I had originally planned on titling this post the Guns of Icecrown Citadel. Turns out I was a little ambitious in thinking we would make it to the gunship battle on our first trip in.
I had heard that the trash in ICC was rough for any ill-prepared groups. In ways it was better and in ways it was worse than I had expected... but I'll get to that.
We decided to try to get as good a group together as we could, focusing on getting our best DPS. We struggled to find healers in our guild willing to come, one of them flat out stating that she was afraid of the place. We pugged in an excellent but very slightly under-geared priest for the final healing spot... Here's the breakdown:
Me (Bear) and Illorien (DK)
Holy Paladin (Renakashin, co-leader), Tree Druid and Holy Priest
Warrior, Hunter, Rogue, 2 Mages
The first thing you encounter on the way in the door is a pair of undead that are pure melee but explode when killed, doing a fairly decent chunk of damage. Plus, every so often, another one paths in from the next room. A little mismanagement of this led to us losing a couple of folks while we cleared them out - once you've taken the top of that set of stairs, they stop coming in from the next room. There's another group of these that run around the room - we pulled them out and downed them fairly easily. Illorien held them in place, I pulled them out one at a time for the DPS to go nuts on.
We were at last able to begin moving into the room. It has essentially 5 sets of mobs, one group in each corner and one dead ahead in the back half of the room. It also has a special secret surprise, that I'll get to in a moment. The right and left corners closest to the door each have a humanoid Undead caster and three of the Damned - the exploding undead I mentioned previously. The corners further from the way in each had a spiderlike Undead caster as well as the groups of the Damned. The spiders throw random web wraps around that players must be broken out of, and don't appear to have a threat table, or at least cast randomly enough that the threat table doesn't seem to matter. The group in the middle is made up of 2 of the spiders, 1 of the humanoid Undead casters, and 2 non-explosive melee Undead. Our general plan of attack for the four corners was for the DK to hold down the melee while the DPS and myself burned down the caster, then for me to pull out the Damned one by one for the DPS to burn.
The corners went smoothly. The casters really don't like to move, and it's impossible to move the spiders via LOS if any member of the raid is in its LOS. We discovered with the last group that the DK's death grip can yank the spider out and (at least sometimes) not disturb the group of melee. It worked, though, and we decided to use a similar plan of attack on the group in the middle, singling out a caster at a time for death, followed by the melee.
Illorien dropped a Death and Decay, and I charged a spider. It was well on it's way to dying when I hear over Vent, "There's a giant coming... Giant coming!" I turned around and saw two gigantic undead slaughtering the ranged DPS and healers. It was the first of our wipes trying to deal with those two giants. The one spider went down, but that was it.
Those two giants were epic trash for us. We tried several strategies for fighting them, all of which failed for various reasons. You can't pull them out of the room - they run back in and reset. We tried several different methods to split them up so that the DPS could burn one down without worrying about the other one. We tried pulling them into the corner of the room... None of our methods worked... they were too close to the other group so we pulled them, or they managed to take out DPS somehow... Illorien noticed that they were using Saber Lash - an ability Lord Marrowgar also uses - that does melee damage to the target (tank) and his nearest ally... which meant that we absolutely had to have the tanks on top of each other to take the Saber Lashes.
When we realized that, we decided to stop trying to separate them. Illorien and I grabbed them and brought them to the front edge of the room, just inside where they would step out and reset and far enough away not to aggro the other mobs. Then we turned them away from the raid and let the DPS burn down one target, while the two of us prayed for healing fast enough that double Saber Lash wouldn't do us in. It worked like a charm.
The last group of mobs, already down one member from our first run-in with the giants, went down with ease.
The next room, smaller than the last, has just one group of adds in the center, but has two of the giants sleeping on opposite sides of the room, and there's not much room to maneuver without almost certainly waking them up.
Illorien was trying to scoot in a little bit and pull some of the smaller trash and one of the giants woke up. Since nothing else aggro'd, we counted our blessings and downed it. We were then able to move in to the now-vacated side and aggro the smaller trash while keeping some distance from the other giant.
It woke up after we had started in on the smaller trash. I picked it up and burned a couple of cooldowns to stay alive while the DPS dealt with the smaller casters, then Illorien pulled everything else with him to stand in front of the giant. With both us there, the giant wasn't going to kill us by itself, so the DPS burned down the smaller melee mobs and then we brought down the giant.
After a grueling hour plus we had made it to Lord Marrowgar.
We wiped several times on him before we ran out of time, as our pug healer had to go guild raid on his main, and several of our guild folks were itching to end early due to early mornings. We learned a bit, and tried a couple strategies, but I think our group as a whole might not have quite been there, gear-wise. We tended to do alright in Phase 1 - our folks moved out of the fire and broke down the bone prisons fairly efficiently, our healers were generally able to keep up, and things went smoothly. Then Phase 2 - the whirlwind - came along, and as long as it wasn't badly timed with respect to a bone prison, we usually handled that fairly well. Usually the issue came at the end of the whirlwind, when we had a little trouble with folks struggling to keep away from the boss while the tanks dragged him back into position while still staying out of the mass of cold fire on the ground. Several times we lost people as the second Phase 1 started because of how crazily spread out folks were and the healer's need to focus on the tanks. I think a combination of being a little short in a couple of places lead to everybody needing to be danged near perfect.
We got him down to almost 50% on one run.
For being our first ever time going in to the instance, I think we did fairly well, especially considering basically none of us have any Heroic ToC gear.
I'm not sure if we'll try again next week, or perhaps give a go at Heroic ToC10. That was pretty rough on us.
Good luck and hope you get a chance to clear it!
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