Raid Guide: Battle for Erebor

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Don't worry. I got this.

Don’t worry. I got this.

 

I’m going to start my explanation of the current end game raids with Battle for Erebor.  This is a “pick your poison” type battle.  Before you can actually start the fight with the two trolls, you must select a number of unfavorable terms, depending on how difficult you want the fight to be.  For tier 1, you only need to select two of the six.  For tier 2, you must select four of the six.  Finally, if you are going for the challenge quest, you must select all six terms.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have completed this on tier 1 more times than I care to recall and have completed it on tier 2 using my warden and lore-master multiple times as well.  I have never completed the challenge quest, but that’s  because I have never been in a group that wanted to try.  I have however done research into how groups do complete the challenge quest and they pretty much match my thoughts about how I’d approach it.

This fight is very different depending on which terms you select, unless of course you are going for the challenge.  Therefore, it’s difficult to write a strategy for each tier or in general.  Instead, I am going to describe how to handle the various terms on tier 1 and tier 2 and it’ll be up to the reader to use the sections appropriate to their attempt.

 

Defining Terms

Terms take effect in different portions of the fight.  The fight is broken up into three phases, with three terms being in play from the start, two terms starting in the second phase, and one term starting in the last phase.  Here are the phase 1 terms:

Blood Rage:  Whenever one troll loses 5% of its max HP, both trolls get a +100% damage boost for 20 seconds.  If your dps is too much and you pass through another 5% HP threshold, the buffs will stack further and likely kill your tanks.

Blood Brothers:  For each 1% difference in HP between the two trolls, they each get a damage boost.  Originally, devs gave us a number, but it appears now to scale drastically depending on the actual difference.  It starts out at not too major, but getting 3% or more apart seems impossible to survive for any respectable amount of time.  This buff disappears if the trolls are bought back to the same percentages of max HP.

Honour Guard:  Eight Easterlings appear at the start of the fight.  Each troll will be grouped with two melee and two casters.  The Easterlings can stun targets, throw out debuffs, cause conditions you need to remove (draughts!), and damaging clouds will appear.

When phase 2 starts, which seems to be after the trolls have lost a collective 500 000 HP, the following two terms come into effect:

Catapults:  Circle effects, which are actually squares, will appear at random around the arena and if you get caught in the effect when it disappears, you will be damaged and stunned.  It’s like dodging catapults in the Assault at Dawn skirmish.

Reinforcements:  Starting in phase 2 and every 30 seconds thereafter, three Easterlings will spawn at the back of the arena, opposite where you entered.  There will be one melee, one ranged, and one caster.

And finally in phase 3, which is about when another 500 000 collective damage is done, the final condition starts.

Inferno:  Each raid member takes damage equal to 10% of their max morale every four seconds.  You can’t escape it, you can only heal through it.

 

Things to Keep in Mind

The trolls cleave.  If you are unfamiliar with that term, it means that they hit whatever is in front of them, regardless of who has aggro.  If you run in front of the troll when it attacks, you will get hurt.  Some refer to it as “(frontal) AoE” instead of “cleaving.”  Either way, if you’re the tank, don’t turn a troll toward your group and if you’re not the tank, don’t get in front of the trolls.

This fight is made considerably easier if you change your morale and power bars to percentages.  You can do this by going into options and searching for “vitals.”  One of the highlighted options will be about displaying vitals and will most likely say “Cur / Max” in the drop-down menu.  Change that option to percentage.

If you are going to choose Inferno, make sure your captains do NOT use Motivating Speech.  The tanks may need that buff to help them survive spike damage from the trolls, but every other member of the raid should not boost their morale in any way.  The reason is that Inferno does damage based on your max morale, so the higher your morale, the more damage you will take, and the more healing healers need to do.  It’s best to go in with as little morale as you can get away with.  Obviously, everyone needs to be more careful since they would be unable to deal with as many mistakes, but it will save your healers’ a headache later on.

The left troll starts off highly resistant to melee damage while the right troll starts with heightened ranged/tactical defense.  They will occasionally change to the opposite buff for a short while during the fight.  Rather than make the groups change targets, it’s just easier to keep melee on the right, ranged/tactical on the left, and wait out the buff change.  On top of that, when both trolls are close in proximity, they are buffed further, so keep them apart.

 

Choices, Choices

The way most people do tier 1 is to select Catapults and Inferno for terms and then proceed to kill one troll at a time as quickly as possible.  This plan works brilliantly if your healers can handle Inferno and raid members can avoid the Catapults.  Catapults is essentially a freebie if people watch where they’re standing.

Another option I’ve used is to pick Blood Brothers and Catapults.  This can be a safer, if slower, option if your dps can keep the trolls’ HP in check.  It’s also good practice for tier 2.  As long as raid members can avoid the Catapults, only the tanks should be taking damage and that makes healers’ lives much easier.

The term combination I’ve had the most success with in my tier 2 runs is Blood Brothers, Catapults, Inferno, and Honour Guard.  Again, Catapults is easy and Inferno isn’t all that difficult if your healers are experienced.  It can take a bit of practice to get the hang of Honour Guard and Blood Brothers though.

 

Coming to Terms

Blood Brothers:
Blood Brothers is relatively easy to deal with, if your dps raid members can control themselves, which I know is asking a lot of them.  I kid, sorta.  This is why you should change your vitals display to percentage.  It’s so much easier than trying to make sure they are within 8000 HP of each other.  There are different ways of making sure everything is in balance.  One person on each side can volunteer to stop attacking whenever their side gets ahead, the whole group can slow down together, or something in between.  For the record, this buff has wiped my raid groups the most often, due to numbers getting too far out of sync.

Blood Rage:
If you are dealing with Blood Rage without Blood Brothers, you will have an easier time of course.  I suggest getting one troll down 5%, waiting for the buff to go away, and then either continuing with that particular troll or getting the other troll down 5%, and repeat.  If you are dealing with both terms however, this becomes much more difficult and there are only two real ways to deal with it.

Blood Brothers + Blood Rage:
The first option is to keep both trolls’ HP at the same percentage no matter what.  This means that they will hit each 5% drop together and each will get two +100% damage buffs.  You can counter this by having the tanks use cooldowns, getting more healers going, or by having healers use cooldowns such as the rune-keeper’s Wondrous Foreshadowing.  The plus side is that they will not get the buff from having different HP levels.  If you have really tough tanks and/or really good healers, this would be the simpler method.  Just make sure you don’t hit the next 5% drop while the first buff is still up.

The other option is to stagger the trolls’ HP by 1% to avoid the double +100% buff.  For example, take both trolls to 96%, then troll A to 95% while leaving troll B at 96%.  They will get only one +100% buff, but also the buff from having a 1% gap in HP levels.  Once the buff has expired, take troll B to 95%, then both down to 91%, waiting for the buff from troll B’s 95% to disappear before taking either one down to 90%.  This is more complicated and harder to manage, but I believe it results in a lesser damage boost if done correctly.  It does however leave a greater chance for getting 2% or more apart, which shoots this plan in its metaphorical foot if that occurs.

Honour Guard:
Have someone count down to starting the fight.  Guardians should use Pledge right before combat starts and wardens should use Defiant Challenge and Never Surrender.  When the fight starts, Pledge’s and Never Surrender’s cooldowns will reset.  Wardens will not get back Defiant Challenge, but it’s on a short-ish cooldown anyway.  Both tanks need stun immunity (Sign of Power: Righteousness) from a lore-master, but especially any wardens.  Guardians can run in, use Challenge on their respective sides if positioned properly, and can proceed from there.  For wardens, I suggest having Call to Battle (Fi-Sh-Fi-Sp-Fi) ready to go and using it on the second-closest Easterling to the troll.  It will grab all of your side without hitting the other side.

An alternate tactic here is to have an off-tank grab the Easterlings while the main tanks remove the trolls from the immediate area.  I think this is overcomplicating matters, but there is no reason why it wouldn’t work.

I have heard some suggest dazing the Easterling casters since they will sacrifice their own HP to break CC.  It’s next to no HP sacrificed and not worth the effort.  You’d do more damage with direct damage skills.  If you want to save yourself some headache, daze the melee Easterlings and quickly kill the casters.  The imporant thing here is to not stand in front of the troll unless you’re the tank, to avoid any damaging clouds that drop, and to kill undazed Easterlings as quickly as possible.  Don’t forget to cure status conditions!

Reinforcements:
If you are doing Reinforcements on tier 1, then the best strategy is to have the main tank of the troll you are killing first sit at the spawn point and start to pick them up when their troll is nearly dead.  Once their troll is dead, they can sit there and gather the adds as they spawn.

On tier 2 however this will not work.  You will need a dedicated tank or off-tank to pick the adds up and possibly a dedicated healer.  As far as dps goes, only ranged dps (hunters, rune-keepers, and lore-masters) should attack the Reinforcements.  Why?  Because there will be a melee-range damaging aura from the melee Easterling and given how frequently they spawn, it will be there most of the time.  Melee dps will be taking possibly too much damage for anyone to heal in addition to everything else and will definitely be overwhelming if/when Inferno starts.  It’s not important to kill all three adds that spawn before the next wave appears.  You should only divert one or two ranged dps to take care of them and they can probably kill one, maybe two of each wave before the next spawns.  All that’s necessary is to keep the tank from getting overwhelmed and defeated.  This will of course divert dps from the trolls and melee dps will have to slow in order to compensate.

Catapults:
Don’t stand in it.  All there is to it.  Luckily, the area of effect matches up with the tiles on the ground, so you know exactly where you need to not be.  It’s best to stand between two tiles or if possible at the corner of four tiles so you can quickly move when one or more light up.  Lore-masters should protect healers and tanks from getting stunned at all times.

Inferno:
Other than not unnecessarily boosting max morale, the only way to deal with this term is more healing.  If captains and lore-masters were not healing much or at all before, they will probably want to start once this goes into effect.

 

Closing Terms

A lot of fights in LotRO are so-called dps races, where speed and high damage are absolutely necessary.  This is definitely not one of those.  This raid is a matter of control, positioning, and endurance.  While you need good dps, sturdy tanks, and great healers, mechanics play a huge role here.  And they’re guaranteed to over-charge you.

As always, feel free to leave comments, compliments, questions, and thinly-veiled hero worship below.

5 comments

  1. Limm /

    Nice guide! I am not a raid leader but I am a good follower, lol, so I usually just do what my raid leader says without paying a lot of attention to the specifics, especially in this instance, so it’s nice to read about this stuff to get a better idea of what the mechanics are. 🙂

  2. “Thinly veiled Hero worship” 🙂

    Have fun

  3. Great guide. While I don’t consider myself a raider, I’ve done this one a couple times. Your tips should help to prove very useful should I ever decide to do this one again!

  4. Andang /

    This is fantastic Tapkoh!

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