Two-manning Black Temple

(Alternate title for this post: “Goddamnit Reliquary ow ow ow”. You’ll see why.)

I and Alieth like undermanning content. I don’t really know why – I guess there’s something fun about the challenge of killing bosses that used to be difficult way back when. Back in the good TBC days, when Alieth was still playing his priest, we 3-manned all of Molten Core plus Razorgore in Blackwing Lair with a guildie of his. (Link goes to the post I made about it on a LiveJournal community. Looking at my old user interface is making me feel all nostalgic.)

So we’ve two-manned almost everything vanilla back at level 80 (except Viscidus, due to game mechanics; we also three-manned BWL to get my hunter alt a Chromaggus), everything at the Tier4 level, almost everything at the Tier5 level (with the exception of Vashj because of game mechanics, and we couldn’t be bothered trying Void Reaver or Solarian). Time to move on to Tier6 content!

Hyjal is mostly a pushover. Alieth gets to stay in his elemental offspec and pew pew for most of it, with the exception of Rage Winterchill (because Death and Decay, tooltip be damned, scales with your health and/or level and ticks very hard – so you do need a healer to compensate for that; and you need to move out of it very quickly, or you’re going to die) and Archimonde, where game mechanics have him alternatively running in fear and flying in the air – and therefore the passive healing from Healing Stream Totem, plus Earth Shield and Riptide, are quite useful. We’ve done it twice now, and will probably do it just one last time (for Alieth to cap out his Scale of Sands rep) and then stop.

Black Temple is a different story – to the point that it’s not a “pure” two-manning, because I had to get my hunter alt in for us to be able to kill some of the bosses. (I have two accounts. One has my main, plus my prot paladin and disc priest alts, both of which were leveled using heirlooms; the other account, for which I never could be bothered buying heirlooms despite having multiple 80+ characters on it, has all my DPS alts. This makes it incredibly easy to run my little alts through dungeons or hard quests with my main.)

Just for reference, in case people read this in the future and are wondering about our gear:

  • Alieth is very epically well-geared (364 average ilvl).
  • Aeliel, my main, is heroic-geared (347 average ilvl courtesy of the 359 epic PVP polearm, which was such a ridiculously huge upgrade over my 333 blue staff it’s not even funny – one of these days a heroic will spit out a PVE upgrade, but what can you do)
  • Problem, my hunter alt, is also mostly heroic-geared (340 average ilvl, since she’s still got a couple 333s and a lone 318 trinket).

Since this is getting long, I’ll tuck boss information in the extended entry.

High Warlord Naj’entus, Supremus and Shade of Akama are all pushovers. (Akama’s trash isn’t, on the other hand, so don’t overpull. Also, spines on Naj’entus shapeshifting me out when I use them to pop a bubble? So annoying.)

Teron Gorefiend: game mechanics say hello! Two people, it turns out, aren’t enough to kill him before both inevitably dying to Shadow of Death. So I got my hunter alt in and we spent a few attempts figuring out a strategy.

Teron can and will Shadow of Death the tank if he has no other valid targets. With three characters in the fight, we had 2 minutes 25 seconds to kill him before he killed all of us and inevitably reset. Alieth, in his elemental offspec, was our primary source of damage, so he ended up “tanking” the boss – being on top of his threat list – to ensure he got Shadow of Death last, if at all. On our successful kill, Shadow of Death went first on my hunter alt, then on my main – I dealt with the ghosts and Alieth finished off the boss, but it was still really messy.

Reliquary of Souls: the problem here is Essence of Desire, the second phase. We wiped on it for about five hours before settling onto a working strategy and executing it correctly. This included a wipe at 30k health, since we couldn’t remove that last Rune Shield off it before it killed us.

The sticking point in this encounter is Spirit Shock. Even with both of us specced into interrupting as frequently as possible, we could only interrupt the first three casts – then the fourth one would go through, and I would get disoriented. Then Alieth would. Then my alt would. And it would unravel from there.

In a nutshell, the strategy worked like this:

  • I used a Core Hound pet on the hunter, for the cast time slow. (Before you suggest using a Gorilla and/or going Marks for the extra interrupt – yeah, I could’ve; but I know Beast Mastery best, and alt-tabbing between two game clients a lot causes me pretty huge FPS issues, and as a result I wasn’t keen on basing something as twitchy as interrupting a spell with a 1sec cast time on whether or not I get a FPS freeze at the wrong time.)
  • Alieth went Resto, for the healing needed to counteract the damage from Aura of Desire. It was a weird non-cookiecutter spec including 2/2 Reverberation and 2/3 Elemental Precision, for pretty obvious interrupting reasons.
  • We went Alieth – me – Alieth on the first three interrupts; then my interrupt’s cooldown wasn’t up for the fourth, and I got disoriented.
  • I focused on building as much initial threat as possible on my main, then switched to the hunter and did my damnedest to burst the boss down, misdirecting and feigning whenever I could to avoid pulling threat and getting disoriented. I would also Tranq Shot the shield whenever possible, especially after Alieth’s manabar got reduced to zero. (Add this one to the “reasons to be happy hunters got changed to using focus” list!)
  • Alieth focused on interrupting Spirit Shock as much as possible, especially if it was targeting my hunter. He also dropped both Fire and Earth Elemental totems (simultaneously – thank you 4.0.6).

Essence of Suffering (phase 1) and Essence of Anger (phase 3) are both pushovers, so as long as you can get Essence of Desire down, you win.

Gurtogg Bloodboil needed Alieth to be in resto spec. Acidic Wound is a nasty, nasty DoT still, especially when you can’t tank swap and therefore it stacks to full. Other than that, he was pretty easy.

Mother Shahraz was also easy – and got easier once the hunter alt died. Fatal Attraction won’t go on the tank, and just fizzles after teleporting you if you’re the only target.

The Illidari Council took coordination and wearing them down more than anything else. Alieth was resto and “tanking” Malande and Zerevor, while I was tanking Veras and Gathios. The hunter alt put her Core Hound on Malande, again for the cast time slow, and mostly just stood there autoshotting. Alieth interrupted Circle of Healing most of the time; he’d call out to me if he couldn’t, and I would interrupt as a backup. We missed a couple of interrupts, but nothing major.

Illidan… oh Illidan. On the first attempt, I died at the end of the flame phase, followed shortly after by Alieth; I switched to the hunter and picked him up with my tanking pet and lived until he switched to demon form, at which point I got focused by all four shadow demons and promptly died.

From then on, we left the hunter dead on the floor, since having her around wasn’t helping much anyway.

For the second attempt, we got through the flame phase with bloodlust, then wiped when he switched to demon form – I was taking loads of damage, then when he summoned shadow demons we went “splat”.

For the third and final attempt, the one that resulted in a kill, we got through the flame phase without bloodlust – then used it to burn him down really quickly. Although he did switch to demon form, he hit 30% shortly after; the switch to the final phase drops him back out of demon form and resets the timer for the next demon form change. At that point, we just burned him down and watched Maiev kill him.

For the curious, no, he didn’t drop either Warglaive (I almost expected him to, since the only character I have that can wield Warglaives – my death knight – is still on another server). He didn’t drop my goddamn blindfold either, the bastard. I’ve only wanted that since I was lvl70 and actively raiding Black Temple, it’s not a huge deal. >_<

We’ll be definitely coming back. Even if Alieth didn’t still need the rep, it’s a fun challenge. And besides, there’s still items I want for looks… and once I get my death knight moved to the server my main’s on, I can farm her a pair of glaives. :D

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