I could have sworn there was some kind of dragon encased in ice around here. Really.
What's that? They chiseled it out of ice and moved it to Icecrown Citadel? The hell? When did that happen? December, you say?
Those shambling horrors must shamble fast when I'm not looking. Or maybe I was just too drunk over the holidays to notice. Anyway. This bone dragon thing, it's not evil, is it?
Oh. It is. Damn. Okay, I guess we'll go kill it. But first, we'll make this stop off and heal some generic green dragon we've never even heard of before, just to keep it from turning into some boss we'll have to fight later.
Shadow priests, gather round as we storm the Frostwing Halls! We'll collect some fine loot! We'll also answer -- or at least ponder -- some existential questions. "Why can you Mind Flay a block of ice when it doesn't have a mind to flay? Why can you disease it?" All this after the break.
Let me start by saying that Valithria Dreamwalker is a creative "fight." The goal is not to take a boss down to 0% health, but to heal one from 50% to 100%. It's a great chance for healers to shine and prove their worth much the same way DPS battle it out on the meters.
For DPS though, let's be honest -- this one is kinda forgettably boring. Which is fitting, since Valithria is a forgettable, boring character. For DPS, there's only one phase, and all we're really doing is attacking the adds that spawn at the left and right sides of the room. The most work that's required is remembering your list of priorities -- that is, what adds to down first.
The center of the room works best, close to Valithria. This way, you can easily switch between the sides when there's something to be attacked with minimal walking time.
Listed by priority, from most to least important:
- Blazing Skeletons: These adds will hurt everyone in the raid including Valithria, so we need to take them out pretty quick. Their main attack, Lay Waste, is unavoidable -- it's all about killing them before they can cast it (or at least, before they can cast it a number of times).
- Suppressors: Once in place next to Valithria, these ugly little geists channel Suppression, which reduces the healing she takes by a stacking 10 percent. They need to go down quickly, or your healers' efforts will be significantly hamstrung. Several get called out at a time (especially in 25-man), so if there are four or more on your side, Mind Sear may be your best bet. If there's only one, spamming Mind Flay to keep the Suppressor from getting into place will buy your teammates enough time to kill it before it even gets in place to start Suppression.
- Risen Archmages: These guys have a trio of ugly attacks. First, they hit with Frostbolt Volley -- there's not much you personally can do to avoid these if they're coming your way. Second, they have an AoE attack that drains your mana, Mana Void -- as a caster, you'd do well to get the heck out of these ASAP. Finally, they'll target a player with Column of Frost, which is avoidable provided you have the sense to move out of the way and avoid it.
- Blistering Zombies: These are relatively low priority adds. They won't attack you personally, but when they die, they explode in a hail of acid. Easily avoidable by keeping yourself far away from these guys at all times, especially when you're attacking them.
- Gluttonous Abominations: The lowest priority add. Shortly after these die, a mess of Rot Worms will spawn from the corpse. When they spawn, give the tank a few ticks of the clock to pick them up, and then Mind Sear them down.
There are a handful of noteworthy drops in 25-man Dreamwalker. She drops the Frostbinder's Shredded Cape, which is your best-in-slot back item (excluding hard modes). You could also pick up the Nightmare Ender, your second-best wand (with great Disc off-spec use). The Robe of the Waking Nightmare has a lot of hit on it if you need it, but you'll probably be better suited passing for something better.
For ten-man loot, Valithria Dreamwalker has a bunch of stuff with hit on it. She drops the Lich Wrappings cape, with 41 points of hit and Sister Svalna's Aether Staff, but it carries with it an insane 136 points of hit -- useful only if you spriest as an off-spec. If you do, you must have a serious crush on me to be reading the DPS guide to Dreamwalker, and I love you for that. If you're looking for a piece for that Disc off-set, the Leggings of the Refracted Mind may be for you.
Back when I was authoring Shadow 101, the wow.com guide to newbie shadow priests, I had initially written off the Glyph of Dispersion, which slashes the cooldown on Dispersion to 1 minute, 15 seconds. There were better glyphs out there in terms of DPS maximization, I argued.
Over the long haul, I stand by that assertion -- Dispersion is a great tool for maximizing survivability, but it provides incredibly limited benefit in terms of DPS. Except in Sindragosa. In this fight, Dispersion is just plain bitchin'. You'll see why in a moment.
Oh, and turn off the game sound for this fight. Trust me.
Sindragosa is a dragon, so traditional positioning rules apply. Standing in front of her is a no. Standing behind her is a no. Stand to her side (wing) at max range. For many raids, casters are positioned on the stairs.
- This is another one of the many ICC fights with a constant damage aura, at least when Sindragosa is on the ground. Thanks to Vampiric Embrace, it shouldn't pose any problem to you personally.
- The first of her two phase 1 abilities a ranged DPS needs to be on the look out is Icy Grip. This (resistable) attack will draw ranged players in, practically on top of Sindragosa.
- Five seconds after an Icy Grip pull, Sindragosa will slam anyone within 25 yards with Blistering Cold. Once pulled in, immediately start to run back to your original position, popping Power Word: Shield on yourself. Blistering Cold normally hits for 30k, but if you somehow get caught in the blast, the combination of PW:S, Shadowform, and a paladin's Frost Resistance Aura, you'll survive.
- Casters in the raid also will randomly be targeted with a 30 second debuff called Unchained Magic. When under it's effect, each spell you cast will put a stack of Instability on you, which will eventually hit you for 2000 damage per stack. If this is your first instance of Unchained Magic, cast continuously through the 30 seconds if you can. With your final cast, use Power Word: Shield, and then a tick later hit Dispersion. The massive stack of damage waiting to hit you will be cut by 90% and almost entirely absorbed by your shield. If Dispersion is on cooldown, try not to build more than 8 or 9 stacks of Instability, cast Power Word: Shield*, and pause your casting until the damage hits you. Once it hits for low five-digit damage, you can resume casting -- Vampiric Embrace will heal you back up as you do.
*NOTE (on edit): Commenter Brazzen suggested below that your final cast should be Mind Flay to reduce the amount of DPS downtime while waiting for Instability to drop off. I wholeheartedly endorse this idea so long as you still cast PW:S somewhere in your "rotation" to eat up a chunk of the damage.
- After Sindragosa gets burned down to 85%, she'll fly away and enter Phase 2.
- When Sindragosa enters her air phase, two (10-man) or five (25-man) people will be targeted with Frost Beacon. Five seconds after they're beaconed, they'll be entombed in ice, along with anyone else within ten yards. The raid leader will usually choose two/five preset locations for targeted players to move to. If you're the only priest in the raid, it's good practice to hit the targets with Power Word: Shield -- and to stay ten yards from them so you don't get ice blocked too, of course.
- If you don't get targeted with Frost Beacon, it'll be up to you to break players free. The catch is that Sindragosa will be dropping four Frost Bombs one after the other -- you need to use the ice blocked players as human shields to protect yourself from the massive damage they cause (line of sight!). You can tell where the bombs will drop by watching the floor. Your raid should burn down the ice blocks close to 0%, waiting until after the fourth Frost Bomb hits to free the players to avoid players getting surprised by bomb blasts they thought they were shielded from.
- If you're in a block of ice, relax. You won't be doing anything until your fellow raiders break you out. Twenty seconds after you get thrown in the ice, you'll start to suffocate and take damage. In an emergency (that is, if you start asphyxiating and your ice block isn't close to being destroyed), you can Disperse to ward off death. But only in an emergency -- Dispersion is better used to escape damage from Instability.
- After the fourth blast, Sindragosa will return and you'll switch back into Phase 1. She'll cycle between Phase 1 and 2 about every 2 minutes until you drop her to 35%. At that point, Phase 3 begins.
- Phase 3 is an ugly mix between the previous two phases. Sindragosa will pick people out, now just one at a time, and encase them in an Ice Tomb. In general, DPS needs to focus attacks on the tombs to break people out, but you will likely serve the raid better by using one or two global cool downs to keep DoTs up on the boss in between attacks on the tombs. The reason, of course: It's hard to ramp up DPS to strong levels on an ice tomb with a limited health pool.
- If you get locked in an Ice Tomb, the action is frantic enough that you may begin to Asphyxiate. If you start to take damage from lack of air, Dispersion will buy your teammates the six extra seconds of time to free you.
- You will keep getting stacks of a new debuff, Mystic Buffet, as the fight progresses. It increases the damage taken from magic, and will need to be cleared. You can do this by line of sighting Sindragosa behind a entombed player. A good rule of thumb is to clear your stack every other frost tomb.
- The enrage timer in Phase 3 is generous so long as Sindragosa only goes through two air phases. Focus on survivability -- both yours and your ice blocked raid members -- and you'll do well.
You weren't just blasting away at Sindragosa out of the kindness of your heart, were you? Hell no -- it's all for the loot, and she drops some amazing stuff on 25-man mode. Of course, she's going to drop your Conqueror's Mark of Sanctification -- hopefully you won't have to compete against six paladins in your raid like I do (QQ!). That sucker is nice, but the real prize is the best-in-slot trinket, the Phylactery of the Nameless Lich. As consolation prizes, you may want to consider the spirit-loaded off-hand Sundial of Eternal Dusk or Memory of Malygos ring if either are upgrades.
There's not a whole lot to get excited about, comparatively, on the 10-man side, even for strict 10-man raiders -- there are only two drops we can even equip. The Robes of Azure Downfall are perfectly itemized for shadow priests, but ten-man raiders are likely to prefer their tier chest piece. And the Bleak Coldarra Carver is an okay weapon if you need more hit, but if you're anything like most raiding shadow priests out there, you don't need the hit.
So, good work, junior detectives! We've just met some green dragon we'll probably never hear from again (you're welcome, by the way) and nuked a pile of bones that we've been seeing on our log-in screens for the past year. And your reward, hopefully, was some incredible gear and a snazzy little achievement.
All that's left between us and the Lich King is... well, nothing. He's all that's left. Unless you count those patrolling val'kyr who probably respawned, that is. We'll meet back here soon and take him on together, but until then, don't do anything I wouldn't do.
Hunger for more information about bending the light to your advantage? More interested in watching health bars go down than watching them bounce back up? Think it's neat to dissolve into a ball of pure shadow every few minutes? The darker, shadowy side of Spiritual Guidance has you covered.