I had a pretty good idea about what I was going to do with my evening when I logged into World of Warcraft Monday night. I was going to head to Ironforge and buy the mats I needed to finish the last 5 skill points I needed in Engineering to get me to 440. Then I would craft both the Retribution and Protection Engineering Goggles. After that I would start advertising myself as a Tank for Heroics both in Guild Chat and in LFG. While waiting for a group I’d be doing Sons of Hodir quests in Storm Peaks.
It was a solid plan, and I made it as far as Ironforge. While riding my Charger down to the Auction House, I got a whisper from Cryak. As far as I can tell, Cryak is the Main Tank in Mal Katai, and helps organize and lead our 25 man Raids. He wanted to know if I was available to raid and if I would mind coming as Ret. I told him I’d love to come, but I was honest with about my DPS. It was improving, but don’t expect me to pull 2k. He told me if it was a problem they would sub me out later on. I thought that was pretty fair.
So I turn Dodge around. (Yes, I named my Charger.) A few moments later I’m respeced and ready to go. They summoned me up to Naxxrammas. Names familiar and new flooded my raid frames. I have to admit I was a little nervous. I'm fully aware of what I gave up when I left Mal Katai towards the end of Burning Crusade. Regaining and rebuilding their trust in me is something I'm just going to have to work towards.
As we approached the first boss I got a whisper from Ryken. Ryken is the Guild Master of Mal Katai, and apparently the guy who handles loot in the 25 mans. He asked me if I wanted to gear up as a tank and be a tank for 25 mans once I had the gear to do it. I told him that’s exactly what I wanted to do. He told me to bid on Tank gear. I’m thinking to myself, “Fantastic, but it’s not like I have anything to bid with.” The fact that it was my first run with them, I was sort of treating it like a first run with a brand new guild. I wouldn’t expect any loot on a first run with a new guild, so I didn’t expect any on this run.
We head into the Death Knight quarter, and start pulling towards Instructor Razuvious. I was stunned as I looked at Cryak’s and Daywin’s health bars. I had never seen 30k+ health before. On a Druid, maybe, but these guys were not Druids.
It really helped that I had JUST done this wing in the 10 man with Wichita’s group. We almost didn't do Military that night, but I was really glad that we had.
There was a good discussion between the Tanks and the Priests as they talked about Mind Controlling the Understudies. You get 4 Understudies in the 25 man compared to 2 in the 10 man. I would come to find out that this was Mal Katai’s first foray into the Military Quarter on Heroic. I listened carefully to their discussions and pulled up Maintankadin’s guide to Naxx, and scanned through the bosses. As I’m doing that I’m realizing that is talking about when I tank the encounter, not DPSing it.
It took 3, maybe 4 attempts to sort out everything, especially passing off Razuvious between the Understudies but we got him. Everyone was very excited. I wasn’t going to win any prizes with my DPS, but it was still fun being there, and I looted my first Emblem of Valor.
From there we made our way over to Gothik. This time I was on the ‘Live’ side. Gothik proved to be little trouble for our group. He dropped a Libram of Resurgence. This is an upgraded version of the Libram of Eternal Rest from tBC. When no one whispered Ryken that they were interested, he asked me if I wanted it for tanking. I tried to explain to him that I would use the Libram of Obstruction in most tanking situations. He had a really hard time hearing me over vent, so he gave the Libram to me. I went into my vent settings and turned up my outbound. Ryken whispered me and told me to bid even if I didn’t think I would win because he wanted to know who needed what.
With that taken care of, we moved onto the Four Horsemen. The fight was explained and everyone got into positions. As DPS, we were split up between the two front Horsemen. We had two Holy Paladins tanking the back two along with a fantastic Resto Druid. One of the issues Mal Katai has been dealing with is trying to get a feel for how each fight ramps up between the 10 man and 25 man versions. Some fights feel almost the same between the versions while some fights feel more difficult. Gothik had felt almost the same as the 10 man. Four Horsemen was definitely a step up.
Just like my 10 man group with Heroes we were having problems with one of the ‘Ranged’ tanks dying. And just like my 10 man group, after a couple of unsuccessful attempts, we switched out one of the Ranged Tanks. The other change we made was to not split the DPS, but have all the DPS try to burn down the first Horseman before moving to the second.
This worked out better on both counts. We were able to burn down the first Horseman and make our way through the second. This opened up additional healing resources and the tide quickly turned in our favor.
With the Four Horsemen defeated I received the Achievement for the Heroic: Military Quarter.
Now we faced the deadly Chest boss. Your raid must successfully loot 25 Emblems of Valor before your Raid Leader enrages. I think we just made it under the timer.
We took a short break while people went and grabbed their Frost Resist gear. I had no Frost gear to speak of, but I went back to Dalaran and cut a few gems for people in the raid, and got 4 or 5 skillups to boot!
A few moments later, I was standing face to face with Sapphiron.
I had read on the fight and felt like I had a good conceptual understanding of what I needed to do. But understanding something conceptually and actually executing it are often two very different things.
Our first go at Sapphiron I got turned into an Iceblock. Okay, no biggie. Something happened (I’m not sure exactly what) and the Raid Leader called ‘Wipe’. I ran to the door and waited for Sap to finish off the raid.
We came back and tried again. We got to the first Ice Block stage and I spread out. WHY ARE THE ICE BLOCKS WAAAAAAY OVER THERE!! Bugger, bugger, bugger, I muttered as I dashed towards the Ice Blocked players. Despite Pursuit of Justice working for me, I was just a second too late and got nailed by Sap’s blast. I would spend the rest of the encounter inspecting Sap’s rather chilly floor.
Undaunted by the loss of my considerable DPS, and I’m sure burning with rage to avenge my death, Mal Katai hit Sapphiron with everything they had. I kept my eye on Cryak to see what he did. It looks like the real trick is getting out from the Ice Block and picking Sapphiron back up with out cleaving half your raid. Cryak did it flawlessly.
Progression, Heroic Sapphiron, Two shot.
He dropped a tank helm, and I followed Ryken’s direction and expressed my interest. I figured I had zero shot at it, but I wanted him to know I needed it for future reference. Apparently, I was the only one that bid. They really need to add a feint emote to this game. I was completely surprised and excited. Now I’m the proud owner of a Platehelm of the Great Wyrm.
Yes, it doesn’t have a Meta socket, but it certainly is an upgrade over my Saronite Helm. It’s even better than the Engineering goggles I was going to craft to start the night, and with all the Block Rating it should really help me reach Unhittable.
So now it was down to Mal Katai and KT, Kel’Thuzad himself. We assigned melee DPS into 3 groups. Our main targets would be the Aboms, and then the 3 groups would separate around KT.
We got through the initial rush of Skeletons, Aboms, and Bashees, and then Kel’Thuzad himself entered the fray. I got Ice Blast for a second time and wound up once more inspecting the cold hard tiles of the floor. I think your maid missed a spot, KT.
Mal Katai battled on though, and soon the Guardians of Icecrown were summoned. We lost our offtank, but Cryak picked them all up. You couldn’t even see Cryak anymore, he was surrounded in a mass of Crypt Lords maws. Somehow our healers were able to keep him up and Kel’Thuzad was defeated. Mal Katai had completely cleared Naxx25, and Kel’Thuzad was a one shot to boot. Amazing job!
We rezzed the dead, and passed out the loot. KT actually dropped the tanking axe, Last Laugh. I whispered Ryken that I was interested, but also told him that it really should go to one of the other tanks. He agreed, and it went to Cryak.
I was so happy that I had gotten an invite and had been there with them to experience their first kills of 4 Horsemen, Sapphiron, and Kel’Thuzad.
I know I’ve got to keep working on my Tanking gear, and I need to work on my Ret gear as well. I know they won’t always be able to take me as a Tank, so I need to be ready with my offspec gear. Man, Dual Specs can’t get here soon enough. I leveled at my own pace and I couldn’t help the two weeks I took off just after Christmas.
Bottom line, I was back raiding with my friends last night. I didn’t realize how much I had missed that. Thanks for the invite guys. I hope we can do it again real soon.