The Faction Champions encounter in the Coliseum is probably the most innovative and different fight in all of Wrath. Not necessarily because it’s really difficult (even though it’s a significant step up from Jaraxxus and the Beasts) but because it’s dynamic. Unlike most bosses, where you can succeed by paying close attention to a boss’s cooldowns and various other timers, Faction Champions plays like a 5v5 arena match scaled up to PvE numbers. What that means is that this fight requires an incredible amount of coordination and quick, intelligent reactions.
Luckily, as Death Knights, we have ample resources to help out in this fight. I actually wished I was using my old 17/54 Unholy PvP spec for this encounter to get the Ghoul stun along with some other utility (but strong DPS is very important in the early phase of the fight, so I don’t recommend sacrificing DPS stats/talents for resilience or utility). The only exception to this is the WG PvP trinket, which has 190 AP on it. If you haven’t already, check out Tankspot’s video guide to the encounter. Once you’ve done that, I’ll provide a few DK-specific tips for the fight.
A few DK abilities stand out in this fight. Let’s begin with some tips for using the ever-awesome Death Grip:
- You can use Death Grip to interrupt heals (none of the FCs are immune to the GET OVER HERE aspect of the spell), but beware of putting dangerous melee on taunt diminishing returns.
- My guild had me pulling the primary target (for us, the Priest) out of the pack to start the encounter, as well as gripping subsequent targets out of the hubbub so that melee DPS didn’t get cleaved by Whirlwinds, Hellfires, etc.
- If you see a mob targeting (can be melee or ranged) a clothy or healer, don’t hesitate to grip it to you. You can also use Dark Command for this purpose, but again don’t overuse these abilities lest mobs become immune to taunt (happens after 3-4 taunts on a single mob).
Next up, tanking cooldowns. I’m going to lump AMS, IBF and Frost Presence together here. Depending on your spec, you will most likely have another cooldown in the form of Rune Tap/Vampiric Blood/Unbreakable Armor/Bone Shield, but I won’t mention these individually.
- If you’re Death Grippings mobs around, taunting off healers and generally doing DPS to stuff, chances are you’re going to take some serious damage. The mobs don’t have aggro tables, but can focus on you if they feel like it for any amount of time. So if you notice that you’re taking a lot of damage, use a cooldown. Don’t pop everything at once – pretend you’re tanking and spread your defensive abilities out.
Interrupts (so incredibly important). Since these mobs are stunnable, interruptable and grippable, it’s your responsibility to interrupt important spells (note: this means paying attention to what spells you’re interrupting rather than blowing your cooldowns on every spell you see).
Here are the important spells to interrupt (from highest priority to least)
- Any kind of heal (Holy Light, Flash of Light, Flash Heal, Penance, Nourish, Regrowth, Healing/Lesser Healing Wave).
- Unstable Affliction (this spell is bad news – not only is it immune to dispel, but it also can be hit by your Priests’ mass dispels by accident and cause bad things to happen)
- Any form of CC (Fear, Polymorph, Hex)
- Damage spells (Shadow Bolts, that kind of thing)
Note that your interrupt abilities are not limited to Mind Freeze. Strangulate was recently patched to have an interrupt component for PvE, so even though it’s on a 2min cooldown, don’t hesitate to use it if necessary. This means keeping a Blood or Death Rune available when your Mind Freeze is on CD. You can also use, as mentioned earlier, Death Grip to interrupt spells (even if you’re close to the mob in question. If you’re specced for the Ghoul, you should be using Gnaw as well.
Chains of Ice and other utility things
- The best target for Chains is the Death Knight, followed by the Warrior (because he Bladestorms around a lot slows are less helpful). Since these targets are often left alive late into the fight, it’s important to mitigate the damage they do. The best way to accomplish this is by either hard-CCing them (things like Polymorph and various stuns), fearing or kiting.
- Unlike most fights with adds, the FC encounter lends itself quite well to Army of the Dead usage. While your ghouls won’t taunt the FCs themselves, they can and probably will taunt the enemy’s pets (which are only level 80) and mitigate some damage. Don’t forget that AotD also acts as a defensive cooldown and reduces damage done to you while channeling it. Since taunting random crap away from healers is what this fight is all about, AotD can be a good way to start off the fight.
- Note that the ghouls will probably break CC, so use it at a time in the fight when lots of your CC is on DR or when you are ignoring CC to burn healers down. Anything that distracts the FCs and takes a few hits is a help to your healers.
N.B. See Kathmaul’s comments for some further strategy suggestions