We’ve started working our way through the Hard modes in Ulduar. I love how we can ramp up the difficulty and find something that works for our raid group. We can choose the level up risk versus reward.
We’ve knocked out FL+4 (although I wasn’t there, I’m sure we’ll do it again). We’ve taken care of XT-Hard, Crazy Cat Lady (don’t kill the Kittens on Auryia) and Steelbreaker Last.
So last night we start learning Hodir Hard. Hodir Hard is not terribly different from normal from a Tank perspective since the requirement is just a fast kill. You basically do the same things you do when fighting normally, but you really have to ramp up your threat production to the maximum level. Healers can really burn through their mana because it’s going to over quick one way or another.
The challenge is more for your DPS. They have a buff to manage, and they have to be extra careful not to get caught in an Iceblock. You’ll lose too much DPS time getting them out.
Going against the grain of the popular WoW mindset, we actually switched from the Death Knight Tank we had been using on Normal mode, to a Paladin Tank for Hard Mode. I wonder, when Blue says that most guilds are having their Death Knights tank every hard mode, are they only looking at 25 man guilds?
I realize I’m in a guild that just does 10 mans, so I don’t have the experience of what 25 man Ulduar is like, but in my guild, we feel equally confident whether it’s our Death Knight, Paladin or Druid at the helm for Tanking a boss. Didn’t see Warriors in that list? Well, that’s because we only have one Warrior in our raid group, and he’s sporadic in his attendance, and he’s always been DPS. It has nothing to do with the Warrior class. In fact, we have two of our core team leveling up Warriors because they are such a good class for PVE and PVP.
I used 3 pieces of Frost Resist gear, the chest, belt, and boots. Together with my Frost Resist Aura, that put me at 417 Frost Resist, but low on Defense. I had to switch in my Repelling Charge to maintain the Crit Cap (aka Defense Minimum).
With all the Expertise on Ulduar gear, I’ve dumped the Seal of Vengeance glyph. I now have Salvation, Divine Plea and Judgement.
The other change I made was that I put my Darkmoon Card: Greatness in place of my Monarch Crab. Threat is an issue in this fight. The NCP shaman gives a buff called Storm Cloud that the DPS players can pass around that sends their DPS and threat through the roof. If I’m reading my World of Logs report right, my Shaman’s average Lightning Bolt crit was 28k. Lava Burst was hitting in that range as well. My Mage was critting Frostfire Bolts for nearly 30k.
The Buff is essentially the only way you are going to be able to do enough DPS to get him down before the timer is up. My Shaman, Shadow Priest and Mage were all doing over 10k TPS. I was doing about 6 or 7k. The Buff means they are going to pull threat. There was basically nothing I could do about it. The Mage had Mirror Images and Invis which helped. We used Hand of Salvation, Misdirect, and Tricks of the Trade. I still couldn’t hold them off.
So we decided to have our 3 amigos (SPriest, EShaman, and Mage) DPS at absolute max range. Then when they pulled, I would have to taunt to keep Hodir. I never had a taunt resist, so I got Hodir back every time. But between this fight and Thorim, I’m almost convinced to go back to the Righteous Defense Glyph. For Paladin, our Righteous Defense Glyph basically makes it impossible to have a taunt resist.
The only problem with them DPSing from far away was that they had to run pretty far to get onto the snowdrifts for Flash Freeze. At one point in the fight, my Shaman was sitting at 117% threat. Hodir dropped by snowdrifts right next to him, which meant my Shaman had to run into melee range to avoid getting frozen. As Hodir was winding up Flash Freeze, I was looking at Omen, Hodir’s Target and his cast bar. As soon as he was done casting, he changed his target to my Shaman. I slammed my Righteous Defense button and taunted Hodir just in time. Phew!
It took 5 attempts, but we eventually got it! There were two huge upgrades for me that dropped from Hodir Hard, a Mace and a Shield, but neither dropped. We got spell power staff. At least our Priest was happy.
Flush with our success, we decided to try Thorim Hard. I'm usually in the tunnel, but we were really cutting it close. A couple of times, we'd reach Thorim a second or two too late. So we decided to switch me into the Arena and put my Death Knight friend on the tunnel. They usually got through with 10 to 20 seconds to spare.
Meanwhile I was struggling in the Arena. I usually started out well, but towards the end, you get a huge spawn of 3 elites plus non elites. I wouldn't get it under control until either my Mage or Rogue had been killed. We couldn't do Hard Mode with one less DPS.
We got maybe 2 or 3 good attempts at the Phase 2 Hard Mode, but we would lose DPS, or a Tank or a Healer and the raid would buckle and wipe. There is a tremendous amount of Raid damage going in Phase 2 with Blizzards and Chain Lightnings, plus your Tank is getting rocked. Like Gruul, Thorim gets stronger as the fight wears on and hits harder and harder. I ate a 31k melee without having Unbalancing Strike on me. Splat!
We eventually opted to do him Normal.
We also wanted to try Freya Hard. Like Sartharian, this involved leaving her Elders up. We had previously successfully done One Elder and we decided to try two. Each Elder gives her a new ability. The easiest one is Sunbeam. We had defeated that before. Our choice was between Ground Tremor or Iron Roots. Iron Roots requires a DPS switch to kill the Roots quickly. Ground Tremor requires you to stop casting or you'll get 6 second school lock out. We opted for the Iron Roots and killed the Ground Stomp Elder. But we chose poorly. Iron Roots was definitely the one we should have taken out. DPS is switching around so often in that fight between Adds, and Trees that adding another priority was just a bit much.
We ended up having to kill her normal.
We were running out of time, but tried for 4 Minute Ignis. We had done Hodir, we could do Ignis.
4:02, no achievement.
We were frustrated, but we did get another Hard Mode down and got another step on the chain for Algalon. Our previous attempts at Hodir had not been good. Our fastest kill was around 5 minutes. Way off the 3 minute limit for Hard Mode. I was really proud of the way our team came together and mastered the Hard Mode.
Monday we are going for Mimiron Hard, General Hard, and Yogg minus 1 Keeper.