Trial of the Champion: Yikes!

I may have that name wrong, but if I say that I’m talking about the new 5 person normal/heroic instance, I’m sure you’ll know what I’m talking about.

It’s been a bit of a busy week, but that’s no excuse for not having set foot in the new 5 person instance. Last night, Cassie and I wanted to rectify the situation, so we asked some folks in the guild if they’d be willing to give it a try.

We went into normal mode first, with Falromord as a warrior tank, myself as a resto healer, and Wetfoot, Cassieann and Pushpin for DPS, a Survival Hunter, Combat Rogue and Death Knight, respectively.

Normal mode was a comedy of errors as I relearned healing on the fly in a brand new instance, after tanking a lot recently. “What does this button do again? Where the hell is the button for Nature’s Swiftness? Shit, I forgot treeform for the whole run! Aw shoot, I forgot to use Swiftmend instead of Nourish again.”


Okay, it wasn’t really that bad, but it was pretty frantic.

About the time I pulled myself together, we’d finished normal mode Trials, and had some interesting perceptions of the run.

Then we went right back in on Heroic mode, and… umm, well, we won? 

I wouldn’t call it a smackdown, but we were still standing and had loot at the end of it, so woot!

Whether in normal or heroic, the first section consists of fighting as a group while mounted with a lance, followed by being dismounted and fighting as a normal team with tank, DPS and healers.

When you enter the instance, there is someone you talk to for starting the fights. Before that, you might look around and notice the lance racks and mounts around the edge of the large circular chamber where ALL of the fighting takes place.

You can come in, if you don’t have a Lance you can grab one from a rack, mount up, and start stacking Armor/Defend.

When you start the encounter, three champions of the opposing faction, races varying per encounter just as Moroes’ guests do, come out. Each has an entourage of three suckups with them.

You get one champion sending a wave of three suckups at you, and once those are down the next three come, and then the last three. Once all the suckups are downed, the three champions come out to get lanced.

As I’m sure you know, once a champion is dismounted, he’s on the ground and stunned for about ten seconds (much less in heroic mode… or maybe it only felt that way). Then he gets back up, and heads for the nearest mount at the wall, ready to get mounted and return to battle.

Once a champion is dismounted, you can run over him with your valiant steed to trample him back down again. There are no special commands, buttons or abilities to trigger. You literally ride over him, and he gets flattened.

In your favor, if YOUR mount loses health and you get dismounted YOU can run over to a mount along the wall and remount and get right back in the fray. Watch out, if you are on foot and they run over you, YOU get trampled. Word to the wise.. DUCK!

One other thing, and something we abused the heck out of… throughout the entire instance fight, whether on a boss or not, whether in heroic or not, if you die, you can release to graveyard nearby and come RIGHT BACK IN IMMEDIATELY.

Warning, if you release and THEN the boss dies before you come back in and gets looted, you might still be able to get your Emblems, but you won’t be able to roll on loot. So folks, please don’t be fast to loot. Remember, rez/recover first.

Anyway, what we did on heroic, that we worked out on the normal run, was to have two designated ‘tramplers’. Cassie was trampler #1, and I believe Pushpins was trampler #2. As soon as the first champion was downed, Cassie just ran over that bastard endlessly.

As soon as the second champion was downed, Push ran over that one. The rest of us just kept repeatedly charging and breaking the third champion. Zero problems.

Zero problems until all three went down, at any rate. We were dismounted instantly, and even though we knew it was coming, we all died from being spread out when the standard part of the fight began.

I think for our next shot, we need to have the person with aggro work on using melee attack to kite the champion to one constant location, while the rest use shield breakers to keep them weak, and make them die in one pile, then rinse and repeat, so that we’ve got one controllable pile. They hit hard enough to damn near oneshot cloth.

Anyway, once we all died on the dismount, we came back in and easily beat them once prepared. Just made sure to kill the Orc (we’re Alliance) first, since his Whirlwind attack is pretty brutal on a melee heavy group.  

Now, I could try and go into detail on fights two and three… but I think this post has gotten pretty long, and I’d rather tackle it a few more times to nail down the ins and outs.

What I will say, is that on the Black Knight, we found kiting the boss around was successful, because when he drops the green crop circle with wisps of smoke, it does a lot of damage over time plus has a big slow effect, and when lots of people are in it, healing the whole group gets VERY tough. It makes bears whine about healing stress. It’s ugly. Also, on the final encounter, Shadow Resistance is awesome, because he does a Shadowbolt volley on everyone that hurts hefty amounts.

The fights stress a healer a ton… at least, in my iLevel 200 gear I felt it stressed me out a lot, I healed my butt off, in many cases simply spamming Nourish on the main tank and letting DPS drop like flies to try and make it through. As I said earlier, we heavily abused the fact you can run in from the graveyard in mid-fight.

Damn, that instance is fun, though.

I’m sure that folks that are in Naxx 25 gear or higher probably do it on snooze mode, which is as it should be considering the quality of gear it drops. But for a 5 person team in Naxx 10 gear and heroic epics and crafted, it’s tuned really well. It’s a heck of a challenge, but you know that it CAN be done, and done well, once you get it down. And it is very fast.

Oh, one other thing if you haven’t done it yet. There are three encounters, but it drops not three epics, but five. The first encounter has one epic drop, and each of the next encounters drops two. Five iLevel 219 epic drops for one heroic run of 30 minutes is… well, expect it to be the new standard instance for an evening, yes?

Share your own tips, let us know the different things that you found that work well on that. I think it was a lot of fun fighting Onyxia in our nightmares… even if she DID fear us all over the place.

30 thoughts on “Trial of the Champion: Yikes!

  1. Love the blog Bear, keep up the great work!

    To the poster who lamented his gear, and ease of healing the instance … one thing to keep in mind … the group makes the healer, the healer does not make the group. Get some more experience and you’ll know exactly what that means.


  2. ToC is a very fun fight. If your tank is new to the fight or unsure about the pull, run out after you are dismounted for sure. If your tank wants to use the other strat, though mind you this is considerably harder if your tank is a warrior, it works out well if everyone runs to the middle, imo.

    Also, don’t die on your mounts! There’s a lot of action so your health can drop very suddenly, however if you are getting low just get another mount. You do not need to wait until you are dismounted to do that.

    I have done this fight for each role now.. I even managed to survive tanking with my kitty spec still enabled. :”) That was mildly entertaining. But healing was for sure the most challenging. Any other heroic and healing is usually snooze mode unless I’m healing a new tank.. or one of a few friends that isn’t new but likes to pull 3 groups at once. Fun stuff but I certainly can’t do that as a tank yet. Well, maybe 2 groups..

    I tried the new 10 man as well, tanking. Man they do hurt! 41k health goes by so fast.. hopefully with the new emblem gear it will go better next time. Though it definitely requires a combination of practice, luck, and talent too there.


  3. I’ve been blowing my tranq during p3 of the Black Knight as well. Really makes the end of the fight a lot easier. The rest of the time, rolling rejuv / regrowth / WG across the party worked for most of the fights… unless one of the mobs in the first fight ate my face during the mounted / on-foot transition. Then I was trying to get back in the instance before whatever finished off the tank. 😀


  4. I think the instance is gonna be a winner and a regular trip for me and mine. I say I think because we had issues. My first venture in was with a PUG and we died…alot. Finally figured out that the hunter of our PUG hadn’t allocated any of her talent points (did anyone else notice that hunters were refunded all talent points with the new patch?) After that we scraped by.
    The instance is well tuned and looks to be fun. Next time I go in tho, I’m gonna inspect before the fight! =)


  5. The groups that I’ve run this with have used an interesting strategy on the black knight. Since if all the explosions at once can cause some serious hurt to melee, they have me kite 2-5 of the adds. The only problem is I’m the healer. During this part of the fight I just keep dropping my earthbind and stoneclaw totems, throw up riptides, and throw in some chain heals when the adds aren’t on me. Also, on the first encounter, after the jousting I’m usually in charge of kiting one or more of the guys to the tank.

    Seriously, when did tanks forget how to keep things off the healer?


  6. The transition from jousting to on foot combat is definitely the hardest part of the instance.
    The thing that made the biggest difference for our groups was remembering that this is, in essence, a PVP encounter, so you can (and should) stun, blind, gouge, sheep, disarm etc. to your hearts content.
    My main is a rogue, and just like in PVP my control abilities make a huge difference here (though my group is mostly in Ulduar HM equip, so it will probably be alot harder for others).
    We usually went rogue->hunter->mage->shaman->warrior, making sure to interrupt the mage/shaman if present (a rogue can do this without help from the tank, the damage you take should be minimal) and blinding/stunning the warrior whenever he started whirlwinding.
    The hunter is seriously annoying, but again, can be focused and controlled without actually being tanked, the only opponent that we really needed a tank on was the warrior.


  7. Well we had a run at normal this weekend – still haven’t tried heroic, but it seems like it would be an absolute bear (see wot I did thar) to heal. A big part of that is learning the new instance and all the “who did you say was the one that was fearing?” and “oh, look, Van Cleef!” that was going on. Still pretty amazing loot for a 5 man on normal – if I do it too many more times, that long winding introduction is going to get mighty annoying.


  8. I really don’t like it.

    The jousting is a sad mechanic Blizz is forcing down our throats, and after the drop the pickup can be miserable if the group doesn’t clump the bodies.

    After you make it through the jousting, the fights are all kill skull, x, star, and it just seems they could have made the encounter more engaging like mini-hard modes where one brings a nice buff to the other 2 and killing him then causes the others to do something they wouldn’t normally. with the random makeup of the champions, it could make the encounters more engaging for a longer period of time, but now its always kill the tauren, first, then the rogue, then the ms warrior, then all the others.
    .-= Rhabella´s last blog ..Nice Pick-Up! =-.


  9. Just a tip for all druid healers in this place, if your tank is decently geared (read: doesn’t take constant attention to keep alive) the fights against the Black Knight and the Confessor can be made easier on you if you can roll rejuvenation and regrowth off the entire party, instead of reacting to the random damage spikes. The third phase of fighting the Black Knight is also definitely a place worth blowing tranquility on after 2-3 waves of shadowbolts, it makes it nearly impossible for someone to die.


  10. We had an issue where one dps died in Phase 3, released, but couldn’t get back before we did fer the Black Nugget. So no sparklies on the corpse fer her. Howevers, thanks ta the new looting system, I were able ta loots the dps cloak and then immediately trade it ta her. Win all around, that.
    .-= Ratshag´s last blog ..For John =-.


  11. I am not entirely certain because things tend to get rather hectic; but my feeling is that a lot of the damage being done to your group can be avoided/reduced. Someone already pointed out Edric’s hammer throw can be made redundant if the stun is dispelled. The confessor, when she summons up your memory, has a reflective shield so dps inadvertently slow on switching targets may nuke themselves in the face.

    I ran this on heroic today for the first time with a pug and healing becomes very noticeably more painful if your dps is lacking (although this is something of a given…) My biggest advice would be to dispel whatever you can, and get other people to help out with what you can’t. Especially against the ally/horde team, most of their abilities can be cleansed and of course, the Dark Knight can be made nearly trivial if you can remove disease. I probably don’t belong here, seeing as I’m not a druid healer. :p


  12. The new instance is very, very fun! But I’m trying to figure out….folks, am I the only bear that’s having some issues holding aggro since the patch? There’s nothing in the patch notes that would have nerfed bear threat generation, I haven’t changed any gear…I look a little different but that’s for the better, m’thinks. 🙂 I’ve been running the new five-man on regular, and I’m just not keeping them on me — my husband (hunter) has run a few with me and noticed as well. :/ Did I miss something?


  13. For the third phase of Black Knight, my group said to stack up on the tank. Apparently his shadowbolt volley hurts less the more people it strikes, like the meteors from the Thane in 4 Horsemen. Pretty much 1-shot the tank because we weren’t there the first attempt.


  14. I’ve ran this on normal only yet but found it intriguing in that it requires a whole lot of healing. When DPS’ing it’s much like any other instance, you generally don’t have to move a whole lot and as a lazorchicken that is something I appreciate. When healing it I got to appreciate how much work it actually is, easily twice the average healing of the easier hc’s and while a part of this probably was due to people not knowing the fight too well and taking unnecessary damage, I have to say I’m curious to see just how much tougher the hc version is.

    Good point on the all meeting up at a place to gather aggro, that’s been a mess and likely the cause of a good bit of that healing in the first frantic minute while everybody’s grandmother is getting aggro for christmas presents…


  15. I loved this instance, though the rogue is a pain. A PAIN.

    Also, I got dismounted by the warrior, and then he chased me down and killed me. Not ran me over, just smacked me with his lance.



  16. Healing… seems more difficult than it should be in the new 5-man. Even on normal mode. I’m Uld-25 geared. I’m not an idiot… but there were times where I really had trouble keeping the group alive. And on heroic (which I did first), we wiped once on each boss at least.

    One of the major issues we had, though… is we had 4 guildies and a pug tank. The tank was pretty awful in that he kinda forgot the whole “you tank things” part of tanking. The shadowpriest and I spent half of p1 of Black Knight kiting zombies around trying to not die. On Confessor, he just disregarded the add. I found that threat generation is a key part of the whole thing… and keeping the fear from Confessor from affecting the tank is a very very good idea. (We had 2 priests, 2 fear wards were enough. Tremor totem probably would have been even better.)

    Also range can be your enemy. As a healer, I like to stand pretty close to max range to stay out of whirlwinds, aoes, etc. And then the tank gets tossed across the room opposite where I am–not good for quick heals. The dps seem to think it’s an easy instance, so I think how well your run goes might really come down to tanking & healing–and not necessarily gear, but ability to quickly adapt and get the job done. I found myself doing quirky things I normally wouldn’t do while healing a 5-man, just because it’s what worked.


  17. BBB,

    A few things my morning running crew has found to work pretty well. I agree with the reseting them when everyone is thrown off the horse…some of the combinations of three are just tough to tank to begin with…2 range and a charge/whirlwind….sucks haha. But reset them and its a bit more managable. Also, on the second encounter, if you get the female…if you can have a mage, they can steal her healing spell on the summon which keeps the healer/s from worrying about your mage and helps to down the boss pretty quick.

    3rd, there is no major issue needing a ton of DPS at all in this set of fights, so we have been running it with two healers. 2 good DPSers are enough to down the instance fairly well and having the extra healer just keeps them sane.

    I love the instance too.


  18. Its been out a week, and I’ve fallen in love with the place. It’s especially awesome for my pally as holy, since I just dual specced into Holy, I’m still in quest greens and rep blues. So with that low lvl of gear, ToC is a godsend. 5 epics? In a regular instance? For 30minutes work? Screw QQ over Blozzard ‘dumbing down’ the game, I get free epix!

    The only downside to it is I’m constantly distracted from doing my argent tournament dailies with the nearly continuous stream of ‘LF 1 haelz 4 reg. ToC’ in icecrown, and my thoughts of ‘Well, it’s only 30min…’
    .-= Kaitus´s last blog ..S’all Good, S’all Good… =-.


  19. BBB,

    As a geared Druid healer, I find the heroic mode of this fight is very challenging. One tip I used was to have range group up in phase 3 of the black knight. I would stand midway between the melee/tank and the range and drop wild growth on myself. I have no idea how non-aoe healers can do this fight atm. Remember bark skin is your friend as a healer, it’s not just for tanking. 🙂


  20. It was our guilds first venture into this instance as well tonight, and we ran the normal a bunch after the Heroic, because we’re odd that way.

    I found it a great instance, although after so long doing the Tournament dailies, the mounted combat felt a little stale.

    We had Eadric the Pure every time we ran, so I’m not sure about tactics on Confessor, but with Eadric, he has an ability named Radiance. When he pops this, spin yourself around so you’re facing away from him, or you get a 3 second disorientate. If you’re a tank, you can just run through him as he casts. He also has an ability that involves throwing a hammer at what appears to be a random party member, who then has 6 seconds to throw it at him for extra damage. I believe there’s an achievement involved with killing him with his own hammer.

    One thing I did find after doing the normal a few times, was a certain glitch we had twice. As we killed the last of the 3 champions (The Orc both times this happened), we had a problem where instead of dying, he goes back to full health, and the other 2 revive on foot, as normal, except the Orc was still mounted, but we were all forced off our mounts. This led to constant trampling of the tank (Poor me), and then trampling of everyone else as I couldn’t build any threat whilst squished into the dirt.

    One thing I have found, the normal mode of this instance is a veritable loot Pinata for anything less than Naxx 10 gear. I was geared up in crafted epics, heroic and Naxx 10 gear, and managed to pull out 4 upgrades across both my specs from 7 runs of Normal (Which took about 2 hours). If you have a fresh dinged 80, this is definitely a great place to do repeated runs for gear. The itemization is fantastic for some of the gear, although I didn’t see much in the way of leather tanking gear. Great feral dps/Moonkin gear though, and everything is just chocked full of hit rating.

    Overall, I enjoyed this new instance, although I hope to see the Confessor at some point so I can fight Hogger again.


  21. BBB, for the transition, I generally sit on top of the nastiest add (typically the warrior) and immediately weapon swap/Enrage/Challenging Roar. As long as I can pick up at least two with the Roar, i can charge the third and then start up the Berserked Mangles. If I only get one with the Roar, it’s probably a wipe.
    I put a (probably overlong) strat post about ToC up on my blog,
    .-= Alaron´s last blog ..Trial of the Champion – expanded strat =-.


  22. Glad you enjoyed it BBB! I will say that Paletress is the more difficult of the middle encounter options, the add and its fears are no fun in combo with her continual Holy Smites. And if you didn’t know for Eadric, if the stun gets dispelled, his hammer does less damage, and can be thrown back at him; I guess there’s an achievement for beating him with a hammer throw as well.


  23. Doodle/Furrocious, thank you very much for your comment. I am delighted you commented, I think your comment is one of the finest of it’s kind I have seen, incorporating as it does so many key points in such a concise space. I’ll have to look into the points you’ve raised, make some serious analysis into the comparative differences, and then ponder the deep meanings of your words.

    I wish you a wonderful weekend and a happy time playing WoW. Keep up the excellent work!


  24. just ran it today for the first time. This instance is incredibly easy. Ran my resto druid alt, and I’am in greens and blues… and nobody died once until the warlock outaggro’d the tank at the very end. did you have lag or something to cause all the deaths? i got too upgrades, so now it’s going to be even easier. shouldn’t have had much trouble unless youre melee don’t know to move away from whirlwinds lol !!


  25. When you dismount all 3 bosses you have 2 options right now. First, the cheap shot ( this is likely to fixed as I don’t think Blizzard intended it to work like this ), you can run out of the instance. Bosses will reset positions but they will not mount again. Re-enter, re-equip your weapon, kill and collect loot.
    Second option is to have everyone run to one place immediately upon dismount. Tell your party exactly where that is ( in front of the entrance is good ). As bear I just blow my Berserk and start Mangling them away. Kill order is helpful and they are stunable.


  26. One thing we question toward the end of our 2nd night in there was if the Champions kept their “hate” on those that trampled them. Like you we had issues on the transitions. In normal 9/10 we could recover, get it under control and continue on. In 2 nights of doing the Heroic we found it to be a wipe both times. As a bear tank I found it necessary to dismount early, equip my weapon, shift, enrage, and then get ready to gather the champions.

    Warning, combat specifics follow

    We also found that the hunter (Night Elf for us) was the worst of the bunch in general she would jump out of melee away from the tank, appear to drop aggro, and commence to two shotting the clothes (In Heroic). The Warrior (Human) does a typical whirlwind that would wipe out the melee dps. The Mage (Gnome) does a radial fire knock back that was annoying but little more. The Rogue (Dwarf) would poison party members and light up the ground in green nasty. The Shaman (Draeni) would do the healer like thing and would be killed first.

    We also found that the hunter could bug and jump out back “into” the gate and be out of reach. A rogue in our group shadow stepped to her but our DK was able to get her out of there (unknown if she was actually “yanked” or the taunt effect worked).

    The two Argent Champions were fun and I really enjoyed the commenting done by the guy (sorry names are escaping me at this point). He was pretty straight forward but there is an achievement related to purging off a debuff and catching his hammer……we have yet to see him in Heroic yet and try it.

    Phase 2 of the Dark Knight is a little annoying with a heavy Melee group but kiting and running on explosions works. I did luck up and get the “Silence of the Lambs” helm on our first time in there. Nice upgrade to the Titan-Forge.


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