Blackrock Foundry World 3rd / US 1st

By Kaowa on March 23, 2015, 1:39 p.m.

It's been a grueling five months, but we have finally realized the fruits of our labors and are now enjoying what is the best finish for a tier in our guild's history: WORLD 3rd / US 1st. These ordinals are very meaningful for us -- not only do they reflect the improvements we have made as a guild since last tier, but they also signify to us that we are on the verge of being able to compete for the top spot, which is something that has quietly motivated us for a long time. Of course, it wasn't just the strong finish that justified all the blood, sweat, and tears. The journey itself has been exceedingly fulfilling. Blackrock Foundry turned out to be an excellent cap to the first tier of what has been a really wonderful expansion so far.

The first day of Blackrock Foundry we ended up downing five bosses in total -- the "easy" bosses as they turned out. Gruul, Beastlord, Oregorger, Hans & Franz, and Flamebender all turned out to be kill-able in a handful of pulls. In fact, of the 80 odd pulls on our first day, we spent the majority of them on Operator Thogar, who we wouldn't end up killing until the next day. Thogar will go down in raiding history as one of the highlights of this tier. It was an exceptionally entertaining encounter that combined a fun theme with a classic, unforgiving dance mechanic. Although our pull count on Thogar was nothing special, I think he was an excellent test of a guild's general raiding skill.

After doing much of the learning on day one, we earned our Thogar kill early on in the second day, leaving us with only the end-wing bosses to go before Blackhand. Before the 90 million health nerf to Kromog, choosing between these bosses was going to be quite a bit more difficult, but after the nerf, it was essentially made for us. In the end, Kromog came down to coming to terms with the fact that melee were a totally unnecessary liability and that almost all dps besides pillar dps did not matter. With Kromog down relatively early in the day, we decided to spend the rest of day two getting our feet wet on Iron Maidens.

The third day ended up being all about Iron Maidens for us. Progress was slow and steady, but truthfully the hardest part was fighting the urge to switch things up and go to Blast Furnace, especially given the number of guilds gathering on these two bosses and the rumors that other guilds were working on, and possibly getting close to, a kill on Blast Furnace. By the end of the night, however, the urges faded. After mastering the three boat phases and beginning to make progress on the final 20% burn, our motivation to kill this boss carried us late into the night, and in classic Midwinter fashion, we managed the kill on what was going to be our last pull of the night.

Day four was an interesting emotional experience for us. On the one hand, we were all riding high off of our world first Iron Maidens kill which proved to be a double-edged sword itself, providing us not only with a great sense of accomplishment, but also an intense feeling of pressure to not lose the momentum. And on the other hand, we were all starting to feel the effects of raiding for 12-14 hours a day, which is something we, as a guild, were (and still are) learning how to do. Ultimately, we decided to try to "take it easy" by farming Heroic BRF for more tier bonuses and trinkets, before diving into Blast Furnace. In the end, we may have not taken it easy enough, as the start of Blast Furnace marked the beginning of what was probably the most trying part of the tier for us.

Progression on Blast Furnace was very difficult for us. Phase one ultimately proved to be quite a conundrum for a week one kill. At first, the mechanics themselves were none to hard to deal with, but as we progressed on the later parts of the fight, we started to appreciate the importance of the heat mechanic to the overall encounter. Once we acknowledged the strict constraints required for a kill, phase one revealed itself for the true tactical challenge that it was. As we look to continue to improve as a guild, Blast Furnace is the fight we will be looking back to the most. The contributing factors were many and nuanced, but both Method and Paragon showed what was possible on this fight, and we look forward to not making the same mistakes twice!

After almost a week on Blast Furnace, we didn't get to see Blackhand until the second reset. Not getting to see Blackhand in the first week turned out to be a bit of a setback, as earning a low iLvl kill on this boss is quite a comp dependent feat, and being able to gear up the right comp with a week's worth of 9/10 farm is extremely helpful. Taking us over 600 pulls, Blackhand rightfully took his place as the final boss this tier. The dps checks and raid damage in both phases one and three gave this fight quite a difficult and dramatic feel, and although these phases were where most of the difficulty lie, phase two was a very fun phase, full of many intertwined and unforgiving mechanics that allow guilds to flex their problem solving muscles.

And so begins a new farm cycle. After the longest progression cycle we've ever done, we're all thankful for this chance to enjoy the many other aspects of the game and maybe even a bit of real life. Nah, who am I kidding? Can we have PTR testing yet?

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of the journey to this point. There may only be 20 people in on the kill, but there are easily half as many more working just as hard behind the scenes to make these kills happen. In particular, a huge thank you to Fusoya, without whom, I'm convinced, the world would collapse into a black hole.

Grats Team. Let's do this. Stay Tenacious.

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