« Archives in December, 2011

Madness of Deathwing 10 Man Normal

We had a strange raiding week this week. After getting so excruiatingly close to a Madness kill the previous full raiding week, we were keen finish off Madness in a couple of nights, since the regular Sunday raid fell on Christmas Day.

We started out well, with a quick trip into Baradin Hold, and smashing the first three bosses in Dragon Soul into itty bitty pieces. We wandered to Hagara and BAM! disconnect. As someone would reconnect, another would go offline. Foolishly, I persisted and assumed that as long as too many people didn’t disconnect at once, the boss would go down easily enough. After a couple disconnect riddled attempts, I was livid, and guildies came back with widespread reports of mass disconnects in Dragon Soul, and especially on Hagara.

So, we jumped back into Firelands for a full steam ahead clear. Bioderm was collecting the last of his Smouldering Essences, and grabbed [Heart of Flame] from Ragnaros to complete his legendary staff (post on that soon!) On the way through we managed to kill Staghelm in a single scorpion phase, burning cooldowns at the end just for the fun of it, further illustrating just how silly the nerfs made that fight.

The following night, and a ticket (or many) and server restarts later, Blizzard had again provided us with a stable Dragon Soul to raid in. We 9 manned Hagara who was surprised at just how efficiently we could dispatch her without any random disconnects. A big thanks to Ianthee for coming in for Ultraxion, Blackhorn and Spine, the momentum we were able to maintain with you in the raid allowed us to get to Madness in plenty of time for a kill.

So with time for three pulls on Madness, we were at full strength and ready to go. We changed our strategy from previous attempts by using only one tank rather than two. Having the DPS to kill each corruption in one impale rather than two gave us a big head start on the overall enrage timer, and allowed us to leave the second heroism until the final phase of the fight.

My favourite aspect of the one tank strategy is the timing of the Regenerative Blood spawns relative to having to burn down the Blistering Tentacles with single target DPS on platforms after Alexstrasza’s. With two tanks, we were often holding onto the bloods for quite a while while the DPS set to work on the tentacles. With only one tank, the extra DPS means you can deal the the tentacles before the bloods spawn, so you can then burn them down at your leisure.

On the final platform (we used Kalecgos) we would DPS the corruption (all of Moordenar (rogue), Estadoug (enh shaman) and Borgthor (arms warrior)) would stay on it as the bolt appeared. In order to have Dambrath’s Ardent Defender available in case of a second impale (after Nozdormu you lose the 20% haste buff (which apprently is a big deal to some DPS classes)) Kalus would throw up a Guardian Spirit on a previous platform. Once the corruption was dead, the bolt obliterated, it was business as usual until phase two.

In phase two with 6 DPS, we only dealt with the one set of adds and then burned down Deathwing’s head from about 15% with heroism. We used our dual paladins and some over zealous DPS to trade agro on the elementium terrors to great effect with Dambrath’s stacks of Tenatus only hitting 3. Everyone had practise with the Dream ability, so the shrapnel was handled well on our kill.

Despite the frustrations with disconnects, clearing Firelands and Dragonsoul with a legendary weapon completed in two nights of raiding was a fantastic effort going into our holiday break.

Spine of Deathwing 10 Man Normal

Finally, in an attempt to sync up our screenshots, we present an action shot on the last plate of the Spine of Deathwing encounter. Of all the enounters in Cataclysm, the gruesome flavour of what we’re trying to achieve has attracted alot of attention. We all get that Deathwing needs to be dealth with, there’s just something sinister about how we get the job done. The screenshot is apt, showing us brutally severing a tendon still clinging desperately to the armor. We’re not just killing a boss, we’re ripping him apart, plate by plate.

We used two tanks for Spine, allowing much finer control of the Amalgamation and rate of blood absorbtion. It also put the fire in the collective belly of our DPS, making the task of hacking through the Burning Tendon in a single nuclear blast that much more difficult. Overall though the fight is about control, as we recently 9 manned the encounter taking two blasts to kill each tendon except for the last with heroism.

Warmaster Blackhorn 10 Man Normal

So our screenshots are a little out of sync lately, this one taken after we parachuted down onto the Spine of Deathwing after dispatching Warmaster Blackhorn.

Warmaster Blackhorn was a distinct improvement over the ‘ol loot ship from ICC. Plenty of competing priorities to keep our DPS busy, and protecting the ship itself with our bodies was a nice touch.

Ultraxion 10 Man Normal

Ultraxion was a more challenging fight than the first four encounters, and it took a little while to get the cooldown rotation down, and the timing for Heroic Will. As far as the DPS check for the encounter, being 6/7H before 4.3 certainly helped and we killed the boss the first time we didn’t have deaths due to failures on the heroic will mechanic (which can be unforgiving).

Our cooldown rotation for Hour of Twilight was

We also had the option of an Ice Block, and Cloak of Shadows. In a pinch Stay of Execution, Last Stand and Shield Block (which is *always* up) worked too, but having a 1 minute Shield Wall cooldown was fantastic.

The picture is heading to the next boss on the ship.

Hagara 10 Man Normal

Our first night in Dragon Soul proved to be quite productive, clearing the first four (of only eight) bosses and having plenty of time to chat with Thrall and protect him from a large number of dragons. The consensus was that the trash before Ultraxion was ridiculous, and while we understand there’s a ritual to protect, it should be something that bears repeating… rather than prompting calls of, “this is stupid” over mumble on our first time in.

Hagara was a fun fight, although we were so good at chaining lightning between conductors a few fellow guildies didn’t appreciate just how cool the zapping was.

All in all it was a fun night, although normal modes could have been tuned a touch harder so we weren’t covering four first boss kills in a single post.