Yesterday, on 10/10/10, my guild Daughters of the Horde killed Lich King-10 for the very first time. We first pulled him on August 1, and yesterday marked our 10th raid day working on him. As we only raid 1-2 days a week, it simply took us that long to get there. 2 months of hard work on him.
The first couple weeks were marked by the brickwall of Phase 2. At first, we simply could not coordinate getting the valkyrs down fast enough. Practically every pickup meant the person would be dropped. We lacked the coordination to deal with valks and Defile close together. We simply could not keep people alive. It took us until late September to first see phase 3, which promptly meant we wiped right at the start of it.
On Oct 3 we finally had the raid where we got into P3 just about every other try. We still transitioned with 3 Raging Spirits up, but we did not wipe when the first Vile Spirits were summoned. We were getting there.
Yesterday, it happened. We made it. It was a messy kill. I tanked the Raging Spirits in both transitions. Thanks to input from Naithin (psst, start reading his blog right now!), I tweaked my spec to sacrifice Damage Shield and Focused Rage in favor of Deep Wounds and Safeguard. My fellow tank Lashe had the Lich King in P3 while Spirits were up, and Safeguard allowed me to Intervene on her whenever Soul Reaper was cast, to give her a 30% damage reduction. The healers said it really helped them with dealing with the Soul Reaper damaged and allowed us to not taunt off each other in that part of the fight, until Raging Spirits were down.
Once the Spirits were down, I picked up Lich King and Lashe started soaking Vile Spirits instead. But I was sloppy, I did not always use my cooldowns at the right time, and so at around 25% I went down. I got a battle rez from one of our two druids. At 18% I went down again, hit by Soul Reaper. There was no more battle rez available. At first I was shocked, we were so close, should that be it? Our ret pally Kaylexanna who always helps me with leading the raids (and keeping me sane) asked if Pain Suppression was up for the surviving tank, which marked the point where I managed to shake out of staring at my screen in blank horror. From that point on I did countdown, asked the healers to use cooldowns and to keep Lashe up at any cost. Down his health went. At about 16% one of the tree druids died when she was harvested. Two healers left. We kept the raid moving away from the Vile Spirits. Down and down his health went. I was sitting there, shaking, frantically, seeing his health bar slowly going down. Finally he was at 11%, then he used The Fury of Frostmourne and our Vent exploded.
I have no words to describe how happy this kill makes me. I was so worried that I wouldn’t be able to down the Lich King before 4.0, just like we hadn’t been able to down Zul’jin in the week before 3.0. We have come a long way since then as raid.
I think Ulduar taught us the most raid-wise. I think without the experience of wiping on a complex encounter that we got in our weeks on Yogg-Saron, we wouldn’t have been able to deal with the repeated weeks of defeat on the Lich King. Not when you’re from such a small guild with such a small pool of raiders. Both fights are complex, long, and require perfect execution. In general, I really enjoy execution-based fights, because eventually you get to the point where it clicks, and that’s awesome.
I will say that repeated wipes in Phase 2 of LK are an excruciating way to die over and over again. You have already spent like 5 minutes in the fight, to the point of utter boredom as Phase 1 is very easy, and then you run into a wall. Still, all in all a satisfying experience and worthy of being the final boss of the expansion. I am not really counting Halion, though we will now take the time to peek in on him.
Throughout Wrath of the Lich King, our roster changed a lot, from Naxxramas to Ulduar to Trial of the Crusader to Icecrown Citadel. We had a lot of fluctuation tank- and healer-wise. For quite some time I stopped tanking and healed instead, especially in the early days of Icecrown Citadel, when my tanking burnout was the worst it has ever been. But I rediscovered my love for tanking raids, Kadomi’s still my girl, and I am so happy that I got the Kingslayer title on her.
My big thanks go to everyone in my raid group who suffer through me as their raid leader and tank. I am neither the world’s best leader nor the best tank, and not always easy to deal with, so kudos to everyone for dealing with me. I am particularly grateful to those who stuck around with DotH. I think all of our current raid members are excited to be a part of our guild, and that makes me very happy. Guild perks are awaiting us in Cataclysm, I am really looking forward to them. We will level more slowly than other guilds, but we’ll get there.
I can now take a deep breath and start looking forward to Cataclysm instead of suffering from WoW ennui. That feels good.