Two weeks ago, we walked into Icecrown Citadel and took out the first line of defenses that the Lich King had put in place. Last week, we went though The Plague Works, toppling Tweedledee and Tweedledumb and showed the Professor the follies of potion abuse. This week, we are going to play with some vampires. Now these vampires do not sparkle, but they can still be quite annoying. These are the San'layn, a subsection of the Darkfallen, and the Crimson Halls is where their leadership calls home. There have been several seen throughout the history Azeroth and they are quite instrumental in overseeing the Scourge's operations. In the halls we get to face three princes and their dark queen.
As before, this is not an end all, be all guide. These are simply my opinions and thoughts on these bosses. There are several ways to do them, and I encourage you to find ones that work for you.
So let us take a look, shall we?
Blood Prince Council
This trio of vampire blood elves oversees some of the more sensitive Scourge operations and report directly to their queen and to the Lich King. At this point, you've encountered all of them already in your travels through Northrend. Chances are pretty good you've defeated all three of them on your way to the citadel. Like any good vampire, though, they have a tendency to not stay dead for long. In this case, their queen has gathered up the bodies of her fallen princes and breathes new un-life into them with the Darkfallen Orb. Your job is to beat them back down for a permanent dirt nap.
This prince is primarily in charge of scourge operations in the Borean Tundra. You may remember him from Naxxanar. It would seem, however, that Naxxanar was merely a setback and Valanar is back for vengeance.
Positioning and abilities
When not empowered, Valanar will cast Shock Vortex, which will place a vortex on the ground at a random player's feet. If you are standing near the vortex when it explodes, you will be flung away from it as well as take a healthy chunk of damage. It will remain on the ground for several seconds after it is cast and will continue to repel you if you get near it. Moving around the vortex can sometimes be a full-time job, depending on how the prince decides to target. Strategies such as the ones found at various places suggest standing about 13 yards away from this one. It is not hard to avoid, and as for past bosses like Hodir, you will see the area about to be affected marked on the ground -- in this case, by a swirling vortex animation before the spell actually goes off. As a healer, make sure not to stand behind a vortex, as it can impede your movements as you allocate for other healing duties or adapt to one of the other bosses' abilities.
When he receives the Darkfallen Orb, he will cast Empowered Shock Vortex. This powered-up version of the spell targets every player in the raid, dealing damage to them and flinging apart anyone within around 10 yards of one another. Damage increases based on how many people are around you and how many vortices you are affected by. Since people will be hovering around 10 yards away from each other, it is still quite possible to make good use of Chain Heal, as the jump range on it is 12.5 yards. This is particularly useful for melee raiders, as they tend to take a little more damage on empowered vortices due to proximity and the time it takes for them to run away from one another.
He also casts Kinetic Bombs that will explode if they hit the ground, flinging raid members all over the place while causing damage. Since they can occur anywhere around the room, keep an eye out for anyone who may have wandered away from the group to deal with one of the orbs and may need a more direct heal.
The key for this part of the fight is to watch for the vortices and move out of their range. Also make sure to stay a safe distance away from anyone else during the empowers. Expect to move a lot to stay safe and keep people in range. I've found it useful to take up a spot partway between melee and ranged. You will be able to stay in range of a decent portion of the raid, which should give you enough room and time to adjust for the empowered vortices.
You may remember this prince from Utgarde Keep; he's the Scourge overlord of Howling Fjord. Keleseth also acts as ambassador to the vrykul of Northrend. Seems this necromantic vampire wasn't happy after the keep and is back for more!
Positioning and abilities
When not empowered, Keleseth will cast Shadow Lance on whoever is tanking him. This deals a sizable chunk of damage to the target, but it can be dealt with. The prince will also cast Shadow Resonance, which summons a Dark Nucleus. When the nucleus is summoned, it will latch itself onto anything that aggros it near its spawn point. This can be a healer gaining healing aggro. If you are the focus of the nucleus' attention, be sure to move it towards the Keleseth tank so they can snag it off of you. Each nucleus puts a 35% shadow damage reduction on whoever it has targeted, and it will stack with other nuclei. The trade-off is that it will deal 1,000 damage like a DoT effect at whoever it is targeting. The nuclei will disappear after a certain amount of time, so even if the tank has three of them, if you get one, run it over.
This becomes extremely important when Keleseth receives the Invocation of Blood. He will begin to cast Empowered Shadow Lance. Without resistance, this will hit for between 90,000 and 94,000. If you are healing the tank, I highly recommend switching to a liberal use of Healing Wave and Riptide. There is a lot of potential spike damage here, especially if the tank loses one or more of the nuclei. Earth Shield on the tank can also potentially buy you a couple seconds to make sure they are topped off. As before, make sure there are no vortices from Valanar in front of you, as you will have to move and adjust as the Keleseth tank moves to grab more orbs or adjusts for vortices himself.
Your first encounter with the prince came in Ahn'kahet. Unlike the other two princes, Taldaram's motivations or purpose in Ahn'kahet was not very clear. He's back, though, and he still really likes to play with fire.
Positioning and abilities
Taldaram really likes to burn things. This is characterized by his near-constant casting of Glittering Sparks. This places a damage over time effect on anyone standing in a cone in front of the prince. This also reduces their movement speed by 20%. Ideally this will only be the tank, but mistakes happen, so keep an eye out for anyone who may have wandered in front of the prince.
His main ability is Conjure Flame. He will summon an orb of fire that will be directed at a specific target. The orb will then move toward that person, and when it reaches them, it will explode on contact. When Taldaram becomes empowered, he will cast Conjure Empowered Flame. This is a bigger, nastier version of the original. It will still move towards a specific target and explode on contact. For every person it contacts or moves over as it heads towards the target, it will remove a damage stack. These flares are called Empowered Flares. They will deal a small amount of damage to everyone around them as they flare. The flare damage can easily be healed through, and since the raid is grouped up, you can make great use of Chain Heal to top off the raid.
Most popular raid strategies have the raid grouping up, with the target of the empowered orb moving directly away from the group. As the person runs away from the group, cast a quick Riptide on the target. Having a quick heal such as Lesser Healing Wave or a hastened Healing Wave ready can help compensate and recover quickly from any missed flares on the orb. Placing the group like this ensures that the most stacks are successfully removed from the orb before it makes contact. The orb will explode when it makes contact with its target, and a fully empowered one will explode in a series of Flames that will deal damage to everyone withing 15 yards of the target. This damage increases for flares left on the empowered orb, and a fully charged orb will kill anyone within its radius.
Even when one prince becomes empowered, it is very important to remember that the others are still active and casting abilities such as Shock Vortex. It is imperative that that you pay attention to what is going on around you.
When to Bloodlust/Heroism
For this encounter, it is often considered best to wait for the raid leader to call for the use of this buff. Some popular strategies suggest that you use it when Keleseth is empowered, since it does not require raid movement as much as the other two. The choice when to use it may vary depending on how many healers you have or the elapsed time into the fight. For this one, make sure to consult your raid leader.
This is really just a pay-attention fight. Keep your wits about you and place yourself where you can do the most good based on what is going on around you. Do that, and your team will make these vampires sparkle in no time at all.