10 mans are serious business
While I have some great ideas for guild management posts regarding some of the things our guild has gone through in the past few weeks, I wanted to talk about hard modes while it was still fresh in my mind. There has been a lot of chatter going around the internet about blizzard and their lack of ability to create difficult content, and that the hard modes they have created are a joke. While I understand the elite complaining about the lack of a “challenge” because they still have Sunwell in their minds, my opinion is that blizzard did a good job of balancing difficult with obtainable and “working as intended.” The concept of wiping for weeks on a boss before getting it down is outdated and unnecessary.
My 10 man stepped into ICC last night, down one person from our Kingslayer run, so that we could run two groups this week. In the end, we are a 25 man guild, and the purpose of 10 mans is to learn the encounters and get gear to defeat 25 man encounters. With this goal in mind, 20 people in an instance is better than 10. I had read a lot of information on MainTankadin and other websites about the challenges of hard mode content, how this boss was a one shot, and that boss was kind of hard. Well I have to say that after last night, Crypt Friends or almost any other guild in the world, is not Exodus, Vodka, Blood Legion, or Paragon. We are a very talented bunch of players who is still sitting in the top tier of guilds around the world, however things dont seem to come as easy to us. These encounters are very, very challenging and should not be taken lightly.
For all of the fights I am about to talk about, in case you were wondering I was wearing a Full Effective Health set, buffed to 56k with 38k armor in a 10 man.
Hard Mode Lord Marrowgar
Facing our first hard mode of the new instance was exciting. Fortunately we are a week or two behind the best, so we knew a great deal about the fights and how we need to execute them. On the first pull, it was quite evident to me that I still out gear at least Lord Marrowgar Hard Mode. I was not getting hit that bad and saber lash tickled between me and the other tank. Furthermore, the flame patch damage was nothing that scared me or my counter part. The same cannot be said for our health challenged healers and dpsers.
We found early on what others have conveyed about this fight. The hardest part of the fight is surviving the Bone Whirl phase, including breaking out bone spikes as marrowgar flies at you like a Barbarian in Diablo II. For us, it took a few different attempts at positioning to figure out what we wanted to do. In the end we settled on a tactic for P2 and began to execute. We had a few sub 10% wipes which were frustrating, before finally killing him and collecting our first set of heroic epics.
As we were taking with two paladins, we had a distinct advantage with respect to cool downs. One of the things as a tank that you can do to help mitigate the damage during phase 2 is to save your DS/DG for when one of your healers gets spiked, and marrogar decides to whirl over that spike. When we started to mitigate that damage, as well as using every other trick in the book including BoP and Sac, we saw progress and proper execution. The key from a positioning stand point is to ensure that everyone is in range of everyone else, so that spikes can be dpsed down, and people can be healed by all your healers.
Hard Mode Lady Deathwhisper
One hard mode was down, and we had our game faces on. Lady Deathwhisper was a step up on normal from Marrowgar and we did not expect anything less from heroic. We were right. While it took us more time to do Marrowgar than it did to do deathwhisper, it was still a difficult fight and I think our raid was more prepared for some of the tweaks. We started off trying to do the Juggernaut strat (the video which was on MMO-champion), however we found that it was really unnecessary and not plausible to tank the adds on the boss with out death grips. Two pally tanks and long cooldown interrupts means casters stay put.
We settled on doing phase 1 exactly the same way we did it in normal. The next two surprises came with the mind controls and adds abilities. On our first attempt our ret paladin got mind controlled in the middle of the room and proceeded to one shot three people with a Wings / Divine Storm. CC on MCs was fixed real quick after that one. The second thing that we noticed was different was that when the adds transformed, some of them exploded for tons (read 35k) damage. We lost a few melee to this.
Once we got the adds under control and we transitioned to phase 2, we realized two things. First we now know why Juggernaut tanked her on the stairs. An add spawns periodically on the stairs and has to be tanked or it will run around killing people. Secondly the boss is taunt immune! Our strategy, which will more than likely not work for 99% of guilds was for me to start off on the boss and the first add. At three stacks our off tank started building threat. When I got five stacks, I bubbled them off and tanked for another minute or so. At which point the other tank overcame my threat and tanked the same manner, 5 stacks, bubble, 5 more stacks.
At this point we had such a threat lead that it was no longer an issue. All we had to do now was kill the boss and avoid the ghosts, which are on steroids compared to the normal mode. When the touch a player the explode for 15k AoE damage. We collected our shiny purples and proceeded to the “HARDEST” fight in the instance (dripping with sarcasm).
Is there such a thing as Hard Mode Gunship?
Honestly, I dont even think it warrants any discussion beyond this. Hard Mode gunship is a loot pinata, and is no more difficult than the normal one. The boss hits harder, and you should retreat after every mage is killed, however it is still a joke.
Hard Mode Deathbringer Saurfang
This was by far the most difficult fight so far in the instance, not because the mechanics were different or there were new and exciting elements to the fight, but simply because of the amazing amount of RNG that is thrown out on this fight. Ragingsoul said it best on the 10 man Deathbringer thread:
…we tried him too, and yes, it’s quite hard and inconsistent from try to try. some tries he had a mark really late, sometimes, even with everybody spread out, he gains 30 BP instantly. quite annoying.
The problem with this fight is that you can go into the soft enrage with one or two marks. In our experience, two marks is bad, one is good. We had attempts where our first mark was out at about 65%, and we had attempts where our first mark was out at 40%. Either way, the burn from 30% to 0% is a very tight dps and healing check. If you get someone with Blood Boil and Mark, they are going to drop fast and hard. We countered that with BoPs on anyone who got a Blood Boil in Phase 2. Other than that, it was a lot of RNG, and we had a lot of wipes due to a death in the sub 5% range where healing just gets too intense.
I don’t want to spoil this fight for too many of you, because I think it is something you should learn on your own, how to use your cooldowns and deal with the mechanics. Each raid will have different utilities which will benefit them, and they should use them to the best of their abilities. To all of you who are attempting hard modes this week, good luck and remember to have fun, because sometimes we forget its just a game.