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!

Kilrogg Deadeye Heroic

Killrogg Deadeye Heroic Fidelity

Kilrogg Deadeye was killed on our third attempt on heroic difficulty. Our first attempt we had issues with extra terrors. Rending Howl is the destroyer of raids, and with more than one terror up it is very difficult to prevent. The second attempt we were cruising until about the 50% mark. We had a some issues with multiple heart seeker hits combined with a well timed Death Throes and we were toast.

Fortunately, the third attempt was back to our normal execution and we scored a kill. We used Esta to tank the boss full time as in normal difficulty. Fortunately, the Fel Corruption was able to be kept in check with our regular strategy. For each Vision of Death we send in one healer and two damage dealers. When the healer comes out, they can stand on the melee pile to clear the stacks of Fel Corruption. Failing that, I was able to out range the terror exploding on death to avoid Fel Rupture and the 30 stacks of Fel Corruption it applies.

Three new bosses on heroic mode in one night was a great way to end the raiding week.

Hellfire High Council Heroic

Hellfire High Council Heroic Fidelity

Hellfire High Council was another kill on our first attempt on heroic difficulty. Esta tanked Dia, while Borg tanked Jubei and Bloodboil. After killing these bosses on normal several times, heroic difficulty feels like paying just a little extra attention will make things go like clockwork. Raiders were practiced at laying reap puddles, dodging Jubei’s swords and taking it to the face like a hero when Bloodboil decides to fel rage.

Getting the bosses to 30% health one after was pretty well executed, with maybe just a touch too much damage into Dia to be comfortable. Bloodboil went down very quickly, and Jubei was pretty much bang on 30% as he died. Jubei went down quickly, and the healers didn’t look the least bit bothered by his windwalk. After we popped heroism, Dia got blown to bits, and Mark of the Necromancer come close to getting out of hand.

Our second new kill for the night. Onwards to our third…

Kormok Heroic

Koromok Heroic Fidelity

Heroic Kormok was killed on our first attempt with our group of 14. Nothing about the fight felt much different than normal, although we were caught out at the end of the fight by the accumulating mechanics.

In normal, you only have to deal with the empowered mechanic associated with the pool Kormok recently took a paddle in. In reading the heroic guides for the fight, I had a little disconnect and took the importance of pool order as read.  We quickly realised in Heroic that we were still getting dragged during grasping hands… However, that didn’t prevent a collective brain fade on the third pool when the empowered explosive runes came out and the boss was nearly dead. With two thirds of the raid dead, we were able to comfortably finish off the boss for a satisfying one shot.

My understanding used to be that normal and heroic modes were mechanically identical, with only tuning being changed. So paying attention to any quirks between modes will serve us well for future bosses.

Iron Reaver Heroic

Iron Reaver Heroic Fidelity

Iron Reaver went down after 27 pulls, with 23 of them being on the night of the kill. We had a raid of 14, and after some time getting through 11 normal mode bosses, the gear level through the raid is the most even it has been in quite a while.

Not the most mechanically challenging fight, it did take a little while (and could still use improving) to get the positioning right. We tried to have everyone as close to the boss as possible, while still staying spread enough not to compound unstable orb damage. There’s nothing quite like watching someone die during pounding because they are out of range of Tranquility. Kal, the master of all, swapped specs again to Holy for an extra cooldown in the form of Divine Hymn. Esta and I had lots of fun managing artillery, since the timing gets a little awkward at moments.

Outside of some silly deaths, we didn’t have too much of an issue with the second phase. If we had everyone up, the bombs were dealt with without incident.

A quick note on bananas. Blizzard, in their infinite wisdom, have made a terrible change to our favourite toy. [The Golden Banana], on transition to the toy box, developed a neon blue glow. So no longer will we use this ‘golden’ banana, but with due restraint and respect for bag space, shall fling the [Magic Banana] instead.

Hellfire Assault Heroic

Hellfire Assault Heroic Fidelity

Hellfire Assault was a little bit of a shock to the system on day one of Hellfire Citadel. Sure it’s a great way to develop a bond between a new tanking pair, as the waves of adds just piled up, and berserker after hulking berserker crushed us into dust. Esta and I barely had time to enjoy watching Hagrim swing his mighty two handed weapon as the stout dwarf conceded that his schedule couldn’t sustain him through our assault on the citadel.

After a number of pulls, we yelled, “this’ll be nerfed”, and switched to normal mode. To say the difference between normal and heroic modes was like night and day is an understatement. It might be more like the difference between a nightmare and sipping your favourite beverage, in your favourite outfit, with your favourite people in your favourite climate. All of a sudden there was no need to single target, since the adds just exploded. As if in one last hurrah, Hagrim was a divine storm so bright it could not be eclipsed by mages of fire or newly buffed frost DKs. It was magnificent, and all too soon… it was over.

So the boss was nerfed, not just once, but twice while we tackled normal mode bosses. When we returned to Heroic Hellfire Assault, we three healed with Kal turning purple (and heads!) for a raid of 14. The extra damage more than paid off in reduced healing as we could more easily get through the high priority adds (vehicles and felcasters) and clean up berserkers before the slam debuff got out of control.

We started the fight with heroism, and got Mar’tak out of the way as quickly as possible. Then the rest of the fight boiled down to getting through the adds fast enough that the fight remains under control. It was so hectic towards the end of the fight, that the kill took a few of us by surprise. In total, it was 19 attempts for a satisfying kill.