- Author: Passion
- Date: October 14, 2023
- Updated: October 14, 2023
- Expansion: WotLK Classic
The commander of the scourge armies, and wielder of Frostmourne. The once oath-bound champion Arthas now resides on his frozen throne, tormenting Bolvar Fordragon as the forces of Azeroth breach the citadel.
This guide will offer a detailed, step-by-step tutorial on how to deal with The Lich King and his remorseless winter.
- Focus fire spirits inside Frostmourne.
- Focus fire Ice Spheres.
- Do not pad on the Phase 1 adds.
- Don’t dispel Necrotic Plague as a reaction! Make sure it is positioned correctly.
- Do not pad on the Phase 1 adds.
- Make sure adds are faced away from the raid.
- Use your defensive cooldowns wisely.
- Call out Defile targets.
- Call out Shadow Trap targets.
- Call out Val’kyr stacks.
- Call Vile Spirit spawns.
The Lich King
Raid Composition & Preparation
Heroic vs Normal
On Normal difficulty, the Lich King will only bring a single player into Frostmourne, forcing them to fight a Spirit Warden alongside Terenas Menethil.
This fight is a marathon. It will last for a long time, and it is not uncommon to wipe to mechanics over 10 minutes into the fight, having to start over. Expect many wipes while learning, and a lot of your time spent here.
The Lich King is one of the hardest-hitting enemies in the entire game, and can easily function as a hard wall for under-geared groups.
Phase 1 – 100% Health
Every 15 seconds, the Lich King will cast Summon Shadow Trap. This creates a Shadow Trap under a random player, exploding after 5 seconds, creating a void zone that lasts for one minute. Anyone who enters this area will be immediately ejected from the arena, unable to be resurrected.
Every 20 seconds, the Lich King will cast Infest, dealing heavy Shadow damage to the entire raid, as well as placing a damage-over-time effect on them. This damage will constantly ramp up, being removed if the target is healed to >90% Health. With this, it is vital to heal the entire raid to full Health as quickly as possible, as the longer it takes, the harder it gets.
Every 30 seconds, the Lich King will Summon Drudge Ghouls. This spawns 3 Drudge Ghouls that should be immediately grabbed by the off-tank. These do negligible damage but need to survive until the Lich King casts Necrotic Plague.
Every minute, the Lich King will Summon Shambling Horror. This spawns a single Shambling Horror that should be immediately grabbed by the off-tank. Unlike the ghouls, horrors deal significant damage, as well as cast Shockwave every 20 seconds, dealing damage in a cone. For this reason, tanks need to make sure to face them away from the raid. Shambling Horrors will Enrage after being alive for 20 seconds, granting them 200% increased damage. This effect will need to be immediately dispelled with either Tranquilizing Shot or Anesthetic Poison. Last but not least, Shambling Horrors will go into Frenzy when they reach 20% Health, granting 100% increased damage, and 50% increased attack speed. This damage can be brutal, and ideally, your group should keep the Shambling Horror stunned for the entirety of Frenzy.
Every 30 seconds, the Lich King will cast Necrotic Plague on a random player. This will deal a deadly amount of Shadow damage every 5 seconds for 15 seconds. Dispelling this will cause it to chain onto the closest target (that isn’t the Lich King), friend or foe. With this, you can purposefully dispel Necrotic Plague while next to the adds. As long as they are positioned well, this will jump through the entire stack, ramping up and eventually killing them all.
Every time Necrotic Plague kills a target and chains, it will gain a stack. If it is dispelled, it will lose a stack. Additionally, every time it chains, the Lich King will gain a stack of Plague Siphon, increasing his damage dealt by 2%. This means that the longer Phase 1 takes, the more damage the Lich King will deal, inevitably causing a wipe for groups that cannot burn him down fast enough. This also makes it very important for DPS to simply ignore the adds, focusing all their damage onto the Lich King.
At 70% Health, the Lich King will begin his first intermission. He will move to the center of the arena and channel Remorseless Winter. This lasts for one minute, dealing heavy Frost damage every second to everyone in a 45-yard radius. This range is visually marked by where the arena is split into ice.
Everyone will need to move onto the ice, focus down any adds that are still alive, and dispel any remaining Necrotic Plague stacks. Players with Necrotic Plague will need to make sure they are 10 yards away from any other players to prevent the plague from chaining.
Additionally, the Lich King will also cast Pain and Suffering on a random raid member. This will deal damage in a cone, as well as a damage-over-time effect. Players will want to be spread as effectively as they can, without being inside the Remorseless Winter range.
Every 20 seconds, the Lich King will create a Raging Spirit. This will need to be immediately grabbed by a tank and faced away from the raid. These spirits will cast Soul Shrike, a frontal cone that deals heavy Shadow damage and silences everyone hit for 5 seconds. Raging Spirits need to be quickly burned down, making sure they do not survive into the next Phase.
The Lich King will also constantly Summon Ice Spheres. This spawns small Ice Spheres in front of him that will slowly move toward a random raid member. As they move, they will channel Ice Pulse onto their target, dealing constant Frost damage to everyone within 5 yards. If they reach their target, they will cast Ice Burst, dealing irrelevant Frost damage to everyone within 10 yards, and knocking them off the platform. These Ice Spheres have very low health, and should be killed by fast-acting ranged DPS immediately.
After a full 60 seconds of Remorseless Winter, the Lich King will cast Quake, illuminating the ice ring, and destroying it after a 5-second delay. Players will need to return to the main platform as fast as possible to avoid falling back down to Dalaran. This marks the beginning of Phase 2.
Phase 2 – 70% Health
During this Phase the Lich King will replace almost all of his abilities, only keeping Infest from Phase 1. If any Raging Spirits are left alive, they should be tanked by an off-tank on top of the Lich King and cleaved down ASAP.
Every 35 seconds, the Lich King will cast Defile on a random player, creating a void zone underneath them after a 3-second cast. This area will double in size every time it deals damage to a player, alongside increasing Shadow damage. To avoid this growing bigger than necessary, players should make sure to spread for each cast, giving ample room for the Defile area to be avoided. Once a target has been decided, they should use all mobility available to them to get as far from the raid as possible, placing the puddle somewhere harmless and quickly leaving its area.
Every 30 seconds, the Lich King will cast Soul Reaper on the tank, dealing a smaller amount of damage up front, followed by a heavy amount of Shadow damage after 5 seconds. Additionally, after 5 seconds, Soul Reaper will buff the Lich King, granting him 100% increased attack speed for 5 seconds. This lovely combo can easily wipe out a tank, making it vital that defensive cooldowns are used effectively here.
Every 45 seconds, the Lich King will cast Summon Val’kyr. This summons a Val’kyr Shadowguard who will abduct a random non-tank player, attempting to fly them off the edges of the platform. If they reach the edge, the player will be dropped into the void. They will always go for the nearest edge, making it important that the Lich King is always tanked in the center of the arena. It is vital that you do not allow the Val’kyr to fly through Defile areas, so plan positions accordingly.
Once they reach half health, Val’kyr Shadowguards will return to the Lich King and cast Life Siphon. This will deal moderate Shadow damage to a random player after 2 seconds, healing the Val’kyr for 10 times the damage dealt.
At 40% Health, the Lich King will begin his second intermission. He will move to the center of the arena and channel Remorseless Winter. This functions identically to the first intermission, but one more Raging Spirit will be spawned in total.
Phase 3 – 40% Health
During this Phase, the Lich King will retain most of his Phase 2 abilities, but will no longer cast Infest or Summon Val’kyr. If any Raging Spirits are left alive, they become your #1 priority and should be immediately burned down.
Starting 15 seconds into Phase 3, and repeating every minute after, the Lich King will cast Harvest Soul on the entire raid. This deals moderate Shadow damage every second for 6 seconds and throws everyone into Frostmourne itself. Inside you will find Teneras Menethil, trapped inside the sword as well. While inside the raid will be swarmed by Wicked Spirits flying towards the raid. These will attempt to fly toward players and will explode for heavy Shadow damage to everyone within 10 yards if they make contact with a player. Additionally, when they explode, Spirit Bombs will fall from the sky, creating a duplicate explosion in the same spot after a delay. Wicked Spirits have very low health, and should be dealt with quickly before they reach the raid.
If you survive for 40 seconds, Terenas Menethil will cast Restore Soul, returning you to the Frozen Throne to resume your fight against the Lich King. If a player is killed inside Frostmourne, the Lich King will gain a stack of Harvested Soul, drastically increasing all damage dealt for 15 seconds. If he has this buff after Restore Soul goes off, you will not survive. The Lich King also has a terrible habit of following up Restore Soul with a cast of Defile, requiring that all players immediately spread once they get out.
Every 30 seconds, the Lich King will Summon Vile Spirits, creating 10 ghosts that behave similarly to the ones inside Frostmourne. Instead of killing these, the raid will want to immediately run as far from them as possible, while either a tank using defensive cooldowns, a Shadow Priest with Dispersion, or a Paladin with Divine Shield runs in to trigger the explosions. Because of this, raids will want to position themselves to one side of the arena and remain there between each wave of spirits.
Phase 4 – 10% Health
Once he reaches 10% Health, the Lich King will cast Fury of Frostmourne, immediately killing the entire raid, hitting through immunities and damage reductions. This triggers an almost 3-minute-long sequence of roleplay with Highlord Tirion Fordring, while Terenas Menethil casts Mass Resurrection on the raid, bringing everyone back to life after a long wait.
Once you are revived, the Lich King will be unable to act, leaving you free to DPS down the last 10% and complete the fight.
Here are some of the main things that can typically go wrong in this fight:
- Embrace the void in one of the following ways:
- Dropping after a Quake during the intermission.
- Standing in a Shadow Trap.
- Being abducted by a Val’kyr.
- Get bumped by an Ice Sphere.
- Fail to soothe Shambling Horrors.
- Fail to heal Infest.
- Fail to move to the edge in time.
- Fail to move away from the edge in time.
- Allow Defile to grow too large.
- Position Defile poorly.
- Get hit by various ghosts.
- Especially in Frostmourne.
- Especially, especially in the last 15 seconds of Harvest Soul.
- Especially in Frostmourne.
Congratulations on defeating the Lich King! Go stretch your legs, this was a long one.