Monday, April 16, 2012

Top 3 raid bosses in Cataclysm

I was thinking about this after reading Clara's post on Ragnaros, though a lot of people seem to be reviewing Cataclysm raids lately (Dragon Soul in particular) and it made me think about my top 3 favorite fights in Cataclysm. The thought led me to a weird place.

My favorite fight in this whole expansion is the one that gave me fits of anxiety. It was the fight that kept me awake at night, shaking with dread, the fight where I made mistakes over and over and over again wiping the raid until I learned out how to do it over a brutal, brutal 3 straight nights of raiding the same boss. A rather masochistic exercise, I think.

So, anyway. I thought it would be kind of a fun exercise to see what other people thought, so here is a call-out:

What are your top 3 raid bosses from Cataclysm?

The Rules:
  1. You may only pick 3 bosses
  2. They must be from a Cataclysm raid
  3. It must be a boss you encountered pre-nerf
  4. Add a Most Memorable Moment from the encounter, whether a mechanic or from your own personal experience with the boss
You don't need to have killed them - just tried them a good number of times to get a good gauge of the encounter.

Okay - so to start it off, here is my list of top 3 favorite raid bosses in Cataclysm. I wound up sticking to normal-mode bosses to try and keep it universal, though no hard-modes really stand out as being all that exceptional anyway.


This has been the hardest boss to tank pre-nerf in my career as a raid-tank. Kiting adds in Phase 3 was the do-or-die part of this fight and the responsibility of the fight's success was purely on the ability of the tank to get those resets, not to mention the positioning of the drakes and his breath, CD rotation between the healer and tank.

Did I mention the hardest part come in phase 3 after an intense 2 phases where everyone had to execute everything perfectly? DPS and interrupts on the adds in phase 2, surviving the 100k AoE every time you shaved 10% of his health, having a healer or DPS tank the adds in Phase 1 and position them correctly without getting killed...

Pre nerf - this was the most difficult thing I've done in this expansion. This was the hardest fight in all of Cataclysm, specifically for me at least, in Phase 3 and when it was nerfed, I felt really sad that no other raid would ever face up to him at that level. I suppose you could do Heroic Nefarian, but it lacks the simplicity of what made the original encounter so great that it just bit into you and didn't let go. Overall, this would be my favorite raid boss in all of WoW but for Heroic Mimmiron. Firefighter is still the most exhilarating kill I've ever had in a raid, hands down. But Nefarian is a very, very close second.

Most Memorable Moment: I don't know, the moment when Nefarian floods the arena with lava or realizing with head-smacking horror that stunning the adds in phase 3 with Holy Wrath was the biggest mistake I could have made? Either way - brilliant!


This fight was more about coordinating your own movement and cool-downs for all the individuals involved, rather than any single particular mechanic that any one person has to handle, but how each individual person helps the raid with damage both incoming and going, with adds in transition phases, and with meteors made or broke this fight. It's an elaborate, choreographed dance that everyone had to execute perfectly.

Not nearly as hard as Nefarian, it was still a worthy and memorable end-raid fight, and it took us a few nights of work to get this. Figuring out how to handle Sons and Scions, two-healing it on our first kill, figuring out positioning for the Smash with Seeds while dodging the fire on the ground, juggling Trap detonations on top of all the AoE going out... nobody was ever bored during Ragnaros (the tanking was relatively boring but I'll give it as pass on that).

Meteor juggling in phase 3, now that I can look back at it in hind-sight, was a hilarious mechanic and I've seen it deliberately knocked into people lately. Bad raiders! No biscuit! Regardless, this fight pushed healing to the limit, and required heavy DPS and demanded precise execution from every single person in the raid, and that's what I loved about it. If they had added some really hard tanking component to this fight, it might have been my favorite fight over Nefarian.

Most Memorable Moment: On our very first pull we coasted through Phase 1 and then at transition I saw the Sons land and zoom to Sulfuras wiping the confident smirk off my face in 3 seconds flat. It was an awesome, "how the hell are we going to do this?!" moment.


Deal with interrupting Worship, with fire on the ground, with debuffs on tanks, with the adds, avoiding the Shadow Crash, killing the Corrupter and then the Bloods in time, making sure everyone had very low stacks of Corruption going into Phase 2 and the massive DPS burn needed to kill it at the end - another fight where you just can't fall asleep.

If you're slow on that interrupt, the boss builds stacks and the tank get gibbed. You fail to dodge the Shadow Crash, you wind up with a ton of Corruption and get yourself killed. You fail to swap and kill tentacles in phase 2, you wind up hitting like a limp noodle. You fail to turn away to puke at high stacks of Corruption, you kill people. This fight was great, and the heroic version tuned it even better, adding the elemental mechanic to really keep DPS on the razor edge of swap/killing and pushing the meters.

Most Memorable Moment: The night we had multiple - multiple - sub1-million wipes and at least 2 sub 100k wipes. Heartbreaking. Came back the next night to one-shot it, naturally.

I'm sad that none of the Dragon Soul bosses are memorable enough to stand out in my list, and though I do like some of the Heroic mode fights (particularly Heroic Yor'Sahj and Heroic Ultraxion), I'll remember doing Dragon Soul, but I won't sigh wistfully over fights it, like I sigh over the fights listed above, or other fights from Wrath like Firefighter, or Yog or Lich King or Heroic Putricide or  3-drake Sarth or Malygos...

And while Tier-11 was a lot of hard work and fun, it was really draining on raids to attack the number of bosses at the level of difficulty they came in with. I'm hoping Pandaria finds a middle-ground. I felt Firelands had a just-about perfect level of difficulty for us to tackle but with too few bosses - and the current tier of Normal modes feels vastly under-tuned, and Heroics feels like it is tuned just about right as well, and maybe a hair over-tuned for 10s but that's okay.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry if you are talk Hardmode then it has to be Rag, Nef and Al'akir...most guilds had sinestra kills before Al'akir...he was da BOSS of HM.