So you want to kill the Lich King

A few weeks ago I promised a few posts that would address some topics that I thought would be beneficial to all kitties out there but with so much going on in game its been hard to sit down and write, let alone write about those topics. So for now they are still in the works but not ready to be posted. Instead I decided I’d write about something else that is probably a bit more relevant and probably more useful right now. Specifically, lets talk about some tips and strategies on how to tackle Arthas in 10 man. Although I am a kitty kat in 25 mans, I tend to heal in 10 mans mostly so I did this fight as a resto druid.

For our kill we used 2 tanks, 3 healers, 5 dps (3 melee, 2 ranged)

I’ll keep the “how to” piece to a minimum as I’m not a big fan of those, but there are many phases to this fight each with its own unique abilities. They are:

  1. Phase 1: Infest, Necrotic Plague, Shambling Horrors, Drudge Ghouls
  2. Phase Transition #1: Ice Spheres, Raging Spirits
  3. Phase 2: Infestt, Defile, Val’kyrs, Soul Reaper
  4. Phase Transition #2: Ice Spheres, Raging Spirits
  5. Phase 3: Infest, Defile, Soul Reaper, Harvest Soul, Vile Spirits
  6. Phase 4: You Win!

Phase 1: 100-70%

The simplest phase in the fight, there isn’t too much difficulty aside from ensuring your dps is quick and fast. We setup in a triangle fashion with Arthas/Tank/Melee/Drudge Ghouls in one corner, Casters/Ranged in another corner and Shambling Horrors/OT in the last corner. This way, no matter who gets Necrotic Plague, it is easily transferable to the Shambling Horrors by shifting a slight distance. If you are targeted with Necrotic Plague, make sure you stay behind the Shambling Horrors to avoid getting cleaved by their Shockwave.  As a 3rd healer in the fight, there isn’t too much healing necessary. As such most of this fight was spent dropping Hurricane on Arthas and Drudge Ghouls. This helps significantly to clear adds so that you enter the 1st phase transition clean and can get onto Raging Spirits as soon as possible. If you pull aggro (while using Hurricane) make sure to Shadowmeld to ensure no Drudge Ghouls are pulled out.

Phase Transition #1

SPREAD OUT This is by far one of the most important aspects of this phase. Grouping leads to added damage from Pain and Suffering which is completely unnecessary. Also, it helps if people decide on an area to stand and stick to that spot, that way no matter what happens people will always go back to the same spot and avoid clumping by accident. This transition phase is really a place for healers to regen mana and as such there isn’t much healing required. To help dps with Raging Spirits, I killed Ice Spheres so that ranged dps could focus on Raging Spirits.

Phase 2: 70-40%

This phase is probably going to cause the most problems for majority of groups out there. Specifically, the Defile and Val’kyrs cause a lot of confusion the first time you encounter this portion of the fight.

Val’kyrs pickup your raid members and toss them off the platform, as such you want to maximize your distance by grouping up in the middle of the platform and by using stuns to increase your time to kill them. Defile on the other hand, grows depending on how many people are in it so you want to spread out as much as possible, the less people and faster you are in it, the smaller it will be. Since these two abilities are polar opposites (grouping and spreading) it can seem very difficult to manage, however once you understand the timers it is actually quite simple. Here is a breakdown:

  1. Val’kyrs first, Defile second (10s gap)
  2. Val’kyr first, Defile second (2-5s gap)
  3. Defile first, Val’kyr second (2-5s gap)
  4. Val’kyr first, Defile second (10s gap)
  5. Defile

Each time Arthas uses these abilities it is always in this order so it is actually very clockwork in what you need to do. For grouping you want to group dead center in the middle of the platform, for spreading you want to spread around the ring that is on the platform which will ensure that no Defile hits in the middle of the room. The danger of a Defile in the middle of the room is that means your raid will have to be off to the side of the middle which shortens your distance for the Val’kyr to travel. Shorter the distance, the less time you have before your raid member is tossed off.

  1. Group then Spread
  2. Group than Spread
  3. Spread than Group
  4. Group than Spread
  5. Spread

By the time you hit the 5th Defile you should be very close to 40% so you can then bring him in and avoid the 5th Val’kyr.

Something I haven’t mentioned yet is the Infest, which happens throughout each phase of the fight. Essentially it is a dot that will increase over time if your raid is not topped off ASAP. As the raid healer it is your responsibility to ensure the raid is pre hotted prior to each Infest no matter what else is happening during the fight. One such extremely tricky section is when Defile is cast and Infest is cast shortly after. Since the raid is spreading it is difficult to reach everyone in time and can potentially lead to deaths. To mitigate this risk, when spreading everyone should spread towards the same direction as the Val’kyr so that you remain in range of your healers. In other words, if the Val’kyr is moving left everyone spread to the left side of the room. It really helps your healers and trust me, they will greatly appreciate it.

The other important factor that needs to be monitored is melee attacking Val’kyrs when Defile is about to spawn. If one of your melee is targeted with a Defile while they are all under the Val’kyr you are bound to explode the Defile to a size that is not ideal. The safer thing to do is once the Val’kyr spawns, stun it immediately and spread out and wait for the Defile to spawn. Once it has then get back on the Val’kyr and kill it. This will ensure that your defile will not explode in size and you can still kill the Val’kyr in time.

Phase Transition #2

Similar to the first transition, go back to your original area to avoid clumping by accident. This is essentially the same as the first transition except the difference is a Raging Spirit will spawn just as Arthas begins to case Quake. That means you need to deal with the Raging Spirit in Phase 3. I’ve seen some videos where guilds just offtank the Raging throughout all of phase 3 but with it’s AOE cone of silence it’s a factor we decided to eliminate by killing it ASAP. Again, as the 3rd healer being able to deal with Ice Spheres allow your dps to bring Spirits down a lot quicker and we were able to kill the Raging within 10s of entering Phase 3, leaving us free and able to deal with the new phase.

Phase 3: 40-10%

Depending on your raid composition this could be extremely simple or could be extremely hard. The main difference between Phase 3 and Phase 2 is you lose the Val’kyrs but gain Vile Spirits and Harvest Soul (Shadowmorne). Vile Spirits being extremely dangerous as they dive bomb into your raid and explode for massive amounts of damage. Personally for us this was the most challenging phase as we carry a 2 ranged/3 melee dps composition which means we have less dps on Vile Spirits. If Arthas decides to cast Harvest Soul on one of your ranged (which he did), you’re down to 1 ranged.

Essentially, the way Vile Spirits work, Arthas will cast and create many of them and they will float above your raid and after a certain amount of time, they will dive down and explode on your raid. There are a few ways to mitigate this damage/risk. Firstly we used a kiting path starting from 1 edge of the platform to the far edge of the platform. Secondly ranged are assigned to Vile Spirits to kill or lower their health. Finally, the tank that is not on Arthas is assigned to sit in the middle of the platform in-between the raid + Vile Spirits to intercept them as they come down. These 3 actions do the following:

  1. By kiting from one extreme edge to the other, it maximizes the distance that vile spirits need to travel which will increase time to kill the spirits
  2. By assigning ranged to the Vile Spirits, they can either kill them or lower their health reducing the amount of dmg they do
  3. By assigning your free tank to be in the middle, they will essentially soak majority if not all of the dmg that the remaining spirits do

Phase 4: 10-0%

Similar to Archimonde, once you hit 10% on Arthas, he decides he’s had enough and he’s going to instagib the whole raid. DO NOT RELEASE! At this point the RP takes over and Tirion is freed, rezzes everyone and you get to burn down Arthas down. Regardless of how many people were dead when you hit 10%, you’ll all get rezzed so if you’re down to the last few % everyone should just burn Arthas to ensure you hit that mark. Nothing else to say but enjoy the RP!

For those of you still out there working on Arthas, hopefully these suggestions will help you along your way. If anyone has any specific questions feel free to shoot me a comment and Ill try and help.

3 Responses to “So you want to kill the Lich King”


  1. 1 Javi February 18, 2010 at 8:44 am

    You make it sound sooo easy! 😉
    Gl with the hard modes

  2. 2 Bear Pelt March 1, 2010 at 5:35 am

    Hi Rarren! My 10man group has finally downed Sindragosa and started on the Lich King! Reading these tips puts some confidence back in me after yesterday’s wipes😛

    I have a question though… Do you as a feral DPSer have problems with aggro management sometimes? I wait 5 seconds after the tank engages before going in, I do not pop Berserk (this after the Lich King turned around and stabbed the kitteh in the eye), and I spam Cower whenever it is up.

    And yet, my aggro remains #2 on the list for the Lich King. Wahh?!?! The guild tanks are an extremely geared blood Death Knight and Protection Paladin. I don’t get what I’m doing wrong here. Should I ask for Salv?

  3. 3 The Lich King June 4, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    Everything is easy once you know the proper way to do it. The Lich King takes a while to overcome but keep at it and it will happen.


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I’m Retired!

As of 04/04/2011, I have officially retired from WOW. This blog will remain as a archived resource for those who know that CAT DRUID IS 4 FITE!

About Me

A blog for the ramblings and thoughts of Vallen, a full time raiding cat druid from Auchindoun-US with a passion for raiding & achievements. An avid wow player since 2004.

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