Icecrown Citadel: The Lich King (Phase 1 & Transition)

Ahhhhh, finally. It feels really good to get here. Unless I do a Ruby Sanctum strat, this will be the last time I write a strat for this expansion.

Whoa, really? That’s nuts! We’ve come along way from Ulduar together, you and I.

All right then, ladies and gents, night elves and tauren, let’s take on the Lich King!

ICC: Strats by TLBC

In it’s entirety, the Lich King fight seems pretty complicated, but if you think about it in phases, it’s really pretty simple. I didn’t consciously decide to do it, but I think I really saw each phase as a fight of its own, and that made it a lot easier to understand and then execute properly.

This fight is like a song with three verses and a chorus. You’ll do Phase 1, then a transition phase, then Phase 2 followed by another transition, and then Phase 3. So we’re going to lay it out just that way.

Phase 1: Biological Warfare

The Plague

For the majority of your raid, this will be the big deal of the first phase. One at a time, raiders will get a debuff called the Necrotic Plague. This disease jumps from the target to a random person nearby when it is cleansed, and should be cleansed. If the closest target is a player, it will jump to them and repeat indefinitely. You don’t want that. If there isn’t a target nearby, the plague will disappear, and you don’t want that either.

What you want is to pass the plague to the adds the Lich King will summon throughout the first phase. If you pass the plague to the adds, they will spread it back and forth to each other and ultimately die from it. Shambling Horrors have a lot of health, and dpsing them is a waste. The plague needs to be spread correctly so that they die on their own.

The way we handle this is all in the positioning. We use the three parts of the fight to form a triangle, with the Lich King and his tank on the center-ish of the platform (about 10 yards from the center of the room opposite the stairs), the adds and the add tank 10 yards right of him, and the rest of the raid 10 yards or so away from the adds towards the edge.

phase 1 positioning

Phase 1 Positioning

When someone gets the Necrotic Plague, they run to the BACK of the adds. It’s extremely important that they are never in front of the Shambling Horrors, because they do an AoE that will easily one-shot anyone that’s not a tank. Once they get to the back of the add, they will need to be cleansed. I highly recommend choosing one reliable person to do this so that it will always get cleansed at the right time. Once the player has been cleansed, they just run back to the raid.

The Shambling Horrors

The Lich King summons two types of adds: Drudge Ghouls, which are honestly just annoying, and Shambling Horrors. DPS should not pull aggro on the adds. Drudge Ghouls in the raid are annoying, and a Shambling Horror in the raid will most likely cause a wipe. Avoid AoE or make darn sure you know how to time it properly and DON’T STUN THE ADDS, especially the Horrors. The adds should be picked up and tanked as soon as they’re summoned. Death Knights and Pallies are exceptionally good for this because of consistent AoE threat, not to mention that a DK Death Gripping the Shambling Horror looks incredible.

Note to Moonkin: Starfall is part of our rotation, and you can use it here, but I found the timing to be extremely specific to avoid pulling aggro on anything. My technique is to wait for the Shambling Horror to pop. As soon as I saw it at the tank, I could safely pop Starfall and it would end before the next Drudge Ghouls were summoned.

The other thing to be aware of is that the Shambling Horrors enrage, and when they enrage, they hit for a LOT (even on the night we killed him, we had an attempt where the add tank died because both enraged at the same time). Get your hunters on Tranq Shot duty.


This is an AoE the Lich King will do to the raid on a timer. It does a fair bit of damage, so give your healers the heads up for raid healing when it pops.

The Goal

This phase ends when the Lich King hits 70%, and this is probably the only time the entire encounter you’ll be able to mostly stand there and nuke him, so go crazy.

First Transition

The transition might take a little practice, but once you get the idea of how it works, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Remorseless Winter is an AoE the Lich King does in the middle of the platform to push you to the edge, so you’ll do the entire transition standing on the lip of the platform.

Ice Spheres are blue balls of ice the Lich King will send towards a random raider. If they reach their target, they’ll blow up and do an AoE knockback which will send a bunch of people off the edge. Assign a couple of ranged to focus on killing them.

I ❤ this screenshot, I really do.

Raging Spirits are the real fight here. Throughout the transition, random raiders will be targeted. They’ll be frozen in place and a much larger, scarier version of themselves will come out of them. Do not aggro them! Seriously, don’t. They do an AoE cone that is pretty much instant death to anyone other than the tank, so you’re very likely to die and take a few buddies with you.

Have a designated tank to pick these up, misdirects are helpful, and please, please, please don’t hit them until the tank has them.

Quick note about tanking: A lot of guilds do this fight with 2 tanks, but you can choose to bring 3. Your add tank will drag the remaining Shambling Horrors from phase 1 to the edge with him and may be too occupied to help with spirits. I think we settled on 2 tanks and a dps DK who switched into Frost Presence and helped get the Raging Spirits to their tank safely.

Crumble! When the transition ends, the edge of the platform you’re standing on will crumble and fall and take anyone left standing on it into oblivion. If you fall off the edge, you die and can’t come back to the fight, so that’s bad. DBM will pop up a warning telling you to run in, but you can see it coming before that. Remorseless Winter will disappear and the center of the platform will darken. The edge will start to become more defined as it begins to crumble, so move in!

You will also probably have an Ice Sphere and a Raging Spirit left, so stay away from the sphere and don’t stand in front of the Raging Spirit as you move into position for Phase 2.

Because of the considerable length of these posts, I’ve split this strat into three parts. You can find Phase 2 & Transition here!

Leave a comment

Filed under Strats

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s