Tag Archives: Trial of the Grand Crusader

The ToGC Playbook — Faction Champs

So, you’ve survived the Beasts and Jaraxxus.  No doubt you got a bit of a sick feeling in your stomach when you realized the next boss was heroic Champs.  On regular, these guys are a pain.  On heroic…well, they’re an even bigger pain.

scared lolcat

I can’t tell you what order to kill things in.  There are a handful of people in our raid who understand it very well and mark targets for us.  I know we always have the best luck killing the shaman first, and the holy paladin can usually wait for a while as long as someone is locking her down.  You’re going to have to look at the group you’re given, look at your raid’s strengths and weaknesses, and work to that.

There’s no definite strat for this fight because it’s terribly unpredictable.  Instead, let me give you some tips.

1.  @walmillard over on Twitter suggested this to me, and it’s worth passing along:  Get them to pop their PvP trinkets early in the fight to make lockdowns more successful.  We do this by having the hunters lay down frost traps once we’ve pulled.

2.  We don’t even bother with organized CC.  Some guilds may have found great ways to use it, but diminishing returns makes it completely pointless in my opinion.  Except for melee keeping casters locked down, we save our CC for when we’re being attacked.  I don’t cyclone anything unless it’s babysitting me or I see it wailing on a healer.


Hey, rogues...

3.  I can’t say enough for interrupts.  I know we don’t have one, but everyone in your raid who has an interrupt should be using it on the kill target.  Mages, CS that Lesser Healing Wave.  Rogues, kick that Regrowth.  If you see your target casting a heal, don’t let it, period.  Hellfire is a pain; mages can very successfully use the same macro they use for focused-sheeping to focus-CS the warlock for Hellfires.

4.  This is minor but worth mentioning: the healers on the Champs teams focus a little too much on their Grid, and they have pets pulled out.  Basically, they’ll look for anyone on their team taking damage and heal them.  By putting constant damage on an insignificant target (the hunter or warlock pets, for instance), you can divert some of the healing away from more significant targets.  We usually put one of our hunter’s pets on one of their pets to achieve this.

5.  Just like an arena team, the Champs are going to look for a weak link to attack.  Often, this person will be targeted by most of the Champs.  If someone notices this, it needs to be called out on vent so that person a) can be healed, and b) doesn’t stand there and get owned.  You can help mitigate this with things that increase your health or armor; in our case, Barkskin.  (Priests: Inner Fire, Mages: Ice Armor, etc.)

6.  RUN AWAY, LITTLE GIRL!  There’s a reason this has become such a popular phrase in raiding: there are a lot of things from which you need to run far and fast.  Karazhan may have turned you into Little Red Riding Hood, but the Champs will turn you into minced moonkin.  If you get aggro–and you should know when you get aggro: Omen and the WoW UI both make it very clear–you should immediately get away from the Champs as fast as you can.  While proximity isn’t their only aggro cue, it does have a significant impact.  If you get out of their range, they’ll eventually get tired of chasing you and move on to someone closer.

For druids, this should be instinct.  It’s like when you’re in AB and heading for the mine and suddenly 7 members of the opposing faction are there and they all see you.  What do you do?  You cat form and dash the heck away!  Do the same thing here.  Turn on Nature’s Grasp for extra insurance.  If you seem to be taking a lot of damage, throw up Barkskin in case you’re the focus target.  I always try to run near healers; it’s like a friendly reminder.  Dear Healers, I’m bleeding.  Thank you for that Flash of Light.  Love, Ambermist.

(Added a day late and a boss kill short).  I’ve got one word for your priests: dispel.

Other than that, burn burn burn down the targets.  Burn raid CDs pretty quickly.  Focus fire.  Keep DoTs up (they’ll get cleansed a lot at first, but be persistent).  This will take a few tries, and it’s not necessarily going to be straight-to-one-shot-farming status.  Different combinations will trip up your raid, and you may wipe 2 or 7 times even after you’ve successfully completed it.  Eventually, though, you’ll all get used to it and you’ll be downing them without a second thought.

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The ToGC Playbook — Jaraxxus

Grats on getting those pesky beasts down!  Did you kill Icehowl after enrage thanks to a lucky Massive Crash?  We’ve had some kills like that, and talk about down-to-the-wire!

Next is Jaraxxus.  In relation to regular ToC, NRB is a fight with simple principles and tricky execution.  The mechanics of both regular and heroic are basically the same, just amped.  This fight, on the other hand, has slightly more complicated principles than its regular counterpart, but once you learn them, the execution isn’t too hard.  It all comes down to a seemingly inconsequential change: nether portals and infernal volcanoes become targettable.


Burn, baby, burn.  This is where this fight earns its heroic status.  In regular ToC, a Nether Portal comes up, a Mistress pops out, and melee kills it.  Then an Infernal Volcano appears, a few Felflame Infernals pop out, and you kill them.  Easy peasy.

Now, both Nether Portals and Volcanoes will stick around and just keep spitting out adds.  For a raid just getting to this boss, if you let two Mistresses through the portal, you’re probably going to wipe.  That is why everyone has to switch to Nether Portals and Infernal Volcanoes as soon as they spawn.  Burn them down as fast as you possibly can to limit the number of adds that escape into your raid.

The best way to do this is with a targetting macro designed to prioritize targets.  This is the one I use; I found it in a comment at Downfall:

/target Nether
/stopmacro [nodead, harm]
/target Infernal
/stopmacro [nodead, harm]
/target Mistress
/stopmacro [nodead, harm]
/target Lord Jaraxxus
/stopmacro [nodead, harm]

Assign this to a hotkey, and as soon as you know a Nether Portal is coming (turn your game sounds up and listen for “Come forth, sister!”), hit your macro and kill, kill, kill.  Do the same with Volcanoes (“INFERNO!” is your cue).

Free-for-all Deathmatch.  If you’re familiar with CoD or other FPS multiplayers, you know what FFA is.  It means everyone is the enemy, and so it is here (except your guildies.  Okay, maybe it’s more like team deathmatch…).

No longer do melee focus on Mistresses and ranged on Infernals.  Everyone must kill everything.  So get ready to bring that super tall, female demon-looking thing to its knees, because that’s your job now too.  Kill portals, volcanoes, mistresses, and infernals.  And don’t forget to throw some things at the boss.

Positrons!  Placement is key for the success of this fight.  Here are the things you need to be aware of:

1.  Stick to one quarter of the room.  We choose the quarter just to the right of the instance entrance, and it spans from the bottom of the star (if you’re standing at the front door) to the right hand side of the star.  No one goes beyond these two points, for some very good reasons.  First of all, Incinerate Flesh is going to require everyone to be in range of most (if not all) of your healers.  Secondly, Volcanoes and Portals spawn directionally based on players’ locations.  If you want them to spawn in range, you all need to be in one place.

2.  Leave yourself a path.  Legion Flame uses the exact same mechanic as in the regular version, but hurts a lot more.  We choose to handle Legion Flame by running it in a straight line to the wall.  I know some guilds have a designated run spot.  Either way, if you use one of these strats, you really need to make sure no one’s getting run over with Legion Flame.  Always do a quick spin before the pull to make sure no one is standing between you and your holy-crap-I’m-on-fire spot.  Adjust accordingly.

3.  Melee, move! Ah, the cry comes out on vent:  “Portal incoming, move, melee!”  Because Portals and Volcanoes spawn related to player location, melee standing behind the boss can inadvertently cause them to spawn on the other side of the raid.  For this reason, when the timer for Portal or Volcano spawn gets under 10 seconds or so, melee move so they’re on our side.

We Didn’t Start the Flame War.  Don’t you wish that every once in a while we could just stand still and dps and never worry about getting attacked?  HA HA HA, you’re playing the wrong game.  Yay, another list!  Things that will maim or kill you:

1.  Legion Flame.  Duh.  However your raid usually handles it, you’re going to have to do it even better.  We haven’t healed through Legion Flame since our first few attempts on regular, so I don’t even know how the damage scales from regular to heroic.  If you find yourself needing to run, set up a plan and let everyone in on it.  As I said previously, we run straight back to the wall and along the edge of it.  Whatever you do, don’t run around with it.  Don’t run over to melee and don’t run sideways into other ranged.

2.  Incinerate Flesh.  Unfortunately for healers, this is the big make-or-break moment.  The only time an Incinerate Flesh death is a dpser’s fault is if they’re out of healing range, so don’t be dumb and let that happen.  Healers have to heal a certain amount or the person with Incinerate Flesh will blow up.  On heroic, this hits for around 8000 damage across the raid.  For us, this often means a wipe.

3.  Mistress’ Kiss.  This is more of an annoyance for us dpsers, but a downright problem for healers.  Just like a Succubus’s kiss, this will lock you out of a school of magic for several seconds.  For Moonkin, that means if you’re paying attention and can switch between Wrath/Starfire at the right time (Wrath being nature, Starfire being arcane), you can successfully avoid it.  I admit that I fail at this often, but it’s easy enough to switch to whatever’s not locked for a few seconds.

4.  Body slam.  This is a nuisance that you can’t prevent.  Just deal with it and hope your healers are on the ball.  Mistresses like to target a player, charge them, pick them up in the air, and throw them onto the ground.  It’s actually pretty cool as long as you don’t die from it.

5.  Felflame Infernals.  These guys plant themselves and start some kind of Hellfire cast, in addition to rolling into a ball and flying over to a player.  Basically, if this thing gets near you, get away from it.  Don’t stop to find out what it’s doing, just move.  You can move back to your spot once it’s dead or moved on to someone else.

In between all this madness, keep dps on the boss.  This fight is NOT a dps race, so don’t think that you’re going to win accolades by staying on the boss.  Chances are, your mages will kick your butt anyway, because mages should be spellstealing Nether Power every time Jaraxxus acquires it (purges work if a mage is not available).  This fight is all about control, so stay calm and soon you’ll be moving on to the Champs.

(Sorry I don’t have an epic kill shot for you.  Our guild leadership has apparently decided these kills don’t mean anything except another night they have to force themselves to spend time with us to get loot.  lol).

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The ToGC Playbook: Northrend Beasts

Trial of the Grand Crusader is the heroic version of ToC, and comes in 10- and 25-man versions.  I’ve completed 10-man ToGC and we’re working on Twin Val’kyrs in 25-man.

As always, this guide is geared towards moonkin and ranged dps in general, but I will try to cover all aspects of the fight.

We’ll start with the Beast–the Northrend Beasts.

In my opinion, this is the worst pre-Anub boss.  If you can make it past NRB, Jaraxxus will seem like a joke.  This takes several different levels of coordination and awareness.

Honestly, there aren’t too many straight out fight mechanic changes, but everything hits harder and faster.  The biggest change is that the bosses no longer wait until you’ve killed the one before them.  They will come out on a specified timer, which means everything you normally do on this fight needs to be done better and faster.

— Gormok the Impaler —

There are 3 main things to be aware of on this fight:

1)  Fire.  Just like the fires in the regular version, these come in the form of molotov cocktails that land at your feet.  Spread out to avoid having two people getting hit by one fire.  These do a lot more damage than their regular counterparts, so moving out of them is key.  The longer you stand there, the more stacks of the DoT you pile on, so don’t think about whether or not you should move, don’t finish your cast, don’t do anything until you’re out of the fire.  This should be reflex for most of us by now.  Some people can see the black bottles flying at them in time to move.  I am not one of them.

The Levitation Trick: Okay, here’s the deal.  On ToGC-25 we have routinely levitated the ranged and healers to delay the movement needed.  Unless someone is targeted twice, that’s 2 minutes of not needing to move.  HOWEVER, in a ToGC-10 I was in on Friday, the levitation trick did not work properly.  The fire very smartly only targetted people who were not levitated, meaning we wiped because our tanks were dancing in fire.  Try this at your own risk, as it might have been hotfixed this week.

2) Snobolds.  These guys are just as annoying as the ones in regular.  YAY FOR MOONKIN FORM, as being shapeshifted makes us immune to snobolds and their frustrating silence.  You still need to kill these guys.  Ideally you’ll have enough dps to kill all of the snobolds as they appear.  All dps needs to switchALL DPS NEEDS TO SWITCH.  Hey, guys, ALL DPS NEEDS TO SWITCH TO SNOBOLDS. Stop padding the dps meter and contribute to the raid, please.

If your dps isn’t high enough to kill them all and still get Gormok down before the worms make their appearance, then prioritize healers -> casters -> everyone else.  It is safe to leave one snobold to be killed when the worms are coming out.

Tanks will be getting impaled throughout the fight and will be switching off to let the debuff fall off.  I think our tanks usually switch off at three.  I’m not sure of all the details myself, but I know that a pally throws Hand of Protection on the last tank on Gormok right before the worms come out.  I think this is to help manage the extra impale or two he took while the other tanks were preparing for the worms.

Healers on the tanks need to pay attention to tank switches.  We call out tank changes on vent, but healers still need to watch the “resting” tank and keep him up while his debuff falls off.  People will be getting fire debuffs without a doubt; hopefully they’re not eating 3 or 4 stacks of the stuff.  1-2 is pretty easily healable, so have a few healers spread around the room for raid heals.

–The Twin Jormungars–

I hate this part more than anything else in this first encounter.  Fair warning.

First things first:  SPREAD OUT.  If you’ve got DBM you should have /distance 10 up, and it should be empty.  Five people getting hit by toxin or bile is bad bad bad.

In our experience, Acidmaw always pops out of the ground a little to the left of the door through which the bosses enter.  Situate yourselves around this area and burn him as quickly as you can.  He will probably get one submerge before you kill him.  My treant cooldown usually comes up when Acid’s at about 73%.  I know he submerges somewhere between 30-50%, so I generally save my trees for when he emerges and we’re racing to burn down that last half of his health. Once he dies, Dreadscale will enrage, and you’ll be burning him down.

This fight is all about awareness.  Don’t stand in poison clouds, they will kill you quickly.  Don’t stand next to people.  If you get burning bile and there’s no one who needs the toxin cleansed off of them, try to get away from people.  Your aoe damage will be a pain for your healers to heal through.  The fight dynamics aren’t that complicated, but the execution is very tricky.

Tanks switch off during this fight for us.  We no longer have a ranged tank on Acidmaw when he’s still because with all of us going balls-to-the-wall, aggro and healing were issues.  One tank stays with Acidmaw.  The other two tanks beat on Dreadscale.  When Tank A gets burning bile, Tank B grabs Dread so Tank A can go cleanse all the toxined people who are very slowly walking towards him, and they rotate like that until Acidmaw dies.

Healers have my sympathy on this fight.  The tanks take consistent damage, the raid is getting toxin, the bile people are sharing the love, and the whole time everyone’s trying to stay in dps or healing range while remaining spread out.


Dreadscale is usually around 20% for us when the Icehowl announcement comes, so one of the tanks breaks off to go get him.  We are ordinarily able to kill Dread before Icehowl becomes attackable, but if he starts wailing away while you’re burning Dread’s last 10% or so, that’s okay.  Just focus on getting Dreadscale down so you can all move to Icehowl, and make sure healers switch to the Icehowl tank while you transition.

This fight works exactly the same as the regular version, with two important changes:  you no longer get a speed boost after Massive Crash, and he enrages on a timer.  In order to beat the timer, the majority of the raid needs to stay alive.

Arctic Breath and Massive Crash both hit for a lot more damage.  If you spread out a little, fewer people will get hit with Arctic Breath at the same time, which helps.  Still, healers need to watch for this and heal the frozen people.

Check Your Six.  We had several issues with people getting crashed into doorways or pillars or facing the wall, making it difficult to run away in time.  When DBM says Massive Crash is 10 seconds away, I make sure I’m on a flat part of the wall and turn my back to it so I have a clear view and am free to run.

This fight really is a tank and spank with a twist.  Handle the Massive Crashes correctly, heal through Arctic Breath, and beat the enrage timer.  GG.


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