I knew going into this weekend that we had some raid makeup issues. My brother, our off tank, couldn’t make it. One healer was unavailable Friday. Then, unexpectedly, one raider had to bow out entirely. We’ve been working to try to get a nice stable roster but most weeks we’ve had to bring in at least one person from outside the raid and I wanted to change that. I could see light at the end of the tunnel. Jhudora, the awesome shaman healer that I had been bringing in for the last three weeks even though she’s in a different guild, /gquit and moved over to Crits and brought a friend with her, a hunter/warrior. Our missing healer is trying hard to get herself on a consistent schedule so she doesn’t have to miss Friday nights. And Ado’s shadow priest had leveled from, like 60 to 82 in record time and would probably be 85 by the end of the weekend.
But that still left this week to get through. I talked to a couple guildies, found one who was tank geared and eager to get in, another, a dps warrior, who jumped at the chance to come. Yay! And then I logged in Friday night and the substitute tank couldn’t make it; at the last minute he’d been placed on call for work. Boo…
Well, there was one fight we thought we could do with only one tank, Magmaw. And we’d put some practice in there. And we had Jhudora’s friend Locklyn the hunter eager to get in and try…. so I made Karius switch from mage to paladin, green bracers and all, and we headed for Blackrock, still one dps down.
And who is that at the stone there? That’s a guildie on his raid geared warlock…. Whodowhat, what are you doing in that pug? A few whispers and he agrees to ditch them and come with us. Now at full strength we head in. Locklyn grabs his warrior to help with the trash, then swaps back to the hunter and we get started.
The “stack in melee” plan works well but the ranged are having trouble controlling the adds. They need more room to kite than we can give them with the healers in melee. After a few wipes, Jhudora suggests that she can go out and heal them; she’s figured out the rhythm of the fight enough to dodge the pillars of flame and the worms. Things start going a lot better. Worms are kited, burned, we’ve got several melee dps on the boss full time, all of them get turns learning how to use the chains and spikes. We’re getting past the second head down phase consistently; I start having to use Potions of Concentration to regen mana. Having this fight in melee range means Karius can whack the boss for mana regen, so she doesn’t have to worry about mana hardly at all. And Reversion is so good at managing his cooldowns we healers barely notice the armor debuff he’s taking every Mangle cycle. Which is pretty damn impressive – some of the people in raid didn’t realize we were one tanking it but it gave us a lot more freedom to deal damage.
Suddenly it all clicks and bang, down goes the worm! Raid first kill! I’d helped kill Magmaw the previous week with the other guild raid but this time it actually meant something, I was playing my proper role in my proper team and now all the rush of victory was there, that wasn’t when I was just filling a hole.
Now we have two hours left in raid night – things came together that fast – so we head over to Throne of Four Winds after persuading Locklyn to switch to his tank and work on that. Jhudora switches to her disc priest – an ideal class and spec for the ranged platform there; she can levitate herself and just not take fall damage at all. We start work there. Most of us have seen the fight at least a bit. We get two hours of solid attempts in, really making progress over the last time we were in; some of our wipes we had bosses down to less than 30%.
Saturday night we go back to Throne, with a few raid comp changes; our missing healer returned so Karius gets to go frost; the tank that couldn’t make it the night before can come tonight so Locklyn gets to hunter; and the dps warrior couldn’t make it anyway so we balance out ok. It takes a few tries for the new tank to learn the fight, a few tries for the healers to get the rhythm. I had just learned the night before that the left-hand boss guy, the one with the adds, is enraged for a few seconds after coming out of the special ability phase and to heal extra hard there. We wiped at least once because I didn’t realize that. Now we get down to serious attempts – and less than halfway through raid time, the Council goes down. I admit to being a bit surprised, actually; the ranged platform downed theirs, then jumped to the center boss and I’m honestly not sure whether the center platform or the other side came down first. It actually felt a tiny bit anticlimactic; sometimes healing big fights feels that way because you’re not really watching a boss’s bar go down… down…. down…. THERE!
And THAT kill was a guild first, not just for our raid.
Then we went to Bastion of Twilight, killed trash like the pros we are, and wiped spectacularly about ten times on the boss. The drake combination this week…. well going into it we weren’t sure whether it was the worst, or second worst combo; I’m pretty sure it’s the worst but not entirely sure why. The damage we were trying to heal through is just massive. As a side note one of our raiders is an enhance shammy for us but a resto druid for the other guild raid, and she mentioned to me last night that she “will not” heal that encounter as a progression fight (not in response to me asking her if she was willing, I was curious why she was switching characters in the middle of their raid but they’d decided to go over there for a while). She’s done it a few times for our attempts but I can certainly sympathize. If we get past the first minute and a half things are ok but that minute and a half is absolutely a nightmare as a healer.
Our spriest-in-waiting dinged 85 and started running heroics yesterday (yay for having purples ready to go) so with luck our roster this weekend will be closer to whatever the permanent makeup looks like. We (Reversion and I) would really like to have about 12 people who rotate in as needed, but this is a casual guild and we may get pushback from people because they want permanent slots. I’d really like to know that if we have to miss (and coming up in March, there are some days we will have to miss) that the raid can still go on…