Updated Mon, Mar 22, 2010 by Messiah
The last area in Icecrown Citadel before facing the Lich King himself is the Frostwing Halls. The Frostwing Halls contain two boss fights both of which are dragons. The first is Valithria Dreamwalker who you actually must help rather than defeat. The second being Sindragosa the frost wyrm. Once you have defeated both encounters you may then enter the room containing the Frozen Throne.
The Valithria encounter is a very different encounter from almost everything else in WoW. It is a boss encounter where instead of damaging the boss you must heal her. Valithria is being held against her will by the Lich King’s minions. The encounter involves players fighting off waves of adds that come from both sides of the room while healers attempt to heal Valithria back to full health from her starting point at 50%.
The fight involves creatures running in to fend off your group from the entrances on each side of the room. There are several different types of guards that come out, they are Blazing Skeletons, Blistering Zombies, Risen Archmages, Gluttonous Abominations, and Suppressors.
The blazing skeletons cast fireballs at players for a while and then they start casting Lay Waste for 12 seconds. Lay Waste does big damage to everyone in the raid every two seconds for its duration.
Blistering Zombies can not be tanked due to their Corrosion ability which lowers armor by 10% per stack and the fact that they explode when they die causing a huge amount of damage to anyone nearby.
Risen Archmages are casters that have several abilities. The most direct is their frostbolt volley that hits everyone nearby for big damage. They also place out marks on the ground that summon columns of frost that throw players into the air and inflict big damage if players do not get off of them within about three seconds. Lastly they can summon mana voids which drain mana from anyone on them.
Next up for adds are the Gluttonous Abominations. These abominations must be tanked facing away from other players since they spray poison forward which both damages and places a DoT on the tank. After an Abomination dies the tank must also get ready to pick up the rot worms that will spawn from the abomination’s body. They do not do a lot of damage to a tank, but if not tanked could go after a healer and kill them very quickly.
Last of the adds are the Suppressors. The suppressors do not have an agro table and will run towards Valithria and place a debuff on her reducing healing by 10%. While these have no impact on the raid itself, the reduced healing against Valithria really hurts your chances on this encounter.
The raid needs to be broken up into a group for each side of the room. Each side needs a tank and DPS with one of the DPS assigned to kite the Blistering Zombies that spawn from that side. As each wave is spawned the tank either grabs them or the DPS assigned to kite the zombies takes it away from the group. Players need to kill the adds as fast as possible while minimizing any damage taken and self healing as much as possible. If possible you can have a specific player assigned to keep the suppressors under control as well.
Next up we talk about the healers, which is really where this fight is going to be decided. Several healers must be assigned to heal Valthria specifically, usually one or two on 10 man and four or more on 25 man fights. These healers will enter into the green portals to the dreamstate that Valthria will summon throughout the fight whenever possible. Once in the portal they need to fly through the clouds that appear to gain a stacking buff that grants extra mana per 5 regen and 10% additional healing. Players get a limited amount of time in the dreamstate and should time getting the last stack within the last 5 seconds of being in the dream. By doing this you can continue to stack from one portal to the next. By the end of the fight healers should have over 20 stacks and be able to put out the massive heals that will be needed to heal Valthria to full health.
While learning this encounter the fight can seem very hectic, but after a while it becomes pretty easy. It also becomes easier the higher your raid DPS is. The quicker your group can dispatch the adds and the less healing that needs to be directed to players the faster the encounter becomes. Even though you will have Valithria specific healers, any other healer can and should direct heals to her any chance they get. In 10 man raids a single healer healing the raid is the best situation, in this case they park in the middle of the room between both groups and can therefore reach everyone.
This fight is one of the only fights where the bosses’ health does not change. Instead a new mechanic is introduced that does damage to Valithria over time. This means that while her health is not increased the amount you need to heal here does significantly increase.
The key element in this fight is to not let the healers’ stack of buffs reset at any point. If that happens the fight is almost surely a wipe as the adds will overwhelm you before you can get through healing her. The trick to keeping the buff stacking is the same as in normal mode, healers should enter a portal as soon as they appear and ensure they time getting their last stack just a few seconds before the portals close.
Other than that the fight remains the same, the waves of adds all have the same abilities but they just do more damage. It is critical that everyone understand what each one does and how to minimize their effect on the fight. Everyone should be careful to take as little damage as possible as you want the healers that are focusing on Valithria to not have to help the raid healers catch up, they should focus entirely on her.
The Sindragosa fight will remind many players of the Sapphiron fight from Naxxramas as it has many similar elements. It is slightly more complicated though so get ready for a bit of a learning curve in this three phase dragon fight. I mention that it is a dragon fight to remind everyone that normal dragon mechanics are in effect. Sindragosa has a nasty tail swipe that will hit anyone in her rear arc, a cleave attack that hits anyone that wanders too far forward into her front arc, and a nasty frontal frost cone. In addition Sindragosa deals damage to everyone in the encounter through a frost debuff that ticks for damage to all raid members every 2 seconds.
In the first phase the main abilities to deal with are an icy grip and blistering cold attack combination attack and unchained magic. Icy grip pulls everyone into Sindragosa and then immediately after blistering cold is cast. It takes 5 seconds to cast and anyone within 30 yards once it has been cast is hit with a huge amount of frost damage likely killing any non-tank. Unchained magic can affect any spell caster in the raid and lasts for 8 seconds. Any casting that is completed during this time places a stacking debuff on the player that will trigger roughly 2,000 damage per stack once the 8 second duration expires. Players can either stop casting or be prepared to have to be healed when the damage happens.
Phase two starts once you have dropped Sindragosa to 85% health and will then alternate back to phase one and once phase two is done and then restart the second phase roughly every 2 minutes. In this Phase Sindragosa flies into the air and casts ice tomb on several players. Once this has happened she will start dropping frost bombs that explode and cause significant frost damage to any player not hiding behind an ice tomb. The damage caused by the frost bomb is enough that it will kill or almost kill any non-tank player. The difference between this and the Sapphiron fight is that Sindragosa will drop multiple frost bombs before returning to the ground, and the ice tombs do not shatter when the frost bombs explode. Instead they have a significant amount of health that must be burned through to free the player. DPS must focus on the ice tombs as quickly as possible as the player(s) trapped will start taking damage due to suffocation as soon as the last frost bomb explodes.
The third phase occurs once you have lowered Sindragosa to 35% health. At this point Sindragosa will no longer take to the air, although she will continue to cast ice tomb on players. She also gains an ability called mystic buffet that stacks on all players in LoS every 6 seconds. Each stack of the debuff increases the damage taken by 10% (15% in 25 player raids). The only way to clear the debuff is to remain out of LoS as it is cast by hiding behind an ice tombed player.
Since phase three is long enough that you can not reasonably burn Sindragosa down while ignoring her abilities you need to pace yourself. Everyone’s goal is to survive, clear debuffs, free trapped players, and DPS Sindragosa as possible. Once you can get her to phase 3 you just need some time to get the pacing correct to be able to finish her off. Sindragosa has a 10 minute enrage timer, so while control is important you need to have some sense of urgency to get her down in time as well.
Sindragosa gains more health and is capable of causing more damage in heroic mode, as is normal. In addition all of her abilities cause significantly more damage, including the AoE that affects everyone in the raid. This dramatically ramps up the healing requirements for the fight.
Additionally the way Instability works is changed so that when it expires it does damage to everyone within 20 yards of the player. This makes it important that the players that get instability move away from the raid as quickly as possible and get the required 20 yards away. The real issue becomes dealing with instability while ice tombs are in play in phase 2. Players are required to think and react very quickly so that they do not wipe the group.
Players will need to ensure that they reset their buffs after every 2nd stack or the damage it causes along with everything else going on will cause wipes. Overall the damage output is so high and the addition of the AoE damage makes this a very hard fight. In normal mode it is all about stacking up as a group, in heroic mode you still need to most of the time, but everyone needs to pay attention to the AoE explosions.