Icecrown Citadel: How to Survive the Lower Spire

These aren’t full boss strategies, just tips on how to make the first four boss fights in Icecrown Citadel go more smoothly, with extra tips for my two favorite classes.

Lord Marrowgar

1. Stand in Marrowgar’s hitbox
This one thing makes this fight easier, faster and less raid damaging. His hitbox is very large and there’s room for everyone. Come on in, it’s nice and cozy. The Coldflame begins outside of the hitbox, so everyone inside is safe from it, and never has to worry about dodging fires. In addition, when Bone Spikes happen, everyone is grouped up so closely that they go down almost immediately. One very important tip: Stand at the back of the hitbox. This is something you especially need to watch out for when the boss is being repositioned after a Bone Storm. Don’t creep up on the tanks. Saber lashes hurt.

There are two small downsides to this positioning.  First, hunters cannot stand in the hitbox. Just make sure it’s communicated when you get a Bone Spike so the rest of the ranged dps knows to turn around and free you. Second, since Coldflame has a lack of ranged targets to chase, most of them will be going towards the tanks. As long as the tanks know to move together out of the fire, this shouldn’t cause too many problems.

2. Bone Storm
In general, during this part of the fight you want to stay far away from Marrowgar, as Bone Storm damage is based on how close you are to him, as well as avoid the Coldflame spreading across the room.

Hunters: Deterrence works beautifully during this phase.  When he gets too close for comfort, pop it to not only parry Bone Storm ticks, but also deflect any Coldflame damage for 5 seconds. If used early, deterrence should be available for each Bonestorm phase.

Druids: Barkskin is your friend. I pop it as soon as the Bone Storm starts, stand in the center and heal.  Then I laugh at all the others who are running around the room.

Lady Deathwhisper

1. Know where to stand

Know where the adds will be tanked. There are different ways of doing phase 1. Some guilds kill the adds on the sides of the room, close to when they spawn. They can also be brought together in the center. Some guilds choose to fight everything on the back of Deathwhisepr’s platform. Just know the strategy you’re using and pick an appropriate place to stand. Fanatics do a nasty Shadow Cleave that can easily one or two-shot non tanks, so don’t stand in front of them. Death and Decay is also a poor choice of places to stand.

Hunters: Try to stand in a spot where you can switch between damaging Deathwhisper and killing the adds with little or no movement.

Druids: I try to stand in the center of the room where I am in healing range of everyone.

2. Curse of Torpor
This is a pain in the butt ability that increases the cooldowns on any abilities you use by 15 seconds.

Hunters: If you see that you have been cursed, stop using your abilities to avoid triggering the extra cooldown time. Really. You should only have to do this for a second or two. Your decurser will get to you, but know that if multiple people are cursed, decursing you isn’t as important as decursing a tank or  healer.

Druids: Decurse yourself first! Really sucks to decurse someone else then realize you can’t decurse yourself for 15 seconds.

3. Deathwhisper
Once Deathwhisper’s mana shield has been burned down, adds will stop spawning and you will fight her. In phase 1 she doesn’t have an aggro table, but this changes in phase 2. For melee dps it’s a really good idea to take a step back as the last slivers of her mana shield are draining away. I’ve seen many melee get kicked in the teeth as phase 2 starts.  Give the tanks a second to establish aggro.

Hunters: A misdirect on your tank as this phase starts is always nice. I also find it’s a good idea to pull your pet off the boss for a couple seconds as you’re entering phase 2. If the tanks are a little slow on the pickup your pet can be the unlucky first aggro target. Remember that throughout phase 2, the tanks are getting stacks of Touch of Insignificance, and their threat won’t be very good. Make liberal use of misdirect and feign death.

4. Vengeful Shades
These guys are nasty. Getting hit by one not only damages you but also the people around you. Stay as spread out as you can. Zoom your camera out so you can see when the ghosts spawn. If one is chasing you, you just need to stay away from it for 10 seconds and it will despawn.

Gunship Battle

Ahh, the chess event of ICC. This is a fairly straightforward encounter and can usually be completed even if half your raid doesn’t know what they’re doing. 

Hunters: If you aren’t assigned to a cannon, stay on your ship and kill the axe throwers/riflemen on the other ship. If you’re assigned to jump over when the battle mage comes out, wait for your tank to jump and then follow them. Don’t stand close to Saurfang/Bronzebeard because they cleave. Once the mage is dead, jump back to your ship immediately. The faster the dps jumps back, the faster the tank can, which means less stacks of Battle Fury.

If you are assigned to kill the adds on your own ship, the Seargent should be your first kill target (watch out for whirlwind). Note: Currently, if you are in another form (like from a Deathbringer’s Will proc) you are unable to use your rocket-pack. If you need to be jumping to the other ship, it might be best to remove this trinket.

Druids: To make things simple, you can stay on your own ship for the whole fight. Make sure the tank knows to hold Saurfang/Bronzebeard near the edge of the ship and you shouldn’t have any range issues. Note: If for some reason you need to jump to the other ship, know that using your rocket-pack removes you from tree form.

Deathbringer Saurfang

1. Blood Energy
The most important part of this fight is slowing down Saurfang’s energy gain. To avoid extra energy gain from Blood Nova, all ranged should be standing 12 yards apart. As many people have pointed out, this is a fight where disc priests shine. When PW:S absorbs the damage of a blood nova or boiling blood tick, Saurfang does not gain any evergy from it. Energy gain can also be prevented by using abilities such as Ice Block or Hand of Protection to remove the Boiling Blood debuff. Unfortunately, hunters and druids don’t have much to offer by way of avoiding energy gain for these abilities.

2. Blood Beasts
How well the blood beasts are handled usually makes or breaks the fight. It’s a good idea to assign the dps to specific beasts so they are all taken care of. Melee are able to help with a couple of the beasts as long as they get stunned so they are unable to attack. Ranged should pull out all the snaring tricks they have available to them. Damage from AoE effects is reduced by 95%, so single-target damage abilities must be used.

Hunters: Hunters are great at add killing. We have a lot to offer for this part of the fight.

  • You can drop a frost trap near the boss to slow all the adds being killed by the ranged.
  • Concussive shot is great for slowing things down.
  • If a Blood Beast gets too close for comfort, Disengage. You can also use feign, but make sure the person 2nd on the aggro table isn’t standing right beside you. Once your feign has given you some breathing room, you can distracting shot to get aggro back.
  • Distracting Shot can be used to save others. If you see something getting too close to another ranged, feel free to peel it off.

I usually try to move very little during this fight. Both to avoid splashing Blood Nova damage and so I can put out as much damage as possible. Work with your other raiders. The adds can be ping-ponged around the room with some timely use of taunts and knockbacks so that actual kiting becomes unnecessary.

3. Mark of the Fallen Champion
This is Saurfang’s big ability. Once one Mark goes up, his rate of energy gain increases significantly. Some strategies involve letting the first Mark target die. This is viable as it reduces the amount of energy gained and gives you a lot more time before a second mark goes up. It really depends on your raid’s dps. If it’s a little on the low side, doing this will give you more time to kill Saurfang before getting overrun with Marks.

Druids: HoTs are great for countering Mark damage. I keep a Regrowth and Rejuv rolling on any Mark targets. If you get a Mark on yourself, use Barkskin early and often. It is very important that you don’t battle rez anyone who has been killed by the Mark as it persists through death.

That’s it! Lower Spire done, next step The Plagueworks! That will probably be a post for next week. Mass Effect 2 is beckoning. 🙂

2 responses to “Icecrown Citadel: How to Survive the Lower Spire

  1. I still think it's rather lame that the main threat of the Lord Marrowgar encounter can be circumvented entire by standing within his hitbox. Seeing as how he's the only the first boss of the raid, it's sadly doubtful they'll ever change it.

    He would be far more entertaining if he had a Festergut-like clause; ie, if there are less than X players at least 10 yards away from him, he explodes everyone in melee. Fun times!

  2. I think Iffy doesn't want to stand in Lord Marrowgar's hitbox because he secretly gets all hot and bothered by Marrowgar's child bearing hips waving in front of him.