Friday, October 9, 2009

Knocking Out Hard Modes

So Thursday we headed for Ulduar to start working on Hard Modes. We wanted to concentrate on ones we hadn't gotten yet, so we started with Thorim.

Lose Your Illusion

Now Thorim had been a thorn in my side every time we faced him. I was too slow if I was assigned to the tunnel, but if I stayed in the Arena, invariably one of the DPS or a healer would get killed before Thorim came down.

So I took a deep breath and buckled down as we made our pull. I don't know if it's the 232 gear, or if the mobs were nerfed, but they seem to die much faster than ever before. They also didn't seem to hit as hard, so it was a bit more forgiving if I messed up a pick up.

In no time at all, Thorim was jumping down into the Arena. There were still two mobs up, so I laid down another Consecrate and hoped it would hold them. My co-Tank, Boston wasn't down yet, so I taunted Thorim and started working on him.

We made the first transition well, then when Boston was about to get unbalanced, I taunted. I thought I had actually taunted too soon, but I hadn't. We switched off a couple of times. I managed to get myself fried by a chain lightning, but survived. Everyone did a fantastic job and it was over before Boston and I had to start popping cooldowns.

After all the struggles we'd had with Thorim Hard, we one shot it.

That was a huge shot in the arm for our confidence. Next up was Freya.

Knock, Knock, Knock

The best we had done on Freya previously was 1 Elder up. Now we had to do 3. The plan was pretty much like normal. I would handle the adds while Boston had Freya.

Our first attempt, we couldn't' get the mass of flowers down fast enough, and like many Boss fights, once you get behind, it's really hard to play catch up. We decided to go with 3 healers instead of our usual two. Our Boomkin became a Tree and we tried again.

With only 5 dps, we really couldn't assign people to specific mobs for the 3 Elemental wave, so it took a wipe, or two, or three for the DPS to figure out the target switching. What we found worked best was to start on the Snaplasher, then the Stormlasher, then the Water Spirit. We left the Snaplasher and the Stormlasher low, killed the Water Spirit, and then raced to finish off the the two lashers.

The last wave that attempt was the little flowers. We really took our time, but near the end we lost Boston. I ran over and taunted Freya while one of our Druids Battle rezzed Boston. I ended up staying on Freya the rest of the way. We figured once the add waves were clear, we were home free. We figured wrong. The little green seeds HURT, and Ground Tremor HURTS. I honestly don't know how Black and Stark kept us all alive, both were OOM. I told Black to wand the Boss since I had Judgment of Wisdom up, but I'm not sure he could spare the global cooldowns not healing.

It wasn't clean, or pretty, but then again, we weren't going for style points, but achievement points.

I Believe That Fire is Hot

We now lacked only 1 Keeper's Hard Mode, Mimiron. We went over the strategy adjustments, and how to deal with the fire. I was having bad flashbacks of Archimonde.

We had problems right off the bat. After you push the button, Mimiron goes into monologue mode and you can't target him. You have to wait for him to finish. Since I didn't want to risk losing someone while my shield flew towards him (or risk it missing) I opened with a Hand of Reckoning.

The damage is everywhere, and it's intense.

Our first obstacle was getting me through Phase 1. I could handle the first plasma blast without a problem with Divine Protection (aka Bubble Wall). The 2nd and the 3rd were tougher. Ardent Defender is about worthless as a 2nd cooldown against Plasma Blast. I would save me and then I'd die on the next tick. I was really beginning to doubt if I could tank this, given my lack of tools for dealing with Plasma Blast. It was tough battling the thought that someone had a 3 cooldown tank in mind when they built this encounter (Shield Wall, Last Stand, Tier 8 4pc bonus). It would be reasonable to think a Warrior would have his 4pc by the time you start working on the last Keeper's Hard Mode.

But wishing I had the Warrior 4pc bonus wasn't going to help us beat Mimiron.

Our healers were Blackhaus (Disc Priest), Stark (Resto Shaman) and Lakini (our Boomkin turned Resto Druid). We were a little short on external cooldowns. But Blackhaus had confidence in our team. I used Divine Protection on the first, then Boston used his Anti-Magic Shell to help us get through the 2nd. We just spammed healed through the first few ticks of the third before our DPS pushed us out of Phase 1.

Then we get to Phase 2. There's fire, fire, everywhere. Plus now we have to deal with Frost Bombs that will blow up with a huge radius and punt you right back into a Laser Barrage. Bu-bye! Most of our Phase 2 attempts ended quickly.

That's a lot of fire.

I know I'll probably get an email or two about the UI. I'm working on a UI post soon that will detail the UI I use.
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