Not even a full week had passed, and already not one, but two guilds were able to clear their way through the heroic version of Trial of the Grand Crusader. While it may have been due to soulstone exploits or spamming Holy Wrath, either way, one of the Lich King's most powerful warriors and oldest companions died to the might of the Horde (or maybe some Alliance cowards got lucky).
I've had the luxury of fighting my way through and also defeating Anub'arak, though only on normal difficulty so far. This week, I'll cover some of the tips and tricks that I've picked up in my clearings of the Trial of the Crusader, with a focus on the next 2 encounters in the instance.
Dismantle and Anesthetic Poison:
I forgot to mention this last week, but in the Northrend Beasts encounter, you can use Dismantle on Gormok (only on Normal difficulty) and you can use Anesthetic Poison on Icehowl. He'll enrage if he strikes one of your raid mates with his charge, so have a weapon with AP ready just in case, or else it will spell a quick wipe for your group!
Third Encounter: Faction Champions
Here is a fight for all the PvP lovers in the audience. You're pitted against a group of faux Alliance or Horde raiders, who's mission is to focus down your healers and make your life miserable. They play like the real enemy faction: complete with PvP mechanics such as diminishing returns on CC, PvP trinkets, and assist train gibbing. Luckily, Rogues are among the best classes to have on this fight, and our arsenal is well-stocked with utility here. Finally, a fight where Rogues aren't just DPS bots!
Cheap Shot, Kidney Shot, Gouge, and Blind: you should be using these every time they're available in this encounter. Maintaining solid crowd control and avoiding damage are the two most important factors here. You need to run away when you're getting trained by the melee, and you need to Cloak or PvP trinket if you are caught in a bad position away from your healers. Rogues typically take a more defensive role in this fight. I try to defend my healers as much as possible, and I use Fan of Knives to spread around my poisons (Wound, Crippling, and Mind-Numbing rule here). Feel free to swap to your PvP spec if it includes Deadly Brew.
Your guild may have you focus on killing a healer or a DPS first. If you're focusing a DPS, try to use Dismantle, Kidney Shot, and Crippling Poison to keep them locked down so your raid can blow them up. If you're focusing a healer, make sure to save ample energy for a Kick to interrupt one of their quick heals. Be sure to keep your eyes open: if two of the melee start moving towards you, it is probably time to run.
Ensuring the survival of you and your comrades is of the utmost importance. Most of my raiders are only doing about half of their normal DPS on this fight, but that is to be expected. Don't plan on maintaining a perfect rotation or tunnel visioning one target the whole fight. You need to think on your feet, avoid getting killed, and assisting your team mates when they're in trouble.
Fourth Encounter: Twin Valkyr
A simple fight for Rogues, but an entertaining fight due to some of the awesome effects and mechanics that spice up this old classic. It's a tank and spank of two twins, with a shared health pool and identical abilities. They're typically tanked very close to one another, allowing you to switch targets as necessary. The key element of this fight is the idea of Light and Dark polarity. One twin is always Light, one is always Dark. The Light twin takes much more damage from Dark-charged attackers, and takes much less damage from Light-charged attackers. The same goes for the Dark twin, except in reverse.
What's this mean for us? We want to be the opposite color of the twin we're attacking. Have the raid leader assign you a color, and stick to that. If you're Dark, you will start the fight by clicking on one of the Dark portals and attacking the Light twin. You simply train the Light twin for 99% of the fight. The Twins only have two real attacks: an AoE-damage pulse, and a Shield-n-Heal. You're able to safely absorb all damage that comes from your polarity.
If you're Dark and the Dark twin channels her AoE damage pulse, you actually get a buff called "Powering Up" that will eventually grant you 100% extra damage for 20 seconds. This is when you'll want to use your cooldowns for maximum effectiveness. If the Light twin starts casting her AoE damage pulse, you'll want to swap to Light immediately. You can do this by running to the Light portal and clicking on it. You still preserve your Powering Up buff, and you absorb all of the Light damage to boot. As soon as her channel is over, swap back to Dark and you're right back where you started.
If one of the twins puts themselves in a bubble and starts channeling a heal, you want to swap to that twin instantly. You need to do enough damage to break through the shield and then interrupt the heal. It's very important that you remember to interrupt the heal: breaking the shield will NOT stop the cast, you will actually need to press Kick. I typically have all DPS swap to the shielded target, and then swap back once the cast has been interrupted.
The only other mechanic on this fight is a swarm of Light and Dark orbs that will appear around the battlefield. Similar to the bosses, if you touch a similar color, you'll absorb the orb and gain more Powering Up buff charges. If you touch an opposite color, it will explode and hit you and your friends for some serious damage. I try to avoid the orbs, as they typically don't reach melee range before the casters will pick them all up.
It sounds like a lot to manage, but in reality the fight can be boiled down to this: kill your opposite color, swap colors if opposite is AoE'ing, and swap to whichever color is healing in a bubble. Maximizing your damage via the Powering Up buff reaching 100 stacks and possibly using Blade Flurry to attack both Twins are some of the nice tricks we can use to really shine on this fairly stationary and simple fight.
Next week I'll be tackling the topic of Anub'arak's defeat, and covering some of the new or changed mechanics that make the heroic version of ToC significantly more challenging than the vanilla version. Heroic difficulty adds on several twists and DPS checks that must be met in order to proceed, so learning the mechanics on normal mode allows you to understand how the fights work before attempting to perfect your form in them.