Last night was probably one of the most intense raiding nights I’ve had in months. After months of slogging through ToC, I knew ICC was going to be a little higher tuned, but I suppose I was not truly prepared. Lady Deathwhisper is no Jaraxxus, this much is true.
As I wrote in my last post, we tried Deathwhisper a few times but it was clear we didn’t really know the strategy and since it was so late, Demo and I called it so we could come back fresh the next day with a better idea of what to do. I did a lot of research yesterday and settled on a Hail Mary strategy which, unfortunately, didn’t work and just ended up wasting time. We blew about an hour and a half on that nonsense.
Finally we decided just to go with the tried-and-true split-the-raid strategy and after a series of wipes, each getting more progressed than the last, we were starting to run out of time. 11 server, our usual stop time, was looming fast. I admit, I was getting worried, but most of the raiders were optimistic. In fact, I was very impressed and my blackened raisin of a heart was warmed by how gung-ho everyone was.
We lost a healer at around our 9th or so attempt (without explanation, probably an escape maneuver, and perhaps that fellow’s last raid invite). We had 6 healers initially, and just decided to wing it and bring in another dps instead of scraping up another healer. That turned out to be a turning point for the attempts.
Much more than earlier, we were on fire. Our fourth to last attempt we finally pushed it to phase 2 for the first time, the third to last we got her to 75%. The second to last attempt was an enrage wipe, with about 11% of her health remaining. When that happened, there was consternation, sure, but dammit we could do this. Just need to tighten up and bring her down.
It was past 11 and people were getting tired, so we declared this the last attempt of the night, kill or not. Armies of Dead beckoned and the boss was pulled. I picked up my adds and went through the excruciating motions of the first phase. Just casually when I had a moment of respite I clicked on Deathwhisper to see where her shield was and was stunned to see it very low, almost at phase 2. The timer was inquired, and with a healthy stretch of time to the next add spawn we called for dps to bring the boss to phase 2.
She was pushed over the line and Demo collapsed in to grab the boss while I picked up the remaining adds. Melee washed over the Adherents and ranged picked off the Melee and everyone turned their attention to the boss, fully.
Excited panic was in the air (although that might have just been me) because we still had 3 minutes on the enrage timer… plenty of time to bring her down. Just need to stay alive!
Everyone went to town, pushing as hard as they could on Deathwhisper. We had a few missteps, mostly someone in melee getting MCd and then immediately dying to the splash damage. We lost a few dps that way, which was frustrating, but that was more a tanking issue since we should have dragged the boss away from them to avoid splash.
Finally, we were getting down to the wire. Hit execute range with a minute left on the clock, and I was swearing up a symphony of profanity just wishing for this awful bitch to bite the dust.
10% left, and steadily dwindling. Then, 5, 4, etc. With a gasp she fell to the floor and coughed up her purple. A shout of elation rang out in vent, the kind of which I haven’t heard since we killed Thorim for the first time months and months ago.
Say what you want about the easiness of ToC, it never gave us those moments of pure joy when we killed a boss for the first time.
Just for the hell of it we followed up by taking the elevator up to the Gunship area and killing the Alliance npcs. The night was over though, and thankfully we have a much easier night ahead of us tonight.
As a sidenote, only six other guilds on our server have killed Deathwhisper, and all six of those guilds were 4/5 TotGC. Contrawise, we’ve (shamefully) never killed a single boss in the heroic 25, which means we were operating at a serious handicap compared to those other guilds. I take that as a point of pride for Enveloping Shadows, that we were able to overcome a steeper gear barrier. Sure, it took us 15 wipes, but now we know how to do it, and we can down it much, much more easily next week.
I really am very, very proud of my guild after this hard-wrought kill.
How we did it
Looking at the room from the stairs, to the right of the boss two Adherents (casters) and one Fanatic (melee) spawn. On the left, two Fanatics and one Adherent. On the stairs it’s random what spawns (Adherent or Fanatic).
We split the raid into two melee “pain trains,” 5 in one and 3 in the other. The 5 melee group was assigned to the side with two Adherent spawns, and the 3 went on the other. On each side two ranged were assigned to help the tank with Fanatics so we wouldn’t get backed up, and then when the Fanatics were dead they’d switch to the boss. Three melee were on the boss at all time and ranged by default were on the boss (if not assigned to Fanatics duty).
I was on the side with one Fanatic spawn, so when adds would appear, I’d Reck and shield toss the Fanatic and then check out the stairs. If it was a Fanatic I’d pick him up, and if not I’d save Recks for pulling the Adherents on my side onto me.
Adherents generally do not *need* to be tanked, per se, but if they’re not shadowbolting the healers, that’s a good thing. Melee on my side would wash over the casters then jump to my Fanatics if they were still alive. When the side was cleared they’d go to the boss.
For tanking one serious thing to watch out for: Fanatics cleave, and their cleave hurts. Try to kill them facing away from the melee, and as far away from the healers as possible.
Now, the part where the fight gets interesting is occasionally the boss will reanimate a Fanatic or Adherent, who will then be immune to physical or magical attempts, respectively. When that happens, melee or ranged need to quickly drop what they’re doing and burn it down before it slows down add kills too much. Demo and I would toss marks on these when they appeared.
And where the fight gets REALLY interesting is ocassionally Deathwhisper will turn an add into a Deformed Fanatic or Empowered Adherent. Deformed Fanatics are incredibly dangerous and, if not one shot, will easily two shot you. The only way to deal with them is run away. A DK on the other side of the room from me would taunt the Deformed guy, who would then lumber towards him. I’d then, in my most frantic voice, call out for all ranged to drop him. The mob would be marked and ranged would burn it.
Likewise the Empowered Adherent would need to be nuked by whatever melee was on the side is spawned on. No crossover from the other side was needed.
The mind controls the boss would toss out were a huge annoyance and required immediate crowd control. I’d make a point of taunting them when they first turned gigantic and red so they would pick off a healer before getting CCd. As long as your dps are smart enough not to kill your raiders, this shouldn’t be too much trouble.
The Death & Decays were an annoyance, but not the end of the world. I saw people stay in them and eat 2-3 ticks without dying. These aren’t Kel’Thuzad voidzones.
Now, as for phase 2, you need to make a serious judgement call based on the progress toward the enrage timer and how long until the adds spawn. If you have 5 seconds left before more adds come in and Deathwhisper is almost at phase 2, you should burn the adds then push her over. Our second to last attempt we had the worst combo possible and pushed her over just after the adds spawned, so we lost a lot of people in the ensuing confusion. Hopefully the timing will work out in your favor.
Be careful when tanking that if someone in melee gets mind controlled, immediately pull the boss away so that person doesn’t get bladestormed to death. Make sure your raiders are aware of the little ghosts that’ll explode, and that they continue to avoid D&Ds. Phase 2 is over pretty quickly, and is generally straightforward.
That said, I can’t imagine this fight is any easier for other guilds in our position. It’ll be interesting to watch wowprogress and see how many people kill her this week. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the first fight that gets tuned down in the usual round of post-patch difficulty hotfixes.
Stand STILL, dammitall
One other thing I wanted to bring up (oh, and enjoy the random screenshot of my hero in Halls of Reflection–everyone’s done this by now I assume, so I wash my hands of any spoilers); that thing being mob pathing has been seriously broken in this patch. Especially in ICC and the new 5 mans I cannot for the life of me keep mobs from doing an endless dance with me. This was a killer on Deathwhisper where our avoidance is already heavily neutered and now we have adds whacking us in the back like hunter pets on crack.
Something to watch out for in there, friends. And, Blizz, please, fix that!