Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
Firstly huge congratulations, from playing live and attempting the challenge modes myself a bit I know first hand how challenging (excuse the pun) they can end up being.
Do you want to introduce yourself?
Hey everyone! I play Shadow Priest called Taik and I'm an officer in a Finnish guild called Aquila. I joined Aquila almost 2 years ago and ended up as the raid leader in the late tier 11.
Our group consisted of:
- Shadow Priest
- Combat/Assassination Rogue
- Blood Death Knight
- Frost/Blood Death Knight
- Elemental/Resto Shaman
First real question from me really is how did you manage to fit it all in? Between gearing, dailies, slight bit of pvp and everything else in this expansion I’ve barely had time to have a moment to think let alone invest time in challenge modes.
Most hardcore guilds use the first week of an expansion to level and gear up multiple characters for raid progress. As Aquila is a semi hardcore guild we're fine with members leveling and gearing just one character. Our group managed to to hit realm first level 90 in about 13-15 hours and used the next 2 days to fully gear up from heroics.
After that we ran out of things to do on our mains so we decided to try challenge modes. The first challenge mode was easily cleared in 2 hours but after that the difficulty ramped up pretty hard and we had to spend more time to progress and improve our strategies. For the rest of the week we ran the last few heroics and did dailies or PvP during the day and then progressed challenges in the evening.
How many hours did it really take you to do? From what I’ve seen from some of the videos you’ve not had the easiest of times with some of the instances.
We started the challenge runs on Thursday by choosing the daily challenge in Shado-Pan Monastery. We had been steamrolling over heroics for 2 days and went in blind and started AoE pulling with 4 DPS and a tank. Shortly after we realized how much harder the challenges were and ended up running with a healer. The final time for that run was almost 2 hours and we called it for the day.
From Friday to Monday we spent about 4-10 hours a day on challenge mode progress which means the total time spent is somewhere between 25-30 hours. Hardest of the challenges for us was Scarlet Halls because of the gimmicky mechanics like the dogs and archers in the beginning and the damage of trash mobs. It was too difficult to pull more than one trash pack at a time so we started to run out of cooldowns to use.
The last day of challenges was probably the most enjoyable and we ended up streaming the last 8 hours we spent on the last 3 gold times. We also saved the last day of progress on Razoki's stream channel
and made a video of the final boss of Shado-Pan
If you had to go back and do it again would you change anything? I can see from the rankings and your group setup that DK’s are highly featured.
We would've ran our current setup from the beginning. We started off with double rogue and ended up swapping one of them for a Death Knight because of the insane AoE damage and survivability that Remorseless Winter and Army of the Dead bring. We would probably use cooldowns more intelligently as well. For the first few golds our hybrids had to off heal and shaman had to switch to restoration a couple of times during the run because we didn't use Army of the Dead or Earth Elemental to soak tank damage.
Our classes synergized together really well for challenges. We had balanced amount of AoE and single target bursts DPS, both of which were required for gold times. All 5 of us also had engineering and the Nitro Boosts, Goblin Gliders and Gnomish Army Knife resurrections helped immensely. We also joked about never doing these instances again after challenges are cleared but we'll probably try to improve the high scores in the not too distant future.
You ran a healerless comp very similar to lots of other groups. Were your priest/shaman required to do anything special during the runs in order to survive?
We killed almost everything without healer with the exception of a few bosses and trash packs. For example Sha of Violence was unkillable without a healer so we had our shaman switch to resto for it. The rest of the instances were either healed by priests Vampiric Embrace and Halo, Shamans Guidance, damage soaked by Army of the Dead and Earth Elemental or just simply off spec healing by the priest. We also used a lot of damage Mitigation abilities like Anti-Magic Zone and Anti-Magic Shell, Feint and Cloak of Shadows, Dispersion and Death Knight self heals so our priest and shaman could dps as much as possible. Hardest parts to heal were Scarlet Halls trash mobs and Sha of Violence in Shado-Pan Monastery.
I know that you don't want to give away all of your tactics, but do you think that a rogue is a requirement in order to get a good time? I know first hand how well group stealth can be used.
Rogue was helpful in terms of skipping some packs but not mandatory. Other classes bring more survivability, burst and aoe DPS than rogues so it's a fair tradeoff for gold modes. In Shado-Pan the combination of Mass stealth and invisibility potions allowed us to skip almost all trash mobs between 2nd and 3rd bosses. For other instances the invisibility potions alone are enough. On the other hand invisibility potions also put your damage potion on cooldown for 10 minutes so mass stealth is better in some situations.
Lastly out of all the instances and runs you’ve been able to do what was the favorite for you?
Our favourite instances are Mogu'shan Palace and Shado-Pan Monastery. Neither of these have any annoying gimmicks that might ruin the run and both have insane aoe pulls which require good cooldown usage.
Any shoutouts you’d like to give as an ending?
Shoutouts to everyone in Aquila for being supportive and helping with potions, foods, flasks etc. It was awesome to have the entire guild on mumble cheering for us during the Shado-Pan Monastery clear. Also special shoutouts to Mieto and Táukki who were with us for the silver mode clears but had to step out for gold runs.