… And knock ‘im down!

I originally wrote this title in my head last week as the companion to the post titled “Line ‘em up!” My thinking was Tuesday was another easy 11/12 clear and Wednesday would probably be the coup de grace, so the two work well together. Alas, my hubris got the better of me, and Wednesday we spent most of the night working on Phase 2. I decided that night we’d take what we learned and roll it over to immediately jumping to Arthas on Tuesday. The lockout was to be extended, the Lich King was to fall.

And last night was definitely a long time coming. We’ve been working on the fight for a total of four nights now. Which, for a guild that only raids twice a week for about 3 hours at a time, is no mean feat. Lots of blood, sweat, and tears have been shed. Ulcers have expanded like an ill-placed defile. Slowly but surely we clawed our way up there.

Last night I noticed as we were working through phase 2 during the first two hours something seemed different. Defiles usually were a bit scattered in previous weeks, but last night there were invariably perfectly placed out of the way every time. There were a few slip ups but nothing as major as a Defile being accidentally dropped in the middle of the room (aside from the second Defile which was always iffy because of how it lined up with Valks), which meant I never had to act on my threat of immediately wiping raid if Defile was dropped in the middle.

I love when no one calls my bluffs.

And, of course, it was key that even after weeks of defeats everyone stayed overwhelmingly positive. There were some lighthearted moments, mostly involving my propensity for letting Frank (my supposed ulcer has indeed been named) take over in vent. The first time we hit the Phase 2.5 transition with everyone up I yelled in vent to everyone “Don’t screw it up!”

At the time I meant aggro on the Raging Spirits, whom I hate, as you know, but everyone took that more existentially.

The running joke after some wipes was “Frank’s taking over!” which warranted a “There is no Rhidach, only Zuul” at one point. I’m glad no one took my spazzings personally, I’d rather people recognize that I tend to just get … carried away … so to speak. As long as everyone knows I’m not yelling at them, that’s all that matters. I’d be a terrible raid leader if everyone thought that I thought they sucked because of one mistake.

But, speaking of sucking, there was honestly not much of it to be had last night. I already mentioned how pro Defile drops were, which warmed the cockles of my heart. There were some clutch moments in Phase 3 with the Vile Spirits, which we basically had no experience with prior to tonight. Originally my plan was to kite them and have ranged burn them down, but that obviously wasn’t working, so we switched to the tried and true soaking method.

I worked out an order with the Paladins, and in one attempt that was generally leading to a wipe, all the Paladins were out of commission or dead, or Forbearanced, and in our moment of darkness I saw Sheepin (a mage) run into the fray and drop to the ground with a heavy thud, completely encased in ice. He then soaked up a huge chunk of the ethereal doom that was headed our way. It was a pretty clutch move, and something I completely didn’t think of. Major props to him for that initiative.

At around 9:30 server time, thirty minutes before raid end, I had to swap out a dps so we could keep going. Not a big deal, but it pointed out for me the mortality of the raid, we didn’t have much time left. I asked everyone if they could spare maybe an extra thirty minutes and everyone agreed down to a man (or woman). No dissent, everyone was gung ho on a kill tonight.

Right before the dps swap we had one attempt that ended with a 11.6% wipe. It was probably the third or so attempt that brought us into Phase 3, and the first that started with everyone alive in that phase. We kept losing folks to attrition, finally hitting around 15% with 10 people up. Every Harvest Soul fed Frostmourne, and I did my best to kite LK while hopefully the dps burnt down what remained of his health. Unfortunately I bit it at around 13%, though Anafielle sprung into action and picked him up. She, Sheepin, and Slorail (resto druid) did their best but the numbers were against them.

It was a heart breaking wipe, though it cemented for us all how imminent our victory was. Post-dps switch, we had a few more attempts consistently getting into Phase 3. Finally, at around 10 server, we had an amazing go taking us into Phase 3 with everyone up. Two attempts prior I really saw dps pick up as everyone seemed to hit a stride. Raging Spirits were dying before the next came up, Valks were only making it halfway to the edge, rather than 2/3rds of the way. There was an audible click, like someone hit the Pro button.

As we proceeded through that attempt, and steadily made our way through Phase 3, everything was coming together. Soakers were soaking, the remainder Raging Spirit died easily and no one walked in front of his screech. Arthas’ health was slowly but surely depleting.

At around 14% with 23 people up, this wave of calm washed over me. Time slowed down, that throbbing hum in my ears diminished, and I could hear a dulcet voice beckoning. It was Frank, mellifluously whispering, “you may have won this round, but I’ll be back.”

14% melted slowly into 13%; it was happening. You know that absolute moment of clarity you get the first time you are about to down a boss? That point where you realize that, holy hell, this was it. I could feel it, that endorphin rush paired with an enveloping wave of peace.

“Hold it together guys!” I shouted encouragement on vent. “We’ve got this, just lock it down!” 13 became 12. 12 became 11.”One percent to go!” Finally, 10%. “Oh, jesus, here it is! We did! Don’t release, ok?!”

Frostmourne was raised aloft and our lifeless corpses were laid low. You know the rest at this point.

When the dust cleared, there we were. Enveloping Shadows, 12/12 in ICC25 normal. Hot damn. Not bad for a plucky little guild that a year ago couldn’t clear Ulduar!

We’re now the 10th guild on our server to down LK25, and once we start working on hardmodes we’ll probably end up being the 3rd most progressed Horde guild overall. I honestly need to confess that such a possibility was unthinkable to me a year ago. I saw a guild that couldn’t even get passed Ulduar and thought we were doomed to be backbenchers for the rest of the expansion. A lot came together though, we brought in some awesome people, developed as players, brought in some amazing folks to round out the core, and improved as a guild. We deserve every inch of our victory. I am so very proud of each and every member of this guild.

Moreover, I am so very excited for the future. I always knew we were going to get to this point (though there were disagreements about the time table), and I’ve been mentally preparing myself for hardmodes for a month now. Our time has come, let the 277 loot flow like wine.

This was the most satisfying post I’ve ever written.

22 Comments to “… And knock ‘im down!”

  1. Rilgon Arcsinh
    9 June 2010 at 12:29 pm #

    Everyone knows that Heroic Gunship is the other half of Arthas’ loot table, and is basically a present for downing him. :P

    Congrats, and good luck on the rush for HMs and Drakes!
    Rilgon Arcsinh’s last blog ..Icecrown Citadel: A Ghost of a Chance My ComLuv Profile

  2. Kerriodos 9 June 2010 at 12:45 pm #

    And a great big congrats to you and every member of your guild! Such a great kill to get, especially when you really feel like you’ve earned it, like you guys obviously do. :)

    I doubt you’ll have very few issues with the first 7 or 8 HM bosses, and wish you all the very best of luck in downing them and more!

    And don’t worry, subsequent kills become much easier, even with new people in your raid group; our second kill took only a night of attempts, and we two-shotted our third. Frank can take a good long nap until you hit some of the harder heroic modes. :)

    • Rilgon Arcsinh
      9 June 2010 at 12:58 pm #

      Like Lady Deathwhisper! And Saurfang! And Putricide! :D
      Rilgon Arcsinh’s last blog ..Icecrown Citadel: A Ghost of a Chance My ComLuv Profile

      • Rhidach
        9 June 2010 at 1:08 pm #

        Afk, need Tums.

        • Kerriodos 9 June 2010 at 1:50 pm #

          Saurfang wasn’t too bad (as in, first attempt to kill in one night) but that’s primarily because our ranged DPS is really strong. But, oh lord, we took our first few attempts (just three or four on our way through a 8/12HM clear) and I forsee a major clusterfuck incoming when we start taking serious cracks at her (likely next week due to losing our first raid night this week). My favourite was the healer we YELLED at on vent to move from a ghost. The one who killed half our raid. Yeah, best of luck to you Rhid! Hahaha

  3. Rhoelyn 9 June 2010 at 1:10 pm #

    Congratulations on the kill. I hope you find Heroics more fun than frustrating. So far, we’re still stuck at frustrating on those. ;)

    Rhoelyn’s last blog ..Step out of the Light (Part 2) My ComLuv Profile

  4. Jasyla 9 June 2010 at 1:48 pm #

    Congrats on the kill! Good luck with hard modes.
    Jasyla’s last blog ..lol priest My ComLuv Profile

  5. Selyndia 9 June 2010 at 2:12 pm #

    We did the same last week, extended the ID and killed him early in the week resulting in our first kill last Wednesday.

    Trust me; your ulcer will be back very quickly, because I know my hypertension returned with a vengeance…

    One of the biggest issues we had when we started hard modes this week is that thanks to the progressively increasing buff, we had been getting sloppier and sloppier on the various fights with mechanics. We found this when we were doing Rotface and Festergut hard modes this week, and we weren’t really screwing up the new features of the fight, but were messing up core elements of the fight.

    On Rotface, we had one time when people didn’t move with little slimes, and then all four of them (Yes four…) came together at the same time resulting in two big oozes and a giant mess as all four of those people and the kiter died at the same time from the resulting damage when one of them got Vile Gased. Multiple Big Oozes abounded and the kill was sloppy as hell.

    On Festergut, our first several wipes were due to people apparently forgetting how to handle Vile Gas and Spores. While on normal surviving without three spores becomes easier and easier thanks to the buff, on heroic, he doesn’t really care and will kill you if you don’t have three stacks of inoculation. Between that, and the first several Vile Gases chaining throughout the entire ranged area (And the healers complaining that they had to actually move and couldn’t just stand in melee the entire time) it was a mess, but we finally managed to make it through to enrage, and then just started refining.

    The other issue we had, a specter I hadn’t seen in a long while: loot. My god the loot complaints over who got the 277 first. Officers complaining that they didn’t get first dibs on whatever they wanted, members bickering over who got what and spilling it out into guild until I finally silenced it in entirety threatening to disenchant all the loot for the week. Any frustration I had while learning The Lich King and getting it down on 25 was reinforced and made worse today with how juvenile we treated each other…

    • Rhidach
      10 June 2010 at 10:16 am #

      All things to look out for! Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  6. Antigen
    9 June 2010 at 3:00 pm #

    Grats man, that’s awesome! That is quite the achievement, and let me tell you, HMs will be a nice change of pace after sitting on the LK encounter for a while. You could very well pass my guild in HM progression, since half our members went on some sort of unannounced vacation.

    • Rhidach
      10 June 2010 at 10:13 am #

      I’m looking forward to the hardmodes adding a little “spice” to our pre-LK ICC drive. It’ll prevent people from going on autopilot on everything aside from wing bosses.

  7. Hana
    9 June 2010 at 4:49 pm #

    Congratulations! I know you guys have been working hard on this!
    Hana’s last blog ..Want to Raid with <Be Your True Mind>? My ComLuv Profile

    • Rhidach
      10 June 2010 at 10:05 am #

      We really have! haha

      Thanks :)

  8. Christian 9 June 2010 at 5:04 pm #

    Super big congratulations. We are chasing our 10 man kill this week so I know how you feel.
    Also a really great post. You can clearly feel how happy you are with everything!

    • Rhidach
      10 June 2010 at 10:05 am #

      Good luck on your LK attempts this week, I hope you get him! It was pretty satisfying when we did finally down him, it’s like a huge weight is lifted off your shoulders. It’s very relieving.

  9. Falowin 10 June 2010 at 8:59 am #

    I felt the click you spoke of as well. People just got it and it showed…It is a great feeling to have killed the last boss of an expansion, and I can’t wait until next week when we will hit these hard-modes…

    • Anafielle
      10 June 2010 at 12:02 pm #

      Yeah, I agree. The last two hours or so – maybe the whole night – everything was moving like clockwork. OK, maybe not those few tries post-11% wipe, but mainly everything seemed to click.

      It’s definitely something I think of as a repeatable kill, not a “we were just lucky” sort of thing. Hard work paid off!!

  10. saif 10 June 2010 at 10:09 am #

    Awesome work, man! Congratulations! :)
    saif’s last blog ..Almost There Is An Inch Too Far My ComLuv Profile

  11. Kiez 10 June 2010 at 11:58 am #

    Congratulations on the LK 25 kill. It’s a fantastic feeling, and we also had an 11% attempt before our actual kill.


  12. Anolaana 11 June 2010 at 9:18 pm #

    Congratulations, Rhidach!
    I’ve been following your blog for a while, but have finally decided to drop in. It’s always good to hear the advice of a fellow paladin.
    Congratulations on downing the Lich King! I wish I lived in the US and could raid with ES :P

  13. Vorian87 12 June 2010 at 3:30 am #

    Big grats to ES :) and ta-ta Frank!!!! Maybe we shall hear of you soon (hope not). You guys should definitely try Rotface,Princes, Valithria and Marrowgar on heroic when you do get around to that :)

    Rotface is a real joke on heroic, it’s all about the coordination, but since some people in my static fail at that we have been stuck @ ~25-40% and have stopped doing it.

    I’ve seen LDW on heroic10 and its a pinata. Attempted Marrowgar, princes and Val on heroic but sadly people’s lack of situational awareness just kills me :(

    • Kerriodos 12 June 2010 at 8:37 am #

      Your group can’t kill HM Rotface, but can take HM LDW? You have the strangest group ever. LDW is easily top-four hardest HM encounters (Phase 2 is terrible).