Last night was round 2 of the Ulduar encounter testing on the 3.1 PTR, and after last night's attempts at Hodir, my guildies and waste-of-a-raid-spot coworker were excited to get back into the beautiful Titan dinner party and sink our teeth into another new encounter.
And if we wanted a snack, we got ourselves a three-course meal: The Iron Council, a veritable Three's Company of dudes made of metal. Except Three's Company really had one dude in it regularly, and the other two were women. And none of the Iron Councilmen are Councilwomen. Clearly Iron society is not as progressive as ours.
As expected, the server couldn't be convinced to just let us get in and do what we needed to do, so we spent an inordinately long time logging in, stalling at the loading screen, getting in, crashing out, getting stuck in queue, swearing loudly in Ventrilo, and getting alcohol to ease the pain.
But we did manage to try the fight a few times.
This writeup is spoiler-heavy! If you don't wish to know anything about the strategy for this or any Ulduar boss, don't click below. You've been warned.
After finally zoning into the instance, which took far, far longer than it should've -- but I'll save the harsh words for another day -- we trekked through the Iron Concourse again, past the Colossal Forge, past Dead Man's Curve, and came to an old fence, called The Devil's Fence. From there, we went on foot till we came to a valley known as The Cathedral Of Lost Soap. Smack in the center is what they call Forgetful Milkman's Quadrangle. We stayed right on The Path Of Staring Skulls and we come to a place called...
The Iron Assembly!
We were greeted by three ironfolk of varying sizes. In descending order, with Three's Company roles in parentheses:
• Steelbreaker, an Iron Giant. (Mr. Roper)
• Runemaster Molgeim, an Iron Vrykul. (Jack Tripper)
• Stormcaller Brundir, an Iron Dwarf. (Larry Dallas)
When we entered the room, diminutive Brundir was circling Steelbreaker and "fixing" him with lightning beams. Molgeim was placing a rune below Steelbreaker's feet, which gave him a visible buff called Rune of Power. It increased Steelbreaker's damage by 50%.
In a few pulls, we focused on finding ways to DPS effectively. The best way to do this was using one of Brundir's own Runes of Power, which would affect the raid as well as mobs standing in it. It was therefore possible to place Steelbreaker and his buddies outside of the effective range of the Rune (when it was up) and have your DPS take advantage of it.
Brundir also does an interruptable Chain Lightning/ He can be offtanked 30 yards away from the raid so he won't target any other players and the spell won't chain. Steelbreaker has a nature damage aura called High Voltage, and a high-powered punch called Fusion Punch. Fusion Punch is the reason why you keep him out of the Rune of Power, as if his damage is boosted, it's powerful enough to one-shot even the most geared tank.
We soon discovered that focusing on one Councilman first was the way to go, and decided that Steelbreaker would be the first to go (bigger they are, harder they fall, etc). We were able to dispatch him effectively given how little of a threat Molgeim and Brundir pose by themselves to any decent tank. When Steelbreaker died, though, the other two got damage buffs and new abilities! Not only that, but each mob will heal to full when one of the others dies.
The new abilities are as follows (Thanks, Stratfu):
• One Councilman down: Static Disruption. Nature damage AOE that increases Nature damage taken by 50%. Can be spellstolen and dispelled.
• Two Councilmen down: Unknown at this time.
• One Councilman down: Rune of Death. Immobilizes a player and does high damage to anyone standing near them. Will also periodically cast Shield of Runes on himself, a 30,000 damage shield that increases damage done by 50%.
• Two Councilmen down: Rune of Summoning. Summons in lightning elementals that chase players and explode for AOE damage.
• One Councilman down: Lightning Whirl. AOE lightning bolts. Can be interrupted and slowed.
• Two Councilmen down: Lightning Tendrils. Brundir flies through the air and zaps players below him with AOE lightning.
We didn't get far enough before the servers went down to get a kill for ourselves, but all of the post-testing notes by guilds who completed the kill indicate that there's a definite difficulty scale depending on your kill order, since each Councilman will gain one new ability and a damage increase for each of its friends you slay. The largest to smallest kill order appears to be the easiest, but it remains to be seen whether leaving Molgeim or Steelbreaker to be killed last gives raids the most trouble -- and best loot.
So far, Iron Council appears to be a well-tuned and entertaining fight, and continues in the vein of Hodir's encounter -- easy enough to pick up after a few tries but with clear challenges for those who wish to meet them and reap their epic rewards.
I'll be bringing you more Ulduar raid roundups as the PTR testing phases continue. Stay tuned!
Patch 3.1 brings us Ulduar, dual specs, significant changes to all the classes, and more! We've got you covered from top to bottom with our Guide to Patch 3.1.