Standing in the Lich King’s shadow

We’re learning steadily on our attempts at the Lich King, but we’ve not downed him yet. There’s quite some tricky timing involved, and it’s one of those encounters where the whole raid has to be in synch and any deaths or mistakes might break the rhythm and cause a wipe. Still, I’ve managed to learn some things, which might come in handy to get the most out of your abilities in this encounter.

I will not describe the entire encounter here, but give tips for each specific phase.

Phase 1 – Lich King and his minions

  • Do not use Mind Sear – the ghouls will die anyway, the horrors need to die from the necrotic plague stacks, so all you would do is waste mana.
  • In this phase it pays to use a staff or mainhand/offhand combo that gives you the biggest mana pool possible (Normally I use Nibelung, because I like the Val’kyr in single-target damage bouts).
  • I prefer to use Shadowfiend when the Lich King is at 80%, ensuring that I have full mana by the time the next phase begins at 70%.
  • Do not get in front of Shambling Horrors – they cleave and have a shockwave.

Phase 2 – Enraged Spirits

  • When the Lich King starts running off, immediately shield yourself and run to the edge. Spread a bit from other players.
  • Nuke down the Enraged Spirits – they have a very touchy aggro curve, so it’s best to use Fade before attacking them to give the tank some breathing room.
  • If you are the target of Enraged Spirit (that is, one will come out of you) run a bit towards the tank and Fade right after it emerges from you. This helps the tank to pick it up as well as prevent you from being swiped if the tank’s a bit slow.
  • The moment the Lich King begins to crumble the platform (the cracks will begin to glow) use Dispersion and run towards the center – avoid the frozen orbs flying around, they knock you off the platform.
  • As you move, switch to whatever staff or mainhand/offhand combo you have that has the highest amount of Haste. This has several reasons:
  1. You will need all the Haste you can to maximize DPS on the Val’kyr that spawn.
  2. If you have Nibelung (like me), having it procc a Val’kyr during this phase can confuse people.

Phase 3 – Val’kyrs and Defile

  • Val’kyrs will be marked by most Boss Mods. Arrange for at least 1 person who can Stun and 1 person who can Slow to be on each Val’kyr – this way you gain the maximum reduction in movement from the Val’kyr.
  • On your target, use Devouring Plague, Shadow Word: Pain and then Mind Flay until it is dead – you probably will have no time to cast other spells on a Val’kyr unless it is temporarily stunned.
  • Before DPS’ing the Lich King, finish off the remaining Enraged Spirit (if there is/are any).
  • When Defile is centered on you, run away towards an empty spot where you will not hit raid members; never chase a Val’kyr with Defile on you. For this purpose, it can be handy to divide the fight area into quadrants, and make sure the Val’kyr are nudged to one quadrant (by piling up in that quadrant as they spawn) and running towards the opposite quadrant if you have Defile. (Needs testing if this works, this is my observation from patterns I saw)

Phase 4 – Enraged Spirits again (same as phase 2)

  • You will need to move to the edge again to avoid Remorseless Winter – and you are probably further from the edge than in phase 1. Pop Dispersion to make it through alive.
  • When you reach the edge, it may be invaluable to cast Divine Hymn and Hymn of Hope if you have the time, to help the healers with keeping people up who may be slow to get to the edge, as well as giving them back some mana (they are likely to be getting low now).
  • More burn and pewpew, probably good to switch to your Staff again (if you remember). Use Shadowfiend to keep your mana close to full before the next phase.
  • Make sure everyone knows which edge to run to – it’s not as clear as in phase 2, mind you.

Phase 5 – Vile Spirits [Speculative]

This is the phase we’ve not gotten to yet (phase 4 neither but that’s a re-do of phase 2 anyway), but based on tactics I read, we can assume we can assist in the following manner:

  • Vile Spirits could be caught by a Holy Wrath from a paladin – if this happens, Mind Sear for extra damage.
  • No more Val’kyr spawn, so no need for your high-Haste weapon set.
  • If the Sprites burst and cause AoE damage to the raid, this is the time to pop your Divine Hymn if you hadn’t had the chance before – healers will be working their butts off.
  • Maximum burst damage on the Lich King – this is the time to use a Wild Magic potion and build your DoTs up.
  • If you find yourself facing the Spirit Warden by some stroke of luck (*cough* Dispersion *cough*) you will need to burn through 252K health while having a 100% damage buff. Should he channel the Soul Rip spell on his unfortunate victim just Dispel his target and it will be fine. Make a macro for it to be sure, or focus his target (need to check if this is possible).

There you go, some things I learned about the Lich King fight. I will add more once we have actually progressed further into the fight, but this should already take quite some burden off your shoulders if you were struggling in the first phases. Hope it helps!

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7 Responses to “Standing in the Lich King’s shadow”

  1. This is a great write up, and I will definitely be using some of it! I have both a Mag’hari Chieftain’s Staff and a Nibelung, but have not used the Nibelung for much more than having on when killing easy mobs(I thought it was totally OP for SPriests when I bid on it). How are you finding it for stand and burn encounter? Highly mobile ones? I swear there has to be a good use for it that I am just missing.

    • Nibelung’s one of those items that is very hard to put into solid math – which is why some people love it on gut feeling, and others hate it because it can’t be quantified.

      It has a very low proc rate, but we chain-cast so many spells, that we can expect to see many Val’kyr during battles. Our Boomkin also sports one, and it’s often a guess which Val’kyr belongs to what player.

      Checking some of my old WoL records, I have to conclude that it contributes about 1-1.5K DPS while it is up, to my average 7k-9k DPS. My Val’kyr have an average of 12.5% uptime, but this also includes the times I have two or three at once. So on average it adds about 200 DPS, which more Haste can easily top, but will also require me to pay a lot more attention to my mana pool.

      If we look at my contribution to raid DPS, I contribute 5.6 to 5.8% of the DPS in the raid (Raid DPS includes all pets, mirror images, val’kyr, shadowfiends, treants and the like) – my Val’kyr contribute 0.11% to the raid’s DPS. This is about half a Shadowfiend, to put this in perspective.

      In a straight-up burn scenario like the Lich King in phase 1, you will see on average 3 Val’kyr procs and on most trash fights 1 or 2 (Mind Sear’s good). A fight with many adds will be on average 1 Val’kyr per minute or so.

      I personally think this is very good, and it helps that the Val’kyr now heal themselves, deal Holy damage and also keep doing damage even when I am running away or doing other things. It’s a bit of a gamble but I like them a lot.

      The main reason I switch to haste-based mainhand/offhand combos during this particular Lich King phase is that the LK’s Val’kyr need to be really burned down (screw my mana efficiency, I need damage!) and not proccing Val’kyr myself (people might get confused and follow the wrong Val’kyr by mistake).

  2. I just can’t get into Nibelung. But I’ve always preferred teh main hand+off hand flexibility and extra spellpower.

    I’m not quite up to the Lich King – we’ve just reach him on 10 man, and we’ve not quite mastered Sindragosa’s last phase in 25.

    Why the boost to your mana pool for phase 1 Lich King?

    • It’s not a boost to mana for the 1st phase of Lich King, I am working around the idea of using a haste-based main+offhand in the phase with the Val’kyr.

      Since I normally use Nibelung, which gives me a bigger mana pool, Replenishment, Dispersion and Shadowfiend give me a lot of mana during that first phase, meaning I can burn down the first and first transition phase (phases 1 and 2) without mana concerns.

      Then when I have about 3/4 of my mana pool left as we enter phase 3, I switch weapons to go for maximum Haste (to burn down the Val’kyr quicker, but it’s harsh on my mana so I try to keep it topped as much as I can). As my maximum mana goes down, but current mana stays the same, I effectively start the phase at full mana.

      Repeating this during phase 4 (the second transition phase) allows me to use the Shadowfiend and Dispersion during times when I have the largest mana pool, keeping me topped off for the next phase even if I spend a lot of mana killing Enraged Spirits.

      It’s like the old weaponswapping Mages did when using Evocate, or Druids using Innervate on themselves, swapping to high-spirit weapons to maximize mana regen (before it all got normalized).

      So to me this fight has 2 “burn phases” and 3 phases where I know I will keep my mana pool steady.

      • As a side note, I do have the Mag’hari ritualist staff – using it over Nibelung would cost me about 80 spellpower, but I would gain 100+ Haste. This is also a good amount of mana and increases DPS, but it’s not all that much.

        In my opinion, I probably will re-check my weapon options once I have the chance of testing the LK weapons (Staff and mace come to mind) or I can get my hands on Heroic Nibelung.

  3. My general strategy when dealing with weapons is this:
    Sword Casters(mage/lock) get their swords
    Mace Casters(Druid/Shaman) can have their maces
    Daggers for all other caster
    I let them fight over off hands
    I bid high on good staffs, but usually only against Moonkins(if we can ever keep one in the raid), and sometimes against a healer but they usually have their own staffs(high spirit ones are where we usually overlap), but I can get them at a steal compared to what most of the casters pay for their main and off hands.

    • That’s one strategy to follow – it depends on what you need, personally. Of course we can use only daggers, maces and staves – of these daggers and maces have about equal stats on the whole. Each can also be used by 3 other classes or so, so there’s quite a bit of competition, especially with the currently low amount of desireable weapons.

      To me, it makes no difference whether a weapon is a mace, staff or dagger – another’s class does not factor into this. Other classes have as many weapon choices as I do, so in the end the only factors that should weigh in is a) is it an upgrade, b) can I use it and c) can I get it through my DKP, Loot Council, or the like.

      I have been using main+offhand for months until Nibelung dropped and I started using that. Now I use main+offhand again during the LK fight, and have the Mag’hari chieftain staff for a backup. I can mix and match a lot, tailoring what I use to the encounter, and that versatility is good for the raid group. Others in the raid have similar customizable sets, so we can punch hard when we need to, or gear for mana efficiency, survivability or the like.

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