Saturday, January 9, 2010

A Bear's Guide to ICC: Lady Deathwhisper

Lady Deathwhisper is the second encounter of ICC and probably the easiest of the first four bosses once you understand what's going on.

There's 4 trash pulls leading up to LD--2 packs and 2 solo-pull Nerubians. It's best to tank the packs up in the hallway leading to her room to avoid any accidental pulls. Using line of sight also helps corral the casters and keep the whole group in a nice, tight bunch. Hunter misdirects really help with this, although it shouldn't be an issue to pull with a Fearie Fire and then run back up the stairs and around the corner.

Also, start with the pack on the right as you enter the room and then follow up with the pack on the left. As of writing this, the pack on the left has an interesting pathing bug where even if you pull them up around the left side of the stairs, they'll run all the way over to the right to get out into the hallway. Obviously, because of this, you'll want to use the wall on the right side of the stairs for your LoS until/unless Blizz fixes this.

Once the packs are down move onto the Nerubians, pulling them one at a time. They can be solo tanked. If you end up being the tank selected, great. Otherwise go Cat for a couple of fights and have fun. The Nerubians will cast a spell on random raid members that will damage them and everyone around them. If you get this and you're not tanking, run away. If you are tanking, make sure you and your melee DPS are on opposite ends of the hitbox. It should be far enough to prevent most of the damage.

Lady Deathwhisper herself has two phases. When the battle starts she has a Mana Barrier up. All damage done to her will be applied to her mana pool instead of her health. During this phase she will summon 3 adds at a time from opposite sides of the room, starting with the left. You'll notice that each side has 3 small sets of stairs leading up to 3 separate alcoves. If you position one tank each in the 2 spaces between the alcoves you should have no trouble picking up all 3 adds. Make good use of Faerie Fire and Swipe to pick them up.

There are two types of adds, Fanatics (melee) and Adherents (casters). Now pay attention, because this gets confusing (and I'm not 100% sure I'm going to get this right--I may have to edit this post after the next time I do the fight). Adherents will occasionally get a bubble that will absorb the physical damage done to them. Keep hitting them anyway. It will eventually break. LD will occasionally empower one of the adds. If she picks an Adherent it will put out a short range AoE burst spell on a regular interval. You can eat it, but melee should get away to keep strain off your healers. If she picks a Fanatic it will become a big, ugly, green, lumbering...thing. And it will start to hit very hard. One of the tanks will need to kite it or (as we do in our runs) the tanks will have to play taunt-pong. We choose this method because, frankly, it's fun. Sometimes one of the adds will cast Dark Martyrdom and blow itself up, damaging everyone close to it. Then LD will resurrect it. Resurrected Fanatics take next to no physical damage. Resurrected Aherents take next to no magical damage. For this reason it's very good to have a good Physical damage tank (Druid, Warrior, Blood DK) and a good Magical damage tank (Pally, Frost/Unholy DK) for this fight. Otherwise controlling the adds can get tricky.

While all of this is going on, LD will be throwing around Shadow Bolts that must be healed through and dropping big green patches of Death and Decay which must be avoided. As an added bonus, she loves to drop the DnD on the adds. Have fun with that.

Once each group of adds is down, all attention should be focused on getting rid of LD's Mana Shield until the next group of adds comes along. I typically go Cat and do as much damage as I can during the lull. When there's about 8 seconds left until the next add group I move to get in position to pick them up.

Once the mana shield comes down, you enter phase 2. One of the tanks should immediately taunt LD because it's very likely neither one will have initial aggro. From here on out it's a pretty standard tank and spank. There's only two things that tanks have to watch out for. First, she'll still be dropping DnD and will, at times, drop it right where you're tanking her. Move her so that neither you or your melee dps are in the green stuff but not in a position where your healers can't reach you. Second, she will stack Touch of Insignificance on the tank. Each stack gimps your threat output by 20%. The second tank should watch his threat and not pull off the first tank until about 4 stacks of this. Then each tank needs to carefully watch the debuff and taunt as soon as it expires. This will usually be around the 4 stack mark.

There's more going on during this phase, but that's all you tanks need to worry about.

On 10-man LD will drop the Chestguard of the Frigid Noose which is a little lacking in the stam department, but has 3 gem slots you can fill to help that deficiency. There's also Soulthief's Braided Belt which is a very nice tanking belt. (I'm still stuck with the Emblem of Conquest Belt of the Twilight Assassin so, hey.)

On 25-man you can look forward to the Cultist's Bloodsoaked Spaulders and the (poorly itemized for Bears, but still reasonable) Juggernaut Band.

As with all my boss strats, I'm writing from the overall perspective of a Bear tank and what they will need to do. For you Cats reading this blog, I suggest you check out Dinaer's guides on Forever a Noob. They're written for Rogues but are a pretty good guide for melee in general and his gear drop suggestions (with the exception of weapons) will be spot on for Cats. If I have additional insight, I will try to add it in my blog. Here is his Lady Deathwhisper strat.
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