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Lichborne: Death Knight tips for Trial of the Crusader, Part I


Welcome to Lichborne, your weekly foray into the news, strategy, and zen of being a Death Knight, with your host, Daniel Whitcomb.

So. You've conquered Ulduar and Naxxramas. Or maybe you've just collected a lot of badges and got some nice shiny gear. Either way, you're ready to go humor that old codger Fordring and fight and die in his silly little Arena. Even if the whole thing is obviously a waste of good time that could be spent killing the Scourge, the Ebon Blade's agreed to cooperate, so you'd better be ready too, death knight. So today, we'll give you a few tips about surviving the first few bosses of the Trial of the Crusader the death knight way.

Northrend Beasts

The Northrend Beasts are actually 3 boss fights in one, all in quick succession with no time to rest or rebuff. If there's a challenge in this fight, it's probably being able to switch up your tactics quickly between each boss.

The first boss, Gormok, is pretty straightforward for DPS. Stand behind him and wail away (while avoiding the Snowbold fire, of course). If you're on Snobold duty, be sure to be ready to engage those as well. Either way, If the Snobolds and Gormok himself are close enough to take advantage of pestilence, don't be afraid to take that route. Every little extra bit helps. You'll probably be taking some extra AE damage from Staggering Stomp as well, so watch for that and make sure to bandage or swap in a Death Strike if needed. Gormok's also an excellent boss to summon your Army of the Dead on. Try it at the beginning or just after he's cast a staggering stomp. As long as the stomp doesn't clear them out, they should do a nice chunk of damage.

Tanks will be switching off aggro here via Taunt as the Impale debuff stacks. Determine with your fellow tank and raid leader as to how many stacks of Impale you'll take before switching. When your time comes to take over, be ready to taunt. When handing off, it might be best to disengage and back off while the other tank takes over. If you accidentally pull aggro again and get another stack of Impale, you may overtax your healers. Of course, if your fellow tank does this to you, you can use Death Grip to reclaim Gormok, but watch out, I have heard reports that he can hit diminishing returns on taunt if you do it too much.

The next boss, the two Jormungar worms, are slightly trickier. Acidmaw will probably die first, since his Paralytic Toxin will be the bigger trouble. As a DPS, if you get hit with the toxin, be sure to run to the Dreadscale tank and take a hit of the burning bile damage to burn it off. Acidmaw should drop quick, at which point Dreadscale is more or less a tank and spank. However, you'll still want to try to spread out a bit to avoid others with Burning Bile, and above all, watch the slime pool. you don't want to back into one of those while trying to dodge Burning Bile, you'll be just as dead. Also, remember your Anti-Magic Shell. It can be just the thing to avoid a few ticks of said burning bile, get you some extra runic power, and take some pressure off your healer.

Tank-wise, remember that one of you probably will still have the Impale debuff from Gormok. It's not uncommon for many raids to have a Hunter or Warlock "tank" the stationary Acidmaw with ranged damage until Impale drops and the tank can take it. Either way, the usual tanking strategy applies from there.

Icehowl is another essentially straightforward battle. Anti-Magic Shell may save you from his Frost Breath as well, should you get caught in its path. Other than that, stay out of way of his charge. Once he gets that damage debuff from charging a wall, you'll have a perfect opportunity to unleash your burst damage macro to maximize damage.

Lord Jaraxxus

Lord Jaraxxus is a pretty prolific spell caster, so DPS may want to anticipate being asked to interrupt his Fel Fireball. You may also want to keep Anti-Magic Shell handy to avoid taking damage from Legion Flames. Of course, if you have the flame debuff, AMS isn't any excuse for you not to run away from the other melee. If you get incinerate flesh, don't panic and stay in range of a healer. AMS isn't removing that.

If you're asked to help with the adds, be prepared to watch for them. Just make sure the offtank grabs enough aggro, then start wailing away as normal. Pestilence is definitely your friend on the Infernals. Also, Fel Inferno can be interrupted.

If you're a tank or offtank, this is a pretty straightforward tank and spank fight. Gather up the adds if you're the add tank, or tank Jaraxxus in the middle if you're the main tank. Gain aggro, use your defensive cool downs properly, profit.

Faction Champions

Even if you've been a solely PvE Death Knight up to this point, this is where it really helps to pay attention to all those abilities you never use. Since the faction champions generally follow PvP rules, you should be able to use most of your extra crowd control abilities to great effect. One of my favorite things to do is grab a healer, usually the paladin, pull them away from the group with Death Grip, use Chains of Ice to keep them from walking back into healing range too quickly, then interrupting them once they're back in healing range.

Of course, these days, the steamroll seems to be the most popular way to take down the champions. Each champion down makes the fight that much easier, so don't be afraid to blow your burst (including your Army of the Dead) right at the beginning of the fight (after the Shamans have cast Heroism, of course) if you're using this method. And of course, even with this method, if you're focusing down a healer, be sure to be ready to interrupt one of those last second desperate heals.

Taking care of business

While the Trial of the Crusader is currently the most advanced raid zone in Northrend, at least for a few more weeks, it's also surprisingly easy once you get the hang of it, especially the first part. Essentially, just stay flexible and remember your abilities, and you should find the first three encounters mostly child's play. Really, Tirion better be a god among men in Icecrown for putting us through this silly little circus, that's all I'm saying. If you have any other tips to offer for these first few bosses that I may have missed, let us know in the comments.

Welcome to Lichborne, the new class column on the new WoW class, the Death Knight, where we discuss Patch 3.1 cookie cutter builds, basic defense gearandHeroic defense gear for the Death Knight tank, 5-man Crusader's Coliseum gear previews for tanks and DPS, and basic Death Knight statistics and mechanics. You might also want to check all the other articles in our Death Knight category.

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