Lightknight: You ask and you Shall Recieve
Hey Wrathy, i am a german Paladin Tank from Cologne. I enjoy reading your Blog and your Tips for the ICC25 Hard Mode Bosses. I am very interested in your Guilds Lady Deathwhisper Strat. We are at 7/12 Hardmodes. Can you write about it?
So, as promised I am going to have a double post today. Since Lightknight asked for some strategy regarding Lady Deathwhisper, I figured what better time than now to write a post about that specific encounter. I am going to assume that anyone who is reading this is deep into ICC hard modes and has the basic understanding of the encounter mechanics. I figure that since I am a tank, and I write a tank blog, I will touch specifically on the things that I do during the fight. I can comment on almost every aspect of the fight. The only thing that I do not have any experience on is tanking the adds in Phase 2, because our other tank does that. However, I have tanked both sides in phase 1, and since i’m not on adds in phase 2, obviously I have tanked the boss.
One more important thing of note is that because the most threatening attack to the MT during this fight is a frost bolt, Frost Resist gear is suggested. For this fight I use my progression gear set (double Stam trinkets) with three pieces of frost resist gear, the Belt, Chest, and Boots from the Naxx crafted set. This brings me up to 485 frost resist. Our other tank wears high health threat gear because he is dealing with snap threat on 3-4 adds at any time. It is also important to remember (because blizzard made us forget about it) that Lady Deathwhisper is one of the two bosses in Icecrown Citadel who has parry haste enabled.
Phase 1 positioning
For our guild we had to change up our positioning from normal mode. In normal mode, we all just stand in the middle section of the room, split up the melee and tanks to the right and left sides, and tank the adds by the cubbies. This is the first major change in hard mode. We place the whole raid behind the boss, as most guilds do. You can get behind the boss and stand there prior to the pull if you hug the wall, so positioning and raid placement is easily done with out worry of pulling the boss. We place all of our melee on the 2 caster side (right side looking at her from the front of the room), and spread our ranged out along the middle to left side. This creates seperation between the melee and the ranged for mind controls, and ensures that we have a very nice area designated to cleave all the adds down near the boss.
We basically use the pillars as markers and line of sight for caster mobs. We tank all the adds in between the right hand pillar and the boss, so that cleaves and 8 yard AoE can hit all adds and the boss, while at the same time creating a LoS issue for NPC casters which will force them to run to you and join the pile. In order to get all the adds there, we employ the following tactics. The Tank on the two caster side picks up the melee add and positions himself in the correct place. One of the casters is gripped into the melee, and the other is MD / LoS’ed into position. Truthfully, as our dps got better, our hunters just killed the other caster before it ever got into position.
As for the left side (or the one caster side), There are two melee which you have to pick up and move into the AoE area. I can provide a bit more insight into this since this is the side that I tank. The caster that spawns on the left side is burst down by all of our ranged, and is usually dead before I can pick up and move both the melee adds. I hit the closer melee add (the cubby nearest LDW) with a HoR then SoR and use AS and Judgement to pick up the melee that spawns nearest the stairwell. Before they can hit me I have already begun to run back to the AoE area, and get a few more attacks on them. I swap between the two adds for the first 5 to 10 seconds to establish aggro on both and then allow the cleave damage to kill them.
If there is a melee add which spawns from the back of the room, our other tank just taunts it and pulls it into the pack, if there is a caster add, we have to get quick taunts and LoS on it so that it will run into the pack. Once the caster’s shield goes up its much harder to move them around. Finally the other thing which needs to happen very quickly is identifying when one of the adds gets empowered and focusing it down. If it is the caster add, you do not have to worry so much about moving around, but if you get a Deformed Fanatic, it is imperative that you move IMMEDIATELY because they will hit you for 40k. Begin to kite them away from the melee, as the deformed adds cleave.
Avoid killing your own
The first major problem we encountered was the fact that we were killing our own melee when the mind controls go out. This is combated by a few things. First and foremost people have to be cognizant of the boss timers, and their surroundings and stop any AoE abilities when the MCs go out. However the other thing that we can do as tanks is move the adds away from the group. I usually back them up another 10 yards towards the cubbies so that the melee can be closer to their CC’s when they get MCed. Lost dps because you wait for people to be cc’ed is less than lost dps because you killed your fellow raiders.
From here, it is basically rinse and repeat until about 10% mana. You want to bring the shield down when the adds that are out are at about 50% hp. This will allow for all of your dps (except rogues and hunters) to be on the adds when your MT establishes initial aggro on the boss. She is not tauntable in hard mode, and it provides for some sticky situations if there are a lot of dots and aoe from the melee on her. I usually swap over to her at 5% and start to attack her with the adds that I am tanking just beating on me. I use this time to swap my seal from Seal of Command to Seal of Vengance/Corruption to get a 5 stack up before she is released. Once her shield is depleted, she wipes aggro and starts moving. This is when you need to be getting some serious threat on her, from both your own abilities, as well as MD and tricks.
I usually hit her with a SoR, HotR and AS as I run away. We place her in the middle of the room, but I know there are guilds who put her on the stairs. Either place is fine but you have to place her in such a manner where people have room to move when the ghosts spawn.
Phase 2 Logistics
This has been said in many places and in many ways, but the frost bolts she does are much less threatening than ghosts blowing up. Any rogues who are on the boss for interrupts (and dps) should be aware of this fact. You can easily eat a frost bolt when wearing your frost resist gear, but a ghost blowing up has the ability to kill everyone around it. Phase two from the MT’s perspective is a tank and spank, where your only job is to avoid ghosts. You dont even have to produce threat, because after you hit 5 stacks you wont be. You will be doing marginal dps on the boss and helping her life go down, but you are in a great situation to call ghosts out around the melee and move accordingly to help them.
Other than that, the whole fight in phase two is a balance of avoiding ghosts, and ensuring that the adds are killed fast enough that your ranged can get some time on the boss. A few other things I do when I am tanking the boss that can help are throw hammers out on MCed people so that they dont kill your raid, or run into the AoE and get killed themselves, call out ghosts, move accordingly, and establish excellent initial aggro. If your dps is getting close to your threat, and they do not have a threat reducing ability, you can bubble /cancelaura macro off your stacks and establish some more threat, but threat should not be an issue because you should be getting tricks and misdirects on cooldown. I usually wait until I get to 5 stacks at the beginning of phase 2, then bubble them off and get some more initial threat while I still can. But once into phase 2, as long as your dps can avoid ghosts, and your healers can keep people alive from the frost bolt volleys, you have a kill.