Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bear Tanking the Frozen Halls

(All descriptions refer to Heroic Mode unless specified otherwise)
The Frozen Halls are the new 5-man dungeons in Icecrown Citadel.  They are the highest tuned 5-mans to date and are also more difficult from a logistical position.  Some of the pulls are difficult to execute, and a frequent use of spellcaster mobs makes it hard to tank.  So I'm going to give some tips here on how to tank these new dungeons.

The Forge of Souls

This is the first and easiest of all of the dungeons.  In this dungeon, Soulguard Adepts and Animators are the casters that you might have to pull everyone to.  The Adepts are also healers.  There are some mob packs which will be difficult to tank if you don't have anybody to silence/interrupt for you.  At times, there will be a group of 4/5 mobs arranged in a square, where you can't effectively tank it because there are too many casters.  You should find out who can interrupt/silence (shadow priests, mages, felhunter, rogues, shamans, warriors, deathknights, possibly others) and ask them to help you by using their ability and then you can taunt off of them.  If you are so inclined, CC can be used to lock down those mobs until you can lower the mob count to lower healer stress.

Bronjahm - Godfather of Souls
There isn't really much to speak of here.  He's a pretty easy tanking battle, just remember to kite him away from the souls or else they will heal him.  Stay in the middle when he Soulstorms.  You can Barkskin if you get feared into the Soulstorm, or use Berserk to regain control of yourself. 

Devourer of Souls
You can use Bash do interrupt a Phantom Blast.  Other than that, not much specific.  It's recommended to keep everyone else in the party behind him, and to stop DPS while he's using Mirrored Soul. Watch out for the purple ray of death, which is preceded by a female voice.  The ghost adds cannot be damaged, and therefore are untankable.

The Pit of Saron

The trash in the first part of the instance is pretty easy, there's nothing out of the ordinary.  Right before Ick & Krick there are some Plagueborn Horrors that require you to watch out for poison patches on the ground and move around them.

Forgemaster Garfrost
This guy is pretty simple.  First, AOE kill the adds.  He pulses out a debuff that increases Frost damage taken.    This is fixed by hiding behind the boulder when he runs to his anvil, since the debuff duration is 3 seconds, it will easily clear.  Smash, hide, repeat.

Ick & Krick
Ick & Krick is the ultimate 'don't stand in stuff' battle.  He puts poison patches on the ground, don't stand in those.  Krick will put bombs on the ground, stay out of their radius.  Run away when he channels Poison Nova, it's pretty dangerous.  If he pursues you (and you're not the tank) run away.  Run, smash, repeat.

After Ick & Krick, there are 4 difficult pulls.  The first 2 are composed of 5 Vrykul each: 2 Flamebearers, 2 Wrathbringers, and 1 Deathbringer.  The Flamebearers and the Deathbringer are casters, w/ the Deathbringer in the middle and the Flamebearers opposite each other.  I would recommend Feral Charging the Deathbringer, positioning yourself so your swipe will hit one Flamebearer and have somebody silence/interrupt the other Flamebearer so you can pull the group together.  Be ready to taunt the one that is silenced, because that causes a good amount of aggro.  Kill the casters first.  When the Flamebearers start using Hellfire, you should interrupt them, because it deals serious damage.

The next 2 pulls are done similarly, there are several melee in the front, and 2 casters in the back.  Charge on caster, silence/interrupt the other, and be ready to taunt it.

Then comes the gauntlet event where you must dodge the ice while going through the cave.  Keep moving and picking up adds, because enemies will spawn and run to you.  If you don't run, you're going to end up fighting more mobs than if you didn't run.  Go as fast as you and your group can handle.

Scourgelord Tyrannus
The Scourgelord isn't as bad as he seems.  He has an ability that will mark a player with a debuff that makes their damage also hurt the tank, so they should stop DPSing when he puts that on them.  He'll use an ability that knocks you back, and then he will grow and enrage.  Position yourself at all times so that if you are knocked back, you will put an ice patch between you and him.  This will slow down his pursuit of you, preventing him from destroying you (it is survivable, it's just better this way).  Stay out of frost patches.  If Rimefang marks a DPS, they need to distance themselves from all of the other players, or they'll freeze them in place.

The Halls of Reflection

This is the hardest of all the instances.  The beginning works this way:  5 waves of trash, boss, 5 waves of trash, 2nd boss.  I believe I've seen the trash packs range from 2 to 6 of :

  • Priests:  AOE, Fear, and Healing.  Attacks in melee range.
  • Mages: Flamestrike (like the mage spell), Chains of Ice, the ability to duplicate.  Attacks at range.
  • Hunters:  Ranged attack, Frost Trap (frost block).  Attacks at range.
  • Rogues:  Deadly Poison, Shadowstep (teleport w/ aggro drop), Stun.  Attacks in melee range.
  • Warriors: Interrupt, Enrage.  Attacks in melee range.
Because of this, I recommend killing the killing priority in the order I laid them out.  Priests firsts, then Mages, Hunters, Rogues, and then Warriors.  They all have colorful names, but that's the best way to refer to them.  The real issue is that if you get a mage and a hunter, it can be hard to pull the group together.  Being a bear, you can't silence/interrupt to get the group together.  Unfortunately, interrupting the mages won't work, because they cast from more than 1 school, if you have a silencer they can help you bring all of the mobs together.  Bring the mage and all others to where the hunter is.  If you have another Druid, Shaman, Ret Paladin or Priest in your party (maybe other classes) they can root/CC a mob for you.  Remember using Entangling Roots doesn't stop ability use. So using it on a ranged mob or the Rogue isn't going to help much.  Also, Death Grip can be used to bring the mage or hunter into the group.

IMPORTANT NOTES: The mobs come from all corners of the room.  You'll notice 2 alcoves on opposite sides of the room.  Ask the DPS and healer to stand there while you gather them up, and then they can come out to DPS.  This will also give you time to build initial aggro.  Your silencer can come out earlier to help you gather.  The use of stuns and CC that works on Undead (Hex, Repentance, Roots and Shackle)  is very useful to make this a more manageable encounter to heal.  Make sure and use Survivability cooldowns to make it easier on your healer

You'll do 5 waves of this and then you'll encounter...

This boss has 2 things you need to worry about.  A fear ability that lasts for 4 seconds and deals 4000 dps (magical) on Heroic. The damage is shadow damage, so if you have a priest or paladin, ask them to use shadow resistance abilities.  He also has an aura that reduces damage and healing done by 20/40/60% as the battle progresses.  Barkskin and Berserk can be used to mitigate the effects of the fear, but your best defense is if you have a shaman, for them to use Tremor Totem.

5 more waves, and then you fight...

This boss has 1 goal, deal TONS of damage.  The aspects of this fight are more suited for the healer to know about but there are always things to know.  He has an ability called Corrupted Flesh which will reduce the health of all people in 28 yards by 50%.  He also does and Obliterate which does 30,000 physical damage.  He will put zones on the ground which you shouldn't stand in unless you want to take 75% extra shadow damage.  He will put a DOT on someone called Shared Suffering that deals 40,000 damage as 10,000 every 3 seconds for 12 seconds.  If it is dispelled, it will distribute the rest of the damage among the party evenly.  This damage is Shadow damage, so remind your priests and paladins to buff/aura appropriately.

There is 1 'trash' mob after Malwyn who will summon a shadow copy of each of your party members.  Have everyone stack up so you can easily grab these adds.  Overall, this is easy.  Then you fight the Lich King.

You don't actually fight the Lich King, he is slowed and you have to run from him w/ Jaina or Sylvanas.  They will break through barriers he puts up while you kill adds he throws at you.  There are 4 barriers and 4 groups of adds, with each being harder and more time-consuming that the last.  There are ghouls, abominations, and vrykul.  The vrykul have an AOE shadow bolt, so they need to be killed first.  If you aren't fast enough, the Lich King will wipe your party.  Go fast, go hard, go home.  You're done.

That's all that there is to the Frozen Halls.  Good Luck, Have Fun!