After our flailing around in 10-man Trial of the Crusader on patch day, we came back with our 25-man crew on Thursday. Our DK MT was theoretically "on vacation" still, since he was supposed to be gone the entire week, but he was online and said he would come as a tank-bot if needed. He just wanted/needed a break from leading the raid. So I took care of the invites, organizing the groups, setting up EPGP, calling out instructions on vent, and, noticing that we were a little short on heals, I hopped on Gillien to give us a second holy paladin. One of the other officers took care of healing assignments (with the caveat that if anything went wrong I was to be blamed for asking him do assignments) and away we went!
We didn't have nearly as much of a squishy tank problem on 25-man as in 10-man, because we had all our normal 25-man Ulduar tanks. That isn't to say that tanks didn't die but it wasn't nearly so much of a squishiness issue. The Beasts of Northrend encounter has a surprisingly large amount of leeway for an Ulduar-geared raid.
Our biggest issue was probably in phase 2 with the two jormungar worms where we lost a lot of dps due to the standing in poison clouds phenomenon. But even with several deaths there and an accidental tank death in the phase 1 to 2 transition, we still made it to Icehowl (phase 3) on our first attempt.
Our second attempt still had accidental tank deaths. I'm not entirely sure what happened, so all I can say is that our heal team (including me) wasn't on the ball. Our warrior tank died in the phase 1 to 2 transition again (poor guy), our paladin tank died sometime in middle of phase 3 (this is the one I feel bad about, because he was my assignment), and our DK tank died towards the end phase 3. And then our cat druid leaped into bear form (wearing his kitty gear!) and called out "Overheals on Blackleaf!" as he grabbed the boss.
There are players you just love to have when things go wrong and Blackleaf is one of them. Icehowl was down to about 10-15% when our DK had died and though Blackleaf was getting hit pretty bad, he held up surprisingly well for not being in tank gear! I spammed Holy Light whether he needed it or not (to hell with my mana pool if we're going to wipe anyway!), and he stayed up long enough for Icehowl to go down.
It was sloppy as heck. We must've had at least 8 people down (we lost dps to poison clouds again, and one healer got trampled by Icehowl), and there's no way we could've done that in an Ulduar raid. Beasts of Northrend is really easy compared what Razorscale was like when Ulduar first came out, probably too easy. It really feels like just a gear check, and a light one at that, since we beat it without even focusing that hard. I'm pretty sure if we'd had a better geared tank for 10-man on Tuesday we would have beaten it then as well.
I've noticed healing this fight that Gormok (phase 1) is the most healing intensive for me. I really watch my assigned tank because of the stacking debuff he puts on his main target and I don't dare risk a Divine Plea to get mana back until Gormok is safely attacking the other tank. Even then I'm hesitant to do so I'm watching the other tank's health jump up and down.
This results me getting to around 30% mana by the end of phase 1, which is uncomfortably low for me. I get a lot of it back in phases 2 and 3 though. Because the healing load is lighter I can heal with Divine Plea up without worrying that someone will die due to the 50% healing penalty.
Protip for pallies: Using Blessing of Protection to remove Gormok's debuff from your tank(s) before the worms begin attacking in phase 2 is very nice. That's less damage that has to be healed through.
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