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Epic Education 25 – Lord of Blades 3

Hello and welcome to Epic Education – a show of tips and tactics for surviving epic content.  I’m your guide Shamgar and this is Episode 25 “The Lord of Blades pt 3”: “Da Forge Boss ”

Of all the roles during the Lord of Blades boss fight, the tank is the most crucial.  Unlike most other existing bosses, tanking the Lord of Blades demands attention, quick reaction and practice.  A typical party will bring 1 solid tank and perhaps a second tank, but if your tank and back up tank go down it is likely that chaos will ensue.  The LoB hits hard and even if a non-tank is able to survive, it will likely be at the expense of more resources.

A high end, epic caliber tank will be able to intimidate the lord of blades (this requires a skill of around 80 on epic), have a good amount of damage mitigation, be beefy with the hit points and will have high healing amp.

Healing amp and damage mitigation are important for survivability.  The Lord of Blades hits hard especially when you get up to epic elite.  Damage mitigation will help keep you alive by reducing some of this damage.  Casters can also cast cloud kill on LoB to give concealment, but this can be risky because of how often his aggro list flushes.  Healing amp allows your healers to use scrolls, healing auras, and SLAs more often which will help save spell points and SP pots.

The Lord of Blades has a special ability that acts as a debuff that can stack called Touch of Mournlands.  This debuff reduces your maximum hit points and imposes a spell fail chance.  Blocking does prevent this from landing so a tank should expect to spend some time blocking on higher difficulties.  This is the reason for intimidate.  By using this skill you can maintain aggro without attacking allowing you to block for longer periods of time.  A tank character with guard effects, threat multipliers and/or improved shield bash can use these abilities to hold better aggro while blocking as well.

Tanking lord of blades is an exercise of 3 things.  The first is maintaining aggro.  Your job as a tank is to keep everyone else alive by occupying the biggest baddest dude in the field of play.  This allows characters that could not survive going toe to toe with the Lord of Blades to come into the raid, and that includes pretty much everybody but you the tank.  When the Lord of Blades jumps or hits the end of a phase it is important that you reestablish control over him as quickly as possible.  When he jumps you can use a ranged weapon (most tanks opt for a thrower – on higher difficulties this will need to be a thrower that can bypass his adamantine and good damage reduction).   As much as possible you should avoid establishing initial aggro by using intimidate.  There are 3 reasons for this.  The first is that you don’t want to attract attention from any trash or the dogs.  The Lord of Blades is plenty to handle, you don’t need anything else to help kill you.  2) you don’t want to immediately put your intimidate skill on timer.  If you do need to use intimidate to grab aggro you may need to have folks wait until your timer is up.  3) He may be moving around and run out of your range.  The rest of the party should either stay still or come to you to prevent this, but this does not always happen.  This can be particularly true when the dog kiter grabs aggro (in which case you cannot intimidate).

The second exercise is managing your hit points.  This becomes increasingly important as more things start happening and the Lord of Blades starts using more special attacks.  If you let your hit points get too low then you become increasingly vulnerable to death, and if you are dead you can’t maintain aggro.  As a general rule I recommend that you try to maintain at least 500 hit points on normal, 600 on hard, 700 on elite, and 800 on epic elite.  If you have more hit points than this you can try and get some swings in to give yourself more of a threat buffer (like immediately after an intimidate).  A experienced tank knows that especially on elite this is a crucial aspect to tanking Lord of Blades.  Look for opportunities to block and have the party hold off for a few seconds to clear your mournlands debuff, a brief pause is much more advantageous than getting another mournlands stack and a dead tank.

The third exercise is reacting to the lord of blades’ special attacks.  Each of these attacks has not only a visible tell, but an auditory cue.  As the tank you will need to react quickly to the stun and whirlwind special attacks.

As much as possible you will want to block the stun attack.  This takes practice and the auditory cue (which sounds kind of like a sword being drawn with a rising pitch) happens before his visual cue (his left arm pulls back, but this is very similar to a normal attack).  If you have a light monk they can prevent you from being stunned with earth grasp, but you should still practice blocking.

The whirlwind attack is the most crucial special attack to react to.  If you are able, immediately drop an intimidate.  This will ensure that you have aggro, most wipes in this raid happen when aggro switches during a whirlwind.  As you are using intimidate move towards the arcane sludge and jump in for a dip.  That’s right, you are jumping into that arcane sludge that does a bunch of damage.  But heres the thing, it does far less than the whirlwind attack and this is the difference between life and death for you and your party.  This is also part of the reason you need to keep your hit points up.  If you find yourself far from the sludge, you can get increased distance on LoBs knock back effect by jumping as he hits you.  If you are chained…well praying might be a good option.

When the lord of blades jumps pull out your thrower once you stop registering hits.  You can actually start throwing before he lands once your targeting automatically reestablishes a lock if you don’t manually change your targeting.  If your hearing is particularly good you can actually hear where he will land in relationship to you, though even as an audio guy I sometimes have trouble with this.

Rain of blades is fairly easy.  If you are able it is a good idea to drop an intimidate so he doesn’t follow the party to the center.  Then just block.  You are already going to be experience some damage here from the blades, we want to minimize incoming damage from the lord of blades as much as possible.  Alternatively, if you are a ninja spy 2 you can run on the water to avoid this damage, but if you aren’t careful the Lord of  Blades may lose interest in you (you can also water stride during whirlwinds).  Keep your head up though, the Lord of Blades can and will whirlwind during rain of blades.

Let’s continue the tanking lesson by talking about placement.  We want to pull the lord of blades to the outer part of the circle.  This will give everyone else more room to work in and will bring us closer to the sludge for whirlwinds.  We also want to make sure we are NOT in the hard north, south, east or west.  Set up in a spot where he won’t land so you can bring him back to the same relative place after each jump without fear of getting squished.  Lastly, set up on a tangent to the circle, that is to say don’t put the lord of blades and you in line with the center of the circle.  This does a couple of things. The Lord of blades will occasionally push you around and the final move of his stun attack will also knock you back.  When he does this we don’t want him to push you into the sludge.  However, he can also chain you seriously reducing your movement speed and ability to jump into the sludge.  By setting up on a tangent the Lord of Blades will bat you into the sludge with only 1-3 hits, though your healers will need to do some burst healing to compensate for the extra hits (call out if you are chained).  I also find that setting up in this manner gives better options for off tank placement and the experienced and brave clerics to get close enough to use their aura.  The goal here is to create a good platform for off tanks to attack LoB from behind without being knocked into the sludge except when chained on a whirlwind.

During the first phase the tank may wish to block until the party is ready to engage the Lord of Blades.  This will prevent you from getting mournlands before the party is ready and increase the time you can attack.  It is important to realize that your job as tank is not to kill the Lord of Blades, but rather keep yourself and the party alive so everyone else can kill him.  In a similar fashion, once you get to the final phase you should also block once you have established aggro and parked the Lord of Blades.  There is a lot more going on during both of these times and you will have less healing focused in your direction.

In fact lets talk about the final phase.  During this time the quori mobs will start spawning.  Someone should be kiting them around, but you may find as the tank that you will grab their aggro, particularly if you are using intimidate (which you may want to avoid doing particularly if you are not set up on the edge).  Unless you have a thrower with precise shot you may find that you have trouble hitting LoB with it through the trash.  This may require you to run up to him and use your melee attacks to get his attention and then return to your parking space.  It is also important that you are consistent about where you are parking.  Most of your party will be focusing outwards towards the pillars here and they won’t be able to see LoB coming from behind.  Generally you will park on the opposite side of where the party will start with pillars, but as they work around the circle you can shift into an area they have cleared of pillars.  A final note here, the party’s primary tank may be the quori kiter so the tank during this phase may not be your best tank. The healers will also be needing to keep an eye on the kiter.  Nevertheless, the main tank during this phase is the highest priority healing target.  Most groups will split healing by assigning someone to heal the kiter.  During this phase it is extremely important for healers to keep themselves and these 2 folks alive to protect the rest of the party so they can work on the pillars, even at the expense of those folks (who should endeavor to be as self sufficient and damage free as possible).

It’s also a good idea to pause at the beginning of each phase.  The Lord of Blades will briefly become unhittable during his dialogue. Once that ends get in a few swings and start blocking.  Wait until the dogs come over for a visit and run back to their chew toy.  The second most common thing I see happen that stalls an epic Lord of Blades raid is when the tank intimidates a dog.  This usually causes the kiter a great deal of effort to reacquire them or demands the tank die to lose their aggro (and that is the most common way to stall an epic Lord of Blades).  Play this safe so you don’t have to intimidate with dogs in the area.

If your tank dies or acquires too many stacks of mournlands you will need to have an alternate step in.  On elite, unless you brought a back up tank this probably means you have someone grab aggro and block and you wait it out until your tank is ready to go again.  Obviously this means increased resources since this person is likely not ideal to tank and will require more healing and you are getting no closer to your goal.  As we have discussed, proper management of your hit points is crucial to a smooth run.

On lower difficulties you may be able to continue with a non-tank, high hit point character holding aggro through simply attacking.  They will not be able to do this as long since they won’t be blocking, but if they can do so for about 1:30 then your main tank will be able to step back in.  You can also choose to tank via committee if your party does not have a tank build, though I don’t recommend that you try this on difficulties higher than hard.  This entails at least 2 folks alternating tank duties.  It requires some extra coordination with healers and between the tanks, but can also be a good way to get newer tanks some time in the saddle so they can build up some experience.

In closing, don’t be afraid to pause progress on the Lord of Blades to increase survivability and always be ready for that poorly timed whirlwind.

That will end this week’s Epic Education.  If you have any questions, comments, or corrections you can email me at DDOEpicEducation@gmail.com or visit myDDO blog at my.ddo.com/pjstechie. Join me next time as I continue discussing The Lord of Blades.  Thanks for listening.

Comments (2)

  1. malinza2

    As always you deliver a very strong write-up! Thumbs up and keep them coming. Your blog is certainly a cornerstone for raids knowledge if not for more. Thumbs up!

  2. […] Shamgar’s Notes on Epic Education #25 Lord of Blades Raid […]

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