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Healing Icecrown: Storming the Citadel

After doing both the 10 and 25 man versions of the first four bosses of Icecrown, I wanted to share a few notes with everyone for the first four bosses on our march to Arthas.

Trash -
Rep Grind for Ashen Verdict Rings! Joking aside, the trash in here is actually kind of tricky. Be aware that the Giant Skeleton mobs have a AOE interrupt, there is a non-interruptable cast bar so you can see it coming – but also note that when they start casting this spell, it looks like they are casting a lightning spell. Keep an eye out!The Nerubian mobs in Deathwhiper’s room have a life leech not unlike what General Vezax has in Ulduar. Spread out, and if you get the debuff… please move.

Lord Marrowgar –
I am guessing that this fight will be substantially more difficult on heroic, as the normal version is very straight forward. Four things you need to be aware of as a healer.

  • Bone Spike Graveyard- 1 target on 10 man, 3 on 25. Bone Spike will target players randomly and damage them over time. These players will continue to take damage until the bone spike is DPS’d and destroyed. Be sure to either have your Grid notify you of these targets or be aware of raid warnings. Players that are spiked cannot spellcast. So if your 10 man runs 2 healers, and one is targeted, be ready to heal them. Holy Priests – POM can be very handy for speed if you don’t have a Surge of Light queued. Disc – PW:Sheild.
  • Coldflame – People should see these coming, they move pretty slowly – but as healers sometimes it is our job to “heal through stupid”. Sigh.
  • Bonestorm- Run away! On normal the damage to the slow movers isn’t overly difficult to heal through, but I’m sure we can bet that on Heroic it won’t be. For those that remember Leotheras, this ability is very reminiscent. If you see a good deal of people get hit: launch a POM at them and let the bouncing magic do its work!
  • Saberlash - Provided your tanks are in position, this should be split and managed pretty effectively.

Lady Deathwhisper-
AKA Shade of Akama 2.0: You’ll be healing 2-3 tanks (depending on your strategy and gear) taking the waves of adds that come from the different entryways (reminder: Priority to the Empowered adds). Again a fairly straightforward fight: Survive the waves, while DPS burns her mana shield – once the shield is down, take her out. Again, a few points:

  • Death and Decay – Don’t stand in the green shit! Healers be ready for slow or “let me finish this cast” players.
  • Dispels!! -  There are lots of debuffs that go out on this fight, some from friendly players when they are Mind Controled.
  • Dominate Mind – Be ready to flee from an MC’d Rogue, but also be ready to use any CC available to you.
  • Shadowbolt – Her shadowbolt hits pretty hard, so be quick to top of the raid as it can hit for a substantial amount.
  • The adds have fairly substantial raid damage. Having that chain, followed by Death & Decay can be fatal. Holy Priests – this is where Burst Healing offsets Burst Damage nicely. Be ready for Serendipitous POH’s followed by a COH snap.
  • Tanks and Threat in Phase 2 – Once the mana shield goes down, she starts to stack debuffs on the tank. Tanks will need to take turns tanking her so healers should be aware of the debuff stacks and when the next tank will surpass cumulative threat. Oh, and to make it even more interesting: she’s taunt immune.(edit: confirmed on normal mode she CAN be taunted – heroic: TBD) This reminds me of Bloodboil’s threat mechanic. If you struggle with this, bring 3 tanks – having all 3 build threat, but only 1 getting the debuff.

Gunship Battle -
So far my favorite fight in Icecrown: hands down. Step one- don’t do what some of our raiders did: forget to equip your Jetpack shirt.

  • Assign at least 2 healers to go with the Tank/DPS to the other ship, at least one should be a raid healer, and the other should be on the tank. If the tanks are close enough to eachother from one ship to the other, Beacon will reach.
  • Healers on your Faction’s ship have a fairly straightforward encounter. Heal the tank(s), and raid heal while you burn the waves of adds down. There also is a ‘situational awareness’ check on your ship to not get hit by the missles that the other ship is launching at you. Answer: Don’t stand in the glaringly obvious missle strike zones.
  • Healers on the Opposing Factions ship need to be aware of the number of stacks that the Captain has. As time goes by the Captain will gain a stacking buff, Battle Fury. Once this gets too high, healers will struggle to keep the tank alive. DPS will take out the mages. My guild uses the stacks and the timing of the death of the mages to jump back to our airship while the buff resets. Once the buff resets, head back over, rinse and repeat. As the stack gets higher and higher, cooldowns like GS and PS should be used proactively to prevent the tank from falling from the damage from Saurfang/Muradin and Axe-Throwers.
  • Healers who happen to find themselves with the ability to multitask, can also use their jetpacks to ‘crash’ on top of the mobs. This will apply a movement and attack speed debuff for a short duration. The duration increases with how far/high you’ve rocketpacked.

Deathbringer Saurfang –
From a lore perspective, this is an interesting fight. However, if you have the coordination to complete the Gunship encounter, Saurfang shouldn’t pose too much of a hurdle for your raid.

The key to this raid is to control Saurfang’s abilities from either empowering himself or healing himself. As he deals more damage, he buffs himself and gets stronger. Saurfang also summons Blood Beasts throughout the fight. Provided your DPS can shift focus and take them out fast enough, they shouldn’t be much of a concern.

  • Spread Out – Prior to the pull/talking with the NPC to start the encounter, you should have your raid in defined locations and use DBM or DXE range monitors to spread out more than 12 yards from your closest neighbor. Failing to do so will chain Blood Nova, which can be devastating if it is chained to a Boiling Blood target.
  • Boiling Blood – This is a debuff that is applied to random targets in your raid that places a fairly strong physical damage dot on the target. Disc’s either not on the tank or Tank Discs with a spare GCD should shield these targets, and holies should baby sit these players so they don’t go down too fast – particularly clothies with minimal physical damage reduction.
  • Increasing Damage – A Tank Healer’s job gets more and more difficult as the fight goes on due to Blood Link and Blood Power. Think of it as an enrage of sorts.
  • Rune of Blood – Tanks will need to taunt (quickly) off of each other once this debuff is applied to them. It is applied to the tank with aggro. Healers should be ready to quickly switch targets to the new tank. Depending on how well geared your tanks are, towards the end of a fight slow healer reaction/switching time could prove devastating. (I expect the Heroic version of this to be very unforgiving)
  • Mark of the Fallen Champion – This is applied every time Saurfang’s energy reaches 100. This debuff stays on the target for the remainder of the encounter causing notable physical damage to them each time Saurfang hits a target. If you die, he heals 5%. If you take too long to kill him, you could see 2, 3, even 4 people with this debuff – coupled with Blood Power, you have another “enrage” like mechanic. Healers should be prepared to heal these other targets as needed. Perhaps even assigning people to the first, second, or third target as needed. (Pallies with Becon are very effective at mitigating this effect) If you are struggling, you may want to consider letting him heal the 5% and let that one person die… that is assuming you can DPS through that 5% heal without losing more players.

Overall this fight requires good positioning, timely taunts, and strong dps.

Bring on the next wing!

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Written By: on December 15, 2009
  1. I had also heard that Lady Deathwhisper was taunt-immune, but last night in 25-man the other than and I were definitely taunt-tossing her after a few stacks of the debuff.

  2. WTB "edit" button? I, of course, meant other "tank."

  3. Oh. Well that makes it a bit easier to manage.

    Though I would have sworn I heard our maintank call out "she's taunt immune" last Tuesday when he tried. Oh well.

  4. There seems to be a lot of confusion over this issue. I have heard from a lot of sites that she is taunt immune. When my guild cleared 10 man this week the tanks were definitely taunt switching and didn't even have any problems with that.
    Couldn't say about 25 man, we are yet to hit phase 2 due to slow dps.

  5. Ok confirmed on 25 she can be taunted. heroic: tbd

  6. Don't forget, for those that are able to decurse it is a must that they remove curses as soon as they go out. Whenever a person is cursed every single ability they use will be put on an individual 15sec lockout until the curse is removed. That can prove dangerous if your tanks and healers get locked out for too long.

  7. I am sure you will pass by my place, but… I think I managed today to bring a bit of light on Saurfang – Blood POwer Mechanics.
    I would love to hear your in put here.

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