Friday, July 9, 2010

A Bear's guide to ICC: Blood Queen Lana'thel

Blood Queen Lana'thel is the second and final boss of ICC's Crimson Halls. With the possible exception of Marrowgar, she's the most straight-forward fight in all of ICC. This does not mean she's a pushover. Because the fight is so straight-forward, it also leans towards being somewhat unforgiving.

The single biggest thing you have to worry about as a tank is Blood Mirror. Lana'thel casts this on whoever has aggro and links them to another player. Honestly, I'm not sure exactly how the game chooses who gets the other end of the link. It seems to be tied in some way to proximity and, possibly, threat. All I know for certain is that if you're the OT and are both stacked right on top of the MT and have the second highest threat of all the melee raid members, you will be on the other end of this debuff. Confirmed that the person physically closest to the MT will be the one on the other end of Blood Mirror.

Blood Mirror gets cast as soon as Lana'thel has aggro on anybody. So during the pull it's best for the two tanks to run in right on top of each other and to be the closest two raiders to Lana'thel until good aggro has been established. Both should use some kind of threat-generating ability as soon as they're in range. For us Bears, this means FFF.

There are two schools of thought on positioning for this fight. One is to tank Lana'thel in the center of the room. This gives your raid maximum room to spread out (which is important because of her Bloodbolts) and still stay in range. The other, and the one our raid uses, is to tank her on her little stage.

Because of the Blood Mirror keeping the damage between the two tanks equal, it's ideal to have the tank with the largest overall avoidance and mitigation MT this fight. The less damage they take, the less damage both tanks take. Even with the dodge nerf caused by ICC's persistent aura, Bears are pretty good MTs for this fight. At this level, our Dodge is still incredibly high. Be sure to use Barkskin (and Enrage, if you have the 4pc T10 bonus) as often as possible to further reduce the damage being taken.

Once the tanks are stacked, have aggro, and are tanking Lana'thel, they're pretty much set. The only time they really have to worry about anything is during Lana'thel's air phases. There will be two of these during the fight, at the 2:00 and 3:30 marks. Lana'thel will run to the center of the room (if she's not already there) and then Fear the raid. Tremor Totems and Fear Wards are extremely helpful here. Ferals are also able to Berserk out of one of the Fears.

It's more important that your raid's healers be protected from the Fear effect than you as a tank. So arrange groups and buffs appropriately.

Once you've escaped the Fear you need to immediately spread away from anyone else in the raid. While in the air Lana'thel will rain down Bloodbolts on your raid in rapid succession. If the damage chains around your raid because of people being too close to each other it can quickly become unhealable.

When Lana'thel comes back to the ground, resume tanking as normal.

There's only one other ability during this encounter that should ever affect the tanks, although hopefully it doesn't come to that. 15 seconds into the fight, Lana'thel will Bite one of the members of your raid, granting them a nice little buff. A raid member with that buff will double their damage, heal themselves for 15% of the damage they do, and generate 0 threat. That last part is important and the reason you don't want a tank getting it, at least early on.

About a minute after the raid member is bitten, they will go into a Frenzied Bloodthirst. At that point, they have 15 seconds to bite another player. (I'm told that your action bar is replaced with one that only has the Bite ability on it during this phase, but I've never seen it myself to verify.) When they successfully bite that person, they spread the Essence buff to them, as well as reset the 60 second timer on their Essence buff.

If the Frenzied individual does not bite someone in that 15 second window, they become uncontrollable. You might look at those numbers and think they're amazing, but the "Charmed" part is the key. They become a very powerful enemy that must be killed.

You can see how this goes. First one person has it, then two, then four...then eight, if not enough DPS is happening. The tanks shouldn't be bitten until they would be made a part of the group of 8 (meaning all the DPS have already been bitten).

It's important to know who's going to bite who as the fight progresses, to avoid confusion and prevent people from becoming mind controlled.

Lana'thel will be casting Swarming Shadows (which work the same as Jaraxxus's Legion Flame) and Pact of the Darkfallen among the raid as well, but these abilities will never target the tanks. Still, depending on how your raid is positioned, be aware of when you might have to get out of the fire or such.

There's also a constant ticking damage aura that persists throughout the encounter.

On 10-man, you can potentially look forward to the mediocre (for Bears) Seal of the Twilight Queen or the (very nice) Ivory-Inlaid Leggings. If your raid is running the 25-man version, you can pick up a Vanquisher's Mark of Sanctification to upgrade one of your Tier pieces, or Bloodfall. Drool worthy.

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.


  1. You do realize that there is a somewhat decent chance that I'd beat you to death for that polearm.

  2. Blood Mirror is 100% location based. To do the shadowmourne quest, the MT and the quester run into together, and after the first swing, the quester runs out and the OT stands with the OT. Blood mirror switches as soon as the OT is the closest to the MT.

  3. Thank you. After I spent an hour scouring the internet to be sure how it worked, that was the most clean and concise explanation of it with an obvious example to back it up.