rage winterchill strategy guide (mount hyjal) tbc classic
  • Author: Pride
  • Date: January 28, 2022
  • Expansion: TBC Classic

Rage Winterchill, the lich, is the first boss that players will encounter in the Mount Hyjal raid, and most likely the first tier 6 raid boss they encounter as well, as killing him is a requirement to unlock access to the Black Temple raid.

He is generally viewed as one of the easiest bosses of the tier, and it’s easy to see why, with his measly 4.25 million HP, and 6200 armor. Your raid is assisted by Jaina along with multiple other Alliance NPCs, making this fight even easier. His mechanics are also fairly straightforward, but they can quickly prove deadly if your raid is not prepared to deal with them.

This guide will offer a step-by-step analysis on how to deal with everything Rage Winterchill throws at you, so you can finally lay this chilly lich to rest.

Role Summaries

  • You cannot DPS the boss if Death & Decay is centered on the melee
  • Use your personal DPS cooldowns after Frost Armor ends for maximum DPS
  • Warriors: Consider using a PvP trinket for this fight, as you take more damage than others
  • Carefully position the boss at the correct spot, and never move from that spot
  • Stay in Death & Decay and keep dealing threat, so the ranged DPS players don’t overtake you
  • Consider using defensive cooldowns while standing in Death & Decay if your healers are struggling

Abilities

This is the main ability that players will have to worry about during this fight. Functionally very similar to Kel’thuzad’s Frost Blast, for players that fought him in Naxxramas.

Deals 4250 to 5750 Frost damage to a random raid member and stuns them for 4 seconds. While stunned, they will take 2500 Frost damage per second, for a total of 15,000 Frost damage.

Only tanks stand a chance of surviving this spell – everyone else will need to be quickly healed, or use any stun-break effect in order to remove it. Some notable counters include Divine Shield for paladins, Ice Block or Blink for mages, Bestial Wrath for hunters, or the PvP trinket (Medallion of the Alliance) for everyone.

There’s generally very low damage coming out in this fight and the projectile travels fairly slowly, making this ability highly telegraphed and thus mostly easy to deal with. So if your healers are good, you won’t need to use PvP trinkets, you can let them heal through it. It is not a bad idea to have it equipped while progressing in Mount Hyjal, until your healers are comfortable with the fight.

Casters / healers (due to a lack of stamina on their gear) and warriors (due to Berserker Stance, Death Wish and Recklessness) have a higher chance of dying to this ability, and should be healed ASAP.

It’s also worth mentioning that this ability has a 40 yard range, which is the exact same range of healing spells. Thus by positioning such that the main tank is between them and the boss and they’re standing at max range, your healers can effectively completely avoid this ability.

It is possible to fully resist this ability, so you take no damage and can keep dealing damage yourself. Thus it is generally a good idea for your non-Retribution paladins to use Frost Resistance Aura, and your non-Elemental Shamans to use Frost Resistance Totem to increase the chances of getting a resist.

Cast every 3-10 seconds, but cannot be cast during Death & Decay, giving everyone a short break.

The second most important ability of this fight.

Rage Winterchill begins channeling for 15 seconds. While channeling, a red area appears centered under a random player’s position, damaging any player inside the zone for 15% of their maximum HP every second.

This ability’s visual effect is not specially intense, and is particularly tricky to spot when it is placed on a slope. Therefore players will need to pay extra attention to their health pool, making sure they don’t stay in it too long.

As it is cast on a random player, it is very important that your ranged players stay far away from the boss in order to avoid getting it on the melee, and spread out as much as possible so they don’t all have to move. Your melee DPS will have to move out if it’s on them, with the exception of your main tank, who should stay in and get healed so they can continue dealing threat.

Generally not a very dangerous ability, unless it is paired with Frost Nova. If cast on the melee, it will likely kill most of the friendly NPCs however, as their AI is not smart enough to move out of the AoE effect.

Cast every 30 to 60 seconds. Rage Winterchill cannot use melee attacks or cast any other ability while channeling this ability, and cannot move, parry or dodge, making this an excellent time to use raid DPS cooldowns, such as Heroism / Bloodlust.

Deals 2775 to 3225 Frost damage to every enemy within 20 yards of Rage Winterchill, and roots them in place for 10 seconds. Virtually identical to the mage Frost Nova spell.

The damage isn’t particularly high, so your AoE heal spells will likely be able to trivialize this ability. The only times it can be dangerous is if is cast at the same time as Icebolt, significantly increasing the chance that the Icebolt target dies, or just before Rage begins channeling Death & Decay, in which case your priest and paladin healers will need to dispel players stuck in the AoE effect ASAP.

Rage gains a buff for 10 seconds, increasing his armor by 3000 and his Frost resistance by 75. Additionally, players who use melee attacks on Rage while the armor holds will have their attack speed reduced by 25% and their movement speed reduced by 50%.

As Rage Winterchill already has a high Frost resistance value without Frost Armor, you should not be using Frost spells on him and thus the Frost resistance portion of this spell doesn’t really make a difference. However, the 3000 armor means your physical DPS players will deal significantly less damage while it’s up, and melee in particular will be further crippled by the attack speed reduction. Physical DPS players should make sure to not use their DPS cooldowns before Frost Armor fades.

Blessing of Freedom dispels and grants immunity to the attack / movement speed reduction debuff, making it a decent idea to have a paladin use it on important melee DPS players or the main tank in order to increase their damage and threat output respectively.

Cast every 30 to 60 seconds.

Raid Composition & Preparation

Everyone should have a Healthstone, as it can help surviving Death & Decay with unfortunate timing.

The PvP trinket (Medallion of the Alliance) can dispel Icebolt, making it a good choice to use on this fight, if your healers are struggling with keeping players alive.

This fight is among the least healing intensive in Mount Hyjal. You could use as few as 4 to 5 healers and likely not run into any healing-related issues on this fight, but 6 is recommended for guilds new to the content.

As this fight is generally short and not healing intensive, your healers won’t really need +healing or +mana regen consumables and buff food. They can instead use +stamina consumables, like Fisherman’s Feast and Elixir of Major Fortitude, in order to increase their chances of surviving an Icebolt.

2-3 healers should be assigned to healing the main tank full time. Any class is fine for this task, but Restoration Shamans spamming Chain Heal and Restoration Druids with their heal-over-time spells make the best candidates, as your healers of other classes will need to deal with other mechanics instead.

Main tank healers will need to remember to keep healing the main tank while he’s standing inside Death & Decay, as it deals a moderate amount of damage. They cannot get distracted and stop healing the MT in order to dispel or raid heal, as it is very possible that you lose your MT to carelessness here.

Every healer not assigned to a main tank will need to focus on dealing with Icebolt using their instant cast spells, such as Power Word: Shield, Holy Shock and Swiftmend.

While nobody is afflicted by Icebolt, your Holy Paladins and Holy / Discipline Priests should focus on dispelling Frost Nova. This will be their largest priority while Rage is channeling Death & Decay.

A single Holy Priest can be assigned to raid healing after Frost Nova is cast, reducing the chances of accidental deaths to Icebolt.

There are no specific DPS class / spec requirements for this fight. Your physical DPS players and melee in particular will struggle on account of Frost Armor and Death & Decay, but that’s about it.

Hunters using Misdirection can help make the start of this fight a lot easier, as they can misdirect to your main tank standing at the correct position right away, instead of having to slowly move Rage there. However, hunters attempting to pull should be ready to use their PvP trinket or Bestial Wrath right away, else they run the risk of dying to an early Icebolt, out of the healers’ range.

Losing too many healers is the biggest risk factor in this fight, so all your Warlocks should use their Master Soulstones on them, starting with the most important and squishiest ones.

Only 1 tank is needed for this fight, though having a 2nd can help reduce the chances of a wipe in the event that the main tank dies accidentally. Their classes don’t really matter — all 3 tanking classes are about as good at tanking the boss, so use your best geared tank here for maximum threat output.

Rage’s tank damage is fairly low, so your main tank can use DPS / threat gear and consumables for maximum threat, allowing your DPS players to go all-out.

The Pull

After you have defeated the 8th wave of the undead horde in Mount Hyjal, the wave counter will disappear and you will instead be left with a display saying “Invading Enemies = 1”. Rage Winterchill will then emote in chat and begin to move towards the Alliance base camp.

At this point you have roughly 1 minute before he gets to the Alliance base camp and begin his assault on your allies. Your raid should use this time to rebuff and heal / regenerate mana, as you will automatically get in combat when Rage Winterchill gets close enough, at which point the fight officially begins.

rage winterchill 1

You ideally don’t want Rage Winterchill to start the fight for you, as he is prone to following NPCs to random spots, which makes dealing with his various spells significantly more difficult. Instead, you should have a hunter pull him with Misdirection on the main tank, who should be standing in the middle of the cross-roads, as shown in the picture below.

The rest of your raid meanwhile should position themselves as shown in the picture below. This positioning gives everyone in your raid ample room to avoid Death & Decay, while also ensuring that as many NPCs as possible (including Jaina, ideally) join in the fight, dealing a small amount of damage to Rage and making the fight slightly shorter.

rage winterchill 2

The Fight

The rest of your hunters should now use Misdirection on the MT. 

Rage Winterchill will not be nice and wait until he’s firmly in position before he starts using his Icebolt ability, so your healers will need to be quick here. DPS players should wait until he’s finally in position before starting to DPS.

In order to help dealing with Icebolt somewhat, it is strongly recommended that your non-Retribution paladins use Frost Resistance Aura and your non-Elemental Shamans to use Frost Resistance Totem to increase the chances of resisting it. Not only do they not risk dying if they resist it, but they’re free to keep DPSing, making it a win-win.

About 25 to 30 seconds into the fight, Rage will use his first non-Icebolt ability, which will most likely be Death & Decay. If he cast Frost Nova before that, your Holy Paladins and Holy / Discipline Priests should begin dispelling anyone who is rooted in the Death & Decay area of effect.

Everyone who got caught up in the zone (except for the main tank) should move out of it, and then as soon as Rage stops channeling, they should move back to their previous spots. Melee will not be able to DPS during Death & Decay, unless your raid is stacked on Restoration Shamans and Holy Priests who can do some serious AoE healing to keep them up.

Your main tank meanwhile should stay in and continue dealing threat, else your ranged DPS players may overtake them on the threat meter. Your main tank healers will need to be aware of this and not stop healing them throughout Death & Decay‘s duration.

The first Death & Decay will likely be the best time for your guild to use Heroism / Bloodlust, as Rage will not take any actions and be unable to dodge or parry for the duration. Alternatively, if your raid is heavy on the physical and melee DPS side, using raid cooldowns right after Frost Armor ends is also a good idea, as it maximizes your raid’s DPS.

These are all the abilities that Rage Winterchill has access to, so if you’ve made it about a minute into the fight without losing healers to Icebolt, you are very likely to succeed in defeating him. That will generally be the biggest thing that causes wipes for most guilds – losing too many healers – so make sure they have a Master Soulstones on them, and that they communicate ASAP if they get hit by it so other healers can react quickly and heal them.

Assuming you have Icebolts under control, you will surely defeat Rage Winterchill, and be one step closer towards the last boss of the Mount Hyjal raid – Archimonde, the defiler!

 

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