The Executioner Trial

When you do battle, even if you are winning,
if you continue for a long time
it will dull your forces and blunt your edge.

Sun Tzu, "The Art of War"

Last Update: 21 Mar 03 Draft 1.0

The Executioner Trial is one of six available trials in Plane of Justice. Completing any one of these trials allows a character to be flagged for access to the Plane of Storms and Plane of Valor. Of the six trials, the Executioner is largely regarded as the easiest, and as such, it's by far the most popular. While it may be regarded as the easiest, it can still be regarded as by no means easy. The Trial of Execution is appropriate for a well-organized and well-prepared group of 60+ characters. It is possible to complete the trial with one or two individuals below level 60, but is noticably more difficult. I do not recommend anyone below level 59 bother trying: casters will have an inadequate mana pool, and melees will simply not have the necessary damage output or tanking power.

This guide is a compilation of strategy advice from myself and a number of friends (mostly guild members) regarding the best tactics to use in order to successfully complete the Trial of Execution.

Please Note: There are many alternate strategies for pulling the Trial of Execution. What I present here are just some ways of doing it that we've found effective. I'm sure there are others.

Table of Contents

Trial Basics

  1. In order to become successfully flagged for Plane of Storms and Plane of Valor, you must:

    1. Speak with Mavuin at the end of "Death Row" in Plane of Justice. There are KoS mobs en route to Mavuin, so it is necessary to fight your way to him. He asks you to go plead his case for him, and sets a necessary character flag for you. (This is usually referred to as the "pre-flagging".)

    2. Complete a trial. In this case, that would be the Trial of Execution. When in the trial preperation area, you can determine which trial is which by saying "prepared" to each of the Tribunals. When your group is actually ready to attempt a trial, you should say "I am ready to begin the trial of execution" to the appropriate Tribunal. You and your group will be whisked away to the trial room. Only one group can be in a given trial at a given time. When a trial is completed, loot the Mark of Execution off the final boss mob.

    3. Speak with (any of) the Tribunal again, saying "What evidence of Mauvin?"

    4. Speak with Mavuin again, with the Mark of Execution in your possession. This gets you the PoS/PoV flag. Note: you do not have to hand Mavuin the Mark, nor should you.

  2. Step 'b' must preceed 'c'. Step 'c' must preceed 'd'. But step 'a' does not have to preceed step 'b", meaning that if you wish, it is possible to do the trials in the order b-a-c-d. It is a common practice to simply go straight to the prep room in hopes of getting to step 'b' quickly, and, in the event of a long line-up, use the available downtime to go to the other side of the zone for the "pre-flagging" step 'a'.

  3. If a group doing the Trial of Execution fails, the trial is available for the next group in line as soon as all the participants from the first group have cleared out of the trial room. If a group succeeds, there is a lengthy wait. (At best guess, this wait is to ensure there is a sufficient rot-timer on the executioner as to allow a party to ressurrect dead members so they can loot their Mark, while ensuring another group cannot enter, discovery the corpse, and loot undeserved Marks.) This wait is estimated as somewhere between 28 and 34 minutes.

  4. The Trial of Execution itself basically works as follows:

    1. The trial consists of 4 waves of 4 mobs each, followed by the boss mob "Prime Executioner Vathoch". It is the boss mob that drops the necessary Mark of Execution. To successfully complete the trial, you must make it to the executioner and kill him.

    2. During each wave of 4 mobs, these mobs spawn in a box pattern in the seating area. Also, an untargettable version of the executioner will appear and begin walking toward the sentenced prisoner. When he reaches the prisoner, he'll ask if they have any last words. The prisoner will bow their head in silence. Shortly after, he will behead the prisoner. If this happens, the trial is immediately a failure. He must not be allowed to behead the prisoner. In order to prevent this, one of the four mobs that spawn with each wave must be killed: killing a mob sets the executioner back to the start of his walk. So long as you are killing mobs quick enough, he will never manage to kill the prisoner. The time from the start of his walk to the prisoner's death is 34 seconds1, as follows:

      • 00: The executioner begins his walk toward the stage.
      • 18: The executioner asks "Do you have any final words?"
      • 21: The prisoner bows his head.
      • 34: The executioner lops off the prisoner's head and the trial is announced as a failure.

    3. The time between the commencement of each of the 4 waves is fixed. This has important implications. It means that completing a wave faster means more downtime to recover between waves. It means that it is only possible for wizards to Harvest once during the trial. It means it is possible to us a modrod a maximum of twice before reaching the Prime Executioner, but only if the first charge is used during or following the first or possibly second wave of mobs. Knowing these things means planning accordingly.

    4. The Prime Executioner Vathoch spawns on the stage itself, immediately following the death of the 4th mob of the 4th wave, so as the 4th wave is coming to a close, it is important to position yourselves accordingly, regardless of whatever tactics are being used for the waves. (Casters usually rush to the Agent of the Tribunal and wait in that corner, so as to avoid unwanted aggro, while the tank heads straight for the stage the second the last mob dies.)

  5. The key to success at the Trial of Execution is good preparation, solid strategy, and a little luck. Even a good plan can fail for lack of sufficient preparation (e.g. missing key buffs). Even a well-prepared group can fail if they are sloppy in carrying out their plan (e.g. ping-pong mobs about). And even the most well-prepared and well-executed plan can fail sometimes through sheer dumb luck (e.g. critical spells fizzle). The luck you can't do much about; the other two elements you can.

  6. If you receive a failure message, or decide to abandon your attempt, saying "return" to the Agent of the Tribunal in the corner will allow you to return to the preparation area. This can also used to return to the preparation area after looting the Mark of Execution if you are successful.

  7. Evacuation/port spells can be used from within the trial room.

Be Prepared

  1. When it comes to being prepared, every little bit counts. Every buff, every piece of borrowed equipment, every tiny thing that you can do to improve your odds must be taken advantage of. It is not uncommon to hear very frustrated people talking about making it to the Prime Executioner, only to fail at the last moment because of people running out of mana or such. In many ways, the Trial of Execution is an endurance test: can you survive the four waves with enough firepower left in your Can O' Whoop Ass to finish the boss mob? I've personally been in groups that failed the trial with the boss mob at 40% health, 20% health, 16% health, and once, and about 1% health (when one wizard's final Draught of Ro gets fully resisted while the other wizard fizzles his final Sunstrike, at the same time the tank dies because the cleric is out of mana). I cannot possibly stress enough that every single tiny bit of help counts.

  2. When sitting in the prep room, particularly when there is a line-up, it is usually possible to arrange to purchase, beg, or exchange buffs with other people present of various classes. Also, if you are a part of a guild that is attempting to get multiple people flagged, it behoves members to come help others by buffing wherever possible, to improve the chances of their guildmate's success (and in return, their own).

  3. In preparing, here are some key elements to look for:

      • Maximize everyone's hit points and armor class with cleric, shaman, and druid buffs. A careful examination of which spells stack and their exact benefits may be in order: there are a lot of myths regarding what's best. (See below for a numerical analysis).
      • Maximize mana regeneration for casters through the acquisition of Clarity-line buffs (e.g. KEI) from enchanters, Spiritual Purity/Radiance buffs from Beastlords, and Protection-line buffs from druids (Protection of the Glades, Protection of the Cabbage, Protection of the Nine, etc). Buy, beg, or borrow Flowing Thought or other mana-regeneration items. No wizard should ever enter the trials without their best familiar or without Harvest loaded in their spell bank. Use your horses whenever possible.
      • Maximize spell efficiency with the acquisition of mage-summoned focus items for casters.
      • Minimize casting times with spell-haste focus times and through cleric buffs.
      • Minimize mana expenditure with mana preservation items.
      • Maximize melee and pet damage by equipping, buffing, and hasting. Give the pets summoned weapons, summoned haste items, buffs and damage shields as well. Treat them like party members.
      • Damage shield the entire party as best you can. Get the maximum possible damage shields on those you expect to take the brunt of the punishment (e.g. main tank).

  4. When you carefully examine the exact details of available buffs, you may find some surprising results when you consider what does and does not stack with what, or the subtle differences between group and single versions. For instance2:

      • Aegolism (cleric 60) provides 1100hp/54ac. Blessing of Aegolism (cleric 60), the group version, actually provides more: 1150hp/60ac. This is typical: group versions are usually slightly better than single target versions.

      • Aegolism and Blessing of Aegolism don't stack with Protection of the Glades (druid 60 -470hp/24ac/6mpt (mana-per-tick)) or Protection of the Cabbage (druid 59 - 467hp/24ac/6mpt), but the various other clerical Symbol and AC buffs do. Even for a tank that doesn't require the mana regeneration, the combination of Protection of the Cabbage, Symbol of Marzin (cleric 54 - 700hp @lvl 60), and Bulwark of Faith (cleric 57 - 37ac) is actually better than Aegolism (totalling 1167hp/61ac vs the 1100hp/54ac).

Know Thine Enemy

  1. Each of the 4 waves contains a random assortment of 4 mobs. As best we know, there is no set rule on what you can get, though I've never seen two named mobs of the same type in the same wave, but that may simply be because of the statistical improbabilty of two rare pops at once. There are two basic types of creature, as well as a rarer named version of each:

      • a fierce nemesis ("fiends"): good news - mezzable, stunnable, charmable, slowable (mitigated). bad news - more hit points than their "rock" counterparts, not summoned (can't be banished, or damaged by anti-summoned nukes).

      • a dark nemesis ("rocks"): good news - casters (shaman) with fewer hit points, charmable, rootable, summoned (banishable, and take damage from anti-summoned nukes such as Exile Summoned (dru 55/mag 56/rng 61)). bad news - unstunnable, unmezzable, cast slow and tash type spells.

      • priest of doom (named "rock"): good news - casters (shaman) with low hit points, possibly charmable, possibly rootable, summoned (takes damage from anti-summoned nukes such as Exile Summoned (dru 55/mag 56/rng 61)), drops loot. bad news - unstunnable, unmezzable, cast slow and tash type spells, can't be banished.

      • herald of destruction (named "fiend"): good news - mezzable, stunnable, charmable, slowable (mitigated), drops loot. bad news - high hit points, not summoned (can't be banished, or damaged by anti-summoned nukes).

  2. Following the 4 waves, you'll face Prime Executioner Vathoch. He hits hard and procs a PBAE AC debuff. He is slowable. He does summon (making kiting him very difficult). He seems to have a fairly high magic and cold resistance, but fire-based spells work well against him. Be careful about using rain spells, as he appears on the stage and you may accidentally damage the sentenced prisoner.

Method One: "Traditional Style"

  1. The most common tactic for passing the trials involves the used of a well-balanced group with a very high damage output. Group compostion is as follows:

      • A cleric or druid as healer. They should be sure to have a form of cure disease loaded as well, to remove the slow from the melees.
      • An enchanter or bard. Their job is crowd control through mezzing, charming, and rooting. In the case of a bard, they can also contribute to mana regeneration between waves.
      • A warrior/paladin/shadowknight as tank. Warriors are preferable for their defensive discipline when fighting the Prime Executioner.
      • Any combination of 3 others whose damage output is significant enough to allow the group to be able to consistently finish wave pops in under 34 seconds each, while ensuring they reach the boss mob with sufficient resources to complete the trial. Obviously, a combination involving 3 low damage characters (e.g. 3 tanks) will not work. Pet and banishing classes are highly desirable, along with melees with a consistently high damage output.

  2. The tactic during the 4 waves is pretty straight forward:

      • The tank attempts to get aggro from the spawning mobs, and selects a target as quickly as possible. Priority is usually given to attacking named mobs first, the unmezzable "rocks" second, and the mezzable "fiends" last. In order for the aggro to go immediately to the tank, one method is to have them sit in the middle of the spawn area prior to the commencement of each wave, while the others wait on the stage.
      • The melees and damage-dealing casters assist the main tank and attempt to dispatch the mobs 1 by 1, killing each in under 34 seconds to reset the executioner on his walk.
      • The enchanter or bard attempts to mez, root, or charm the others, in order to keep the situation under control.
      • Caster should listen for the "Do you have any final words?" message as a benchmark for progress. It occurs approximately half-way through the allowable timeframe for each mob. For instance, if a damage-caster nuked once before the message, and find the creature at greater than 50% health when the 18th second (of 34) arrives, they know they will have to increase their output in order to help finish the creature in time. Because the trial is essentially an endurance contest with regards to mana, learning how to properly time spells and ration mana is a key element for casters, and must be mastered through experience in order to be successful.
      • Casters should use modrods after the 1st and 3rd waves to regain mana.

Method Two: "Crispy Style"

  1. A less common but equally effective tactic for passing the trials involves the used of an "AE group". Group compostion is as follows:

      • A cleric or druid as healer. They should be sure to have a form of cure disease loaded as well, to remove the slow from the tank prior to the executioner spawning. Because of the necessity for fast-cast heals, it is highly recommended this be a cleric.
      • An enchanter. Their job is to provide crowd control during the waves by stun-locking the enemy. They are responsible to tash and slow the executioner.
      • A warrior/paladin/shadowknight as tank. Warriors are preferable for their defensive discipline when fighting the Prime Executioner.
      • Two wizards level 59 or higher. The wizards will be the primary damage dealers during each of the four waves, by using two PBAE spells (Jyll's Wave of Heat and Jyll's Zephyr of Ice).
      • Any one other player, preferably someone with a high-damage output to ensure the first mob in each wave will definitely die in under 34 seconds.

  2. The tactic during the 4 waves is as follows:

      • The tank must get initial aggro from the spawning mobs, and select a target as quickly as possible. Priority is usually given to attacking named mobs first, the unmezzable "rocks" second, and the mezzable "fiends" last. In order for the aggro to go immediately to the tank, they must sit in the middle of the spawn area prior to the commencement of each wave, while the others wait on the stage. It is the tank's primary responsibility to help "corral" the mobs into a tight enough area for the stuns and PBAE spells to be effective: caster mobs may tend to stop outside the blast radius to cast on you.
      • The enchanter gets off their horse and dashes to the middle of the crowd, AE tashes them, and then stun-locks them all as best as possible to allow the wizards to do their job. During the PBAE, the enchanter must be careful to make whatever minute adjustments necessary to keep stunning as many of the enemy as possible.
      • The wizards dismount and follow the enchanter into the crowd and being their PBAE assault, cycling their two spells as quickly as possible, until at least 2 of the enemy have died. At this point, the remaining mobs should be so low on health, that the tank and/or 6th party member can finish them off within the allotted 34 seconds each. While executing their PBAE assault, the wizards should keep an eye out for the enchanter, and make minute adjustments between casts to ensure they stay well within the stun radius, by sticking as close to the enchanter as possible.
      • The healer uses fast-cast spells to keep the casters and tank alive. Because not all of the enemy are stunnable (unless you are fortunate enough to get 4 fiends in a wave), it will take a fast reaction speed to keep topping up hit points, as it will be "soft targets" (wizards and the enchanter) likely taking the damage from one or more unslowed mobs.
      • The 6th member assists the main tank in dispatching mobs, particularly the last two. If able to AE or heal, they may also help with those roles.
      • Casters should use modrods after the 1st and 3rd waves to regain mana.
      • Wizards should harvest after the 2nd wave to regain mana. If they have Harvest of Druzzil, they can use it after the 4th wave in order to have more mana to fight the executioner.
      • Because of the fixed time interval between the commencement of each wave, although this method expends more mana per wave (especially on the part of the wizards), it also allows for more mana regeneration between waves. It is imperative that as each wave comes to a close, the casters return to the stage and mount their horses to meditate as quickly as possible, leaving the tank to loot and then return to the waiting position sitting in the middle of the spawn area.
      • With practice, getting to the executioner with this method is almost assured, but, just as with the traditional method, it will be whether or not mana (particularly healer mana) has been properly rationed that will determine whether or not the trial can be completed.

Additional Notes and Advice

  1. The following are some collected tidbits of advice from other players based on their experiences in the trials:

      • "Another suggestion I have is that all casters bring their clicky nuke sticks they have from their last trip to Hate. 3 insta-click charges on a nuke stick could really be helpful when you see the Executioner asking the prisoner if he has any last words. Often what happens at that time is all the casters unleash nukes in a desperate attempt to save the prisoner from death, and that probably results in some wasted mana." - Vumberkin

      • "Pingpong: Pingpong must not happen, if you want your melees to be effective at all. Casters, cast from melee range if at all possible." - Bayler

      • "Kite the executioner for mana. It's important to remember that a mob won't summon you until someone does damage to it. If it's gonna be a caster, use something like snare or stun." - Saborah

      • "Remember necro's can MW those unmezzable guys. That extra 300 mana to the whole group is a huge plus." - Ainelael

      • "A quick target call is better than the absolutely best call. Yeah, sure you want to get named and then rocks first, but get on something fast." - Didiaquarr

Good luck, and be sure to tell the Executioner I sent my best regards.

Frackus Everburning
Agnostic Erudite Sorcerer
Founder of Seofon


1. As timed by Bayler using a log parser during failed trials.

2. All spell data was taken from Lucy.