So Monday night, Dominion set it's sites on Lady Vashj. Vlad (GM) had told us that she would only be taking 2 tanks to the encounter. It didn't take me long to figure out I wasn't going to be one. I went ahead and made the macro you need for passing Tainted Cores, but just to show you my frame of mind, the macro was named 'Useless'.
First of all, I'm the newest tank in the entire guild. I can't imagine the drama that would have been caused if I had been chosen over a tank who had been in the guild longer. Another factor, and one I wouldn't learn about until after the raid, was that one of our Warriors, Kee, had already been in on a successful kill and knew the fight. I had never been in a group to even seriously attempt her.
It's not in any way unusual for a guild to take only two tanks when going for a first kill on Vashj.
I was talking to a friend of mine (Raydz) about the situation, explaining to him that I really wanted to see the fight. I have a feeling that we will only kill Vashj once or twice and return our focus to Tier 6 progression.
Raydz made the crazy suggestion that I offer to spec Holy for the night, just to see the fight.
The moment came and Vlad whispered me to ask how I felt about not going. She could have just said "I'm the Raid Leader, this is what's going down", but no she whispered me and said "You going to be okay with this?"
I thought that was pretty cool of her to do.
So I offered to spec Holy, and she took me up on it.
My goodness this was a crazy fight. The first phase wasn't very difficult at all. I was one of two Paladins in the raid. Our main contribution to Phase 1 is keeping the Warrior tanks with Blessing of Freedom when they get rooted.
Then there is that odd pause when she transitions to Phase 2. The Elementals start spawning, but up top, it's pretty quiet. You sit there watching your timers and waiting. It's like a calm before the hurricane.
Then all hell breaks loose. Naga coming from all directions. Fen Striders lumbering through the raid. Locations being called.
"Naga from the south!" "Tainted in the East"
Lightning ripped through the raid as Vashj tried to be Emperor Palapatine.
The point of Phase 2 is to shut down the 4 Shield Generators that are protecting Vashj.
"Han will have that shield down, we have to give him more time!"
It what became a predictable sequence. The Fen Strider would get pulled away from it's designated kiter. Then we'd start leaking elementals into Vashj from somewhere.
We improved through the night, generally handling the first Fen Strider well but losing the second. It seemed we were waiting too long to call for DPS on the Fen Strider. One Fen Strider would go down, but the next had already spawned.
We went from getting no Generators shut down to getting almost 3 shut down by the end of the night, but that was as far as our progress would take us. If we can get through Phase 2, I think we can get her.
After the raid, I asked Vlad if I should go back to Prot or stay Holy to try Vashj again the next night. She let me know that they would only be taking 7 healers the next time (we had 8 this time), to try to squeeze in one more DPS. She went into more detail on why she picked herself and Kee for the tanks for tonight. She was leading the raid, doing assignments, etc. and Kee had successfully tanked Vashj for another guild so he knew what to do, not only from theory, but from actual practice. She told me that if I could make a case for a 3rd tank, she'd listen, but it would have to be a good case.
Instead my mind started working forward to all the fights in Black Temple. There aren't many (any?) fights were you need more than 2 tanks. I was getting very concerned.
Every guild I've ever joined, I've had to convince them, not only of my own skill, but also of the viability of Paladin tanks. I had to do it with Heroes. I had to do it with Mal Katai. I'm thinking I'll have to do it here. This idea was further solidified in my mind when I wasn't used to tank much in the SSC run earlier.
I've heard of just about every way guilds can use and abuse Prot Paladin. What I was seeing in my head was that I was going to be a 'hired gun' to get them through Mt. Hyjal and not used for much else.
This was all swirling through my head as I voiced my concerns to Vlad. She did her best to explain herself to me. She was calm and rational, and frankly pretty gracious.
I was not.
Vlad explained that she thought I was capable of any tank role. "I know you could tank Vashj" were her exact words. Then she added "I'd love to put a Prot Paladin on Gorefiend". I just needed to be patient.
I was feeling a bit sheepish.
She explained she saw me as something of a kindered spirit, a raider who loved to raid, and didn't want to be left on the sidelines. "I hate sitting too, that's why I lead the raids".
At this point the predominant thought in my head was "Let's see Honors, it's taken you just about a week for you to make a total @$$ of yourself to your new guild leader, and officer corps. Good job! That's got to be a record or something."
She left it out there that she really didn't have anyone else she was comfortable with leading raids, but she'd be open for someone to "step up". The hint was not lost on me.
I did what damage control I could manage and headed off for the night.