Every Thursday, The Overachiever shows you how to work toward those sweet achievement points. This week, we offer supplication to the gods of RNG.
Four mounts will be disappearing as a result of current Wrath achievements becoming feats of strength in Cataclysm. As such, this article's essentially an extension of The OverAchiever: Do them now!, which singled out all of the known future feats. If you're interested in snagging a Swift Zulian Tiger, Swift Razzashi Raptor, Swift Alliance Steed/Swift Horde Wolf or Crusader's Warhorse, you'll find some information past the cut.
Swift Razzashi Raptor
The Zul'Gurub mounts are by far the easiest to get, but they're also the most capricious. I've known players who have spent years trying for a drop without ever seeing one ... and then there's always that guildie who waltzes into Zul'Gurub on an idle Thursday for some rep and yells, "It dropped!" The raptor's drop rate is thought to be less than 1 percent, so even with a three-day reset, you don't have good odds of getting it before patch 4.0.3 hits.
Oh well. All you can do is try. Bloodlord Mandokir, the so-called "raptor boss," is located in the southeastern portion of Zul'Gurub (see the map above from Wowhead). He's an easy enough fight for a level 80, but his melee damage and periodic fear ability are still dangerous to a cloth class. He has 466,340 health, which is roughly the same as the average Wrath 5-man heroic boss. If you're going to have problems whittling this down before he'll kill you, I'd advise bringing a friend or two.
Otherwise, this is what you've got to worry about:
- A Speaker NPC will be at the bottom of the stairs. Kill him, and the Bloodlord and his raptor (named Ohgan) will engage you.
- You can kill the raptor if you want, but Mandokir will enrage if you do. The additional damage from the enrage isn't a big deal to a tank -- but again, it can be problematic for some classes, so you may want to keep the raptor alive.
- If you've run into Mandokir's enclosure without doing the accompanying trash, keep him at the top and back of his little ziggurat. He'll fear you every so often, but your character will only make it a step or two down the stairs before the fear wears off, and you won't attract any unwanted attention.
- The only other real mechanic of note here is Mandokir's focus, which isn't an issue if you're soloing him and only a minimal one if you're not. At 80, it's easiest to just ignore it entirely if you're geared. If you're not, stop DPS or healing immediately upon being focused and wait out the debuff to keep from being charged.
- Tank him and spank him.
Swift Zulian Tiger
Like the raptor, the Swift Zulian Tiger's drop rate is estimated at less than 1 percent. If you're angling for it, head north to High Priest Thekal, the "tiger boss," and try your luck. He only has 130,000 health, but unlike Mandokir, he's a two-phase fight with adds. Damage is not high if you're a tank, but you'll need to bring a friend or two if you're not, or if you're a class without a reliable interrupt.
While the Thekal fight seems less straightforward than Bloodlord Mandokir, it's really not. The only real trick to this fight is managing some interrupts in this first phase.
- During the first phase, you'll be tackling the High Priest, Zealot Lor'khan and Zealot Zath (plus the tigers on the platform).
- /focus Zealot Lor'khan. You'll need to know what she's doing at all times.
- DPS them all three evenly, as they must die within 10 seconds of each other; if they don't, they'll be resurrected by the remaining add/s and your night just got longer.
- The only possible hitch here is Zealot Lor'khan's Great Heal, which is why you want to /focus her. Each of these should be interrupted unless you want to spend a very long time on this fight. It's a 4-second cast, so you have plenty of time if you don't dawdle.
- All three adds dead within 10 seconds of each other? Good. Here comes Thekal again, in tiger form. His melee damage will be considerably higher -- but again, this won't mean much to an 80 tank. The only ability of note in phase 2 is Force Punch, which will send you flying backwards, so DPS him with your back against a wall.
- Thekal will occasionally summon tigers, but their damage isn't very high. AoE or DPS them down, and then go back to the boss.
There's really not a whole lot I can tell you about doing ToGC-10 or -25 that hasn't been covered over the past year and a half, and doing this achievement boils down to how well you execute the fights. This is by far the easier of the two ToGC-related mounts to acquire because it doesn't require you to keep everyone alive. Rather, you just have to preserve all 50 attempts, and that's pretty easy to do if you're rocking Icecrown-quality gear and know the encounters. Oh, and having a few overgeared healers hopped up on caffeine doesn't hurt either.
Here's a fight-by-fight rundown. As an aside, PhoenixStyle is tremendously helpful both here and in Icecrown Citadel for keeping raiders honest about who's handling (or mishandling) the more troublesome aspects of these fights. If a healer's really fast on Jaraxxus or a DPS is slow to switch targets for different shields on Twin Val'kyrs, you'll know.
- Northrend Beasts The most common points of failure here are tank deaths on Gormok, chained damage on the jormungars and being unable to run out from in front of Icehowl in time (like the 25-man version, the 10-man heroic version does not afford you a speed boost after Massive Crash). The first is something your tanks and healers have to deal with, the second is solved only be people not being idiots with Burning Bile, and the third is solved only by people not being idiots with Massive Crash. If you're consistently having issues with the latter, ask your raid to download and use Deus Vox Encounters, which will give you a handy little arrow to point you in the direction you need to go.
- Lord Jaraxxus As long as your healers are quick about Incinerate Flesh, your tanks don't let them get eaten by adds, and raiders have the sense to run the hell away with Legion Flame, you should be fine.
- Faction Champions Hoo boy. The problem with this fight is that, while the champions may not play all that intelligently, they still have a tendency to focus and zerg particular players. On 10-man, the burst is a lot more healable, and if you're in Icecrown-quality gear, you have a significantly higher margin for error than players had in patch 3.2. If you're having problems, encourage your raid to switch to PvP specs with more cooldowns and survivability. You may also want to evaluate your kill order. If your raid's consistently having problems getting through the Faction Champions fight unscathed, that's usually a sign that you're killing the wrong champion/s first.
- Twin Val'kyrs Despite the high raid damage, this is the among the easier fights in the instance, as you can brute-force the healing (to an extent) if people screw up. In good gear, even having designated soakers is usually overkill; just make sure your DPS switch targets quickly for the different shields and that nobody's blithely sitting in the path of an opposite-color orb.
- Anub'arak He's a lot easier than his 25-man incarnation, but you'll still have to be careful. However, one of the most dangerous parts of the ToGC-25 Anub'arak encounter, the scarcity of frost orbs during the kite phase, is not an issue here.
Crusader's White Warhorse or Crusader's Black Warhorse (requires A Tribute to Immortality)
You know how much fun we all had doing Immortal? Take Immortal and slap its requirements on a much more difficult raid, and that's the feat. Naturally, this made our list of WoW's 25 most evil achievements this past year.
Honestly, I don't feel I'm in a good place to give advice on this. Back when my guild was running ToGC-25 regularly, we invariably lost a player or two on the Faction Champions
For what it's worth (and again, PhoenixStyle is very helpful here):
- Northrend Beasts My advice here would be the same as that for the 10-man version. Gormok still does a lot of damage, but it's not as scary on a tank with Icecrown health, and all three (well, technically four) bosses will die quickly to good DPS. As always, no idiocy should be tolerated with Icehowl's Massive Crash.
- Lord Jaraxxus Same as the 10-man version. You'll have to get 85,000 healing on Incinerate Flesh targets, but assuming a full complement of alert healers, that's not a big deal.
- Faction Champions Ugh. I think the fastest we ever lost someone here was literally three-tenths of a second. Even Ensidia, while snagging the world-first feat of strength, observed that a bit of luck is involved. That said, the vast majority of deaths on this encounter are completely preventable, and people need to take responsibility for their survival. Your own damage is a distant concern to making sure the champions are tightly controlled, and healers will usually need help dispelling all of the debuffs that get slapped up. Dispel like a maniac, interrupt like it's your job and have a crowd control buddy to help keep your targets locked down, and you should be fine. Unless five of them turn on you at once ... then you will not be fine.
- Twin Val'kyrs Our raid had consistent success giving everyone in the raid barring five people the "light" buff, stacking the raid close to the dark portal on the right side of the coliseum, and designating five "soakers" to grab any dark orbs headed for the raid. Once your soakers get the hang of this, your raid can remain stationary for most of the fight (barring the brief period you'll need to change buffs). Make sure your soakers get lots of heals and just DPS the bosses down.
- Anub'arak This was the Big Boy of tier 9 raiding, and the heroic 25-man version of this fight was very, very ugly back in the day. Again, I don't know what this fight is like with full Icecrown gear, but the most dangerous bits are the kite phase and keeping everyone alive through phase 3. We managed the kiting with a holy priest talented into Body and Soul (allowing fresh spike targets to start the kite with a buffer) and having our paladins rotate Blessing of Protection on targets. The idea is to keep Anub'arak chasing each person for as long as possible, because you don't have the luxury of an ice patch for everyone (you will only get six total during the fight, and you'll need two permanent patches on which to off-tank the adds, so four for kiting). To this end, have each target kite until Anub's speed becomes impossible to outrun, BoP them, have them wait until a few seconds are left on the BoP, then jump onto an ice patch. If you do this correctly, Anub will never have the chance to chase more than three people per kite phase. Two people can use ice patches per phase; the third will run out the clock. The first two should have bought as much time as possible for the third unless you want a dead raider and a failed achievement on your hands.
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