Meat Shield versus Carpet Bombing

The third phase of the Lich King encounter is one of the most difficult parts of the encounter. As your raid continues to be targeted by Defiles, neccessitating your raid to continually reposition, the Lich King will call a number of Vile Spirits into being above him. They hover for a few seconds before swooping in towards the raid, exploding and harming as many of your allies as they can.

There are currently two accepted strategies for dealing with them, which I will called Meat Shield and Carpet Bomb.

Carpet Bomb

The strategy I see advised often involves massive amounts of AoE on the Vile Spirits to make sure most die before they come anywhere near to the raid. This also involves kiting the ones that aggro on you due to your DPS,  and this is the situation where Mind Sear will shine. Using the Glyph of Mind Sear is advised when using this strategy, to ensure that you catch as many of them as possible. As for the kiting bit, well that usually involves dotting them up and running away.

This is also the tactic where you will see good use of your Speed-increasing enchant on boots. Besides its usefulness in dodging Defile, it will allow you more leeway in outrunning the Spirits.

The downside of this tactic is that doing this depends entirely on the DPS being able to deal enough damage to enough spirits to mitigate the damage on the raid. This means that it has a relatively high casualty rate among the DPS. On the upside, individual DPS will skyrocket – it allows for obscene meter-padding. Not my favorite, but it is nice to let people hang loose and see the numbers fly. This helps motivate people as well.

Meat Shield

Another tactic is that the entire raid moves as the Vile Spirits are summoned, and one or two dedicated soakers run into the mass of Spirits each time and keep themselves alive as they get hit by 10K blasts from each Spirit. This is an ideal job for Paladins (shield), Shadowpriests (Dispersion) and Mages (Ice Block) where you become immune or nearly immune and can take down the Spirits with impunity.

This is the tactic we used when we managed to down the Lich King, and it seems to work well. As a Shadowpriest, you want the Glyph of Dispersion when using this tactic. Not just for being able to soak more often (raid utility, yay!) but also because you want to use it to survive the Lich King attempting to devour your soul.

Downside of this tactic is that you spend some time not dealing damage, and personal DPS will suffer. However, with a minimum of coordination survival becomes quite easy in this phase, leading to a quicker kill. However, it also allows more DPS on the Lich King, since only one or two people need to go to the Spirits each summoning. This is a bit of a balancing act, but when you take turns it will end up good for all involved.

Conclusion

In this phase, the choice of tactic will depend on your DPS. With high AoE dps and few people who have major soaking cooldowns available, Carpet Bombing is advised. But when you are still learning the fight and have a number of people in the raid with soaking cooldowns, this tactic will help in quickly learning the fight and making the kill.

I think that the Carpet Bombing tactic will be the way to go once you are sporting hard-mode gear, where DPS rises to such monstrous proportions the Spirits won’t even reach the ground. But when struggling in this face, having healthy and observant soakers will definitely be a supreme tactic.

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3 Responses to “Meat Shield versus Carpet Bombing”

  1. Hmmm so far we’ve just been opening up on AOE while the spirits are in the air. I didn’t think the Spirits stuck together when they landed? I hadn’t heard of the second strategy.

    We have another Shadowpriest in the guild who came from another server/guild that was working on the Lich King and she likes to tell me what to do so most of the time I just shut up and do as told. Sorry, I’m not bitter (ok, a little bit).

    Maybe if we continue to wipe I’ll bring up this tactic. So far we’ve gotten him to 16%-18% a few times so maybe we’ll just fluke it.

    • Well, they stick fairly close together (within a big 30 yard cloud) until they come closer to the ground. Aggro rules still apply, so they will spread out if DPS’d by different people.

      But when you run into them and Disperse at the last moment, they will still all (technically) be aggro’d on the same person (whoever it is). So since they choose the quickest path, they will be close enough together to catch many of them.

      You are unlikely to catch all of them, but that is fine. Even if you manage to take down only 3/4 of them, the raid damage has been reduced significantly.

  2. [...] enjoy running into low flying Vile Spirits as a big glowing shadow ball – usually with a tank protected by Shield Wall hot on my heels. [...]

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