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The Spirit Kings 10 Man Normal

The Spirit Kings is a fun fight, with a little randomness thrown in with the differing order of the bosses. While there aren’t too many guilds sitting on 3/6 progression through normal Mogu’shan Vaults, I was pleasantly surprised to kill the boss on our 9th pull, having learned the fight with 9 toons while we changed our¬†personnel.

We used the widely recommended 1 Tank, 2 Heals and 6 DPS. I was relieved when I queued for Heroic Brewery before the raid and [Carbonic Carbuncle] dropped to complete my DPS set. Kalus also brought the pain for some shadowy goodness.

Qiang the Merciless is a nice simple start to the fight and a test on how good everyone can keep stacking while moving. It is probably the single least forgiving mechanic, as all the others combined aren’t as difficult to deal with.

Meng the Demented’s shout can be a little painful, as the desire to stack up so that you can AoE and immediately get back to the fight conflicts with some of the other mechanics. Interrupting or not for Crazy Thought was a little more straightforward than expected too.

Subetai the Swift’s Volley was pretty easy to avoid, and we just spread out for Rain of Arrows and broke out those pinned.

Zian’s Undying Shadows were mowed down by ranged DPS, and everyone seemed to enjoy kiting their own little ball around.

Towards the end of the fight things would get a little more hectic as the various mechanics that  carried over had to be dealt with at the same time, but overall certainly the easiest boss to learn so far.


Gara’jal the Spiritbinder 10 Man Normal

Gara’jal has a tight enrage timer, but as usual we resisted going to the two healing route straight away. While our DPS got familiar with the Spirit Totem and the Spirit World, we could heal through more severe Voodoo Doll damage, and have an additional healer available as we figured out the quirks with the Voodoo Doll timing.

As we got comfortable with the mechanics, we had Jondayla and Noondez healing and Kalus went DPS. There was some great communication over mumble about who had Voodoo Doll and the DPS switched as required. While we assigned two groups of three DPS, two ranged as priority for the Spirit World and a melee as backup, there were a number of times both ranged DPS in a group were dolled but the team switched on the fly really well.

We had one very close wipe, with the boss having well under 1 million health. At that point we took some time to (arguably over) analyse how the buff from being healed in the spirit world worked. We found that if DPS could give themselves a significant heal just before popping back up it would help in a could help in a couple of ways. Firstly, once the healers had healed everyone to full, they could leave quickly to help with healing in the regular realm. We found that healers staying in too long would mess with the Voodoo doll timing and rotation as well. Secondly, the DPS could refresh and grow the DPS increase buff. Lastly, having DPS stay in the realm for significantly longer meant there was a lot less overall damage into the raid from Shadowy Minions.

With those tweaks, the enrage timer was much easier to beat and we killed Gara’jal on our next well executed pull.

There is a great temptation on Gara’jal to eek out every last bit of performance, which can lead to deaths. DPS wanting to grab that last minion before popping back up, Tanks being over enthusiastic with minions at the expense of their own Severer of Souls and healers wanting to stack up Spiritual Innervation sky high can lead to deaths. Once the mechanics are well understood and a kill is in sight, you just need the discipline to “stick to the plan, chums”.

Feng the Accursed 10 Man Normal

The idea of using a bosses own abilities against them is great, but there are a few tricks to getting it all to work as expected.

Firstly, the most obvious one is that the Shroud of Reversal must be cast on another player. I was really looking forward to being able to place it on myself, since coordinating things inside my own brain is easier than coordinating with other people.

Secondly, the Shroud of Reversal is a channeled ability. If you time it so that you hit the ability while your target is stunned, it will stop immediately which can cause a little confusion later on. It’s also important to note that if you channel the ability with no result, the ability doesn’t go on cooldown.

Lastly, if your target doesn’t get hit by Lightning Fists, you can’t mimic that ability. Everything else is unavoidable, but it’s important that if you want to steal Lightning Fists, that you assign someone to get hit by it. We used Noondez, since often the Lightning Fists shockwave would appear to sail right over Dambrath’s head.

So with the Shroud of Reversal understood, you can give your healers a break from compensating with a massive amount of healing when Nullification Barrier isn’t up.

We had ranged and heals stack up right in the middle of the room, and faced Feng along the edge of the circle. Dambrath would run to the center (RUN TO THE CENTER!) and drop Nullification Barrier for the first Epicenter. I’d grab Lightning Fists and stun for the second and repeat. There wasn’t an attempt yet (including our second (one shot) kill) where that worked perfectly (either from no one being stunned, or the ability on cooldown) and our healers would provide the healing to get through an Epicenter with no assistance.

As soon as the second phase started, we blew Heroism and launched into the boss. Dambrath dropping the Nullification Barrier to absorb the Wildfire during the first and third Draw Flames worked well, and with Heroism we avoided a fourth. With increased gear, I suspect we should be able to save heroism for the last phase for our third kill. Shroud of Reversal is fantastic for Flaming Spear as a damage increase, but I’m yet to be quick enough to steal Wildfire Spark from anyone.

In the last phase the timing of stacking up for Arcane Velocity and then spreading out for Arcane Resonance caught us out a couple of times, but once we were more aggressive with spreading out before the next resonance we put Feng to rest. When you have someone with Arcane Resonance during Arcane Velocity, they need some serious heals, and we had some great examples of that while we were working on the boss.

The Stone Guard 10 Man Normal

Welcome to Mists of Pandaria, everyone! We managed to get the team up and running ahead of schedule and have a peek into Mogu’shan Vaults during the opening week.

Our combination for The Stone Guard was Amethyst, Jasper and Jade. For some reason (even though a quick google search should help) I could not grasp that Jasper was associated with the colour red. Until I made Jasper my focus target, my brain almost exploded every attempt.

Our positioning strategy was to have Dambrath tank two guardians, and myself one. Each time the single guardian begain to petrify, we would trade targets, with the highest energy of the pair being tanked by itself. The taunt timing had a reasonable learning curve, particularly when the single guardian started to petrify at the begining of the encounter. You need to get that puppy a friend, fast.

Aside from guardians overloading without petrification, the other major source of deaths was Jasper’s chains. To deal with both the chains and amethyst pools, we grouped up the ranged and healers into a tight pack. Each time a pool spawned under them, they would move (left, left, left, left, back, right, right, right…) and we would walk the two bosses down the length of the room, turning at the end. When a ranged DPS or healer was chained to Carboxylate (Esta’s DK), they would cuddle up to him for the rest of the encounter. We had some fun experimenting with breaking the chains during Jasper’s petrification but the variable time between starting petrification and overloading caused some pretty spectacular deaths.

Once the taunt timing was sorted, people moved quickly for chains and the amethyst pools, we scored our first kill in Mogu’shan Vaults.