Friday, November 13, 2009

Heroic Faction Champions

We had the ‘good’ problem of more raiders than spots last night. I say it’s a good problem because it’s certainly better than not having enough raiders for your team.

Boston asked for volunteers to sit, and I thought about it, but I knew we were doing Heroic ToC10. I wanted to be in the raid and as one of our geared tanks; I thought I would be needed. Not only that, but if I sat, the team would miss out on my lovely singing voice and vent, and I’m sure nobody wanted to miss out on that.

As an aside, I’m been banned from singing on at least three vent servers. I feel sort of like the guy in the Cantina Scene in Episode IV. “You just watch yourself, we’re wanted men. I’m been banned on three Vent servers!”

Annnnnnnnnnnnyway, we two shot Beasts and three shot Jarraxxus. All night it seemed like I was having threat issues.

Let’s talk about threat for a second. For the entire expansion, the only time I’ve had threat issues as a Paladin is on gimmick fights like Malygos and Hodir where the DPS is getting some ridiculous buff. In a normal fight, I have no problem keeping a very large threat lead. Normally the next closest person will be at around 65 to 70%.

That’s started to change in ToC, especially early on the in the fight. The main culprit seems to be our Destruction Warlock, although our Hunter can ride my threat as well

I don’t know enough about Locks to even guess what the problem is. I can tell what the problem is not though; it’s not a player skill issue. Our Warlock is a really strong player. He knows the encounters and strats backwards and forwards. He’s the kind of guy that can fully explain to you not only his role, but also what every other person in the raid should be doing. I would bet he’s putting every bit as much research into maximizing his personal contribution to the DPS team. I don’t know Corruption from Conflagrate but I bet his 3/17/51 spec is EJ tested, EJ approved, with all the appropriate threat reducing talents.

Hand of Salvation seems to help, but there are many times I want to Salv him and he’s out of my range.

“General Calrissian, our tanks can’t repel aggro gen of that magnitude!”

After Beasts and Jarraxus, we came to our current nemesis, the Faction Champions. Two weeks previously, have we taken on these guys, and verily, it has come to pass, that twice they have smackedeth us down.

The enemy team consisted of a Boomkin, Holy Paladin, Enhance Shaman, Rogue, Mage, and Priest. I think the Priest was Disc because he kept casting Penance.

The plan was to have Blue (Warrior) go Prot and lock down the Holy Paladin. Boston (DK) would do what he could to keep the Rogue off our squishier teammates. We’d rotate crowd control like Cyclones from Lakini and Hexes from Stark (Shaman) on the Enhance Shaman to help our DPS escape. We would try to blow up the Priest, and then start on the other DPS.

Our first attempt, the Priest never got below 80%. It was pretty much what we had seen in our other attempts. On Heroic, the Faction Champions get a trinket and are immune to Taunts.

The next attempt we sent in Danath (Warrior) to fear. The Faction Champs all blew their trinket right from the get go. I popped Wings and laid into the Priest with my Ret DPS. Between Arcane Torrent, Hammer of Justice and Repentance, I was able to stop 3 heals from going off.

More so than just about any other fight, I really have to fight tunnel vision on Faction Champs, but at the same time I need to “stay on target”.

This is also a fight where you notice your own contribution much more than you notice what everyone else is doing. I saw where my Cleanse got Blue out of a sheep so he could get back on the Holy Paladin. I saw where my Hand of Protection saved Blackhaus (Priest) from being killed by the Rogue. I know the rest of the team was using every single one of their abilities to help us try to win this encounter; it’s just that I didn’t see what they were doing or I would tell you all about it.

This time the Priest started to go down, but we must have run out of interrupts because she started to get some heals off. Then she dropped into Execute range and we got her. One Faction Champion down. I glanced up at my raid frames. We were still intact, a good sign.

We changed to the Enhance Shaman, and we were able to burst him down. I checked the Raid frames again. We were down Neo (Warlock) and Ofn (Rogue). Two for two. I figure even if we buckle at this point, we’ve made really good progress in this attempt.

We chose the Boomkin next. We got him down, but it had been costly. We had lost Black (Priest). Lakini (Druid) was Johnny on the spot with a Battle Rez. Okay, so I did notice SOME of the things other people did.

Now it was the eight of us remaining against the Rogue, Holy Paladin and Mage. We went after the Rogue next. He was tricky using Shadowstep to get away from us.

Both our healers were running dry. I switched Stark’s blessing from Kings to Wisdom and waited until Black was completely OOM and hit him with a Lay on Hands. Now I realize 1,950 isn’t a lot of mana, but it was about 1900 more than he had.

We got the Rogue down finally and worked over the Mage. Then all that was left was the Holy Paladin who was so OP that he continued to cast in the air as Boston Death Griped him over to us. Darn, OP Paladins. He popped his Bubble but Blue (Warrior) was ready to take care of that problem.

The crowd roared as the last Faction Champion went down. There wasn’t the exultant cheer in vent you normally get with a new Boss kill. I imagined everyone slumping in their chair and breathing a huge sigh of relief. We had done it. Faction Champion Heroic was down.

We made a couple of pulls on Twins to see the differences. Raid damage is just ridiculous. We tried a couple of different strats but nothing seemed to work well for us.

We decided to extend the Raid ID. While there are some upgrades from the first three bosses for people, we’d like to try to clear the place, maybe before 3.3.

Boston also made what I feel like is a smart move of dialing us back to just two raid nights. He doesn’t want people to get too burned out on raiding right now. We’ll take an extra night off and be ready to hit Ice Crown “full throttle” when it opens.

I think my initial guess of 11/17 was probably too optimistic. It looks like the loot tables are still being finalized so it could be another couple of weeks before it drops.
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