By Josh

Icecrown Citadel Boss Strategies

I wanted to start accumulating a set of guides on how I tank the encounters that we face with in Icecrown Citadel. I found that the first time I faced the bosses, most of the information was there for us to use, however there were little things that I learned on our first wipes that may help the greater tankadin community. Below is the summation of the knowledge I have gathered from fighting the encounters of Icecrown Citadel…

Lord Marrowgar –

Gear set: Pure Effective health

At the start of the encounter you pull the boss by running up to him, and jump turning him around on the spot, tanking him where he sits when you enter the room. Your off tank(s) should follow closely so that they can get into position before the first Saber Lash. Phase one of the encounter lasts for approximately one minute. During this time, it is a pure tank and spank for the MT. The off tanks can provide debuffs and damage but they are there purely to soak the damage on the Saber lash.

At the start of Phase 2, Lord Marrowgar starts his Bone Storm at random members of the raid, all while continuing to spread the Coldflame. The two jobs of the tanks during this phase of the fight are to stay as close as possible to the boss and to avoid the cold flame. The reason that you want to stay close is that at the end of P2, he will drop aggro. If Lord Marrowgar is not immediately picked up, he will more than likely target one of your dps. I would suggest that with 5-10 seconds left on the timer, run at him and start using your ranged abilities to build threat. Once you have picked him back up, reposition him back in the middle of the room and continue to tank him. Rinse and Repeat…

Tips for this Encounter: The most challenging part of this fight for the tank is picking up Lord Marrowgar during the P2 to P1 transition, as he drops aggro. Be aware of the P2 timer and get ready to use as many of your snap threat abilities when he stops spinning, as you have 1 to 2 seconds before he starts moving again. Thanks to Meloree: Also, if you activate Divine Protection as you transition from P2 to P1, at the end of every Bone Storm phase, you will have a cool down for unsplit lashes while positioning.

Lady Deathwisper –

Gear set: High Health Threat Set

This fight is initiated by your ranged dps when they open up on Lady Deathwisper. Phase 1 of the encounter does not require a tank on the boss, as she does not move and had no aggro table. She will randomly target players and hit them with a shadow bolt until the raid has dpsed through her mana shield. The tanks for this encounter will start on either side of the room standing near the alcoves. Periodically, three adds will spawn from the niches in the side walls (as well as one on the back stairs in 25 man). For 10 man, only one side will spawn, for 25 man both sides plus the staircase add will spawn each time. The tanks primarly role is to tank the adds on either side of the room, as well as the back of the room.

Our guild used three tanks on this encounter, one for each side and one in the back. The most difficult part of this encounter is add management during phase 1. Periodically, the adds will gain abilities that will give them Shroud of the Occult.You have to dps through these shields in order to kill them. Also periodically, Lady Deathwhisper will resurrect one of the adds, empowering it. These empowered adds are almost completely immune to either physical or magic damage. It is the job of the add tanks to pick up these adds, mark them, and Identify which type of damage is required. You also have to look out for Death and Decay. Moving the adds out of D and D is another pain of this fight.

The most threatening part of the fight is when one of the adds gets a buff <to be inserted when I remember the name> which makes them hit very, very hard. These adds have to be marked and IMMEDIATELY dpsed down, as more than one of them is too much damage for a tank to take.

When the DPS has completely depleted the mana shield on Lady Deathwisper, phase 2 starts. It is important for the ranged DPS to communicate when this is going to happen, because she immediately gains an aggro table, and must be tanked. This is basically a tank and spank fight with one twist. Lady Deathwisper places Touch of Insignificance on the main tank which reduces their threat generation by 20% each stack, and it stacks up to 5 times or 100% threat reduction. Because of this debuf, you have to have two tanks on the boss at all times, and when one tank gets to four stacks, the other tank should taunt the boss off the first tank. This taunt tanking rotation, at four stacks, will persist for the duration of P2. As long as you can keep up the taunt rotation, your dps should burn the boss, and the encounter is over.

Tips for this encounter: I found that the best way to pick up the adds is to consecrate the middle alcove, hit the back one with a SoR, and AS the front one, so that it is silenced and has to walk towards you. Once again, managing these adds is the most difficult part of the encounter. Also If you do not over gear the encounter, you can kite or taunt bounce the Deformed Fanatics, as they hit VERY hard. (thanks Rhidach)

The Gunship Battle –

Gear Set : Max Stamina / Avoidance (to be determined)

This encounter starts when you talk to your ship’s captain. Before you do so, ensure that you have a Rocket Pack equipped and on your hot bar, this will be essential to the fight if you are the enemy ship tank. There are two tanks for this fight and they are responsible for different aspects of tanking. Tanking assignments are as follows: One tank will be assigned to be on your ship, tanking the adds that come out of the portal. It is a good idea to have a good AoE threat tank for this assignment. This tank should position themselves near the portal that spawns on the deck of your ship and pick up the adds as they come out. It is imperative that all the adds are dpsed down quickly as they gain strength if they are alive longer. <More to come later, as I have not done this side of the fight>

The tank responsible for tanking the Enemy Ship’s captain has a bit more hectic job. Your job is to aggro and tank the enemy captain. The difficult part of this encounter comes with the fact that the enemy captain has a stacking debuf called Battle Fury which is applied to the boss when he lands an attack. For this reason, an avoidance set may be very powerful, however this is still up for debate. I would suggest that once you have your 4 piece T10 that you use this on cooldown during this fight, as it will prolong your ability to tank the boss.

Once you have started the encounter, the tank responsible for the enemy ship should position themselves in between the two cannons on the right hand side so that you can boost yourself across the gap and land next to the enemy captain. After you get to the other ship, you should grab the enemy captain and move him to the opposite side of the ship. There is a nice little cubby at the front of the ship that you can sit near to ensure that none of your dps get hit by the cleave that he does. As the bosses stacks start to increase, you will be taking more and more damage. Each tank will have a different breaking point, which you will have to identify, however I found that once the boss has about 5 less stacks than that breaking point, call out to your raid that you are retreating.

Give your offense ample time to get back over to your gunship and then use the rocket pack to fly back across to your ship. I found that if I tanked with my back to my ship, I could use the rocket pack with out moving and get across the gap. At this point, the enemy captain should have about 15 seconds left on his debuf. When the timer on the debuf gets to 5, you can call for your offense to rocket back to the enemy ship. Boost yourself back over and rinse and repeat, picking up the captain and moving him to the other side of the ship. Note that he drops aggro when you jump over to the other side, so you will have to be the first over there to pick him up, and use your snap threat abilities, as your melee will be coming over and starting to dps the other adds on the ship.

Tips for this Encounter: The most helpful thing I found was to tank the boss closer to the side of the ship where you can rocket back. Also, tank him with your back to your ship, so that you do not have to turn around and run to rocket back. Once you have mastered this, you can take a few more stacks before you have to retreat. Also, it is important to remember that each time you retreat, the enemy captain resets aggro, so you will have to pick him back up when you go back on the offensive.

Alternative Tank Strat By Theck – At least for alliance, there’s an arch along the back of the horde ship. If you rocket pack up to that spot, Saurfang will run around to the edge and start climbing the arch to reach you. Since the pack has no cooldown, you can rocket pack back down before he reaches you, forcing him to run all the way back around to the bottom. Do this enough times and the stack drops off (it only took 2 or 3 jumps iirc).

Deathbringer Saurfang –

Gear Set: Avoidance Set

This encounter starts when you talk to the leader of the group standing on the platform. There will be about a minute of talking before you can engage in combat. Once the talking is over, you start the fight by aggroing the boss. We found that we liked to set up our positioning before the speech was over, while I was mashing HoR and AS. This boss is basically a tank and spank for us, with two small twists (as usual). The boss has an ability called Rune of Blood which he places on the Main Tank. This rune causes him to heal for 25 to 30k hp each time he hits the tank. This is why you need two tanks for this encounter. You will be taunt bouncing this tank much like thorim. When the main tank gets the Rune of Blood, the off tank will taunt. You will have about 5 seconds after your Rune of Blood wears off before you will need to taunt back.

The other thing that Saurfang does during the encounter is periodically summon Blood Beasts. The blood beasts will most likely aggro a healer, however if you are plowing through your 969 rotation, you will more than likely have a few that stick to you, and this is bad. Saurfang has an ability called Blood Link which triggers Blood Power every time Saurfang or his Blood Beasts inflict damage with an ability and also increases Saurfang’s energy by 1. When his energy reaches 100, he marks a member of the raid with Mark of the Fallen Champion which causes Saurfang’s melee attacks to hit the marked target as well as the tank. The marked player takes 4,275 to 4,725 additional Physical damage from each attack. If a marked player dies while the Mark is up, Saurfang heals for 5% of his maximum health. Cast when Saurfang reaches 100 energy through his Blood Link energizing.

These are the most difficult part of this encounter. For this reason, when a new group of adds is about to spawn, you should stop using HotR, Consecrate, and any other AoE abilites until the blood beasts have passed behind you. Once you have mastered the taunt rotation and how and when to stop your AoE abilities, the encounter boils down to a tank and spank. You never move, and you don’t really have to do much other than tank.

Tips for this encounter: The taunt rotation is essential. You will probably have to call it out in vent for your healers, and this is also why I suggested to swap out some of your gear for more hit (or glyph for RD/HoR). If you feel that you need the effective health, and your taunts resist (as both of mine did once), you can BoP the MT and the boss should swap to you. However before you do this, ensure that there are not any melee ahead of you. Also, be very aware of your AoE. While it is not essential to ensure that the Blood beasts pass you (as they do not hit very hard), it will make the encounter increasingly difficult as the mark of the fallen champion spreads.


5 Responses to “Icecrown Citadel Guide”

  1. December 9, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    Marrowgar: I don’t see why you have the offtanks spread out before the bone storm. It really doesn’t matter if tanks get hit by the whirlwind, but he does sometimes spam saber-lash back to back, you don’t want to risk the OTs getting out of range. Also, I just pulled with Divine Protection up, and put it up at the end of every Bone Storm phase, so that I wouldn’t catch unsplit lashes without a cooldown while positioning. Of course, our melee were more than happy to run through the tank while getting back into position. Much laughter ensued.

    Deathwhisper: Adds are definitely critical. Empowered adds moreso. The best thing you can do for empowered fanatics is to kite. For empowered adherents, they just have to get dropped fast.

    Gunship Battle: I tanked him right on the edge, beside one of the axe-throwers. Not only did that make it easy to jetpack back when I had to retreat, but the healers from the other ship could crossheal me with spare GCDs. The other thing is, plan your retreats in advance. Know that it’s coming soon, let the raid know “After the next battlemage, we’re retreating”. I’m also not sure if avoidance is better or not. I tried full avoidance gear in 10-man, and I felt a lot more fragile, I was calling for the retreats at 30 stacks, rather than 35 with EH gear in 25man. I know that’s not directly comparable.

    Saurfang: I disagree about EH gear here. And, yes, I recognize the irony. I wore pure EH gear and solotanked it in 25man, and things started to get hectic towards the end. There’s basically no threat to tanks on this fight, the best thing you can do for your raid is to stack all the avoidance you can. I solotanked with full avoidance gear in 10-man. I know the two don’t match up well, but he certainly stacked up energy slower. Either way, a 2-tank rotation with max avoidance gear is definitely the way to go for normal. We’ll see what he hits like in heroic.

  2. 2 Selyndia
    December 10, 2009 at 10:32 am

    We did a different strat for Gunship tank transitions so that we didn’t ever have tanks jumping back, but still able to strip his debuff, so I figured I’d post it here.

    First, as we had a third tank, we sent two tanks over to the enemy ship. When the enemy captain is agro’d but not in melee range, he throws something at you that will add a stacking bleed. Each stack does 2k per damage. When the one tank was finishing, the second tank, at ranged, would taunt him and he would start throwing at him. The bleed would start stacking, and by the time it hit about 7-8 stacks, the buff would fade. We then Hand of Protectioned that tank to strip the bleed and sent them in to tank, alternating to deal with Forbearance. Doing it this way, we were able to smoothly do transitions the entire encounter and never had to jump back, and so melee could just stay on the opposite ship the entire time.

    Secondly, on DBS, the biggest lesson we learned the hard way was Mark of the Fallen Champion persists through death. This means that if someone with mark died, battle rezzing them was almost a guaranteed second death to them and would be an other 5% healed. If someone with mark falls, it’s better to just leave them down.

  3. 3 Wrathy
    December 10, 2009 at 11:29 am

    Thanks for the replies, I incorporated both of your suggestions/feedback into the guide. I am sure there will be much more to edit as we see more of these bosses.

    We also ran into the BRez problem with mark. I agree with your assessments that anyone that died with Mark on them should stay dead.

  4. 4 Selyndia
    December 16, 2009 at 7:45 am

    Note, due to a hotfix, the strategy I provided earlier is no longer viable, as his thrown attacks continue to stack Battle Fury.

    There was a hot fix on Mark of the Fallen Champion too, in that it can occasionally bug out and remain after death and release, but if you wait to have your raid release until after the encounter resets, the issue should go away.

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