Warning: Kind of a long post.
One of Primogeniture's leadership's concerns about our attempts on Al'ar was that we really only got one night per week to try to down him. On Tuesdays, we would head straight to Void Reaver, and if there was time, we'd plan an attempt on Al'ar. Well... there was never time because there was enough people would always want to log after Void Reaver.
We knew we were very close on Al'ar. So, one of my raid leaders brought up the idea we'd had last week that we'd give try a couple solid attempts on Al'ar before heading down the corridor to Void Reaver. I told the raid we'd give two solid attempts.
Here's the basic strategy that we used: 4 tanks, 3 of them up tanking Al'ar, and a tankadin controlling the embers. 1 tank helped gather embers in phase 2, while 2 were on Al'ar. 7 healers, 1 was permanently on the tankadin with the embers. Our 4 mages were full time on the embers, both phases. (Controlled DPS so that we didn't accidently kill an ember when Al'ar was in the air.) We had 3 warlocks that took turns Soul Stoning the pally tank. Then we had a good mix of melee and ranged dps. If the mages needed help downing the embers, we'd individually call ranged dps members to help us. If it got unbearable, the warlocks would come over to Seed them for some Aoe damage.
On the first spot, the healers had a line of sight issue with the tank and he died before Al'ar left the platform. I told everyone to die, and said that that didn't count as a solid attempt.
Corrected the los issue, and had only 3 of the mages on the embers. One of the tanks was learning the new rotation thing, and everyone was kind of settling in to this. The embers were a bit too much for the 3 mages, so I went over to complete the mage army. It helped, but by that point we were kind of too far behind. We still got him down to about 50% (somewhere around there) in phase 2, but the whole encounter just felt so much more controlled with this strategy. Relied on a couple of Battle Rez's to get tankadin back up this time.
While running back and buffing, we had a few members say that they wouldn't be able to stay for Void Reaver if we didn't go to him "right now". It was still quite early, so we kind of chewed them out for not letting us know they'd have to leave early (they deserved it). We were still on schedule to end by 10:30 (earliest we end) to 11:00 (generally the latest we end) even with another Al'ar attempt. The poor attitude (as that's what it appeared to be to me) was a little frustrating to say the least.
Did everything as I initially described, and it was almost easy. So yes... we downed Al'ar. Loot drops were Talon of the Phoenix, Phoenix-Ring of Rebirth, and Fire Crest Breastplate.
After that, we went and 1-shotted Void Reaver. I got the Cowl of the Grand Engineer. And we ended well before 11. (I think it was actually much closer to 10:30.)
So... tonight, we get to go play with Solarian. Fun times.