As a Death Knight, the Bane Of The Fallen King title is the one I’m proudest of. Arthas had it coming.
Many of the achievements from Wrath Of The Lich King have become much easier – even trivial – to obtain now that the Cataclysm has arrived and we’re all level 85. The fight with the Lich King at the climax of the Icecrown Citadel raid, though, is still a challenging fight for a level 85 raid group. Here’s our guide to getting it done.
Put the kettle on
The heroic version of the Lich King fight contains all of the fun of the normal version, including the frustratingly long introductory speech. Go make yourself a sandwich or something – it lasts a good minute.
Once Arthas and Tirion have stopped flirting with each other, the fight will start and you’ll finally be allowed to hit the Lich King. Tirion will immediately get frozen in a big block of ice and will be of absolutely no use for the rest of the fight. Don’t worry, though – he’ll be back right at the end to claim all of the credit and to pose for his statue.
In an attempt to even up the odds, Arthas will begin to summon adds. They’ll mostly take the form of ghouls, but occasionally he’ll summon a Shambling Horror. The ghouls are pretty harmless. Just let the main tank pick them up along with the Lich King. The off-tank should take the Shambling Horrors, and tank them away from the raid. They hit hard, with a frontal cleave, but at level 85 should be easily manageable.
Every 15 seconds, Arthas will cast Necrotic Plague on a random player. That player should run to the off-tank, at which point the plague should be dispelled by a healer. When that happens, the plague will jump to a nearby target – hopefully the Shambling Horror being tanked by the OT. Necrotic Plague is nowhere near as big a problem at 85 as it was at level 80, but it can still become unmanageable if ignored, so don’t let your raiders get lazy.
Arthas also occasionally casts Infest, which can be a real problem if not controlled, even at 85. It does lots of damage to its target and every other player, until the infested player is healed back up to 90% of his health. You should assign a healer specifically to deal with Infest as a first priority.
An exciting addition for the heroic mode of this fight are the _Shadow Trap_s that Arthas occasionally drops at players’ feet. These are guaranteed death, level 85 or no. Why? Because a few seconds after they spawn, they’ll catapult anybody unfortunate enough to be stood on them right off the platform. It’s a long fall from the top of Icecrown Citadel. You ain’t coming back from that.
Run Away phase – part 1
When the Lich King hits 70% health, a transitional phase will be triggered. The Lich King will move to the centre of the platform and start casting nasty things. Everyone should move to the edge of the platform. In fact, everyone should move beyond the edge of the platform: during this phase, the edge of the platform will gain a temporary extension of ice. That’s the only place to stand and be unaffected by the Lich King‘s AoE.
Adds will spawn during the transitional phase, which should be taken down quickly. Prioritize any adds left from phase 1 first. There’ll also be Frost Orbs heading your way from the centre of the platform. Ranged DPS should kill these quick – the orbs explode if they touch a player, doing significant damage. The main adds are called Raging Spirits. They have a silencing ability, which they cast as a frontal cone, so don’t stand in front of them unless you’re not feeling very talkative. After 3 adds have spawned, the Lich King casts Quake. Run back in as soon as that happens, because the platform extension on which you’re standing is about to disappear again. Once that happens, it’s on to phase 2.
Defile! Defile! Argh! Simultaneously the best and worst thing Blizzard have ever done to us, this nasty ability is going to be a constant companion for you during this phase. Defile is an AoE effect which will be cast on a random raid member. It takes the form of a small dark pool on the ground, which damages anybody who stands in it. The catch is that whenever it does any damage, it grows larger and more powerful. It just takes one raid member to not move quickly enough for a complete raid wipe. Again, the fact that you outgear this encounter will be of no help to you at all. Surviving Defile requires very careful positioning from everybody.
As if the Don’t Stand In Defile game weren’t enough fun for Phase 2, you’ll also have to deal with the Val’kyr who’ll occasionally swoop down and carry off a random raid member. Have everyone stack in the center when the Val’kyr come down. They can be slowed, and anyone who can do so should throw as many slowing abilities as possible. If the Val’kyr manages to get to the edge of the platform, it’s curtains for the poor guy being carried. The Val’kyr will drop them off the edge of the platform, which results in a Douglas Adams-style whooshing noise followed by an undignified splat.
The Val’kyr have far more hit points in heroic mode than in normal mode, but thankfully they only need to be reduced to 50% of their health before they’ll let go of their target. Once that’s happened, they’ll fly up above the raid and throw down damage until killed.
You should try your utmost not to allow a Defile to drop in the path of a Val’kyr. Doing so will give the Val’kyr victim a much increased chance of death, and if you’re very unlucky will result in a platform filled with Defile and dead raiders.
Run Away phase – part 2
When Arthas hits 40% health, he’ll trigger another transitional phase. It’s much the same as the first one – run to the edge, DPS the adds, kill the orbs when they appear – but with slightly more adds. A competant level 85 raid should still have no trouble here, but feel free to fire off your DPS cooldowns if you’re struggling.
After 1 minute, the platform extension collapses again and you’re into phase 3.
Phase 3 – $2 Limoncello, and other Vile Spirits
Kill any remaining adds from the previous transitional phase first of all, then get ready for some Vile Spirits. Once they spawn, they’ll move towards raid members. If they reach their target, they’ll explode. The damage isn’t too awful for a level 85 character, but there’s still no reason to let these guys anywhere near you. Slow them if you can, then DPS them down. If all else fails, simply spread out – your raid can probably survive the damage.
About once a minute, the Lich King will cast Harvest Soul which will suck players into Frostmourne. Only one player is affected in normal mode, but in heroic mode Arthas really, really sucks: every single raid member will end up inside the sword, every time.
Once inside the sword, healers should heal King Terenas (who’s been stuck inside the sword since the start of Warcraft III and is now mightly annoyed). Everybody else should DPS the Spirit Warden. Heroic mode brings additional adds in the form of Wicked Spirits which should also be DPSed. Once the Spirit Warden is dead, everybody will be released from the sword and find themselves back on the platform and ready to continue their assigned Arthas-spanking. You need to escape the sword within 60 seconds, but at level 85 that’ll be no problem at all.
The Lich King will drop another Defile as soon as the raid is released from the sword, so be ready to move the second you get back to the platform.
This is the bit that you shouldn’t read if you haven’t done the fight before. Seriously – here be spoilers. If you’ve somehow managed to make it this far without knowing how the fight ends, then you owe it to yourself not to read this last section. All you need to know is: (1) If you get Arthas to 10%, you’ve basically won, and (2) don’t release. If you want a reminder of the final phase of this fight, or you can’t resist spoilering yourself, read on.
When Arthas reaches 10%, he suddenly remembers that he has a massive DPS cooldown which he hasn’t yet used. He promply presses the appropriate keybinding and wipes the raid.
Don’t worry. It’s fine. You’re probably wondering what exactly Tirion Fordring will do during this fight to earn his statue. Well, here he comes. Sit back and relax while Tirion claims all the glory, then accept the resurrection from Terenas. At that point, the Lich King is suspended helpless in the air like a big undead pinata. Your only task is to hit him until the candy drops out.
You can’t lose at this point, so you may as well have some fun. The obvious choice is to pop every cooldown you have and join the race to the top of the meters, but it can be just as much fun to take your time and humiliate Arthas first. Why not let the rest of the raid sit on the steps of the frozen throne while one of your healers whips Arthas slowly to death with a fishing rod? Use your imagination: the Lich King has earned an inelegant death.
Have we missed anything crucial? Any clever tips for getting this achievement at 85? Let us know in the comments.