Category Archives: Experiences

On Mythic Blackhand, Guilds, & My Missing Appendix

April is the cruelest month.” 


First, there’s Mythic Blackhand, the tyrant hanging over our heads for the entire month of April. There’s something about that boss, man; he’s really good at making people exceptionally tense.

Getting him down felt good. Not the same way Imperator felt good–the Imperator kill felt like a perfected dance, a 5-star performance on opening night kind of good. Blackhand felt like a battle won, like putting away our swords and wiping dirt and blood off of our faces with a resounding “Hell yeah, we’re still here.”



This month has been a different sort of interesting for me, as well. Some people and situations within my guild pushed me to the brink of leaving–far enough into the gap, in fact; that I applied to other guilds (and met some pretty cool people, I might add).


I felt obligated to stay through the Blackhand kill, and during that time there’s been a concerted effort to make things a little less frustrating. This left me at a difficult juncture: do I leave my guild and the friends I have here and try something new with people who seem nice? Or do I stay with the people I like, deal with the ones I don’t, and give my guild a second chance?

In the end, I believe I’ve opted for staying home. Maybe I’m screwing myself over, but I love this guild, I just want it to like me back.

I Didn’t Need It Anyway

sick-day-lolcatsWe killed Blackhand on a Monday night. The Sunday previous, I’d started having lower right abdominal pain. I took some ibuprofen and pressed on. Monday was miserable, but I sucked it up, a little more ibuprofen, and we killed the boss.

The next morning, I could no longer ignore the pain, and a visit to the ER later, I was being scheduled for surgery to remove my appendix.

The Twitter community was, of course; as supportive and cool as they’ve ever been, sending me well wishes and virtual hugs throughout the process. I’ve said it a hundred times, the WoW/Gaming/Geek Twitter community is one of the best, and you’d be hard-pressed to convince me otherwise.

I wish I could say the process was painless; it wasn’t. It mostly sucked. My belly button hurts, my back hurts, my side keeps cramping, and I’m under these pesky orders not to do much of anything. But hey, I’m home and not dead, so I think I came out on top.

I’m kind of glad April’s over, though. I need May to be chill.

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You Got Me!

Heroic this week was exciting–the raid was trying to kill me. A LOT.

Here are a few of the best moments (profanity warning!).

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Screw This Boss: Mythic Thogar

I’d rather intentionally run into a train than do this boss again. This is that fight for me (inb4 “every fight is that fight for you, Amber, huehuehue”).


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I Got a Rock: Mythic Kromog

At the end of the day, Kromog’s just a big kid who likes to play with rocks.

6/10 Mythic!


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Oops, We Did Progression & 6 Years of TLBC

This has been an interesting couple of weeks for <Check Please>.

The stamping presses on Mythic Hans’gar & Franzok got on our nerves (although the practice from doing Stamp Stamp Revolution certainly helped, even if we did want to kill each other halfway through), but once Hans & Franz went down, we turned right around in the same night and killed Gruul.

Then, last night after Mythic farm (Beastlord, Oregorger, Hans & Franz, & Gruul), we had 30 minutes left–enough time for a few pulls on Flamebender.

Three pulls later, we were 5/10. Oops.

We’ll be going in for Mythic Kromog tonight. Something something Starfall!

6 Years Later

First of all, what? Has it really been 6 years since my first post? When I think back through all of the experiences then to now, both in-game and IRL, it’s not that hard to believe. I’m not the same person or the same WoW player I was on February 23rd, 2009.

I also didn’t know most of the awesome people that I know today 6 years ago. So many of you who read my blogs, send me emails, and chat with me on Twitter or in-game have made my day over and over again, and I’m grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to get to know this community. Thank you, guys; for being incredible. <3


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Adventures in Blackrock Family: Day ???


This guy.

What a jerk.

Look at him, pacing around his forge muttering at us.

We should kill him.

Creature of Habit

Blackhand’s primary abilities are similar in all three phases, but the way you handle them will be different in each one. The repeating abilities are Smash, Marked for Death, and Slag Bombs.

Smash targets the current tank. The visual is a red circle on the ground around the tank, and it is always a knockback, regardless of the phase.

Marked for Death targets two raid members. The visual is a yellow arrow on the ground pointing from the boss to the selected players. When it hits, it does a ton of damage and a knockback.

Slag Bombs are mines, and they do exactly what you think they do, so make it a point not to step on any.

Phase 1

demolitionIn P1, the tanks handle the Smash with a cooldown, and in our case, a couple of handy life grips and a well-timed heroic leap to bring our flying warrior tank back into the fight.

Throughout the fight, Blackhand will start to demolish the forge, raining debris on your head (Demolition). The whole thing does a lot of damage and there are swirly areas to avoid. The big orange swirl on the ground has increasing damage by proximity, so try to stay away from it at all costs and use a healing cooldown to get through the damage of the ability.

These big orange swirls will leave debris piles on the ground (they look like some kind of giant campfire). When you get Marked for Death, go behind a Debris Pile–the Debris Pile will soak the blast. If you are NOT marked, you should stay out of the line of fire as it will put its full damage into whatever it hits first, whether that’s a Debris Pile or Random Melee #3 who tunneled too hard and didn’t see the arrow.

Bombs on the ground. Don’t stand in them. Easy.

Phase 2

After successfully completing Phase 1, the floor beneath your feet will crumble and you’ll fall right into Phase 2. During weeeeePhase 2, adds will spawn in the rafters around the room and shoot very painful things at the raid. Blackhand will also summon siege engines that fixate the closest player to them when they become active.

Smash. You’ll use Smash to deal with the rafter jerks–have a designated group stand with the tank in the red circle. Your tank will need to position the boss prior to Smash so that the tank’s back is facing the chosen rafter, and then a designated group of players will need to stand inside the Smash circle directly behind your tank.

When the Smash occurs, the group will get knocked back (and if you’ve done it correctly) right into the rafters to kill some adds. We send 3 melee & a healer, and while I would love to be in the rafter group (CAN I GET A STAR FAAAAAALL), we noticed that a ranged getting Marked for Death at the same time Smash comes out made the timing tricky and sometimes completely fail.

Marked for Death. We have designated kiters (hunters, duh) who position themselves close to the Siege Engine spawn points. They get fixated and do their best to run the Siege Engines over bombs, both destroying the mine and doing damage to the engines.

You will need to kill Siege Engines, so plan to have ranged switch to them, then stop around 30%. Marked for Death will take care of the rest.

Marked for Death in this phase will be placed behind a Siege Engine whenever possible, breaking the Siege Engine’s armor so that it takes damage and preventing its damage. There will be at least a few times when Marked for Death goes out when there isn’t a Siege available. Those who are targeted during these times should stand still, pop a cooldown, and take the hit, allowing everyone else to move out of the line of fire.

Bombs. Guess what. They’re still bombs. They’re freaking everywhere. Do your best to avoid them and let your kiters run the Sieges over them.

Phase 3

The floor will again drop, taking you to the heart of Blackhand’s forge, which looks kind of like hell. Positioning for this phase is extremely important, and you’re going to need to use the edges of the room, so plan for that in advance.

Smash. You’ll be using the knockback mechanic from Smash to move around the room, so when Smash is coming, your tank should put his back to the center of the room, and the entire raid should stack inside the circle directly behind the tank. When Smash goes out, you’ll all take a bit of damage and get knocked back to the middle of the room, at which point you will head to the next chosen edge.

Marked for Death. There are no cheese mechanics for Marked for Death in this phase. Those who are Marked need to put their back to the center of the room so they don’t get knocked off the platform, and everyone else needs to avoid the arrow. That’s all there is to it–back to the center of the room, pop a cooldown, eat it.

Bombs. In this phase, 3 people will be targeted with Slag Bombs. The visual is a circle around the chosen targets, and after a few seconds, a small volcano (a la Rhyolith) will appear at their feet. If you are targeted with Slag Mine, take it to the edge of the platform whenever possible. Definitely do not stand in the middle of your raid with it.

The fight is pretty straightforward when you just look at the mechanics like this, but it’s all about execution, right?

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Adventures in Blackrock Foundry: Day 1

I’m guessing everyone knows Blackrock Foundry is a thing now, and many of us are doing that thing! Twitter’s been awash in 140 characters of BRF goodness.Foundry

Last night, <Check Please> rolled up on some normals before getting into heroic. We ended the night at 7/10 Heroic BRF, not too shabby, and I replaced my PvP bracers thanks to Kromog (thanks, man).

So uh, here’s kind of a quick recap of the bosses on Heroic for ranged dps cause I need to write a blog post that’s longer than 50 words for once. :-P

Note: clicking on boss name headers will take you to the kill on my stream!


Easy peasy, and if you did Gruul in Burning Crusade, there will be a few things that feel awfully familiar. Remember that Shatter? Be on the lookout for Petrifying Gaze and spread out if you have it. Avoid Cave-Ins (like old times!). Avoid the big ground smash effect, as well.

Other than that, if you’re a dps or a healer, you’ll be stacked in one of two groups that are 10 yards apart for soaking Inferno Slice and doing your thing.

Oregorger (George)

Best GIF – TY @ordaris

There’s nothing to Phase 1 when the tanks get their Acid management all settled. If you’re ranged, stand in a stack and move together out of the puddles on the ground, conserving as much space as possible. If you have to run over those puddles at some point in Phase 2, you’ll be glad you didn’t take up half the room with them.

In Phase 2, priority 1 is living, priority 2 is dpsing crates. George will face a direction and roll in that direction, turning in an L shape and crashing into walls. The best advice I can give for living is to keep up with the boss. If you just follow him around, making sure you’re almost always in the area he just rolled, living is easy because he never rolls back on himself.

Oh, and if you happen to be that class that casts Starfall, it’s pretty fun for crates.


This fight is almost mindless for ranged. It’s like a heroic 5-man boss. Kill boss, aoe/cleave adds, move out of the white swirlies on the ground so you don’t get stuck to the floor, kill spears that are impaling your friends, DoT/cleave other spears, don’t stand in fire.

No, really, that’s everything.

Collect loot.

Operator Thogar

The only really stupid deaths I had were on this boss. I’m a little too fond of getting clipped by moving trains, apparently; and managed to die twice to them.

The best advice I can give you is watch the doors. Throughout the fight, one or two of the four train tracks will activate and a train will come running through it, likely killing you (or nearly killing you if you’re a warlock, I guess) if you’re standing in its path. We marked the tracks with colored markers to more easily identify where trains and adds would be.

Kill boss, cleave adds, focus the Man-at-Arms and the cannon operators when they’re up. Move away from bombs, move out of the gravity grenades that will attempt to suck you in. And I speak from person experience when I say: don’t get run over by a train!

Side note: We have the best warlocks. Also, I think around 11pm we’re all half-mad.

Hans’gar & Franzok

Honestly, this fight was nothing. DPS, avoid slaggy fire patches as they move towards you, don’t get stamped (move off of glowing rectangles). Easy peasy.

Flamebender Ka’graz

This one gave us a little bit of trouble. We wiped 5 times on her, more than any other boss.

Ultimately, this is what we did:

Stay spread out so you don’t chain Lava Slash, and mark a stack point for soaking Molten Torrent. Anyone who can solo it, should (hunters, spriests, mages), anyone who can’t needs ranged to stack with them in the circle to spread the damage.

When the wolves come out, kill them evenly (they need to die at the same time). If you get fixated, move in an arc between where the ranged are spread and where the melee are standing so that you don’t run a fire line through people in the raid (our tanks/melee positioned themselves so they wouldn’t get hit by them as we kited).


This is Kologarn’s weirder, uglier brother.

After a couple of tries spread out, we realized that was kind of idiotic, so we stacked our range, moved out of Rippling Smash, and moved into Runes when they appeared. Each person stands in one rune which will turn into a grasping hand. We found that killing the grasping hands before the end of Thunderous Blows was NOT a concern, so we just started DPSing them as soon as the Thunderous Blows cast started. Seemed to work out.

Have I mentioned lately how much I love Starfall? Cause I love it.

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