Whether you’re going to be doing Trial of the Crusader on 10 or 25 man mode, you need to make sure that your raid is very balanced. Healers should be a mix of direct, AoE, and HoT, tanks need to be well geared with high stamina, high armor, and good avoidance, and DPS needs to be about 50/50 ranged and melee.
For 10-man mode you need 2 tanks, 2-3 healers, and 5-6 DPS that is half melee and half ranged.
For 25-man mode you need 2-3 tanks, 5-6 healers, and 16-18 DPS that is half melee and half ranged.
The difficulty level of the ToC normal modes is around the same level as Naxxramas on technicality, and just above Ulduar on boss HP, incoming damage, and healing required.
The heroic modes, however, are exponentially harder. While most groups can easily PuG both 10 and 25-man modes of Trial of the Crusader, pugging even a couple of spots in the heroic modes is not advised. In fact, having anyone one the raid who isn’t at the pinnacle of skill and gear is not advised. The fights aren’t technically difficult, but even the slightest mistake can lead to complete failure. So, with that out of the way, let’s get onto the fights and strategies.
The Three Beasts
The first “boss” in Trial of the Crusader is actually three bosses strung together. Each one of the bosses is a “beast”, therefore the set is referred to as the Beasts of Northrend. Only after defeating all three in a row will you receive any loot. On normal mode the next boss will only come out once you’ve defeated the one before it, but on heroic modes you have a set amount of time to defeat each one, and the next will be released ready or not. It is worth mentioning that on both difficulty modes you will stay in combat throughout all three bosses, so don’t count on being able to drink between them.
The three bosses are summarized as follows:
Gormok the Impaler - Heavy Melee and Bleed attack boss. Requires tank swapping. Some adds. Fire.
Acidmaw and Dreadscale - Two bosses, can be burned one at a time or together. Raid spread out. Front breath and tail sweep. Coordinate debuffs.
Icehowl - Tank and spank, with moments of epic running away. AoE freezing breath randomly targeted.
Gormok the Impaler
Gormok the Impaler is the first boss of the three beasts. He is a magnataur who brings several molitov-cocktail-loving snobalds with him. This boss does very heavy melee damage on the tank, is effected by parry haste, and inflicts a stacking bleed on the tank. The biggest risk on this fight is tank death due to too much damage or uncoordinated or slow heals. Tanks need to handle the bleed by taunting off of eachother every time the stack reaches three.
In addition to the heavy tank damage there are some concerns for the raid group as well. He does an AoE that hits the melee and anyone else within 15 yards for 8-12k depending on difficulty. If a caster is caught by this AoE they will be spell locked for 8 seconds. Gormok will also occasionally throw a Snobald onto a random player in the raid. It can hit anyone, including the tanks. The snobald latches onto the players back and is a general nuisance. Every time Gormok throws a Snobald he gains a stacking buff that increases his damage by 15%. He has 4 total snobalds on 10-man and 5 on 25-man.
The snobalds have several abilities of their own, including a spell interrupt that they will use on the person they’re attached to and anyone in their melee range. This is particularly bad if it gets on or near a healer. They also use an ability as they’re thrown onto a player called Head Crack, which stuns them for two seconds. Their third and nastiest ability is called Fire Bomb, which deals 4-6k damage every second to anyone in the flame. Fire Bomb is randomly targeted on a ranged player, but everyone has to run away from the flame it leaves behind. On heroic modes, every flame tick also inflicts a stacking DoT. A trick to avoid deaths from fire (besides paying attention) is casting Levitate on all of the ranged. They will get hit by the initial throw but there will be no residual fire.
Once Gormok dies you will only have 10-15 seconds to get into position to prepare for Acidmaw and Dreadscale.
Acidmaw and Dreadscale
Acidmaw and Dreadscale make up the second boss fight in the Beasts of Northrend. These two giant Jormungars have to be tanked separately. Each does a cone breath and a tail sweep, so melee has to be careful where they stand. When the worms come out the first tank has to pick up Dreadscale and tank him on the right, and the second tank has to position himself on the left and wait a couple moments for Acidmaw to emerge from the ground. The tanks need to face the worms towards the back wall, away from the raid spread around the center. For reference, please see the terrible and disproportionate image on the left where green represents Acidmaw and red, Dreadscale.
Most raid groups just kill off Acidmaw first. (Do NOT burn down Dreadscale first). If you want an achievement and a little lighter damage on the Dreadscale tank you can burn them down together. Acidmaw deals acid damage and Dreadscale deals fire. They each have a corresponding debuff related to this damage. Acidmaw inflicts a debuff called Paralytic toxin. At the various stages in this fight the Toxin may only effect the tank, or it may effect several people. The whole raid has to be sure to spread out to ensure that multiple people don’t get hit by it. Dreadscale inflicts a debuff with identical mechanics called Burning Bile.
The only way to remove Paralytic Toxin is to hit it with Burning Bile. The only way to remove Burning Bile is to hit it with Paralytic Toxin. See where I’m going with this? Paralytic Toxin is the one to worry about. If it gets on someone than a person with Burning Bile has to run to them and remove it. This gets tricky if Burning Bile only hits Dreadscale’s tank. Since he can’t move to someone to remove it, the person slowly being paralyzed by the toxin has to try to reach him. If more than one person gets Paralytic Toxin because they’re standing too close, things can get messy. A common situation is for Acidmaw’s Tank to get Paralytic Toxin and Dreadscale’s tank to get Burning Bile. In this case, the Dreadmaw tank needs to carefully back up towards the Acidmaw tank to remove the debuff, and then get back in position.
Occasionally the worms will submerge, but the tanks should always stick to the same one. After Acidmaw dies, Dreadscale will enrage and deal 50% more damage. Players will still get hit by Burning Bile but it is easy to heal through so long as they aren’t standing next to other people blowing them up.
The final boss in the Beasts of Northrend is Icehowl. Icehowl is a giant yeti that is largely tank ‘n’ spank with a few special attacks. He’ll occasionally use an ability called Ferocious Butt on the main tank that deals massive amounts of damage and stuns him for a couple seconds. Healers have to be ready for this since being slow about healing the tank will likely get him killed. Since the off-tank has nothing better to do during this part of the fight, he can optionally taunt as soon as Ferocious Butt lands to keep the main tank from taking any further damage.
Icehowl will do a Whirl attack which deals 7-10k to the melee, knocking them back quite a ways. He’ll also use an ability called Arctic Breath which is directional AoE that will freeze anyone it hits for 5 seconds and deal 4-5k damage to them every second for the duration.
The most important ability to worry about on Icehowl is Massive Crash, followed by Trample. When Icehowl does Massive Crash, he will run to the center of the room and leap, crashing down. When this happens it will knock everyone in the room back to the wall, deal 7-11k damage to them, and stun them for 7 seconds. While players are stunned, Icehowl picks someone and Tramples towards them. When the stun wears off players gain a movement speed increase and they have to run away from the person that Icehowl is charging towards (the person targeted needs to run, too). If players aren’t quick enough at getting away, they’ll be killed instantly, and Icehowl will enrage and kill anyone he touches. This enrage can be removed by Tranquilizing Shot.
If players successfully avoid being hit Icehowl instead rams his big head into the wall, which dazes him. During this 15 second stun all damage done to him is increased by 100%. Most of the damage on this fight will be done during the stun.
Once Icehowl dies, the loot chest will spawn in the center of the room and your group gets to collect on its efforts.
This post is part of the series: WoW Trial of the Crusader Raid Guide
Guide to the five bosses that are a part of the World of Warcraft Trial of the Crusader raid dungeon.