In the far and frozen north of Icecrown, Highlord Tirion Fordring has had an arena built in order to test the skill of heroes. He is looking to take on the might of Arthas, and what better way to prepare his army than to shut them into a room with some pretty nasty creatures and see if they survive? Well, I guess that's the kind of thinking you get when you put a Paladin in charge.
Trial of the Crusader is the latest 10 and 25 man raid instance -- just the place for your modern Warlock to flex his spell book and bag some shiny new loot. With both a Normal and Heroic mode for each size of raid, this instance has a lot of variety despite only having five bosses. I'm going to focus on the Normal mode for now as this is where most of the fights are being held but I'll try and throw in some insight for the Heroic fights as I go along.
Just to make things more interesting (read "complicated") the loot lists within ToC have some curious characteristics. First off, items within the Normal version have a 'twin' item in Heroic, with exactly the same name but improved stats. This is not because anyone was running short on names as every item has another 'twin' with exactly the same stats but a slightly different name, you get one or the other depending on whether you are Horde or Alliance.
Confused yet? Here's an example, the Blade of Tarasque drops for alliance in the 25 man Normal raid, while the higher iLevel Blade of Tarasque drops in Herioc. The Horde equivalent is the Barb of Tarasque from Normal and Barb of Tarasque in Heroic. In this article I'll only refer to the Normal mode Alliance versions as a guide to the sorts of items each boss drops.
Gormok the Impaler
The Impaler (no relation to our friend Vlad) is a pretty stand-up fight where all that is expected of us Warlocks is to bring the pain; and lots of it. Unlike Patchwerk though, there are a few things that can get in the way of doing that. The first one to avoid is Staggering Stomp, simply stay more than 15 yards away from the boss and you'll be fine.
Snobolds are the next thing to be ready for. Gormok will throw them from his back and the little vermin will then scurry off to their chosen victim, hop on their back and batter the bejeezus out of them. For your meat-shields and other jocks this is more annoying that a real problem, get one on your back however, and the spell locks from Batter and stuns from Head Crack all but stop your DPS. Getting rid of them is a matter of strategy so make sure you know what your group intends to do to kill them. Most will at least ask that anyone with a Snobold moves to a spot in front of the ranged DPS so they can all target the thing. Others may look for you to get in range of the melee so they can join in too. They're always out of line of sight for the person they are sat on but that doesn't stop you throwing DoTs at them. You should be fine to use any instant cast abilities so keep piling Corruption and curses on to Gormok and don't forget that you can enable Conflagrate with Shadowflame. They can lash out at people nearby as well, so keep away from anyone infested with a Snobold.
Besides hitching a ride and flailing about, the little rats also throw Fire Bombs. These hurt, so don't stand in them. As a ranged class you can find yourself a good place to stand early on -- be ready for it before it arrives. If you have space around you then you won't be hit when others are targeted, and having space in front of you means you can move out more quickly. On Heroic mode these fire patches hit really hard and also place a DoT on you. The healers can handle the DoT, you have to deal with moving out of the fire quickly. Being ready not only keeps you alive but also keeps those DPS numbers nice and high.
Acidmaw & Dreadscale
These are two jormungars (big worms) that you fight together. Be aware of their debuffs -- Paralytic Toxin and Burning Bile will be dropping around the raid and need to be managed. The worm moving around the arena will only debuff their target but the one poking out of the ground will spray it at a target hitting anyone within 10 yards of them. So it's a good idea to keep aloof of those other raiders. Paralytic Toxin is pretty horrid stuff that increasingly hurts, like CoA, and slowly grinds you to a halt like wading into ever deeper treacle. It's removed by standing close to someone with Burning Bile, this can mean wading up to Dreadscale's tank or waiting for someone to run around to free you up. Check with your raid leader to see which you should be doing. When Dreadscale is planted in place and decides to gob Burning Bile over people then there's all the more reason to spread out, as being close to others really hurts; you can't remove it but you can stop it hurting too much.
Generally that's about it -- wrack unbearable pain onto whatever target your raid leader points you at, manage your debuffs and stay out of anything nasty on the floor. Though there is always the chance you might be asked to tank. Sure, I know, that's what we bring the muscle-heads for but caster tanking is a long standing tradition and one I really enjoy. This is particularly suited to Locks with some Demonology prowess because of Soul Link but anyone can throw up Demon Armor, push out some Searing Pain and cover any slacking healers with Drain Life. If you do find yourself in this role then your worm will be the one planted in the ground. Keep more than 15 yards away from it to avoid the Sweep and make sure you generate enough threat to keep agro. Warlock tanking is typically used if a tank dies or if you want two on the other worm for Burning Bile rotation. Since threat can be an issue it's generally worth having all the DPS on the mobile worm -- something that really helps with attaining Not One, But Two Jormungars.
Icehowl will saunter into the room once the worms have been squished (or after about six minutes on Heroic). His only real trick is to knock everyone against the wall and then charge at someone. Simply get out of the way if that is you or someone close to you. As far as maximising your DPS, it's a good idea to keep an eye on where he's charging and making the most of your sprint (Normal mode only) to get back onto the spell-throwing while he's still dazed. You might want to make use of your Circle for that as well but be careful not to get trampled. Other than that, stay more than 15 yards away, deal damage and get ready for loot.
Northrend Beasts loot
- 10 man - Rod of Imprisoned Souls, Icehowl Cinch
- 25 man - Shawl of the Refreshing Winds, Cord of the Tenebrous Mist, Flowing Vestments of Ascent, Blade of Tarasque
Jaraxxus, Eredar lord of the Burning Legion and accidental subject of Grand Warlock Wilfred Fizzlebang's summoning. It's entirely possible that this boss was added to the game simply to annoy Warlocks. Not only is his entry into the arena heralded by a pompous, moustachioed incompetent claiming to be a powerful Warlock but he then spends most of the fight hurling Fel Fire around the room -- which is, of course, green.
This fight is all about keeping the adds he summons under control, while burning him down as quickly as possible before your healers run out of mana. Move away from the Nether Portals when he spawns them and then nuke down the Mistress of Pain that comes through it. She's not particularly dangerous but killing her quickly means more time on the big-man himself. Just like his comrade, Prince Malchezaar, Jaraxxus will also summon infernals; this time from little volcanoes rather than from the sky, or the void or whatever. As with all infernals in boss fights you may be asked to Banish them. Three pop out at once and then either stand in one place being all hot and scary or dash about the place, typically just out of range of the banish you were casting. It might be worth suggesting that your raid simply burn them down without any CC, if they have the capacity to. In Heroic mode the portals and volcanoes do not de-spawn and so need to be killed very quickly as they will continue to pop out more adds.
Most of the other abilities that Jaraxxus has are managed by the other classes -- largely the healers. One that you do have to watch out for is Legion Flame. This will hurt you but that's the healer's problem, it will however also spawn a patch of flame at your feet every second. How you deal with this is often dictated by your raid leader but you can either run away from the boss and spread them in a line or drop them in a tighter area leaving a patch of flames. They're not very big so either strategy works, but if you do run out make sure you don't get too far away from a healer.
Lord Jaraxxus loot
- 10 man - Leggings of the Demonic Messenger, Firestorm Ring, Felspark Bindings
- 25 man - Leggings of the Soothing Touch, Symbol of Transgression
More next week
That's it for this week's Blood Pact, next week I'll be delving further into this instance and seeing what the other bosses have to offer us Warlocks. Until then keep your eye's peeled for fire-wielding rodents, oversized annelids, concussed yeti and hirsute gnomes. You are now prepared!
Blood Pact is a weekly column detailing DoTs, demons, and all the dastardly deeds done by Warlocks. If you're curious about what's new with Locks since the last patch, check out the Patch 3.2 Warlock Guide or find out what's upcoming in Cataclysm from the BlizzCon 2009: Class Discussion Panel.