While we finished the last, real, official, current, canonical five person non-heroic instance last week, swatting down King Ymiron like the bug he is, there were still things on our agenda. Some loose ends to tie up.
The whole group was on.
80 Priest – Skronk
80 Warlock – Bungholio
80 Mage – Ula
80 Warrior – Earlthecat
80 Paladin – Vikund
And the first order of business was the Headless Horseman, a Hallow’s End standard.
This is our second year hitting the Headless Horseman in hopes of getting his mount.
The Headless Horseman Takes Off
For the group this represented attempts 16 through 20 to get the brass ring. But it was not to be. We now have quite a selection of rings, so many that we had to leave one horseman corpse unlooted, but no mounts.
Going after the Headless Horseman did not take us long though. Compared to last year taking him down seemed quite easy. There was no question that we were going to win. Last year we lost once and it was work to win the rest of the time. This year we previously went at him minus Earl and with a level 54 shaman in tow and it still seemed more like a chase than a fight. (The shaman died a couple of times, but that didn’t change the balance of the fight.)
I don’t know if this means that were are just better this year in skill/equipment or if the HH didn’t get big enough boost over last year, but we beat him down 5 out of 5 times on Saturday and are 20 out of 20 overall so far.
Which left us enough time to go take a full group run at the Trial of the Champion.
We tried to do this as a four person group previously, and were not successful. This instance is supposed to be a bit of a step up from the other five person instances in Northrend, so we were back again to give it a try.
Mounted for Battle
The first part, the mounted combat segment, was a bit chaotic as before. Three of us died during that part. However, the graveyard is close and if you run back you can mount up and join the battle again. So after a lot of running around, we defeated the first three bosses in mounted combat.
Then we were treated to a change. The event has been altered since last we ran it so that now, once the mounted portion is done, the bosses don’t just turn around and start wailing on your lance equipped character. Instead, they just retire to the gate through which they came, allowing us to get ourselves together and plan out attack.
We faced Morka the Skullcrusher, Zul’tore, and Deathstalker Visceri. Visceri had a mana bar, so we figured he ought to be first on our list. We went straight after him.
Earl was able to keep all three on him and, while healing got a little scary for a moment or two, once Visceri was down, the drama ebbed and we were able to drop the other two.
The first round was complete. We were now further than last time.
Next up was Eadric the Pure, who shows up with nine trash mobs in three groups of three. We were surprised to find that none of these groups were linked with Eadric, so we were able to mow them down and then move on to the big guy.
His big move is Radiance, a flash of light that damages and blinds you for a short time. However, this attack can be defeated by simple turning away from him, which the announcement that heralds the attack pretty much tells you to do.
We figured that out pretty quickly, though we all turned around at the announcement of another of his attacks, having fallen for the old “Simon Says” gambit, which did not diminish his Hammer of the Righteous.
In the end, Eadric went down.
Which left us facing the bonus round, the Black Knight. He was a pushover out on the tournament grounds, but now he was back from the dead and seemed a bit more formidable.
We had to face the Black Knight three times to get through the encounter. He comes at you in three phases, first as a scourge, then as a skeleton, and finally as a ghost, and each segment has its own flavor, which we had to learn the hard way.
The first phase was straightforward. We never had a problem there.
The second phase, when he is a skeleton, sees the Black Knight summon a group of minions who got out of control the first time we ran into them, leading to a wipe.
The second time around, we took care of the second phase by getting Earl to collect all the minions and then Bung and Ula rained area attacks on them, swatting them all down pretty quickly. Then we smote the Black Knight, which lead us to the third phase, where we wiped again while trying to come to grips with the constant damage to the whole party and the “Marked for Death” special that hit and caused the death of Skronk early in the fight. Another wipe.
So we ran through the the three phases one more time, there being no partial credit for the Black Knight, and at the final phase just had everybody keep a close eye on their health while we burned him down with maximum DPS. We still ended up losing Ula and Bung in the fight, but they poured enough damage onto the Black Knight that we were able to finish him off.
And so we stood in victory over the orb that was all that remained of the Black Knight.
Black Knight - Not Invincible
Unfortunately, there was no achievement. The Trial of the Champion achievement requires you to defeat all the possible bosses in the instance. One pass through leaves at least three bosses left undone. So if we want the achievement, we are going to have to come back for another visit.
On the upside, the loot chests were pretty nice, with a couple of nice, purple upgrades for the casters and a good cloak for Vikund.
And so we made it through the Trial of the Champion. Since it was Hallow’s End there were a few out takes from the victory shot, since everybody seemed intent on scarfing the candy from the Headless Horseman.
We all had the Out With It achievement already, we just like throwing up in public.
As for next week. I’m not sure what we’ll do on Halloween. Probably five more shots at the Headless Horseman and some more puking.