Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Black Knight Tactics

For those of you who are unaware, with the advent of World of Warcraft patch 3.2, the Black Knight makes his return to the tournament grounds as the final boss of the Trial of the Champion instance. The fight against this servant of the Lich King takes place in three stages each with their own nuances. In the transition from Normal mode to Heroic, the Black Knight simply does increased damage.

Flesh Phase:

In phase one, the Black Knight fights just like a Death Knight. He has several special attacks which add a disease to his target including Plague Strike and Icy Touch. He can then follow up with his own special version of Obliterate. He will also cast Death's Respite on random party members causing significant damage, a two second stun, and a knock-back. Lastly, he will summon a Ghoul to fight with him which he has the ability to blow up using Ghoul Explode for heavy AoE damage.

This phase is relatively straight forward. It is important that the Ghoul be quickly burned so as to prevent it from exploding. It is also possible to mitigate a great deal of damage on the tank by cleansing the Black Knight's diseases. Lastly, the healer should keep the parties health topped off to avoid deaths due to the stun or damage caused by Death's Respite. Once you kill the Black Knight the first time, he resurrects and begins phase 2.

Skeleton Phase:

As a skeleton, the Black Knight will no longer cast Death's Respite, but will now drop a 50% slowing and light damage AoE at the feet of his target. This effect can largely be ignored. He will also continue using Plague Strike and Icy Touch on the tank. What really sets this phase apart from the Flesh Phase is that the Black Knight will cast Army of the Dead as soon as the phase starts.

The Ghouls themselves do not do significant damage, but the skeletal Black Knight will continue casting Ghoul Explode which can quickly wipe the raid if the Ghouls are not burned. Obviously this favors a group with heavy AoE damage, but even focused single target burning should down enough Ghouls to prevent to many explosions. Once you kill the Black Knight for the second time, he enters phase 3.

Ghost Phase:

The Black Knights Ghost Phase is completely different from the other two and is nothing more than a brief burn phase. Upon becoming a ghost, the Black Knight will start chain casting an ability called Death's Bite which causes a moderate amount of damage to the entire party and adds a stacking debuff which increases magic damage taken. This stacking debuff is the timer for the burn phase as eventually it will cause Death's Bite to do so much damage it wipes the group.

The Black Knight will also cast a debuff on a single party member called Marked for Death which will increase magic damage taken by 200% for 10 seconds. The combination of Marked for Death and even a couple stacks of Death's Bite can quickly turn fatal especially for party members with limited health, so the healer will need to be on top of his or her game. The Black Knight should die very quickly in this phase and then you can collect your sweet, sweet loot.

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