The Tactics

Tactics on Halfus
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The Tactics

Post by Logrum » 06 Jan 2011, 13:33

Halfus Wyrmbreaker is the first boss of Bastion of Twilight, a raid instance in the Twilight Highlands. He can be found in the Wyrmbreaker's Rookery, overlooking a lava pit and facing his guardian, the Proto-Behemoth. He is considered a fairly easy fight.


Malevolent Strikes —(Buff gained from Slate Dragon) Halfus' attacks wound the target, reducing the effectiveness of any healing on it by 5%. Stacks.

Frenzied Assault —(Buff gained from Nether Scion) Increases the caster's attack speed by 100%.

Shadow Nova —(Buff gained from Storm Rider) Dark magic is unleashed, causing 28500 to 31500 Shadow damage and knocking back all enemies within 50000 yds.

Furious Roar —Halfus roars, inflicting 9500 to 10500 Physical damage and knocking his enemies to the ground.

Berserk —(After 6 minutes) Increases the caster's attack and movement speeds by 150% and all damage it deals by 500% for until cancelled. Also grants immunity to Taunt effects.


Fireball Barrage —(Buff gained from Time Warden) Unleashes a stream of fireballs at random enemy targets.

Scorching Breath —(Buff gained from Orphaned Emerald Whelps) Breathes flame at enemies in front of the caster, inflicting Fire damage.

Drake Debuffs

Dragon's Vengeance —Halfus takes 50% increased damage from all sources. Stacks to 5. Applied by drake when it is released

Time Dilation —Warps the flow of time around the target, causing its hostile actions to occur in slow motion. Applied by Time Warden, slows Proto-Behemoth's fireballs

Cyclone Winds —Envelops the target in a cyclone, slowing its casting speed by 500%. Applied by Storm Rider on Halfus, slows Shadow Nova

Nether Blindness —Nether fog blinds the target, impairing its vision and reducing its chance to hit, its attack speed, and its damage done by 25%. Applied by Nether Scion on Halfus

Stone Touch —Afflicts the target, causing them to occasionally become paralyzed for 12 sec. While paralyzed the target cannot move or attack. Applied by Slate Dragon on Halfus

Atrophic Poison —Poisons the target, reducing its damage done by 750. Applied by each Orphaned Emerald Whelp on Proto-Behemoth. Stacks to 8.


Halfus Wyrmbreaker is a tank and spank fight with some interesting debuff mechanics added in. He has one add, the Proto-Behemoth, that will spit fireballs raid members and do an AoE flame breath. It is best to ignore this drake and concentrate on killing Halfus, as it has a large health pool and its damage can be either dodged or healed through.

Four friendly drakes and a pack of whelps are imprisoned in the area where Wyrmbreaker is engaged, but only three of them can be engaged. The exact combination of available drakes is randomly selected. When freed, each drake or whelp pack will put a debuff on both the boss and (on heroic mode) the raid. It will initially attack Halfus and give him its debuff, but after a couple seconds, the boss emotes, "Halfus Wyrmbreaker binds the <drake type> to his will!" The drake or pack then becomes mind controlled.

Below 50% he periodically casts unavoidable AoE ability called Furious Roar which is a raid wide aoe and stun which hits for around 10,000 three times.


The drake composition of the fight is randomly selected and, like classic Nefarian, getting a difficult combination of adds means you must deal with it until next week.

The Nether Scion
Pre-fight, applies a frenzy buff to Halfus Wyrmbreaker (+100% attack speed). When freed, reduces his attack speed, hit chance and damage done.

The Time Warden
Gives Proto-Behemoth Fireball Barrage ability. When freed slows fireballs' flying speed.

The Slate Dragon
Gives Wyrmbreaker his Malevolent Strikes ability, which causes a stacking healing debuff. When freed periodically stuns Halfus for 12 seconds.

The Orphaned Emerald Whelps
Give Proto-Behemoth Scorching Breath ability. When freed, lower the damage it does.

The Storm Rider
Gives Wyrmbreaker a Shadow Nova ability which deals AoE damage and knocks people back. When freed, reduces his cast speed, so it becomes possible to interrupt.


Two tanks are recommended for Halfus Wyrmbreaker, as additional drakes have to be tanked and, if the Slate Dragon is active, his hits apply a debuff that reduces healing received by 5% and stacks up rather quickly. Halfus Wyrmbreaker is tauntable until his enrage.

Halfus Wyrmbreaker has a 6-minute(?) hard enrage timer.

Strategy will depend on the drake combination of the fight. Usually two drakes will be awaken at the same time and then taken down consecutively. Once they are dead, DPS will switch to the boss. Sometimes, the raid will have to deal with two mechanics:

- If the Slate Dragon is active, the boss will get Malevolent Strikes, a Mortal Strike-like ability. Tanks must switch Halfus every N stacks (usually about 15) of Malevolent Strikes: otherwise, the tank will become unhealable. If the off-tank is busy tanking the drakes, it is handy to use a bubble or Hand of Protection on the main tank on the first 15 stacks; then the tank will retaunt Halfus.

- If the Storm Rider is active, Halfus will cast a Shadow Nova that *must* be interrupted (very hard unless the Storm Rider is released, see below). If it is not interrupted, the raid will take about 30k damage per member and suffer a knockback, making the encounter unhealable.

Choosing which drakes to release can be tricky. The raid should take several considerations into account:

- The Storm Rider should always be released if active. The Shadow Nova will then become interruptable as its cast time rises from 0.25 seconds to 1.5 seconds.

- If the Slate Dragon and the Nether Scion are active, the Nether Scion has to be released. Otherwise, Malevolent Strikes will stack up very quickly.

- If the Time Warden is active, it is usually desirable to free him in order to make the Fireball Barrage slower and easier to dodge, thus avoiding a lot of raid damage.

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Re: The Tactics

Post by moon » 11 Jan 2011, 08:22

A priests guide

My guild and I managed to down Halfus Wyrmbreaker the other day, and it gave me an idea about how raid healing might look for holy priest healing at least. I chose to play as a holy priest because crazily enough that turned out to be way more mana effective than disc healing. Being able to refresh the duration on my renews with heal and Lightwell turned out to be the tipping factors and I will discuss these and the fight overall from a healer perspective here. Wyrmbreaker is basically a gear check kind of fight, and as such there are few mechanics to look out for, they instead deal alot of damage. To manage this boss your healers must heal alot, dpsers must dps alot and your tanks must be able to take a pounding. Less emphasize is put on movement and avoiding nasty stuff.

Our average gear score was about 343 (I had 339).

First of all it's important to note that the fight changes from week to week. You get a random choice of three out of five dragons each week, which will change the way you have to handle the fight pretty much (although I noticed that Malevica over at "Type H for Heals" had gotten the same setup, I don't know if he plays on the same server as me, otherwise this indicates that everyone gets the same setups). We got a pretty devilish setup in the Nether Scion, which increases boss attackspeed by 100%, Time Warden, which shoots fireballs at everyone in the raid all the time and the Storm Dragon which will occasionally knock everyone back (every 10 seconds?). Every tactic we had read on the matter, which were still pretty scarce, told us that the Nether Scion would be the most annoying dragon since he'd make tank healing really difficult. But those people can't have done the fight with the Storm Dragon because I can tell you right now, that guy is without a doubt the most horrid dragon in the game. He is horrible because he makes the skills of the other dragons even more difficult to work with, since you'll be constantly interrupted. This is the main reason that we had to use three healers. Two healers just couldn't keep up with the healing in the first "phase" with all the interrupts. Having two resto druids might change this however.

EDIT: The reason I haven't mentioned stuff like positioning is because they don't matter. People can basically stand anywhere they like as long as it facilitates healing and allows for avoiding Fire Balls/Meteors.

We didn't have a good healing setup for dealing with the Storm Dragon. With a resto shaman, holydin and me, we only had me for good instants, which made the constant knockbacks a real issue. The storm dragon made us wipe insanely much even before we had gotten down the first dragon because the aoe damage from the Time Warden became totally unhealable when we all where constantly interrupted, and keeping the tanks up was equally much of a problem with the interrupts. We tried many different tactics, but the one that finally worked was this.

The first thing you have to do is decide how many dragons you want to get rid off, and in which order. We didn't have dps enough to kill more than two dragons before the enrage timer hit, so we had to leave the least annoying one. You want to pick the dragon that is using up the most mana for the healers, not necessarily the one with the toughest skill, but the one that combined with the other dragons skills is the toughest to deal with.

Step 1 - Killing the first dragon
We chose to kill the Time Warden first, because we just couldn't handle the aoe damage with all the interruption. So the aoe wasn't a big problem, but combined with the interruption it was. These are the kinds of things you will have to take into consideration when choosing your first dragon. As soon as we got rid of the aoe, the interrupts became less of a problem. After the first step everything eased up. All the healers were completely oom, but we had time to use mana skills to get back to some 20-30% mana which we kept for the remainder of the fight. That is how crucial the first dragon was. Activating the Time Warden meant to be able to see where the fireballs would land, which reduced raid damage in that everyone could move from them. It did make healing even tougher though since not only were we interrupted, we had to stay constantly on the move from the fireballs. Once the dps managed to nuke the dragon down before us healers had let someone die, we managed to get the fight, so getting this right was imperative.

Step 2 - Killing the next dragon
Totally depending on your dragon setup, this will either be easier or tougher than the first step. Preferrably easier, since you want to get rid of the toughest dragon as soon as possible. We chose to kill the Storm Dragon, because as soon as we got rid of the interrupts, healing became fairly easy. You still have to keep an eye out for the Meteor, but that's about it. You could also go directly for the boss on this step, or even the first step of course. It all depends.

Step 3 - Killing the third dragon, or the boss
Here you have to decide whether you'll have enough dps to kill the third dragon before the boss enrages. We didn't. Fortunately, the 100% attackspeed didn't actually turn out to be much of a problem. There is another factor to take into account during this step however, and not dealing with it properly made us wipe once. The boss will when below a certain percent (50%?) start to do a raid wide stun, four times and then a nova. Apparently you can have someone interrupt the nova if they can manage to break free from the stun. We had a mage blink just between the third and fourth stun so he could counterspell the cast. Unfortunately I don't know of any other good way to deal with this, but perhaps Cloak of Shadows? This also meant you had to keep everyone topped off, because the stun did damage and you still had to keep an eye out for meteors. So if you were low on hp and got a meteor on your while stunned, there wasn't much you could do about it. This killed me once.

Having the Storm Dragon meant having to time your heals very precisely. You had to get a cast off inbetween the stuns, because the instants usually wouldn't cut it. This of course gimped most of the casters dps significantly, which made burning down the first dragon even more difficult. As you will have noticed from heroics by now, you will want to have all and any dpsers who can to contribute with healing when needed. This means Tranquility and Hymn of Hope, and it wasn't until our dpsers used this properly that we finally managed. When the entire raid is down low, a tranquility will allow for the healers to waste less mana with expensive fast heals to save people. Also make it absolutely clear to everyone that they have to handle their own hp bar. Healing nowadays means prioritizing like never before. If I've got a lightwell up and I see a dps at ~50%, I will expect him to use the lightwell, and not to wait for me to heal him. Most of the time I will have to conserve my mana, or use my gcd somewhere else. This also means using cooldowns to reduce damage taken. Once you've started raiding, hopefully all your dpsers will have realized that dpsing is very little about simply dealing raw damage anylonger. If people don't move from shit on the floor, heal themselves through lightwells or step into pretty circles on the floor and use any cooldown they can to help the raid, you will have a very tough time downing raid bosses right now.

Priest Specifics
Above is the healing for the kill. As you can see, Heal is lower on healing done than it probably would have been, hadn't it been for all the interrupts (I have about 16% haste raid buffed). Renew will always be high on healing done as it really is the core spell of Holy healing. But I want you to especially note Lightwell. Recount actually tracks how much your lightwell heals, no matter who uses it, so this is a great way to check it's effectiviness and also who are using it and who aren't. Third on healing done with 17% of my total shows something of the potential of this skill. That is from two casts, or 12000 mana! I've also noticed that mastery is great for holy priests and I would stack this over crit right now. Holy Word: Serenity is the instant heal you get from being in the Chakra: Serenity stance, and I strongly recommend it since it is insanely handy. It is instant, fairly big and very mana efficient. The only drawback is the cooldown, which isn't too long. Any priest who healed alot in Wrath will note how little I used Prayer of Mending, which used to top my meters as holy. The reason I chose not to use it as much as I usually do is because I can't control the way it heals. Raid healing right now is alot about knowing exactly where your mana will land, so to speak. If you know people will get hit so that PoM will jump it will be good to use, but on this fight you never knew who of the dpsers were going to take damage next, and each PoM could be potentially wasted if it doesn't jump at least twice. Also note how even us healers are in healing done. I can only hope that this is a hint at Blizzard actually succeeding in balancing healers, or maybe this fight specifically was equally punishing to us all.
The dk tank did insane amounts of self healing, as you can see. This wasn't due to some fight mechanic, but just something dk tanks do nowadays through Death Strikes and Death Coils. This helps with healing tremendously of course, and I can only speculate in that this was a major reason that we had so little trouble with the attackspeed buff. Tank healing wasn't a big problem.

Update 4/1: I did this as a disc priest the other day and I must say it worked great. Halfus will take increased damage for each dragon add that you kill, and that makes your Atonement heal for insane amounts if you start smiting him, making you the best tank/melee healer for the last nuking (the extra damage from you is a bonus of course). I had smites that hit for 20-30k damage, and critted for even more. Considering Smite has a fast cast, this quickly turn out to really high hps on anyone close enough. Eventhough disc is slightly less efficient at dealing with the aoe damage in the first phases (where you kill dragons), as long as that damage isn't murderous I recommend going disc for this fight if you can.

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Re: The Tactics

Post by oldone » 11 Jan 2011, 12:22

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Re: The Tactics

Post by oldone » 03 Feb 2011, 10:09

spawn cycle of the drakes

Week # EU Realms Drakes

Week #9 (june 22 - june 28) Nether Scion, Slate Dragon, Time Warden
Week #10 (june 29 - july 5) Slate Dragon, Storm Rider, Time Warden
Week #1 (july 6 - july 12) Nether Scion, Storm Rider, Time Warden
Week #2 (july 13 - july 19) Nether Scion, Storm Rider, Slate Dragon
Week #3 (May 11 - may 17) Slate Dragon, Time Warden, Whelps
Week #4 (May 18 - May 24) Nether Scion, Time Warden, Whelps
Week #5 (May 25 - May 31) Storm Rider, Time Warden, Whelps
Week #6 (June 1 - June 7) Nether Scion, Storm Rider, Whelps
Week #7 (june 8 - june 14) Nether Scion, Slate Dragon, Whelps
Week #8 (june 15 - june 21) Slate Dragon, Storm Rider, Whelps


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Re: The Tactics

Post by oldone » 16 May 2011, 07:41

Heroic mode info:

Differences with Normal Mode
The mechanics of the fight and the timing of the abilities remain the same in Heroic Mode. The main difference is that all 5 drakes are active and need to be released.

In addition, the following changes occur:

•in 10-man Heroic Mode:
◦Halfus has 51,530,000 health points (up from 32,356,000);
◦the drakes have 5.8M health points (up from 4.15M);
◦the drakes' melee attacks hit for about 20,000 damage (down from 30,000 to 40,000);
◦Fireball deals 34,000 to 46,000 Fire damage (up from 25,500 to 34,500);
◦Scorching Breath deals 12,000 Fire damage every second for 8 seconds (up from 9,000);
◦Shadow Nova deals 47,500 to 52,500 Shadow damage (up from 28,500 to 31,500);
◦Furious Roar deals 19,000 to 21,000 Physical damage (up from 9,500 to 10,500);
◦Malevolent Strikes reduces healing by 8% by stack (up from 6%).

Having all the drakes active means that you have (no exceptions) to release Nether Scion and Storm Rider. In addition to that, you need to reduce raid damage and therefore release Time Warden or the Orphaned Emerald Whelps, or both. You can release Slate Dragon later (only if you judge it necessary, i.e. the healers are struggling towards the end of the fight). There is no set strategy here, it all depends on the ability of a raid leader to figure out how many drakes to release at the start for their raid setup. Trial and error testing, until the right strategy (number of drakes released, healing and tanking assignments) is found, is a sound way to proceed.

In 25-man, we advise you to use 4 tanks and 8 healers or 5 tanks and 7 healers, depending on how many drakes you decide to release first. In 10-man, the best setup seems to be 3 tanks and 3 healers. Distribute the drakes you release among the tanks.

Whatever strategy you decide to employ, the beginning of the fight will be crucial. There will be massive tank or raid-wide damage, depending on whether you decide to release both Time Warden and the Whelps, or only Time Warden or the Whelps. You should typically burn all cooldowns to ensure that your raid survives and that the drakes are killed as fast as possible.

One way we did it in 10-man, with 3 tanks and ilevel 359 gear, was to release 4 drakes (everything besides Slate Dragon), have tank A take Halfus, tank B take the Whelps and Time Warden, and tank C take Storm Rider and Nether Scion. Here, we took advantage of the fact that, in 10-man Heroic mode only, the drakes melee attacks are less damaging than in Normal mode, enabling a tank to safely take two drakes. We started by burning down the Whelps because, with AoE damage, they go down faster than the other drakes. We let tank A build stacks of Malevolent Strikes to the point that keeping him alive was almost impossible (at 8+ stacks; remember that each stack reduces healing by 8%, up from 6% in Normal mode), before we reset the stacks with Hand of Protection. We let tank A rebuild a high amount of stacks. Meanwhile, the Whelps had died and the Time Warden had already lost a significant portion of his health pool. Then, tank B taunted Halfus to enable tank A to drop his stacks (they were high enough that it was hard to even keep him alive through Scorching Breath). Then, we killed Time Warden, and tank A and B entered a taunting rotation on Halfus to manage their stacks. From that moment on, we had tank C stay close to Halfus, so that we could use AoE damage to bring Storm Rider and Nether Scion down. Once all the drakes were dead, we simply burned down Halfus.

Note that it is sometimes better to just let the Whelps die to splash damage and just focus down a drake instead. This is particularly true if your raid can do a lot of AoE damage.

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Re: The Tactics

Post by oldone » 16 May 2011, 07:50


Tanking Advice
The Orphaned Emerald Whelps can be split among the tanks, if you find that this can make their tasks easier.

A tank that is taking stacks of Malevolent Strikes (Malevolent Strikes in Heroic mode) will preferably use their cooldowns that increase healing received, such as Vampiric Blood (modified by Glyph of Vampiric Blood) for Blood Death Knights, or Frenzied Regeneration (with Glyph of Frenzied Regeneration) for Feral Druids, while they have a small amount of stacks. On the contrary, damage reduction cooldowns like Icebound Fortitude for Death Knights, or Shield Wall for Warriors, should only be used when the tank has more stacks.

Note that all those abilities, such as Last Stand, which give a temporary health point increase to the tank, count as healing. Therefore, their effectiveness is reduced by stacks of Malevolent Strikes. For example, Last Stand gives 30% more health for 20 seconds to a Protection Warrior. If that ability is used when the tank has a lot of stacks, it is going to give a very reduced amount of extra health.

Because Malevolent Strikes is applied to the tank only when Halfus lands a damaging melee attack, avoidance stats play a crucial role in this encounter, and so do avoidance cooldowns (for example, the Dancing Rune Weapon ability of Blood Death Knights).

Whatever strategy a raid is using, it is important to keep in mind that healer mana is a very serious problem in that encounter (especially in Heroic mode). Therefore, when possible (some drakes combinations prevent that), it is recommended to have the tank with high stacks of Malevolent Strikes tank as little as possible, and have as little incoming damage as possible, because any damage a tank with stacks of Malevolent Strikes takes greatly amplifies the amount of healing needed to keep that tank alive, and they end up soaking mana from the healers.

Healing Advice
Healers need to understand the first part of the fight is the hardest, and that it is normal to expend a lot of mana during it.

Atonement healing is a crucial part of this fight (at least in Heroic mode) for Discipline Priests. As soon as the first drake is down, Discipline Priests should start casting Smite at Halfus, healing the nearby raid member with the lowest health for the amount that Smite did on Halfus. Halfus takes increasing damage as the drakes die, so that healing method will become more and more effective as the fight goes on.

DPS Advice

A Hunter can pull Halfus by misdirecting to his pet, located as far from Halfus as possible, to give time for Nether Scion to apply his debuff to Halfus. This prevents the tank from dealing with Frenzied Assault unmitigated by Nether Blindness.

Once the first drake is dead, Fire Mages and Combat Rogues should start attacking Halfus exclusively. They will deal extra damage, because of Dragon's Vengeance. Fire Mages can then spread high damage DoTs from Halfus to nearby targets (on which they will do the same amount of damage) using Impact. Similarly, Combat Rogues can use Blade Flurry to strike nearby enemies for the amount of damage they deal to Halfus.