I don't often get time to play much on the weekends - family commitments, time with the spouse, and my other two geek-related time consuming hobbies (Magic: the Gathering and Dungeons and Dragons) combine to form just about the ultimate WoW blockage on the weekends.
Last weekend rolled around with no major plans for Saturday afternoon, I figured I had a good chance to get something done. I haven't had a chance yet to go in to the Icecrown Citadel raids, illness and houseguests had prevented me from having a chance to do ToC last week, and the weekly raid quest was for Lord Jaraxxus's head, so I decided to try to put together an impromptu run for ToC10. Encouraged by the fact that we had cleared it last week, I was hopeful to get a run in before dinner plans with the wife, and started putting a group together about 2:00.
Luckily for me, the two friends that have been my co-leaders for the raids weren't able to get into a ToC10 earlier in the week, so their mains weren't saved, and another guildie who has been bringing her healer almost every time was able to come, so we had most of the core tanks and heals we brought previously. We filled in with one pugged healer and 3 pugged DPS and set off. It took us until after 2:30 to get it all together, but it worked! The breakdown:
Bear (me!) and DK
2 Holy Paladins and 1 Disc/Holy Priest
2 Hunters, 1 Warrior, 1 Rogue, 1 Enh. Shaman
I was hoping for 3 ranged DPS. Lord Jaraxxus is a little easier with more ranged DPS - there's less need for melee DPS to switch to Mistresses, and those pesky Infernals die that much faster - and gives you more chances to survive issues with Anub. I was confident that this would work, however, so we ran with it.
The Northrend Beasts!
Everyone was familiar with this fight (even though one of the pugs had only seen it on 25-man), so it went fairly smoothly. Gormok went down like the chump he is - I started with him, the other tank taunted off of me, I taunted back... I think that was the last time I taunted until he had barely 30k health left. We lost one of the hunters during the jormungar portion... so when the first worm fell, the other tank picked up the remaining one, and I shifted out and battle-rezzed him. Druids cheat so hardcore. Nobody got hit by Icehowl's charge, so he was easy. One down, 4 to go.
It's difficult, on our server, to pug into good groups for ToC. One of our pugs commented at this point, "finally got a good group!" When everybody knows what they are doing and most of them are geared well for the instance, things tend to go well! :)
We moved on...
A little stategery and we're ready to go for the next boss. Jaraxxus started out normally, although it took a little long to drop the first Mistress - I don't think the melee DPS switched to her right away, but once they did she fell quickly. The infernals came next, and this is where we started to get into a little trouble. It was my fault mostly, I think, for not marking which infernal to focus on. They're already difficult to really hold aggro on (at least for me... maybe I'm doing something wrong...) and without either excess ranged DPS or me marking a clear target it took too long to down them and they ran too wild near the melee, did too much damage, overstressing the healing. There were still one or two of them up when the second Mistress came.
Things got a little crazy after the second set of infernals came. We were already behind due to the craziness of the first round of adds, and at some point, I forget exactly when, the DK, the other tank, went down. I immediately had to stop what I was doing, of course, and pick up Jaraxxus, trying my best to keep the adds aggro'd on me. We lost a couple other folks - three or four in total - but beyond me trying to keep ahold of them we ignored the adds the rest of the way and we'd done enough damage before starting to lose people that he went down just before things were really about to get out of hand. It was a little close, but two bosses down, and no wipes yet!
The Faction Champions!
Our kill order: Priest (not Shadow, I don't remember if he's Disc or Holy), healing Shaman, Warlock, Rogue, Boomkin, Paladin. We wiped once or twice - our first run went pretty well and we downed three of them, especially good considering our hunters forgot to use frost traps and I called out the wrong target after the priest went down. (I was sloppy that day, I don't know why.) The DK pestered the paladin, keeping him (or is it a her?) essentially out of the fight. The rogue went down early the first try due to burst damage, and losing his kick interrupt really hurt.
The champions continue to give us more trouble on our runs than any of the other bosses, and I'm not entirely sure why. We're getting better with them, though, and I consider that a good sign.
The Twin Val'kyr!
We one-shotted them. There was a little confusion as to which people were supposed to be on which side of the room, but the fact that we pull the two of them fairly close together in the center of the room made that a little less important - we had a fairly even distribution of light and dark and that's all that really mattered. None of their special abilities did much of anything, and we didn't have issues with too many of the wrong-colored orbs hitting our guys.
I felt a little bad when I won the Loop of the Twin Val'kyr, as that is just about the only upgrade left in ToC10 for Illorien (our DK and co-leader).
You might think, from what I've said, that we were moving fast! No, one of our pugs complained because it was taking us awhile in between bosses. Admittedly, we had a few folks go afk for a couple minutes for issues that probably could have waited, but we don't fly like that. It's one of the endearing features of our guild, I think, that we understand that people are human and things happen, and we're willing to work with the time people give us. One of our breaks was because all of us leading the raid were a little under the weather and one of us went to make tea because her throat felt like it was wrapped in ropes of fire, and another break happened because one of the healers had a puppy get into a roll of toilet paper. I can understand the desire to get through things fast, but please... people are human, cut them a little slack if they can't stay 100% dedicated to a game for nearly 2 hours at a time.
Before we started up the event that drops you into Anub'arak's cavern, our pug shammy opened up a trade and gave me 8 gold. Luckily I figured out what was going on before I hit the water, and clicked off the water-walking buff he had put on me. Our DK escaped a similar fate, but I'm not sure if he saw it and clicked it off or had another method. I gave him his gold back, 'cuz I'm just a nice guy like that, but it was funny anyway.
One of the folks on the raid had never been to Anub before, so we had to explain the entire fight. Much like our last clear, we had a slightly sub-par healer setup - 2 paladins and 1 priest. Determined, however, we set out to vanquish our foe!
Our first attempt was doomed fairly early on. We lost both our hunters to some craziness in Anub's first underground phase. Our shaman made a valiant effort to use his small ranged arsenal to pick up the slack in dropping permafrost, but we lost a healer as well and had an add still up heading into phase 3. We wiped shortly thereafter.
Despite our relative success during our demise, we decided to switch one of our paladin healers to tanking the adds, move the DK to Anub himself and I pulled out my tree gear and filled in the healing slot. In addition to providing a steadier flow of smaller heals for phase 3 goodness, that helped the other 2 healers a bit by providing the Tree of Life aura.
The second attempt was nearly flawless, as we didn't lose anybody until Anub was well into phase 3 and our victory was nearly assured.
It took us about 2 hours in total, and while I was ready (and actually started trying to refill the spots of folks who left) to give ICC a shot, I was out of time.
Tuesday, I expect my little crew will be giving our first shot (or at least, the first shot with me there!) at ICC's 10-man raid. I haven't even had a chance to do the 5-man in heroic mode yet. We'll see what happens though, and I'm hopeful we can get through it!
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