After a long and entertaining journey, our raid team has reached The Jailer in Sepulcher of the First Ones.
But for one boss, Sepulcher was far easier for us than both Sanctum and Nathria, a sign that the majority of our raiders (a fun mix of vanilla vets and Shadowlands sign-ups) have their raid-legs now.
That one boss was Anduin, of course. What an amazing fight!
After finishing most bosses in low double figures, with Anduin we hit our first ever triple figure kill: 111 to be precise. Early on at that fight we realised that once/week wouldn’t be enough, as it takes us an hour each week to get back in the groove of a tricky fight. So we ran a few weeks of two night raiding, which helped, though not as much as expected. There were so many things to learn and co-ordinate in the fight, but, like most fights, in the end it came down to muscle-memorying each phase well enough to get to the next with everyone alive.
The 111th run felt inevitable the longer it went, and reaching the final stage with 12/13 raiders up and knowing we had a chance was thrilling and intense. It was only the 3rd time we’d reached Phase Four, so dropping him was very satisfying. Thank goodness that last phase was almost simple when compared to the preceding.
It’s a great credit to our raiders that no-one dropped out or rage quit as the attempts mounted - everyone wanted this one. And we killed him before everyone started to get OP from the 9.2.5 patch, which was also very satisfying (for Sylvanas and Denathrius we were definitely OP - probably just as well!). Then again, this wasn’t a fight you could overpower with gear, it was mostly mechanics.
I’ve enjoyed most of the fights in Sepulcher, especially Anduin and Halondrus. Halondrus feels unique in the way it uses the environment and how the fight moves through the map. The sound design on that boss is also great, all booming robotic echoes and chaotic explosions. Sylvanas and Denathrius had movement too, but it was teleports and bampfs rather than progressing through a wholly visible zone. I hope Blizz create more fights like that, and less single room battles.
My appreciation for that fight in particular was largely due to following the Race for World First. The Mythic Halondrus attempts were mind-blowing: a single orb or dropped bomb wiped the raid, and there were so many sub 1% wipes. Echo took 361 attempts before finally defeating it.
After our first few runs, Jailer seems a simpler overall mechanic than Anduin, though there are a lot of ‘individual mistakes means wipe’ tests. It will be good to get the Jailer down and wrap up Shadowlands and it feels like that won’t take too long - or at least not another 111 attempts.
Somewhat hilariously, I solo tanked LFR Jailer during Fated Sepulcher week when the co-tank dropped out just as the fight started. Having five healers on one tank helped obviously, but LFR really is funny with how forgiving it is. It’s a good way to learn fights, though up until now I had resisted doing any until Jailer so as to be fresh with our guild runs.
(I’ll add my obligatory complaint about not earning gear upgrades in Raids but instead from world content, World Bosses, and Mythic+, a problem Nogamara at Battle Stance has also recently written about. Fated Raids help a little with upgraded drops, but if Mythic gear can scale up each season, why not let the raid rewards do the same? Knowing ahead of time that you’ll be vendoring 100% of raid drops is disappointing. While we’re in bah-humbug mode, a title or mount for completing Normal mode raids would be nice!)
In any case, we’re a very happy raid having had a lot of fun and working hard to get to the end. One boss to go and we’re ready for Dragonflight.