Questions and Answers: Hodir

Another question courtesy of Vanyl:

We’re doing the Hodir fight and it has caused a lot of disquiet between melee and casters (particularly warlocks/mages and the rogues/death knights). It got really intense and has had both sides seeing red.

Is it fair to say that along with say XT, that Hodir is another example of a non-caster friendly fight or is the caster group really just not doing what they need to do yet?

My first few attempts on Hodir were DISASTROUS.  Repeat:  DISASTROUS.  As in, finishing 12th or 13th in damage done.  Keep in mind that I’m someone who led the charts in about 95% of our guild’s boss fights in Naxx, and who had been in the top-5 in just about every Ulduar fight, so my first thought was that this fight just sucked for casters.

But eventually you figure it out, and it actually turns out to be a pretty sweet deal for mages.  Check out this screenshot from our Wow Web Stats damage report for the kill shot:


I’m not a tech wizard so hopefully you can see the numbers, especially the 58k arcane blast crit.  I finished #1 in total damage on the fight, and a few other casters put up strong numbers (even though melee did occupy 4 of the top 6 spots), so it’s definitely possible for casters to excel in this fight.

So with that said, here are my tips for mages on dealing with Hodir:

Important Note:  Everything written here applies to the 25-man, non-hard mode fight.  In hard mode, you don’t have the NPC’s helping you, so that changes everything.

  1. Arcane is your friend.  This fight is about movement, survivability, and RIDICULOUS, OUT-OF CONTROL BURST DPS.  You do not have time to get into any kind of frostfire rotation, because you’re going to be moving very often.  Arcane mages have always been (and still are) the absolute kings of controlled burst DPS, and this fight seems specifically tailored to them, for reasons outlined below.
  2. The NPC’s are the key to the fight, and you’ll want to take advantage of all three different kinds as much as possible.  Let’s go through them:–The Mages:  They drop toasty campfires near them, which prevent you from getting the nasty stacking frost debuff.  These little guys are key because standing near a campfire allows you to stay stationary while casting, and which tacks on a debuff to all your spell casts that gradually increases Hodir’s spell damage taken.  The campfires also break the other NPC’s out of ice, and thus freeing the NPC mages should be your guild’s first priority after every flash freeze.  It should also be YOUR first priority to make sure you’re within range of a toasty campfire.The Druids:  They create little starlight beams that, if you stand in them, will dramatically increase your haste.  Your top priority is still to stand near a campfire, but if one of these starlight beams is close enough, you definitely want to get into it.


    The Shaman:  When freed, they cast a buff on someone that increases their critical strike damage 150%, and will spread itself to the six nearest players (within 5 yards).  This is where it gets interesting:  This buff is huge for mages, but it’s also huge for every other class, and since people tend to get spread out on this fight it’s sometimes tough to get.  Our guild gave priority on this buff to melee, since they are naturally bunched together – but I was still able to wrangle a couple charges for myself in the kill shot attempt.

  3. So here’s the situation:  For most of this fight, you will be running from icicles, running to toasty fires, running into starlights, and trying to get close to someone with the shaman’s buff.  That is a heck of a lot of movement, and as we all know, movement is very bad for mages’ DPS.  So, in order to perform on this fight, you need to make your stationary time count. Once you get near a toasty fire, get into your rotation as best as possible – but save your cooldowns for when you get the serious buffs.  Remember, there might literally be a 15 second window for an arcane mage where you have:

    -Arcane Power (20% damage increase)
    -Icy Veins (20% casting speed increase)
    -Toasty Fire (all spells doing extra damage and stacking the Singed debuff)
    -Starlight (100% increased haste)
    -Storm Power (150% increased critical strike damage)

    You know what that equals?  That’s right, 58K crits!  Over and over and over again.   I mean, if that doesn’t get you excited, then what will?  Even without the cooldowns, I was still critting for a solid 40k when I got the Shaman’s Storm Power buff.

So basically, your goal on this fight is to maximize the burst damage you do while keeping yourself alive and keeping your mana pool high enough to support a crazy 15-second burst of damage.  That’s not to say that you should stop DPS’ing when you don’t have the shaman buff – you absolutely should continue with your regular rotation – but you’ve got to make the most of those rare opportunities when all three buffs are available.  Some of this is definitely luck, but proper positioning and sharp reactions are just as (or even more) important to success for a mage on Hodir.

Good luck!

Update 5/20:  I know a lot of people argue that fire/arcane is the best spec for this fight, and maybe it is, but just to prove that arcane can perform perfectly fine:


Click the picture to see a full sized version.  That’s 10K dps and 1 mil more damage than the next person!


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8 Responses to “Questions and Answers: Hodir”

  1. Vanyl Says:

    I had dual-specced arcane before the second talent reset so I might try this again.

    That being said FFB isn’t as bad as you’d think for that fight. It does matter a lot, as you said, on the placement of the fires and the beams. I was lucky enough to have both when we blood-lusted and I had my CDs up.

    I’m curious when you say the shaman buff is reserved for melee. I was under the impression the buff was a random cast on someone, how do you manage to get it cast on a specific group? I know afterwards it’s a matter of who is nearest but the original cast is what I’m curious about.

    • Karch Says:

      With regards to the shaman buff, I think you’re right: we were under the impression that the initial cast had something to do with range, but it sounds like it’s just placed on a random player in the raid. Either way, the ranged dps have a tendency to get spread out on 25-man, whereas the melee and tanks are right under Hodir the whole time, so the shaman buff is certainly easier to maintain for melee.

      I’m sure frostfire mages can perform well on this fight – provided they have good luck with the factors out of their control – but I would maintain that an equally geared and skilled arcane mage would, on average, perform better on this specific fight.

      • Vanyl Says:

        Yeah, I could definitely see that too. I’m probably going to keep with FFB but dual spec and test it out.

  2. Ex Says:

    Well, I think you should change some things in your guide for starts.

    “Important Note: Everything written here applies to the 25-man, non-hard mode fight. In hard mode, you don’t have the NPC’s helping you, so that changes everything.”

    To do the hard mode, you need the NPCs. You’re not going to burn through his health in 3 minutes, without the help of the storm power, toasty fire, and the moon beams.

    As for best spec for the fight, Fireball or FFB are the best for sure. Say an arcane and fireball specced mage have the same uptime on stormpower/beams/fire, fireball should/will come out over arcane by a decent margin, if the mage isn’t completely stupid.

    If you’re working on hard mode, I would suggest trying this out:
    Group make up was 4 mages and an ele shaman –

    Start off on the RIGHT side of the room facing Hodir. There will be a mage and druid right there. Break the mage out first for the fire, then proceed to break the druid out. Tank should be pulling him towards the door where you come in from. By about 5 seconds after you break out the mage, you should have a toasty fire right about where you should be, followed by the moon beams. Now it’s all about luck getting the shaman’s storm power. Mages will perform the best at the fight, and no class should be able to touch them, unless they have terrible luck with storm power.

    After flash freezes, you break out your mage target first, then your druid. You should not have a shortage of toasty fires or beams on your side, and the caster group should be somewhat close together if they’re not all in the same beam, being ready to spread the storm power buff to each other if one of them get it.

    We had our healers that got it, come to the caster group and spread it to us, while melee just shared their own.

    The only time you should be moving, is of course when the ice is falling on your beam, or when flash freeze. If you get unlucky and get flash freezed (which you shouldn’t), you CAN Ice block out of it.

    That is our recent hard mode kill – I was extremely lucky with storm power, having it up for 2 minutes out of the 2:46 kill.

    You can easily push 9-10k dps just by standing in the beams, and not getting storm power, but storm power just does wonders for mages.

    • Karch Says:

      Fair enough, I appreciate the time you put into that explanation. What I would point out is that you did get extremely lucky with the storm buff – everything I wrote is assuming maybe 20% uptime, not 70-80% – which really changes everything about the fight.

  3. Hannah Says:


    I recently stumbled upon your blog and I think it’s fantastic! I raided quite a bit pre-WotLK but due to starting graduate school, I fell out of playing regularly.

    Since summer is here, I’m starting to get back into the swing of things. I’ve hit 80 and started doing heroics and some 10-mans, with an aim at filling in for guild raids if needed (and once I get better gear).

    I know your blog is aimed towards raid DPS, but do you have any spec suggestions for someone in my shoes? My gear is not that great, but it’s getting better every week as I run more instances. I’m currently running with a deep fire spec, which is what I remember from raiding pre-WotLK but I’m not really getting the numbers that I’m looking for.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated and I will continue to watch this blog for raiding advice as I slowly move back into that role!

    Thank you 🙂

  4. WiCK3D Says:

    hi was reading this spot and its sweeeeeet bwoi bigup!! but i got a question does you or anyonelese happen to have a macro that i can set to autotarget the iced mages for rapid response since its vital as you and we all know to get them free asap.

    not sure i will find my way back here (i hope to nut i suuuuck at remembering to read up on pages i liked) so if you would id love to get a mail about this or if you go to our guildsite and post in the Lounge;)
    just say Mindfrost/Gaiaa sent ya:P

    Stay safe // Mindfrost/Gaiaa from Sisters of Mercy on EU-realm :sylvanas

  5. Sally-D Says:

    Fantastic concepts posted here and I enjoy your take on things. One thing I’ve thought is what we think about is exactly what we produce. We create our own reality.

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