Tank like a girl
Aug 20 2009

Trial of the Champion

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The latest addition to 5-man instances in WoW is Trial of the Champions. If you look at LFG and /trade on my realm, you could almost think there is no other instance out there. Farmed and farmed and farmed and farmed. However, it’s easy to understand why. Both normal and heroic versions of this instance have pretty amazing drops for 5-mans, item level 200 on normal (on par with Naxx-10 or better) and item level 219 for heroic (on par with Ulduar-10).

What’s expecting you if you haven’t set foot in there? A very fast-paced instance (once you’re past the lengthy intro dialogue), on heroic a surprising amount of damage and hefty DPS as requirement to get shiny loots. Always remember that it’s got a super short corpse run, so if DPS dies, they can always come back, as the instance is not locked!

Encounter 1:
Faction Champions
You can get five possible champions here: a hax warrior, a mage, a rogue, a shaman, a hunter. The jousting part is easy enough. Charge and shield-break kill the three trash mobs in each wave, have the leader mark in what order you want to knock the champions off their mounts, don’t forget to trample them once they’re down and then…either pray that the pickup works, or do what most groups seem to be doing these days and have everyone run out. Due to the nature of the champions getting dismounted sprawled out across the room, it is incredibly difficult to pick the three champions up without one or two party members getting insta-gibbed, unless you manage to dismount them pretty much on top of each other (which we made happen once!) I wish it were different, because I hate the feeling of defeat of running out, but it is definitely easier.

Kill priorities: The shaman heals, so he’s a great target to focus on first. Always number one or two on the list should be the rogue when she is around (female dwarf rogue, wtf?!?). Her poison pools and FoK spam can be lethal and leads to a burden for the healer. Same with the warrior, his Bladestorm and the knockback charge plus Mortal Strike are a PITA. The only problems with mage and hunter are that they are ranged, so it can be difficult to cluster them with the melee mobs. This is more difficult with the hunter, as you can effectively bring the mage into melee range using Heroic Throw or Shield Bash if you are spec’d into Gag Order. Use the normal trick with NPC hunters, slowly move backwards and they will stay in melee range.

Summary: choose a good kill priority, interrupt casts whenever you can, move out of poison pools. Don’t forget to keep the ranged champions clustered with the melee so you won’t lose aggro on them.

Possible loot:

  • Legguards of Abandoned Fealty (normal mode): fantastic pants easily outshining the legs from heroic Violet Hold
  • Mark of the Relentless (heroic mode): fabulous ring very similar to Signet of the Accord, just without defense and increased stats. If you can pull off wearing it despite it not having defense, it’s awesome. I put a +30 stamina gem into it.

Encounter 2:

No matter which of the two bosses you get for the 2nd encounter, you have to deal with three groups of three trash mobs. A priestess, a lightbringer aka paladin and a monk. Unsurprisingly, the priestess heals and on heroic she also MCs, so make sure to interrupt both. The Lightbringer does annoying paladin things. The monk bubbles at the end which slows you down, and that’s just about all it does, annoying each and every person. Pull the priestess with Heroic Throw and tank and spank ‘em.

The two possible bosses have similar loot tables, but they’re not quite identical, so I will list all possible loot for them individually.

Argent Confessor Paletress
The scantily dressed clone of Scarlet Monastery’s Whitemane that listens to confessions on the tournament grounds is the more annoying of the two bosses and on heroic is a serious DPS check. If your DPS does not break 1.5k DPS, you will have a hard time here as some serious damage is flung about that will tax the healer. When she first aggros after the last trash mob is down, she will cast holy spells like Smite and Holy Fire. Smite has a very short cast time but you can time your Shield Bash and force her into melee, which looks funny, and the healer will like it. Once she’s at 25%, she will knock people back, cast a reflective shield on herself and summon a Memory. No matter which Memory you get, be it Heigan or Hogger, they all have the same abilities. The Memory fears for 3 seconds, causes shadow damage and slows down, and puts a bleed on people. Ah, and not to forget the melee damage. The Memory has a big healthpool, 390k to 485k depending on which mode you are in. It’s ideal to have a shaman with a tremor totem, but if that’s not available, use Berserker Rage to break fear. The Memories fear frequently, so BR might be on cooldown still at times.

Once the Memory is out, the encounter turns into a DPS race. The Memory needs to be burned, because while it fears and all the good stuff, Paletress will cast Renew on herself and the Memory and she will smite without any kind of aggro table, which places a strain on the healer. It is only when the Memory is down that her reflective shield drops and you bring her down. Dependent on how long it took you to get the Memory down, she might be at full health again. Dispel all subsequent attempts at Renewing with your friendly Shield Slam and collect some shiny gear at the end of it all.

Summary: burn her, interrupt her holy spells when you can. Burn the Memory, break fear, bring high DPS. Once the Memory is down, it should be no problem to get her down as well.

Possible loot:

  • Mercy’s Hold (normal mode) – lovely gloves, easily beating our T7 gloves
  • Regal Aurous Shoulderplates (heroic mode) – say it isn’t so, but these shoulders are fabulous. I will have to replace my beloved T7 shoulders with these boring looking ones. But the stats are awesome.
  • Helm of the Crestfallen Challenger (heroic mode) – same ol’ look as the Tempered Titansteel, this winged helmet is heavy on parry, stamina, hit. It’s a steal. And a blue socket. This can be turned into a stamina monster.
  • Peacekeeper Blade (heroic mode) – turkey knife, or lovely itemized tanking sword that has no no defense? It has a yellow socket however, so you can gem it for defense without losing the expertise bonus, or whatever you want to stuff in there. WTB more tanking axes.

Eadric the Pure
Compared to Paletress, he’s a harmless loot pinata. As a paladin, he will throw his Hammer of the Righteous at people. This can be dispelled. Or you throw the hammer back at him, as your main action bar will be replaced with a hammer button once the stun wears off. Other than that, you only need to pay attention to his Radiance spell. He loudly announces the cast, you turn your back to him until he’s done, and then you continue. Harmless, easy, tank and spank.

Summary: tank and spank, turn your back on him when he casts Radiance.

Possible loot:

Encounter 3:
The Black Knight
This three phase encounter is the most heal-intensive and challenging of the three encounters. I would be lying if I didn’t say that I myself am at times having problems keeping phase 2 under control.

Phase 1:
The Black Knight is a pretty default DK, who uses diseases and summons the herald he killed as ghoul. As the herald will annoyingly jump around siwtching aggro and will also explode after a while, he should be quickly burned at the start of the fight. I have not been able to interrupt Death’s Respite, which is the knockback he casts on random party members. This is a very easy phase.

Phase 2:
He comes back as a skeleton who immediately starts casting Army of the Dead. It’s easiest here if everyone piles up on the tank because trust me, running around like a headless chicken peeling single ghouls of the 8 ghouls that are summoned is no fun whatsoever. If everyone’s on top of the tank, it is a lot easier to keep this encounter under control. These ghouls need to be killed quickly. If you see them start growing you must run out immediately, as the explosions hurt a lot. It is important to move out of the Desecration that the Black Knight will cast on random targets. If you can get rid of the ghouls quickly, this is not too bad at all.

Phase 3:
This is the ‘Let’s pray enough people survive’ part of the fight. It’s made infinitely easier by having Shadow Protection from a priest or paladin available. The Black Knight will cast a stacking shadow damage attack at people, plus he will cast a non-dispellable debuff on someone increasing damage by 200%. So basically, if you’re unlucky and the healer gets hit, this can get rough. Save cooldowns for this part of the fight, and blow them all, this is the ultimate DPS race.

Possible loot:

  • The Black Heart (normal mode) – this trinket makes the place the place-to-be for any tank. 126 stamina and a frequent proc is amazing. Do it, become a member of the Black Heart club!
  • Girdle of the Pallid Knight (normal mode) – definitely on par with the EoH belt, and a very welcome addition to a weak slot in ilevel 200 gear.
  • The Warlord’s Depravity (heroic mode) – the BK’s only tank drop on heroic is a pretty nice necklace that has dodge and a whopping 104 SBV. I merely use this for threat fights, the very easily obtainable Shard of the Crystal Forest is far superior as far as necklaces go.

Hope this is helpful to some of you. Enjoy running the place, and may the loot gods grant you better tank favor than they’ve granted me lately! *mumbles about spellpower plate*

Filed under : Gear, guide, instances | 13 Comments »

13 Responses to “Trial of the Champion”

  1. Naissa says:

    Excellent guide! :)

    I stuck a 20 defense gem in my giant turkey knife of doom and I’m fairly happy with it, but then I don’t have any racials to consider and was still using the Red Sword.

    I was pretty amazed at how good those pants and that ring are. Just … wow. :) Not to mention the trinket which still looks too much like BoP to me, but I’m getting used to it. It procs a ton.
    .-= Naissa´s last blog ..“You’re not geared enough” =-.


  2. Gravity says:

    Great write-up.
    I agree strongly with “If everyone’s on top of the tank, it is a lot easier to keep this encounter under control. … If you see them start growing you must run out immediately, as the explosions hurt a lot. It is important to move out of the Desecration that the Black Knight will cast on random targets. ”

    I actually didn’t see the desecration many times, because I have had unholy DKs on DPS with me, and thought it was theirs. You must move out of it, he does a lot more damage within it or something.

    Also clumping on the tank; how hard is that? Why do so many of my PUGs just not do what I ask?

    Hoping today’s sessions will finally get me that damn trinket.
    .-= Gravity´s last blog ..Scent of Blood and Rune Tap talents =-.


  3. Norm says:

    Do the ghouls explode randomly or at a certain percentage of health? If it’s % based, it sounds like the flower-power Freya phase, which is made infinitely easier by having everyone keep enemy plates up so they can disperse before the flowers explode and kill everyone. (… note, I am an avoidant fearful flower who has not seen the new 5 man yet. Even as a healer, I am terribly glad to have read this summary.)


    Kadomi Reply:

    The ghoul explosion is actually cast by the Black Knight himself, if he’s targetted, you can see the cast bar. It’s not triggered by the ghouls’ health. That’s why you can burn the ghouls down so the explosions never happen in the first place.

    You’ll have an easy time healing this place, because of your arsenal of AoE healing. I only healed heroic once so far and the AoE damage flying around on Paletress and phase 3 of Black Knight is really scary. I got 2-shot on Garande, no shadow protection, marked for death, 10k per hit. :O


  4. Zaphiel says:

    Great write-up, thank-you. I too am having a bit of trouble getting the loot gods to accept my offerings (RNG is once again being fickle). Tank gear drops when I’m DPS for a PUG (Boy do tanks get mad when I roll against them for gear, even though they insisted on a “Need it if you need it” policy for the run) and DPS items droip when I’m tanking. /sigh Aw well, whatcha gonna do, right?

    Hoping for the neck to drop this weekend on one of the guild runs… one can always hope, no :)


  5. Everblue says:

    This was really useful.


    .-= Everblue´s last blog ..Some warrior-relevant stuff from Blizzcon =-.


  6. BobTurkey says:

    Yeah I agree nice overview. I’ve added the normal ToC items to my shopping list ;-)

    Gobble gobble.
    .-= BobTurkey´s last blog ..A post duel discussion in 4.0 =-.


  7. Deimonia says:

    Hey nice guide,

    I finally started running the Heroic version early last week and have ran it every day. Two times I’ve died.

    If we get Paletress, I fear ward myself before the fight starts.

    With Eadric, if you don’t think you will turn fast enough if your a priest you can actually turn to the side or have your back turned from him and still heal. I’ve tried all ways just to see if it’s possible.

    With my Holy Priest, Black Knight, Phase 2 can get dicey depending on the group makeup and the amount of damage people within the group are taking. Running OOM isn’t the issue, drawing aggro from group heals can be at times. With this fight, I tend to keep Serendipity stacked up to three times .

    The group heals are great, but at times I attracted a lot of Ghouls too. Power Word: Shield (which is linked with Body & Soul) has been helpful in some of those cases but at times I was unable to get away from the Ghouls since they were still following me. Bah! They exploded, I healed myself with DP, Bubble, Renew, but those two times I wasn’t able to keep up with the amount of damage I was taking. I died. Was it frustrating? Yes, but it happens. You pick yourself up and do it again.

    I experienced my first wipe in HTOC last week. I searched and found that quite a few other healers, Holy priests, too were having some of the same issues too. I usually have a Hunter, Mage, Shaman, Druid in the group. Hunters and Mage can slow down the ghouls; thanks to frost traps and iceblock. Shamans can remove poisins with their totems. Druids are great for curses/removing poisons. There have been times when I haven’t had any of the groups I’ve healed and we still made it with no wipes. Challenging yes, but we did it.


  8. Markos says:

    Thanks for this interesting guide.

    I feel your hurt in respect of the “loot Gods”. I have been farming for The Black Heart trinket since the launch of 3.2 and have seen drop just twice.

    On both occassions I was tanking, and on both occassions I had it taken from me by a resto Druid and a DPS Death Knight!

    The evening following the 2nd Ninja incident I ran ToC normal 10 more times, alas without seeing it again. Everyone else in my group got extremely well geared from it though!

    I now officially hate the place! I pray the trinket drops tonight, and I win the roll so I never have to return!


  9. torrija says:

    excellent guide!


  10. Ibn says:

    Like the Guide. But i have a little question. What Gear would you recommend for a Prot-Warrior to run ToC Hero?

    I have 27k HP unbuffed and a bit over 550 defense and am always told that’s not enough to tank ToC Hero.

    Do you really need 35k HP buffed to even consider tanking it?

    I just don’t have the time to run 4-5 heroics a day to get enough Emblems for a respectable Gear… *sigh*

    Best wishes


    Kadomi Reply:

    While I think H ToC has higher requirements of a tank than the other heroic instances, I think 27k HP unbuffed is fine. It probably means that you will have some spikes in the Champions Fight as long as all three mobs are up but other than that? As long as your group knows their stuff, you should be fine.

    PUGs seem to have freaking ridiculous expectations these day, sorry to hear that. :/


  11. Axilla says:

    Great guide, i got the trinket on my second run of normal along with Brestplate of Imperial Joust, Gauntlets of the Stouthearted Crusader and Helm of the Bested Gallant all on the SAME run!!
    The Gods of Loots were with me, i was tanking it at 78 at the time :)


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