Your big beautiful beefy bulwark of badass.

I got yer mountains, right here

The Anvil has been working on Thorim 25-man, off and on, for something like eight weeks now.  Now granted, in that eight weeks, we’ve been unable to even take a shot at him three times due to roster issues.  But still, that’s five weeks of hearing “…in the moooounntaaaiiiinnsss…”  several times a night, followed by the most painful wipes this side of a bad case of hemorrhoids.  “Cockblock” may be a vulgar term, but in Thorim’s case, it was appropriate.  Only Kael’thas in Tempest Keep ever held us up this long…we even got Vashj in less calendar time, although IMO, Vashj was a hell of a lot harder.

We went back in to Ulduar on Thursday night with a full raid (for once) and a determination that we were going to beat the Yoggy out of(tm) Thorim.  Once again, I was your friendly neighborhood gauntlet tank, preparing to lead an eight-man group to deal with happy fun trash and big fire-spewing minibosses while the other 17 folks chilled out in Thorim’s Mosh Pit and rocked out to Slayer under a big pile of about five hundred squillion iron dwarves.  With lightning.  And mullets.

By the end of the evening I was pretty much ready to give up and go find another line of work.  Something less stressful and more tolerant of failure, like, say, brain surgery or nuclear weapon handling.  The arena group, originally our Achilles’ heel, was on a roll, keeping great control of the dwarves and holding up under the heavy punishment.  No, Gentle Reader, our problems on Thursday night were primarily with the gauntlet group.

And that means, with me.

Holy Saurfang, was I a failtank Thursday night.  I broke sheep.  I lost agro on Iron Ring Guards and let them eat squishy fase.  I didn’t grab stuff fast enough when it followed us down the tunnel from the arena (that’s a new post-3.2 “feature” of Thorim–healers can agro stuff in the stands above the hallway in certain spots, through the ceiling, and when it starts moving, it’ll jump down and run into the hallway and hit the group from behind).  I got tripped up and dropped on my butt right in front of flame pulses.  I would’ve probably run across the center of the circles getting to Thorim and gotten paralyzed…had we even gotten that far.  I had the leader on the gauntlet side ready to kill me, I’m pretty sure.

And after all that, we still got him to phase 2 for the first time ever…and wiped when we hit the hard enrage with him at 3%.  Had we still had a warlock and mage alive that got killed in the hallway–because I lost agro on a guard–we would’ve gotten him.

That dwelled in my headspace all day Friday.  I couldn’t shake it off at work, or after I got home, or at prep time for the raid.  And as we were waiting for invites, I finally managed to focus and convert the “you suck”–which is not an easy task for me because I always think I suck–into “this will not happen again tonight, dammit.”  We had our strategy worked out–adding one more DPS, my wife Rashona, to the hallway group for a total of nine people–and this time, I was determined, if we failed, it was not going to be because of me.

We went in with 24 people, including several subs and first-timers, making jokes about “the Anvil man-down rule” that we usually do better with 24 than we do with 25.  We blew through Ignis and Freya, and soon we stood before Thorim again.  We charged in and massacred his little gladiatorial party.  He launched into his “…in the moooounntaaaiiiinnsss…” bad voice-acting again, and off we went through the opening gate.

First group.  Sheep left, let the hunter misdirect the acolyte toward me, don’t worry about him, grab the ring guard, tank him.  DPS burns down the acolyte (he hits like he’s got pillows on his hands), then my guard.  Bust the sheep, grab it, oh fuck get away from the fire.  OK, it’s dead, lather rinse and repeat on the second group.

Boss tiems.  Grab him, turn him, tank him, easymode.  Oh snap, Runic Barrier, call across the room for Rashonakitty to get out.  Sweet, he’s at 80k.  “First boss going down” over Vent, and I’m already turning and opening the door to bitchslap a guard across the face with my shield before the big guy even eats floor.  Two steps up, grab the second group, back up, Shockwave, booyah.  Not tonight.

“Get the boss, Lin.”  Right.  Drag the two up the stairs while a hunter and my pocket priest go with me.  Here comes the boss.  Shield Block and settle in for the tank, tab target, spread the love, oh fuck a guard is getting loose, Challenging Shout, GET BACK HERE BITCH.  Thunder Clap, Shockwave, DPS is burning down the guards first, not exactly the way you’re “supposed” to do it but it makes things easier on the healers, and besides, they’re shredding like paper.  Quick glance at Grid, nobody’s dead, way to kick ass arena group.

Second boss keels over…holy crap, we’re gonna hit phase 2 on our first attempt.  Run to Thorim, the shouts of “NOT THE MIDDLE, LIN!” still echoing in my head from two weeks ago.  One of the hunters agros him as they jump down, I pat him on the back as I go too.  He lands.  PHASE 2, BABY!

Settle in again.  Watch DBM for Unbalancing Strike messages and the telltale “doooong,” hit Taunt when it comes up.  Sometimes I get him, sometimes one of the other tanks do, no worries.  People on Vent yelling about the adds, “no, we killed them all.”  Constant calls of “lines!”, “move move move!”, “taunt!”  Eighty percent.  Sixty percent.  Forty percent.

I try and do the math in my head of the delta on his health versus the enrage timer, and the equation’s coming out in our favor…barely.  Thirty percent.  “Ten stacks.”  He’s hitting hard as hell now, 14k or more.  Get on those taunts, dude, remember, if we fail tonight, it won’t be because of me.  Twenty percent.  A couple of people are dead, our DPS slows.

Dooong.  Taunt.  “Twelve stacks.”  Fifteen percent.  Reach for Shield Wall on general principle–I’m not really even at low health but it’ll help stretch the healers’ mana–and FUCK I’M DEAD WHAT KILLED ME.  I’m face-down in the Sprawl of Shame and he’s still at twelve percent.  Two tanks left…”Gore, Kel, it’s on you guys, go go go.”  Ten percent.  Eight.  Five.  “Fourteen stacks!”, a note of panic creeping in.  Less than one minute to enrage.

Three.  Our other offtank drops dead.  Two.  Shit, our MT just died, no, dammit, no no no!  One…

“Stay your arms!  I yield!”

I slump back in my chair, put my face in my hands, and realize that they’re shaking.  I don’t cry tears of joy and relief…but it’s a close thing.


Epilogue:  We got Mimiron to 22% in phase 3 the very first time we saw him.  I’m not getting cocky yet, as phase 4 of that fight is supposed to be total chaos, but I think we’re in pretty good shape on him.  Make out your will, you shrimpy little twerp, you’re next.

15 responses

  1. [s]eraph

    congrats! never run Ulduar before myself, but sounds like a challenging fight

    August 10, 2009 at 11:30

  2. Having only seen the inside of Ulduar once in my life, I often just skim past posts about it. But Lin, that was one of the most dramatic retellings of a boss fight I’ve ever seen. Grats on the kill!

    August 10, 2009 at 13:20

  3. This post is epic! Thorim was pretty much our cockblock, too, and the last Keeper we killed. For some reason, Mimiron went down on our first night of trying him.

    Also, great to find an entertaining Warrior blog (apart from Need More Rage), added you to blogroll, thanks for blogging. 🙂

    August 10, 2009 at 15:03

  4. shadedpath

    Learning to tank the gauntlet was Not Fun, indeed. It’s all about rhythm and timing and if even one thing goes out of wack, it’s about impossible to fix it.

    Gratz on the kill, guys 😀

    August 10, 2009 at 17:11

    • Thanks Diss. ❤

      It's a weird fight, that hallway. Everything is screaming in your mind to "GO GO GO GO" but speed-rushing only gets you wiped. On our best attempt before last week, we had gotten through the door and were messing with the adds on the stairs and I decided to go get the boss to stop the adds…but got out of range of my healer when I did it, and the group wasn't ready for the adds to get the big buff from engaging the boss. Yes, you have to be fast, but you can't just be banzai-charging. Make a plan, stick to it, don't miss any steps.

      I much prefer the gauntlet to the arena. That hallway fight is practically custom-built for a warrior tank and the arena shows up our weak spots. Our warrior MT Gorebash did do an awesome job out in the arena handling the whirlwinding guys, but we back him up with a paladin and maybe a death nugget for AOE threat on everything else.

      August 11, 2009 at 08:49

      • It’s custom-built for a feral too, IMO. We’re far better at single/few target DPS, and have lots of oh-shit buttons in case things go bad.

        Not that I want to *use* any of those buttons, you understand. You just stay up front and taunt stuff, kk?

        August 11, 2009 at 16:16

  5. Grats on the kill.

    We abandoned our 25 attempts on Thorim due to those extra adds.

    Then for some crazy reason we got him to <100k hits in HM 10 man, despite them.

    I find Thorim the hardest of the keepers.

    August 10, 2009 at 19:42

    • We haven’t seen past phase 3 on Mimiron yet so I’m not sure how crazy phase 4 gets, but I’m tending to agree with you. We one-shotted Freya the first time we ever saw her, we killed Hodir the first night we tried him (after lots of wipes), but Thorim just beat us down for weeks and weeks.

      August 11, 2009 at 08:43

  6. Grats! We tried Thorim for the first time in 10-man this week, and it was extremely frustrating. I was arena DPS, and we just couldn’t keep up at all. Our best try was when the gauntlet team just killed the second boss before we collapsed in the arena.

    August 11, 2009 at 01:01

    • Arena can be brutal because you need high DPS and you have to focus it properly. Unless you have an exceptionally AOE-heavy group with exceptionally strong AOE tanks, it seems like you need a main assist that can pick out the evokers and champions and focus the single-target DPSers onto them. We used, IIRC, what amounted to two tanks (warrior, paladin) and another paladin whose job it was to pick out the kill targets quickly and allow everyone to assist off them.

      Thorim is one of the more interesting fights I think Blizzard’s ever created. You can’t just bull-rush DPS your way through it, though high DPS certainly helps.

      August 11, 2009 at 08:37

      • Hell with that. I Make Metharme be the assist.

        August 11, 2009 at 09:06

  7. Congrats, man. Out of curiosity, what ended up killing you?

    August 11, 2009 at 04:35

    • Honestly, I have no idea! I don’t know if we got stats up, they aren’t in our usual place on WWS, and I was too busy flipping out to check my combat log. I don’t think I’d gotten hit by an Unbalancing Strike. He was hitting very hard by that point so I may have gotten parrygibbed or gotten a lag spike on the healers.

      August 11, 2009 at 08:41

  8. I’m in the process of switching our WWS site to a paid one, Lin. So no, stats are not up yet

    August 11, 2009 at 09:06

  9. Zalgosh

    I got to heal for all of our Uld 10 run last night (got to general, and skipped iron council), usually I get switched out for another healer since I’m newer to the guild, so last night was my first time seeing Thorim. I was healing in the arena, and boy, is that intense to heal through (at least for the first time).

    My guild hasn’t had too many issues with Thorim for a while now, but we had a new dk tanking the gauntlet, I was a new, as well as 1 or 2 dps. I was pretty amused when on our first attempt, I hear from one of the experienced people in the gauntlet group “NO ARIOCH, NOT THE MIDDLE”

    August 12, 2009 at 09:24

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