I got a request to write about healing the Lich King fight (as opposed to healing the Lich King– that doesn’t happen, you don’t get to heal the Lich King). I’m a bit of at a loss for words. I don’t have an epic story to tell, my tears of frustration are too fresh to have gained that (melo)dramatic tint of QQ. I don’t have a specific mechanic in mind to focus on. Heck, while I’ve seen the first two phases way more often that I care to admit, phase 3 is a bit of a blurr in my mind. Once you get there, Arthas gets really squishy, really fast, so my memories of that phase are mainly fumbling around for my boss fight notes while pretending to know what I’m doing.
So I reach out to my final (and usually also first) resort: cheap pop psychology/health with a “they’re against us” feel. Things about healing the Lich King fight that the Lich King doesn’t want you to know.
1- You’ll have your hands full with the tanks
I hate infests, I really do. Not because they chew up your team if your discipline priests and raid healers are otherwise occupied with whatever else they may be doing, but because there’s all that deep, glorious damage going on and there’s nothing I can do about it. If I take my attention away from the tanks, the tanks go splat. Chances are you’ll face the same. Despite what Arthas wants you to do, you have to trust your raid healers and keep your attention on the tanks.
2- You can dispel diseases in Phase 1
It’s tough, but you can do it. On both 10 and 25 man, we typically have a disc priest cover dispels, but I’ve done it on occasion. Make sure you have Necrotic Plague showing on your raid frames. Call out whoever gets the Plague so they can move towards the Shambling Horrors pronto. (Assuming here you have all the range stacked together on Phase 1.) Dispel sooner than later. A death due to Plague will likely be a wipe, an extra jump of the Plague is salvageable.
3- During the parts with two tanks, direct heal the Lich King tank, beacon the other tank
More often than not, you’ll have more people hanging around the Lich King, cheerfully in range of your Glyph of Holy Light splash. This is especially true of phase 1. After that, it’s just more convenient and I’m all about convenience. On 25 man, during the single tank parts, I’ll move beacon to myself since constantly swapping beacon around is hassle on top of being a waste of mana and global cooldowns. On 10 man, we don’t tank swap so I keep Arthas’ tank beaconed.
4- Following Arthas’ cooldown timers helps you move to the right spot, at the right time
Your boss fight addon of choice keeps track of Val’kyrs, Defiles and Soul Reaper. I’ve had guildies complain that their timers are off, but I haven’t had any problems. I use Deadly Boss Mods. Have a Holy Light timed to hit right after a Soul Reaper. Right after a Defile, move back to your Val’Kyr position. Right after the Val’Kyr(s) chooses its/their target, position yourself in a way to move fast if you get targeted for Defile, but within Hammer of Justice path of the Val’Kyr(s).
You’ve probably discovered by now that moving too much isn’t very compatible with tank healing, especially on this fight, so you’ll want to limit movement as much as possible by anticipating the upcoming optimal location and timing your moving with Soul Reaper.
5- Raging Spirits don’t have to eat your face
If a Raging Spirit (during the transition phases) spawns near you, you can, you know, move. It can take the tanks a second or two to pick up the Spirits and it takes far less than a second for the Spirits to turn you into pulp. The solution is to be far enough from a newly born Raging Spirit to be able to kite it if you happen to grab healing aggro.
Also, I probably shouldn’t have to say this, but please, oh, please don’t stand in front of Raging Spirits. Also make the sure the tanks aren’t silenced by Soul Shriek. Soul Shriek is a magic debuff and should be showing up on your frames. If doesn’t, then fix your frames. Dispelling Soul Shriek is a priority. You can split dispel jobs between other healers by each claiming a tank, but still, make sure neither tank is ever silenced.
6- Aura Mastery, Hand of Sacrifice, Divine Sacrifice: You have them, you can use them.
Aura Mastery + Devotion Aura can be helpful for phase 1, especially if the Shambling Horrors are getting pissy and the tranquility shot is slow on coming. (Lots of physical damage.)
Aura Mastery + Shadow Resistance can be helpful for Infests and Soul Reaper.
Aura Mastery + Frost Resistance can save slackers making their way to the edge too slowly during transition phases.
Hand of Sacrifice is a saver during Soul Reaper or if you have to run at an unfortunate time (say you’ve got defile and all the other healers are getting carried away by Valks…)
Divine Sacrifice really shines at the beginning of the second transition phase, when you’ll undoubtly have some slackers and space cadets making their way to the edge of the platform waay too late.
7- If you make it to the end of the second transition phase, rejoice.
Or not. I have no tricks for phase 3. My memory’s hazy but I know I really like ending up inside Frostmourne. Makes me feel like a real paladin. Use healing boost cooldowns to up healing without wasting as much mana. On the outside, my guild tanks Arthas along the edge of the ring and we drop our Defiles in the middle. Anticipating the next optimal position works even better in phase 3. Um, and run from Vile Spirits if they chase you. Spirits exploding on your face is unpleasant. Someone once told me that bubbling and running through the Vile Spirits kills them but I’ve never gotten it to work. Most of the time, I’ve already used my bubble as an emergency resort by phase 3 anyway.
AND THERE YOU HAVE IT. All the things about healing the Lich King fight (and not the Lich King) that Arthas didn’t want you to know.
Now go forth and complain about others standing in defiles.
Next best thing to a real defile screenshot
ps. Huge thanks to Hempia for the first screenshot.