I could call this "Treader of an Icy Past", but somehow, that doesn't quite have the "oomph" I was looking for when writing this entry. ^^
Simply put, fourth time was the charm, and as a result of our efforts, we have this:
The Snoll Tzar is DOWN! (/joy)
Here's the long version of the story. ^^
After trying and failing three times against the Snoll Tzar for a multitude of reasons, we found ourselves stuck on this particular fight and without any more Cluster Cores to make any Shu'Meyu salt that was needed to help us buy time to defeat the Snoll Tzar. In the past few days, Akanea and I have been trying to farm Cluster Cores off Cluster mobs in the Tavnazian Archipelago, however, standing around the Lufaise Meadows and the Misareux Coast, waiting for foggy weather to appear was just too aggravating and inconsistent to really be a good source of Cluster Cores.
What we really needed to do was to get in Cape Riverne, and farm Cluster mobs for their Cluster Cores.
And that's what we ended up doing. While Seraph had a sky run to attend, Tumble was busy getting the last seven-thousand or so xp he needed to ding BLM60. That left the four of us to try and fight Cluster Cores in Riverne Site #B01, which are about 6-8 levels higher than we would be in the level capped regions. Basically, stuff suitable for an xp party.
Because of that, I've been reluctant to try going in there with litle people, although I got word from Hirushi that you can farm the Clusters there with just four people. We managed to round us Akanea and his NIN, Saoirse on BLM, Chummy on SMN, and myself on RDM, and the four of us went to get our 50-cap gear and headed off to Riverne #B01.
After dodging a few Nimbus Hippogryphs on the way, we eventually found ourselves on a small island with just two Nitro Clusters on it. Figuring they were only VT to us, we went up and engaged!
Nitro Clusters were weaker than expected, although I seemed to have trouble enfeebling them with any consistency, other than Poison II. Nitro Clusters have (as we found out) some kind of AoE fire move that is also a Gravity-ga, can Haste themselves (these got Dispelled), and can also Self-Destruct, although Self-Destruct doesn't actually kill them. See, Nitro Clusters are three bombs put together, so a Self-Destruct only blows up one of them.
Nitro Clusters are also on a 15-minute repop, so suffice to say, we were sitting on that little island for quite some time, farming up the Cluster Cores we needed for the fight. We decided to take no risks, so stayed until we got a full six Cluster Cores for three Salts, then decided to stick around for six more, "just in case".
In the meantime, Seraph had completed his sky run, and Tumble had actually managed to get his BLM to level 60, and so, the new plan was set in motion.
First off, the new party formation: PLD SAM SMN BLM BLM BLM!
I have to admit, I was somewhat skeptical of this setup at first. After all, would Seraph be able to survive without a healer? Would he really be able to hold hate off three Black Mages who are doing their darnest to nuke the Snoll Tzar to kingdom come? I toyed with the idea of having Tumble come in as WHM, but eventually decided that Invincible would buy us enough time, and keep Seraph alive for longer, so three Black Mages it was!
Being on more familiar territory, I came up with a plan to harness all this firepower. Because the Black Mages would be constantly preoccupied with nuking, salting the Snoll Tzar was left up to the remaining three. The salt order would go Chummy (SMN) → Seraphpdh (PLD) → Akanea (SAM).
Chummy would open with Inferno as usual, while Akanea goes with Meikyo Shisui. In the meantime, Seraph has the first thirty seconds to get as much hate as possible before the Black Mages unleash their full attack.
On the Black Mages side, my instructions were to first spread out to avoid getting all hit at once with a high-damage directional move (read: Heimel Storm). Once we were in, we split up some debuffs to first make the Snoll Tzar more manageable (Bio II), but also debuffs to help out with our nukes (Burn and Shock). We each took one of these spells to maximise efficiency. Because Tumble had just dinged BLM60, he had the lowest Elemental Magic skill, so I gave him Bio II. I, on the other hand, had the highest from Elemental Magic skill merits, so I took Shock, which I felt was the more important one (affecting resist rates). Saoirse was in the middle, so she was left with Burn, as the Snoll Tzar is weak to Fire.
Then, we would each power up with Elemental Seal, and send some Ancient Magic in the Snoll Tzar's direction. Tumble didn't have Flare, so we went with two Flares and a Burst instead.
From then on, we went on with a suggestion Vile gave me in the last Snoll Tzar post- going through a cycle of "Firaga → Fire II → Firaga II". I could see the logic in that post, and decided to implement it in our strategy.
However, I made a few tweaks. Because we wanted to also Stun the Snoll Tzar's more damaging moves, like Heimel Storm, Stun needed to be incorporated in there somewhere. Furthermore, with all the lag and time pressure, I wanted to keep things as simple and automated as possible to avoid any mistakes. Besides, I figured all the BLMs would be spamming nukes, so nobody could really look out to Stun a devastating move. So, I tacked on a Stun onto the end of the Fire nuking sequence, making it "Firaga → Fire II → Firaga II → Stun" instead.
In order to spread out the Stuns, each of the BLMs would start at a different point in the cycle. So after the initial burst of Ancient Magic, I'd start my cycle on Firaga (because I'd have the most hate from a Republic Circlet-powered Flare), Saoirse would open with Fire II, and Tumble on Firaga II. That way, Tumble would be the first to Stun, and after a short while, Saoirse would then Stun, and I would follow suit after that.
One thing that I might need to explain though, is why, although the Fire sequence is more efficient in terms of damage-per-second, I still chose to go with Ancient Magic. First of all, Seraph needed some time to establish hate, and the Snoll Tzar also needed to be still in order for Chummy to use the first salt. Going with the Ancient Magic sequence gives both Seraph and Chummy about 30 seconds to get all their prep work done, whereas opening with the Fire sequence might cause the Snoll Tzar to bounce around, making salting impossible.
In addition, I also wanted to reap the most out of Elemental Seal, which is an ability that is best used to ensure maximum damage on a single nuke. That being said, Flare is the single most damaging spell available to a BLM60, so I chose to use Ancient Magic to get the most out of Elemental Seal. (Elemental Seal-Firaga II is, well...not as good.)
After going over the plan and double checking everything, we were off to face the Snoll Tzar for the fourth time. Some of us had reservations about going on Lightsday, since waiting for a Firesday would've been better, but I didn't particularly fancy waiting another two hours for Firesday to roll around. ^^
We buffed with the usual spells: Protect, Shell, Aerial Armor, Earthern Ward, food, Reraise. After a quick countdown, we rushed in, and engaged!
The plan worked beautifully.
I saw Chummy use Inferno just as the BLMs moved to form a triangle of sorts around the Snoll Tzar, and we started the debuffs. Akanea Meikyo Shisui'ed and started to work on the Snoll Tzar as well. Then, the Elemental Seals went off, and while not simultaneous, we got our Ancient Magic in there. My Flare took hate off Seraph, so I ran in to quicken the recovery time, and that was also a signal for Seraph to Invincible.
When all three ancient magic nukes landed and I saw the Snoll Tzar at around 1/3rd health, things were starting to look up. ^^
We then started our Fire sequence. Luckily, Tumble's random Stun caught an Arctic Impact, which saved us a lot of trouble, but what was more surprising was how fine we were riding the hate line, despite Seraph's Invincible. However, the end result was very nice, with hate literally bouncing in between Seraph and myself. I Manafonted when I ran out of mana, and continued the nuking, until as you can see from the first picture, the Snoll Tzar was finally defeated to /cheers of all of us.
I have to admit, it felt a lot easier that time around. Part of it probably was because we had replaced two non-damage jobs (WHM and THF) with two BLMs that could really contribute damage, but overall, I think our success was due to the fact we had a system, a plan, and we managed to follow it through. The fight was incredibly smooth, although intense (I forgot to take screenies ; ;), and it was a very well earned victory, in my opinion.
Suffice it to say, we were very happy with the results. So happy, that upon exiting the battlefield, the /cheers and /joy completely overshadowed the fact that the Snoll Tzar's Frost effect was still on us, that is, until...
(Yes, it's a really strong Frost...o.O) So, er, yeah...remember to Cure yourselves after you exit the battlefield! >_<>finally done with the Three Paths, it is now time for TrueRune's biggest challenge yet. Just what exactly? Well, I skipped a little bit ahead to watch some cutscenes, to get a taste of what was to come, and...