Everyone is excited to get into Ice Crown Citadel, but not everyone does all the research before entering the Raid. This guide is a quick overview of what you should expect to see, and what you are expected to do for each of the four encounters in the Lower Spire.
Upon entering the Lower Spire, you will encounter the Argent Vanguard fighting the Scourge attempting to establish a foothold in the Citadel. This is their beachhead so to speak, and when you enter the Citadel this is where you can find their quartermaster and each of the class vendors for items. You can also find a repair point here at the blacksmith, and since you use a teleportation system inside the Citadel (much like in Ulduar) you should not need repair bots in the raid.
The first boss you encounter is the Citadel is Lord Morrowgar. You will find him guarding the base of the ice spire that leads up to the Frozen Throne. He is a very cool looking multi-headed undead construct with wings and a gigantic axe. He is apparently made from the bones of the Lich Kings defeated enemies, and if that is true you had better be careful or you may be seeing this fight from the other side when your bones join him.
The fight has two phases that it alternates back and forth between. The two phases could be called the tank and DPS phase and the run away from the whirling axe of death phase, but well just call them phase one and two.
In phase one the tanks need to establish control over Lord Morrowar and face him away from the raid. Once that is done the tanks need to stack in front of him as one of his primary attacks does double normal damage, but is divided against up to three targets in his front arc.
DPS and Healers spread out around his back arc. Throughout the fight Lord Morrowgar will target players randomly for two special abilities. He can pick you to be flamed, in which case a line of fire extends from him to you hitting anyone silly or slow enough to stand in it, as it remains in play for several seconds. The other ability is to spike a random player with a bone. The spike impales the player to the ground and does roughly 10% damage every tick until it has been killed. DPS must switch to and kill the spikes as quickly as possible.
Every 30 seconds or so Lord Morrowgar enters phase two. In this phase he clears his agro table and whirls around the room at random targets inflicting heavy damage and placing bleed debuffs on them. He also leaves trails of fire on the ground as he whirls around the room. After about 20 seconds he will stop and re-enter phase one. This is the dangerous part of the fight, since he will be someplace random in the room and the tank will have no threat. To make it even worse he is immune to taunts so everyone needs to be careful.
[protip] A Rogue or Hunters misdirect will really help in this phase. A Death Knight tank can also establish agro by throwing out a Death and Decay as they run towards the boss.[/protip]
The fight itself is a fairly straight forward fight meant to get you into the raid and not scare you off right away. It is defiantly a coordination test for DPS as they need to hold off and let the tanks re-establish threat after a blade storm. If they dont they will be one shotted as it seems to that his first attack out of a Bone Storm is his big Bone Lash attack. If it hits anyone but a tank (and preferably two stacked in front) they will be killed.
Heroic Mode - Lord Morrowgar
While fighting Lord Morrowgar on heroic mode there are not a whole lot changes. This is likely due to it being the first fight in the raid and Blizzard playing relatively nice. However, the two small changes do up the difficulty quite a bit, so make sure everyone is aware of them and adjusts accordingly.
The first change is that the flames that Lord Morrowgar spawns now inflict a DoT on players that are hit by them in addition to the initial damage that they cause. The second change is that he will continue to cast Bone Spike Graveyard while in the middle of his Bone Storm ability. The third change is that he is immune to taunt. The last change is that he has more health and inflicts more damage, but that is pretty standard on all heroic mode bosses though.
To deal with these changes players need to be more aware of the flame and react quickly to it. Ranged DPS will need to keep on top of bone spikes and make sure to free players during Bone Storms. Lastly players MUST ensure the tanks get threat after a bone storm before they start to DPS or you will die. Without the ability to taunt back, DPS has to be extremely careful.
Lady Deathwhisper is an undead lich that is in charge of the Cult of the Damned. She is found just after Lord Morrowgar and is a fight that requires groups to be split up to deal with different aspects. The fight is made up of two distinct phases.
In the first phase Lady Deathwhisper is protected by a mana shield that must be burned through before you can enter phase 2. This means that several DPS need to be assigned to burn it down. While she is protected by the shield though, she will summon in guards from the alcoves along both sides of the room. This is where the rest of the raid waits and picks up the adds as soon as they enter the fight.
The adds that enter the fight are either Adherents or Fanatics. Adherents are casters that do AOE damage, while Fanatics are melee based that have nasty frontal cleaves. Both will occasionally become empowered by Lady Deathwhisper, and when they do they gain even more power to their attacks, and need to be killed as soon as possible.
Once the adds get to very low health they will start to cast Dark Martyrdom. If they succeed they die in an AOE blaze of glory. In addition, if they succeed Lady Deathwhisper will bring them back to life as reanimated versions of themselves. These reanimated versions can only be harmed by damage opposite to what they cause. Meaning the casters can only be harmed by physical damage and the melee only by magic.
Once Lady Deathwhispers shield has been brought down, finish up any adds that are still alive and then everyone should focus on her. Make sure though that when the shield is getting low that a tank gets into position.
This is the second phase and all of her spells change. She now starts hitting players with a multi target frost bolt, and hits the tank with a single target frost bolt spell. In addition she will stack a debuff on the tank that lowers threat by 20% per stack. This means that at least two tanks will need to trade agro back and forth every 3rd stack so that they can stay ahead of the DPS.
Lastly spirits will spawn around the room that can not be tanked or damaged, instead they do damage to anyone close to them. So if you get threat from one, that player must kite them around until they disappear.
The whole fight must be finished within 10 minutes or Lady Deathwhisper will enrage and wipe the group. Overall it is not a difficult encounter, the hardest part is figuring out the balance of DPS to put on adds and the shield. If you survive the adds, the second phase is a breeze.
Heroic Mode - Lady Deathwhisper
Lady Deathwhisper gains a lot of power on heroic mode, as is typical she has much more health, although her mana shield seems about the same. Next she spawns adds at a quicker rate and continues to spawn them during phase two. She can also mind control more players as she controls three at a time in 25 player raids and one in 10 player raids. Lastly in phase two she is immune to taunt and the shades that spawn explode and deal damage to everyone within 20 yards instead of melee range.
In phase one players need to burn down the adds extremely fast as the spawn rate is much quicker than normal mode. In addition players need to be ready to CC anyone that is mind controlled, you can not let them run around the raid killing players.
This fight is much harder than normal mode mainly due to more going on in phase two in addition to phase two lasting longer. The hardest items to deal with are the adds, even though few come out, and the tanks not being able to taunt to gain threat. Phase two will require three tanks at a minimum, all fighting for threat and trading anytime someone gets a mark. DPS must be aware of the threat generated and stay below it. Misdirects and Tricks of the Trade will help a ton in this phase to keep all three tanks at the top of the threat list.
Also, during phase two it is best to try and CC some of the adds so that more damage can stay on Lady Deathwhisper. With her extra health the enrage time is extremely tight, and you need as much damage on her as possible.
Icecrown Gunship Battle
This is the third encounter in the raid, and while there is a boss on the enemy ship, there is no real reason to kill him to win the encounter. Once you all reach the airship everyone needs to talk to the goblin onboard handing out the wickedly cool rocket vests. Once you get them you need to equip them in your shirt slot and add them to your toolbar for quick use. Allow everyone to get used to jumping around with them before anyone talks to the captain. If you are anything like our raid, 20 minutes will pass as players jump all over the ship, slap them into shape and get on with the fight.
The encounter needs the raid split up into three different sub-groups: gunners, boarders, and defenders. The boarding party and defenders each need tanks and healers. Boarders should mainly be melee, while defenders should be ranged. The gunners are usually pulled from your lowest DPS in the group regardless of type.
Once the fight starts, the boarders will use their jump packs to get onto the enemy ship. The tank grabs threat from the enemy captain and holds him near the edge of the ship ready to jump back. The enemy captain will be placing a stacking debuff on the boarders, when it gets to high, you need to jump off the ship. All DPS that jumps across needs to start taking out the enemy crew, with mages being the priority as they freeze your cannons on your ship. The tank calls it out at around 8 to 12 stacks of the debuff (depending on your healers) and then everyone jumps back to your ship, allow the debuffs to clear and then return to their ship.
The defenders need to deal with all the boarding enemies. While doing this they should try to minimize incoming damage by avoiding the rockets that will be landing on your ship. In addition any time all the boarders are dead, you can focus on the enemies still on the opponents ship.
The gunners are what will really win or lose the battle for you. The whole fight revolves around who does more damage to the enemy airship. Can they knock you out of the sky before you do? A gunners role is fairly simple, press 1 to fire a normal shot, press 2 to fire a better shot as soon as you are almost to 100 heat in your cannon. Dont let it get to 100 though or you will overheat and lose time waiting for it to cool down. Any time your cannon is iced, help either the defenders or the attackers until the mage that is freezing your cannon is dead and then return to it as quickly as possible.
When one ship is destroyed the fight ends.
Heroic Mode - Gunship Battle
The gunship battle is one of the easier heroic mode changes. The changes include more health for the Mages and the enemy ship, rockets knocking players back, and the enemy boss doing more damage.
Overall these changes are minor as players should be avoiding the rockets anyway, and the health change just brings it back to week one ICC difficulty on normal mode. DPS has ramped up so high that the mages usually died in less than 10 seconds on normal anyway, now its back to 20ish. The extra damage caused doesnt seem to be that big of an issue either.
For groups that find the normal gunship battle easy, this should be no different.
This is the last boss encounter in the Lower Spire and probably the most difficult as well. Death Bringer Saurfang is a Death Knight that has been super charged by the Lich King. In addition to his formidable abilities you will also need to fight and destroy a constant stream of Blood Beasts that he summons.
The main issue that needs to be contented with in this fight is Saurfangs Mark of the Fallen Champion ability. The Mark is placed on a random player and inflicts significant amounts of damage over time. The marks stays up for the remainder of the fight, persisting through death, and if the player is allowed to die, Saurfange heals for 5% of his health. He can only use this ability once he has amassed 100 blood power though. Controlling the amount of blood power he gets and how fast is how you control the fight. Once several Marks get placed on players it will become impossible for the healers to keep up.
Saurfang gains blood power from many of his abilities including blood boil which is cast on players. It does a small amount of damage that can be healed through, however, each tick of damage grants a blood point to Saurfang. In addition he will cast a nova effect on random players that hits that player and anyone else close by. Anyone hit takes damage and grants Saurfang blood power. To prevent and minimize this, players need to spread out as much as possible, as any player it effects grants him blood power.
The main part of the fight though is the Blood Beasts that he summons every 40 seconds. Each time they hit a person they grant Saurfang a point of blood power, therefore they can not be tanked. Instead, ranged DPS needs to grab agro as soon as they appear and kite them while killing them.
[protip]Any slowing effect is useful here, and the more the better. Earthbind totems and Hunter traps should be used as often as possible. Paladin and Warrior stuns work great as well. Death Knights can throw in chains of ice. Many other classes have effects that work as well.[/protip]
As you work your way through Saurfang, the last nasty surprise is a frenzy once he gets to low health. You should save your Heroism / Bloodlust for this point or your healers may not hold out.
Heroic Mode - Saurfang
Saurfang was a nasty fight for most groups to learn on normal and heroic is no exception. His additional health, damage, and abilities will slow down most raid groups.
To start off with he does much higher damage and heals more when he hits a runed tank, or when a marked player dies. The biggest issue here is the marked player, as he will heal a massive 20% of his health for each marked player that the raid allows to die. Even allowing one to die is hard, more than that and a wipe is almost guaranteed.
Next up when the blood beasts are spawned he casts Scent of Blood which slows players by 80% for a short time. This means players need to be on top of the adds as fast as possible so they do not live long enough to reach players, CC is critical.
The changes may sound simple, but they add up to major issues. Be careful!
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