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.