wotlk classic naxxramas kel'thuzad featured image
  • Author: Passion
  • Date: September 10, 2022
  • Updated: September 19, 2022
  • Expansion: WotLK Classic

Kel’Thuzad is the final boss of the dread citadel, Naxxramas. An incredibly powerful Lich, most of his fight consists of fighting waves of the undead. After beating his legion of abominations and banshees, Kel’Thuzad himself will awaken, casting powerful spells, dealing massive damage, and mind controlling the raid.

“He serves the Lich King without question, a necromancer of great prowess in life, turned to a master of necromancy after his death. It is said he is the most loyal of the Lich King’s subjects.” –Commander Eligor Dawnbringer

This guide will offer a detailed, step-by-step tutorial on how to deal with Kel’Thuzads undead swarm and dominant magic.

Role Summaries

Phase 1

  • Avoid getting close to Banshee and Soldier, deal with them exclusively at range.
  • Try to stay close to the center of the room to not accidentally pull enemies into melee range.

Phase 2

  • Make sure you are always 10-yards away from other players.
  • If you are closer to the melee stacks, make sure they have room to get away from their stack.
  • Always be ready to interrupt Frostbolt, even if you are not assigned to interrupting.
  • Always be ready to crowd-control targets hit by Chains of Kel’Thuzad if you are able to.
  • Save your cooldowns for 45% Health, including Bloodlust/Heroism.

Phase 1

  • Don’t worry about DPSing Soldier and Banshees, but make sure you are never close to them.
  • Focus DPS on Abomination.
  • Remember, this Phase will always last for 3 minutes and 48 seconds, giving you time to use your cooldowns before Phase 2.

Phase 2

  • Stay at max melee range.
  • Stack on your assigned area, marked by the points of Kel’Thuzads robe.
  • Rotate to another point if yours gets targeted by Shadow Fissure.
  • Make sure you don’t stack on ranged players if you have to leave melee range.

Phase 1

  • Prioritize DPSing Soldier and Banshees, but make sure you are never close to them.
  • DPS the Abomination only when there is nothing else.
  • Remember, this Phase will always last for 3 minutes and 48 seconds, giving you time to use your cooldowns before Phase 2.

Phase 1

  • When there are no Abominations there is very little healing needed. Help out by DPSing when possible.

Phase 2

  • Make sure you are ready for Frost Blast and can quickly heal the target, you have 4-seconds before they die.
  • Your off-tanks will likely need a lot of healing against Guardian of Icecrown, so make sure you keep an eye on them.

Phase 1

  • Don’t worry about tanking Soldier and Banshees, but make sure you are never close to them.
  • Tank the Abominations.
  • If you have too many stacks of Mortal Wound, let another tank grab the next Abomination.
  • Remember, this Phase will always last for 3 minutes and 48 seconds, giving you leeway to use your defensive cooldowns before Phase 2.

Phase 2

  • Stay at max melee range.
  • Stack on your assigned area, with the main-tank in front of the boss and the off-tanks stacked with melee, marked by the points of Kel’Thuzads robe.
  • Rotate to another point if yours gets targeted by Shadow Fissure.
  • Make sure you don’t stack on ranged players if you have to leave melee range.
  • Be ready to grab Kel’Thuzad or Guardian of Icecrown if a tank is mind-controlled. Everything is tauntable and will need quick reactions.

Abilities

Phase 1

The first Phase is a constant stream of enemies for 3 minutes and 48 seconds. This cannot be sped up and you will always have to fight a minimum of 71 Soldier, 8 Abominations and 8 Banshees.

Assorted Undeads

Soldier will cast Dark Blast if they get within melee range of any player, instantly exploding and dealing area-of-effect to the entire raid. Counter this by killing these enemies before they get close. Melee DPS should avoid these enemies.

Abominations periodically cast Mortal Wound, instantly hitting the tank and applying one stack of Mortal Wound. Each stack reduces healing received by 10%. To deal with this, your tanks should rotate who tanks the Abominatio each spawn.

Banshees cast Wail of Souls on any target in melee range, hitting 3 targets for a decent amount of Shadow damage as well as knocking them back 30-yards. This can easily knock a player into an alcove full of enemies, spiraling into a wipe. Deal with this by killing Banshees before they get too close. Melee DPS should avoid these enemies.

Phase 2

This Phase consists primarily of various mechanics that require the raid to spread at least 10-yards from each other.

Kel’Thuzad

Kel’Thuzad will cast a powerful Frostbolt with a 2-second cast time, dealing 29250 to 30750 Frost damage to his current target. This needs to be interrupted ASAP every time it is cast, otherwise, the tank is at risk of being one-shot or two-shot if combo’d with a melee swing soon after.

Kel’Thuzad will cast a weaker version of Frostbolt, hitting everyone in the raid for 4500 to 5500 Frost damage, this is also uninterruptable. To deal with this you will need a lot of AoE healing ready to go as soon as it hits.

3 players will be Mind Controlled, increasing their damage by 200% and their healing by 500%, lasting for 20-seconds. This ability cannot hit the main-tank but can hit everyone else. These players should be immediately CC’d with spells such as Cyclone or Polymorph, otherwise, they will wreak havoc on your raid and potentially heal or buff Kel’Thuzad massively. You can also kill these players if for some reason you absolutely cannot CC them, but that is a much worse option.

Kel’Thuzad debuffs a player, and after 5-seconds they will explode, dealing Arcane damage based on their maximum mana to everyone within 10-yards of them, but not to themselves. This is managed by having your ranged players stay at least 10-yards apart to avoid them hitting each other, while your melee will have to run to a safe spot to avoid blowing up their friends.

A glowing red circle will appear at a random player’s feet and after a few seconds, it will explode, dealing 62500 to 137500 Shadow damage to everyone in the circle. This is incredibly important to watch out for and to quickly dodge it whenever you see it.

One player will be stunned and take damage equal to 26% of their maximum health every second for 4-seconds. If that player isn’t healed they will die to the damage, so your healers need to always be ready to deal with this as soon as it comes out. This debuff will also spread to anyone within 10-yards of its target, and can very quickly spiral downhill if people are too close together. For ranged this simply means to stay at least 10-yards apart, but for melee DPS it is typical to separate them into 4 camps, one on each side of Kel’Thuzad, 10-yards apart from each other. Multiple targets will still get hit by this debuff, but you minimize how many by doing this.

Guardian of Icecrown

Every 15-seconds the Guardian of Icecrown will hit for 125% weapon damage and increase their damage done by 15%. This damage increase stacks infinitely, effectively putting a timer on the boss fight. Handle this by killing Kel’Thuzad before this damage gets too high and overwhelms you!

Raid Composition & Preparation

This fight has no specific class or spec requirements, but you will need multiple classes capable of interrupting. Rogues have Kick, Shamans have Wind Shear, Hunters have Silencing Shot, Warriors have Pummel and Shield Bash, Death Knights have Mind Freeze and Strangulate, Mages have Counterspell, and even more abilities work just fine, as long as the player is ready to interrupt.

You will want between 4-7 Healers for this fight. These do not need to be any specific classes or specs.

There are no strict requirements for DPS classes or specs here, you simply want a combination of good raid buffs and debuffs, as well as the best players you can muster.

You will need at least 2 tanks for this fight, ideally, 3. 1 main-tank, tanking Kel’Thuzad, and 1-2 off-tanks to focus on Guardian of Icecrown and to taunt Kel’Thuzad in an emergency.

The Pull

The encounter begins when a player comes close to the center of the room. Kel’Thuzad will spawn Soldier, Abomination, and Banshee in the seven alcoves spread around the room. Enemies from these areas will slowly walk towards the raid group and need to be handled as they do. The easiest way to do this is to stack in the center of the room, in the green circle, and fight from there.

As appealing as it may seem, there is no point in trying to pull more enemies here, Phase 1 is on a timer and will not end any quicker no matter what you do.

The Fight

Phase 1

kelthuzad phase 1 positioning

Phase 1 will last for 3 minutes and 48 seconds, with Kel’Thuzad sending 71 Soldier, 8 Abominations and 8 Banshees. If you pull more from the alcoves, they will simply respawn.

These enemies will slowly walk towards the raid, typically getting initial aggro on healers. Soldier will cast Dark Blast if they get close to anyone, dealing area-of-effect damage around them and killing the Soldier. Because of this you typically want your ranged DPS to handle them, which shouldn’t be an issue as they have very low health.

Banshees will knock back anyone in melee range, potentially sending a player into one of the alcoves and quickly swarming them. These move very slowly and should also be handled by ranged DPS as much as possible.

Abominations are the most difficult enemy in Phase 1. Unlike the other adds, Abominations run instead of walking. These hit very hard in melee range and apply Mortal Wound to a tank in melee combat with them. These will spawn faster as the fight goes on, making it very important that they always die before the next one runs in. If a tank gets too many stacks of Mortal Wound it is very important for another tank to take over while Mortal Wound falls off.

After 3 minutes and 48 seconds, Phase 2 will begin — Even if you are still fighting!

Here are some of the main things that can go wrong in this phase:

  • Someone doesn’t notice a Banshee getting close and gets knocked back into an entire corner worth of enemies, likely killing themselves and wiping the raid.
  • Soldier aren’t prioritized by ranged DPS, allowing them to run into the raid stack and blow up the entire raid.
  • Abominations don’t die fast enough, leading to multiple up that quickly overwhelm the raid.

Phase 2

kelthuzad phase 2 positioning

Kel’Thuzad will become targetable and needs to be immediately picked up by a tank and brought into the center of the room, ideally dead center of the green circle on the floor. Melee players will need to stack in 3 groups around Kel’Thuzad, at his back and at each of his sides, with the tank at his front.

Kel’Thuzad will cast Frost Blast on a 45-second cooldown, hitting a player and everyone within 10-yards of them, freezing them and dealing massive damage, as well as continuing to chain to everyone within 10-yards of them. This will also deal 104% of their maximum HP as damage over 4-seconds, meaning that without healing they are guaranteed to die.

To handle this, all ranged players will need to be spread at all times, but there is a lot of space so this shouldn’t be an issue. But remember, melee players may have to run away from the boss to avoid Shadow Fissure, so keep an eye out for them to make sure you give them space if needed.

Melee DPS have a much harder time staying spread though! They will need to be at max range of Kel’Thuzad at all times. To aid in melee positioning, you can try to align yourself with the points of Kel’Thuzads robe. He has four points, one in each direction. As long as melee DPS are aligned with these points and at max range, they should be good to go!

Kel’Thuzad will cast Detonate Mana on a 30-second cooldown, applying a debuff to a player that uses mana. After 5-seconds, this player will explode, dealing damage to all other players within 10-yards of them based on their maximum mana, meaning melee DPS will deal significantly less damage than healers for example.

As a ranged player, if you are correctly spread with 10-yards separating you from everyone else, this is not an issue at all and won’t hit anyone, but as melee, it is significantly more difficult. Ideally, the player with the debuff will run straight away from their stack, getting 10-yards from the melee stack as well as 10-yards from any ranged DPS. This can be tricky if ranged DPS are too clumped behind the melee stacks, so multiple people may have to adjust.

Occasionally, a red Shadow Fissure will appear at someone’s feet, one-shotting them after 5-seconds. This is easy enough to simply walk out of, but make sure you don’t end up within 10-yards of other players! For melee DPS you should swap to one of the other stacks around Kel’Thuzad, and return to your stack after the Shadow Fissure has exploded.

Kel’Thuzad will also cast Frostbolt without a cooldown. Sometimes he will decide to cast this repeatedly, sometimes he will only cast it once before doing something else. This needs to be interrupted as it deals massive damage to the tank and can easily kill them. Most classes have some method of interrupting, but generally, this will be left to melee players. Rogues can interrupt with Kick and Shamans have one of the best interrupts in the game with Wind Shear on a 6-second cooldown. If Kel’Thuzad decides to chain cast Frostbolt, more players will need to jump in and start interrupting, so even if you are not assigned as an interrupter, always be ready!

Occasionally he will also cast Frostbolt Volley, hitting everyone in the raid for a smaller amount of Frost damage. This cannot be interrupted and has to be handled by healers quickly making everyone healthy again.

This is all fairly simple to handle, simply interrupt casts and be 10-yards away from everyone, but Kel’Thuzad has one final wrench to throw into the works. Chains of Kel’Thuzad will be cast on a 90-second cooldown, mind-controlling 3 players for 20-seconds, increasing their size, damage, and healing significantly. These characters will either try to kill raid members or even worse, support Kel’Thuzad with heals and buffs. These heals are massive and can easily get the boss straight back to full health again.

Mind Controlled players can be crowd-controlled with abilities like Polymorph, Freezing Arrow, and Cyclone. You want to keep them crowd-controlled for the entire 20-seconds, dispelling them when Chains of Kel’Thuzad ends. Freezing Arrow is especially good for this because you can shoot it off pre-emptively, trapping players before they have a chance to do anything.

At 45% health, 4 Guardian of Icecrown will be called in to attack the raid. These will appear one by one and need to be quickly grabbed by an off-tank. These enemies will build stacks of Blood Tap, increasing their damage dealt by 15% every time. They have too much health to kill quickly, so have your off-tanks pick them up quickly while the DPS continues focusing on Kel’Thuzad. You want to use all cooldowns now and try to end the fight as quickly as possible.

Here are some of the main things that can go wrong in this phase:

  • Players don’t pay attention to their positioning, stacking within 10-yards and hitting more raid members than necessary.
  • Interrupts are either late, ignored, or out of sync, causing Kel’Thuzad to kill the tank with Frostbolts.
  • Healers don’t react to Frost Blast and don’t heal the target within 4-seconds, causing them to die.
  • Melee stacks too close to the tank and chain Frost Blast or Detonate Mana into them.
  • Mind Controlled players aren’t CC’ed, healing the boss, or killing vital raid members.
  • Melee with Detonate Mana have nowhere to go and hit multiple raid members.
  • Tanks are Mind Controlled, causing chaos with either the boss or the Guardian of Icecrown.

Congratulations on defeating Kel’Thuzad! With the ruler of Naxxramas slain yet again, you have released Dragonblight from the grip of the dread citadel and dealt a powerful blow to the Lich King’s armies.

 

About the Author

Passion

I love MMOs of all shades, especially the nitty gritty numbers parts of them. You might recognize me from the Shadow Priest discord, otherwise I play a little bit of everything, especially games with support roles available.
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