Welcome to the beginning of my Dungeon Guide for Mages. In this one we are going to look at the dungeons of Northrend, both regular and heroic. These are in order of difficulty for the regular ones, so as you level up you can go right down the list. Each instance review will look at two things; the instance as a whole, namely anything you should know in things like how to proceed, anything to look out for as you do, and anything about the mobs that is of particular interest to a mage, and then each boss encounter. For each boss I will discuss anything a mage should keep in mind during the battle and any loot they can drop which you should be hoping for. I tried to keep it pretty spoiler free, but there will be some references to story arcs and whatnot, so you have been warned.
This guide will not discuss any achievements in particular, although you may get them by accident following the guide. If you are to the point you are going into these instances looking to top off your achievement list, then you are already probably geared above what you can get in these places and so the guide won't be as useful to you.
Also, if you are doing these places on heroic, don't forget your Emblems of Triumph you will be raking in. Getting your Tier 9 (Horde/Alliance) set as quickly as possible along with the trinket and ring if you need them, too. So, with no further ado:
First off, nearly everything here is humanoid or beast, so if it does come up, you can sheep practically everything in this place, but more than likely it won't. All the mobs in here are pretty tank and spank. Anywhere where there are proto-drakes with the Vyrkul, target the drakes first, they hit hard. Otherwise, just do your nuking thing.
The first boss in the Keep is pretty easy. Kill the four mobs in the room from the entrance so you can take on the Prince in peace. When you fight him he will summon a pack of skeletons to help him. These can be AoE'ed down pretty easy each time they spawn. Every now and then the Prince will encase someone in ice. During this they are frozen and take damage over time. All dps should target the ice tomb to break that person out as soon as this happens. The battle in heroic is the same, just more HP and damage. After he falls, mages can look forward to the Reinforced Velvet Helm (normal), Keleseth's Blade of Evocation (normal), or the Wand of the San'Layn (heroic).
Skarvald the Constructor & Dalronn the Controller:
The second encounter is a two-fer-one. They both pull at the same time. Skarvald can charge so when you are casting try to be close, as then he can't charge you anymore. Dalronn casts stuff and summons skeletons. The skeletons aren't too bad, just take them out if they get to be too much. When one dies he comes back as a spirit that has the same powers as when he was alive, although you cannot target the spirit. Because of this it is best to kill them both at the same time, so bring one down to 10-15% then switch to the other, then finish them both off. Sadly, they drop nothing for mages, so you won't be paid off for your efforts on this battle.
Ingvar the Plunderer:
The last boss has two parts. You first face him in his living form, just keep shooting him as a mage. After he dies he is resurrected as an undead. During the little cutscene get behind one of the pillars in the area, as shortly after he gets back up he has an AoE that stops any spell you are casting and silences you for 8 seconds. After he is back up it is back to casting a lot at his face. He can also throw his axe at you, which will spin in one spot, if that happens, run out of the area or you will fall down. When it's done, he drops nothing for mages on normal mode, but if it was a heroic you can pick up Annhylde's Ring or Breeches of the Caller. The ring especially is nice drop, and it can get you through for a long time.
This is a big place and there are a lot of bosses here. My recommended path is, as you come in, go down the left path. Kill everything as you go. When you get to the next chamber there will be mobs frozen, they will unfreeze when you get close or when you attack them. It is best to attack them from afar as then you only deal with the ones you hit and maybe the couple right around them, also, please kill the priests first, they are a pain. If you are doing this on heroic, there is a boss frozen in the center. So be careful there. Keep going around the outside ring, taking out the bosses and mobs you find. When you fight near the rifts by Anomalus take those out first as they shoot a lot of lightning and it hurts. As a mage you will be fighting a lot of other casters, so things like spellsteal and counterspell will be handy. Loop all the way around to the rock boss, then cut back to the center for the final boss.
The Commander (as Horde/as Alliance):
This is the boss that is frozen in the Halls of Stasis during the heroic mode. When you unfreeze him, make sure the tank brings him back towards where you came into the halls. He has a fear and it sucks if he sends you to the mobs you haven't gotten to yet. He also comes with two priests, so make sure you take them down first, or this encounter will go on much longer than it needs to. He charges so stay close and you won't be targeted and he has a whirlwind as well, so just stay out of that and you should be fine. He drops Opposed Stasis Leggings and Cleric's Linen Shoes.
Grand Magus Telestra:
This boss has a couple of finer points to it. Every now and then she will whip everyone around the room, doing some damage during it, during this time mages are still able to cast instant spells, so your Fire Blasts, Arcane Barrage, and all that are fine. You can also try to time Arcane Explosions when you are near Telestra if all your other ones are on cooldown to squeeze in a bit more damage. Otherwise she has a fireball with some AoE so don't group up and nuke away. She will cast Mirror Image once (twice on heroic) where she splits into three. When this happens target the Arcane one (purple-ish) first, as it can polymorph you and stop time, then the Frost one (blue-ish), which casts Blizzard, then the Fire one (reddish) last. You can interrupt her spells as well, so keep and eye out for that. When she is down you can grab a Wand of Shimmering Scales (normal) or Telestra's Journal (heroic) is you are lucky enough.
Anomalus will summon rifts that spawn adds. Take out these mobs and the rifts as soon as you can or you will get overrun. When he summons the rifts he will sometimes channel his energy into the rift he creates. This will make him shrink, so you will know when it is happening. During this time he is immune to everything until the rift is destroyed, so make sure you do that. That is about it to him, so overall not too bad, assuming you have help killing the rifts and adds. He drops Tome of the Lore Keepers (normal) and nothing for mages on heroic, which is sad.
Ormorok the Tree-Shaper:
Ormorok is a very easy boss as long as you are paying attention. His toughest powers against mages are he has a spell reflect, so wait for it to drop, and he creates crystal spikes. They show up on the ground before they break through, so stop casting and move off of them. It is not worth sucking one of them, and the knock up fall time, to get off that fireball. On heroic mode he summons little plants to root you, which can be a pain when that is right where the crystals are going to break through. You can blink out of those when that happens, and you can kill the adds to not have it be a problem in the first place. His normal mode has nothing for mages, but on heroic he drops Gloves of the Crystal Gardener.
You see her when you first come in the Nexus, but she is frozen and can only be released after you turn off the containment orbs around her, which you need to kill the orb's respective boss to be able to do so. After everyone is in place and all buffs are on, activate the last orb. You need to move during this battle, which is too bad. As you standstill you accrue a debuff that does frost damage to you based on how high it has stacked so far, and every time you move or jump it resets back to zero. I found that tapping the strafe button or hitting both mouse buttons for a slight jog forward is quicker than jumping, although if you have an instant on cooldown you can jump and cast it without losing too much time, but the same can be said for normal movement. She also has a root (and a whole part root on heroic) that can be dispelled, and should be, but if you don't have access to dispell mages can blink out of the root, which you should. Also, having frost ward up when you have a minute isn't a bad idea. Like all dragon battles, stay to the sides as she has a frost cone breath and a tail sweep, so stay out of those areas as much as is possible. She drops Attuned Crystalline Boots (normal) and Gloves of Glistening Runes (heroic) for mages when she passes.
This zone is crazy short, three bosses with a handful of mobs in total, so that is nice. Get in, kill the patrol there then make your way to
Krik'thir the Gatewatcher:
Before you can fight Krik'thir you need to take out his three groups of minions in front of him. Each set of three is pulled separately. Take them out one at a time, I recommend killing the skirmisher first in the group, when applicable, then the Watcher. You can then pull Krik'thir, who, now that he is alone, is fairly easy. He will summon little bugs which you can AoE to nothingness without much problem. You can get the Exquisite Spider-Silk Footwraps (normal) or Stone-Worn Footwraps (heroic) with a bit of luck.
As you fight the mobs on the way to this boss you can see him underneath killing mobs on his way up to you. when he gets to the top let him kill them all and seal up the area so the adds stop. He will spit poison that leaves a cloud there, don't stand in those and blast away. He might leave the Life-Staff of the Web Lair (normal) or the Egg Sac Robes on his corpse for you.
As you charge the last boss, make sure everyone is in the circle, as he closes it off, and anyone outside will just have to watch the battle. He burrows and summons add a few times during the battle. When he is underground he will try to impale you. You will see the ground kick up dust before that, so just move if you are in the area. Kill the adds, then focus back on Anub'arak when he comes back. He has a very strong melee attack, so let the tank pick him back up every time before you start casting again. All in all not too bad, and you can get a Charmed Silken Cord (normal), Rod of the Fallen Monarch (heroic), Sash of the Servant (heroic), or Ring of the Traitor King (heroic) if the RNG likes you.
Ahn'Kahet: The Old Kingdom:
As opposed to Azjol-Nerub, this section of the nerubian kingdom is much bigger. However, you can skip a few of the bosses if you care to, although you could miss out on some decent drops. The mobs themselves are not too difficult (now that they nerfed the section before the Desecrated Altar) so you shouldn't have any issues getting from boss to boss. One little thing, the first mobs in the instance on heroic will drop a carcass for a quest, so unless you got into the instance from its actual entrance, you probably don't have the daily quest for it, and so don't worry about it.
The first boss is optional, but not terribly tough. First of all, you must fight Nadox in the room you find him. If he follows you out of the room he enrages, which is bad. This is a normal tank and spank other than the fact that he brings in a few adds which you can AoE down. If you are playing heroic, he will enrage one of the adds which greatly increases its damage, but it also makes the add double in size, so they are easy to pick out. At 50% life, Nadox will summon a Guardian which will cause Nadox and all the other adds to be immune to all damage as long as the guardian lives. Being the nuke-tastic mage you are, switch over to the Guardian and burn him down as fast as you can, after the tank picks it up, or course, then go back to Nadox. If you are fighting him on normal you won't find anything here, if it was a heroic battle, then you might find the Elder Headpiece on his body.
Taldaram is the first boss you actually need to fight. For mages, he can summon a fire sphere that will shoot out fire beams. It can hurt a lot, but the Fire Ward spell will take some of the sting out of it, and give your healers some time to catch up if too many people are caught in it. Otherwise, he will sometimes go invisible, then reappear on top of someone, essentially stunning them and will suck their blood, dealing damage over time, the rest of the group can end this prematurely by doing enough damage to the Prince to force him to stop. When he falls you will have a chance at the Gloves of the Blood Prince (normal), or the Necklace of Taldaram (heroic).
This is another boss that many people skip. First of all, he is way to the side of the instance, and so he is easy to overlook, and secondly, he is only there on heroic modes, so some probably don't even know he exists. He is also a bit tricky. During the fight he summons mushrooms around him and he casts 'Mini' on the group, which causes your damage to go way down. You need to kill the healthy mushrooms to dispell the 'Mini' debuff while staying away from the poisonous mushrooms which will deal poison damage if they are killed to all around them. If you do talk your group into fighting him and you win, you can look forward to perhaps picking up the Amulet of the Spell Flinger or the Silken Bridge Handwraps, so depending on your gear situation it might be worth fighting the guy.
Again, this boss is optional, so make sure your group is all on the same page before you make a beeline towards Jedoga. When you go up to her area, she won't engage until all of her followers around her are killed. She also has two AoE attacks, a whirlwind attack and a lighting blast that hits everyone around her, that can be hard on the group, so keep aware of where you are with respect to everyone else. Also, at 50% health she will call forth a follower that will sacrifice himself for her, buffing her damage substantially. Kill the follower as he walks forward to deprive her of this buff. After she drops you may find the Subterranean Waterfall Shroud (heroic), but nothing of interest on normal mode.
This is the last boss for the area, and he is a pretty fun encounter if I may say so myself. He does shadow damage to the entire party through the whole fight, as well as shadowbolting the main aggro target. In addition to lots of shadow damage he will cause the party to go insane twice during the battle (66% and 33% health). In effect, each party member is sent to their of phased instance where they have to face apparitions of the other party members. They won't have their full health pools, so don't worry to much, but they will have some of their powers. For mages, I highly recommend taking out the healer first, as they can cast renew on everyone else, and if you are quick, you can spellsteal the renew for yourself to keep your health up while your healer is dealing with her own phantoms. After you kill all of yours off you will be able to help another party member fight theirs and so on until everyone is freed from Insanity and you can fight Volazj again. When he is defeated he may leave the Mantle of Echoing Bats (normal), the Staff of Sinister Claws (heroic), or the Wand of Ahn'kahet (heroic) for you.
There isn't much to this instance that you haven't seen before, although I should point out that the first few mob groups can drop a black zone of death that can kill the lower HP members of the group fairly quickly, so the whole 'don't stand in the fire' applies to these as well. Otherwise, just move through the zone killing things as you go.
First boss is basically just a dps race. He casts consume which will do damage to everyone in line of sight and he will increase his damage based on the number of people it hits (you can hide behind the pillars on the lower level to not get hit and not count towards his self buff). He also summons adds that, when you kill them, he will explode their corpses for AoE damage over time. So nuke away, don't stand by corpses, and you should be fine. He drops nothing for mages on normal, but on heroic he may leave the Cowl of the Dire Troll for you.
Novos the Summoner:
Novos is surrounded by a shield when you first meet him. He calls for lackeys to have at ye, which will mainly come down the stairs located past Novos. I have found that one solid melee dps can usually take care of this duty (like a death knight or fury warrior). Novos also calls guardians to him on his level, they are casters and not too difficult, kill four of them to bring down the shield around Novos, then just get everyone on him and do your thing. He has a few spells, and can cast blizzard with its AoE effect, but otherwise he is pretty easy. He can drop Robes of Novos (normal), the Cursed Lich Blade (heroic), or the Temple Crystal Fragment (heroic)
He is the optional boss of Drak'Tharon, he does massive physical damage and will summon other raptors, so keep on your toes. It's best to kill all the raptors in his area before you pull the King as well, otherwise they will join the fray, especially since he has a fear that can send the party towards the other mobs as well. You can grab the Stable Master's Breeches (normal), the Staff of the Great Reptile (normal) or the Savage Wound Wrap (heroic) from him when he dies.
The Prophet Tharon'ja:
Last boss of the Keep, he has two phases, one where he is a skeleton and one where he has flesh. Phase 1 (skeleton phase) he has some AoE attacks you need to stay out of and is just a regular mob kill in all ways. In phase 2 (flesh phase) he turns the party into skeletons. Everyone has four abilities, an attack, a taunt, a bone shield, and a shadowbolt that gives you life back. As a mage keep your shield up, use the life drain whenever it is ready, and just swing away, never use the taunt, leave that for the tank. Also make sure you aren't standing in any poison pools. When you go back to phase 1 just pick up where you left off. Depending on your dps, you may cycle between the phases a few times, so just keep it up and he will drop soon enough, leaving you nothing on normal mode, but potentially dropping the Overlook Handguards or the Spectral Seal of the Prophet on heroic.
The Violet Hold:
This is a pretty simple instance. There are 18 waves of mobs, with the 6th, 12th and 18th being a boss encounter. The first and second boss encounters are randomly chosen from the six possible bosses, and the last one is always the same. Portals open randomly and either have a squad of dragons or one portal guardian who keeps the portal open for lesser mobs until he dies. In either case the idea is too kill everything that comes out of the portals.
This boss is furthest too the left when you walk in, on the upper level. He comes out of the cage with two minions. Ignore the minions since if they die Erekem goes into a berserker mode which equals bad things. Just nuke him down after the tank has them, don't AoE as you want the boss to die before the mobs, then switch over to the minions after their master dies. On normal mode he drops the Trousers of the Arakkoa, but nothing for mages on heroic.
This is a beholder-like monster with a few different spell powers that comes from the second to the right jail. She will target someone with Optic Link which will do damage over time, and the longer it goes the more damage it is. From the mage perspective, just nuke the thing down and stay close to the healer so you can get topped off if you are targeted with any of her powers. When she drops you may get the Band of Eyes (normal) or the Solitaire of Reflecting Beams (heroic).
This boss comes from the jail that is under the water to the center-right. He emerges with a water shield up severely reducing all damage he takes. You can see how many charges he has left by his buff, so cast quick, low damage spells to wear it down. When it is down he explodes, sending water elementals everywhere that start moving back to where he was to reform Ichoron. The idea is to kill these to reduce his hit points. The easiest way to do it is to activate the crystals situated around the instance, but if you have used them up already, then just kill the ones you can. After doing this a few times he will reform one last time without his water shield and you can nuke him the rest of the way as per usual. He has nothing for mages on normal, but on heroic you have a chance at the Water-Drenched Robe or the Globule Signet.
This boss comes from the lower level, left side jail. He spawns magic orbs which give him a huge damage buff when he is near them as well as doing damage to the party. They can also teleport everyone to themselves which then forces everyone to suck the arcane damage they are doing. The best way to take him down is to have the tank kite him slow-ish-ly around the instance while you (the mages) are in the path nuking him, moving away from him as needed. This way the orbs are always trailing him and well away from you. He only drops something for the mages on heroic, which are the Footwraps of Teleportation.
This flame puppy comes from the jail cell on the far right. He has a flame breath, so stay away from the front of him, and he casts a debuff on the party on heroic mode that increases the fire damage you take. Otherwise he is probably the easiest boss here, which is too bad as he only drops something for mages on normal mode, the Lava Burn Gloves.
Zuramat the Obliterator:
This is the boss to the left center, and is pretty tough. He has an ability which decreases the amount of healing those attacking him receive, and it can stack to the point where you will receive no healing at all. He summons void entities which you can only see when he sends you into the void. So if you are take them out as they will still be attacking your entire party. He drops a mage necklace on both difficulties, the Pendant of Shadow Beams (normal) and Zuramat's Necklace (heroic).
This is the final boss, so no matter which of the two you faced above, she will always be the third and final encounter. Like all dragon battles, she has a tail sweep and a breath attack, so only stand to the sides if you can. She will also destroy a target's mana, doing damage to them during the process, she has a blizzard attack as well. She will occasionally teleport everyone to her. When this happens just get back to where you were as fast as you can so as not to take damage from her many AoE attacks. She leaves behind Cyanigosa's Leggings (heroic), Azure Cloth Bindings (heroic), or the Mark of the War Prisoner (heroic) for you if she likes you.
Gundrak is pretty big, but some sections of the instance can be skipped over by jumping in the water and swimming to the other side of the room or what have you, so if you are in a group with people, make sure to keep up, otherwise you may find yourself alone surrounded by very angry monsters. By each boss (save for the optional heroic one) there is a lever you need to hit to complete the bridge to get to the final boss, so make sure you or someone does that. There are two entrances to the instance which bring you in on different sides of the 'horseshoe-like' layout, so your first boss may not be the first one listed here, but I believe in you to figure it out.
This first boss is probably the most difficult one here, so if you get past him you should be fine. He has a poison nova which can wreck you if you don't have many hitpoints yet. You can stay safe if you are far enough away or if you get a wall in between you and him. He will also summon snake adds which can constrict you or another party member, essentially taking them out of the battle until enough damage is done to the snake, releasing them. If you stay out of the nova and take out the adds quickly enough you should be fine, which may net you the Embroidered Gown of Zul'Drak (normal), the Slithering Slippers (heroic) or the Wand of Sseratus (heroic).
The encounter starts with you facing the Colossus. In this form he basically just punches stuff, so nuke away. After getting knocked to 50% health, he transforms to his Elemental form which is a bit more complicated. He will shoot slime around, leaving purple pools on the floor that do huge damage to anyone standing on them, so get off of them as soon as you can. He will swap back when the Elemental is at 50% to his Colossus form, and again back to the Elemental form after the Colossus form dies. In the second go around they use the same abilities they did the first time. It drops the Living Mojo Belt in heroic mode for mages, and that's about it, sadly.
This encounter is very easy, just nuke away after the tank picks him up. He will start to transform into a mammoth after a while which you can counterspell. If you do so, he will attempt to change again after taking a bit more damage. If you have enough interrupts you can make it so he never transforms, turning this easy boss into an absolute cakewalk. You can nab an Arcane Focal Signet (normal) or the Shroud of Moorabi (heroic) off him when he falls.
Eck the Ferocious:
This boss is only available in heroic mode and is completely optional even then (he has no bridge lever near him). To get to him you will see a hole in the wall near where Moorabi was, so just follow that to the end where he will emerge from the pool there after you deal with the mobs. He has a pounce, so it is good to stay close to him, and he has a poison breath attack, so it's best to stay away from his front as well. He goes down relatively easy even given the cramped quarters. He, however, has nothing for mages after he passes, though.
This is the final boss of Gundrak. He is similar to Moorabi in that after a while he will transform into a rhino and try to impale random people on his horn, during which they are helpless and taking damage over time. Before the transform he is pretty easy, with a whirlwind attack that is easy to stay out of and the ability to send a rhino spirit charging at you which will knock you into the air and do damage. He will relinquish his Shroud of Akali in normal, and his Arcane Flame Altar-Garb in heroic.
Halls of Stone:
This is a relatively easy instance save for the one escort style encounter. Otherwise there is not much to it, just pick a direction and go. The final boss is available after you escort Brann, so you have to wait for the door by the entrance to open after that.
One heads up before you get to this boss, there is a hole in the ground behind him where you can drop down after the fight, however, when you are going towards him you can see him through the hole and if you aren't careful you can accidentally tab-target him and he will run the whole way to you, bringing everyone with him, which will be pretty much insta-wipe. You have been warned. As the actual boss battle goes you need to stay apart. He will turn you all into stone and then shatter you which deals damage based on how many people are near you. If you are alone it's not too bad, but if the entire party is stacked up on each other it spells massive death for you all. Otherwise he just throws rocks and punches, so that is easy enough. On normal mode he drops the Leggings of Burning Gleam, but nothing for us on heroic.
Maiden of Grief:
She has a silence/incapacitate and a AoE that does massive damage over time. Stay out of the AoE as much as you can and she should go down pretty easy. The incapacitate breaks on damage, so the AoE can break you out if you get caught in both. She also has a mana burn power, but it is nothing too major. After she passes you might find a Ringlet of Repose on normal, and again, nothing on heroic.
Tribunal of Ages:
This 'boss encounter' is actually an escort mission. Brann follows you to the terminal where you need to keep him alive as he hacks the planet. As it goes you will have both adds which come from the same direction you did, so fight them on the stairs, and the three faces around the terminal room will come alive and do their thing. The first one just shoots relatively weak lasers at you, the next one shoots an orb of dark matter out which causes you to be slowed and cause everyone around you to take ongoing damage, and the last one shoots out a giant laser that does damage over time over a medium sized area, so keep out of that. An important note is NEVER RELEASE here. The encounter has a timer and if the timer is up, no matter how many mobs and whatnot are still around you win. The mobs still left despawn and the chest appears for looting. On normal there is nothing for you anyway, but on heroic there is the Mantle of the Tribunal.
Sjonnir the Ironshaper:
For Sjonnir, the tank should take the boss along with one dps. The other two dpses should each pick a side to kill the adds as they come. Also, spellsteal the lightning shield the boss gives himself to help your tank and melee dps (in that event) out some, they will appreciate it. When he falls you may get a Static Cowl (normal) or Forge Ember (heroic).
Halls of Lightning:
This instance has a bit more to it than the last few. When you first come in you can go left or right around the ring. Both sides lead to the same place, but going right has you run into a few less mobs. After this area you get to the forge. The mobs here cause your armor score to go way down and they explode when they die. It is best to have the tank run clear to the other side and go a bit up the stairs. Everyone else should follow and not hit anything. After you are on the other side then take out the mobs one at a time so the healer can take care of the explosion damage. The halls after the second boss have a bunch of statues in it. Along this hall some of the statues will come to life and attack. This happens three times, basically at every quarter length, so I find it is easiest to have everyone walk with the tank so when they spring to life they are all going towards the same group of people, instead of some chasing the ones in the rear while the tank tries to pick them all up. Lastly, after the third boss, the next room has a lot of mobs in it. You by no means need to take them all out, but there are a few patrols to make your pulls intelligently, otherwise you will soon find yourself overwhelmed.
This boss is on a patrol with a few mobs in tow. Every now and then he will get a buff which is easy enough to see, he has lightning all over him. Take him on when the buff isn't on for a bit easier fight. Take his minions out first as they can heal him. Otherwise just keep your distance and nuke him down when he is alone. On normal he drops Mantle of Electrical Charges and on heroic you have a chance at the Traditionally Dyed Handguards.
Volkhan will occasionally create golems to attack you. If need be take them out, but then make sure you get away from them, as he has an ability that causes all the dead ones (ones that are darker and not moving) to shatter and deal damage around them. Otherwise he is pretty easy, just focus damage on him when you can, and then grab your Volkhan's Hood (normal), Cape of Seething Steam (normal) or Giant-Hair Woven Gloves (heroic).
This is another boss that you need to spread out against. He will target someone with static overload, in which they will take damage over time and deal that same damage to those around them. If you are targeted get away from everyone else, or if the person next you has it, get away from them. Ionar will also disperse, leaving lighting balls crawling around, they will chase after you slowly, just run back down the stairs to keep away from him, and after he reforms just rinse and repeat. Mages can pretty much zone out during the loot on this boss as there is nothing for us.
Ahh Loken, this battle is tough assuming you don't have a boat-ton of life. Loken has three main attacks; he has an aura that does damage to everyone, and the further they are the more they take, he has a nova that does a ton of damage, but is relatively short range (if you are tanking him in the circle by his throne, then you need to get to the closest set of stairs and you'll be fine), and he has a damage over time that can jump to other party members. The last one isn't too bad, so unless your group is very undergeared you can have the healer heal through it. Depending on if you are capable of taking the holy nova or not you should either stay stacked on Loken and burn through him (if you can take it), or when he starts to charge it run down to the stairs (or blink, for more quickness). Overall he doesn't hit very hard, so don't release if there is still a few people up, even just a tank and a healer can kill Loken assuming they have the rhythm down or they are geared enough to suck the damage. He has plenty for us mages after he falls, so you may find a Chaotic Spiral Amulet (normal), the Raiments of the Titans (normal), an Ancient Measuring Rod (normal), the Ornate Woolen Stola (heroics), the Woven Bracae Leggings (heroic), or the Flowing Sash of Order (heroic).
This instance is a continuation of Utgarde Keep, so again you will be facing humanoids and beasts, with a few more undead as you get deeper. The dungeon itself has no surprises, so just make your way through it killing as you go.
The first boss is pretty simple, attack her until she choo-choo-chooses one of party members to sacrifice. They will be incapacitated and surrounded by three banshees as Svala hovers above the chosen one. Her sword will slowly drop down towards the sacrifice, so everyone needs to kill the banshees before the sword hits the sacrifice. After that she will return to battle, so just keep the battle going, stopping again to take care of any banshees however many times that happens. She may leave you with a Brazier Lighter (normal), Cuffs of the Trussed Hall (heroic), or Sorrowgrave's Breeches (heroic).
This is a multiple part encounter. In the beginning of the room is an altar someone must activate to start it up. All of the creatures in the room will come alive one at a time, each waiting for the one before it to be defeated, although the order will be random, save for Palehoof himself, he is always last. The creatures leading up to Palehoof are pretty easy, the worgen has a frenzy, the worm has acid spit that can get to be a little much, the furbolg has some chain lightning, and the rhino has a stomp. Just burn them down and hit evocation as need be. Gortok has a cleave, so stay away from his front melee range. He can also throw spears at you, which is all the mages should be worried about. Just burn him down then have at the Seal of Valgarde (normal) and Ring of the Frenzied Wolvar (heroic) he drops.
Skadi the Ruthless:
This encounter starts the minute you get close to Skadi standing by his dragon. He jumps on him immediately and takes off. Adds come which you must kill off as they keep spawning, and assign one person to pick up the harpoons that drop. You will need to fire three of them back at Skadi when the game lets you know he is in range to get him back on the ground. He will strafe the walkway with his dragon's frost breath, so make sure you get to the side that isn't covered in frost, otherwise you will take quite a bit of cold damage. When he lands make sure to kill off the rest of the adds so that you don't have that headache, then turn your attention to Skadi. He has a wicked whirlwind attack which he can move during, so make sure you aren't standing in that and if you seem him moving towards you run or blink away. No, it is not worth getting that spell off, just get away and start the cast again. He may leave the Silken Amice of the Ymirjar on normal, and either the Staff of Wayward Principles or the Netherbreath Spellblade on heroic.
A few things for this encounter. He will cast Bane on himself that deals damage whenever he is hit. As a mage you can spellsteal it or have the priest dispell it. Every 20% of health he takes, he will stun the entire party and go burn a boat. Each boat does something different, but the options are he can: summon some adds (these should be AoE'ed down), summon an orb that does AoE to everyone near it (you should kite the King away from this to limit the damage the party takes), one is a nova that does damage to everyone (nothing you can do about this), and the last is a strike that does damage and increases the damage the target takes (again, nothing you can do here). After each stun just get through the stage as fast as possible to hopefully loot from him the Signet of Ranulf (normal), the Jeweled Coronation Sword (normal), or the Girdle of Bane (heroic).
This is the infamous instance that revolved around vehicle mechanics. It has recently been nerfed so it is much easier than it was, however, there is still a few things to keep in mind. After the first boss, you will need to pick a drake to ride; amber (dps), ruby (tank), emerald (healer). I recommend having two ambers, two emeralds, and one ruby, but everyone has their own favorite combination. As you go further in the instance the drake will get more powers. Also, as you fly around from platform to platform, make sure you keep together, as there are some flying adds around, and it is easier to take them on as a group. The drakes have the following powers:
Searing Wrath: Main attack, also bounces to 5 targets, doing more damage after each bounce
Evasive Aura: Passive, lets you generate evasive charges
Evasive Maneuvers: Lets you dodge all incoming attacks for 30sec or until all the charges from the Aura are gone
Martyr: Redirects all attacks on allies to you
Leeching Poison: Poisons target, doing damage and transferring it to you, can stack 3 times
Touch of Nightmare: Consumes 30% of your health to do damage to a target as well as reduce the damage the target does
Dream Funnel: Transfer your health to a targeted ally
Shock Lance: Deals damage and burns up any shock charges accrued, doing more damage for each charge
Stop Time: Freezes all enemies for 10 seconds and applies 5 Shock Charges to each target
Temporal Rift: Doubles the damage taken by the target, also accrues Shock Charges as the target takes damage.
Drakos the Interrogator:
Drakos will conjure magic orbs that fly around rather quickly, he will cause them to explode every now and then for some damage, but as long as you aren't by too many when this happens your healer should be able to take care of it. He will also pull everyone to him every now and then, you just need to get out of his melee range as soon as you can and keep attacking him. When he is defeated you may see Timeless Beads of Eternos (normal), Verdisa's Cuffs of Dreaming (normal), Drakewing Raiments (heroic).
Varos should be tanked in the middle of his platform. He will send out a lightning cone towards some of the orbs around the platform. They will be thinner at first, so you know if you need to move or not, then they will widen and that is when they will do damage. He will also call another drake to aid him, this drake cannot be targeted so don't even try, and it will blast at the platform. Like most battles, don't stand in the AoE this drake drops and you should be fine. Varos leaves behind Gloves of the Azure-Lord in normal mode, but nothing on heroic.
Urom is situated on a side platform at first, and when you chase him down he will summon some adds and leave three times. After this you find him in the center ring, and here is the true battle. He will drop frostbombs which will deal damage and slow everyone. You should kite him around the ring if the group's health levels aren't high enough to take this damage, otherwise just let the tank take it and nuke away. A few times during the battle he will teleport to the center and cast the mother of all arcane explosions. You need to hide behind the large pillars that line the inside of the platform to not take any damage, but he gives you plenty of time to get behind, especially with blink. He has a few things for mages; The Conjurer's Slippers (normal), the Pendulum of Telluric Currents (heroic), and the Sash of Phantasmal Images (heroic).
This is the only boss battle here that you stay on your drake for it. Your role will depend on which one you picked. If you have a ruby drake you should try to have 7 or so charges, fire up both Martyr and Maneuvers, all the while keeping Searing Wrath going, targeting the adds so that Eregos takes the damage after a few bounces and therefor takes more damage and creates more threat. If you have the emerald one you need to keep Leeching Poison up at all times, as all your other powers use up your life. Use Touch to limit Eregos' damage to help your tank out, and use Dream Funnel on whoever needs it. Also, keep in mind if you have the target healed up and the funnel is still going you can cancel the channeling to save some of your life. Eregos will phase shift and release some glowy balls, and when this happens just circle strafe him and wait for him to phase back. When he is dead land on the nearby platform and loot the chest there for Vestments of the Scholar (normal), Malygos' Favor (normal), Tome of Arcane Phenomena (normal), Cuffs of Winged Levitation (heroic), the Staff of Draconic Combat (heroic), the Ancient Dragon Spirit Cape (heroic), or the Crown of Unbridled Magic (heroic).
The Culling of Stratholme:
Before you can start the actual battling, you need to uncover a few plagued crates near the houses by the entrance. Talk to Chromie to get the item to scan the crates. Not everyone needs to do this, so as long as someone knows what they are doing you can just wait it out, and yes, the crates are always in the same locations. After the scripted talk outside Stratholme's walls you need to talk to Arthas to get everything going, and really, whenever Arthas is just standing there, try talking to him to keep the instance going. The first area is similar to Violet Hold as there are a few waves of mobs that spawn randomly. The location will show on your mini map. Also, the halfway spawn will be a boss, as will the last spawn. Lastly, if you are doing this on heroic the instance is timed. You have 30 minutes to get to the end for the optional boss encounter.
The first boss is a fairly simple tank and spank. His only ability you need to watch out for is his Constricting Chains, which will stun the target for 4 seconds. If that happens to the healer just be ready to suck a potion or something if you need. There are a few zombie adds, but nothing all that difficult. He leaves behind the Enchanted Wire Stitching on normal and the Belt of Unified Souls on heroic.
Salramm the Fleshcrafter:
Salramm is the last of the random spawns in the beginning of the instance. His interesting attacks are a ghoul summon, and ghoul corpse explosion, and the ability to reduce your damage dealt as he increases his. There isn't much you can do about any of these save for not standing on any ghoul corpses, so watch your feet. Otherwise nuke away, and potentially come away with the Tome of Salramm (normal), the Forgotten Shadow Hood (heroic), or the Necromancer's Amulet (heroic).
Epoch isn't too difficult, but he does make it hard to be at your peak efficiency. He has lots of abilities that increase attack and spell casting time, a time stop, and a spell that makes your spells cost twice as much mana. Do your best to power through the debuffs making sure to keep your mana gems available and saving instant casts for when your casting time is too high and you will drop him as quick as is possible and even perhaps walk away with his Sempiternal Staff (normal) or his Gloves of Distorted Time (heroic).
This is the optional boss on heroic that you need to reach before 30 minutes are up, and you actually go past the turn to get to the final boss encounter, so keep running after Arthas stops. Lastly, he needs to be dead before the time is up, not just pulled, so try to drop him as fast as you can. He doesn't have much for attacks, just a melee strike that ignores armor (the little bit mages have anyway) and a damage over time that deals damage based on your total health, and it can stack, so that can be a little much, but as long as your tank and healer are on their game you should be fine. He doesn't drop any loot other than a rare bronze drake mount, which is fun anyway.
The final boss of Stratholme, he has a cone attack that targets in front of him, so stay to the side. He also has a sleep that can be interrupted with damage, but is otherwise pretty long. Lastly, he has a selfbuff that can be spellstealed that allows him to heal himself with his melee attacks, so make sure you grab that off of him if you can, otherwise it will just extend the encounter out longer. He leaves his loot in the chest near where he spawns, and you may find the Demonic Fabric Bands (normal), the Mantle of Deceit (heroic), or the Band of Guile (heroic).
Trial of the Champion:
This instance all takes place in the arena you see before you as you come in. Grab a lance from one of the weapon racks and mount up. The first section is all jousting like what you did for the Tourney dailies. Basically keep your shield level to three, and charge and attack the others. It helps if everyone attacks the same target so as to keep them from replacing their shields. After the first boss encounter there are three groups of three mobs you need to take out before the next boss. Kill the healer first, and leave the monk for last as he slows everyone on his death, which can be a pain if you are still fighting mobs.
For this encounter you will face off against 3 random enemies. You will have a chance to buff up and replace you lance with your actual weapon (don't forget to swap) after you best them on mounts. The battle won't matter much which you get other than the kill order. Other people may have other ideas, but the one I have found that works best is (from highest to lowest priority): Shaman (Draenei/Tauren) -> Rogue (Dwarf/Undead) -> Warrior (Human/Orc) -> Hunter (Night Elf/Troll) -> Mage (Gnome/Blood Elf). As a mage you can counterspell the Shaman's heals as well as spellsteal the self-haste the mage will cast. Otherwise the only thing to watch out for is the poison vials the rogue throws that leaves a green pool on the ground; don't stand in that. When they are defeated a chest will appear in the center of the arena and you may find the Bindings of the Wicked on normal, but nothing of interest on heroic.
Eadric the Pure:
For the second encounter you will either face Eadric or Paletress, never both. Hope for Eadric as he is much, much easier. There is only two things to this encounter. When you get a warning to avert your eyes (or something to that effect) turn your toon around so they have their back to Eadric, when you see the flash, then turn back around. Again, this is one of those situations where it is not worth getting that spell off, so just turn around. He will also stun you and then throw a hammer at you. If you are no longer stunned when he throws the hammer you can catch it and throw it back at him for some decent damage (it will show up on your toolbar if you catch it). Again, he leaves a chest in the center which may have an Abyssal Rune (normal), the Belt of the Churning Blaze (normal), the Leggings of the Haggard Apprentice (normal), Signet of Purity (normal), or Kurisu's Indecision (heroic).
Argent Confessor Paletress:
The other option for the second battle. Paltress herself isn't too tough, a few Smites and a Renew, however, after taking some damage she stuns the party and summons a 'memory' of an enemy past. This enemy can fear you, has an AoE attack that severely reduces casting speed, and Paletress will cast Renew on it as well that ticks for a boatload of damage. If possible Spellsteal the renew. You don't want all your hard work being eaten away by this and you can help your healer out by taking the healing for yourself. Make sure people know you are going to take it so it doesn't get dispelled before you can grab it. Paletress drops a chest as well after you defeat her and her summon, where you might grab The Confessor's Binding (normal) or the Sinner's Confession (heroic) as well as the Belt, Rune, or Leggings from Eadric.
The Black Knight:
The last encounter here is a three part battle. The knight comes down in flesh form where he summons one ghoul. Depending if your tank can handle the add, you can either kill the ghoul off (and get away from it, he will explode after he dies), or you can leave it be, as it will die and explode at the end of the phase (again, get away if you are close). The next phase the knight is in skeleton form and he summons an army of ghouls. Again these all explode when they die or when the encounter ends. You can try taking some of them out, but don't pull them if no one else is attacking them, they will too much for you to handle if you grab too many. At this stage he also has Desecration, so don't stand in that. The last phase the knight is a ghost, he does massive AoE damage that gives you a debuff which makes you take even more damage. He also has a single target debuff which triples the damage you take. There is nothing you can do for either of these debuffs, so this becomes a dps race and tests your healer's AoE healing ability. Save your cooldowns for this phase, though, and you should be fine. He leaves on his corpse the Handwraps of Surrendered Hope (normal), the Mantle of Inconsolable Fear (normal), the Gaze of the Unknown (heroic), the Spectral Kris (heroic), the Boots of the Crackling Flame (heroic), and the Embrace of Madness (heroic) for you.
The Forge of Souls:
This is the first and easiest wing in Icecrown Citadel for five mans. There isn't much to this instance other than taking out the casters first in the group pulls. Also, every now and then a skull will show up and attack someone, just attack it back and it will leave.
This boss has two phases; in the first, Bronjahm has an AoE that does damage based on your max mana, so this can be tough for mages (it does have a ceiling though, so don't worry too much). He will also target someone to remove their soul. If this is you run as far from the boss as you can, as after he pulls it out it will move towards him. You have to kill it before it reaches Bronjahm, otherwise it will heal him for a large chunk of health. In the second phase he teleports to the center of the room and casts soulstorm, which is a vortex on the outskirts of the room. This does lots of damage so get close to Bronjahm and keep attacking. He will occasionally fear you to make you run through the vortex, so use Ice Block and whatnot to stop the fear before you get there and you will be ok. He may bequeath you Cold Sweat Grips (normal) or the Very Fashionable Shoulders (heroic).
Devourer of Souls:
The Devourer has four main attacks. It will drop purple circles on the ground, don't stand in that. It will cast Mirrored Soul, when this happens stop all dps, or the target will take the damage you cause. It will summon adds, you can't target them so just run away if too many get on you, they don't do a whole lot of damage individually though. Lastly, it will cast Wailing souls, which is a blast from directly out. It will then turn counterclockwise or clockwise 90 degrees. This does huge damage, so don't get hit. After it starts to cast you have a few seconds to get behind the Devourer, so do so, then continue dps if you know you aren't in the path.
Pit of Saron:
There are a lot of mobs in this instance you can skip. If you go to the far right from the entrance you don't need to take down many of the roaming mobs you see when you first get to the instance.
The first boss brings a few adds when you pull him. These can be AoE'ed down after the tank grabs them. Garfrost will throw saronite chunks at random people, and there will be a shadow on the ground where it will land. Run from that as it will hurt and cause knockback. Also, during the battle you will keep accruing a debuff that does does frost damage and increases the damage taken the more it stacks. To get rid of the debuff you need to break line of sight to Garfrost, so hide behind the saronite chunks he throws. You need to be hidden when the debuff ticks (every 2 seconds), so you may need to stay back there for a little while. He also has a frost wave, so try not to be standing in front of him. In this battle it is more important to keep your debuff under control than to keep casting, so do that and he will come down sooner or later. He drops the Unspeakable Secret (normal) and the Ice-Steeped Sandals (normal) for you.
Ick & Krick:
Ick and Krick are two separate people but in this battle Krick rides on Ick's shoulders, so for the encounter they are only one mob. For mages, this encounter has a few things we should lookout for; first, every now and then Krick will make Ick chase after a random party member. If this is you run away, he will do huge damage if he catches you. They will also cast a poison nova you should run away from (more than 30 yards). He also leaves poison pools around for you to not stand in, and lastly, he will do a Explosive Barrage, which will cause smaller arcane explosions to occur on the ground, you will see them grow, and you need to get away from them before they grow to their full size, as that is when they do their damage. From the body you can nab the Wristguards of Subterranean Moss (normal), the Ancient Polar Bear Hide (heroic), or the Braid of Salt and Fire (heroic).
There is a lot going on in this battle, so listen up. Rimefang will target people with his breath, if you are a target or are next to someone that is, run, as there is some splash damage to the attack. It will also leave pools of frost on the ground that will slow your movement so watch where you walk. Tyrannus will gain Unholy Power where he does increased damage but slows his movement, during these make sure you aren't in melee (mages shouldn't be ever, but for really real during this time). Lastly, he will cast Overlord's Mark on different people. If that is you, stop dps, as any damage you do to Tyrannus with it on will be mirrored to Tyrannus' target, which should be your tank. Also, if your healer is targeted by it, don't expect any healing for a while as all healing the marked does also goes to Tyrannus. He leaves behind Palebone Robes (normal), Rimewoven Silks (normal), Engraved Gargoyle Femur (heroic), Nevermelting Ice Crystal (heroic), and Prelate's Snowshoes (heroic) if you are lucky.
Halls of Reflection:
The last wing of Icecrown Citadel and it is tough. The first room has waves of mobs, each more difficult than the last, which a boss encounter at the halfway point and the end. To the left and right of the room are little alcoves with little niches where the entire party should hide. This causes all of the mobs that spawn to come to you instead of just shooting and casting at you from where they spawn. When priests are part of the group, kill them first, then go from there. With a bit of practice you will get it.
As his life falls he will cause the party to do less damage, which makes this encounter get a bit long. He will also cause a fear that does damage over time during it. Lastly, he will give a target Impending Despair which will stun them if it is not dispelled in 6 seconds. Just keep on him and do what you do to get Marwyn's Macabre Fingertips (normal), Soulsplinter (heroic), or Bracer of Worn Molars (heroic).
He will lay down an AoE that increases the shadow damage those in it take the longer they stand in it as well as casting a debuff that decreases your total max health. Like the last boss, just stay on him while staying out of the pool of black and he will drop soon enough, leaving behind the Splintered Icecrown Parapet (normal), Frayed Abomination Stitching (normal), the Sightless Crown of Ulmaas (heroic), or the Suspiciously Soft Gloves (heroic).
This encounter is not a boss battle; instead, it is a gauntlet the party needs to run, killing the adds before the Lich King reaches the party and kills them all. There are four walls that must come down and Sylvanas/Jaina will take it down the second the last mob of that portion dies. The first two walls are very easy, and just show you what you will be up against. The third wave is where it starts to get tight, but save your cooldowns for the last wall, as this one throws the most at you. After everything is dead you have access to a chest on your airship of choice, where you may be lucky to find the Chilled Heart of the Glacier (normal), the Tattered Glacial-Woven Hood (normal), a Shriveled Heart (heroic), or the Strip of Remorse (heroic).
So there you go. That should be enough info to keep you dangerous, and hopefully help you find an item or two that can help you out along the way. Let me know how you found the guide so I can tailor others to what is most helpful. Thanks!