Before I get to the meat of the discussion this week, which is tanking/DPSing the four new encounters in Icecrown Citadel, let me just say that I'm still ridiculously excited about running PuG's on both my Alliance and Horde warriors using the new Dungeon Finder. I tweeted this week that my tanking perfectionism is getting in the way of enjoyment for me so I slapped my DPS gear on and took the breaks between PuG's as excuse to do things like eat, read, use the facilities (where those aromatic essential oils lurk in wait... the spearmint one is very nice, actually)... it's reduced my stress factor considerably, and I'm pleasantly surprised at how solid my DPS is considering that I haven't work on my gear or spec in a while.
Well, okay, except for Halls of Reflection, where I had a run that consisted of me being afraid to even hit Whirlwind for fear of instantly pulling aggro. What was that guy doing?
However, this column isn't about the new five mans, or PuGging. Let's get to the meat of the post and talk about our quartet of encounters in ICC.
Before we talk about bosses, let me just say that for those of us (including me) who said we missed trash, it's back, baby! Some of it can be AoE'd down zerg style, but some CC is actually really useful and beneficial here. Also, if you're not the tank, don't stand in front of the big giants who spawn when the traps are set off, as they have a nasty frontal cleave. (If you are the tank, go ahead and stand in that. But please try and point it away from the DPS.)
Lord Marrowgar isn't a ridiculously hard fight, but it has a few elements to be aware of. (Note: I'm aware that Marrowgar is now tauntable, but he wasn't every time I've killed him, so we tended to fight him wherever he stopped moving and had the raid adjust.) First up is his Saber Lash which does 300% of Marrowgar's normal damage to the tank and two other tanks who get to stand next to the tank and do almost nothing the entire fight. Yay. We really missed that from Black Temple, boy. (And yes, ZA.)
Marrowgar will also use an ability called Bone Spike Graveyard. This is a ridiculously irritating ability. First off, he picks a player at random and hurls a bone spike at him, which impales not only the target but everyone between Marrowgar and the target on bone spikes that continue to deal damage on them until the spikes are destroyed. My raid has all available DPS switch over and destroy the impales as fast as they can, including DPS warriors (yay for Charge and Intercept). While all of this is going on, Marrowgar casts Coldflame, which is Doomfire all over again - it targets a player at range and makes a beeline for him or her, so just move (even the target can move) to avoid being hit.
His final ability is Bone Storm, where he starts whirlwinding, charging random targets and generally running all over the place like a toddler overdoed on pixie sticks. After a few annoying moments of this (20 seconds, I believe) he resets and wipes aggro, but while this previously required a Misdirect or Tricks of the Trade to help tanks regain aggro, he's tauntable now so he can be reset fairly easily. Bone Storm is physical damage and for a DPS warrior it doesn't hit very hard, so while you shouldn't stand in it you should be able to get out of the effect with minimal difficulty.
For a DPS warrior this fight is basically all about maximizing your mobility: get out of Coldflame, switch to Bone Spikes fast, don't stand in Bone Storm. For a tank this fight is pretty boring, frankly. If you're the MT you'll at least be able to work on threat, the offtank (we do it with 2 tanks on 10 man) or offtanks will be standing around trying to give the MT reassuring hugs and backrubs the entire time. I've found Intervene is very useful as an offtank to help collapse to the MT faster to make sure he doesn't eat a Saber Lash, and as MT I use it to get away from the Bone Storms. Once you get through Marrowgar's array of terribly annoying abilities, it's on to the next boss.
Here's a fight all about adds. Until it's not about adds anymore. Stll, if you like adds, Lady Deathwhisper has you covered.
Lady Deathwhisper has two phases. In phase 1 she puts up a mana shield that the raid will need to burn through in order to be able to hurt her at all (triggering phase 2) while at the same time periodically summoning waves of adds. I've only run this fight as a warrior on 25 (I healed it on 10's) but from what I understand the adds only spawn from one side of the room at a time on 10's while on 25's they spawn from both sides.
The complication here is that each kind of add has a buff that means you will have to coordinate DPS to kill them: DPS warriors should be focusing on Cult Adherents, due to their Adherent's Determination buff that makes them almost totally immune to magical damage. If you are a DPS warrior and you are attacking a Cult Fanatic, stop it, they have Fanatic's Determination and they barely even feel it. Adherents are the caster mobs and Fanatics are the melee mobs, so always be meleeing casters and avoiding melee targets. Deathwhisper also raises these guys from the dead as Reanimated Adherents and Fanatics when you kill them, so if you're OTing prepare to have to tank them again. There's various curses and debuffs to be dealt with here, but you're a warrior, so you can't do anything about those. You might want to keep hitting Spell Reflect when it's up just in case her Shadow Bolts are randomly targeting you... it helps keep your damage down while you're tanking the casters anyway.
She's supposed to cast Mind Control on various players during the encounter ala KT, but I can't say I saw it happen. Doesn't mean it didn't, but we have crazy fast polymorphing mages and hexing shamans and I was tanking a lot of adds at this point. If you see a player get MC'd, please don't kill him or her (if you're DPS), because as funny as you may think it is, that's DPS or healing you'll want later.
In phase 2, Deathwhisper's shield comes down and the fun begins. If you're a tank, you'll either pick Deathwhisper up now or prepare to do so, because she has an ability called Touch of Insignificance which reduces your threat generation by 20%, and it stacks up to five. (It's very annoying.) So you will have to have her taunted off before it stacks to five (we prefer swapping tanks at three stacks) and then letting it fall off so you can taunt her back. Taunt rotations are fun, aren't they? So much fun. Look at how much fun we're having!
While Deathwhisper is being a jerk about aggro, she's also casting Frostbolts that hit for over 40k on 25. If you are DPS, interrupt these. If you're tanking, interrupt these. They are bad. (An easily worked out interrupt rotation like the one you probably had for Vezax or Kel'Thuzad will come in handy here.) She also puts Death and Decay on the ground, so don't stand in that. I wish just once a boss would put Cherry Happy Sunshine Aura of Glee down on the ground and if we stood in it we would all smell nice and feel happier. Finally, she summons Vengeful Shades that will blow up on a random target, so run out of the raid if you get that so you don't blow other people up.
Taunt trade her off, interrupt the frost bolts, don't stand in D&D, don't let ghosts blow up the raid, she dies and you get loot. It's a fairly involved fight to tank, but nothing too terrible, and DPS mostly has to help out with interrupts and not stand in stuff between making sure to target the mobs that aren't invulnerable to their kind of damage.
Next up are the two fun fights in the instance. We'll cover the Gunship Battle and Deathbringer Saurfang in next week's post, which is sure to contain delicious morsels. Literally. I promise you I will mention food several times.
Patch 3.3 is the last major patch of Wrath of the Lich King. With the new Icecrown Citadel 5-man dungeons and 10/25-man raid arriving soon, patch 3.3 will deal the final blow to Arthas. WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.3 will keep you updated with all the latest patch news.