Got a lot of requests for help on this raid.. So here is a complete advanced strategy guide on how to beat the raid. This strategy works excellent on epic difficult and lower, tested and proven on several runs. It's very well optimized but there may be room for small improvements.
Also did a full length video of the raid to show you exactly how it should go down:
(Recorded at 1080p, 60fps and max detail as always. Should default to 720p, Set it to 1080p for perfectly clear text.)
This video is done on normal to keep it short and exciting, but aside from the fast and dangerous approach to the trash, the strategies used will work fine on Epic.
Party make up:
This raid is pretty much entirely combat, with a good variety of enemies, so having a strong mix of many classes is ideal.
By far the most important player in this raid will be your main tank, without a experienced and well geared tank you will a very hard time. Ideal tanks by far are Stalwart Defenders with very high (150%+) healing amp and excellent threat generation ability. But as you can see in the video, Barbarians can do an excellent job as well. As can paladins, or hell as of U12, even monks.. Ideally just the most experienced player that has the stats to qualify should perform this role.
Note on Epic:
Given the extreme difficulty on Epic, it's HIGHLY recommended to use a Stalwart Defender for this role. It will be doable without one, but it can make a huge difference given there strong damage resistance (25% with improved mastery) and hitpoints.
The 2ndary/backup tank:
Due to the design of the touch of mournlands debuff, and difficulty of the raid, its usually* CRITICAL to have a 2ndary tank that's hopefully just as powerful as the first. His job will be to tank while the main tank recovers from the mournlands wounds, as well as during emergencies should your main-tank die. He will also serve as one of the Hound tanks at the end. On lower difficulties he may not need to do much tanking at all, as the mournlands debuff has a low chance to proc, but it's still wise to always assign one in case mistakes happen and the maintain goes down.
*Usually: It's possible to simply shield block and wait out the debuff.. However this strategy obvious greatly increases resource costs as it's a long debuff (80 seconds) and buffs are ticking. Then the fact if your maintain gets killed, no backups can easily lead to wipe.. Always assign a backup, even if he's not ideal.
Once the tanking is covered, you need players to keep said tanks alive. Due to the extreme length and difficulty of the raid, and the fact its 99% single target healing, the best raid healers here are actaully by far Artificers and Bards with scroll mastery. They can and should heal scroll for 300-550+ depending on the tanks healing amp. This also frees up clerics and favored souls to focus on mass heals during cometfalls/blade barriers, and any emergency raise deads/buffs players may need.
On normal difficulty, most any decent player of any class can clear the trash.. On epic you REALLY will need a powerful arcane to dispatch them quickly. Be it with power word kill, fingers of deaths, or powerful polar rays, Arcanes are ideal as Artficiers are deadly at close range on higher difficulties.
At a bare minimum I highly recommend you keep cloudkill up at all times, so having someone with that is important. Additional debuffs such as improved sunder, condemnation and crushing despair are all very useful as well, but as critical as the cloudkill. Cloudkill means 20% less hits, and thus 20% less mournlands debuffs on your tank, which can make all the difference.
Clr/Fvs: will be wanted to deathward, circle and resistances.
Bards: are very useful for their songs, the enemies here have quite a high armor class and a lot of hitpoints, bards will make this raid go much faster and smoother.
Artificers: They can enhance your weapons to bypass DR, to allow things like a Lit2 to break his DR (Good+Adamantine), as well as casting 2 very powerful devensive buffs on the tank: Radiant Shield and Positive energy. You can see these buffs in action in the video.
So set up a nice well balanced party of strong tanks, strong DPS, great healing and at least 1 proficient arcane. Bards and artificers are also extremely useful as you can see in the video.
On normal and hard in a strong group you can just crush the trash generally.. On elite/epic, you should absolutely NOT underestimate it, I've seen countless deaths from the trash on epic that can alwasy be avoided. So a few basic mmo rules on trahs should be observed:
- Let the tank, tank.. Yes, even the trash should be tanked on epic. Let the tank intim and gather it, and only after is safe to do so should the DPS proceed in.
- Let the arcanes and other ranged clear the artificers - They are EXTREMELY devastating on epic and can deal upwards of 500 damage in a second, thus at no point what so ever should any dps ever get close to them, they will invariably die. Insta kill them, or if taht fails, CAREFULLY use ottos irresistable and nuke them down.
- Be vigilant on keeping the tank alive, but dont spend much resources. There is no shrine on epic, so you REALLY have to be careful on your sp usage, and use healing scroll as much as possible. If an artificer knocks down the tank a quick emergency ful heal may be necessary, but otherwise no SP should be used on healing if done correctly.
Buffing for Boss:
Buff up at the shrine on normal or hard, then shrine for full sp.. On epic well there is none, so you can just buff up at the platform past the water so your ready to engage when done.
Recommended long individual buffs:
- Electric and Fire on all (LoB casts Tactical Detonation, Power of the forge causes electric dmg, as do the hounds)
- FoM on all (Hound grease WILL kill you, never get close to them without it, always recast this after any raise deads!)
- True Sight for those who request (Assasins love to cast blur and displacement.. Negate that and destroy them)
- GH on all (Cometfall will hit everyone as its targeted randomly, save against it!)
- If you have an Arti or adamantine scrolls: Use as appropriate. DR is Adamantine + Good.. Break the DR!
For epic difficulty preferable extend all of these buffs, its quite a long encounter.
Mass buffs after shrine in the Creation forge (AKA Boss Arena):
-Mass Deathward (randomly targets necrotic ray and likes to cast symbols)
-Cricle against evil (increases saves)
Assign the roles:
You'll need several key roles for this strategy:
- Maintank and 2ndary tank as I talked about.
- Power of the Forge takers - You'll need to assign 3. While the buff can be useful for everyone, I believe its best for DPS, and sometimes the maintank* - if hes fast moving and skilled enough to get it. While experienced players should generally do this, players new to the raid can do this as long as you explain carefully what needs to be done.
-- Maintank Note: If your maintain is a slower moving class like a Stalwart Defender or Siberys Paladin, he may wish to forego this as it can take a bit long to get it with reduce movement speed. Barbarians, Rangers and monks are fairly ideal as they can sprint in qickly to acquire it and return to the tanking position easily as seen in the video.
- Main burst healer: Especially important on epic to conserve resource costs is to assign your strongest healer to handle the tank burst healing during whirlwinds or other specials.. This way you can ensure hte other heals know to save SP and use mainly scrolls, to cut down on pot costs.
- Main party healer: One will need to focus on mass healing after a cometfall or blade barrier for the DPS. Due to the length of the spell, you should assign this task and be sure only 1 player does it.
- Main resurrecter/rebuffer: Again avoid duplication, set 1 person to do this. Bards work well for this task as they have many nice buffs like FoM and songs to give freshly raised comrades.
- Hound Kiter: This is the most critical role next to tanking.. Be sure to have a VERY skilled, fast, self-sufficient player do this. Perfably an experienced one, but its not that difficult a task..
Ideal candidates are :
Arcane archers who can heal scrol (as they will lose nothing by doing it, they can DPS the boss or pillars while kiting without major risk
Wizard/Sorc - While they can do it quite well keep in mind the one assigned to debuffing tasks should not do this, as the hounds should never get close to the boss, and cloudkill has a short range.
Favored soul - Very ideal as its quite easy to self heal thru rain on one, but they are often needed near the tank for condemnation or healing, keep this in mind.
Cleric - Perhaps even more ideal as they aren't needed nearby for condemnation
Any class that can self heal and has a good reflex save - One of the main ways the kiter often dies (which causes major issues) is from cometfall, so a good reflex save helps.
Backup Kiter - A strong strategy includes backups and redundancy for everything. As skilled and powerful as one player is, they can alawys roll a 1, lose connection or crash.. So assign back ups whereever possible.
On to the raid strategy:
Phase One: Initial Special Abilities (100% to 75% Health)
At it's core this is basic tank and destroy raid.. But there are a LOT of complexities involved that need to be understood to suceed. I'll go over each special mechanic:
North end, where you begin. View the video for the exact ideal location. The reason for this is because of the next spot:
South end, far from the start. This is because they have a AOE buff that increases all mobs - including the bosses resistance to all damage by 25%, and it stacks for up to -50% penatlty. Negate this by kiting them in a small areas to the south far from the LoB. Again review the video for where they should be.
Power of the Forge - USE IT! (Advanced strategy)
A common mistake many pug groups make is to quickly destroy all the pillars, and thus the power. The power of the forge is a major benefit to us if we use it to our advantage, and for an advanced epic strategy, imo its a ulra important thing to have to reduce resource costs and speed up the raid. The huge thing is the +25% damage output it provides, as well as the speed incrases. It's a very major DPS buff that can and will aid you greatly. So USE IT, Keep it alive!. It's NOT nteccesary to kill the initial pillars. You actually only have to kill the ones that spawn at the end to complete the raid. I recommend you keep the north two bottoms alive, as we do in the video. Why two? Redundancy, always have a backup incase someone gets confused and accidently kills a pillar.
How it works:
-Center area glows blue - Power is CHARGING - Get ready! You generally shouldn't actually go in tho, as it hurts you! (10d10 electric dmg every 2 sec)
-Center area then glows yellow - Power is available - TAKE IT ASAP! You only have about 2-4 seconds to get it before the Lord of Blades takes it for himself. Ideally you have 3 players assigned, and the ones whos turn it is, is alreayd there and has it.. If for any reasons he is incapacitated or out or range.. Someone else get it, no matter what just do not let the LoB get the power!
How the buff works:
You get a blue icon - thats it, it will not show a timer, as it's duration is random. It lasts between 25 to 80 seconds from my experience. You will also get a debuff call "Overcharged" which lasts 120 seconds .. It's the black icon. As long as you have this debuff, you may not get another power.. If you try, you will get mind probed (a very long duration stun that cannot be removed).
Since the power returns also at a random rate (Between 20-40 seconds), you will thus need a minimum of 3 players to be able to continuously get it, and occasionally may need a fourth.
(Advanced strategy): This does take a bit of understanding of the raid and player skill to perform accurately.. And mistakes can cause serious problems, thus if your group is not confident in their abilities to understand and get the buff, it may be easier to simply destroy all the pillars, and thus end the power. I'd only recommend this on normal difficulty in a pug group that you otherwise dont feel will be moving on to harder difficulties later. In a guild group, you should leave it up to practice getting it even if its not required.
Mighty Blow Stun + Backspin + Slam:
This triple attack special is very dangerous, and is what seperates the skilled tanks from the not so skilled. It can and should be blocked. It has a VERY SHORT audio cue, kind of like the sound of a gear griding fast - review the video and turn your sound up loud to listen for it. It can't be blocked off the visual cue, thats like 200ms - only military androids can react taht fast.. But the audio cue is about 900-1200ms , which you can react to.
If it's blocked, nothing will happen, continue DPS.
If it's not blocked - You will be stuned, Call out on a voice immediately!
Generally ill say DPS out.. But really the DPS should not necessary get out, so much as they should flank on the side.. The backspin is kind of like a bolt-like AOE, it goes straight back quite a distance, but does not hit the side.. Review the video and watch what Wrathdancer does to know the ideal strategy.. However this is a more advanced, more difficult strategy so only do this if you confident you wont pull agro, as obviously the tank cant build threat while stunned.
Note on buffs: Grasp of the Earthdragon (A light monk special) can negate the stuns. This can be useful if your tank is not blocking stuns well. However if your tank is trying to learn how to bllock on just normal/hard, you may wish to not use it, so he can learn the tell for later runs on higher settings which this buff may not be available. So use it if available, but don't rely on it.
He can also miss his stun attack roll, cloudkill is useful for this.
This is the only special he has during phase 1 (100-75% health)
Phase Two: New Special Abilities (75% to 40% Health)
At this point he gains 2 more specials and also returns his hound:
Re-establish agro as its reset now, then shield block as the hounds will reset in the next 5-15 seconds. They will return to the kiter automatiicaly as long as you dont hit them, the threat is maintained even tho they heal to full.
Neo/Superman Leap: This ability allows him to escape combat and perform a massive leap to the ceiling of the Forge. This ability will also reset his aggro list. Once he drops down he will perform either of these specials:
-Pouncing Strike: He will target 1 random party member and lead down slamming his Trident into their body, dealing massive damage enough to outright kill many party members. (~250-500 damage depending on difficulty/or if he has power of the forge)
-Powerful Double Charge': If he instead lands on the very outside edge of the arena.. He will perform a powerful double charge. This one isn't too bad as it simply knocks down players that get in his way, and deals moderate damage. It does show a saving throw, but even rolling a 20 generally won't negate it. Simply dodge it or shield block to avoid some damage.
Tank role during this:
-Get a thrower out ASAP (Ideally +5 holy burst adamantine of GCB crafted one).
-Remove your tower shield (-2 to hit HURTS), ideally you have a weapon set with a shield and no shield. You can offhand a seeker +10 if your really pro.
-Toss at him, auto attack helps you determine positioning though personally I dont use it.. You may wish to.
-If he is charging you should have no trouble getting him before he complets it. If he is pouncing.. Call out the name of the person with agro, and BURSt heal that player, do not let him die, the tank will take 2-4 throws to re-establish.
The MOMENT you see him crouch down:
-Get a sheld in your hand and block and face him, no matter what. The agro is random so until you are 110% sure its not you, block.
-AT ALL COSTS DO NOT RUN FROM THE BOSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
** I can't stress this enough. Every run I do someone always trys to run from him. Just don't. Please. It's an extremely bad move for several reasons:
-Tank will miss his throws and take longer to get him off you.
-You will probably get a mournlands debuff - This not only damages your maximum hp and generally gets you killed, but it also causes your spells to gain a huge spell failure chance! And this applies to ALL spells, even divines and heal scrolls. So if your a healer and you do this, you could very well fail your heals and let the tank die due to it.
-He may immediately try to stun you - he has NO cooldown on his specials, blocking prevents the stun.
-You may get someone else cleaved in the process
-He will chain you eventually.. He has a very smart AI and automatically chains anyone trying to run. Get chains in a bad place and your dead, and probably others.
I mean yea maybe if over 75% of the party is dead and theres no one to heal you, you should run.. But in 99 out of 100 times its never the right choice.
Perhaps his most devastating special. This attack has very short tell - he will swing his weapon around in circle above his head as a sort of wind up. The attack itself is a very devastating AOE attack so if are flanking and don't have agro, move away quickly! It deals ~75-260 damage per hit (Depending on difficulty/power of the forge), and hits EXTREMELY fast, every ~150 milliseconds and goes on for several seconds.) Each hit will also hit all nearby players in a 360 degree arc, and cause a powerful knockback with no save.
If your the tank: Recommended Strategy is to jump/get knocked directly into the water - Ideally you are tanking him nearby the water. If you are too far away just jump straight up - there by getting knocked quite far into the plasma water and hope you can survive that. Jumping helps even if you are far away as the knockback distance is greatly amplified if your airborn, especially with featherfall on. Be warned though - you can easily lose his agro if you jump into the water too soon after seeing the tell, which can result in the whirlwind killing several of your party members.
Ideally though, you are standing very near the water and can simply drop in, avoiding any hits. No matter how well you position him this won't always be the case however, as he can chain or knock you down just before he does it, so react approrpriately.
The water also deals heavy initial damage plus moderate damage over time so executing this strategy and surviving is very difficult, especially on the higher difficulties.
This is very hard to perform and time accurately, so review the video of my actions and try to replicate them for the best success rate against this attack.
Phase Three: The Final Devastating Special Ability (40% to 5% Health)
Return my Hounds again: He will once again re-summon his hounds to full health. He also gains one new special:
Rain of Blades: In this phase he gains one final, very devastating special attack. This one has an easy tell, he will crouch down and small blades will fly out of his back, then a couple of seconds later the special attack will hit. It deals massive damage over time, it's similar to the Black Abbot' Inferno in the it engulfs the entire platform except 1 small area. Though the damage is quite survivable by high hp players with good healing - thus the tank should stay out to avoid having the party get cleaved by the lord of blades in the center. Deals slashing damage. Reflex save for half, but for most characters even half damage will be enough to kill them if they remain in it too long. There is one safe area: The exact center of the platform. The tank and the dog kiter should not enter the center.
Again review the video for some tips on what to do or not do during this.
Phase Four: Reinforcements! (5% Health tell the Quori ambush)
The Hounds' Last Assault: At this point he will return his hounds yet again (if they are dead) for a final assault. Killing the hounds at this point completely disintegrates their corpses, preventing further resurrection. It is recommended to kill them during this phase. However on Epic difficulty keep in mind they hit VERY hard, so have the maintank tank one, and the offtank intim ONE (and only one) away. If you are confident in 1 players abilities to break enchant (TIP: Scrolls work, there is no CL check) the spit fast, you can stay in and keep DPS up too, highly recommended as long as its just 1 hound. If its 2 hounds, you cant always break 2 spits, so this is too risky imo.. Seperate them first.
Evade and Summon Reinforcements:
At this point he will continuously perform his Neo/Superman leap to avoid taking serious injury (Occasionally doing a single charge, pounce attack or spell.) and instead he will keep you busy by summoning several waves of Bladesworn Warforged reinforments.
TIP: He can only perform his superman leap + charge combo on the 4 cardinal Directions: Directly North, East, Sout and west.. Avoid standing on those areas or death will be imminant.
The trash waves include:
~20-25 Bladesworn Assassins (spawning a small amount in several waves).. On normal you can just slay all these quick.. On epic it's somewhat recommend to kill about half of them, then use the other half as mana batteries to regain some SP for the final phase, tho imo spending much time here isn't really neccesary,
~4-6 Bladesworn Artificers (spawning a small amount in several waves, generally its 1-2 per wave, 3 waves).. You MUST slay these VERY FAST on epic difficulty or they will wipe you raid. Assign your strongest arcanes and call out their locations to aid their targeting. Their spawn points are static, so experience can help here in eliminating them quickly.
Once all these waves are defeated they will not respawn and the final phase will be triggered.
Final Phase and How to complete the raid (5% to completion)
A short time after this phase begins a portal will appear and dozens of Quori monsters will continuously spawn and attack you.
At this point you can either choose to continue to attack the Lord of Blades and knock him down. But he cannot be defeated, as the Power of the Forge will be back and prevent him from dying (The amount of health he gets back varies with difficulty). You can choose to "Mark" him. EG - Knock him down him several times to complete an optional, or simply go for completion by destroying the newly attackable pillars. Once you destroy the pillars, the raid will be complete and he will stop attacking you, regardless of his current health.
If you mark him three times you'll have no choice but to destroy the pillars as the DM will inform you of this and a new required objective will appear. Do so quickly before you are overwhelmed by the Quori invaders.
Roles during this phase will shift as you need:
Maintank as always - Hold the boss in a safe area and block if you are not doing the optional.
Trash tank/kiter - This role is CRITICAL and very challenging on the higher difficulties.. This is where probably dozens of Epic attempts have failed. Follow my strategy and I guarentee you will get thru this part:
First off - Who is the ideal candidate?
A common thought on this is the caster (wiz/sor) should do this. IMO this is rather incorrect. Casters (wiz/sor) are inherantly squishy and often have poor saves.. They do not make for strong trash tanks/kiters. Really the person ideal for this role isn't dependant on class, but more so other factors:
What does make for a strong trash tank/kiter:
- Good hitpoints: While it can be done with only a moderate amount, the more the better.
- Good fortitude save: Saving against flesh to stone is critical if your not a warforged.
- Good everything saves: There is a ton of other ways they can incap you including paratic touch (willsave), tactical detonation (reflex) among others, good saving throwers are critical.
- Warforged Race: One huge cause of wipes here is flesh to stone.. Warforged are simply immune.
- Fast movement speed: The quori move FAST. You need to move faster, the faster you move, the less spells will hit you and thus the longer you can go without issue,
- Strong equipment: There are a few key items that few players know of, that can and will make this succeed every time:
A) Pale Lavender Ion stone - This absorbs pretty much every spell the Mindstealers will toss at you. Only issue is it can be burnt up fast, generally a lot faster then the pillars can be destroyed. So you'll need additional insurances:
B) Shield of Reflecting - If your ideal/chosne trash tank is not a waforged, this item can save the day. It absorbs flesh to stone, and can make or break your raid. GET IT!
C) Battered Phiarlan Shield - If you are a WF, and thus immune to F2P, Here is your shield of choice. This baby absorbs power word stun, and your not immune to that. This can make all the difference. Get one, or several as they love to spam power word stun.
In addition: The trash kiter is so critical to this you should give him a dedicated healer - and even a Divine intervention if its available. If he goes down, your raid can, and likely will end right there. Keep him alive AT ALL COSTS!
It's also important for him to have voice.. So if his ion stone/shield runs out (or he doesnt have one), he can call the moment he is helpless, paralyzed, stunned or stoned, and you can have all availlable players rush to remedy it. On epic you will generally only have a few seconds to react (if that, depends on his HP/healing) and remedy him, be vigiliant and be ready.
How to remedy devastating effects:
-Helpless from charisma damage: Restoration. Heal can also work if the person available to help you otherwise doesnt have restore spell/scrolls. However ideally dont rely on heal, as you could very well get a healin curse the moment they try to heal you, and heal does not seem to remove stat dmg if its blocked by the curse.. Restore will remove the damage regardless of curses.
-Stun: Heal removes stun. Keep in mind he might be cursed as well tho, as the Reavers curse.. So remove curse and heal ASAP!
-Stoned: Scepter of the Fleshweaver If your serious about beating ths on epic, you own one of these. Yea can scroll this too, but scrolls are NOT reliable. You can and invariable will fail your concentration chekc.. Clickies never fail. Everytime someone saves the raid by using this to unstone someone, a legend is born. It wont happen often, but if you can do it, its pretty damn awesome. It requires extremely fast reaction time.
-Paralyzed by a Mind Stealers melee attack (idylic touch, will save): I don't believe this is any way to remedy this... Just heal them through it as best you can. (If you know a way to remedy this, let me know - tested remove curse, remove paralysys and other, none worked)
Ideally tho, you have the DPS on the pillars and they go down faster then your tanks ion stone/shield gets drained.
As i've often said: Redundancy. Assign a back up trash tank to kite, be sure he has some threat built up on the trash so he has the agro quickly should the main go down.
Also: Let the trash tank have power of the forge, that extra speed and DR can save him.
Hopefully this guide helps you guys crush this raid.
http://ddowiki.com/page/The_Lord_of_Blades - main wiki entry, covers the basics.
http://ddowiki.com/page/Lord_of_Blades - Boss entry, i contributed most of this article (some parts were improved by other wiki editors), contains mainly his stats and some of the same information i've present here.