Christmas came early for WoW players with the introduction of Icecrown Citadel's new dungeons. And after the patch day blues which made many of us expose ourselves to sunlight, we have ourselves some new dungeons.
And these new dungeons hurt. Stay away from the Heroic versions if your group is still dressed in their Northrend green and blue suits.
The ICC 5-mans drop epic gear but the dungeons demand a lot more from the players unlike the Trial of the Champion. Everything hits hard, especially in the Halls of Reflection. And there's no skipping this dungeon line until you've attuned yourself, starting from Dalaran.
And if you can't find the entrance, look for the Argent Crusade banners on the north side of Icecrown Citadel and follow the catwalk.
Forge of Souls
No more easy fights for us. The path to the first boss is laden with all sorts of Scourge and a few traps thrown in here and there. You'll encounter groups of Soulguard Watchmen, Adepts, Reapers, Animators, Bonecasters, and Soul Horrors. Soul Horrors are the highest priority targets because they Shadowstep to random party members and a lucky shot could kill them.
You'll encounter one or two Spiteful Apparitions, ghostly skulls that can appear in the middle of your group and chase. There's not much time to destroy them before they explode, but anything will be better than taking 10,000 damage to the face.
Encounter: Bronjahm, the Godfather of Souls
Bronjahm has 539,240 (903,227 Heroic) HP, but is mostly tank-and-spank. Mana users who are too close to him suffer damage equal to half their total mana and he throws Shadow Bolts at anyone if his primary target isn't in melee range.
The real kickers are Corrupt Soul and Soulstorm. Corrupt Soul generates a Corrupted Soul Fragment from a target player that moves towards Bronjahm. If it reaches him before players can destroy it, he recovers close to a third of his HP. High DPS can burn through that, but weaker groups will need to distance Bronjahm and his Corrupt Soul target to give them enough time to destroy the Fragment. Slowing effects will work on the Fragment, so spam Chains of Ice, Frost Trap, Concussive Shot, Frostbolt and all of the other skills that will buy time.
At 30%, Bronjahm will return to the center of his room and cast Soulstorm. Everyone needs to get within their minimum range of him to finish the fight. Players caught in the Soulstorm will suffer a lot of damage and move at 50% of their run speed while they're in the ring. Bronjahm will also cast fear on a random target that will send them into the Soulstorm. Those poor saps will need healing.
When the Godfather of Souls sings his final tune, check him for level 219 (232) gear and maybe Papa will have a brand new bag. A shame Bronjahm's dancing didn't solve his hero problems.
Moving on, you'll find more of the Soulguard Watchmen and the rest of the Scourge's garrison. There should be at least one more Spiteful Apparition hoping to avenge the Godfather of Souls just after leaving the forge where Bronjahm was.
When the catwalk leads you to the far wall of the Forge, watch out for the Spectral Wardens. Like Phase 3 of the Black Knight fight in Trial of the Champion, the Spectral Warden will hit the entire party with Shadow Volleys. And there will be three of these encounters.
The Battered Hilt
The Battered Hilt is a 3% drop from all of the Icecrown Citadel elites, opening a quest line that will eventually reward its bearer with a level 251 weapon. If you haven't picked up weapons from Trial of the Crusader 25-man or Trial of the Grand Crusader 10-man/25-man, it will be worth shelling out some gold for this. Just pray that the Hilt is cheap at the auction house or everyone else in your party has Quel'delar and won't try to sell it.
Encounter: Devourer of Souls
It's the Reliquary of Souls Lite with just as much pain as its big brother.
Put up as much Shadow Resistance as you can to reduce damage from Phantom Blast, Wailing Souls, and Well of Souls.
Phantom Blast can and should be interrupted and if you can interrupt all of them, you get 10 achievement points. It's also handy for killing party members who keep pulling aggro away from the tank.
Throughout the encounter, there will be three raid warnings: "Devourer of Souls begins to cast Mirrored Soul", "Devourer of Souls begins to Unleash Souls", and "Devourer of Souls begins to cast Wailing Souls". All three warnings are usually a sign to stop DPSing.
Mirrored Soul is cast by the Anger face and will deal damage to a player based on the amount of damage the Devourer of Souls takes during that phase.
Unleash Souls is cast by the Agony face and releases several untargetable souls that will attack anyone and should be kited until the phase ends.
Wailing Souls is cast by the Desire face and releases a beam of malevolent energy that will kill you if you stand in it for a few seconds. If you hear a woman's voice, that's your cue to run like hell.
And if you have that part of the quest chain for Quel'delar, use the Crucible of Souls before you kill the Devourer.
Once the Devourer of Souls has had its fill, your cavalry will arrive, late as always just to open the portal to the Pit of Saron.