Heroic Lich King 10
My guild has been working on Arthas 10 HM for quite some time now ~ 100 wipes or so and we are wondering how feasible the last phase is with a melee heavy group. We regularly run with 3 melee and most of the strategies people talk about for handling the vile spirits either involve massive numbers of immunity effects or stacked ranged dps to kill the spirits which isn't really feasible for our raid makeup.
3 melee seems like a disadvantage that isn't especially significant in p1, a fairly serious healing challenge in the two transition phases and extremely awful in the last phase. So the question is does anyone have particular strategies that work for handling vile spirits with only 2-3 ranged in the raid, 1 paladin and no other immunity effects? We have been brainstorming for ways to make this happen but we seem to be left with 'bench the rogue/furywarr and make the ret respec to holy' which is extremely unpalatable.
Our situation is 10 man strict with fairly near 10 man BIS gear.
I think this really comes down to specifically what kind of ranged you have. For example in my 10 man group we only have 2 ranged -- myself and a hunter. I end up soaking the first wave of Vile Spirits with Dispersion, and actually with the glyph I can catch every wave as we exit the Frostmourne room, though we free up one of our two tanks usually at that point.
I am assuming you are the ret paladin -- you should be soaking the first wave of Vile Spirits if you are not already, and then hopefully after that you've brought enough DPS to bear on the remaining Raging Spirits so that they are dead before you have to deal with soaking the 2nd wave of Viles. If you can't do that, then you can just wing it for one of those waves -- have your melee spread out and try not to get hit by 2 spirits in quick succession. That takes good situational awareness by your whole raid though, and your healers will have to be on the ball. (if you have a disc priest, just pretend it's Infest all over again)
A well geared tank can certainly soak the spirits though, and just rotate some timers (both theirs and external ones) through him.
Not to discourage you, but if guildox is to be believed no strict 10 guild has been able to beat Heroic LK 10, let alone a group with a suboptimal composition. That said, my guild will be in a similar situation soon, as we're a melee heavy strict 10 ourselves, so it's good to see some discussion about it.
What are your healing classes / specs? Melee shouldn't really be a disadvantage if approached correctly.
Your melee can split into two stacks at max hit box range and that should help to reduce the damage significantly. If you have any kind of priest / druid / shaman healing, it shouldn't be so difficult and a Holy Paladin with Holy Light glyphed is a nice buffer as well. Either way, that shouldn't be an issue. Make sure that your ranged are stacking up on both sides of the melee / tank clump to help ease the healing on all other parts of the raid.
First of all, in my opinion, any strategy aside from flat out soaking the Vile Spirits is cumbersome and completely unnecessary. It's far easier to just soak them. In terms of soaking, you actually have a lot more available to you than you probably realize.
Now first of all, if you have a Hunter to drop frost traps and follow the generic soaking strategy (i.e. Paragon), then you'll want to have your Retribution Paladin soak the first set. They can bubble and that is the key part of doing it successfully. The entire raid besides the Paladin needs to end up stacked on one extremity of the platform while the Vile Spirits approach from the opposite end. Once they're soaked and Lich King has summoned a new set, you quickly move to the other side and repeat.
If you had to, you could probably get away with using your Fury Warrior to soak a set with Shield Wall (60% mitigation). This will be workable as well.
Either way, your DPS should be getting to a point where you have only 2 Raging's left as you transition into Phase 3, and at least one of them should be ~50% or lower. If you can manage to kill the third before you get harvested that's ideal, but you can still kill BOTH of them after you come up. Doing this takes precedence because you'll free up your OT who can then soak every wave after that with a rotation of CD's (personal and external).
The key here is that when you transition, you should have your DPS stay on the Raging Spirits and keep the raid and the Spirits on the closest end of the platform, while the MT takes Lich King to the opposite side. Make sure the MT's movement doesn't outpace the healers.
The cleave you have with melee should actually be a bonus, as it will allow you to kill the Raging Spirits that much faster, netting to ultimately more DPS time on Lich King.
Finally, once you have gotten through the initial soaks, it's worth keeping in mind that the better your MT paces Lich King, the more DPS time your melee will get in. What I mean by this, is that you don't want the MT just booking it across the platform, as Melee will fall behind the hit box and lose the one advantage they have: mobile DPS. If done right, melee are almost better than ranged in Phase 3.
Hope that helps!
As mentioned, it's very feasible. There are a few little niches that melee need to be careful for that ranged otherwise ignore. Defile is certainly one of them, as you need to make sure that defile doesn't get dropped in the path of the Valk'yrs.
Phase one should be relatively unchained, or perhaps even more dps because melee ideally don't lose as much damage time when moving for Shadow Traps. The phase transition also shouldn't be too difficult. Make 100% sure that you don't have anyone standing within 10 yards of the melee that don't need to be there. Chaining Pain and Suffering or the Frost Orb AoE would be a recipe for disaster. With the 25% buff now and the 30% buff going live tomorrow, the output required shouldn't be that difficult to attain.
The only part of the fight that will drastically change is your defile management. Instead of being able to spread out for almost every defile, you're probably going to have to develop at least a basic system in which the melee preemptively run away and then run back in.
Phase 3 should actually get easier because half your raid is already funneling the vile spirits in to the correct location. Most of your melee classes are likely able to soak as well. 4-5 members should be stacked almost all of the time just for normal DPS. Just make sure you work out a solid soak rotation.
You don't need immunity effects to soak them. We just had 1 tank on the LK throughout phase 3, and another tank offtanking 2 spirits from the transition and soaking spirits. This was a while back though, so with 25% you should be able to kill off all spirits, even with 3 healers, from the transition and make soaking even easier for your offtank.
AM and DG are perfectly fine cooldowns to use for soaking spirits when the soaker doesn't have personal cooldowns up.
Ranged dps don't necessarily have a big advantage in phase 3, but shadow priests and hunters will definitely help your dps on the Lich King as they can fade and feign rather than moving across the platform for each wave.
Right so my guild has been on this encounter for many many weeks now, and I thought I would put down some tips we have found very useful, and which might be helpful to others who are in the same situation as we are in.
First of all, we are pretty much only geared in 10man gear, we have a few guildies who have pugged some 25man ICC and got some gear from there, but its very limited.
Second, our setup: We use a paladin to tank LK, and a warrior to OT. We got a resto druid and a disc priest. Usually 2 melee DPS and rest ranged, one hunter for the enrage dispel, and we are going without a shaman. This all means that we have had a harder time than other guilds, because of our healer setup and our dps is not amazing.
Phase 1(plague shambling horrors and shadow traps)
Nothing much here, we use the 3 group tactic, having our warrior stand in the middle, and me(resto druid) stand on the MT for when I get agree of the adds and the added bonus of clearcasting procs. The OT(warrior) will just have one shambling horror + one small add on him to stack the plague and kill the add as fast as possible.
Having enough raid DPS to get LK down to 70% before getting the third shambling horror is close to gamebreaking, since if you dont make it you will have problems with the plague falling off. (Note that I am sure it is possible to pull this off, but you wont have enough dps to kill LK before the enrage timer if you can't make the 70% before third shambling horror.)
We realised that LK would still have buffs if we used the plague to finish off the adds while doing the transition, we therefore dispel it after the second shambling horror have died and AOE the adds down.
Phase 3 (Valkyrs and defile phase)
Nothing much to say here, just make sure to "aim" the valkyrs the way you want them to go and semi spread if the defiles are gonna hit soon.
Phase 4(second transition)
Even with our not too amazing dps we can pretty much kill off the raging spirits so that when we go back in, we have 2 alive and one is at around 10% and therefore die off very fast. We leave the last one alive.
Phase 5(soaking/killing spirits, Frostmourne and defile)
We are going for the soaking strategy since this seems to make us lose the least amount of dps. We are using 2 spriests to rotate who is soaking. The idea is for the raid to gather up as much as possible after the defile to make it easier for the spriest to explode the spirits. For more details on spirits see below.
We have tried killing them, but we just didn't seem to kill them off reliably, with 1 spriest, 1 hunter, 1 fire mage and 1 warlock we still had some alive when they got down, and we lost loads of dps. We were able to survive this but just outhealing the dmg, but we lost too much dps but doing this.
Frostmourne room: We all gather up on our MT, who is marked. You all want to be facing the middle since the adds will spawn in front of raid members, and its therefore easier to target them/not get bad spirits. As soon as you get out of the Frostmourne room you want to start running for the defile.
Phase 5 spirits detailed
A. First set gets casted after you move in from the second transition phase. Those will fly towards you shortly after and have to be dealt with.
B. Second set will spawn after you have dealt with the first set, these wont start moving after you come our from the Frostmourne room; but you can of cause dps them if you are going with that tactic, they just don't move till after you come out.
C. At the same time as you are dealing with those spirits waiting for you after you come out from Frostmourne, a new set will spawn, which will have to be deal with shortly after.
After the first Frostmourne room part its just B > C, B > C until you wipe or kill him.
One more thing I wanted to add is that it is possible to do a little "trick" to gain some DPS on LK, I haven't heard or seen anyone do this, but thought I would mention it could make a difference for some guild out there:
In phase 5, right before getting pulled into the Frostmourne room. If you have a person die right before the "Frostmourne Phase", and get CRed/SSed/Ank, and wait with using it until the rest of the raid gets ported. Then you can accept one of the three, and have a full 40 seconds to dps on the LK without having to worry about defile/spirits or anything.
Assuming avg. 8k dps, (I am guestimating here, I dont know how much DPS an unbuffed <Insert DPS> does, but I think 8k is faily low.), over 40 secs, and that adds up to 320.000 dps. My guild runs with 2 resto druids and 1 warlock, so in theory we could do this with 3 people.
You should do this on melee DPS only since they are useless in Frostmourne anyway.
While your comments above are extremely helpful, do you believe that a full 264 group with heavy melee can do the fight?
The key thing is 264 gear which produces significantly lower DPS (even at 30%) than 277. We cannot seem to avoid a 3rd Shambling in P1 and our healers don't have the throughput to keep our tanks up if we move back to 2 healers. I don't want to give up on the fight but I'm at my wits end and any advice would be much appreciated.
We have access to:
Blood DK tank/Unholy DPS
Frost DK dps/Blood tank
Feral Druid dps/tank
Rogue (any spec)
Warlock (any spec)
Resto/Balance Druid (me)
We all have basically full 264 gear and have been farming since about 15% buff, we have no problems at all with LK normal. I would appreciate any and all suggestions on how we could stack up any combination of the above classes to realistically get a kill.
Your best bet is trying to initially 2-heal it with a disc priest and resto shaman, though your resto shaman is going to need to be really bad ass. If you're having too much trouble, you should have either the boomkin or shadow priest respec (whichever does less DPS).
Have your Warrior on Adds and your Feral on the Boss. Those are the ideal specs out of what you have, but honestly, going with your best geared tanks is probably your best bet, if you're already having healing problems.
Additionally in terms of healing, you SHOULD be able two heal with a Discipline Priest and a Restoration Druid. A Restoration Shaman can fill the spot too, but they're probably weaker than the Druid for this role. They are a bit more restricted by movement, on a movement heavy fight. Disc Priest / Resto Druid is considered one of the best compositions you can have for two healing this fight.
In terms of DPS, I don't believe any one way is better than the other. We had relatively little gear at the 10% buff, compared to what we have now, and Melee was still way more effective. It was effective for the fact that Melee loses less if movement is handled correctly. Obviously mechanics like Defile can be easier with all Ranged, but you should be taking your BEST DPS so you can meet the benchmarks.
If that happens to be melee, go with melee. If that happens to be ranged, go with ranged. Having parses or something of that nature would make it easier to diagnose who was doing their job right.
Feral Druid (tank)
I recommend this setup, with the Feral tanking the LK in phase 1, and the warrior on shamblers. In phases 2 and 3, let your feral MT the LK the entire time, with the warrior speccing Safeguard and intervening during each Soul Reaper.
Phase 2 really isn't bad once your entire raid knows how to handle every defile situation and gets comfortable watching Defile timers. A stacked ranged dps raid makes this phase easier for you, but make sure that your Prot Warrior and Feral Druid do a quick taunt back and forth every once in a while to make sure that your Prot doesn't get grabbed. Concussive+Shockwave every Valkyr, staying a bit spread near the center.
In phase 3, your feral will need to use his own cooldowns to survive Soul Reapers until all of the spirits from the transition are dead. In case of bad trap or defile placements, or any emergencies, a well timed Typhoon can save the day in phase 3 and you must be paying attention. Rotate Last Stand, Shield Wall, and Pain Suppression on your Prot Warrior to survive each wave of spirits. If he drops send in your Shadow Priest to take a wave, and your feral can even get off a rez during the Vile Spirits summoning animation if needed.
You have many decent setups to use, though I prefer a Holy Paladin personally, and you just need to keep working on him and adjust tactics every time you wipe in a new way to prevent it from happening again.
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