Kel’Thuzad is a 3 phase fight. The first 4 minutes of every attempt, you have to repeatedly kill a lot of adds, similarly to Mount Hyjal. After those 4 minutes, Kel’Thuzad will engage your raid with quite a few lethal abilities. The fight does, however, remain basically the same from that point until he dies, except for some extra adds called guardians who will appear when Kel’Thuzad’s health reaches 45% and will be off tanked while the raid finishes off the boss.
There are no special gear requirements for this boss. Extra HP is advisable only for the tanks. It is recommend to bring a shadow priest or retribution paladin to the raid for mana regeneration as it is quite a long fight which can easily take up to 15-20 minutes, especially in 10 man.
A Frost Aura from a paladin will certainly help reduce the damage on the raid. If your guild made frost gear for Sapphiron, it is recommended for the melee DPS to equip 1 piece of that gear. The other raid members should definitely not need it. If your guild killed Sapphiron, healing the raid damage shouldn’t be much of a problem.
It is recommended to use at least 3 tanks, 8 healers, 4 melee DPS who can interrupt, 3 players who can do quick crowd control without cooldown (mage / warlock with sheep / fear would be best). This is recommended but certainly not a rigid requirement.
You will need 2 tanks and 3 to 4 healers for this fight. 3 healers is probably preferable as phase 3 can be quite nasty if it lasts too long, so you will need solid DPS. If players are dying throughout phase 2 and 3 due to lack of healing, you might want to consider bringing a fourth healer. You will also need 2 players who can rotate interrupts. It is best to use the tank and a melee for this, or 2 melee if you have them. Crowd control is not needed for 10 man.
As soon as anyone from the raid runs to the platform in the middle, the fight will begin. Make sure your entire raid is standing close enough to that platform as there will be adds that spawn at the entrance gate within a few moments (and also at the other gates). During phase 1 you cannot target or attack Kel’Thuzad; the only thing you need to worry about is staying alive for 4 minutes of incoming adds.
There are 3 types of adds. While their health bar is different in 10 and 25 man, their abilities are exactly the same and there should be the same number of spawns.
Soldier of the Frozen Wastes (skeleton): When they hit their target (the highest on their threat meter), this skeleton will blow up, dealing approximately 3-4k shadow damage to the entire raid. This is not resistible. They move very slow and a shadow priest or hunter should kill them from range. 1 person assigned to the skeletons should be sufficient as they have very low HP.
Unstoppable Abomination: A tank will need to grab these and the melee DPS should kill it. This mob applies a stacking -10% healing debuff to its tank. This shouldn’t be any problem so long as the tank doesn’t grab more than 2 at once. This add also hits rather hard, so the healers should be ready to heal tanks when they grab an Unstoppable Abomination. The Unstoppable Abomination still moves very slow so the tank can kite it as a last resort. Stunning is also an option.
Soul Weaver (banshee): These adds move very slowly but will deal a nasty knockback when the player highest on its aggro list gets within melee range. The knockback will deal around 8k damage to several people and has a chance of knocking people back into a gate. When this happens, several adds will engage your raid as well, creating a high risk of a wipe. To avoid this knockback, simply let the ranged DPS take her down. Melee can assist once they’re certain they will not pull aggro.
To give you a brief idea of what the adds are like:
|10 man HP||10 man DPS||25 man HP||25 man DPS|
|Skeletons||~ 2 500||AoE 3k on melee hit||~ 4 000||AoE 3k on melee hit|
|Abomination||~ 75 000||~ 5 000 on plate, slow attack speed||~ 190 000||~ 10 000 on plate, slow attack speed|
|Banshee||~ 50 000||AoE 8k knockback on melee hit||~ 130 000||AoE 8k knockback on melee hit|
Kel’Thuzad has approximately 14.5 million HP in 25 man (5.5 million HP in 10 man) and the most important thing you need to know about him is to spread out, The range checker addon from Bigwigs can be very useful for this. Kel’Thuzad is also Taunt-able, although this shouldn’t be needed.
His abilities are:
Frostbolt: This deals 19 – 21k damage in 25 man (10 – 13k damage in 10 man) and is cast upon his highest aggro target on a 2 second cast timer. You can not Spell Reflect this, but you can interrupt it. Kel’Thuzad will attempt to cast it quite frequently (basically non-stop chain casting Frostbolts when they are not interrupted). This is why it’s recommended to use 2 ‘teams’ of interrupters. When you interrupt a Frostbolt, he will be unable to use another one for the normal duration of Kick/Counterspell/etc. Try to let as few Frostbolts as possible hit the tank. You can not use Curse Of Tongues on Kel’Thuzad.
AoE Frostbolt: This deals 5.4 – 6.6k frost damage in 25 man (4.5 – 5.5k in 10 man) to everyone in the raid and is an instant cast. It is cast every 15 seconds. This damage is resistible and this ability and Frost Blast (see next) are the reasons why it can be useful to let your melee DPS use some frost resistance.
Frost Blast: Kel’Thuzad will hit a random target with this spell every 30 – 60 seconds, freezing him into ice (looking like the mage spell Frostblock) and dealing 104% of the player’s HP to them over 4 seconds. For example, for a priest with 20 000 HP, the Frost Blast will do 1 tick of 5200 damage every second for 4 seconds for a total of 20 800 total damage. Critically, this effect also spreads to all players within 10 yards, and then again from those players, and so on again and again until no more players are hit. If the entire raid was standing spread out by 8 yards, they would therefore all be hit by one casting of this ability. For this reason, it is critical to spread out and stay 10 yards apart, except in certain situations (melee) where 2-4 players will need to stack on the same spot.
Mana Detonation: The targeted player will blow up in 5 seconds after getting this debuff, dealing around 17k arcane damage in 25 man (10k in 10 man) to anyone within 10 yards of him. Note that if you’re spread out wisely to avoid Frost Blasts, you shouldn’t have to move at all unless you’re melee. This spell is used every 30 – 60 seconds.
Shadow Fissure: Kel’Thuzad Summons a large and easy to see shadow zone on a random spot. This will kill anyone that stands in it after 5 seconds. Don’t underestimate its range: simply stay well away from it until it despawns. Kel’Thuzad uses this quite frequently, about every 15 – 40 seconds.
Chains of Kel’Thuzad (25 Man Only): Kel’Thuzad mind controls 1 to 3 random players (the tank will never be afflicted with this) for 20 seconds, increasing their damage and healing done. Use crowd control on them as soon as possible, or let 1 of your tanks grab them. There is a 1 minute cooldown on this ability, and it is usually only used 2 – 3 times during phase 2 and phase 3.
10 seconds after Kel’Thuzad reaches 45%, phase 3 will start. Several guardian adds will spawn slowly from random gates. In 25 man, there will be a total of 4 guardians that spawn for phase 3, with 5 – 8 seconds between each spawn. In 10 man, there will only be 2 guardians. These adds will spawn only once and will not despawn until you kill Kel’Thuzad. They look like a smaller version of Anub’Rekhan and cannot be Shackled or kited. They have very high HP and should be off tanked rather than killed.
These guardians will buff themselves every 15 seconds to deal another 15% damage. This is why phase 3 is such a DPS race, because after about 5 – 7 stacks of +15% damage, these guardians will start to hit the tanks rather hard.
When phase 1 starts, all the adds may seem overwhelming, but only a few of them will actually have to be killed, and they will come to you one by one. So don’t think this like Mount Hyjal and grab all the mobs from gate 1 first, then the mobs from gate 2 etc. Instead, let them come to you one by one from random sides and despawn when phase 2 starts. It’s a lot less nasty than it looks at first.
Also, it does not matter how quickly you kill the adds: the same number will spawn. You only need to worry about the adds leaving their gate and slowly running to the raid, and they do run very slowly (the abominations run slightly faster).
Also unlike Mount Hyjal, AoE is not the most effective way to kill the adds as they come one by one and run in a straight path to the middle. You will only be able to use an occasional Cleave on two abominations being tanked by a single tank.
The priorities for your DPS should be as follows:
Melee: abominations > banshees > skeletons (only as a last resort)
Ranged: skeletons (see below) > banshees > abominations
Assign your tanks to certain gates. If you have 2 tanks (10 man), use left and right. If you have 3 tanks (25 man), assign 2-3 gates to each tank. Note that they only have to grab the abominations.
If you have a shadow priest in your raid, assign them to the skeletons: Spirit Tap spec is excellent for this. For 10 man, a single shadow priest can do all the skeletons, or a hunter will be just as effective. For 25 man, assign 2 players to them, again, preferably a shadow priests/hunters. A warlock running around putting DoT spells on every skeleton is also very effective.
As for the others DPS players, they will have to roam around the room freely trying to spot and DPS adds down quickly. You cannot really assign positions to this because the spawns are random, meaning you could have all the abominations coming from 1 side. The room is rather small though, so you shouldn’t have much problem running from one side of it to the other.
Use the inner circle of the room as a grouping spot. Ranged will always stay in this circle so this doesn’t really apply to them, but the melee had best move back to the middle every time they are idle to minimise running time (even though running from the extreme left and right side of the room should take no more than 4 – 6 seconds). All ranged DOS and healers should stay in this inner circle throughout the phases. Tanks should position themselves somewhere wit their cameras in a smart angle where they can see all the gates they are assigned to tank abominations from.
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You will notice rather quickly that the first 2 – 3 minutes of phase 1 are rather straightforward, but the last few moments can be rather hectic. Note that, when Kel’Thuzad makes a yell (3:30 in phase 1), he will release about 18 seconds after (3:48 total when phase 2 starts) so make sure your main tank is available by then with no abominations on him. You will probably still have 2 – 4 adds alive when phase 2 starts, mostly banshees. Don’t worry and finish them quickly while starting to spread out. Remember: until phase 3, it isn’t a DPS race, it’s a survival fight.
Melee: Turn your camera around frequently and keep checking for abominations. If no abominations are up, check if there’s a banshee you can help DPS on; make sure you do not get aggro from it though! If there’s nothing for you to kill, run back to the grouping spot in the middle and turn your camera frequently, waiting for next spawn.
Ranged: Stay in the grouping zone and turn your camera frequently and make sure you (or another ranged player) is highest on threat for the banshees. Don’t let any of them reach you, though. If there is very slow DPS on banshees, you might want to consider moving backwards a bit to avoid the AoE knock-back.
Healers: The abomination tanks can get some nasty damage at times, so watch them carefully. The raid shouldn’t take all that much damage other than a skeleton blowing up every now and then, so just keep the raid topped off. You should be able to add in some damage on some adds in this phase.
Tanks: Position yourself wisely and put your camera at a smart angle to easily spot the abominations. If you have to tank more than 2 on one side, or if you have a lot of healing reduction debuffs on you, you can still kite them while tanking: they move very slowly. Make sure you keep the aggro, though, as any melee will get one-shot-killed by them.
Melee will need to stand in a triangle form with the boss in the middle, the tank in front, and melee back right and back left, hitting the boss from as far away as possible. Kel’Thuzad has a big hitbox, so melee can hit from quite far. Use that to your advantage. If you don’t, you will spread more Frost Blasts. Make sure you never spread Frost Blast to the main tank as 40k damage over 4 seconds isn’t pretty. A typical 25 man setup might have 1 tank in front, 3 melee DPS behind right on the same spot, and 4 melee DPS behind left on the same spot.
The constant interruption of Frostbolts is very important because, without it, Kel’Thuzad will continuously cast Frostbolt on the main tank, which deals a lot of damage and so wastes a lot of mana. In 10 man, you may want to use a pre-assigned rotation where, for example, a rogue does the first interrupt, a warrior comes 2nd, a rogue 3rd again, a warrior 4th, etc. If one gets through, it isn’t a catastrophe, but don’t make a habit of it. In 25 man, you will likely have 5 melee players able to interrupt, so as long as everyone puts the interrupting on his priority list, a interrupting rotation shouldn’t be needed. You can, however, assign 2 melee players to interrupt non-stop, allowing the other DPS to concentrate on dealing maximum damage.
All other ranged players must find a spot in the room and stay 10 yards apart. If a Shadow Fissure spawns on you, run to someone close by and stand on their spot with them until the Shadow Fissure despawns. Make sure that player doesn’t have a Mana Detonation though, and, should that player suddenly get it, you are the one that will need to move away and hug another player close by. The Shadow Fissure zone will despawn very quickly though, so this situation is rare. As soon as your Shadow Fissure despawns, you have to run back to your old spot and continue what you were doing.
Finally, keep an eye out for Mana Detonation. If everyone is on the right spot, people shouldn’t have to move at all, but, due to Shadow Fissure etc, people will be on the move from time to time. If you get a Mana Detonation, and you can run to an even safer spot to the side, then it could be useful to do so (but this shouldn’t actually be necessary if everyone respects the 10 yards apart rule.
Healers, there will be an AoE Frostbolt from Kel’Thuzad about every 15 – 20 seconds. Top players off quickly every time one hits, and keep them topped off. This will make it a lot easier to outheal the damage.
Assigning 2 healers to the main tank should be enough; use 3 to be safe until you get some control over interrupting and spreading around the boss. As soon as phase 3 starts though, you will only be able to use 2 healers on the main tank. While in phase 2, use all other healing on the raid and assign some fast healers to heal Frost Blast as quickly as possible. Having your shadow priest add a Power Word:Shield on players with Frost Blast will also help out a lot.
Your 2 off-tanks should not stand on the melee spots, but just spread out across the room. This will also allow them to quickly grab any mind controlled players until they are crowd controlled.
Mages / warlocks (and other players with useful crowd control) should at all times be ready for a quick Polymorph / fear when a player gets mind controlled. A simply Cyclone from a druid will do as well, although that will only cover around 11 seconds at best (mind control lasts 20 seconds). Lots of classes got a new crowd control in WotLK: don’t be afraid to use it.
Assign 1 healer to the main tank. If the interrupting is messy at the start, use 2 until it goes better. Have the 1 – 2 healers who are healing the raid prioritise the AoE Frostblast.
You should have 1 available tank still, if the triangle form is filled (tank and 2 melee), it’s recommended for that tank to simply stand behind the raid waiting until phase 3 starts. In the event of that player being hit by Frost Blast, healing up 30 – 35k HP from a tank and also healing another melee player is an unnecessary risk and mana loss.
Melee: If you’re assigned to interrupting, try not to miss any. Most importantly, use the triangle form! In 25 man, this will no doubt mean standing 2-4 on a spot. For this to work you need to really “hug” the others around you. Never ever run to / through a tank.
Ranged: There will be people around you moving because of Shadow Fissure, meaning positions around you will be somewhat changing. Make sure you check the zone around you every now and then.
Healers: Keep everyone topped up and, if you’re raid healing, be ready for fast healing on Frost Blast: it’s easy to spot. You can also add it to your raid frames if you have the appropriate addon to do this (‘Frost Blast’).
Tanks: It is recommended to simply stay away from the main action if you’re not tanking Kel’Thuzad; go stand somewhere far left or far right. Although it’s boring, the alternative can be a lot worse.
A DPS race starts as soon as Kel’Thuzad is at 45%, so using Bloodlust / Heroism / trinkets / extra consumables such as Haste Potions etc can make the difference between a 2 – 3% wipe or a kill.
You should have 2 available tanks. Have 1 grab the guardians on the left and the other on the right. There should be 4 guardians spawning; it’s possible that 4 spawn on 1 side, so as soon as all 4 have spawned, the tanks should run to each other to balance it in such a way that they’re both tanking 2 guardians.
The 2 guardians will sometimes block the graphics of Shadow Fissures, making the tank miss them and die. This is easily prevented by letting the tank move slowly backwards (use your walk button). Kite the guardians somewhere at the outskirts of the raid. The phase 3 diagram shows 2 possible ‘kite’ paths, but know that any outskirt of the raid will do fine. Lastly, Use your survival cooldowns such as Last Stand / Shield Wall / Barkskin etc when Kel’Thuzad is at around 8%. Although 8% might sound early, it’s better that you use the ability a bit early and die on 2%, leaving 2 guardians running around while the raid kills Kel’Thuzad (which they will if he is on 2%) than if the guardians run free when Kel’Thuzad’s health is at 6% (which will be a wipe).
Assign 2 healers to the Kel’Thuzad tank, 1 healer to each guardian tank and 1 to healing them both (heals over time from a druid would be perfect for this). Have the other 3 healers on the raid, prioritising the Frost Blasts.
There will be no more tanks available to tank mind controller players so make sure you crowd control them fast in this last phase.
There will be 1 available tank, and, as the main tank will be completely occupied by tanking and probably interrupting Kel’Thuzad, that 1 tank will need to grab both adds himself. Just stand in the middle and keep your eyes open, and ask for Misdirection if needed. The guardians shouldn’t one-shot-kill players, but that shouldn’t stop you from picking them up as fast as possible. Once the off-tank has both guardians, have the main tank (from Kel’Thuzad) Taunt one guardian off him and tank it as well. Make sure both your tanks keep an eye open for Shadow Fissure now as it’s harder to spot with a guardian hitting you. The tank not on Kel’Thuzad can consider using a ‘kite’ path on any outskirts of the raid, slowly walking backwards, as on the phase 3 diagram.
Use 1 healer on the Kel’Thuzad tank, 1 healer on the off-tank and the last healer should be switching between the main tank and the raid. Note that, during the last 10%, that healer will have to prioritise the main tank above the raid and he may have to let DPS players taking Frost Blasts die. Healers should not be sacrificed.
Make sure you have an interrupter ready on Kel’Thuzad as soon as phase 2 starts, especially if you have a tank who can’t interrupt easily.
Healers have an auto-reflex sometimes to group up in the middle of the raid to reach everyone, which is good, but make sure you don’t stand too close to one another. 2 – 3 healers getting Frost Blast together is a serious threat. It cannot be emphasised enough: spread out and respect the 10 yards apart rule.
Melee, keep an extra eye out for Shadow Fissure. When 3 – 4 melee are hugging 1 spot, it’s easy to miss. And when you run out, try not to run to the other 3 – 4 melee or the tank: you could get 6 – 8 people hit with a Frost Blast!
Tanks, the same applies to you: keep an extra eye out for Shadow Fissure, especially during phase 3 when you’re tanking guardians. Don’t run too close to others during your kiting path, either.