Last night was supposed to be a fun night for us. We were going to go plow through BT like we did last week. Unfortunately, we only had eight people in the raid. We did not feel that we had enough DPS for a comfortable clear.
So we decided to hit up Naxx and try to get the achievement The Dedicated Few instead.
Raid composition was whatever we had available:
- prot paladin MT
- unholy DK (DPS-specced) on OT duties
- resto shaman and resto druid healers
- MM hunter, ret paladin, aff lock, fury warrior DPS
Most of the raid was geared with heroic raid gear. We’re not fully decked out in BiS items, but we’ve been running heroic raids for a couple of weeks now. Pookies is at about 2200 healing unbuffed in tree form.
Obviously, there is little room for error in some of these encounters. In normal mode you’re usually okay if one or two people die during a boss encounter. But what if you’re already down two raid members? Obviously some fights such as Heigan are completely doable even after losing more provided that you have at least the tank and a healer (and a shit ton of time!). This is not true for every fight—especially the DPS races! If any of you remember Matticus’ post about “that guy”… “that guy” is exactly who you do not want to bring along for this achievement.
A lot of the encounters are exactly the same as you would do ‘em with a full group…just a tad slower. Or, if you’re dropping your shittiest DPS, maybe you won’t even notice the difference! Here’s how it went for us:
- Razuvious: Same as with 10 people.
- Gothik: Same as with 10 people.
- 4H: Our setup had our hunter with myself tanking the two horsemen in the back. (In 25-man we usually stick the hunters with our MT on Rivendare since it’s hard for them to stack properly when on Kor’Thazz.) Our MT tanked Rivendare solo, and our OT and the rest of the DPS were on Kor’Thazz with the resto shaman. It took our DPS just about four stacks to get Kor’Thazz down (with Heroism/Bloodlust), during which time our MT was able to survive Rivendare without heals (we got this just in time, the next stack would have killed our MT). If you don’t think your MT is capable of holding out solo, then give him an off-spec healer for the fight and rotate horsemen. Alternatively, if you are running with a holy priest, a Lightwell would serve your solo tank well. This strat has always worked for us for two healer clears, but there are other more/less dangerous strats out there if you can’t get this to work for you.
- Patchwerk: Same as with 10 people. We used Heroism and had a lot of leftover time.
- Grobbulus: Pretty much the same as with 10 people as far as mechanics go. Due to people being injected at the same rate as with 10 people, your healers may struggle with the way this fight gets stretched out. Hopefully you have Replenishment and some grasp on mana management…
- Gluth: For this fight I healed the MT in the front, while our shaman healed our DK OT who was kiting adds in the back (DPS spec, tank set). We started out having the ret paladin kiting the adds, but he got owned hard (he didn’t have his tanking set on him). We had our fury warrior taunt Gluth when our MT had to let the debuff fall off (any plate-wearing class will do here). If you don’t have a hunter to Tranq Gluth’s frenzy, then I’m not sure how manageable healing your DPS OT is going to be. You may have to plan your debuff dropping around the frenzy. Or maybe I’m just being a drama queen.
- Thaddius: I thought this fight was going to be a clusterfuck, but we managed to finish well within the enrage timer even with our DK not making the jump the first time around (lol?). Obviously, your raid has to have a good handle on the basics of the fight. We just got Shocking! last week, so I knew we were in good shape. After we made it to the platform and engaged Thaddius, I healed and our resto shaman was on DPS full-time.
- Anub’Rekhan: Same as with 10 people.
- GWF: Same as with 10 people. We elected to kill the adds to dispel the frenzy so our healers would have some breathing room.
- Maexxna: Same as with 10 people: either you can heal it, or you can’t. Between four HoTs and Poison Cleansing Totem for our MT, we never have any worries on this fight.
- Noth: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…seriously, I had our shaman DPSing full-time again on this boss. Don’t neglect to decurse.
- Heigan: Same as with 10 people. Our DPS was good here, and we got him down just before his second Teleport. Also, I got The Safety Dance last night (most of the raid had it from before)!
- Loatheb: Like Thaddius, I thought Loatheb might be an issue with respect to DPS. He wasn’t. Same as with 10 people.
- This fight was a bit of a challenge because I started getting lag after Loatheb that lasted until about 2/3 of the way through Sapph. To illustrate, I would get behind an Ice Block during Sapph’s air phase, then five to seven seconds later I’d see a cloud of green numbers on my screen and everyone would be back in position around the boss. I tried everything my raid suggested to try and fix the lag to no avail. Luckily my awesome resto shaman partner is very quick with the decurses and was able to pick up my slack there.
Lately, my Sapph healing strat has involved heavy raid healing (against the AoE DoT) using Rejuv (this is a strat I read about over on PlusHeal.com). In normal mode assuming a certain level of gear on your MT, just throwing some HoTs up now and then should suffice even if your partner is completely neglecting him (which mine wasn’t).
I find the damage on this fight to be very manageable now, even with two healers. We have actually suffered very few deaths on Sapph ever since everyone got the hang of air phase and hiding behind the Blocks.
The fight does get drawn out quite a bit with eight people (at least, that’s what I found to be the case). Again, mana may be a problem for your healers, so they should plan accordingly from the get go. I believe I just used Innervate and didn’t need a pot.
- We pulled some risky shit and got into some sticky situations, but we got this on our first try.
We had our DK—who was to OT adds in phase three—DPSing KT in phase two. We don’t usually run this way because of the risk of Frost Blast-related death, but we figured that we really needed the extra DPS. And we did, because I got machine gunned by Detonate Mana. It was ugly. I was in mana conservation mode for a large portion of the fight, which was stressful (basically keeping just Lifebloom and Rejuv up on the tank and trying to get O5SR as often as possible while waiting for Frost Blasts to hit).
The shit hit the fan right off the bat when one of our melee groups managed to chain Frost Blast on to the MT. Our resto shaman and I are both on top of Frost Blast healing, so we didn’t lose anyone to that Frost Blast (which was amazing) or to any subsequent Frost Blasts.
One of our melee DPS did go down to a void zone thingy just as phase three was beginning. I had my brez available and used it then.
In the last 300k, our OT got owned. I really have no idea how this happened, but I suspect that it was a void zone because he really went down in an instant. Adds ran rampant for a while, killing both healers.
It’s in these situations that you have to keep cool. You could call a wipe, but, really, does anyone want to suffer through phase one again? No. Our MT coolly picked up the adds, I used the soulstone I had on me, and our resto shaman Ahnked. With the situation under control, our DPS managed to finish KT off.
It took us just under four hours to clear the instance, at which point we all gave ourselves a pat on the back. Although most of the instance is just as trivial with eight raid members as it is with ten, it’s in those do or die moments that your group really shines. The efficiency of our progress through the instance and things such as no one dying on Heigan are just icing on the cake. I was very impressed with everyone in attendance and made sure to voice that sentiment!