Had a request from one of my guildmembers last night to write something a little more in depth for the new 5-man instance, Trial of the Champion (ToC), so here goes.
EDIT: Added information about skipping opening script.
The entire fight takes place within the Argent Coliseum, in Icecrown. (BTW, the NORTH Coliseum entrance, with the covered walkway. facing the sea, is the 5-man entrance; the EAST entrance, facing the meeting stone and the Alli/Horde tents, is for the 10/25-man raid.) Standard composition of 1 tank, 1 healer, 3 dps is recommended. The instance is extremely short; a well-geared group can clear normal in ~15 minutes, and heroic isn’t too much longer. There are three bosses, who drop ilvl 200 epics on normal and ilvl 219 epics on heroic. (Incidentally, this means unload any Abyss Crystals you’ve been hoarding.) Also, graveyard zerging is a perfectly viable strategy for the whole instance, as the GY is about ~10 seconds away, and there’s no lockout for any encounter.
Encounter 1 – The Three Amigos Champions
Talk to the NPC in the center to initiate the first encounter, and go get a snack. Seriously. A 3-minute script plays, where every person in your group gets introduced, then the opposite-faction champions ride in and get introduced. Very WWF. It’s pretty cool the first time seeing your faction cheer for you, but then it just gets old. Anyone can start the script, so if you’re the first person there, go ahead and start it. If you’re Alliance, the Horde champions and their lieutenants will line up on the other side of the entrance portal, so you can take all kinds of time waiting (or just start…3 people can do the whole mounted phase). Horde have it a little trickier since the Alliance champions line up right in front of the door. The script can bug out if everyone zones out while its playing, so at least one person needs to stay inside.
Anyway…while you’re waiting, equip your lance and grab a mount from the edge of the ring. (If you STILL haven’t done any AT jousting, here’s the short version- 1. Stack Defend x3 2. Charge/Thrust 3. Win) Once the speechifying is done, each champion will send a set of 3 lieutenants to attack you, who are laughably easy. Once the third set is dead, the three champions will attack.
The mounted fight is not difficult, as long as everyone keeps their Defend x3 stack, though things will go faster if you focus down one target at a time. Once a champion loses all his HP, he will drop to the ground stunned, and periodically get up and attempt to get back to the edge of the ring to remount. Riding over them will knock them back down. If you start getting low on HP, just switch mounts to refill to full. Don’t wait too long…if you lose your mount in the middle of the ring, you’ll likely die. Once all three enemy champions have been dismounted, all mounts despawn and the ground fight begins. (Note: I highly recommend having everyone zone out/meld/vanish immediately…this will reset the dismounted champions to the entrance, allowing the tank to pick them up much easier. I’ve done this fight 3 10 times now, and most of the time, the only wipe was on the mounted/dismounted transition.)
The three enemy champions are randomly selected from a pool of five. (Delrissa, anyone?) Here’s the list, in order by my perception of their difficulty. They’re all stunnable, but other then that immune to any CC I’ve seen.
- Warrior (Orc/Human) – This guy sucks. He can Mortal Strike the tank (reduce healing taken by 50%), whirlwinds for a lot of melee AOE damage, and also randomly charges people. Kill first if you have primarily melee DPS. Disarmable.
- Hunter (Troll/NE) – Only seen him once, but he does a multishot that HURTS…as in, hey, 3 members of the raid just lost half two-thirds of their health. (I’ve seen a Multishot hit for 3x12K) Easily the worst AOE since it generally hits the lower-HP members of the group (casters/healer). Kill first if you have primarily ranged DPS.
- Rogue – (Undead/Dwarf) A couple melee attacks on the tank that aren’t too bad, a melee AoE, and throws poison clouds. Tank needs to kite mobs out of the clouds. He also randomly stacks poison on the tank, (can stack on party as well from the AOE) which is dispellable or healable through.
- Shaman – (Tauren/Draenei) Heals and does chain lightning. Should be your first target. After doing this several times, his heals don’t heal for much, and he casts them fairly rarely in my experience. I’d probably burn down the warrior/hunter first to reduce incoming raid damage, then take him out second.
- Mage – (BE/Gnome) Single target fireball, knockback AOE, and throws out the occasional Polymorph. Interrupt/dispel the Poly’s if you want, otherwise not that big of a deal. Last target.
Mark the kill order and burn them down. If you get Warrior/Hunter/Rogue, and have mostly melee dps…ouch. On Heroic, it is very likely that at least one DPS will die, do to unavoidable burst AOE damage from 2-3 champions. Healers, this is an excellent instance to practice triage (heh). Since the graveyard is so close, keep yourself and the tank alive, THEN worry about the DPS. Once all three champions are down, they’ll get up and leave, and a chest will spawn in the middle with your loot. Occasionally, this encounter will bug out, and one of the champions will “die” but get back up and keep attacking. Simply have everyone exit the instance and come back, and the problem will correct itself.
Encounter 2 – Eadric the Pure/Argent Confessor Paletress
Again, talk to the NPC to trigger a minute of script. Either Eadric or Paletress will come out, with 3 packs of 3 NPC’s. Pull the packs individually (kill order is priest/paladin/monk for undergeared groups…well geared groups can easily AoE them down). Kill the monks last, as they pop an annoying ability before death on Heroic that reduces party move/attack speed by a lot for 10 seconds. Once all three groups have ben killed, Eadric/Paletress will aggro.
- Eadric has two main abilities. First is his Radiance ability, which is a 3s cast and is accompanied by a helpful raidwarning. It will do a good bit of AoE damage to everyone facing him when it casts…so just turn away, and then turn back. Too easy. It will also immobilize you briefly (which is bad if you’re the tank, as he’ll switch targets). His other ability is Hammer of the Righteous….he will pick a target, stun it, then a few seconds later nail it with a hammer, which can one-shot undergeared clothies on heroic. If the stun is dispelled, you can catch the hammer and throw it back for a good bit of damage, and there’s an achievement for killing him with it. Very easy fight.
- Paletress will chain-cast Smite/Holy Fire (holy DOT)/Renew and will stop to summon a “Memory” at some point during the fight. This memory will take the shape of another WoW boss, anything from Hogger to Algalon. The tank needs to pick this up and tank it along with Paletress.The Memory doesn’t do anything too special…an AOE fear, a DD attack that reduces attack/cast speed by 90% for 4sec, and a DoT on the tank. DPS needs to switch to the Memory when it arrives (Paletress goes immune while it’s up). A bit tougher than Eadric but not bad. I take it back…having healed for a group that wiped repeatedly here, this can be a challenging fight. I could have done a much better job, certainly, but interrupting/dispelling the Holy Fires makes things much easier on the healer. (DOT + fear = bad…warlock memories) Also, do your best to avoid hitting Paletress while the Memory is up, as not only is she immune, her shield reflects 25% damage taken. (Glyph of Maul, sometimes I hate you.)
Again, loot the chest and talk to the NPC to continue.
Encounter 3 – THE BLACK KNIGHT (OMG!)
Yay, another minute of script. The Black Knight has three phases, and switches when he “dies,” so you have to kill him three times.
P1 (Death Knight form): Not too difficult. Has DK-esque attacks, so classes able to cure diseases can reduce a lot of damage on the tank. He’ll spawn a ghoul at the beginning of the fight, which will melee, occasionally hit a DPS/healer very hard and knock it back (not sure if this is random or on tank…I’ve gotten through P1 pretty quickly every time) and explode for AoE damage at low HP. He needs to be picked up by the tank. I’d probably just ignore him and focus-fire the BK. Easy phase.
P2 (Undead form): He’ll cast Army of the Dead and spawn a ton of weak ghouls to start the fight. They’re not really a threat, until they start exploding. AOE them down, but they will try to explode at low HP, so it’s best to either have a ton of AOE (kill them before they boom) or none at all (space out the booms). It helps the tank if you bunch up to start the phase so they don’t go everywhere.
P3 (Spirit form): Starts hitting the raid with AOE shadow damage that increases by 5% each time. This is basically a DPS race/healer challenge. He also periodically casts Mark of Death on a raid member which causes them to take 200% extra damage for 10 secs. The AOE damage isn’t too bad, but the marked target will take a lot of extra damage, so having something that marks who has it is a good idea. Barkskin+Tranquility is awesome for druids as a “heal reset.”
Loot BK and you’re done. Liked I said, very quick instance. Note that to get the instance achievement, you have to have killed all 5 of the champions and both Eadric/Paletress, so it will take you at least 2 attempts. (There’s definitely an Oh…is that it? feeling at the end.) BTW, the tank trinket from NORMAL ToC is amazingly good, as is several of the items from Heroic. Actually, ALL the normal trinkets are great. I’d generally rank the normal items as being mostly equivalent to Naxx25 stuff, and the heroic items as equivalent to Ulduar 25.