Trial of the Grand Crusader
Last night, a group of 10 of our raiders stepped into the 10 man hard mode Trial of the Grand Crusade to see what we could kill. Well needless to say, hard mode was a bit tougher than the regular mode, however it was nothing special. After wiping all night on Tuesday on Northrend Beasts in 25 man, I was expecting quite a bit more resistance by the best that The Argent Crusade had to offer, but alas, things just kept dying one after another. We pulled the Northrend Beasts and a few minutes later they were dead. Lord Jaraxxus proved to be our only wipe between the entrance of the instance and Anub’arak, and only because we didn’t switch fast enough to the portals. Faction Champions were a one shot, as was the Twins. Anub’arak proved to be the only challenge of the night, but I will get to that later. I thought I would take a bit of time to discuss the challenges and the differences in the bosses from normal mode to hard mode, and specifically what our guild had to focus on to one shot each of them.
Northrend Beasts Made Simple
From what we saw, the keys to Northrend Beasts was the coordination that it takes to kill the specific adds within the encounter. When it comes to Gormok, it is a fairly straight forward part of the encounter. From a tanks perspective, there are a few things that should be handled differently. First and foremost, your gear set should be a pure effective health set, as he hits considerably harder and having more armor will mitigate the amount of damage taken from the DoT. Also, you will want to taunt off your fellow tank at two stacks. I found that if you count to three after the other tank has 2 stacks, and then taunt, your debufs clear in perfect time to pick up Gormok when the other tank has two stacks. The fight should take no more than two rotations of the tanks. If you find that the first tank has to go through three full tanking cycles, your dps is not cutting it for the Worms, which is the true test of this fight.
Once Gormok is dead and Dreadscale comes out, the second phase of the encounter has begun. We found that it was most effective if both tanks start off on Dreadscale and you have a warlock or hunter on Acidmaw. As for positioning, you should pick up Dreadscale and tank him in place until he drops his first acid cloud. Once this happens back him up just enough to not stand in the cloud. The direction you will want to kite him is from the spawn point back towards the gate that he came from. By the time you get him to Acidmaw, he should burrow into the ground. During this time, ALL dps should be on Acidmaw. We burned down Acidmaw and tanked through the enrage on Dreadscale. This part of the fight is by far the most challenging part of this encounter, as it is the dps / gear check of the instance until Anub’arak.
Phase 3 is basically the same as normal mode with the exception that you do not get the speed debuf when he knocks you against the wall. Because of this, we positioned him a bit different to ensure that we had the most time on target during the stunned part of his phase. We tanked him towards the outside wall and ensured that every member of the raid was between the middle of the room and his tanking position. By utilizing this positioning, you can make sure that every raid member is clumped up on one side of the coliseum, so that they dont have to run as far to start dpsing once he is dazed. This will obviously only work if your entire raid is quick and moving out of the way. Other than that, it was a mirror of the Normal Mode, and an easy P3.
Lord Jaraxxus and his portals
Lord Jaraxxus gave us the only difficulty of the night (with the exception of Anub’arak). This fight is basically the same as the normal mode fight with one very important difference. The portals and volcanoes that he spawns have health bars, and as such should be DPSed down. The longer the portal or volcano is alive, the more adds it will spawn. It is imperative that ALL of your dps switches to the portal or volcano when it spawns. By doing this you can alleviate a lot of raid damage. Once we got the switches down, we only spawned one Mistress, and usually one to two elementals. The rest of this fight is about the same as the normal mode, just more health and more damage. Most of the damage from this fight is AoE damage on the raid, The tank is quite easy to heal, but it is still probably a good idea to save your healers some mana and wear your effective health set again.
The Faction Champions
The Faction Champions fight is the same as the normal mode in every way except for the fact that they hit harder, they have more heath, and they cannot be taunted. The strategy that we employed to beat them was to kill the mobs that would pressure our healers the most. We got a combo of Enhancement Shaman, Holy Paladin, Rogue, Priest, Boomkin, and Mage, and that was our kill order. It is essential that you cleanse as much as possible during this fight, use your Hammer and (if you have it) arcane torrent on cooldown, and freedom /BoP your clothies as much as possible. This encounter is all about focused dps, timely interrupts and crowd control, and focused dps. If you can combine all of those things, the fight should drop free epics for you.
The Twin Val’kyr fight
For the twins fight, we modified our Normal Mode strategy and positioning to take advantage of the damage and the orbs. We had all the of the raid except a tank and a dps get the light essence, and blow up Eydis Darkbane. The light tank and the one other raid member with the dark essence were in charge of absorbing the dark orbs, while the rest of the raid was on the white orbs. We focused down Eydis Darkbane and only swapped if the twins were channeling the light surge. Other than that, its a straight tank and spank. But I did get a juicy little BiS ring from the fight…
I will talk about Anub’Arak tomorrow, as I feel that the fight requires its own post. We had reached Anub’arak with 49 attempts remaining and it took us quite some time to learn the fight and understand the raid composition and mechanics that were necessary for a clean kill. After we got our legs underneath us, the fight is all about coordination and massive DPS. I did get a great little weapon from the tribute chest, however I am not sure how I feel about losing a lot of expertise off of Sorthalis. For now I don’t have any expertise on my gear, so when I have my threat and effective health sets on, I cannot wear my best weapon, however as soon as I pick up the T9 Shoulders, then I can swap back and have some great stats and a killer health pool.
P.S. yes I know I am missing an Enchant, but our guild enchanter’s computer died and he is putting it back together as we speak…
Good luck to all of you on your Trial of the Grand Crusade raids, and I hope to have some good information regarding Anub’arak tomorrow!