Ruby Sanctum’s Halion encounter as well as the mini-bosses that go along with him has proved to be quite an interesting challenge set of challenges. While the actual mechanics of the Halion fight in particular aren’t necessarily amazingly difficult, he certainly hits hard so don’t expect to have too much success tanking Halion if your group isn’t geared enough to progress through ICC. Since I found some of the mini-bosses a tad on the annoying side, I’ll be going over them as well. If you’re just looking for the stuff on the dragon himself, feel free to scroll to the bottom of the page.
Mini-Boss #1: Baltharus the Warborn
My track record on this little fella is probably pretty similar to a lot of tanks that walked into the encounter without fully understanding it. On 10 man, I randomly died, but we still managed to kill him. On 25 man, I wiped repeatedly and was forced to actually learn how to do the encounter.
Ultimately, this fight is entirely about Enervating Brand.
The way it works is the brand is given to 1 player. That 1 player will have 2 debuffs whereas everyone else that thinks they have the brand will only have 1. Every time the brand pulses on the player with the 2 debuffs, Baltharus will gain a stacking buff for each player within 12 yards of the branded person. (And everyone within 12 yards of that person will gain a single debuff which is what causes so much bloody confusion as to how the actual fight works) So all you have to do is identify who has the true debuff and have them move away from the rest of your raid. That’s it.
Okay, maybe not. Also, this guy clones himself and the clones will cast brands as well. So when there are 2 clones up, you’ll have to watch out for 2 brands and when there’s 3 clones up, you’ll have to watch out for 3.
What does any of this have to do with tanking? When your raid members screw up this element, he’ll gain a stacking buff that makes him hit really, really ridiculously hard. Around the 10-15 mark, you should be okay surviving using just Shield Block. Once you hit 20+, it’s time to start using your major cooldowns. Once all your cooldowns are gone, it’s time to start praying.
Mini-Boss #2: Saviana Ragefire
One of those annoying drake type mobs that’s sometimes difficult to position properly. Face her away from the raid. Occasionally, she’ll fly up in the air and target a few people. Those people should not stand by other people as they’ll not only get conflagrated, but they’ll also do fire damage to anyone near them. If you get picked while tanking, then the other tank should taunt the boss off of you when she lands because the conflag causes you to temporarily lose aggro until it’s over. If your group forgot to bring an off-tank, they should simply run away from the dragon in terror until you’ve decided to stop being on fire.
Mini-Boss #3 General Zarithrian
A pretty straight forward encounter that really makes you thankful that you’re a Warrior. He’ll sunder you making you take a lot more damage. Once you have 2 sunders on you, you need another tank to taunt the boss off. (You can probably get away with 3 on 10 man) You’ll be swapping back and forth like this throughout the entire encounter. Adds are going to come from 2 entrances so just tank the boss at one of the entrances so that you can pickup the adds while tanking the boss. In 10 man, when you’re not tanking the boss, you need to pickup the adds on the other side. In 25 man, we just used 3 tanks because we’re lazy. Occasionally, the General will fear which you should immediately break. (You can probably preemptively avoid it since I found the timer pretty accurate although I’ve never been one to really trust such things)
It should be noted that the General doesn’t use weak ass WotLK fear, he uses the old school fear that causes the General to go all crazy and lose aggro on whoever is tanking him. So escaping fear asap is of the utmost importance otherwise this guy will randomly hack and slash a raider member to death.
I’ll be outlining what both the light side and dark side tanks are doing in this fight. So as to avoid confusion here’s what your 2 possible roles in the fight are.
- P1: Tank the Dragon
- P2: Do nothing
- P3: Tank the Dragon
- P1: Do nothing
- P2: Tank the Dragon
- P3: Tank the Dragon
Phase 1: Give Halion a quick turn when you pull him so that your group can immediately start killing him. Don’t get hit by meteors. Don’t stand in fire.
Phase 2 (light): Stand around and wait for your raid to do the hard part of the fight. Make sure you snag a healer to give you company. (Only doable if you’ve convinced your raid to 3 heal it in 10 man)
Phase 2 (dark): Make sure you’re jumping through the portal first. Give Halion a quick turn otherwise you’ll lose half your raid to cleave. Watch the orbs so you, don’t get hit by the beam. You want the beam to be going through the middle of the dragon. Turn the dragon at a steady rate when the beam is active so that your raid members can learn how to dodge, dps and heal even during the active beam portion of this fight. If a raid member decides running in front of the dragon’s mouth is a good idea, let them die. It’s not worth moving the dragon to save 1 person so that the rest of the raid can be slapped in the face with a tail swipe. (That’ll knock them down and probably get them killed) There’s no reason to move the dragon during the portions when the beam isn’t active unless it’s the 1st one you’re setting up for. Once you’ve got the positioning down from the first beam, the beam is very easy to handle as all following beams will always start in a safe spot.
Phase 3 (light): The Dragon will reappear and start annihilating you. Use cooldowns so you don’t die. Don’t get hit by meteors. Don’t stand in fire. Monitor the buff and if it says your Dragon is doing 30% more damage, it’s time to start using cooldowns. (And also probably a good time to tell the other side’s dps that they need to stop dpsing for a while)
Phase 3 (dark): Same deal as Phase 2. Monitor the buff on your Dragon and use cooldowns if he gets too beefy. Keep turning the dragon at a steady rate when the beam is active.
The Halion encounter is a test of you and your raid’s survival. Other than the first 15 seconds of the encounter, threat shouldn’t be an issue and no taunting will be required. As a result, maximizing your gear/spec for survival at the cost of hit rating is the best approach.