After almost 19 full days of raiding, Echo have defeated The Jailer securing another RWF title!

The Jailer has been felled, Azeroth is saved, and the Mythic Sepulcher of the First Ones is defeated as Echo becomes the first RWF guild to clear World of Warcraft’s most difficult raid to date. After almost 19 days of raiding, Echo finally felled the Jailer on March 26th, ending his rule of WoW’s shadowlands.

As is often the case with RWF the difference between the leading guilds has been minimal, with single percents separating each guild’s best pull on the Jailer. Having attempted to kill the boss almost 300 times, Echo were able to finally kill the Jailer after 277 pulls.

But this was no simple task. The Jailer was revealed to have a Mythic-only phase on March 25th, potentially ensuring the boss would stay alive for almost three week. This would make the Jailer the longest lived boss of the modern era of World of Warcraft.

Even before the reveal of the Mythic-only phase, there were signs this would be no normal race. From the beginning to end this has been a wild ride for everyone involved, as we’ll detail below

A bit of a non-start to the RWF

With the Mythic difficulty of Sepulchre of the First Ones releasing on March 8th, none of the major guilds even bothered jumping into that difficulty of raid on the first day. Instead, the guilds spent time on invaluable heroic split raids. Essentially, the guilds were attempting to get set bonuses for their gear. Having four pieces of gear from the set gave them bonuses which were crucial for dealing damage. And the best way to do this was to grind out the lower-difficulty for gear.

While the guilds had access to Heroic for a week, they decided one lockout of gear just wasn’t enough. And what followed was every major guild desperately farming any lockout they could find. Guilds advertised for heroic lockouts, or just anyone who could trade them gear. They were even handing out lockouts to other guilds so they could get gear traded to them.

The RWF is often described as a marathon. If you stretch that metaphor further, then this was like if you spent the first few hours of a marathon watching the competitors buy their running shoes. A decidedly different way to start things off. And with that, a surprise early leader to the race⁠—Appropriately named guild The Early Shift swooped in and killed the first boss, The Vigilant Guardian after 55 pulls.

Now it’s a Race!

With almost a full day sacrificed to split raids, when guilds started pulling on March 9th and March 10th, bosses were dying QUICK. Team Liquid, formerly Complexity, burned through the first four bosses. Two pulls on the first, two pulls on Skolex, 16 pulls on Xy’mox, and just four on Dausegne. They only slowed when it game to bosses five and six, who took around fourty pulls a piece.

But by then, Echo had woken up. And they were even quicker on the bosses, not breaking 10 pulls total until the fifth boss. But this is when things got serious, with a mean crab decided to halt the race in it's tracks.

Giant Enemy Crab

Halondrus the Reclaimer, or "That F*cking Crab" as he became known as to the raiders (Image via Wowpedia)
Halondrus the Reclaimer, or "That F*cking Crab" as he became known as to the raiders (Image via Wowpedia)

Halondrus the Reclaimer is a colossal automa that guards the Sepulcher of the First Ones. It also looks kinda like a crab. And this crab was here to ruin raiders’ lives. In a single day, Liquid pulled the boss and wiped almost 200 times. Echo did no better, hitting around 180 pulls in a single day with no success.

Ultimately no one would kill Halondrus until the boss was eventually nerfed by Blizzard. But by then, the boss had eaten almost two entire days of progress for all of the top guilds. On the plus side, this had allowed guilds such as Method, SK Pieces, and BDGG to catch up the pack. 

But even with the crab felled, a classic WoW character was about to make his presence felt. Anduin Wrynn, fallen King of the Alliance has been mocked for his pathetic showing in the Shadowlands story. But while his in-game lore may be lacklustre, his raid boss credentials are nothing to be laughed at. Guilds lost another two days to Anduin’s wrath

Home stretch for the RWF

Ultimately, it would be the Anduin fight that helped Echo close the gap. Liquid had been leading this race from the second boss, having killed eight bosses in a row on World First pace. But Anduin had all but erased any lead the had, and Echo were able to execute flawlessly on Lords of Dread to pull ahead.

Another hugely long fight in Rygelon both extended Echo’s lead, and mean that players could now see just how long this race would be. With Rygelon  falling on March 21, with the second Lockout of the race on the horizon, whatever happened it would now be an entire fortnight of raiding. And the Mythic RWF hadn't even pulled the Jailer yet.

Jailer falls, but at what cost?

Team Liquid made a difficult decision on Saturday. They halted their race to preserve their mental health (Image via <a href="">EiyaWow</a>)
Team Liquid made a difficult decision on Saturday. They halted their race to preserve their mental health (Image via EiyaWow)

The Jailer would eventually die on March 26th. But in many ways it felt like the race ended in a crawl. As Echo reduced the boss to just 0.6% on their latest pull, Team Liquid’s guild leader Maximum posted a message that was both conceding defeat, but offering mercy to his tired team. With players mental health and morale shot from almost three straight weeks of raiding - and weeks of preperation before that, Maximum explained the difficult decision that Team Liquid had to make. Team Liquid will continue the race from home on Monday.

The race had been going for almost 20 days straight. Team Liquid had truly done everything to stay in the race. With their hotel reservation running out, they got new hotel rooms. When they couldn’t find a bus or taxi to ferry them to the new hotel, they had to settle for the next cheapest option—a stretch Hummer limo

The insanity of an entire Warcraft guild riding a limo to a hotel so they can play more WoW is a symptom of an insane race, but perhaps not for good reasons. The bosses required four-piece set bonuses just to meet damage checks, and hundreds of pulls each days. Players have been playing for 12 and 16 hours straight for weeks.

The race extended from its usual one or one and a half week duration, into two weeks and beyond. A race so long that it had raiders questioning why they were even doing this. And family and friends desperately supporting them through the toughest endurance race in gaming. 

But even faced with one of the most difficult races ever in the RWF, Echo persevered to kill the Jailer. The defeat of the Jailer marks Echo's second straight RWF victory, after their win in the Sanctum of Domination last July. The team's success cements them of one of the best raiding guilds ever, having enduring one of the most brutally gruelling Mythic races we've ever seen.