Tips for Tanking the Lich King

You’re sitting pretty aren’t you?

You’ve completely cleared all of Icecrown Citadel and conquered all of the hard mode encounters. There isn’t a single piece of gear left out there that you could want for your tanking set and people write epic poems in homeric verse about what an amazing tank you are.

Yep…there’s nothing more for you to do as a tank in the current phase of the game.

What’s that? You’re not quite there yet?

Well then, odds are that you’re approaching or stuck on the Lich King fight in Icecrown Citadel and wouldn’t you know it, I think I’ve got just the thing to help you.

Tanking the Lich King

The general strategies, tactics and the abilities that the Lich King will use against your raid as you try to kill him is something that you can find in many places so I won’t bore you by repeating information that you likely already know.

What I will do though, is to help you with a few little tips that might make your fight a little smoother or save lives outright.

Phase 1

If you’re tanking the Lich King, keep in mind that you don’t have to build a particularly impressive amount of threat on the ghouls that spawn around you. Your primary task in regards to them is simply to keep them on you and the melee group and off of your healers. You shouldn’t expend any excessive amounts of resources (GCDs, rage, mana, runes) to hold them to you. Just the incidental aoe that comes from the course of tanking (thunderclap, consecrate, death and decay) should be sufficient.

If you’re the off tank, pick up as many of these baby ghouls as you can as they’ll make your life a lot easier by killing the Horrors much quicker than you would be able to otherwise. The best time to grab a few for yourself is right as they spawn before they’re hit by too many people but don’t be afraid to simply taunt them out of the melee group if your taunt is free and a new Horror won’t be spawning for a while.

Phase 1.5

Do what you can to pick these up as quickly as possible after they spawn or people will die. If you find that you have trouble picking them out of the crowd, a simple targeting macro: “/target Raging Spirit” will go a long way towards keeping your raid safe. Remember to face them away from the group and keep in mind that the tank assigned to pick up the Lich King during phase 2 should be tanking the first Spirit while the latter two are tanked by the off tank.

Phase 2

Likely, your off tank is occupied by a Spirit still from the last phase so keep in mind that you won’t have any backup on the Lich King. Keep your fingers on your emergency keys (Shield Wall, Icebound Fortitude, Divine Protection) for when Soul Reaper hits and if your personal cooldown isn’t available, make sure to let a healer know well in advance that you’ll need theirs when the next Soul Reaper comes.

Remember that for the most part, your melee DPS will stick to the backside of the boss with little regard for the world around them so use this to your advantage. If you need them to face a certain direction to keep them clear of Defiles and when you need them to walk to the edge of the platform at the end of the phase when the Lich King hits around 42%, just drag the boss with you as you tank and the melee will surely follow.

Phase 2.5

This is the same as the first transition phase only there are four Spirits to deal with instead of three. Ideally, you will use your Heroism/Bloodlust here to keep the adds under control. Keep in mind that whichever tank is holding the Lich King during the third phase must be free at the end of this transition so make sure that your Lich King tank handles the first or second add while the off tank handles the rest.

Phase 3

You’re finally in the home stretch so don’t lose your cool. Soul Reaper will still happen so remember to keep those cooldowns running in a timely manner.

The most important change are the Vile Spirits that the Lich King will summon. The best way to deal with them is to tank the boss on one edge of the platform and then run straight across to the other end of the platform when he starts channelling his spell to summon the Spirits. He’ll come straight for you once he’s done channelling so don’t worry too much about threat and just concentrate on moving as quickly as you can.

When he casts Harvest Soul and draws away a raid member into the Frostmourne chamber, it might be a very good idea to keep a cooldown handy as you will likely react faster to an enraged Lich King than your healers would.

Keep this up until he hits 10% and you’ll earn yourself a new achievement and hopefully some fancy loot.

Hope this helps and best of luck!