Heroic Kil’Jaeden

Heroic Kil'Jaeden Fidelity

We killed Kil’Jaeden on the 151st attempt. The One Hundred and Fifty First attempt. For reference (spoiler alert: haven’t written that post yet) we killed Heroic Fallen Avatar in 17 attempts. Should an end boss really be almost an order of magnitude harder than the previous boss? I’m not sure that’s good balance… we’d love to hear your take in the comments.

For our kill, we had all of our active core members there, for a total of 17 raiders with an average item level of 926.1. For those super concerned early on (I think that’s all of us?) about the enrage timer, we came in at 9:21, a good 39 seconds before the enrage timer. With a group of 17, we had 4 healers, which made the ratio of healing to DPS required pretty comfortable, and even allowed for some heroic healing to recover from a missed Armageddon soak. A huge thanks to Kal (Hydona) in particular for kicking butt as an elemental Shaman for the fight instead of his first love, healing, to give us some extra AOE oomph and great damage.

After 87 attempts, we hadn’t gotten the second transition phase. We had gotten close, with a couple of sub 45% attempts… but after 88 attempts, we got there, in 7 minutes. It looked like the enrage timer was going to be tight.

With two tanks, we had Esta (Brewmaster) soak all the big red swirls in phase one. That left, Bioderm (Mage), Dazzler (Mage), Wickedsfoe (Ret Paladin) and Mef (Hunter) to soak the remaining 4 in phase 2. It made a big difference when at various points, 4 out of 5 soakers might be away for a night… but on our kill, we had everyone there! On one such night, the notion of even attempting Heroic Kil’Jaeden was laughable, so we wondered if normal might be a little easier. Easier it was, with every conceivable spec jumping into a big swirl, delighted that even the most meagre cooldowns would provide the protection they required.

At one point, we ran three tanks, with Wickedsfoe (Paladin) to soak and tank the tank add. Having the redundancy, and simplicity of strategy saw us get through to phase 3 a number of times, but in the end wasn’t required to get the kill.

At 134 pulls, it was more frustrating than I’d like to admit that we had yet another maintenance shutdown in peak Oceanic raid times. However, things were coming together, despite the almost mind numbing, soul crushing miss of another Armageddon swirl being our most consistent downfall.

Some of our challenges during the fight:

DPS into adds. We solved this pretty quickly, with focused DPS and people being sensitive to how many shamans we were rocking and changing up gear and talents. For phase two, our often ignored strategy was to stack the first set of adds, and nuke them with heroism, and split one add off from then on to reduce the urgency to kill them before their stacks became overwhelming (particularly while dealing with other mechanics).

People getting knocked off the platform. Before the fight even started, Ash would often fall off the translucent platform just getting to the boss, and his exclamations over discord never failed to lighten the mood and cheer us up. We had some people get knocked off when the singularity was in the centre, but that got tightened up quickly. Then some people got knocked off when dealing with other mechanics or just being absent minded during the fight. Finally, I failed spectacularly a few times with heroic leap.

Armageddon. Where to start? The RNG on where they spawn, and the amount of time you get to respond can be pretty cruel. Aside from that, soaking the big swirl went pretty well. The little ones were a nightmare. I saw someone with a giant green triangle on their head standing right in the middle of a swirl (it was you Mef, nice job) only to have a fellow raider run head long at him, and belligerently stand there while they both got a stack of the dot from soaking. We had some missed from quite understandable indecisiveness, where a raider seemed to say, “After you.” “No, I insist, after you.” “Oops, never mind dear chap, we’re all dead.” We had people over reluctant to soak twice in a row (the dot stacks, refreshes and really hurts), and people that seemed to have a death wish. With perseverance, and some quick communication we improved and improved until only the worst RNG or brain fart would see us miss. On the night of our kill I saw some heroic sprints and amazing heroic leaps (yeah, that’s right) forsome amazing coverage.

Tank deaths. Kil’Jaeden hits pretty damn hard (unmitigated will 2 shot a tank), but also requires significant active mitigation / cooldowns for Felclaws. There were times when I was certain I had Felclaws covered, but still went splat.

The second interim phase didn’t bother us too much, and it was nice to hang out with Illidan. Wicked, Dazzler, and Bio did a great job kiting the fire ball in the last phase… and once people get their head around the Obelisks, it was a matter of getting to the phase healthy and not losing people early that lead to our kill.

Heroic Gul’dan

Heroic Guldan Fidelity

We killed Gul’dan with 15 characters and an average iLvl of 896.6. Now, the publish date as always is the time of the kill… but I’m writing this in August, while the guild is doing battle against heroic Kil’Jaeden. I wonder how much of this I will remember. Oh, yey, the email to Jondy for the screenshot has some notes. UGH. The eyes! The eyes!

Gul’dan was killed in 80 attempts. The mechanic that caused the most problems was the empowered eyes. Looking back through the forum, we had a lot of discussion about getting people straight into those throughout the fight. We used potions for the first eye in phase three, heroism for the next two… and by the time we got comfortable with the phase, Gul’dan was dead.

For tanking, Esta did the bulk of tanking Gul’dan and I picked up the Dreadlords in phase two. By the umpteenth attempt, we had our interrupt rotation down pat, and Esta and I were doing a Fel Sythe / Empowered Bonds of Fel dance as a delightful duet. There’s nothing quite like watching Esta get flung across the room, only to roll back, shrugging off the bonds like nothing just happened. Except for when I forgot to taunt, and it was ever so politely and gently pointed out in the guild forums.

Dazzler did a great job (and Tam too on occasion) in managing the stack / spread and movement of the ranged group for the empowered liquid hellfire and empowered bonds of fel dance. Overall we were a little slow in getting the whole group to participate in breaking people out of bonds in a timely fashion… but we did get there in the end.

As usual, Desu was active in the forums with analysis… which may have tired him out enough by the time we got the kill, when contemplating what to do next (Mythic bosses with a sub-20 roster vs. previous tier Mythic bosses) we got this gem:

My suggestion is we perform an 80:20 analysis, go for the low hanging fruit, and leverage our synergies to 10x the value of our time and attention.

A couple of quick mentions, since the boss kill screenshots record the people physically in the photo… Obzen was unwell and retired early, and Silence and Sarky both missed out on the LAST PULL OF THE NIGHT due to a disconnection.

Which leads me into some of the things that sucked about Heroic Gul’dan. The scaling on this fight was appalling. The difference extra characters in the fight was pretty extreme, and throughout our 80 attempts many were made much more difficult to achieve the required DPS by having less total people in the raid. We all understand that it can’t be harder when you invite more friends to join in… but I’m not sure why Blizzard has such a difficult time getting scaling right at smaller raid sizes.

Finally, we had a raid night spoiled by a bugged Elisande that wouldn’t let us progress to Gul’dan. In the scheme of things, it now seems like a small note, but we really weren’t impressed at the time!

Hopefully I’ve done Gul’dan justice, and now I can focus on at least getting up some pretty pictures and stats for all the bosses we’ve killed since!

Trilliax Heroic

Heroic Trilliax FidelityWe killed Trilliax on heroic difficulty on the same night as Chronomatic Anomaly in 7 attempts. Our average iLvl was 884.5, meaning the previous kill yielded an average 0.6 iLvl increase across the raid.

I think from chat in raid and on discord, Trilliax is shaping up to be one of our favourite encounters from Nighthold. I’m not sure if it’s the cake or the robots, but even with the spinning beams of death which we’ve all seen before, the encounter feels novel and unique.

The two major issues were deaths to Annihilation (we even finally saw it change directions in heroic), and Scrubbers blowing up with Cleansing Destruction. Once we sorted those out, we scored a convincing (if messy) kill, on the very last pull of the night.

 

Chronomatic Anomaly Heroic

Heroic Chronomatic Anomaly Fidelity

We one shot Chronomatic Anomaly on heroic difficulty, which makes talking about our strategy and particular struggles moot. We killed the boss with 21 characters and an average iLvl of 883.9. I will say it was pretty fun having timewarp while the passage of time was fast.

Bonus screenshot, with Shakers taking center stage!

 

go Shakes

Skorpyron Heroic

Heroic Skorpyron Fidelity
We killed Skorpyron on heroic difficulty in the first week of Nighthold opening, with 15 characters and an average iLvl of 879.3. Taking a little longer to kill than a couple of subsequent bosses at 15 attempts, we managed to sneak in the kill while also working our way through normal mode.

We grouped up the Crystalline Scorpids with the Volatile Scorpids and while Esta was keg smashing, exploding kegs and heavy (fire) breathing… we had some AoE in the form of Ret Pally, Fire Mages and Beast master (not survival (never (ever) survival))) hunter ripping them apart. Of course everyone was on the adds, but those specs were the highlights for our composition on our first kill. It’s adorable that even our rogue, Desu, tried to help by flinging a teeny, tiny fan of knives and a poison bomb at the adds.

Aside from dealing with the adds in a timely fashion the key to the fight was dodging Focused Blast, and hiding behind the Chitinous Exoskeleton for Shockwave. We also used heroism on the second Exoskeletal Vulnerability, and prioritised DPS into the boss over adds while vulnerable.

One last factor worth noting, is that even while grouping up the one scorpion that makes the other scorpions go crazy, I (Protection Warrior tank) needed way more external healing than Esta.

 

Il’gynoth Heroic

Ilgynoth Heroic Fidelity

Il’gynoth Heroic was potentially not the easiest choice for a second progression boss (you’ll read later about a boss we one shot (no prizes for guessing which one)). We killed the boss with 20 characters, in 29 attempts with an average iLvl of 848.7.

Once people got used to kiting their adds, and the timing required to have them pass the eye when the raid would likely have time to kill them, the major challenge was burning the Corruptor Tentacles quickly to help minimise the number of Spew Corruption casts to deal with.

Despite the fight revolving around having two opportunities to strike at the heart, DPS was a non-issue, and survival was key. Spreading out for Cursed Blood during the heart phase felt a little cramped to begin with, but quickly felt routine. We used Heroism for the first set of Corruptor Tentacles in the second time in the first phase, since we didn’t need it for the Heart.

We’re looking forward to the day we can kill the heart in one phase.

Nythendra Heroic

Nythendra Heroic Fidelity

Welcome to Legion, everyone! After a huge break from raiding we were revelling in a new expansion and a chance to kill some bosses again. We have been blessed to have some new and returning faces in the guild, and it has been a pleasure to see Heroic, Mythic and Mythic+ dungeons being traversed in guild groups.

We stepped into The Emerald Nightmare with 21 raiders, and thanks to the improvements in logging, I can tell you the average item level for the kill was 841.6. Gearing paths are about as diverse as have ever been, with upgrades from world quests, heroics, mythics, craftables and BoEs all contributing to getting ready for raiding.

On the first night of raiding we started out on Heroic Nythendra, and made steady progress as we started to gel, and figure out some things from beta (e.g., tail lash) didn’t carry over to live. We finished the night with a normal kill, and were surprised just how easy it was by comparison.

On our second night we secured a good, clean kill on our second attempt and moved back into normal mode before our night was rudely cut short by a ‘restart’. Fortunately we called the raid, since servers only came back after some of us were already soundly sleeping.

Sunday night saw us have a rollicking good time clearing normal bosses up to Xavius.

Mythic Hellfire Assault

Hellfire Assault Mythic Fidelity

Even harder than the screenshot boss, or the attendance boss, is the recruitment boss. With the help of a couple of friends of the guild (thanks Aximish and Canaleth) and even cross realm Mythic (thanks Snowbird (even though despite my super clear labeling you thought it was a Heroic run (but still stuck around more than one attempt))), we ventured in to Mythic for the first time in the expansion.

Our gear level had some pretty dramatic differences. All the way from 729 iLvl with a maxed out legendary ring and fully upgraded… to 709 and virtually nothing upgraded. We have 7 raiders that are maxed out, rings and all, and the average item level was 722.7. There’s a huge discrepancy when it comes to luck with gems. A couple of people are sporting 6 gem sockets, with several people missing out altogether. The average number of gems is 2.55. We were only missing one legendary ring which was a nice surprise and there were even a couple of missing enchants. Oops. We only have half the raid fully upgraded, with a couple of outliers at zero upgrades. It can be difficult when 100% of your gear has come from just the last two weeks of raiding, but most people are steadily working their way through upgrading as they can find the time.

As quick note for guildies, if you have the Ask Mr. Robot addon, and it’s out of date… the gear uploaded to the logs won’t have your upgrades and gems loaded properly. Update those addons ;)

So… fun with spreadsheets over… onto the boss. 11 attempts and several questionable recruits from Premade Groups was all it took to conquer the assault. The notable changes to the encounter on mythic is that there is a new siege vehicle, two new mini bosses, and the requirement to split the raid in half to deal with the spread of the adds and having two artillery vehicles at the same time.

The main challenge of the fight was just to keep up with incoming waves. Once you get a little behind, it snowballs very quickly. Finishing off the felcasters at the right times also made a huge difference to the damage going out into the raid.

We ran 4 healers, and while the mythic raid size of 20 has crippled a lot of small guilds, it tuns out to be super convenient for splitting the raid. We burned Mar’tak at the beginning of the fight, but saved Heroism for the first Transporter. We killed Grand Corruptor U’rogg before Grute. It was pretty important that we didn’t push over any Felcasters during the mini bosses, or the damage got excessive. Aside from just getting used to the fight and our DPS increasing, some much improved target switching made a big difference to how easy the fight felt.

After the mini bosses were down there was a slight reprieve, but as the fight was drawing to a close we got a little behind with the waves, but were able to kill enough siege vehicles to get us through to our first Mythic kill.

Archimonde Heroic

Archimonde Heroic Fidelity

Heroic Archimonde was certainly a challenge for a small raid group. On nights where we had 10 or 11 raiders, it felt like we were banging our heads against a brick wall. It seems a shame that after a full expansion of flexible raiding, that the scaling is still so hit and miss, from boss to boss.

We persevered. For the first phases, we employed the ping pong strategy, moving the whole raid after each time Allure of Flames was cast. Getting people to reliably spread for Shadowfel Burst without spreading out excessively was a challenge, and stacking on the flare afterwards was worse.

We organised the raid into a melee group and one with ranged and healers (so our stack point flares made a nice rectangle). For Wrought Chaos, we had both the target and wrought players move into the channel between the flares where noone should be standing. Timing the Shackled Torments breaking took some finesse, but if people were on the ball, was usually managed well.

The difference in raid size was felt pretty dramatically even in the first phases. We were using three healers, and as we got the 12th, 13th or even a luxurious 14th person in the raid, the adds died soooo much quicker, and the first phases became a lot smoother as well.

In the last phase, our strategy was built around trying to get as much uninterrupted time on the boss after the second Nether Banish as possible. Our first Nether Banish group was reasonably small. Our second Nether Banish group was a big as possible, and designed to nuke the add and get out. Ideally, when the second group was out, the boss was super close to 26% and could immediately be pushed over and Rain of Chaos would begin. On our cleanest attempts, the 3 Internals would be grouped and nuked with the legendary DPS ring explosion, and we would have a lot of time with Heroism up, nuking the boss before the 3rd Nether Banish . If done well, Archimonde’s death almost seemed inevitable as the 3rd Nether Banish group went in. If not, it felt as if we’d barely put a dent in Archimonde before the next banish and things started to deteriorate from there.

The last phase requires everyone to spread out 6 yards for Demonic Feedback. The timing in relation to the 2nd Nether Banish would often cause serious havoc as it was a real struggle to spread out that quickly after coming out of the portal, with unleashed torments going off, wrought chaos shenanigans and an imminent Rain of Chaos. Oh yeah, we had hunters kill the Living Shadows. Super important to mention their crucial role.

We would ignore the second set of Infernals (by ignore I mean crowd control or stun them), and if needed send a sacrificial 4th Nether Banish group to die while we finished off the boss. The two biggest issues (aside from just enough throughput to kill the boss) in the last phase were range issues as people spread out too far to avoid standing on each other and people dropping the ball on getting into the Nether Banish.

So finally, on first raid night of our last raid week before our holiday break we had a full 14 raiders. We kept to three healers to maximise our damage throughput in the last phase, and Archimonde fell. 113 attempts. Dead.

Demonstrating why the screenshot boss is the hardest boss… here’s some of us on our Moose mounts.

Moose Mounts

Mannoroth Heroic

Mannoroth Heroic Fidelity

Ouch. After making relatively quick work of Tyrant Velhari, Mannoroth proved to be a much more difficult challenge. We spent quite a bit of time facing the boss towards the center of the platform, with DPS stacked up against the green pillar. The number of times that we had someone feared through the ‘solid’ pillar to their death was extremely frustrating… especially after Blizzard grandly announced they had fixed that bug.

So we swung the boss around, and had two stack points to run between when Felseeker hit. With a lot more room to play with, there was much less risk of people getting punted off the platform by being slow to move on Felseeker. It even helped a little be with the odd person that was really out of position when they were targeted with Felseeker too. The other major advantage is that no one fell through the cracks after a fear.

Not even so much of a disadvantage as an adjustment was that people had to get used to the idea of good positioning for the Shadowforce push back. It is so much more severe than on normal, and a little bit of a shock to the system after many attempts just hoping you didn’t get pushed through the pillar to your unresurrectable death. The people being pushed back are very quickly out of range (rather than getting rammed into a pillar beside a healer) so dodging the Fel Hellstorm and topping people off was required to get through Shadowforce with consistency.

Extra DPS has a subtle, but important influence on the fight. If the imps and the infernals die quickly, they make positioning a great deal easier and leave some capacity to think about other mechanics of the fight clearly. In particular the combination of a Fel Imp-losion followed quickly by Mannoroth’s Gaze had the potential for some burst damage to anyone in the raid. With just a little bit of extra DPS we managed to avoid this altogether. However, some well timed stuns and AoE prevented the imps doing too much damage. Finally, there were some pulls where some very nice healing that outdid the imps burst DPS to save the day.

Of our 119 pulls on the boss, not too many saw us into phase three. Once we had the positioning sorted, got people to spread a little before the gaze… and then run like crazy from the Empowered Felseeker… we were well on our way to a kill. On the 118th pull… we were merrily trucking along. Everything was grand into the last phase, and we lost four people to Empowered Felseeker. We persisted and lost a couple more to the gaze. Still we kept at it, and got a little worried when the first tank went down. The bosses health inching down, towards victory… Finally when Esta went down, the boss had only 65k health remaining.

The next pull we killed him. Dead. Onto heroic Archimonde!