A post about a current topic, for a change. The Halloween event - or whatever they called it. Specifically: the Headless Horseman.
He can be summoned inside the Scarlet Monstery Graveyard (that is the left entrance when you come up the ramp - the one with no door in front of it) by characters of level 75 and above (this year, at least). He drops some iLevel 200 rings (physical dps, caster dps and healer - for a rather rough description), a plate dps helm and an extremely slow one-handed sword. Same as the Brewfest boss those are rather nifty to gear up alts or new level 80s. They are not exactly big boosts for the raiding population, though.
Also, there is a flying horse, a mini-pet and a weirdo hat - the last two are required for "the Hallowed" title. All this information is available everywhere, though, so let's move right past and get on to the tactics bit.
After summoning the horseman (by using the pumpkin shrine and then taking the candle to his grave) he will charge whoever summoned him. A tank of some sorts will need to pick him up at that point.
This initiates phase 1: Mounted Horseman.
This phase is an introduction to the fight to come. He hits the tank and so far adds no special attacks. Once he is beaten down to no health, phase two starts:
Phase 2: The head and the whirlwind of doom.
In phase 2, the head separates from the rest of the body. The head flies off about 25 yards into a random direction. As soon as the head is targettable, the body will start moving towards the head (Announced by the shout of "Get over here, you idiot") while whirlwinding away. The whirlwind does not hit as hard as most heroic bosses, so even clothies can be safe for one or two hits. The head needs to be killed to 66%. Meanwhile the body will heal up rather quickly (and it's impossible to kill it anyway), so a dps switch is required. The head and body will reunite once the head is at or below 66%. It is possible to take the head down further with high damage attacks - this speeds up later phases a little, but is by no means required.
Phase 3: The horse, again.
Phase three is technically identical to phase 1 - the headless horseman rides on his horse. He adds one special attack to his repertiore, however: a pumpkin conflagration. This is a ranged attack thrown at a random target (except the current aggro) which stuns for a short amount of time and deals AoE fire damage to anyone around the target. The phase lasts until the horseman is once again downed to 0 health.
Phase 4: The head once more.
Same as phase 2, except that the head needs to go to 33% health here. The head does not heal back up, however, so it's only about a third again. Whirlwind of the body is back here as well - and they reunite once the head falls below the requisite level of health.
Phase 5: The last horse.
Same again as in phase 1 and 3. The horseman gains one additional special - summoning pumpkin soldiers. A group of four of those spawns in a dormant state around the current aggro target. They become active after a short incubation period - attacking with their own threat lists after that. The damage is low, however groups taking a long time to kill the boss should probably switch target to them briefly. Once the horse is down to 0 health the last headphase begins.
Phase 6: The loot .. err.. last bit of the fight. The head will separate for the last time and can now be taken to 0 health. At that point the body will die and any remaining pumpkin soldiers will disappear. Whirlwind and pumpkins make this a miniscule bit more hectic than before. The lootable part of the fight is the burning body, by the way - the head disappears in a green streak towards the sky.
And that's it - not a very complex fight. The difficulty is surprisingly low as well - the boss is only a level 80 ... a good bit lower than heroic instance bosses. Due to the several stages the fight can drag on for a bit, however. It is entirely possible to do this fight with only two people, like a tank and a DPS or a sturdy damage dealer and a healer. However - five party members mean five chances for loot. The summoning can be completed once per day, so more players are always a good idea.
The image above shows the horsemans dead body right on top of his grave. A tribute to our incredible skill at tanking, positioning and crowd control throughout the last phases. Or .. err... dumb luck in a rather large amount of attempts.
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