tank gear, so that's another option for your team to consider.
That's about all there is to Hodir. Go get you some Father of the Sons of Hodir.
Ready Check is here to provide you all the information and discussion you need to bring your raiding to the next level. Ready Check appears twice a week, with writers Jennie Lees and Michael Gray.