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Waste of a night?

We downed the Lich King on Tuesday, after extending the lockout, which means that while we could enjoy our hard-wrought victory, we also were completely locked out of ICC25 for the rest of the week. The question became, what the hell do we do on Wednesday?

When we formed the raid last night I threw up a ready check and put it to a vote: Yes for ToGC25, no for Uld25. About seven people chose the latter, the rest were for the former. So the die was cast and off we went.

(Theme of the night: Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos… er, Ulduar.)

Even 23 manning it (some decided to take the night off after our victory), we had no trouble getting through Beasts and Jaraxxus. Faction Champs was a huge pain, giving us just about the worst melee comp ever: the Warrior, the Ret Pally, the DK, the Rogue. Only adding the Enhance Shaman could it have achieved a perfect storm of ballbusting.

Took us a few attempts to down that, but it got done. Then on Twins we went back and forth between trying the door strategy, doing a few attempts that way, then the normal way, then finally killing it.

After that it was around 45 minutes before raid end and we kind of half-heartedly putzed around on Anub before calling it.

So, on the down side, we basically ran progression rather than taking a victory lap. I would have definitely preferred the latter. On the bright side, the heroic Solace and heroic Death’s Choice trinkets dropped, along with another piece that was an upgrade for someone. So, there was some value to be had.

I’m willing to call this a wash.

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June 10, 2010
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Monday, how I loathe thee

Nothing worse than the first day of work after a long holiday weekend.

This long weekend though was pretty productive, though. Not just for Rhidach but for my other alts as well. My shaman, for example, broke past 40 and finally got the ability to dual wield. The play style did an immediate 180 from slightly boring to an awesome flurry of pain. I bought for him two heirloom maces and enchanted both with Crusader, and with Windfury Weapon on both it’s just… awesome. That really is the only word for it.

I need to get this guy to 80 pronto so he can start farming Emblems of Frost–and thereby Primordial Saronite–for Rhidach. The main demands tribute!

Speaking of the Shaman, I’ve did a few random dungeons on him over the weekend. Each had about a ten minute wait, though was seemingly worth it for the chunk of experience and free blue item I would get for completion. The trouble was, of course, getting to the end of the dungeon. I had one really good SM Library run that got me all pumped for the system, but then the next one in the Armory was a disaster. The tank was a Ret pally (not necessarily a bad thing at that low level) whose idea of tanking dropping a consecrate and standing there.

Noticing he was not holding threat at all, I asked why wasn’t Righteous Fury on. “lol never trained it.”

Super.

Anyway, about halfway through the run the hunter finally drove the “tank” away by constantly casting Eyes of the Beast on his pet (a dog named Kitty) and sending it ahead to “scout” thus pulling mobs. So the “tank” quit and eventually I just had someone pass me lead and got Cendra to come in and lay a level 80 smackdown on Herod.

Finally, once I was high enough to be sent to Uldaman I started to see real tanks with–I am aghast–actual SHIELDS on. And what’s more, they use Righteous Fury or Defensive Stance and actually hold threat and try to taunt mobs off you if you accidentally pull. Miracle of miracles.

At least random dungeons break up the monotony of leveling. I can only take so much Monstrous Crab hunting in the Swamp of Sorrows before I feel like I’m going to snap.

As for Rhidach, late Friday night I couldn’t sleep and got pulled into a ToGC-10 pug a guildee was stuck in along with Ildara. Apparently they wiped about 20 times on Twins with the orbs just killing people left and right. After too many wipes a wave of puggers left and I, Cendra, and some others from random guilds came in to fill their spots.

On Twins the strategy they were using was everyone go one color except for one dps whose job was to run around “soaking” the orbs others were not. Maybe that might work, but that one dps focusing on orbs wasn’t working on shields, and we had two heals go off because there wasn’t enough damage to bring the bubble down in time.

After the third wipe on this strategy I proposed what ES does for Twins: two groups evenly split. Tank them in the middle. Of course, we killed them with ease. Superior tanking clearly won the day. Ahem. In any case, one of the Twins dropped the heroic Greaves of the Lingering Vortex, the final piece of gear I was coveting from that raid. And being the only plate tank I had no competition for it.

Then on Anub we wiped a few times since it was like 3 in the morning and everyone was crazy tired. We got it on the third attempt though, and everyone was free to go after being stuck in there for what apparently was hours. Meanwhile I was there for 45 minutes and walked away with a primo piece of gear. Score.

This week looks to be pretty awesome: new wing of ICC (presumably) will make raiding a little more exciting again. Add some spice to the mix of the 1.5 hour clear. Putricide we’re probably going to put off until Thursday so we can do everything in 10man first where the stakes are lower and it’ll give us two days of raid strats to soak up from around the blogosphere/the forums/elsewhere. Totally going to play it safe with the limited attempts counter.

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Well, that was definitely Insanity

We did not deserve to get the achievement we got last night.

Actually, scratch that. Considering what we came back from and managed not to wipe on any boss… the skill that was shown by each person on different fights to make up for goof offs or silly mistakes… we definitely deserve the accolade.

Beasts was a total clusterfrak. We lost one person to an acid cloud under a worm, and a healer and dps to Dreadscale’s breath attack because they didn’t notice Demo bringing the worm around and then standing in front of the boss. Not to mention we forgot to tell a shadow priest we needed him to go disc for Beasts, so we only had two healers the whole time. Once Icehowl came out we had one healer, two tanks, and three dps. Things looked bleak. And yet somehow, with second left on the enrage timer we managed to down him.

That basically set the pace of the night.

Then on Jaraxxus–the first effing portal–we got two Mistresses. Got them both down, kept going. Things got hairy towards the end when we got another pair of Mistresses when Jaraxxus was at 5% or so. I taunted them both and held everything I could while dps just burned the boss down. A few dead, but we pulled through in the end.

Then champs we had a second week of easy comps: Enh Shaman, Rogue, Warlock, Mage, Holy Priest, Resto Druid. Ezpz to burnt through, and (bonus!) the 245 Eitrigg’s Oath dropped again. I envy the lucky tank that… agh, can’t keep a straight face while saying that.

It was about this time I noticed, and tweeted nervously, that we hadn’t wiped yet. Shades of Undying were coming back to haunt me.

Twins went surprisingly well, but the stress factor was only amped up further. We now only had Anub between us and victory. Anub being the only fight we’ve yet to one shot, and typically take three tries to down.

I was freaking out.

We got down in the pit, took some necessary breaks, and geared up to do it to it. No pressure, we assured everyone, while secretly gearing up to hate forever whoever cost us the achievement.

And, well, you know the rest. Anub down, achievement dinged, and ES shot up to 6th on the server for 10man content. Pretty exciting stuff!

Loot was done and the guild now has its first 258 piece, the Drape of the Sunreavers. Grats to Nomi for nabbing that. Other drops were Perdition, Anguish, Attrition, and the Swift Horde Wolf, which Fal ended up winning. Grats to him as well, and curse Anub for not giving us any tank gear. I’m still itching for my Greaves of the Lingering Vortex and Ardent Guard.

An amazing victory for the guild nonetheless. I’m very happy that despite any issue we may have with 25man heroic, we can rock the hardest 10man content.

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November 5, 2009
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November 4, 2009
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One step closer

Last night was heroic 10man night, which has quickly become my favorite night of the raiding week. Small group, more relaxed vent, loot I can use, a nice challenge; all factors that add up to heroic ToC-10 being a great time. Last night was no exception, even with two folks that have never seen an Anub kill, we were clearly on fire.

During Beasts we unfortunately wiped on Icehowl because we had two instances where the yeti hit someone that didn’t strafe fast enough. Once we regrouped I was forced to teach some folks how to strafe and imparted the wisdom of Stoneybaby’s awesome “Small Points” post. The next time we downed Beasts when everyone was on top of their game for the furball.

Jaraxxus was generally easy and we one shot him. Then on Champs we had what was probably the easiest comp ever: Enhancement Shaman, Rogue, Holy Priest, Tree Druid, Warlock, Mage. Burnt down the Shaman first, then the Rogue, then the Warlock. After the scariest dps was dead we doubled back and finished off the two healers, then put the Mage out of his misery.

Twins were similarly easy. (No boots, though, makes me a sad pally.)

As you can gather, I think it’s fair to say we’ve got the hang of the place overall.

When we dropped down to face Anub we were at 49 attempts on the clock. Mad Skill was so close we could taste it.

However (and not really this person’s fault) we brought a new guy that night who really hadn’t seen an Anub kill and had to learn our two-heals/north-south strategy on the fly. Two wipes later and I’ll admit I was getting very stressed. I felt that progression kill slipping away from us.

47 attempts left, third try on Anub and we executed the strategy perfectly. People ducked and dodged as needed, adds died fast, and Anub as well in short order. The “A Tribute to Mad Skill” achievement flashed on our screens. No 245 Ardent Guard, but I was still jubilant. It was a great victory for the guild.

Considering that each wipe that night was either due to (1) dopiness, or (2) not knowing the fight. Both easy things to overcome. Insanity will be ours very soon, I’m sure.

Now, to step back a bit from the warm glow of victory, let’s talk a little drama. There are some malcontents in guild that were complaining that they weren’t being taken to the heroic 10man and that only the “Inner Circle” was being invited. I need to address this–er, heroically, where they’ll never read my response. Their complaints are hogwash.

For one, to address the more explosive “Inner Circle” charge, we’ve rotated in folks every week to the point where we’ve now taken at least 20 different people in there. And we’ve invited others who were not able to go. There is no Inner Circle being taken week after week.

Anyone who’s done this raid will I’m sure sympathize that you can’t carry someone doing 3k dps through it just to be “fair”. I’m a bit of a black-hearted jerk perhaps, but my position is you have to earn your spot in a top-of-the-line run by being the best at your role. The reason that some people aren’t being invited is because they can’t perform at the level needed to succeed in there. We issue invites based their performance according to logs from that week’s 25man raid.

Do 6k dps and you’re probably going to an invite. Do 3k and spend more of the raid disconnected? Not so much.

There’s a part of me that feels bad about having to exclude folks like this, but on the flip side I have a responsibility to the guild and the other 9 people in that raid to give them all the tools they need to succeed. An underperforming remora of a raider is not going to help bring any success.

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October 30, 2009
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How to defeat heroic 10man Trial of the Crusader

Group makeup

  • For the first four bosses you need two tanks, three healers, and five dps. More on this later, but for Anub having two healers and six dps makes the fight a lot easier.
  • Blood lust is not required, but it makes encounters a lot smoother. Fights have major dps components to them and if you can’t generate the raid dps needed to surpass them, you won’t be able to kill the bosses.
  • You only have ten folks, so try to spread out the classes to maximize buffs and utility.
  • A Mortal Strike effect (Aimed Shot, Wound Poison, Mortal Strike, etc.) is necessary for Anub.
  • Get a reliable purger/dispeller for Jaraxxus.

Here are the logs from the raid we did last night. I forgot to start recording until after Beasts, so unfortunately you can’t see what we did for that fight, but generally we did about 28k raid dps.

Do you have enough hp? I was at 50k hp buffed last night, and wasn’t particularly worried during any tight spots. I think I had more than enough health to cover every fight. Keep this number in mind when considering certain things, such as how many stacks to hold Gormok for, one-tanking Jaraxxus, etc.

Lastly, please note I’m writing this with the assumption you know the strategies and tactics of the normal-mode version of this dungeon.

Beasts of Northrend

Phase 1: Gormok

Gormok comes out of the gate and I pick him up first. I hold him to 4 stacks of the debuff, then call for a taunt and Divine Shield+Divine Sacrifice. This drops my stack and gives Demogar (the other tank) a faux Pain Suppression to ease his damage intake. By the time we do the first tank switch, Gormok is under 50% health. From this point on, we switch at 3 stacks.

Healers call out in vent if they have snobolds on them, and ranged pick them off.

At 10% health, dps switches too and kills any snobolds that are up, and then burn down the boss. When Gormok dies I cast Hand of Protection on Demogar to drop his stacks.

Phase 2: Not one, but two Jormungar

This is the phase where you can easily gain or lose a huge chunk of time on the Icehowl’s entrance depending on how you handle the worms. Dreadscale will come out of the gate first, and Demogar picks him up and tanks him along the wall by the gate. I grab Acidmaw, who is rooted, and tank him with my back to the wall. Melee and all dps burn down Acidmaw first.

Acidmaw will do a paralyzing poison spray on all the melee, though Demo is very close by with Dreadscale so we can just run 10-20 yards over to remove out debuffs. We all keep the wall to our backs so the Sweep that the rooted worm does doesn’t knock us far away from Demo.

Eventually both worms will submerge. Acidmaw will pop up above ground near the entrance to the Coliseum, while Dreadscale will pop up rooted near the middle of the room. I Hand of Reckoning Dreadscale to grab his attention and run through the rotation a little to build a decent threat lead. Then I run over with the melee and other dps and help them burn down Acidmaw. We use Bloodlust to kill Acidmaw before he can burrow again.

When Acidmaw dies, Dreadscale soft enrages. While this sounds deadly, it’s really not. I run back over with everyone and put some dps into Dreadscale before he submerges. He’ll pop up again above ground, and Demogar grabs him. We all finish him off, taking care not to cross in front of his hit box. Dreadscale does a very painful cone attack that will kill any non-tank standing in front of him. Once Dreadscale drops, Demo runs over to the gate to pick up Icehowl.

Phase 3: Icehowl

Please note: There is NO RUN SPEED BONUS after a Massive Crash. Reiterate this fact a thousand times to your raiders if need be, because one dope not getting out of the way fast enough will probably spell a wipe. Said dope will get one shot, and then Icehowl will enrage and probably kill a tank–maybe more.

Otherwise this phase is very easy. Healers need to spread out equally around Icehowl so all three don’t get frozen at a time. Tanks should try to be on opposite sides of Icehowl as well.

If you’re off tanking like I usually do for this part of the fight, be sure to make use of abilities with Divine Sacrifice and Hand of Sacrifice to ease out any rough patches (like two healers frozen).

Just avoid the crashes and assuming you didn’t spend too much time on worms you should have no issue beating the enrage.

Jaraxxus

Pain points

  • He’ll cast Legion Flames on a random person, who will then drop fires under where they stand for a few seconds. If a melee gets this they need to immediately run away from the boss so they don’t kill the other melee dps.
  • Portals and Volcanoes need to be dpsed to close them. If you get more than one Mistress of Pain or more than three Infernals your dps is slacking and you will probably be overrun.
  • When Jaraxxus gets a 5 stack of his Nether Power he will eventually zap and likely one-shot a random person if that buff if not purged/dispelled/stolen. It’s a huge dps boost for Mages though, if you have one to steal it.
  • Non-tanks will not last long standing next to a rooted, hell-firing Infernal. They need to be fast on their feet in moving if they have one roll right next to them. Likewise, you need to be prepared to high tail it if an Infernal rolls into melee.

One tank! Demo switches to arms spec and I tank Jaraxxus and adds that come up. The only difficult part is picking up all the Infernals, though the easiest way to manage it is Hand of Reck the first one, shield toss the second, then Hand of Reck the third. The extra dps Demo brings is very helpful for getting portals and volcanoes down.

This fight is all about staying on your toes. When portals or volcanoes appear, dps needs to be ready to immediately get over there and burst them down, asap. The raid also needs to be ready to move away if they are standing in, or dropping, something dangerous.

This fight is easily one-shottable as long as everyone is paying attention.

Faction Champs

The healers are easily controllable (park rogues or prot warriors on them), so burn down the dps as soon as possible.

In terms of kill priority, based on deadliness (especially to clothies), I would recommend the following:

  1. Baelnor Lightbearer (Ret Pally)
  2. Shocuul (Warrior)
  3. Shaabad (Enh. Shaman)
  4. Tyrius Duskblade (DK)
  5. Irieth Shadowstep (Rogue)
  6. Alyssia Moonstalker (Hunter)
  7. Serissa Grimdabbler (Warlock)
  8. Noozle Whizzlestick (Mage)
  9. Kavina Grovesong (Boomkin)
  10. Brienna Nightfell (Spriest)
  11. Anthar Forgemender (Holy Priest)
  12. Shaamul (Resto Shaman)
  13. Melador Valestrider (Resto Druid)
  14. Velanaa (Holy Pally)

Stay tank! You can’t taunt the champions, but that doesn’t invalidate going tank spec. You have several tools at your disposal that can be invaluable, such as Avenger’s Shield, 40 second HoJ, Hand of Sacrifice, Divine Sacrifice, etc. Be careful not to use Divine Shield+Divine Sacrifice until all the priests and warriors or dead, or else your bubble will likely get shattered/dispelled and you’ll take damage from the DivSac.

Also, cleansing is very important in this fight. Take some of the burden off the healers so they don’t have to expend GCDs on that.

Use Seal of Justice for some free, occasional stuns. HotR is awesome for this, as it will spread the seal to two other people in a nice cleave.

Also, don’t let the shaman totems stay up. The Windfury can be deadly if the melee champs are still running around, and a Healing Stream Totem makes it nearly impossible to kill anything.

Twin’Valkyrs

coliseum

Positioning is everything! Tank the Twins in between the back Light/Dark wells in by the gate (where the red X is). Keep them right next to each other so splash damage from one group’s target hits the other.

During a Vortex, obviously, people need to switch to the proper color, or they will die. During a Twin’s Pact do not have your dps change essences, just have them switch target. The time saved not running to a well will more than make up for the damage loss of not switching colors.

Flying orbs can kill people, so your dps and healers need to pay attention to their surroundings. Encourage folks to grab any nearby orbs that will eventually give them the Empowered Light/Dark buff.

This fight is all about awareness of raid damage and dpsing the correct target.

Anub’arak

The big enchilada, Anub will provide the biggest challenge to you in here, and rightfully so. It took us three nights of solid attempts before we hammered out a winning strategy. Here’s what we discovered works for us:

anubcave

First and foremost, use two healers and six dps for this fight. It makes a world of difference. The fight is infinitely easier when restricted to only one burrow phase, which having six dps will allow.

When the fight starts, Demo pulls Anub to the blue circle with the “!!”. A permafrost is brought down there, and when the first pair of Burrowers emerges (I’ve written about tanking these, and especially how to deal with Shadow Strikes, in this post) I grab them–Reck one, shield toss the other–and drag them to that spot. An add is marked, dps burns it down, then the other one. Demo then moves Anub off the ice and towards the back middle of the room (red arrow).

The second set of Burrowers eventually appears; I grab both and take them to the “!!” ice patch. I hold them and dps does not assist, they focus on Anub.

When Anub burrows we typically have him at 50% or so, but your mileage may vary. Everyone except me runs south as soon as Anub burrows, in case he targets one of them. I find that as long a I hold aggro on a Burrower, I am not targeted for spikes.

Whoever is targeted follows the path of the green arrow and kites the spikes to that ice patch, breaking it. Everyone aside from me should be in the bottom half of the room at this point. A new person is targeted and then run north as the yellow arrow indicates.

After that point Anub will be close to reemerging. The third-targeted person runs kites the spikes to the southwest permafrost patch.

Keep in mind that whoever is being chased SHOULD NOT use any aggro dropping moves (Vanish, Divine Shield, Iceblock, Fade, etc.) as that will make the spikes change targets and shoot across the room to kill someone.

Hand of Protection is great, however, for buying someone some extra time to get to a permafrost. They won’t take any spike damage while BoP’d, and they’ll hold aggro to boot.

When Anub emerges, so two will two Burrowers. Same deal as before, pick up both and drag them to a permafrost patch that will be dropped near Anub. DPS burns down the marked add, then the other, and switches back to Anub. At this point the dps goes hog-wild to get Anub to 30% health and start phase 3.

At this point you need to decide (based on the speed of your dps) if you’re going to kill the next set of adds that come up. Unless you are supertank, you can’t hold four Burrowers at once (especially with two healers) so preventing a second group of Burrowers is key. If you’re lucky, they will emerge just as Anub hits 30%, giving you enough time to kill him before the next set appears. If you’re not confident that you can kill Anub before you have four adds, burn down the two you have then push Anub over to p3.

When in phase 3, tank adds off of a permafrost and allow them to submerge. Also, it gets hectic, so pay extra-close attention to Shadow Strikes!

Bloodlust if you have it, make sure an MS effect is up, and go crazy. This part of the fight goes incredibly fast (especially once you hit execute range) so just try not to get caught unawares by anything nasty.

WoWScrnShot_101509_220439

Once Anub goes down, be sure to thank your healers, who are probably stressed out of their minds at this point.

Ultimately, the five fights of H ToC are great tests of awareness, coordination, skill, and gear. As long as you have a well-rounded, intelligent group of folks you should have no problem. I hope this guide helped a little, and please let me know if you have anything to add or correct in the comments.

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October 23, 2009
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Night of blood and glory: a raid recap

So as you might have guess from my post late Thursday night, we finally (finally!) killed Anub’arak on heroic 10man mode. Hallelujah.

The night itself started in a way you knew we were clearly meant from great things. The first wipe of the night happened on Beasts, the worms specifically, because we lost a few too many dps to silly crap and would never have beat the enrage timer.

49.

We went back in and had a clean run through Gormok, the worms also went smoothly, and then lost a dps to an acid cloud. We kept going though–only one dps down, couldn’t hurt us that much, right?

Get through worms, Icehowl comes out. We’re plugging along, dodging charges and getting our licks in. Getting a little too close for comfort to the enrage timer. 30 seconds left before we all go splat and Icehowl goes for a massive crash. He leaps back to the middle, faces Cendra and charges. I get the hell out of dodge, but Cen doesn’t make it. He gets one shot, Icehowl gets all red and inflammatory and immediately goes after Demo.

I don’t know why but I through myself on the sword, taunting Icehowl, bubblewalling and popping trinks and doing my best to live through the enrage. He of course squashes me, but by the time he gets back to Demo the soft enrage dissipates. 11% left, easy mode. Two dps and yours truly are dead, though, so it’s going to be close considering how close the enrage is looming. Of course, at like 2% left he hard enrages, and leaps back to the middle to massive crash. We lucked out! We just need to dodge the charge and we can finish him off with ease.

He then slammed into the ground and killed everyone except for Demogar. Shit.

Icehowl charges the only one left, Demo, and slams into the wall, stunned. 41k hp left. Make or break time. Demo plugs away with what little damage a tank can muster and just as Icehowl stands up to crush Demogar under his blood-spattered fists, he falls over dead.

I wish I had a screenshot. Obviously that means none of this happened.

We all run back in, buff up, and start Jaraxxus. This fight goes well until we lose a dps to Legion Flames and another melee getting zapped by an undispelled Nether Power, and then a portal spits out two Mistresses of Pain. I manually wipe the attempt with a DI. Obviously, it wasn’t going to go well.

48.

Another attempt on Jaraxxus which did not go much better. Lost a melee dps to a Legion Flame, barely got a portal down. It looked like we weren’t going to make it but somehow by the skin of our teeth we pulled out a kill. It was really sloppy, but a kill is a kill.

Once the loot is distributed we pulled down the champs to mark them up. And oh boy did the comp we were facing look like it was going to hurt. There was a Ret Pally, Holy Priest, Resto Shaman, Warlock, Rogue, and Boomkin. The order I delineated was priest > ret > rogue > shammy > lock > boomkin.

So we pulled and while we were focusing down the priest, the paladin snuck in the back and one-shot all the clothies. Game over.

47.

Ok, new kill order: ret > priest > rogue > shammy > lock > boomkin.

We barely manage to kill the ret pally, but by then we’d lost a lot more folks to the other dpsers.

46.

Bah, another wipe. It’s obvious now that our damage wasn’t being done fast enough.

45.

DPS needs to die first: ret > rogue > lock > priest > shammy > boomkin.

Switched it up a little. I stayed as prot and did my best to lock down the shaman (but mostly focused on cutting down his totems). Demo went Arms and helped bring down the focused target. This time the Ret blew up almost instantly, then the rogue, the lock, etc. The shaman was getting heals off, but he couldn’t save his buddies.

I think the valuable lesson here is on heroic mode to ignore the healers in terms of kill order and just have them be hassled so you can focus on bringing down the heaviest hitters.

So champs went down and then we knocked out the Twins in short order as well. No wipes on that boss, which was a nice change of pace, haha.

After Twins we made a quick roster shift and one of the healers stepped out to let another dps come in since we like to two-heal Anub.

Once down in the cavern below, we get buffed up, everyone got pumped, and then we ran screaming into the fray hoping to shatter Anub’s confidence and make him flee the battlefield. Alas, he stood his ground.

We pushed it to phase 3 in short order (Anub was at like 55% when he first burrowed) and things were going somewhat swimmingly, but we got overwhelmed and wiped at 8%.

44.

Suddenly it dawned on us: holy hell, we can do this.

Formed up again and started the next attempt. Another quick push to phase 3, those we only got it to 13% this time. No matter, it was obvious we could do this.

43.

Alright this was going to be THE attempt, dammit. Pull out all the stops, just get it down.

DPS was amazing, getting Anub to 50% when he burrowed for the first time. Scarabs were decimated quickly, spikes were kited expertly. It was like a ballet of pain.

Once phase 3 hit, we all kicked it into high gear. The adds that were up were ‘sploded and dps turned their wrath on Anub himself. We got him down to about 3-4% when Demo bit it and I taunted Anub only to die in about two hits from trying tank a new set of adds and the big guy all at the same time. People started shouting in vent encouragement to the dps still up–2%!! 1%!! .5!!

And then that disgusting creature reared up and keeled over dead. It was done. Anub was dead.

Everyone cheered with a passion I haven’t heard since the first time our ragtag 25man raid killed Kel’Thuzad for the first time. What an amazing feeling. No tanking stuff dropped unfortunately, but it’s ok, Anub was dead.

I sat there in my chair, grinning like an idiot, for about 20 minutes.

(Side note: I know I said I was going to do a strategy guide, but I don’t feel right writing it until I have some nice screenshots and diagrams to go with it. It will happen this week. Probably Thursday since we’re doing heroic 10man on Wednesday this week. Many apologies for being a tease.)

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October 19, 2009
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October 15, 2009
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How to tank Nerubian Burrowers like a pro

Click, click, click, I'm a dick.

Now, my guild hasn’t downed Anub10 heroic yet, unfortunately, but if all the blood, wipes, and tears have imparted anything to me, it’s how to tank the Burrowers like an effin’ pro.

The little (ok, not so little) buggers have a pretty set pattern. Twice per above-ground phase they come up in pairs and b-line for the raid member with the highest global aggro. As the OT in this fight your job is manifold: one, to pick up the Burrowers, two is to position them on ice where dps can kill them, and three is to not die to their various tricks.

Now on top of that delicious sundae of pain may I offer this cherry: you can handle interrupts on both of them as well. No seriously, you can.

Let me back up. On the first point you need to grab the attention of the Burrowers before they dig a hole in the face of some unlucky Resto Druid. To do this make use of our two best ranged attacks–Hand of Reckoning one and Avenger’s Shield the other. This’ll drop enough threat on both that they’ll follow you back to the ice patch that Anub should be tanked by.

Once you have both adds wailing away at you you want to get them dead center on the ice (well, maybe no dead center, but their hitbox needs to be sitting completely on top of the permafrost). Then open up on both until dead.

At this point your guild’s strategy may differ. The way mine does it is I hand of freedom myself and run off to pick up the next two adds and bring them back to the same permafrost patch while the MT and dps wrangle Anub towards the back of the room and off the ice. Now that I have the Burrowers all to my self, the responsibility for dealing with the Shadowy Strikes falls on my spiky, crimson shoulders.

How does one person not only watch but interrupt two Burrowers? Simple! First, glyph Holy Wrath to have a 15 second cooldown. Use that when they start to cast and you’ll easily interrupt them both. How can you tell when either is casting if you’re not currently targeting it? Also simple! Face them away from the raid, and if a Burrower is looking to gank one of your raiders, he’ll turn and look at them. Also they’ll start glowing all shadowy, but either way, it’s a huge warning sign.

I’ve yet to see them attempt a Shadow Strike more than once every 15 seconds, I always had my Holy Wrath up when needed (although Arcane Torrent made a fine off-GCD back up, and yes it does interrupt). Moreover, I’ve never seen a Burrower cast Shadow Strike when Anub was underground.

As for the third responsibility above (that is, staying alive) you have a powerful tool at your disposal: Block. The way the mechanics of the Burrower’s fearsome Expose Weakness attack is currently programmed, they’re debuff’s additional damage is applied to the unblocked remnant. Thus, if you’re block capped and shave say 3000 off of a 4000hp hit, the remaining 1000 damage is multiplied by 225% assuming you have a full nine-stack and you “only” take 2250 damage. This is definitely a fight you want to stack block value in!

Now, if only the rest of the fight was this easy.

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October 6, 2009
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Better luck next time!

Well last night wasn’t a complete wash. We got Twins down, and rather easily so once we worked out the kinks in our strategy. Anub we were not so lucky on. Phase 2 was a mess, and that we’ll need more time with.

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We had Phase 1 down pat, the shifting of Anub over, dragging the second set of Burrowers away, etc. But time and time again Phase 2 was a cluster-you-know-what. People I think kept panicking and rather than paying attention to spikes or helping kill the Scarabs, they were too busy running around like a chicken with their heads cut off. It also didn’t help that the Burrowers kept Shadowy Striking when I was trying to drag them into position and thus wasn’t on my game to do interrupts. Gah.

The Glyph of Holy Wrath is awesome in this fight (awesome idea, Yoggie). Though… I think I still have it on… eek.

But, Quel’Serrar, Serrar. We’ll put in more attempts this week and hopefully have a better time of it.

Oh, also, had an amusing run in with another pally. This guy initially apped to my guild, and was rejected because we heard he was a little overbearing/bossy. Moreover, he’s currently the leader of his guild, and I’m not a fan of aiding and abetting someone ditching a whole guild of people that trust him as their leader.

So lately he’s been whispering me trying to discuss various things and obviously ingratiate himself with me to get a second shot in the guild. And it almost worked! I was feeling kind of guilty, thinking “oh, he seems like a nice guy” and it wouldn’t hurt to let him reapp. While talking I mentioned casually I wanted the Libram of Valiance for a threat set (I mean, we all have different sets for different situations, correct?) which he interprets as me saying “I can’t hold threat evar HALP”.

So, bless his heart, he looks up my armory and immediately lets me know he’s discovered the problem–my spec is crap! You heard it here first, folks.

Now I’m not the be all-end all of pally tanking. There are folks far, far smarter than I and far better at “the biz” than I am. I’m just the lowly messenger. However, I was a bit incredulous at being told I was “doin’ it rong.” This kind soul informed me that my threat is bad because I have too many points in Ret. Oo-kay. He goes on to let me now SotP is the superior threat talent and I should really be going into that, rather than Crusade.

Nevermind the mountains of data at Maintankadin, this fellow knew the score.

After that episode I grabbed any lingering guilt I had, stuffed it in a box, and pushed it right out of the sewer pipe leading out of Dalaran. It’s the carrots’ problem now.

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September 29, 2009