Friday, January 22, 2010

Blood and Glory in the Crimson Halls.

Well, the new wing of ICC, the Crimson Halls opened up on Tuesday. As Legacy is wont to do, I mustered up my ten man team and ventured forth. We bored our way through the first seven bosses, including a one shot of Puticide which was executed to perfection. Nothing of any real interest to me dropped, although I won a pair of shoulders for my retribution set.

With our previous conquests behind us, we strode confidently into the Crimson Halls. After AoEing down the trash, we moved into the central hall, and prepared to face down the bosses. The Blood Queen's long winded speech prompted me to remark, in jest, that it was Kael'thas all over again. Our feral druid, who was in Get of Fenris during BC, and was intimately familiar with the pain of pre nerf Kael'thas remarked that this was nothing like Kael'thas.
My druid friend was swiftly laughing his ass off in vent and admitted that, yes, it was just like Kael.

And just like Kael did, the Blood Princes kicked our tails out through our teeth. We didn't have a pull that broke the two minute mark. We started out trying to have the Professional Hunter tank Keleseth. But he wound up getting nuked into the ground in record time. So we broke out the feral druid's pvp resto set, so the Hunter could have a dedicated healer. That didn't work. So we had the fury warrior switch to prot and try to tank Keleseth. It turns out that Keleseth hits really hard. Like 24k melee hits hard. So, as the optimally geared EH tank, I switched off Valanar and onto Keleseth.

At this point we managed to sustain the pull for longer than 30 seconds. I was getting trucked, but by popping a cooldown when Keleseth became empowered, I managed to survive, and we managed to find new and interesting ways to die. We found out about kinetic bombs the hard way. After assigning the Hunter to manage them, we found out that up to three of them could spawn at a time, also the hard way. When we had the Mage and Hunter managing bombs, with only the Shaman and Death Knight still actually DPSing, we found out that while a cooldown would keep me alive through the empowered shadow lances, it left me high and dry when Taldaram threw an empowered flame orb that hits me for 60k.

At that point I made the decision that there was no chance in hell that Blizzard intended for us to run with 3 tanks, 3 healers, two controls, and only two DPS. We still really didn't have a very good picture of what the fight actually looked like, so I decided to call it for the night. Truly humbled for the first time in ICC.

The next day, we marched through ICC 25. One shot every boss from Marrowgar to Rotface. Then we diverted through the Crimson Halls, and ran into a similar issue on the 25 man princes. Our Warlock was getting obliterated. However, one thing that the 25 man forced us to do was confront our positioning issues. We refined the spacing of the mobs, and began to use all of the space available to us. With the information we gathered in the 25 man, we began to put together the picture. Information is ammunition, and my ten man was now armed to the teeth.

We rode back in, cleared trash again, and threw down with the KTs three. Our hunter grabbed his PvP gear, and with a couple of stamina trinkets was sitting at over 40k health when we pulled. This prevented the instagib factor while he tanked Keleseth. He spent the initial phase spamming killshot to build threat, and collecting orbs. We determined that the initial invocation shift took place when the health pool dropped to 85%, so we kept DPS slow enough to allow him to collect three orbs before the shift. The Mage was tasked with juggling kinetic bombs. I found out something very useful while tanking Valanar. The kinetic bombs can get bounced back by my AoE. Avenger's Shield, HotR, and even Consecrate all kept them from hitting the ground, so in order to streamline positioning, when Valanar was not empowered, I took responsibility for a bomb that spawns on the dais. When Valanar was empowered, I tanked him essentially right where he began the fight. The Co Tank tanked Taldaram off to the right. Whenever Taldaram launched an empowered flame sphere, with my handling the bomb on the dais, this allowed the melee to run with it as the target kited it, so we stripped the stacks off. If it targeted me, I just popped a cooldown to eat it.

After several attempts, we got our coordination timed right, and finally downed them. It was getting late, so I put up a vote as to weather we wanted to go on to blood queen, or take here the next night. The vote was 6/4 in favor of waiting, but the Hunter needed another 2k rep to hit exalted, so we all agreed to kill the trash.

Once we cleared to her, we mulled over the strat, and concluded that it was a gear check more than anything. We decided to pull her, once and only once, to see just what we were in for. After all, she was right there. So we pulled her, and she bit our fury warrior, who promptly began to pull 18k DPS. Fifty seconds later, he stopped attacking. Ten seconds later, he started attacking again, although he was attacking me. Well, it seems like we'd have the DPS. If only we could figure out how to bite someone.

We found out that he, like most of our raid, uses Bartender4. So we began trouble shooting. We reworked his vehicle bar, his pet bar, and his stance bar. I thought about similar mechanics, and the best comparison I could come up with was Eadric the Pure in ToC five. I never remembered a vehicle bar coming up, and my pet bar was disabled. I thought about how the hammer just popped up on my first bar. As I was describing it on vent, our warrior commented, "Oh, I don't use the first bar, I use 2, 3, and 4," Well, that's... odd, but whatever. So we had him activate his first bar, and lo and behold, he could bite with the best of them.

So, Protip: Make sure your raiders have Bar 1 active for Blood Queen.

After that we wiped a few times to stupid things, mostly involving the shadowflame. People didn't see the shadowflame when they got it. People died after being feared into the shadowflame. People got the shadowflame and the blood link. I forgot to turn on Righteous Fury and the Blood Mirror jumped to a melee DPS... those sort of things.

Just before midnight, we got a nearly perfect pull. We didn't lose anybody, and our DPS was cracking down hard. Then we hit the four minute mark. The four minute mark, on ten man, is where you begin to run out of people to bite, and thus, people begin to go insane. Also, the raid damage from the Shroud of Sorrows jumps up to a painful 6,750 damage every two seconds. We had her at 10%, and all of a sudden she fears the raid, and flies off. Well, shit. With people in vent reporting less than 5 seconds before they go insane, we decided to throw our precise formations for avoiding splash damage out the window. We opted for the less organized plan of the Co-Tank, who cried out in vent "Throw things at her!" And so we did. Wand bolts, Hammers, Heroic Weapons, Lightning bolts, and Arrows. The sky was darkened with them. Right before people began to go insane, the Blood Queen let out a shriek, and died. And thankfully, unlike Sapphiron, gravity brought her corpse, and more importantly, our loot, back down to us.

I'm really proud of the work that my group has done. Along with the server first Putricide kill, Guildox is reporting our Blood Queen kill as another server first. Wowprogress has us listed as the best ten man team on the server for two tiers running now. Later this week, we plan to go back to Ulduar to down Yogg with no keepers, in order to solidify the number one ten man slot for the expansion thus far on guildox. While the guild's 25 man runs haven't had the same impetus as my ten man, they have become much more focused, and are a far cry from the clusterfucks that saw us ranked in the mid 40s on the server. With a week to go before the next wing opens, we are ready.

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