My guild is made up of long-time gamers, including folks who've been roleplaying for dang near two decades. And even though we like to style ourselves "hardcore raiders," we all have to admit that we have those characterization inclinations from time to time. We like our immersion. We like our stories. So when we came across Lady Deathwhisper, we had to make a story up for ourselves.
As the story goes, we met and defeated Kel'Thuzad back in Naxxramas. But, Arthas wasn't quite finished with his trusted lieutenant yet, and raised him (again) from the dead. But something went horribly, horribly wrong. Lord Kel'Thuzad returned from the grave as Lady Deathwhisper! Naxxramas was only a setback, but it was one heck of a setback!
While this little story of ours has no real basis in real game lore, the comparison between the two characters is absolutely appropriate. Both boss fights involve heavy magic damage, adds that spring from the walls to defend the boss, and more than a little coordination. I actually think Leady Deathwhisper is the most difficult fight of the first wing of Icecrown Citadel, which makes her a decent comparison to Kel'Thuzad.
Let's take a look behind the jump and start breaking down the fight.
Lady Deathwhisper is a two-phase fight. When you approach her in her throne room, you'll immediately note that she is standing on a stage. She's surrounded by a big mana shield. In order to get to her, you have to beat down that mana shield. When you get all the way through the shield, she immediately becomes mobile and starts to fight you.
Of course, you don't get to remain unmolested when you're trying to storm her castle. As you damage down the mana shields, adds will be summoned on each side of the room. They need tanked and killed in very specific ways, or else the adds will swam and destroy your raid.
When the shield goes down, your entire raid gets to go bananas DPSing the boss. Lady Deathwhisper has a couple tricks, though, even in this second phase. First, you'll have to dodge these translucent ghosts. If they touch their target, the ghosts will explode (for what feels like a bajillion damage). Second, she'll be casting spells the entirety of the second phase. (Who would have thought a lich casts spells, right?) The volley raid-damaging spells aren't too big a deal, but the single target Frostbolts are definitely tank killers. Those will have to be interrupted.
With that quick summary out of the way, let's start breaking down Lady Deathwhisper's individual abilities.
Lady Deathwhisper - Phase 1
- Mana Barrier - Absorbs all damage done to Lady Deathwhisper, draining her mana instead. This is the key ability to phase one. Once you've destroyed the Mana Barrier, you go into phase two.
- Shadow Bolt - Inflicts Shadow damage to the current target.
- Death and Decay - Inflicts Shadow damage every 1 second to enemies within the area of the spell. The spell lasts 10 seconds. You can tell it by a bubbling green area on the ground.
- Dominate Mind - Mind Controls 1 player, increasing their damage by 200% and healing by 500%. Lasts 12 seconds. (This is another call back to old Kel'Thuzad.) This effect only occurs in 25 man.
- Dark Empowerment - Empowers a random Adherent or Fanatic, causing them to deal area damage with spells. Also makes the target immune to interrupts.
Many of the abilities are the same as in Phase 1, but get turned up a notch.
- Frostbolt - Inflicts Frost damage to the current target. Can be interrupted. This spell is a tank killer, and should absolutely be interrupted.
- Death and Decay - Inflicts Shadow damage every 1 second to enemies within the area of the spell. The entire spell lasts 10 seconds. Again, this is the bubbling green color on the ground. This is fire that you shouldn't stand in.
- Dominate Mind - Mind Controls 3 players, increasing their damage by 200% and healing by 500%. Lasts 12 seconds. The effect is the same as in phase one, except now it can grab up to three players. It's best to crowd control them, so that you don't lose allies by killing them.
- Touch of Insignificance - Reduces the target's threat generation by 20% per application. Stacks up to 5 times. This is the big gimmick of the second phase, which we'll discuss in depth later. Suffice it to say that the Touch of Insignificance insures you'll need two tanks.
- Summon Vengeful Shade - Summons a Vengeful Shade from the body of a dead Adherent or Fanatic. There are angry angry ghosts! If they catch up to their target, they explode in a Vengeful Blast!
Phase one of the Lady Deathwhisper fight is a practice in add management, and your raid's ability to coordinate which type of DPS attacks which kind of add. There are two kinds of adds, who will spawn in separate sides of the room. You have Adherents and Fanatics. Burn them down and blow them up, as a general rule. In and of themselves, they don't have many hitpoints, and they'll die pretty quickly.
However, Lady Deatwhisper has inherited the ability to raise the Adherents and Fanatics from the dead. When that happens, they gain resistance to either magic or physical damage. While it's technically 99% resistance, I think it's easiest simply to say "Pull out, Wedge! There's no good you can do back there!" There's really not much damage you're going to do them if you're trying to damage the wrong type. Essentially, when the adds are reanimated from the dead, physical cannot effectively damage the Fanatics, and magic can not damage the Adherents. So your physical damage should be attacking the Adherants, and spell damage should be attacking the Fanatics. You'll especially want to kite the Deformed Fanatics, since they'll explode when they die.
If you can balance the damage to the two types of adds, and still keep damage on Lady Deathwhisper's mana shield, you'll be doing great. Keep blowing up that shield until you enter Phase Two.
Phase two is high paced, but a little easier to coordinate. First, make sure that you keep your interrupts handy, and knock down that Frostbolt. Don't let her get it off. While most tanks in contemporary gear levels could live through it, they'd need to be fully topped off in health and ready to take the blow. And any other damage would pretty quickly kill them.
The mind control issue is a real one, especially if it snags your healers. However, if you're rocking a fight against Lady Deathwhisper, you should already be familiar with this dynamic from Kel'Thuzad. If someone gets mind controlled, do not kill them. Use some form of crowd control to keep the enslaved person from wrecking your raid. The effect only lasts 12 seconds, so you should be able to handle it.
Lastly, Vengeful Shades will continually spawn from the dead bodies of the Adherents and the Fanatics. Simply run away from them. It might help to have a raid spotter keep an eye out for the ghosts, and shout out warning when they get near someone.
This fight will feel intimidating, but it's a coordination check. Once you get the dance steps down, you shouldn't have much trouble. Good hunting!
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