Monday night we assembled the crew and headed for the Blood wing of Ice Crown Citadel. We had made some really good progress at learning the Blood Princes on Thursday and we felt like we had a shot at them.
I didn't put two and two together until we were running Heroic Old Kingdom for the daily but the vampire boss in hOK is none other than Prince Taldaram. He even conjures a Flame Sphere just like he does in the Raid fight.
When you make the Three Princes pull, Prince Valanar yells something along the lines ‘that Naxxanar was merely a setback’. Really, they used that line again. I chuckled. That sounded familiar, so I decided to see what he was talking about. Naxxanar is the big Scourge fortress in Borean Tundra where both Horde and Alliance have a long quest chain that culminates in Valanar's death. So two of these guys we've killed before, what of the third? Keleseth turns out to be first Boss in Utgarde Keep. He's the guy who puts someone in an Ice Tomb. He also is a quest giver in the DK starting zone. So we've seen all 3 of these Bosses as we leveled up. That's pretty cool, but I didn't realize it until now.
Our plan for the Princes was to put me on Valanar, Boston (Blood DK) on Taldaram, and Jagdelf (Survivalist Hunter) on Keleseth. Jagdelf was the 3rd different ranged tank we had used. Our first night we used Neo (Desto Lock) but he wasn't available Monday. Then we used Lakini (Boomkin) but we needed him to grow some roots and do his best tree imitation for us.
One would think a new person in this pivotal role would cause extra wipes for our group, but one would be wrong. Each guy has stepped up to the challenge and attacked it. Serpent Sting did the job keeping aggro on the Dark Nuclei. The Keleseth tank needs 4 Dark Nuclei on him to survive the Empowered Shadow Bolts that he throws out. Jag did a fantastic job.
Our group handled Empowered Vortexes from Valanar very well, and melee did a great job running with Empowered Flame Spheres from Taldaram. Donkatonk (Arcane Mage) is the other guy really on the spot in this fight. His job is to keep the Beach Balls from hitting the ground. They are really called Kinetic Spheres but I like to think of them as Beach Balls. You have to keep them bouncing.
We were handling everything they could throw at us, and then all three dropped. We even got the Orb Whisperer achievement. We excitedly passed out the loot (some DPS plate for Blueshield the Fury Warrior and Healing Robe.) After that was over we started looking for how to get to the Queen's room. On the way someone in the raid realized said ‘did we just one shot that?' Indeed, we had.
We went around to the ramp on the right and made the first pull which looked like a standard 3 pack we had fought before the Princes. Only about 7 to 9 mobs came. It was probably only 7 but it felt like 9. Whatever confidence we had gained over one-shotting Princes was quickly dealt with by the Lich King's forces.
After we rezzed and ran back, we tried the left ramp. That went much better. The trash mobs have this annoying Polymorph:Spider spell. When I got 'spidered' my mobs would run off and try to introduce themselves to Jag. My favorite trash is the Liches. They have an ability called ‘Lich Slap’ which knocks you across the room. Don’t have your back to another group or mobs or she’ll Lich Slap you into them. Put your back to a wall when you tank her.
Boston had me on the Boss and the two us sharing Blood Mirror. He then set up the 'bite' order. In the fight, one of your players gets 'bitten'. They get a massive buff to their DPS. Then after minute they have to bite someone. This continues until everyone is bitten. If there is no one to bite or you don't bite someone in time, you'll be mind controlled for the rest of the fight. Blueshield was kind enough to demonstrate this for us when his bite target died to Fatal Attraction.
Ah, Fatal Attraction. Fatal Attraction is when two players get linked. They have to run to each other and blow up. It took a couple of attempts to figure out Bites and Fatal Attraction without losing people.
Blood Queen also has an air phase where she flies up in the air and starts raining down shadow bombs on everyone. As a Paladin tank, I found this a good time to heal myself and take some pressure off the healers. The Boss is hovering in the air and everyone is spread out taking damage. It would also have been a great time to pop Divine Guardian if I had had a brain in my head to remember it.
Lanathel hits harder than just about any Boss I've seen so far in ICC. My health hasn't yoyoed like that since Heroic ToC. Part of it could be how hard she hits, but some of it, I'm sure, is the stress our healers are under. Damage, both raid and tank is intense. Looking back at my damage in TankTotals it was about 70% Physical and 30% Shadow. So I went with double Stam trinkets.
We had a choice to make at this point. Continue burning attempts on Blood Queen or go to Putricide. We decided to stick with Blood Queen. We would have had to clear Putricide's trash, and we felt like even though Blood Queen was a tough fight, the mechanics were more manageable than Putricide.
We spent the rest of the night working on her. We got through multiple air phases. Our best attempt was about 39% followed by several attempts where we didn't even get her sub 80%. Like the Princes, there is a lot to learn. I have every confidence that we'll get her in time.