So, while I’d like to say I’ve been working on my Wrath soloing guide these past few months, I honestly haven’t. I put this blog on the backburner while I worked on finishing up my last semester of college, and even took about a month’s break from WoW in the middle there (though to be fair, it was more that I replaced it with Diablo 3 for a while). However, while I can’t put up my third in a long-running series of how to do stuff by yourself if you have no friends, I can at least give a small update on how to solo a boss that drops a much-coveted mount: the Lich King, on 25-man heroic.
On a side note, I’m seriously wondering if I should even bother with continuing my soloing series just yet. While they said that soloing will not be impacted by the impending stat squish, I have doubts that things will remain exactly the same between expansions. We’ll see, I suppose. I’ll definitely continue it, but another part might not come out until after the expansion drops.
My current gear is average ilvl of 561, and I didn’t start attempting this until then. I’m pretty sure it can be done considerably lower; I’ve read that people have managed it at 520 I believe. Just remember, the more gear you have, the faster it goes. One piece I would definitely recommend getting is any version of Assurance of Consequence, the trinket that drops off the Sha of Pride; make sure you fully upgrade it the second you get it. I have a normal version, and man, getting to use Feral Spirit every 1.4 minutes is pretty damn nice, it makes healing so much easier. And that’s only one of the cooldowns it shortens! Bottom line, get this trinket as soon as you can. The T16 4-piece bonus is also good, especially on the first phase; more Lava Lashes means more DPS.
For talents, most don’t matter. I would advise Ancestral Guidance for the healing tier, as it’s not a spell; if you get silenced by the Raging Spirits, you can still get yourself topped off. If you’re having trouble with the Frozen Orbs, I’d suggest Earthgrab + Totemic Projection. Launch the totem into the middle of the group, and you’ll have some extra time to deal with them.
Glyphs should be healing-focused. Healing Storm is mandatory, and Flame Shock comes in handier than you’d think, especially in the first phase. Multiple shocks ticking means a large amount of healing on you. I choose Feral Spirit for the third, just to give a bit extra healing. Minors don’t matter, apart from the obvious: don’t use the Lava Lash glyph. That’d be dumb.
Lastly, remember to grab some food (+300 stat food is the best, I’d recommend Seasoned Pomfruit Slices if you have the recipe, since the mats can be gathered easily and Sea Mist Rice Noodles would be better used to make noodle carts), flasks, and potions. Any boost helps!
On a final note, while it’s not entirely necessary, I would definitely recommend downloading the Deadly Boss Mods for Wrath content; note that it’s a separate addon from the current DBM! Getting timers for the various abilities and phases will help you know when to expect certain events in advance, and the fight becomes a lot easier if you do.
Clearing to the Lich King
Contrary to what you might think, you don’t have to clear the entire raid on 25-heroic difficulty in order to do the Lich King. Previously, that was the case, but that was changed way back at the beginning of Cata. However, there’s a technique to it that I messed up the first time, though at least it gave me an excuse to do the Lich King on 10-man heroic since I’d never bothered to do it before.
The correct method is:
- Zone in on 10-man normal.
- Kill every boss except for the Lich King.
- Zone out and set the difficulty to 25-man normal.
- Zone back in.
- Change the difficulty to 25-man heroic.
- Kill the Lich King.
The reason I fucked it up the first time was that I thought you had to do all the bosses on heroic, but it didn’t matter which raid size, so I attempted every boss on 10-man heroic and then tried to set it to 25-man heroic. No dice. If you kill a boss on heroic, it creates a fixed lockout for the week, and you can no longer do a boss on the other raid size. However, killing every boss on normal and then swapping to heroic for the Lich King is fine.
As for the other bosses, only two will hold you up any; the rest are all tank and spank. The first fight that will throw you is the Gunship Battle, but it’s not hard at all when you know what you’re doing. Make sure you grab a jetpack and put it on before you start the fight. Hop in a cannon and use the first ability until your steam meter is almost full, then use the second ability to deal a large chunk of damage; aim at adds on the boat to slow down damage to yours. Keep this up until a sorcerer comes out and freezes the turrets. If there are adds on your ship, kill them before jumping over to deal with the sorcerer; if you don’t, they’ll spread a lot of burning pitch on your boat and will nuke it down quickly. Jump over, kill the sorcerer, jump back, get in the turret, and repeat. It should take about three cycles of this before the other ship goes down.
The other fight that has the potential to stop you is Valithria. I have sincere doubts that you can finish this fight with just healing totems and Healing Surge, and you’ll run out of mana far too quickly anyway. The only way past is to get a resto spec and gear it up; mine’s about 530 or so, which is more than enough. Just blow all your cooldowns and spam heals on Valithria until she’s fully healed. A blue tweet mentioned that 6.0 will make this fight optional, so if you can wait a few months, you can get through ICC without needing a resto spec.
Lich King strategy
Before you start, flask up and eat up. You have enough time to eat during Tirion’s RP bit. Prepot when the LK freezes him.
I would say this is the hardest main phase of the fight, but this is where the Glyph of Flame Shock shines. Blow all your cooldowns, including Bloodlust, and nuke the Lich King down as quickly as possible. Your goal is to keep healed up during all the incoming damage; use defensive and healing cooldowns as needed.
Mechanics to watch out for:
- Adds: The Lich King will summon either one Shambling Horror (giant undead vrykul) or three Drudge Ghouls (regular-sized ghouls) frequently through this phase. The Horror has 6m health, the Ghouls have 750k each. AOE them down with Fire Nova after they all get Flame Shocked, and you’ll be golden. The FS glyph will help mostly negate their incoming damage. If there are any left up at the phase transition, kill them off quickly.
- Infest: This is an ability the Lich King will use frequently throughout the first two phases. While the damage won’t be severe at first, it will ramp up pretty quickly if left unchecked. The debuff will fall off if you get above 90% health; spend your Maelstrom stacks on a Healing Surge as soon as it goes out, and make sure your health is always relatively high so it won’t be much work to get over that threshold. On a side note, in the first phase, you can LoS Infest by using the pillars, but it’s just easier to keep yourself healed up.
- Shadow Trap: This ability is incredibly easy to avoid if you’re soloing; I don’t know why some pugs always fail at it. Since you’re the only target, a shadow trap will always appear under you. Just move a few yards to one side and you’ll be safely out of it; fail to do so, and you’ll be knocked off the platform to your death.
Because there’s only one aggro target (you), you won’t have to worry about Necrotic Plague at all. Just make sure you DON’T use your earth elemental during this phase, because he will very likely taunt the Lich King long enough to get you stricken with the plague.
At 70%, the Lich King will run to the center and start the first intermission phase.
During this phase, run to the outside ring so you’re out of range of Remorseless Winter. You can mostly just outheal it, but you have enough to deal with, so just stay away for the time being. He’ll also cast Pain and Suffering, dealing a small amount of damage.
Mechanics to watch out for:
- Raging Spirit: Summons a shadowy clone of you, has about 4m health. The only real danger from these guys is that they have the capacity to silence you, which can suck if you really need to heal. If you’re caught in that situation, pop Ancestral Guidance and wail on them until you’re better. Nuke them down as quickly as possible. If I remember right, there will be three that spawn over the course of the intermission.
- Frozen Orb: These will spawn in the center and slowly float towards you. If they touch you, they’ll explode and launch you off the platform to your death. Hit them with a ranged attack; any should be powerful enough to kill them in one hit. If they’re starting to get close and you’re silenced, just kite them until you can hit them. Make sure you get all of them down before the phase ends.
- Quake: At the end of the intermission, the Lich King will use this ability, destroying the outer ring of the platform. The line is pretty easy to see, just run inside of it as soon as you see Remorseless Winter end. Just make sure you don’t accidentally run into an orb in your haste to avoid a death by falling, only to end up dying by falling.
From this point on, you’re pretty much in the clear. The mechanics are a lot simpler, and everything can be handled without much struggle. Just keep yourself healed up and you’ll have no trouble.
Mechanics to watch out for:
- Infest: Same as before. Keep yourself mostly healed and it shouldn’t be hard to get this off the second it gets applied.
- Defile: The bane of everyone attempting heroic LK back in the day, but now is pretty simple to handle. After finishing the cast, a black puddle will appear on the ground beneath your current position (NOT where you were at the start of the cast!), damaging you once a second. As soon as it’s down, run out of it immediately; the longer you stay in it, the bigger and deadlier it grows. You definitely don’t want Defile to grow so big it takes up the entire platform.
- Soul Reaper: Deals a moderate chunk of damage and increases the Lich King’s haste by 100% for a few seconds. If you’re low on health (which you shouldn’t be), this isn’t good, but it’s unavoidable. So again, keep yourself topped off.
If you were wondering about the val’kyr, good news: they do absolutely nothing when there’s only one person in the fight. They just hover there and look somewhat peeved that they can’t do shit. Once again, do NOT use your earth elemental, or they will likely grab you (since you would be the only non-tank) and pull you off the platform to your death.
At 40%, the Lich King will enter the second intermission phase.
It’s exactly the same as the first one, only a little rougher since there will be four Raging Spirits instead of three. Use healing and defensive cooldowns as needed. Make absolutely sure that you get all the Frozen Orbs down before the intermission ends; I learned the hard way that if there’s one still up before the end, it will be a very bad time when you get out of Frostmourne.
If you’ve gotten this far, you’ve basically won. Just don’t do anything too stupid and you’ll have downed the Lich King. On the bright side, you won’t have to deal with Infest anymore! Mop up the Raging Spirits as best you can; there might be one or two up when you get sucked into Frostmourne the first time, but they can be dealt with when you get back out again.
Mechanics to watch out for:
- Defile/Soul Reaper: Same as in phase 2. Get out of Defile, deal with Soul Reaper.
- Harvest Soul: This will be cast a few seconds into phase 3, and then about every minute and a half after. The Lich King will do about 20k damage per second for a few seconds, then suck your soul into Frostmourne in an attempt to devour it completely, assuming you survive (which you should, unless you were really low on health). The spirit of Terenas Menethil will attempt to revive you, but needs 40 seconds to do so. In the meantime, spirits will float down from the ceiling and explode on contact with you. The easiest way to deal with this phase is to just plop your Searing Totem down in the middle of the room; it’ll automatically target the spirits and one-shot them. Take the opportunity to catch your breath and heal up some; when Terenas finishes his cast, you’ll be back on the platform to deal with the Lich King some more.
- Vile Spirits: Periodically, the Lich King will summon ten of these guys who will float above you for about 30 seconds. After that time, they’ll float down and explode, dealing about 35k damage each. Just use a defensive cooldown and backpedal to avoid some of the damage; as long as you’re mostly healed up, you should be fine even if you take all of them to the face. You could try killing them, but they have 160k health each; your time would be better spent nuking down the Lich King.
At 10%, the Lich King will cast Fury of Frostmourne, wiping you out; it’s always hilarious seeing people’s reactions when they’ve never done it before and they think they wiped when they were so close. You then get a two-and-a-half minute roleplay event; feel free to get up and go to the bathroom or whatever. When Terenas rezzes you, blow all your cooldowns for the hell of it and nuke down the last bit of the Lich King’s health. Congrats, you killed the Lich King!
The Lich King will always drop two weapons, two armor tokens, and one heroic armor token. Shaman can wield five of these weapons, whose names I will not bother to type out because good lord, they’re long: a dagger, an axe, two maces, and a staff. All are heavily scourge-themed. The armor tokens can be used to upgrade T10 from regular (ilvl 251) to sanctified (ilvl 264); heroic tokens can then upgrade it a second time to heroic sanctified (ilvl 277). He also has a decent chance to drop a Primordial Saronite, a crafting material used to buy various ICC recipes as well as craft their products.
In addition, you can gain a title for beating the Lich King on 25-heroic: <name>, the Light of Dawn. It’s a nice title! Since I think you still need to beat him on normal to unlock heroic, you will also unlock <name> the Kingslayer title in the process of getting to this point. And if you’re curious, beating the Lich King on 10-heroic will reward you with another title: <name>, Bane of the Fallen King. All of them are pretty nice.
Finally, the main reason people keep going back and running ICC weekly: the Lich King has a small (~1%) chance to drop Invincible’s Reins, letting you ride an undead flying version of Arthas’s beloved steed. There’s no mount in the game quite like it, and it’s definitely a mount that will turn heads if you manage to get it. The only other way to get your hands on this steed is to win it off the Black Market Auction House, but good luck getting the gold for that!
So there you have it! If you want to go after one of the more sought-after mounts in the game, you don’t even need a group to do it anymore. The fight isn’t terribly hard, and a lot of the most annoying mechanics are negated thanks to soloing. Give it a whirl, and good luck on getting your zombified pegasus!
Next time, I’m hopefully going to start my post-mortem series on Mists and talk about what I felt worked and didn’t work over the course of the expansion. I got a lot written up before, just haven’t gotten around to publishing it yet. I’ll go back over it and proofread it and get it up sometime soon. It’ll be a doozy. And of course, the Wrath soloing guide will need to be completed, but all in due time.