Now that the buff is in for ICC, guilds that were struggling are able to get past initial difficulties of the raid and move on to other things.  Having done the Lower Spire a number of times on my mage in both 10 man and 25 man, I put together this little guide to the first part of the Citadel specifically for mages.  We'll cover trash and boss strategy, weekly quests, and loot.

Light's Hammer

The first room you enter upon taking the portal into ICC is deemed Light's Hammer.  As you exit the long hallway into the room, you'll pass over a rune that is not currently glowing, but will be later.  This is actually a teleporter, like the ones in Ulduar.  From here you and your raid group can move forward in the instance to the furthest of the rooms your raid has reached, so long as it has a similar device.  In front of you stands Tirion Fordring and his good buddy Darion Mograine.  In the middle of the room to the left is Ormus the Penitant, a DK smith that's hammering along on his anvil.  Once you've acquired enough reputation to be friendly with the Ashen Verdict, Ormus offers the quest Choose Your Path, where you can pick from different rings according to your role in the raid.  Mages should be taking the [Ashen Band of Destruction].  While the stats are the same as the healer ring, and you may be hit-capped, there's no real benefit from MP5 for mages.  Also, once you reach revered, your ring upgrades with a proc that only gives you benefit for your helpful spells on the healer ring; the Caster DPS rings have a proc that works off damage spells.  The socket bonus for the healer ring (should you choose to gem for it) gives you more MP5.  The DPS version gives you +5 Spellpower.  It's possible to switch between the two should you choose to, however, it erases any enchants and gems you have on the ring and also costs money, 200 gold to be exact.  Each time you upgrade your ring when you reach the next level of reputation, you turn in your ring for a greater one and lose all gems and enchants on it.  If you know you're going to upgrade, bring your mats/gems with you so you can fix it ASAP.

The other important NPC to notice in this area is Uvulus Banefire (Horde) or Malfus Grimfrost.  These two NPCs have the Tier 10 mage armor inside the instance for your convenience.  Again, if you're going to get the badges to upgrade in the raid to a Tier piece, bring along the enchanting mats (or a vellum enchant) and any gems you're going to throw into it.  You have access to the cost and gem requirements for each piece, so there's no reason not to take care of this ahead of time.  Each boss will give you 2 Frost emblems, so try and keep track, however don't pop off while your raid is fighting to upgrade a piece:  wait for a break or ask your raid leader before you go there.

Next to the t10 mage armor vendor, there's also a portal to Dalaran, which is more helpful for people who aren't mages, but still a good thing to know for us!  Near the t10 vendor and the portal is also Goodman the "Closer" who repairs (same as the t10 vendors) and sells other Frost Badge Gear.

In front of you is a long hallway with two major rooms filled with trash mobs leading to the first boss of ICC.  In the first room you have 5 packs of mobs that can't really be broken up.  These packs consist of both melee and casters, as well as large spiders that web wrap.  The spiders can't be silenced or interrupted and won't move off the spot, so if you want them moved, you have to have a DK Death Grip the spider back.  You'll find that when you're fighting this trash, most of the raid DPS is going to just AOE the crap out of all of this stuff.  If you choose to do the same, I recommend Flamestrike followed by chain Blizzards.  Arcane Explosion is not a good option as it forces you to be in melee range and right in the middle of cleave.  Unfortunately as Arcane mages, the AOE spell for our tree isn't very efficient and this also means no threat reduction for the two other much better AOE spells.  So be careful about your threat while you're AOEing.  Should you choose to use a direct damage rotation, be sure to stick on a tank target and watch your target switching so you don't pull off the tanks.  You'll die fast if you don't pop those cooldowns quickly.

The big trash mobs you need to worry about in this instance are the Deathbound Wards that are summoned from the sides of the 2 rooms if someone trips one of the traps in the room.  Usually before pulling trash in the room, rogues or a warlock's Eye of Kilrogg are dispatched to search the room for traps.  These can appear underneath trash mobs so you have to be careful during pulls.  STAY BACK.  If you go rushing in, you may be the person that sets off the track and pulls the Ward on the group.  There are a few important things to notice about fighting these guys:
  1. They have a frontal cleave.  Don't stand in front.
  2. They're immune to taunt, so watch your threat.  Fighting these guys is a good time during trash to pop your Mirror Image and redistribute your threat.
  3. Most importantly, these guys do an AOE interrupt.  If you get caught casting when they finish their skill, you get locked out of that spell family for a few seconds.  Your mirrors are going to be caught by this if they're up.  There's not anything you can do to prevent that, but if you have your enemy cast bar up where you can watch it, you can time your own spells around it.
It's possible not to pull any of the four Wards in the hallway rooms if the traps are avoided or disarmed by a rogue.  The trash on the sides can be skipped as well if your raid is careful.  In the second room, there are 3 groups instead of 5.  Once you're through the trash and the Wards, you come upon....


The first boss in ICC is a movement intensive anti-mage fight.  I HATE this guy with a passion.  Marrowgar has a few important abilities you need to be aware of:
  1. Marrowgar throws out blue fire for you to dodge in both of his phases.  It's called Coldflame and it does not heal.  DO NOT STAND IN IT.  There's no way to tell the direction or target of this spell; I swear Marrowgar has it out for me with this spell and throws Coldflame wherever I'm standing.
  2. During his first phase, Marrowgar is able to be tanked and does a frontal cleave - so long as you're not standing with the tanks, this is entirely avoidable.  The thing you DO have to watch for in this phase is his Bone Spike Graveyard.  In 10 man, Marrowgar only spikes 1 person in the group; in 25 man, he'll spike three people.  The spike puts a DOT on the person who's impaled that does a good bit of damage and has to be healed through until the spike is killed.  It's easily targeted with a /target Bone macro.  When spikes are up, they're first priority for ALL DPS so be ready to switch when they come up.
  3. Marrowgar's second phase consists of when he casts Bone Storm.  At this point, Marrowgar will start spinning around the room like a crazy person and AOE anything in his path.  His aggro cannot be controlled and he can't be tanked during this phase.  You can keep DPSing through this phase, but if Marrowgar comes your way, do your healers a favor and MOVE.  You can Ice Block through this or Blink out of the way.  During this phase he also throws out a bunch more Coldflames so be ready to get out of fire too.
Once Marrowgar's dead, you get some reputation, two Frost Badges, and loot:
Viable 10 Man Loot:  [Frost Needle]  [Cord of the Patronizing Practitioner]  Viable 25 Man Loot:  [Bone Sentinel's Amulet] [Crushing Coldwraith Belt] [Frozen Bonespike] [Loop of the Endless Labyrinth]

After Marrowgar, there's a set of steps on either side of the room that takes you up to the next trash.  The first of the weekly quests can be found here as well as the first of the teleport runes which activates once Marrowgar is dead.  There are two large packs on either side of the room and then two spider casters in the back two corners of the room.  For the front two packs, one or two of the mobs is a humanoid so you may be requested to sheep one of them.  Usually, these two packs are LOS pulled around the corner from the stairs so that they can all be gathered and AOEed down.  The two spiders in the room can be killed individually.  They do a targeted bomb spell that does AOE damage to anyone around the target; DBM will tell you who has the debuff.  If it's someone next to you, move away from them.  If you happen to get the bomb, MOVE OUT OF THE RAID.  The direct damage can be healed through, but it's more difficult to heal through a bunch of people getting it at the same time.  Once this trash is clear, it's time to face...


Dear Arthas.  What's the deal with all the Lords and Ladies in your instance?  Did you raid a bad RP guild for minions?  Break up a noble birthday party with Frostmourne and whirlwind?  And what's the deal with Lady Deathwhisper anyway?  A female Lich?  She has FROSTY BOOBS for crying out loud.  Just disgusting... disgusting...

I digress.  Lady D has two phases.  For the entire first phase, the main goal is to wear down her Mana Barrier while controlling the adds that spawn on the sides of the room.  In 10 man, three adds only spawn from one side of the room at a time, starting always on the left and alternating sides.  In 25 man, 7 adds spawn at once, 3 from each side and one in the back stairs.  25 man requires the coordination of 3 tanks, one on each side, and one in the back, for that reason.  As a mage, you'll probably asked to polymorph an add during these spawn phases.  There are two types of initial adds:  Casters and Melee.  Should you be required to polymorph it is IMPERATIVE that you do so as soon as they spawn because the casters can pop a spell reflect bubble and you end up polying yourself.  The melee likes to run into AOE range or onto a consecrate/death and decay.  I don't recommend using Poly Black Cat for this fight because it's difficult to see around the alcoves.  Pig, Turtle, Penguin, or Sheep work fine. 

Besides the spell reflect shield the caster adds pop, they also are highly resistant to magic damage so usually your raid leader splits up the groups so that casters are fighting off melee adds and the physical DPS is downing the casters.  Lady D can cast a buff on either type of add that turns it into a super version of itself; it's imperative to get these guys down first.  As a mage, you'll probably only have to stick to the melee adds, but you may have to switch to casters if there's an excess of Caster DPS in your group and not enough physical damage.

During Phase 1 there are three other things to be aware of:
  1. Lady D does a Death and Decay area of Affect on the floor in different spots that hurts.  A lot.  Move out of it.
  2. She also likes to mind control random members in the raid in 25 man - they can be polymorphed into submission so long as you don't already have an add poly-ed.  It usually doesn't last very long so by the time the Mind Control ends, your poly will probably break.
  3. Lady D's minions like to throw Curse of Torpor on players during this phase.  This can be easily dispelled by either a mage or a druid, but if you're able, at least try and decurse.  Sometimes those trees are too busy keeping your raid alive.
Once her Mana Barrier is down, Deathwhisper goes into Phase 2.  No new adds will be summoned, however any remaining adds will need to be killed so that the tanks can do their tank switch based off a threat debuff that Deathwhisper tosses on them.  Ideally, all the adds will already be dead before the barrier comes down.   Lady D will switch from targetted Shadow Bolts to Frostbolts which can be interrupted and hurt a lot if you get hit by them.  Throwing a counterspell at one or two of these isn't a bad idea.  She continues to mind control on 25 man, so your poly should be ready and free to cast on your peers should they go to the dark side.  The only new ability you need to worry about in this phase is when she summons Vengeful Shades aka Purple Ghosties.  These guys pick a random raid member to target and once they get within 15 yards, they blast them with an AOE spell that hurts everyone else around them.  You can run away from these as they despawn quickly.  Other than that, just burn the bitch down.

Viable 10 Man Loot: [Sister's Handshrouds] [Bracers of Dark Blessings] [Scourgelord's Baton]
Viable 25 Man Loot: [Nibelung] [The Lady's Brittle Bracers] [Shoulders of Mercy Killing] [Ring of Maddening Whispers]

Weekly Quest Number One:  Darnavan

 The first weekly quest your raid could run across in Lower Spire is started just outside Lady Deathwhisper's lair and comes from an NPC named Infiltrator Minchar.  The quest is called Deprogramming.  The idea of the quest is to keep the Hostile NPC Darnavan alive during the Lady D fight.  Darnavan pops out usually with the first set of adds during the fight, although our raid has had him come with the third or fourth wave as well.  When he spawns he looks the same as the other melee adds, other than being named.  He's immune to all CC, so keeping him polymorphed the whole time is not viable.  The best way to deal with him is to keep him tanked away from the other adds: our raid does so with a warlock specced for a strong Voidwalker and a lot of self healing.  If Darnavan dies, he's gone for that attempt.  However, you don't get a limited number of attempts for the quest, so long as you don't kill Lady D while he's down.  Should the warlock or tank keeping him busy end up MCed, he can run amok among the raid and might take a few healers down with him.  Thankfully if you use a warlock tank, his voidwalker should retain aggro while you wait for mind control to drop off the warlock.  If you keep Darnavan alive during the fight, you get quest completion credit, a thank you, and some phat lewtz from the quest giver.

The Rampart of Skulls

This next part of ICC exists on a nice scenic rampart above Lady D's room.  The platform below her turns into an elevator.  Just for your personal information and totally not related to personal experience, if you fall down the elevator shaft and don't get your Slow Fall off fast enough, you will die.  When you arrive upstairs, you find a bunch of Horde NPCs fighting a bunch of Alliance NPCs and depending on your faction, you kill one side or another and work your way around to the waiting gunship.  After the first pack of the opposing faction, you find the second weekly quest available in the Lower Spire for your raid.  I'll cover that in a second.

In working your way towards the gunship, the majority of your trash is going to be NPCs of the opposing faction.  Most of this is just AOE, but there are a few NPCs that heal and some that throw curses, so be ready to focus fire and decurse.

Once you reach the fork that leads towards the gunship, a frostwyrm lands in front of you and tries to eat you.  Treat this as you would any dragon, meaning it has a breath weapon, a frontal cleave, and a tail swipe.  It also has a mobile Blizzard spell, so be ready to move if it casts in your area and stand on his side rather than in front of or behind it.  From here you can either continue around the circular rampart for the weekly or head right up to the gunship.

Weekly Quest Number Two:  Fee Figh Foe Frost Giant

The second possible raid quest is acquired on the rampart just near where the elevator from Lady D's room drops you off.  After you kill the first pack of the other faction, a Kor'kron Lieutenant (Horde) or Skybreaker Lieutenant (Alliance) appears where they were standing and offers you the quest Securing the Ramparts.  There's the rest of the opposing faction's packs, a frostwyrm, and a pack of undead in between you and the Rotting Frost Giant you need to kill.  He does patrol around the back of the rampart, but it seems to be easiest to take this guy right where the Frostwyrm was killed.  This big ugly dude has 3 abilities to worry about.  He does an occasional Stomp throughout the fight that throws players back and interrupts casting.  The tank needs to back him or herself up against a wall and if you can find a convenient wall to put behind yourself do the same.  The second is a Frost Cone breath that freezes and damages you; he turns and targets random people in the raid with this.  There's no particular way to avoid this, it just has to be healed through.  The main tactic of this fight has to do with Death Plague, a random target disease that has a countdown until it either spreads or kills the player.  In both cases it does damage at the end of the timer.  The best way to deal with this is the Buddy System.  Stand on top of one other player and keep everyone else 10 yards away, excepting melee.  After the plague explodes on you, you get an Inoculated Debuff that makes you immune to the plague for a short time.  The buddy system eliminates the threat of the plague spreading after 2 people have it, however the Rotting Frost Giant continues to cast it throughout the fight.  The main things to remember are to keep everyone but your buddy outside the 10 yard range and to stick with your buddy.  Not a hard fight once you get the hang of it.

The Gunship Battle!

After eliminating the Alliance/Horde packs on the Ramparts and (if your raid gets it) killing the Rotting Frost Giant, you find yourself standing in front of one of the coolest fights in the game.  There are three different roles you may find yourself in during this fight:  Offense on the enemy's ship, Defense on  your own ship, or handling a cannon.  The third isn't likely for a mage simply because melee folks have a harder time on offense or defense and can prove more useful in the cannon spot; however I have done this myself, in a 10 man that was ranged heavy.  Since both tanks are required to actually tank for this, you may get assigned on a cannon if you only have 1 melee dps.  The cannons are easy to handle.  Cannoneers are responsible for shooting the enemy ship and doing maximum siege damage by building their heat up to the 90s and then letting go on their charged ability which is the number 2 on your UI.  There are 2 cannons in 10 man and 4 cannons in 25 man.  You generally also aim for the rocketeers on the ship since they're too far for the ranged DPS to hit from your ship and they do nasty AOE damage to your ship.  

Offensive DPS and cannoneers should pick up a Rocket Pack from Zafod Boombox.  This magical little item replaces your shirt and is a nice little fun rocket pack that blasts you to a targeted area in an arc jump.  If you jump too high, you do get a little fall damage and it makes a nice AOE damage area below your feet that affects hostile NPCs as well.  You can perform several jumps in a row if you time it right with the cooldown on the item.  Someone in our raid has jumped up to 10 times before landing.  Both cannoneers and offensive DPS use this little gem each time the opposing faction's leader summons a mage on his ship to freeze your cannons, making them unusable until the mage dies.  The mage also positions his or herself in the middle of the enemy ship so she's out of ranged of every DPS on your side, so you have to jump over to the enemy ship in order to kill her, however, it has to be done after the tank has hopped over and taken the aggro of the enemy leader.  Then everyone else pops over and pwns a mage.  (I hope Blizzard isn't trying to tell us anything by this.)  It's imperative that you get back to your own ship right after the mage is down so that the tank can jump over quickly; the enemy leader does a nasty stacking debuff on the tank that increases the enemy leader's damage.

Offensive DPS have one other job:  take out the Riflemen/Axethrowers on the close edge of the enemy ship.  They're easily in your range from the edge of your own ship.  The only thing you have to look out for is the ground AOE of the rocketeers in the back who the cannoneers are trying to take out.

If you're on defense, there's no need for you to pick up a Rocket Pack (sad I know.)  A bunch of enemy NPCs pop out of a portal in the middle of your ship and basically just need to be AOEed down.  Be careful about your aggro here, as if the tank doesn't have an AOE ability ready right as they come in, you might hit them first and then you will die.  Some of the mobs also whirlwind so be aware of it and move away as appropriate.

Eventually the siege damage to the enemy ship is too much and they run away with their tails between their legs.  

Viable 10 Man Loot:  [Muradin's Spyglass]

Your ship parks up at Deathbringer's Rise and drops you off just in time to face...

Deathbringer Saurfang!

Ok, so remember back in Dragonblight how you did all those quests at the 3 different places that had to do with defense at the Wrathgate and then you got to do the Wrathgate quest itself where you got to watch the cinematic that was cool and Bolvar Fordragon and Saurfang the Younger got eaten by Frostmourne and we were all sad and stuff?  What?  You didn't do that quest?


You my friend have missed the most epic quest in the game.  Now get your ass back to Dragonblight and take care of it right now before I ban you from my blog in shame.

Now, it turns out Saurfang the Younger got raised by the Lich King as a champion and Death Knight and now you get to try and kill him.  The lore behind this fight is pretty fabulous in my opinion, however, the long speech before the fight gets a little tiring after the 50th time of hearing it and Blizzard has not yet put in a skip button. For the last boss in Lower Spire, DBS is certainly a challenge.  It requires a tank swap, a number of kiters, and spreading out across an area that isn't very big when you have to fit 25 people on it all 12 yards apart.  We'll start from the beginning.

As one of the few fights that doesn't have any magical damage to speak of, Amplify Magic is actually viable as a raid buff here.  The problem with this buff is that it's limited to 10 minutes and it's a single target buff.  It takes a long time to buff 25 people if you're the only mage, although I've been able to fit it in during Saurfang the Elder's speech a few times.  I don't normally run with raid frames or party frames when I'm raiding so I have to make sure to pull out the groups I'm buffing before they start the speech so I can get everyone down.  If you have a partner mage, make sure to split this up before the speech is started so that everyone gets the buff.  Usually the fight doesn't last 10 minutes, but if your DPS is behind, it may.

Once the fight is started, everyone burns on Saurfang for a few minutes.  Instead of a mana bar, Saurfang has a Blood Power bar; once this bar hits 100, he throws out a strong DOT debuff on a player in the raid called Mark of the Fallen Champion.  While you can let the player that has this die, you'll lose their DPS and they can't be battle rezzed or the mark will just come back.  A death also heals DBS for 5%.  It has to be healed through.  If you get the debuff as a mage and notice yourself getting low, pop your Ice block and give your healers a break.  If you happen to be frost, throw up a barrier.  It won't last long, but it'll cut some of the damage.

Throughout the fight, DBS will throw out Boiling Blood on some poor sap.  This will do a dot that brings up his blood power and end with a Blood Nova that hits anyone within 12 yards of you, the reason for spreading out.  Any damage done to those in range will also raise his blood power. 

DBS also summons Blood Beasts that have to be kited.  They're ugly red blob things that do have actual aggro and anything they hit with their melee gives Saurfang more Blood Power.  So a ranged has to kite them away and kill them while they're at range.  If your guild doesn't run with 18 hunters like mine does, you may be asked to do this as a mage.  It's a good idea to know how to kite as a mage because it helps in PVE solo as well as PVP.  Frost is an ideal way to do it, but an Arcane Mage specced into Slow could do about the same thing.  The most important thing is to not let the beast hit you.  Frost Nova and all movement imparing spells DO work on Blood Beasts as well as some stuns.  It's imperative that you get aggro on them as soon as they spawn because as mages we don't have a shot that gives us insta aggro like a hunter would.  If you find other kiters are falling behind, it's nice to help them down their Blood Beast before moving back to the boss.  The more time their up, the more chances they'll send Blood Power to DBS.

Once Saurfang hits 30% he soft enrages.  Usually shaman will pop bloodlust here and it's also a good time to pop your cooldowns for maximum DPS and to minimize the enrage time.  Once he's down, there's a bit more RP and then you get loot:

Now I'm sure some of you are saying to yourselves "Gypsy, why have you not included all the spell caster loot in your guide, even if it has a little Mp5 on it."  My answer is "FUCK Mp5."  It's bad enough half the viable stuff has spirit on us and that's barely useful, but Mp5 does NOTHING for a mage.  Don't roll on it, I beg you.  I don't care if it's an upgrade for you and here's why:  Cloth loot is shared by 3 classes that can only wear cloth; mages, priests, and warlocks.  On top of that we have shaman and boomkin and sometimes holy paladins rolling on it too, because sadly, Blizzard made Best In Slot stuff for those classes cloth in some spots.  So don't piss off your healers and roll on Mp5 stuff and healer trinkets.  It's just not nice.