Some players probably avoid joining groups to run Icecrown Citadel because their gear is not good, such as those who haven’t tried the Argent Tournament dungeons. Probably those who play casual, mostly PvP, or those who unfortunately were /gkick, or their guild disbanded with the pressure of Ulduar and Yogg-Saron.

I would consider myself in the latter’s category. I took a short vacation around July, and when I got back to the game I found the guild had /gquit due to some loot favoritism at Yogg-Saron. I have roamed the lands of Azeroth, pretty much solo or doing old content, completing achievements, and so on.

I have only completed the 5-man Argent Tournament dungeons, and barely tried the 25-man version a couple of times up to the twin Val’kyrs. In retrospect, I am trapped at the moment with Ulduar gear.

Can you tackle Icecrown Citadel with Ulduar gear? The answer is yes and no. You will find out that the LFG tool will not allow you to queue into a 25-man Icecrown Citadel dungeon. It will give you a message saying that you do not have proper gear to queue to that dungeon. Ouch.

However, you are able to queue to a 10-man Icecrown Citadel dungeon, and while the gear is lower quality than the 25-man version, it is still a good way to gear up yourself to gain access to the 25-man version. On the other hand, you can try to do as many 25-man Argent Tournament runs as you can to gain emblems to buy the gear.

We still have a very long journey with Arthas’ minions before the Cataclysm expansion sets foot on Azeroth, thus make the best out of your time to gear up and to enjoy the masterpiece that is the Icecrown Citadel.

I attempted my first Icecrown Citadel 10-man on live realms, last night — since my PTR attempts. I was invited to do Lady Deathwhisper, and I held pretty good mana-wise and survived the encounter. As a matter of fact, we killed her without many wipes. We started the Gunship Battle, and again I held pretty well considering it is Ulduar gear. These are the two item loots that dropped in the Gunship encounter: Muradin’s Spyglass (DPS trinket) and Saronite Gargoyle Cloak (DPS back).

However, I have to acknowledge the Saurfang, Jr. event felt like a gear level check. After about 6 attempts, while I survived till we wiped, I would run out of mana before Saurfang reached 30-40% health. In other encounters in Ulduar, the Argent Tournament and even the previous Icecrown bosses I rarely reach zero mana.

So there’s definitely something in this encounter that might scratch into a gear check. There may have been other factors, of course. There was no shaman or shadow priest in this particular 10-man dungeon run. That would have provided a source of valuable mana regeneration.

So I would suggest inviting a Shaman or a Shadow Priest and to inform them to keep mana draining or dropping Mana-regen totems like no tomorrow during this Saurfang event.

The Saurfang event is not as hard as it seemed when I was on PTR. It requires coordination and endurance (mana regen), a few mana potions and probably some Elixirs.

Basically everyone spreads at least 10-15 yards in a semi-circle around the stairs.The tanks should avoid moving Saurfang from the center of the stair-top to not mess the max range distance for healers and DPS range.

Saurfang will summon two flesh fiends, one on each corner of the stair. A death knight can ice chain the one to the right, while all dps range kills the one to the left. Anything that can slow down these fiends will be useful. Whoever gets targeted should kite as best as possible while casting damage spells on it.

The coordination part comes from killing these flesh fiends as fast as possible. Saurfang summons them every 30 seconds, so basically you have 15 seconds to kill each one of them, while staying alive by kiting them if you are the target, even if you are one of the healers — you gotta run or you are dead.

Overall it was a really good experience. The bosses feel challenging, but manageable even with Ulduar gear (which is item level 226-232 range). So if you aim to get good gear, you can jump into a 10-man Icecrown Citadel dungeon which offers item level 251 — specially now while Phase 1 is still in effect. Everyone can only fight up till Saurfang at this point, until the next floor of Icecrown is opened by Blizzard; and definitely you can find some gear replacements in these first encounters.