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Icecrown Citadel: The Lich King (Phase 2 & Transition)

I don’t love splitting strats into parts, but if ever an encounter warranted it, this one does. It really is simple when you break it down into its parts, and that’s what we’re going to continue with.

TLBC Strats: ICC

Phase 2 is easily the longest phase of the encounter and this is where the bulk of the coordination is going to take place. This part is probably going to take a while, but there’s good news: once you get past Phase 2 a few times successfully, you’ll probably win within a small handful of attempts.

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Icecrown Citadel, The Frostwing Halls: Sindragosa

Long overdue, I know. As those of you who follow me on Twitter know, a few months ago I informed everyone that my blogging was being cut back by real life stuff. That hasn’t changed, but I still want to finish the strats for ICC and I can’t abandon my blog, it’s like a buddy! Onward to Sindragosa!

TLBC ICC Strats

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Icecrown Citadel, Frostwing Halls: Valithria Dreamwalker

TLBC Strats: ICC

From what I’ve seen, most raids are doing Blood Princes and Dreamwalker before their respective wing-end bosses, so I’m going to hit Dreamwalker next.

KMBBefore I do, though, a brief thought on trash, since there’s a miniboss. You’ll be joined in the Frostwing Halls by Crok Scourgebane and some Argent Crusaders (you’ll recognize them if you’ve ever done Troll Patrol). As you fight your way through the vry’kul before you (Deathbringers summon adds, Frostbinders throw ice, so choose which ones to kill first based on that info), the humongous floating val’kyr named Sister Svalna at the end of the hall will slowly kill off the Argent Crusaders (no, you cannot keep them alive, their deaths are scripted).

Once you reach her, she will raise the Crusaders back to life as scourge, and you will have to kill them in addition to the deathly angel herself. Although the scripted conversation will ask you to kill the Captains and then assist Crok in killing the Svalna, we have found it just as easy to keep a tank on the captains while we burn down Svalna (easy peasy) and then turn and kill them. You get an Emblem of Frost for killing her, so yeah, it’s cool.

Now, onto the important stuff.

The point of this fight is to take the green dragon Valithria Dreamwalker from 50% to 100% health. Continue reading

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Icecrown Citadel, The Plagueworks: Rotface

TLBC Strats: ICC

Maybe you’ve already killed Festergut, or maybe you’ve decided to try Rotface first.  This fight is all about awareness and coordination, so if you’re ready, let’s get to it!

There’s a lot of things that happen in this fight, so I’m going to try to explain everything in the order in which it generally happens:

The Pull We’ve found the best positioning to be three groups forming a semi-circle around the boss.  The tank runs in and grabs aggro, swinging Rotface around.  Melee and healers stand directly behind the boss, while the ranged are split into two groups, one of them 90 degrees to the left of the boss, and one of them 90 degrees to the right.  One sucker–I mean, offtank–stands at the edge of the room.  You’ll see why this poor guy is pretty darn important soon enough.

slime spraySlime Spray We have found that Rotface doesn’t target a player for this, but he does turn in the direction of a group of players, which is why we’ve split into three groups.  He will choose one of the groups, turn, and cast Slime Spray.  Once he turns, he won’t move, so if the boss is facing your group, you need to run to the side or behind him.  He will do Slime Spray in a cone in front of him which does just enough damage to kill a person if they stand there without a heal (or even with, depending on the cirumstances).  Don’t stand there, kk?  This will continue, happening every few seconds, throughout the entire fight.

Mutated Infection Sometime right around the first Slime Spray, someone will get Mutated Infection.  This is a disease that hurts  A LOT.  Please, healers, for the love of all things holy (or resto, or discipline), heal the person with Mutated Infection.  The person with Mutated Infection must immediately run to the poor offtank on the outside of the room (really, this is the suckiest job ever).  They must be cleansed (you need ONE PERSON assigned to do the cleansing, at least until 20%.  You may find you need a second cleanser at that point).  When they are cleansed, a small ooze will spawn at their feet (if a person dies with Mutated Infection, they will spawn TWO oozes.  So don’t die!).  It cannot be taunted, but it can be CC’d to some extent, if necessary. This will happen continuously and with increasing frequency throughout the fight.

The first person to get this ooze is going to have to stay with the offtank, as the offtank will be unable to taunt him.  The second person to get the Mutated Infection will run to the offtank and the first ooze.  At this point, the two oozes will merge, and the affected players can go about their business.  The offtank will taunt the big ooze and kite it around the room as it does a ton of AoE damage.

For the rest of the fight, everyone who gets Mutated Infection will need to run IN FRONT of the big ooze, get cleansed, make sure their small ooze has merged with the big ooze, and then return to their original position.

Professor FarnsworthThe Poison Slime Pipes Your offtank will be kiting the add around the room and simultaneously dealing with big puddles of slime on the outside edge of the room.  Professor Putricide will announce that the poison is coming.  At that point, one of the spouts positioned around the outside of the room will begin to sputter slime.  A few seconds later, a huge slime pool will fill the edge of the room on that side.  While the offtank can probably run through this pretty safely as long as he’s got healers, keep in mind that the slime hurts and slows you, so those with Mutated Infection should NOT run into the slime.  Wait for the offtank and meet him on the other side.

Unstable Ooze Explosion When 5 small oozes have merged into the big ooze, it will stop where it is and begin casting Unstable Ooze Explosion.   When it explodes, it will send slime flying through the air, landing where randomly-chosen players were standing when it was casting.  As soon as it starts to cast, our entire raid clumps in the middle of the room, on the boss.  When it finishes its cast and starts to spray, everyone runs for the outside edge of the room.  This way, the explosion lands in the middle of the room, where (hopefully) no one is standing.  Once the big ooze has finished exploding, you start again merging the oozes.

The Soft Enrage Rotface doesn’t have an enrage timer; however, like Saurfang’s marks, eventually so many people will be getting Mutated Infection that there will be slimes everywhere and your raid will be overrun.

CCT v Rotface

That’s it, that’s the entire fight.  It sounds pretty easy, but there are so many ways to wipe the raid, you’ll probably work on this one for at least a little while.

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Icecrown Citadel, The Plagueworks: Festergut

TLBC Strats: ICC

If this is your first trip into the Plagueworks, you should check out Plagueworks: Getting There for tips on handling the trash.

Lower Spire: history.  Precious’s Ribbon: equipped.  What’s next?

At this point, your raid can choose one of two bosses:  Festergut or Rotface.  Rotface is a situational awareness check (it reminds me of Illidari Council in that regard).  Festergut seems to be more of a healing check.  Our healers are rock solid, but sometimes our situational awareness is not, so we found Festergut to be the easier of the two.  For that reason, we’re going to start with him.

Here are the major things you need to be aware of:

Gaseous Blight.  I’m going to tell you right now, “Festergut” is absolutely accurate.  This guy needs some serious Gas-X.  Gaseous Blight is an orange cloud on the ground.  It starts at full strength, hitting everyone in the raid for 4-5k AoE.  Festergut inhales this crap at regular intervals, and each time he inhales, the cloud gets thinner and does less damage.  However, each inhale gives him more strength with which to hit the tank.  By the time he gets to 4 inhales, Festergut has swallowed all the gas in the room, but he’s hitting the tank for massive amounts of damage, so healers need to plan on this and balance their healing around it.

fat cat

Festergut is this bloated but not nearly this cute.

Pungent Blight.  So now he’s swallowed a whole room full of gas…I’ll bet you can guess what happens next.  At this point, after 4 inhales, he’ll belch out all the gas.  This hits really, REALLY hard on the whole raid, which is why there is a mechanic in place to handle this…

Gas Spores.  Between inhales, Festergut will throw spores on people (3 in 25-man, 2 in 10 man).  You can’t miss them, they look like big, orange, spiky balls hanging over people’s heads.  After 12 seconds, the spore will explode and place a minimal-damage DoT on anyone nearby.  When the DoT ticks off, that person is inoculated.   This keeps Pungent Blight from hitting quite so hard, so everyone should be inoculated with 3 stacks before he gets to 4 inhales.  I’ll explain the best way to do this below.

Gastric Bloat.  Once again, tanks have to switch off.  Throughout the fight, the tanks will be getting Gastric Bloat stacks, taking increasingly more damage.  At 10 stacks they will explode and it’s insta-death.  You can’t switch off at 3 stacks; it lasts too long.  I think 8 or 9 stacks is the switching point for us.

Vile GasVile Gas.  There’s one more thing, but this is just a minor snag.  Throughout the fight, Festergut will occasionally target players and cause them to start vomiting (yes, it even does the graphic; ew).  They will be disoriented (kind of like being blinded by a rogue) while they have Vile Gas, and they will do AoE damage to anyone nearby.  A simple /distance 10 fixes the problem.

As you can imagine, if everyone is left to their own devices on this fight, it quickly dissolves into chaos (just like every other boss fight in the history of the World…of Warcraft, right?).  Here’s our plan that works quite well:

Three Groups.  We split three groups around the room:  North, South, and Melee.  Half the ranged and a healer on North.  Half the ranged and a healer on South.  Melee has the rest of the healers (mostly) and obviously a big mess of dps warriors and rogues and other people who like to hit things.  All the ranged should absolutely be /distance 10 from each other.  The room is circular, so just spread out in a small curve on your side.

Run to the Tree! While we have Resto druids filling this role, anyone can do it.  We use the trees because they’re ridiculously easy to spot.  We have one tree druid on the North side, between the ranged and the boss, and one on the South side in the same position.  They never move.  When Gas Spores come, everyone on either side collapses on their tree so that everyone is in range of the inoculation (note: if you have someone else fill this roll, make sure you mark them!).  The melee group collapses on the tank.

Tree Durid is 4 healz (& hugz).

When the Gas Spores spawn and everyone gets to their spots, it’s really easy to see who has spores and who doesn’t.  If any of the groups has two spores, we call on vent for one of them to run to the group without a spore.  To make this a little more simple, here’s a scenario:

Gas Spores spawn.  A DPS warrior, a rogue, and a South-side Shadow Priest are hit with the spores.  Everyone immediately collapses on their respective target, and someone calls out, “Rogue, go North!”  The rogue then runs to the North side tree (or marked target) and stands there until his spore explodes.  Now everyone has been inoculated–the DPS warrior’s spore hit the melee, the Shadow Priest’s spore hit the South group, and the rogue’s spore hit the North group.

That’s it.  /distance 10, collapse for spores, and make sure everyone gets inoculated.  He has a 5 minute enrage, so make sure you’re doing everything you can to maximize your DPS in the middle of all of this.

Loot the big ugly guy and get ready for his equally big (and equally ugly) brother.

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Icecrown Citadel: Lower Spire part 1

TLBC Strats: ICC

All sources indicate that tomorrow’s maintenance will open the second wing of Icecrown Citadel.  A lot of us have already cleared through the first wing with considerable ease, so I think we’re looking at the opening with mixed emotions–excited to press on, but wondering if there’s going to be more challenging encounters ahead.

Before we get there, though; there are still plenty of groups making their way through Icecrown, so I want to do a quick and dirty ICC strat guide.

The Initial Trash

The trash pulls up to Marrowgar are almost a boss in themselves for some groups, so this is worth mentioning.  Depending on how well your raid functions under chaos, you’ll definitely want to mark kill targets (at least skull and x), and you might want to consider CC (Shackle FTW).  Follow the same rules as always: casters go first, and in this case, you’ll want to take out the Servant of the Frozen Throne in packs where they exist.

There are traps in the hallway leading to the boss.  These can be seen and therefore triggered at will by stealthed rogues, but if you are unlucky enough to be without one, you’re very likely to trip a trap when you’re least expecting it.  The trap releases some REALLY BIG skeletons from the wall.  They’re not any more difficult than any of the other trash with the exception of Disrupting Shout.  Shout works just like Ignis’s Flame Jets (a very popular mechanic in this expansion, I’ve noticed), so when you see him casting Shout, stop casting until it’s over.

Marrowgar

Marrowgar

This fight’s concept is extremely easy, but the execution can be ridiculously tricky at first.  There are 3 abilities you need to prepare yourself for and react to:

1.  Bone Spike.  Intermittently, people in your raid will get Bone Spiked.  If you remember Najentus’s spines, raise your hand–same idea.  Instead of picking up the spine, however, you’re going to kill it.  Have a macro ready to /tar Bone Spike and watch DBM (or listen for the boss to say “Stick around…”) so you can kill the Spike as soon as it spawns.

2.  Coldflame.  It’s blue, but it’s fire.  Do we stand in fire, ladies, gentlmen, and chickens?  NO.  Don’t stand in the fire.  Don’t. Stand. In. The. Fire.  It comes out from the boss in straight lines (except for during Bone Storm, below), so head left or right if it’s coming at you.

3.  Bone Storm.  Marrowgar gets bored after he’s Spiked a few people and tried to Coldflame you to death, so he shouts “Bone Storm” and starts whirling wildly around the room.  Bone Storm hurts a little, but what’s worse is a) the fact that everyone spreads to kingdom come (sorry, healers), and b) Coldflame spreads like a virus around the room.  Stay away from Marrowgar and stay out of fire until he settles down from his tantrum.

Do that a few times, and you’ll be looting the first boss in Icecrown.

Lady Deathwhiser (from mmo-champ)Lady Deathwhisper

There’s significant packs of trash in her room, but they’re similar to General Vezax’s, so just mark and CC where applicable.  Highly advise pulling them out of the room.

Once you clear the trash and you’re facing Lady Deathwhisper (who, by the way, talks more than any boss I can think of, except MAYBE Kael’thas, who was also a windbag), you’re going to see two phases.

Phase One: The Mana / Add Phase

During this phase, the Lady puts up a mana shield.  Her mana shield has a 1:1 ratio, meaning whatever damage her shield takes is equal to the amount of her mana it uses.  You’ll have a couple of casters who will stand there and dps her shield.  I do this because she also has Curse of Torpor she likes to throw out ad nauseum, and I can easily shoot her, actually work up to a steady, significant dps output, and decurse.

While this is going on, there are adds that spawn in the room: Cult Adherents and Cult Fanatics.  There should be dps teams assigned to these adds.  Adherents are especially susceptible to physical damage, while Fanatics fall prey to spell damage.  When either of these gains the “Empowered” or “Reanimated” status (Empowered Adherent/Fanatic, Reanimated Adherent/Fanatic), the appropriate damage classes need to turn, target, and burn that add.  Unsurprisingly, I have a targetting macro for this, too.  If you check out my Jaraxxus strat, you can use that same macro, replacing those targets with Reanimated, Empowered, and Lady.

Once you get her mana to zero, her shield will fall and she’ll become just another tank and spank with a twist (the twist being that she spawns ghosts that wander around the room.  Yes, you should run away from them).  Clean up the adds, kill the boss, and move onto my favorite raid event ever so far.

The Gunship Battle


For those of you who did Kara back when it was still new (read: still had an attunement), do you remember the first time you did opera?  or the chess event?

Take that feeling, increase its cool factor by 92% and its blowing-up-stuff factor by 110 % and you have the Gunship Battle.  I have two items for you to consider:  Rocket Pack and Cannons.

Player Roles in the Gunship Battle

Note:  I’m going to write this from the Alliance perspective, because that’s how I’ve done it.  The horde strategy is the same, only the names and faction of the targets you’re killing will change.

Cannoneers.  In 10-man there are 2 cannons; there are 4 in 25-man.  Cannoneers will jump into the cannon, point at the other ship, and spam 1 until the meter on the right (same place you see pyrite levels in Ulduar) reaches about 85-90% and then hit 2.  The first ability increases the damage of the second, but it can also cause the cannon to overheat.   I usually get 14-15 of the first ability in safely before using the second, so that’s a good number with which to start.  Cannoneers are shooting at the ship, but they can multitask by aiming for the opposing faction’s attackers (in the case of the alliance, Kor’kalon Axethrowers).  This way, you’re helping the other dpsers in lessening the threat to your ship and also bringing down their ship.

away teamThe Away Team (the warlock leading our 10-man group earlier this week called it this, and I like it).  Keep your casters on your ship; you need them there to AoE the adds that come to you as well as helping take down the Axethrowers (or their Alliance equivalent) on the other side.  Pick a few melee (the fewer that can handle the assignment the better) and a tank to be in the Away Team.  They’ll need to make sure they pick up rocket packs from the gnome on the ship (everyone can do this, they’re a lot of fun).  At some point, the opposing faction is going to call in a battle mage who will come and freeze the cannons.  At that point, the Away Team will rocket pack to the opposing ship, tank the commander (Saurfang/Muradin), and kill the  mage.  As soon as the mage is dead, rocket back to the ship.  A healer or two will need to stand on the edge of your ship to reach the Away Team without having to join them.

The Home Side Tank & AoE Throughout the fight, the opposing faction will be portaling in adds.  They are super easy to handle.  Group them up, tank them, and let your AoErs go hog wild.

It’s really a blast, and you should be looting that chest in no time.

The final boss in the wing is Saurfang, but I’m going to deal with him in part 2.


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Heroic Ulduar: Thorim

I like this fight’s layout, although mastering it might take a little practice.  It took us a considerable amount of time to figure out exactly what combinations worked for us in the first phase.  I’m still going to focus primarily on our feathery ranged dps role, though.

Trash is very easy.  It’s two sets of two dark iron guys.  Tank the two together, and the tanks need to switch targets back and forth until they’re dead.  Single target dps them down.  Do this twice, done.

The Pull

When you walk in the door, there is an assortment of NPCs fighting a Jormungar in an arena-type event.  Kill the Acolyte healer first, then the Captain, then the other NPCs, then finally the Jormungar.  Honestly, I usually kill the healer, dot the captain, then Starfall + Hurricane.  Once everything is dead, Thorim will start a dialogue.  At this point, Phase 1 begins.

Phase 1

You will need to split your raid into two groups, one to play dodgeball-mini-boss-killing in the tunnel and the other to hold off adds in the arena.  I can’t give you a magic formula for who needs to be where.  I can tell you what works for us, and that should be a pretty good guideline.

The Arena Group‘s primarily going to focus on killing adds and staying alive in the arena.  You’re there to distract Thorim with a good show while the tunnel group sneaks in from behind.  We go melee-heavy in the arena because they’re better suited for it.  There are lots of silences in the arena, making it inhospitable to casters, and enough moving around in the tunnel to make it difficult for melee to do any good there.   Our typical arena group consists of two tanks, all the melee, a hunter or two, and 4-5 healers.  If you find yourself in the arena (I have been put in there before, but not in a while), run if you get the all too obvious DBM skull on your head, and the kill order is always Evoker -> Champion -> Warbringer -> Commoner.  Some groups AoE this part; we haven’t had luck with that yet.  Keep this up until Phase 2.

This guy is dressed like a rogue...death is imminent.

This guy is dressed like a rogue...death is imminent.

The Tunnel Group is the one I’m usually in.  We go wait by the gate to the left until Thorim engages, then someone pulls the lever and we run in.  We generally have 1 tank, 1-2 healers, and all the caster dps.  There is trash and two mini-bosses to plow through in order to rescue the arena group.  The trash up to the first mini-boss is pretty simple; kill the Acolyte (Note to my mage friends:  if it is an Acolyte, then its heal needs to be interrupted, kk?) first then the Guardians while playing Dodge the Fireball.  The miniboss will raise one hand with fire and throw a fireball down that side of the tunnel.  Watch his hand and move to the opposite side of tunnel-o-flame (we have someone call it on vent to prevent dumb wipes).

Kill the first miniboss while the whole group is stacked up on his butt a la Attumen & Midnight.  As soon as the door opens, kill the Acolyte standing there and then let your tank run the spawning mobs up the stairs to stop the spawns.  Kill the second Acolyte once you get to the top of the stairs and then kill the second miniboss.  Run away from anyone who has a skull on their head as they become a stationary bomb that will hurt you (a lot).  As soon as the second miniboss is down, kill the adds and head in past Thorim and into the arena (careful–if you manage to do this and engage Thorim in under 3 minutes, you enter Hard Mode).

Phase 2

After all of that mess in Phase 1, this should seem relatively easy.  Clean up the adds left in the arena and start dpsing the boss.  The biggest thing you need to watch for are Lightning Charges.  You’ll see two streams of light traveling along the ground in a direction.  Get away from them, because once he finishes charging the orb, it’s going to blow up at you in a pie-slice shaped AoE.  You don’t want to be standing there when it happens.  Other than that, I just stand wherever I stop and dps him until I have to move again.

It might take you a few tries to figure out how to divide your groups, but once you get it, you’ll be collecting the loot and moving onto Mimiron.

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Heroic Ulduar: Ignis the Furnace Master

I’ve struggled with whether or not to do more strats.  It seems like everyone out there has one, and it certainly takes a lot of time to think about and share each aspect of a fight.

But it’s one of the most used resources on my blog.  So today, we return to how Amber tries not to wipe the raid; aka: Ulduar strats.  However, I’m going to depart from the Bosskillers-type format and go back to just telling you how and why we do what we do.

Ignis can be a real pain if you don’t know what you’re doing.  He was one of the bosses we actually spent some time learning both in the 25-man and 10-man versions.  Before I go into Ignis himself, let me refer you back to my post about Ignis trash.  A lot of it is still true.

We do kill the Molten Colossi, but there are two things you should know: first of all, they hit hard.  Secondly, they do a smash that silences, so pay attention to your casting and your health, and thirdly (is that a word?  really?), they place an everburning ember in your raid that will jump from person to person ticking for about 1850 or so for a few seconds before jumping to someone else.  Stick to your healers, folks, and as soon as you can safely jump into the water in Ignis’s room, your whole raid needs to get in there.  Go swimming together; it will be a bonding experience.  Just make sure everyone is clothed before you complete your clear.

I stick by my strategy for killing the Ragers.  Spread out, dps them separately (we put room between them to differentiate between cyclones), run from cyclones, don’t run cyclones into other people.  This is not a gift you want to share with your friends, and they will not appreciate it.  Trust me on this one.  We single target the Constructs, as well.

As for Ignis, there are some things you need to be completely aware of.  They are, in order of importance (to caster dps):

1.  Flame Jets.  If you’re using Deadly Boss Mods (you are, right?  RIGHT?!), you should get a BIG FAT DON’T IGNORE ME blue warning on your screen when he’s casting Flame Jets.  If you are not good at timing yourself and your spells, you need to stop casting the minute you see that warning.  When he gets to the end of the cast, he will toss a whole bunch of people into the air, and if you’re casting when it happens, you’ll regret it.  Instant cast is still fine.  But if you’re casting a Starfire when Flame Jets hits, all of your arcane spells will be useless, so there goes your Eclipse.  I usually get off my last cast before it hits by watching his cast bar, refresh DoTs as needed while I’m in the air, and continue once I hit the ground.

2.  Adds.  Intermittently, Ignis will call forth constructs.  They are usually kited to and snared in fire patches until they become molten.  Once molten, they are kited to the water and can be one-shotted.  Be aware of this; druids: you could be asked to root the adds in the fire, or you may be placed on water duty, which basically means being aware of where the tanks are dragging the adds and being ready to kill them when they hit the water.

3.  The Slag Pot.  Ignis will randomly pick up raid members and throw them into a phallic-looking molten pouch at his crotch.  It hurts a lot.  Remember when you were a noob druid, and you would switch roles spontaneously when you felt like it halfway through an instance?  Well, time to get in touch with your inner noob.  Should your healers be able to heal you?  Of course, but you can only cast self-targeted spells while you’re in the pot, so you might as well keep a healy button on your bar and use it when you’re in there.  Your healers will appreciate it, I promise.

That’s basically the fight.  DPS Ignis, don’t cast during Flame Jets (this caused a lot of wipes with healers getting silenced the first few times), deal with the adds as needed, stay alive, and win.

Oh yes, and there’s one more piece of business.  If you didn’t know about Mountain Dew Game Fuel, let me be the first to let you in on the plan.  To celebrate the release (or re-release?) of Game Fuel, PepsiCo/MtnDew is hosting an online contest.  Sign up, choose your faction, do “dailies” (which include things like watching WoW cinematics on their site and clicking through Pepsi’s product info), and earn tokens.  Some of the prizes are pretty hot, like an all-inclusive trip to Blizzcon and a hot gaming mouse.  Oh yeah, and you get a free pet for signing up.

Good luck!

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How to Learn a Fight

I’m taking a vacation from pure boss strats since they are time consuming and time is a precious commodity right now.  Plus, both Bosskillers and Tankspot have strats and vids up for most encounters, and I highly recommend them.

After our Hodir kill last night (go us! – Heroic: I Have the Coolest Friends and Heroic: Staying Buffed All Winter) I realized that there is a subject of boss fights that we don’t go over in the strat:  how to learn the fight.

hodir copy

Okay, I know, that sounds extremely vague and wanes philosophical, but stick with me.  There is more to learning a fight than reading a strat or watching a video.  Experience plays a vital role, and as raiders, we really need to be able to take that experience, analyze it, and learn from it.

Here are my steps to learning a fight:

Step 1: Prepare.  L2Read

I did just say that there’s more to learning a fight than simply reading the strat, but that doesn’t mean reading about the fight is pointless.  I will be honest, I don’t read strats word for word ever.  I read and re-read the parts that pertain to me with a keen interest, and skim the rest.  If I had to switch to healing this coming reset, I would have to go back and re-read the boss strats with an eye for healing tips.  I don’t think this is being lazy; I think it’s streamlining for content.  If you try to memorize the entire strat, you will forget something, and it could be something important to your dps or survival.  I can say with a fair bit of certainty that our raid leaders raid with the strat printed out beside them, and I run with it pulled up in the background so I can tab out between attempts if necessary.  The strats help. Videos are also useful, but I wouldn’t use them in lieu of strats.  They work best as a team.

Step 2: Learn.  Wipe Number 1 (and 2, 3, 4, 5…)

Have we ever walked in and unexpectedly one-shotted a new boss?  Actually, yes; but I can count those experiences on one hand and have fingers to spare.  Invariably, we’ll encounter a new boss and fail profoundly (instantly, sometimes).  At these times, Ultraking and I will look at each other and one of us will say, “Wipe One–Complete”  (Note:  we cannot win a fight if we do not pronounce the first wipe.  This is law in our house.  Don’t judge us.)

We all know a wipe sucks.  In our guild, being that we don’t chain our players to their chairs, lock our kids in cages, or play on the toilet, people often use wipes to go afk (guilty as charged).  This makes for insanely, irritatingly long recovery periods.  As a reminder of common raid courtesy:  if you are going to afk (and it’s not urgent) after a wipe, for the sake of the 24 other people in your raid, please try to make it back to the pull spot before you do it.  If you can also eat and, if necessary; flask before the afk, even better.  This way you’ll be present for buffs and when you get done (please remember to flush), the raid can proceed. But wipes are also a big part of the learning experience.  There are lots of questions that need to be asked after a wipe to decide how to improve, and not all of them are up to the raid leader.

The first question probably will come from your raid leader, and everyone else, for that matter:  Why did we die?  Figuring that out is the first step to figuring out what to do next.  Tank died?  You can be sure that the tanks and healers will be going crazy trying to figure that out if they’re not busy passing the blame.  Enraged?  The healers and we dpsers need to find out what’s killing us or keeping us from doing the dps we should be doing, and so forth.

There are questions you need to ask of yourself, because if you don’t, someone will ask you.  And it might not be nicely.  How did I die?  Was it something I could have prevented?  What am I missing here?  Don’t be afraid to ask for help, it may just be that you need something explained differently. As an example of that, let me offer last night’s Hodir experience:

Attempt number 1: Ambermist dies. (about 3 seconds in). The raid dies not long after. Wipe.
Attempt number 2: Ambermist dies. (about 1 minute in). The raid dies about 2 minutes later. Wipe.
Attempt number 3: Ambermist dies. (about 1 minute in). The raid lasts until half health. Wipe.
Attempt number 4: Ambermist dies. The raid lasts until 1/4 health. Wipe.
[Raid][Ambermist]: This fight is my nemesis.
Attempt number 5: Ambermist dies. At 3/4 health, over half the raid is dead. Wipe.
[Guild Master] whispers: what’s killing you?
[Ambermist] whispers: It seems like something different every time. I don’t know why this fight’s not clicking.
[Guild Master] whispers: talk to ——- and find out what he’s doing.
(We don’t really have a druid class lead right now, and even if we did, there are too many different druid roles. I tend to fall back with the mages).
[Ambermist] whispers: okay, I will
***Vent: Okay, we’re taking a four minute break, since people have already decided to anyway***
[Ambermist] whispers: any suggestions on how I can not die so much?
[Mage Lead] whispers: well…

What ensued was a two minute conversation on the importance of moving and really actually watching for icicles and fire buffs.  He didn’t give me a strat, because I didn’t ask for one.  He told me what he was doing to keep himself alive.  That’s what I needed to know.  If I had not been poked in the ass or asked for help, I would have spent the entire night dead and a lot of people would have been frustrated with me, including me.

Step 3:  Execute.  Because Everyone Loves Dead Bosses

Reading the concepts of the fight for whatever reason had not solidified it in my brain as making the moving part of this fight as vital as it was. After that, I literally moved after every single cast. I turned on projected textures, danced around circles, raced to snow mounds, and sat next to toasty fires. We wiped many more times after that, but the times that I died were either to speed up a wipe or when half the raid was already dead anyway. I submit the following as evidence:

Once you’ve figured out what you need to be doing differently, do it.  Focus on what you need to fix, but don’t neglect the big picture.  You still need to be prepared to battle rez the healer who just croaked, and you need to know when the next phase is coming.  Incorporate your own improvements into the already moving raid-wide learning curve.  That’s when you succeed.

Winston Churchill did not raid.  But he did know a thing or two about experience.  We’ve all heard some form of this quote before:  “All men make mistakes, but only wise men learn from their mistakes.”

Prepare + Learn + Execute = Win.

Good luck out there.

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