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WOTLK Classic: How Hard Will Icecrown Citadel Raid Be in Phase 4?

Posted: Aug 31, 2023

If you’ve got your eyes set on the legendary Shadowmourne and the elusive Invincible’s Reins or that killer Tier 10 Armor Set, there’s one monumental obstacle standing in your way, Icecrown Citadel.

How tough is this iconic raid? Is it a Flame Leviathan walk in the park or are we looking at a Lady Vashj level guildbreaker that’ll send you fleeing the Season of Mastery?

Here, we’re going to dive deep into the Frozen Halls of Icecrown Citadel to answer the burning question how hard will the raid be.

WOTLK Classic: How Hard Will Icecrown Citadel Raid Be in Phase 4?

Original ICC 

Although ICC technically came out with a 3.3 content patch on December 9th, 2009, we only got the first wing. Blizzard added each wing over the course of two months, so the full release of the raid was technically on February 2nd, which was over two months later.

The other key here is that the Normal Mode was the only mode available until February 9th. That means there wasn’t any Heroic gear being farmed in the first two months. 

When the Heroic Mode finally released, the first 11 bosses didn’t prove to be much of a problem. Guilds were able to clear up to the Lich King in only two days of raiding and they got to the Lich King on February 11th. The Lich King himself though stayed alive for a surprisingly long 46 days, that puts the Lich King as the 10th hardest boss ever in terms of days before being killed.

For reference, Yogg 0 was the third hardest in 87 days. So, if people ask which raid had the hardest fight. Technically, the answer is Ulduar. 

Why Was ICC Hard? 

One of the reasons the Lich King took so long to die though is that there were Limited Attempts, which artificially gated progress.

It’s also important to note that four months after the Heroic Icecrown was released, a buff was introduced called the Strength of Wrynn for Alliance or Hellscream’s Warsong for Horde. This buff increased health and healing by 30% and made the Heroic raid much more accessible. 

We’ll likely be getting this buff in the mid to late stages of the phase since it undermines the original raid balancing. So, we know the Heroic version of the raid was cleared pretty quickly. But that’s because of the gear.

WOTLK Classic Phase 4 Icecrown Citadel Raid

ICC Gear

The top guilds back in 2009 had two months of Normal Mode farming, which gave them a huge advantage. Without the two months of Normal Mode farming, top guilds will be entering the raid with mostly ToC gear. 

From my research, the number one guild in the world progress has a 242 item level, on average, in their top speedrun. That number will go up a bit as well as split runs combined together. With their high understanding of mechanics and gameplay, 242 item levels should be enough to clear the raid.

However, the recommended minimum requirements for full clearing ICC Heroic were around 251 in the original version of the game. Having full 264 gear would, of course, be much better, but the average player is months away from getting to that point.

Catchup Mechanics

Luckily, there are plenty of new catch-up systems, like the Frostwing Halls dungeons, to quickly boost characters to 232 item level.

And then, we can also go back to ToC to farm free gear and get more 277 item level cloaks. We also have the 10-man version of ICC to farm for the 251 and 264 item level gear and progress on our Tier 10 armor sets.

Speaking of Tier 10 gear, it’ll make a huge difference not only for item level but for gameplay as well. For example, the Tier 10 red Paladin set drastically increases your damage. Another example is my Restoration Druid, who will get at least a 10% healing increase since my rejuvenations will randomly jump to extra targets.

Read More: RDF Is Coming Soon In WOTLK Classic! - Affects & Issues

How to Get T10 Gear?

Getting the tear gear is extremely easy as well since you can buy the initial 251 armor sets with Emblems of Frost.

Then, you just upgrade those as you raid with the Vanquisher’s Marks of Sanctification.

One note on tier progression is that there’s a new tour of on boss and Vault of Archavon for 264 legs and gloves. You can farm both the emblem 251 Tier 10 as well as the 264 Tier 10.5 from Toravon each week. That means hitting both the 10 and 25-man Vault of Archavon lockouts each week is now mandatory, unlike in fast phases, to save weeks of time.

Free 264 Items

On top of the new Tier gear, the game will also be throwing free 264 items at us in the form of trash drop throughout the raid like the Wodin’s Lucky Necklace.

Trash farming will be doable on characters much lower than 251 item levels, so it’s highly recommended to boost your numbers. 

Also, while you transform, you’ll be getting Ashen Verdict reputation for a 277 item level ring. You can’t forget the new BoE legs and boots as well the saving WOTLK Classic Gold for these items is highly recommended.

How Long Is ICC?

So, we know the history of the raid and how much gear you’ll need, but how long will the raid actually take?

Historically, the raid took between two and four hours for guilds once it was on the farm. Progression will be way different. And during progression, the most challenging bosses will be Professor Putricide, Sindragosa and, of course, the Lich King.

If you do actually want to kill the Lich King and watch that epic cut scene that concludes the rasstory line, you’ll really need to increase your rating hours per week. I’m already planning for two nights of raiding per week early on for at least four hours each.

Since progression can get annoying though, one of the systems to keep progression from being too frustrating is the Icecrown Weekly Raid. That weekly raid quest will involve something small, for example, swapping one of the mobs on Lady Deathwhisper for a new NPC. Your reward will be gold, emblems, and a chance at a 264 BoE, like the Rowan’s Rifle of Silver Bullets

Hopefully free BoEs will keep you motivated!


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