Azjol'nerub was merely a setback for the final boss we face in the Trial of the Crusader. Anub'arak (too many apostrophes in the Nerubian language, I say) decides to crash the party and Arthas' powerful shockwave drops you right into his lair. We're put face-to-face with the Traitor King himself, even though we've already bested him once in Northrend.
This is one of the simpler fights in terms of mechanics, compared to a very long and drawn out encounter like Yogg-Saron or Mimiron. It's by no means easy, however, and Anub'Arak's heroic 25-man version has only been conquered by a handful of guilds worldwide. Between several new fight mechanics and very distinct phases, the encounter is fast-paced and very fun from a Rogue's perspective. After the cut, I'll talk about the specific details you can use to help your raid group conquer this over-sized beetle.
Final Encounter: Anub'arak
Here's a 3 phase fight, similar in execution to some of the original strategies for defeating Ignis. We focus on destroying Anub'arak while he spawns some of his friends to help fight us. The adds are called Nerubian Burrowers, and will be tanked on top of 'Permafrost', one of the new mechanics in this fight. In the air, all around the cavern, are frozen orbs floating about. If killed by a ranged DPS class, they'll fall to the floor, spawning a patch of Permafrost on the ground.
Permafrost looks like a Hunter's Frost Trap and acts like one as well: you'll be slowed just by walking on it. However, it prevents the Burrowers from using their namesake technique: burrowing. This ensures you'll be able to burn the Burrowers all the way down without them escaping and wiping aggro. Your job will be to assist with destroying these Burrowers as often as possible. If two Burrowers are within 12 yards of each other, they'll buff each other with Spider Frenzy, which combined with the stacks of Expose Weakness on your tank will wipe your raid quickly. Focusing down these Burrowers becomes the top priority, with all of your free time spent on the boss. The first phase of this fight is very similar to Gormok in that regard.
Here's the part where the Permafrost becomes even more crucial for you to observe. Anub'arak will go underground, making him immune to your stabbing and smashing. You've got to immediately help your tanks begin to pick up the spawning Swarm Scarabs by using Tricks of the Trade, and burning them down before they can stack Acid-Drenched Mandibles too high. They will occasionally cast 'Determination' on themselves, making them glow red and go immune to CC effects, similar to those cursed Hunters and their 'Beast Within'. You can dispel this using a quick dose of Anesthetic Poison, so consider swapping to another weapon to use AP for Phase 2. Your healers will thank you!
Anub'arak occasionally targets someone in the raid with a debuff called Pursued by Anub'arak. If you've got this debuff, it's pretty much like any other raid debuff you've seen over the past few years: you want to get as far away from the raid as possible. You'll be chased by spikes coming out of the ground, which will probably one-shot you if they reach you. I recommend using Sprint and trying to kite them for as long as possible. Once they're getting close to you, you'll need to get yourself on some Permafrost ASAP. If the spikes hit Permafrost, they'll burn it up, but will stop pursuing you as well. Then, Anub'arak will change targets, and the spikes will chase someone else. The longer you can kite the spikes around, the less time the rest of your group has to worry about being pursued. Just make sure to be on the Permafrost BEFORE the spikes reach you, or your Rogue will be a pile of goop.
Anub'arak will alternate between Phases 1 and 2 until you've gotten him down to 30% life remaining. Once he's hurt that badly, he'll use his ultimate ability: Leeching Swarm. This will drain 10% of your remaining life per second, which will have him rapidly recuperating. Luckily, you'll have Wound Poison on (you will, right?) and you'll be cutting his healing in half. However, in order to further reduce the amount of health per second he is stealing from the raid, your healers are going to let you die.
Well, not quite die, but they're going to let you get close. 50% life, 40%, even 10% for some elite guilds: you won't be healed until you're at the very brink of death. Don't be afraid, don't pop your healthstone or use a bandaid. You must trust in your healers, as they trust that you won't reroll to the opposite faction to gank them later. You must focus your efforts into destroying Anub'arak as quickly as possible. This is a great phase to save cooldowns and Bloodlust for, as well.
If you're fighting Anub'arak on heroic mode, the adds will also be using an ability called Shadow Strike. It says it has an 8 second cast, but this is often cut in half (or in quarter) by the Spider Frenzy buff. You need to Kick this ability in order to ensure that your tanks aren't completely destroyed by this powerful attack. On normal difficulty, this ability isn't an issue, but it provides an additional challenge for those Rogues on the harder version of the encounter.
With the Trial completed and Anub'arak vanquished, we're ready for our expedition into Icecrown Citadel to defeat Arthas. Take this time to get those few crafted items ready, to examine your gems and enchants for any possible improvements, and to ready yourself for the final encounters of Wrath of the Lich King. There's a ton of great gear in ToC (which will be covered in a later column), so don't forget to start planning your Emblem of Triumph wishlist!