After a lazy Tuesday of avoiding lag on the population-heavy Mal’Ganis, Aftermath went into ICC and took down the bosses in the Crimson Halls, amid some disappointment, some laughter, rampant BT nostalgia and lots of raid damage. The two new bosses released this week—The Blood Princes and Blood Queen Lana’thel—marked a definite step up in terms of raid coordination. And while the first of the Blood wing encounters actually proved to be one of the easier fights in Icecrown (at least on normal) there are some things you should know when pitting yourself against these foes, including how to make bite flowcharts on the fly!
A total of 4 packs mark your entry into the Crimson Halls, although unlike the Plagueworks, there isn’t much about these pulls that bears note. Tacticians will likely be the most annoying part of these predecessors to the boss fights, as they have a shadow step not unlike the rogues in the first trash pack on the way General Vezax’s quarters. Feel free to laugh at your tank if he happens to get gouged on the pull, but otherwise you can steamroll these packs down.
The Blood Princes
The Gist: If you enjoyed Council back in the days of BT, then you’re sure to adore this fight. For the duration of the encounter, you will be dealing with 3 princes—Valanar, Taldaram, and Keleseth—who share a health pool but are only vulnerable to incoming damage when empowered. This means that at any given time, your entire raid will be focusing on 1 of the 3 tanked mobs. 2 physical and 1 ranged tank (mage/warlock are preferred for mobility’s sake) are necessary; the ranged tank will be on Keleseth while your other two tanks will draw straws for the remaining two princes. In addition, you will need 1 ranged juggler, who will be in charge of keeping Kinetic Bombs aloft. The raid’s dps target will be determined by the Invocation of Blood buff, gained by the Princes in what seems to be a random order (though each prince must be empowered once before the cycle repeats). When buffed with Invocation, each Prince gains a more powerful version of his staple attack. For Keleseth this means his Shadow Lance will hit harder, for Valanar his Shock Vortex gains a greater range while , and for Taldaram his Conjured Flame becomes more lethal.
Healing Tidbits: First and foremost, environmental awareness is the key to healing this fight successfully. With the number of area effects that are employed, and the amount of movement required, keeping your eyes locked on your raid frames will quickly result in your demise. Secondly, be prepared for heavy damage on your ranged tank when Keleseth becomes empowered. Lastly, be ready to use your entire arsenal for this fight. Much like Faction Champs, topping people off quickly is the name of the game, as damage tends to be fairly unpredictable and sporadic on anyone other than the tanks.
Blood Queen Lana’thel
The Gist: The trip down BT memory lane continues with a fight incredibly reminiscent of Mother Shahraz. Essentially a two-phase fight, consisting of a land and air phase, this boss is incredibly simple in theory but your attempts can fall apart rapidly without proper coordination. You will be using 2 tanks for the duration; one for the Blood Queen and the other to simply absorb damage via the Queen’s Blood Mirror ability. During the fight, the Queen will cast Swarming Shadows (acts like Jaraxxus’ Legion Flame) and Pact of the Darkfallen, a link between 3 players that can only be removed when the players are within 5 yards of each other. To deal with the latter, we left the center of the room unoccupied and designated it as the meeting place for all Darkfallen targets. Every minute or so, the Queen will ascend to the middle of the room and throw out shadow bolts, which will damage the target in question and splash nearby players as well; this will easily translate to a dead raid if players do not spread out.
Most notably, this fight’s length is limited by the Blood Queen’s Vampiric Bite. Applied to one person at the start of the raid (I believe we determined that it was the third-highest threat target), this buff will need to be spread through your raid in multiplicative fashion. Once bitten, you will be affected by the Essence of the Blood Queen buff, which after 60 seconds, will apply a debuff called Frenzied Bloodthirst which can only be removed by biting another player (you will have 15 seconds to do so). Assuming that you don’t use the sacrifice strat, and that no one died who was in the first afflicted targets, the buff will spread thusly: 1-2-4-8-16. We found the easiest way to manage the Bite was to assign targets to each and every player (because the first target Lana’thel bites can be controlled). A sample of our application tree is below, for reference. (The Word document can also be downloaded here.)
Healing Tidbits: First, for a normal mode encounter, Blood Queen has an excess of raid damage, so make sure that you’re built and glyphed to counter it. Shamans, this means glyph of CH and Healing Stream. Running with 3 shadow priests enabled us to use supplemental healing to make up for only bringing 5 healers, since VE averaged about 2800 hps for each spriest in raid. Secondly, when Blood Queen ascends to the middle of the room, I cannot overstress how important it is to spread out. In 10s, it isn’t that hard to find a spare spot, but in 25s this means that some people need to hug the walls to maximize available space. Any splash damage from her Bloodbolts could mean death for a raid member, and while battle rezes are viable in the fight, losing dps time can push you perilously close to the enrage timer. (We did kill her before the nerf, so this might not be so much of an issue now.) Lastly, remember that Pact of the Darkfallen sufferers will be taking damage themselves, and dealing it to those around them, as they converge on the designated meeting point. So, in between spamming CH on the tank/melee, take time to throw out some healing on the Pact targets.
The End is Nigh!
Like I say in each one of these write-ups that I do, I’m dreading some of these bosses on hardmodes. If we see the same sort of ramp-up damage that we saw in normal v. hardmode Ulduar, I would anticipate that ICC will prove the end-game experience that we’ve all been looking for. If not, well then I look forward to easy Frostwyrms for everyone. Next wing: the healing encounter! And some Lich King dude. I can’t wait!