Dead Double Dragons

Sunday, we walked into Bastion of Twilight, spent a good 30 minutes on trash from Halfus’ room down to Valiona and Theralion and then spend about two hours working on these two.

Honestly? Not that hard of an encounter. A lot of little things to coordinate, though — stacking, collapsing, cleansing, then moving around as a group at ranged… Not casting was causing some issues, though. I wonder if it’s a bug that you’re popping Engulfing Magic based on hots and dots that are up and ticking?

Anyways, success was ours and we called the raid at 11:30 after downing them.

This week, we’ll probably go do BH if we have it, then Magmaw, Omnotron and work on Maloriak for a bit, possibly Atramedes/Chimaeron and then spend Sunday in Bastion. Not sure, but we’ll see how the week goes.

Note to self: Do the stupid intro quests for Twilight Highlands on the paladin so you can take the port, dumbass.

In other news, we are down to 8 healers, at most, due to the fact that two healers who were going to be potentially raiding with us decided to remove their names from the raiding roster. That’s fine, we’re doing okay with 6-8 on any given raid night, but I would feel more comfortable with a 9th healer around. So we’re opening up recruitment for one healer, preferably a restoration shaman. EXCELLENT resto druids or holy paladins will be considered, but we’re really looking for another shaman, since we only have one. No priests as we already have three. :)

Bear in mind that we do a lot of swapping around and everyone (even me, on occasion) will sit now and again, so you have to be okay with being on standby.

Apotheosis recruitment stuff can be found at our guild website:

Tonight: finishing healer evaluations, if World of Logs stops throwing my 503 too busy errors and recording Episode Six of Blessing of Frost.

Four Bosses, Two Nights, Raid Roster stuff

I know that my blog has become a bastion of information for holy paladins, but I’m not just a holy paladin. I’m a guild master, a raid leader, a healing lead and a raider. (WTB a hat with four labels on it so I can be appropriately labelled regardless of what I’m dealing with at the moment.)

I’d like to write about my guild’s first two 25-man raids today, but as a warning, if you’re PART of my guild, please don’t prod me for details about various things and don’t fret if I’ve already sent you a note about something. I consider the issue closed, but I do want to relate various things and I don’t want people getting freaked out because they think I’m still annoyed.



I had a TON of last-minute people to check on before I let them in the raid. Most had been ready for over a day, at least, but there were a lot of last-minute enchants missing, so we got all that sorted and then I dealt with invites (a topic for another day!) and we got started.

The plan was Baradin Hold, if we had Tol Barad, then Magmaw, Omnotron and Halfus, if we did very well. This was very ambitious and basically it was what we planned as a best-case scenario, given that we had little experience with Omnotron and Halfus even on 10-man.

As it turns out, we didn’t have TB, so it was off to Magmaw. One of the best comments throughout the encounter was from a shadow priest who had, not five hours previously, been bitching about my requiring a runspeed boost (unless you rely entirely on Inner Will), either via meta gem, boot enchant or talent.

After about the third or fourth attempt, the shadow priest says, in raid: “Okay, I now see what you meant about the runspeed enchant.” Yes! Justification! haha! I was very amused.

On another note, I find it really hilarious to watch people who have obviously become very attached to their boss mods. They just stood there in the Pillar of Flame. Not to say I didn’t get hit now and again, but it really took a few attempts for everyone to really watch for the swirling orange crap on the ground and to move away from it. Gotta love “old school” raiding, with no mods that are really working the way they did in ICC.

It really didn’t take us too long and we got him down. Then we swapped some people out and headed to Omnotron, which solidly kicked our asses for 9 of our 10 attempts. SO many issues with shields, interrupts, poison bombs… We got them down to 37% as an evening’s best, though.

After the raid, we fixed an EPGP issue which should allow mains to not be in the raid group if they’re on standby for EP awards. I have to say that Dar and Toga are totally kicking ass at being the Lootmasters for the guild. Not only do I NOT have to deal with loot, but they’re doing a great job at fixing things if they need fixing. I really don’t have to worry about it at all, which is a HUGE relief.

Anyways, we had some great discussion on the forums on Wednesday and Thursday to try to identify some of the issues. I LOVE that my guild enjoys discussing stuff on the forums!

So Thursday, the plan was:

Baradin Hold, if we had it, Omnotron, then Halfus and maybe Valiona & Theralion? Again, a best-case scenario.

So I populated the forums with info on V&T before the raid. I had set up a basic raid lineup during the day, complete with swapouts…

… and we had two no-shows.

One was our feral druid tank who, I later discovered, merely overslept. I totally did that myself back in my RL Friend the Resto Druid’s guild, so I was understanding when she let me know what the issue was. One was a resto druid who just didn’t show and I have no news yet as to where she was.

Neither HORRIBLY impacted the raid makeups, but it threw a wrench in my plans for healing setups. I’m a conservative healer and raid leader — I’ll go with more healers and then drop one if we’re having trouble with enrages. So I planned for seven but only took six — since that’s how many were online.

Tol Barad was ours, so we headed out to Baradin Hold and handily one-shotted Argaloth in plenty of time for the enrage. To Blackwing Descent!

My tank lead is pretty awesome. He had planned for the feral druid and the warrior tank to do BH, then he’d swap one out for himself for Omnotron, and then we’d go with three tanks on Halfus, if we got there. As it was, he and the warrior ended up doing both BH and working on Omnotron and it was him and the warrior who had been working on Omnotron on Tuesday, so I really liked the consistency we saw there.

Five attempts in, Omnotron Defense System goes down! Granted, it all went to hell at the end due to Arcane Annihilator since interrupters were dead, but we did it. A kill is a kill!

So we did loot, did a kill shot and then it was off to Bastion of Twilight to take a peek at Halfus.

The trash RUINED us, haha. Hilarity ensued. But we got through it and got Chelley’s Staff of Dark Mending, which went to Num, who you may know as “that guy who does the Blessing of Frost intro”.

Finally, we were at Halfus. The combination we had was the Slate Dragon, the Nether Scion and the Time Warden.

After a few wipes, including a VERY late break (11:26pm, instead of 10:30), where Dar and Toga did some EPGP stuff (the settings had reset or something), we decided on this strategy:

1) Release Time Warden and Nether Scion.

2) Kill Time Warden.

3) Kill Nether Scrion.

4) Pop Slate Dragon, kill it.

5) Kill Halfus.

We were using 3 tanks and having them tank the mobs basically on top of Halfus for splash damage, since with two drakes up, he was taking 100% more damage, and that seemed to work well. We got him to something like under 15% and hit enrage. The stun from the Slate Dragon meant that we got free DPS time, though, so we lived more than two minutes past enrage!

This was on our very first try of that strategy, which our tank officer suggested. So we tried to do the same thing again, with five minutes or so left in the raid. It was our last attempt of the night, which we always dub the “INFAMOUS LAST ATTEMPT”. That’s something that dates back to Burning Crusade raids where we always seemed to down things just in the nick of time, right before the end of the raid. I love that it’s still in use.

So we pull. We blow hero. Cooldowns are being used, we’re doing everything just fine. And then, disaster. The tank tanking the Nether Scion basically just DROPPED.


[23:59:48.623] Nether Scion hits Warrior Tank 34188  (A: 13897)
[23:59:50.110] Nether Scion hits Warrior Tank 63193
[23:59:51.620] Nether Scion hits Warrior Tank 68529
[23:59:53.040] Nether Scion hits Warrior Tank 36629 (O: 14474)

That is more than 220k damage in four and a half seconds.

So the warrior tank goes down. Our tank officer taunts the Nether Scion and is dual-tanking both drakes.

We get the feral DPS druid to pop up the warrior tank (yay for Glyph of Rebirth!), who taunts his target back and… I die because I’m watching all this other crap and not watching out for the fireball barrage.

Just before I died, one of the DPS said, over Mumble, “don’t stand in the fire!”

To which one of the healers replied “we can’t dodge it”. That’s about when I died and right about the time when the DPS was starting to argue that because we’d freed the Time Warden, yes, we could dodge it. I could not believe my ears. Were these two people actually debating the behaviour of a mechanic IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ENCOUNTER?

Yes. Yes, they were.

“Guys!” I shouted, “Focus!” That appeared to shut them up.

Oh, look. The in-game interface is prompting me to use soulstone. Why yes, that sounds like an AWESOME idea, so I do believe I will. So I pop up and proceed to spend the next 5 minutes totally freaking out about mana.

At about this point, our fury warrior steals aggro off the Time Warden and drops. I’m thinking he caught up to our tank officer when he was busy with the Nether Scion.

So I’m up, the warrior tank is up and we have a dead fury warrior and no more battle rezzes.

Then, a rogue dies to the fireball barrage.

But you know what? It went beautifully after that. The next death was my brother, one of the tanks, once Halfus hit his berserk.

But due to the stuns from the Slate Dragon, we were able to last another minute and a half, almost, and we got him down!

Once again, the Infamous Last Attempt brings with it success!

We did the screenshot, then handed out loot and thus ended our second 25-man raid night.

I spent the next hour or so doing administrative crap — writing to those who had not shown up, writing to the healer and DPS who had started their discussion as to the fight mechanics IN MID-BATTLE… and then I also did a quick check on a healer of mine who wasn’t ready for January 4th, but assured me she’d be ready for the 11th.

Well, after looking at her gear and rep and professions, I knew she wasn’t going to be ready for the 11th, so I gave her ’till the 18th (as I’m doing with a couple of other people) and let her know to let me know if she’d changed her mind about raiding.

She came back to me and let me know she was sorry, but various circumstances, mostly to do with work and such, were going to make it very difficult for her to get ready for raiding. So she stepped down from our starting roster and may (or may not) re-apply as a raider down the line.

So that leaves me with 8 current healers and another with a deadline of January 18th. The 8 current healers includes the healer who just didn’t show on Thursday. So if the 9th healer isn’t ready by the 18th and the healer who didn’t show ends up not being able to raid, I’m down to 7. By contrast, if they both turn out to raid regularly, I’m at 9. I’m fairly certain I’m going to open up recruitment for another healer (probably a resto shaman), but we’re not at that point yet.

Anyways. This is where my brain goes at 6:30am, when I should have been asleep ages ago.

So far, a good raid week. We have another raid tonight (Sunday) and are probably going to poke at Valiona and Theralion and then either Maloriak, Chimaeron or Atramedes in Blackwing Descent. It’s been a hell of a busy week to be sure, but ultimately, it’s been a very successful and fun week as well. Here’s to many, many more awesome raid nights with these people.

Sunday afternoon, I have my first office hours since early Wrath. Should be interesting to see if anyone drops in…

What to Wear? Kurn's T11/359 Loot List

Well, here we go with another loot list post. Why? Because I find myself in 25-man raids with bosses dying and loot dropping and I have absolutely no idea what I WANT.

So I decided to go researching and write up the results of my research for you fine people. Please bear in mind that this is all my opinion and is skewed towards what I prefer on my gear. This is not a definitive best-in-slot guide!

Secondary stats I want to prioritize, in a rough preference from most-preferred to least:
Spirit: God help me, I never thought I’d want spirit as much as I do now, but, dangit, I need more spirit.
Haste: Things are just so damn slow, it feels like I’m healing through molasses.
Crit: Given very little overheal these days, crit’s a fine stat. I’ll equip it, but I don’t like to seek it out.
Mastery: While World of Logs more or less handles our mastery nowadays, I don’t think we’ll see too much from our mastery until our gear naturally has more on it, so I won’t turn down mastery gear, but I’ll probably reforge it to add spirit or haste, if I can.

Things to keep in mind:
– Our 4pc T11 bonus is pretty awesome. It’s Radiant: Grants 1620 Spirit while Holy Radiance is active.
– Our T11 gloves and legs can drop from Pit Lord Argaloth in Baradin Hold OR can be purchased via Valor Points (2200 for legs, 1650 for gloves)
– Our T11 chest can be purchased via Valor Points (2200)
– Our T11 shoulders and helm require tokens that drop from Cho’gall at the end of Bastion of Twilight and Nefarian at the end of Blackwing Descent

Once again, I’ll be relying heavily on Vile Pickle’s Best in Slot guide to help me with my decisions, as their stats are, by default, weighed fairly close to what I’m looking for.

So, the first thing I did was head to Vile Pickle and remove Hard Mode and 10-man from the list, since I’m not doing hard modes and I’m only doing 25-man raids. (Even though the loot’s the same.) This has the unintended consequence of removing heroic 5-man options from the list, but since this is a look at 359 gear, this shouldn’t pose too much of an issue.

Helm: Well, I’m not an engineer, so that leaves me with Glaciated Helm, which has some AWESOME stats. Look at that, 178 haste, 30 spirit socket bonus… really nice. It drops from the Twilight Ascendant Council, the third boss in Bastion of Twilight.

The alternative here is our tier helm, the Reinforced Sapphirium Headguard. But the helm requires that pesky token that drops off Nefarian. Hm. Third boss in Bastion of Twilight or sixth boss in Blackwing Descent… Yeah, I’ll probably aim for the Glaciated Helm and try to pick up the token off Nefarian when we get there, depending on how the rest of my gear looks.

Also, note that the non-set helm has haste versus the tier helm’s crit.

Neck: Wyrmbreaker’s Amulet, from Halfus Wyrmbreaker in Bastion of Twilight, has 127 spirit and crit, vs. Valiona’s Medallion (from Valiona and Theralion in Bastion of Twilight) which has 127 haste and 127 mastery. I think I’ll be aiming for Wyrmbreaker’s because, as I was saying earlier, I need more spirit. But also, think of all the casters who will want the Medallion. Resto and Ele shaman, Balance and Resto druids, mages, warlocks, all kinds of priests… yeah. I’m going to stick to spirit where at least I don’t have to fight with mages and warlocks.

Shoulders: Burden of Mortality from Chimaeron in Blackwing Descent versus our tier shoulders from that token from Cho’gall. Both pieces are roughly equivalent, but the Burden of Mortality won’t add to a really nice 4pc bonus. Since the off-set isn’t absolutely outstanding, I may just wait for the tier shoulders.

Cloak: This is actually what forced me to get on the whole loot list thing, because I found myself with enough Valor Points to buy a cloak.

Heavenly Breeze is the cloak you can buy with 1250 Valor Points. Yay spirit! But… mastery. Blah.

Drape of the Twins, on the other hand, drops from Valiona and Theralion, the second encounter in Bastion of Twilight, and has spirit AND haste. This is definitely my preferred cloak and since we’ve downed Halfus, this is just about accessible to me. So I’m definitely going to save my Valor Points for something else and aim for this. If the weeks go by and this never drops for me or I just never have the priority with our EPGP system, I’ll pick up the Heavenly Breeze.

Chest: Another slot which is prompting me to do my research.

You see, on Magmaw 10, I got the Breastplate of Avenging Flame. It’s perfectly itemized, in my mind. Spirit, haste, two sockets… Beautiful piece.

Compare it with our T11 chest and you’ll see there’s 30 more spirit on the tier, along with 188 more Mastery, whereas the non-set piece has 218 more haste.

The choice, to me, is clear: if I’m going for a four-piece bonus, I’m not going to get the chest. I’m going to keep my Breastplate of Avenging Flame. No way am I giving up 218 haste for 188 mastery and 30 more spirit.

Bracers: Oh God, please let there be decent bracers… And they’re not awesome, but they’re not terrible. And they drop from Cho’gall. Awesome. So I have to clear Bastion of Twilight to get a chance at the Shackles of the End of Days? Peachy.

Whoever was in charge of designing plate bracers REALLY fell down on the job and needs to be fired. And then we need more bracers available. Also, wands, because my poor guildies are suffering through Deadmines over and over again. But I digress.

Gloves: Maloriak, one of the possible third bosses of Blackwing Descent, drops the Flash Freeze Gauntlets which are very pretty and worth picking up unless you already have your tier gloves through Valor Points or from Argaloth. You’ll probably want both of them, to be honest, for different gear sets, with the 4pc T11 bonus on fights where you’re using a ton of Holy Radiance, just to help offset the cost. The Flash Freeze Gauntlets are beautifully itemized and our gloves… well, maybe less so. Again, I think it’ll take some time for data on our mastery to really let us know at what level, if any, our mastery will be important.

The World Keeper’s Gauntlets are a great rep reward from being exalted with the Earthen Ring, but the Flash Freeze are, IMHO, better itemized and the tier gloves add to the tier bonuses, leaving this pair of gloves out.

Belt: Are you exalted with Ramkahen yet? Get to it, if you’re not. The Sun King’s Girdle is the best ilvl 359 belt you can get, IMHO. It’s also the easiest one to acquire, unless you can buy or craft a Light Elementium Belt but the Sun King’s Girdle has better stats than the crafted one and has a socket.

Legs: Man, oh man, the Legguards of the Emerald Brood, which drop off of Halfus Wyrmbreaker, are great! Two sockets, spirit, haste… and they’re not our set legs. I think that you ought to either pick these legs or the chest from Magmaw to be your non-set piece, whichever you end up seeing drop first. Our tier legs cost 2200 Valor Points or can drop off Argaloth. They’re not bad, but I really think the haste over the crit make the non-set pants better.

Ideally, I’d wear the non-set chest, gloves and legs, with just the helm and shoulders equipped for the 5% extra crit on Holy Light and, on fights when I’m running out of mana or need to pop Holy Radiance on cooldown, no question, I’d equip the set legs and gloves. I think, anyways.

Boots: Eh, you know, Life Force Chargers, which drop from the Omnotron Defense System, leave me cold. 169 spirit is great, but 149 mastery? Feh. The Eternal Pathfinders have no spirit, but have haste and crit, and are available from the vendors for 1650 Valor Points. I’m seriously considering picking these up as soon as I can. (Me? Bitter about never getting the non-existant Forehadow Steps from Halion? Never.)

Rings: Eesh, there’s a bunch of choices. Here are my top three.

1) Security Measure Alpha from Omnotron. I got this the other night and am pretty pleased with it.

2) Ring of the Boy Emperor from Archaeology is identical to the Signet of the Fifth Circle from Cho’gall and neither are a bad choice.

3) Band of Secret Names is bought with 1250 Valor Points.

Obviously, your choices may vary. Your rings are a great place to either boost a stat you might be lacking or to even out your stats if you’re going for a “less stacked, more balanced” approach to your gear.

Trinkets: A lot of choices here, too.

Before we get into stuff, it should be noted that the Mandala of Stirring Patterns from exalted Tol Barad rep is changing from 321 Spirit and a proc for mastery to a proc for intellect in 4.0.6, according to the patch notes.

Here are my top three choices:

1) Fall of Mortality off of Cho’gall. This is amazing. 321 intellect and a passive equip chance for 1926 Spirit for 15 seconds, which appears to be on a 45s internal cooldown. This is pretty amazing.

2) Darkmoon Card: Tsunami from the Darkmoon Faire. I’m told that although it’s “a chance” to stack the buff, it’s a very short internal cooldown and so keeping the stacks up is pretty easy. This can be likened to Solace of the Defeated from Jaraxxus in Trial of the Crusader.

3) Core of Ripeness is purchased with 1650 Valor Points and is basically an upgraded version of the Figurine – Dream Owl that’s available to Jewelcrafters.

Why not the Jar of Ancient Remedies? It doesn’t have any stats on it. Sure, it grants up to 515 spirit and has an on-use effect, but there’s no passive stats on it at all. I don’t think I’m quite so hard up for spirit that I need 515 spirit at the cost of 321 intellect in one of my trinket slots. Your mileage may vary depending on your regen and bear in mind this is my preference and only my preference!

Weapon: Our weapon choices are limited until we get to Cho’gall or Nefarian or Al’akir, basically. Unless we want to take on the final boss of an instance, we’re stuck hoping for this: Maldo’s Sword Cane. It drops off Blackwing Descent trash.

Or, we could bite the bullet and get the Vicious Gladiator’s Gavel for 2450 Conquest Points, without any arena or battleground rating required.

I shall pass on the latter, pray for the former and settle in for a good long wait for Twilight’s Hammer off of Cho’gall.

Shields: Another bunch of piss-poor selections, to be honest. The Elementium Stormshield is the best, IMHO, at the 359 level, edging out Kingdom’s Heart due to the haste on it, versus the crit from KH. KH drops off Atramedes in Blackwing Descent, by the way.

Relic: We have two major choices here — haste (Relic of Norgannon) or spirit (Relic of Eonar). Both are available for 700 Valor Points.

So there you go, all the gear I’m looking at getting for a 359 gear set.

Once a hunter…

This happened back on Thursday, but I felt compelled to write this down somewhere because it delighted me so very much.

We took a ten-man group into Bastion of Twilight to play with Halfus Wyrmbreaker (worst. combo. ever. Slate, Storm and Whelps.) and we got to the enrage, which I view as a moral victory.

The trash, the initial trash, was painful. We wiped a few times on it. The first group, not a problem. But we had trouble pulling the second group without pulling either side.

Finally, I watched my tanks as they pulled and I realized what the issue was. They were cheating to the left side and pulling the left side of trash as well as the second group of central trash.

We released. We ran.

“Stand back,” I said. “I’m pulling.”

“Wait. YOU’RE pulling?!” exclaimed my brother, one of our tanks.



Well, why not, right? I have a 35y range on my judgements, I have a bubble.

So I was on the steps, smack dab in the middle of the staircase and ran up to pull the pat as they turned away.

Et voila. Just pulled those four (or five?) mobs. Ran back and bubbled and that trash group died quickly.

Playing a hunter for five years, even if I don’t raid as one most of the time, has instilled in me good pulling habits. I can pull off “risky” pulls that others dare not attempt because I know how to pull properly. Not to say that my guildies or my tanks that night don’t, but there’s a certain something about knowing the angles and typical mob behaviour that can’t really be adequately communicated. It’s just something you learn.

There was a pull I loved (and hated) in Strat Live. I don’t even know if the pull still exists. It was after the rat cage. There was an Abomination that patted left and right and if you pulled it at the wrong time, you’d get a group of trash as well as the Abom and, back in the day, that was almost certainly a wipe. Nailing that pull took me a long time and a lot of practice, but at a certain point, I was able to snag that Abom perfectly every single time.

I know WHY my tanks kept pulling the sides. They didn’t want to stand right in the middle and risk getting both sides. In their defense, I think the safe zone at the top of the stairs in the beginning of Bastion of Twilight is maybe 5 yards wide. Too far left, you get the left group. Too far right, you get the right group. I was definitely taking a chance in standing in the middle, but my hunter instincts were like “just stand in the middle”. I couldn’t even explain why. I just knew.

There’s a certain je ne sais quoi that you get after playing this game for a while. You might not know the trash at all, but you learn to watch for healing spells on mobs with mana bars. You learn to watch for cleaves on mobs with large weapons. You learn how to position yourself and your group and the mobs for a pull.

It’s like you’re playing pool and you see your opponent trying to sink a ball from across the table. And you know the angle’s not right. It looks okay, but you KNOW that the 4 is not going to get sunk. You KNOW it’s just going to ricochet off the side.

It’s about instincts.

I may not have been on my hunter on Thursday and I don’t even know when or if Kurn will ever see the inside of Bastion of Twilight, but, by golly, making that pull is why I still call myself Kurn. :)

It felt pretty damn awesome. :)