It's Been Awhile

Mookaduka posted Sun at 14:45

It's been a rollercoaster handful of months since December.  I apologize for not consistently posting as I normally do during this time.  However, this should catch us back up!

Let's rewind the clock all the way back to December.  We had just killed Mythrax and had begun progress on G'huun.  This fight had a lot of moving parts.  It took quite awhile (especially through the holiday season) to get into lockstep on the first couple phases of the fight.  We had a solid setup for the encounter (the only thing that could've made it more ideal is having four Warlocks instead of two, but that isn't really needed.), and after around a month we started to dial it in on getting to the final phase semi-consistently.  However, time at this point was ticking.  

G'huun progression status as of January 15, 2019.  We were getting close, but not close enough.

We only had around a week left before Battle of Dazar'alor was going to release.  We decided to add a bit more raid progression time to our weekly schedule to try and push over G'huun.  We decided to use Sunday to continue to push.  And we got very, very close.

Our best pull prior to the release of Battle of Dazar'alor (2%).  It would be our only pull under 3M health.

But it wasn't close enough.  The final dance ended up being too difficult for us to master in the short amount of time we had left.  We could've added Monday to the schedule and potentially killed it that day, but we decided that we didn't want to burn ourselves out as we would be raiding extra the following week with the release of the new raid.  We were pretty disappointed.  Realm First/Cutting Edge was just out of our reach.  Morale was at a tier-low.  However, one could consider what we accomplished pretty successful.  We still managed to clear 7/8M prior to the next raid, and the roster had undergone multiple blows since September with several long-time veterans (Elycee, Farewell, Ailylia, and Torag).

The following week, Battle of Dazar'alor was a breath of fresh air.  Many players (both within the guild and in the general populous) were tired of Uldir, as the raid was defined as very "basic," being the first raid.  The only encounters within Uldir that would be different is MOTHER and G'huun.  MOTHER was often over-simplified with raid CDs or staying within the first room, and G'huun was so different that most guilds thought the fight annoying.  Sure Taloc was on an elevator, but it didn't affect the fight to a large extent.

Many of the encounters within BoD were things no raider had seen before.  The Jadefire Masters had a Simon Says game for tanks and a Ring of Peace maze for the entire raid to navigate.  Opulence had a Phase 1 gauntlet that was very unique with a bunch of buffs you got to pick up for Phase 2 that allowed you to feel pretty powerful.  Mekkatorque had the game "Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes," as a minigame in the encounter.  And finally, Jaina had some very unique transition phases and a freeze mechanic that has some interesting mechanics.  

After the first week, we were 6/9H.  Not a bad Week 1 showing.  Rastakhan was a bit challenging initially, but the following week the encounter became much simpler once top-end guilds figured out the rift wall strategy in Bwonsamdi's realm in Phase 3.  

During the second week, at the end of Tuesday night we decided to take a bit of time and take a shot at Mythic Champion of the Light, as initial Mythic kills on the boss earlier in the day by other guilds showed that the fight was incredibly simple.  On the second pull, she fell over.  It wasn't a Realm First (as Equivalent Exchange killed it at the start of their raid that night), but it was still a first night Mythic kill, which always feels good.

Tanks: Astaroth, Viperx

Healers: Faellx, Mortis, Ninh, Phattboi

Melee: Bellasaer, Dhays, Dkthemaximus, Felixzero, Ionzz, Ram, Widdleton

Ranged: Darkerworg, Darkspace, Exclusive, Mesiia, Mookaduka, Naltharion, Yeetawh

At this point in time we decided it'd be best to push through the rest of Heroic before progressing onto the rest of Mythic.  We killed Mekkatorque later the same week we killed Mythic Champion, and Heroic Stormwall Blockade the following week.  It would then take around a week and a half to finally finish off Heroic Jaina.  We struggled quite a bit with setting everything up to handle the freezing debuff in the final phase.  Once we figured it out however, she fell over quite easily on a Sunday after only a few pulls that evening.  This kill was a Realm First, with Equivalent Exchange killing Jaina only a couple days after we did (and From Chaos not killing her until March).

Tanks: Astaroth, Viperx

Healers: Faellx, Ninh, Shimmyshaman

Melee: Dhays, Feltime (Darkspace), Intoodeep, Melisan, Widdleton

Ranged: Exclusive, Mookaduka, Naltharion, Ontop, Saveur

The real push into Mythic BoD would now begin.  At this point, both Equivalent Exchange and From Chaos had already killed Mythic Jadefire Masters (as the Alliance kill them 2nd), but hadn't moved any further.  The following week after killing Heroic Jaina, in a measly six pulls, we sent Grong tumbling, putting another realm first under our belt.  We decided to play it safe with this fight and use six healers.  We felt very good about this kill as Equivalent Exchange and From Chaos had already put a healthy amount of pulls into Grong at this point, and had struggled on him.  We felt like we were finally getting our groove back!  

Tanks: Astaroth, Viperx

Healers: Darkerworg, Faellx, Mortis, Ninh, Phattboi, Yeetawh

Melee: Bellasaer, Dhays, Felixzero, Ionzz, Melisan, Widdleton

Ranged: Darkspace, Exclusive, Kaanin, Mesiia, Mookaduka, Saveur

A couple days later, on our Thursday progression day that week, we downed Mythic Jadefire Masters!  It took us a bit of work, as we were running into issues with the Simon Says mechanic when the entire raid had to do it.  Since none of the raid besides tanks had seen the mechanic yet, it was quite a shock to many people (since it was pre-nerf graphics-wise for the mechanic and it was especially terrible for those who are colorblind, as even on colorblind mode some individuals were hardly able to see anything during the mechanic).  Once we muscled through it however, the rest of the fight was pretty straight forward.  We had a good composition to fetch Force Orbs during the maze.  Well done job to everyone!  We are certainly getting our groove back!

Tanks: Astaroth, Viperx

Healers: Darkerworg, Faellx, Ninh, Phattboi, Yeetawh

Melee: Bellasaer, Dhays, Intoodeep, Ionzz, Melisan, Widdleton

Ranged: Darkspace, Exclusive, Mesiia, Mookaduka, Naltharion, Saveur, Vraelik

And then real life had to rear its ugly head.

The evening that we killed Jadefire Masters, Phattboi notified me that IRL responsibilities over the next three months were going to keep him away from the game.  He would be back after this time is over, but this meant that he would mostly miss all of the core Mythic BoD progression.  This would end up being rather jarring for the raid team.  This took our healer core count from five to four, which meant others would have to step in to heal on five or six heal encounters or if a healer was absent.  To make matters worse, the next encounter (Opulence) really encourage use of Paladins in Phase 2.  This would mean we only had one Paladin on the active roster now (Felixzero), which most guilds liked to use 2+ on this fight to make the final phase fairly consistent. 

That coming weekend, I made the decision that I would assist in covering healing for the raid team.  Other options I felt for new 5th healer spots (such as Saveur) were poor choices as Shadow Priest is incredibly strong this tier, and Hunter...well isn't.  However, Darkerworg would at times still have to heal instead of me.  I already had a 120 Priest and Paladin that were okayishly geared, but nothing too great as of yet.  I was fairly comfortable healing on my Priest, but Holy Paladin was a spec I was hardly comfortable using, as I hadn't used Holy Paladin in a raid ever before.  So I began the process of catching up my two healing characters to prepare for the coming months.  And boy, was I in for a surprise.  

I was shit.

People often forget (including myself) what healers actually have to do during raid encounters.  Going from a role of killing things to keeping people alive in a raid environment was a wake up call.  Sure, I had been healing M+ here and there throughout the expansion, but that's nothing like raid healing.  To top it off, I had to still perform raid leader duties as well.  I got that wakeup call the next week when it came to Mythic Grong and brought in my Holy Priest, Harßinger, to heal the fight.

I constantly stood in fire trying to keep people alive, kept getting feared as I wasn't watching my positioning, and would forget when I was using my CDs.  It took us 15 pulls that night to kill Mythic Grong.  That is over twice as many as it took the first time we killed it!  Phattboi's presence was greatly missed, and I was not doing his absence justice.  When we got to Jadefire that night, we decided to use all of our real healers and I would bring my Hunter.  It only took us five pulls to take down Jadefire, so not as terrible as Grong, which was good.

And then came Opulence, and this is where the 2nd hill of the rollercoaster (the first being G'huun) began its drop.  

Anyone who is familiar with our guild and our raiding strengths and weaknesses know that the fights our guild performs best in is encounters where we move as a team, the fights are very well structured, and we perform actions and use CDs at discrete times.  Where our guild performs the worst is encounters where on-the-fly positioning has to be used and the raid isn't necessarily moving as a single or a couple of units.  The first phase of this encounter is definitely the later of these things, and it really showed.  Week after week, we would have individuals take missteps either in dodging fire on the right, or attempting to drop lightning balls in very sketchy spots on the left.  As progress grinded to a halt week after week, we often found the deadliest part of Phase 1 was the final flame jet room on the right.  We often would get a person with lightning debuff to teleport to the right side at this point while the golem was casting his cone of flame while (usually) a flame jet would be directly adjacent to the raid.  This would usually result in 1-2 deaths if it occurred, and if either of those individuals were Ruby wielders, things would be very grim for Phase 2.  To top it off, I decided it was best to bring in my Paladin as our second Paladin for the encounter as Holy.  So, I was using a specializiation I'd never raided on before on what was (for us anyway) a rather difficult early boss.  I put myself on the right (as it required much less healing and allowed me to be in melee, Ninh could also cover my mistakes), while Mortis and Faellx did the heavy lifting on the left.  I was also really bad at applying the Amethyst debuff to everyone regularly during most of progression, which caused a lot of great pulls in Phase 2 to flounder when someone would lose their Amethyst debuff halfway through a Wailing Greed.

Finally, after four weeks of work and over a hundred pulls, we finally knocked Opulence down on the first pull on March 21st.  It wasn't a pretty kill (and I still wasn't the best at the fight), but it was dead.  We all felt relieved.  Our morale definitely needed the kill at that point, as in our guild's 3-4 expansion history, we have never struggled as much on an early boss as Opulence before.  Killing it felt like killing Mythic Aggramar in Antorus with the amount of work we had put into the fight.

Tanks: Astaroth, Viperx

Healers: Faellx, Mortis, Nicebubbles (Mookaduka), Ninh

Melee: Bellasaer, Dhays, Felixzero, Ionzz, Melisan, Widdleton

Ranged: Darkerworg, Exclusive, Mesiia, Naltharion, Ontop, Pistola, Saveur, Yeetawh

Opulence was finally dead, but we had a problem.  We were now a good deal behind Equivalent Exchange and From Chaos in terms of progression.  They were both already working on Conclave and were both fairly deep into the fight.  We had to play catch up, and fast.

I decided to swap back to Harßinger for Mythic Conclave.  Not only was I more comfortable on my Priest, but it provided way more responsive raid healing, CDs, and mana return that Paladin doesn't bring.  Seeing as Conclave is simply a fight of get to position x at time y and use CDs at time z, so Priest felt ideal to bring.  Before we began hardcore progression on Conclave however, something else happened that had been a long time coming.

On Mookaduka, I had been holding out our Mythic G'huun lockout from January every single week.  Blizzard used to force clear lockouts when each tier started, but recently has stopped such a practice.  Now that our item level was at a point with the Season 2 Azerite Armor where our DPS within Uldir was similar to what it was before with 10 stacks of Reorigination Array (except now we had much more health due to the new Azerite Armor), I thought it was time to pay our old friend a visit once again.  We gathered on a Sunday for the reunion with G'huun, and after 2-3 pulls it was evident we could do this.  

"This fight is just muscle memory for us.  We've still got this!"

                -Bellasaer after we got to Phase 3 for the first time that night.

On March 31st, after about an hour of work, we brought down the slug that had caused us so much pain a few months prior.  The encounter felt like riding a bike, as every role-specific movement on the fight is so specific.  It felt so good to finally close that chapter of progression.  It wasn't Cutting Edge and there are no longer Feat of Strength achievements for Realm First kills on final bosses, but it was still Realm First and we still did it.  

Tanks: Astaroth, Viperx

Healers: Faellx, Mortis, Ninh, Yeetawh

Melee: Bellasaer, Dhays, Dkthemaximus, Intoodeep, Ionzz, Melisan, Widdleton

Ranged: Darkerworg, Darkspace, Exclusive, Kaanin, Mesiia, Mookaduka, Ontop

The following week, we got back to work in Battle of Dazar'alor.  We decided to extend to dig deep and catch up on progression.  Prior to our Thursday progression night, Mortis and myself spent an hour fine-tuning our raid CDs to ensure all the damage from each aspect death and Pa'ku winds would be correctly countered while also minimizing healing loss due to the few elements of RNG from the encounter.  We had everything ready for Thursday, but then shananigens tried to get in our way.

We were in the middle of a bunch of call-offs due to many different reasons.  We have a large roster to counter this issue, and we expected to still have enough that Thursday to continue work on Conclave.  However, come raid time we only had 19 players.  Darkspace was nowhere to be found.  I finally heard from him around 20 minutes into raid that he would be late due to something that happened very shortly prior to raid.  We were desperate, and everyone was growing impatient with waiting for someone to show up and save the day to be #20.

Finally, around 10 minutes into raid, a casual within the guild Mavet logged on.  For anyone unaware of Mavet, he is an Azerite grinder, at one point being one of the top Azerite grinders in the US.  He doesn't really raid much, however.  We immediately grabbed him and brought him in to be #20.  He stepped up to the plate after a brief rundown of what was going on, and after about an hour of work, during a pull where Darkspace finally whispered me that he was finally around after dealing with his IRL issue, Conclave fell over for the first time!

Tanks: Astaroth, Viperx

Healers: Darkerworg, Faellx, Harßinger (Mookaduka), Mortis, Ninh

Melee: Dhays, Dkthemaximus, Intoodeep, Ionzz, Melisan, Widdleton

Ranged: Exclusive, Kaanin, Mavet, Mesiia, Pistola, Saveur, Vraelik

All it took was one CD adjustment (shifting Holy Word: Salvation from the third winds to the fourth) to take down the boss.  This kill was fantastic, and gave us some time to get a few initial pulls on Rastakhan to figure out how we would tackle that upcoming encounter.

That weekend, we took a detour into Normal BoD to finally tackle the raid's meta achievement.  Unlike Uldir, this achievements were mostly pretty simple, and we got all of them in a single night.  

The following week, we decided to reclear.  We brought our A game and killed Mythic Opulence in only three pulls.  This was quite refreshing, We also took down Conclave once again without too much issue, which was a great morale booster.  This allowed us to have all Thursday to work on Rastakhan, and we needed it to continue playing catch-up. We were able to get to Phase 3/start of Phase 4 a couple times, but it wasn't reliable just yet.  

We decided to extend the following week, as the immediate gear gain from one reclear wasn't going to make or break the mechanics-focused encounter that is Rastakhan.  We already had plenty of DPS to kill it.  So we continued work that Tuesday.  We had shananigens occur again with that Tuesday's raid, as Faellx was not able to attend due to sudden IRL issues.  Luckily, lady luck threw us a bone and Phattboi was free that evening and was able to fill in on the healing team.  After around two hours of work, we finally had a solid pull into Phase 4 where everyone was alive.  Just as the guides say, the fight was basically over at that point, and he fell that pull!

Tanks: Astaroth, Viperx

Healers: Darkerworg, Harßinger (Mookaduka), Mortis, Ninh, Phattboi

Melee: Dhays, Intoodeep, Ionzz, Melisan

Ranged: Bloodthunder, Darkspace, Exclusive, Kaanin, Mesiia, Ontop, Pistola, Saveur, Vraelik

This kill finally caught us back up (for the most part) to where From Chaos and Equivalent Exchange currently sit in progression.  We already began work on Mekkatorque this past Thursday, and have been able to get him to the intermission phase four or so times already.  Much work still needs to be done to make our pulls more reliable, however.  Mekkatorque is often toted by top-end guilds as the second hardest boss of the raid, so I'm certain he will take some time to kill.  Also, as a bonus note, the new mini-raid, Crucible of Storms has released this past week.  We plan on diving into the raid on Heroic this evening and are hoping to clear both of its bosses before the night is over.  Let's hope Game of Thrones doesn't throw too much of a wrench into our plans!

Looking back at the past several months, there have been a lot of ups and downs.  The key thing to take away however is that despite all of these issues, we still push forward and that we still progress despite obstacles in our path.  Many of the issues that we have faced would've broken your average guild.  But, we still stand just as strong as ever.  Guildies, remember that next time we are struggling on a boss and it seems like all is lost.  We will endure!


In another very clean kill, this past week we managed to take down the penultimate boss of Uldir!  After adjusting some things in Phase 2 and reordering some healing things in Phase 1, we managed to take down the boss in an orderly manner.  Props to the Death Knights for all the grips they had to do, the tanks for staying alive, and the healers for keeping everyone topped off (especially including my fat self).  Also, we finally got to bring a bunch of melee to a fight, which was kind of neat.

Tanks: Astaroth, Viperx

Healers: Faellx, Mortis, Ninh, Phattboi, Yeetawh

Melee: Bellasaer, Dhays, Dkthemaximus, Felixzero, Ionzz, Melisan, Mookaduka, Ram, Widdleton

Ranged: Darkerworg, Exclusive, Mesiia, Torag

Finally, big boy G'huun is up next.  Initial pulls on him have immediately shown he will be no simple feat.  Hopefully we will still be able to make some sort of progress through the upcoming holidays and take down the bloody worm prior to the next raid being released on January 22nd.  Only time will tell!


With a large amount of side work the guild has done on Sunday raids the past several weeks, and some tweaking in terms of DPS adjustments during P1, the guild finally managed to down Zul this past week!  The rogue preparation really pulled through in the end.  The kill was one of our cleanest ever, placing it in the top 200 in the world on WarcraftLogs at the time of the kill execution-wise.  Props to the entire team on this flawless execution.  

Tanks: Astaroth, Ionzz, Viperx

Healers: Faellx, Mortis, Ninh, Phattboi

Melee: Bellasaer, Blueshadow (Coldspace), Dhays, Dkthemaximus, Felixzero, Lex (Ram), Sepaph (Melisan)

Ranged: Darkerworg, Exclusive, Jaunquil, Mesiia, Mookaduka, Naltharion

Up next is Mythrax, which is much less about DPS checks and more about mechanic execution.  

In other news, a little over a week back, we finally finished getting everyone in the guild interested in achievements their meta achievement mounts!  Below is everyone who got them on the primary night of completion.  Congrats to everyone!  The Mythrax achievement is still quite rare, and we did it!


Actively Recruiting
Balance Druid
Shadow Priest
Assassination Rogue
Subtlety Rogue
Affliction Warlock
Demonology Warlock
Destruction Warlock