Halfus Wyrmbreaker is the first boss in the Bastion of Twilight, hanging out on a platform with several different captive dragons. Depending on which 3 of the 5 dragons are active, Halfus and his Proto-Behemoth will have different abilities to deal with. Releasing the dragons will mitigate those abilities, but you’ll have to kill or offtank them during the fight. (For an alternate overview of this fight, check out my raid’s Healing Lead Jadiera’s over at Totem Forest)
- The Nether Scion gives Halfus the Frenzied Assault buff which is already bad by itself, but a real problem if combined with the Slate Dragon. Releasing it will reduce Halfus’ damage, attack speed, and chance to hit by 25%
- Orphaned Emerald Whelps gives the Proto-Behemoth Superheated Breath which lets it use Scorching Breath to breathe fire all over the raid. Releasing them reducing the damage of that breath.
- Slate Dragon gives Halfus Malevolent Strikes which stacks up to 15 for a max of 90%. Releasing it will periodically cause Halfus to be stunned for 12sec.
- Storm Rider gives Halfus the Shadow Wrapped buff, letting him periodically cast Shadow Nova. With a 0.25sec cast time it’s almost impossible to interrupt, but releasing this dragon will increase the cast time to 1.5sec.
- Time Warden gives the Proto-Behemoth Dancing Flames, which lets it use Fireball Barrage to shoot fireballs targeted at a player’s position. Targeted areas will be shown by puffs of orange fire, and releasing this dragon slows down the fireballs so that you can move out of the affected area.
Releasing all three active dragons is necessary to doing this fight, not only giving you breathing room to deal with the abilities, but also because killing two dragons will also debuff Halfus and increase his damage taken by 100%. Killing the third isn’t necessary, so if you’re having problems killing Halfus before the Enrage timer, it might be better just to keep it offtanked while DPS focuses on Halfus.
Note that Halfus won’t aggro until someone goes up and hits him, so everyone can position themselves where they need to before starting the fight.
At 50%, Halfus will periodically cast Furious Roar three times in a row, which can’t be interrupted and can’t be avoided. Be ready for it and try to move out of any Fireballs if you can.
Storm Rider > Nether Scion > Orphaned Emerald Whelps > Time Warden > Slate Dragon
This is more of a general rule of thumb, since you can release two at once, or even all three. Depending on your raid, you might even find a different order might work better for you.
The Storm Rider should always be released first though, because uninterrupted Shadow Novas will decimate the raid. Releasing the Nether Scion will help keep you from being crushed by Halfus. The Whelps and Time Warden are lower priority since you can survive their abilities until the other dragons are taken care of, even if it is a lot of raid damage. Having everyone spread out slightly if the Time Warden is active means each fireball shouldn’t be hitting more than one person. The Slate Dragon is last in the list because while the stacking healing debuff is a pain, you can compensate for it by swapping tanks when it gets too high (around 9-10 stacks).
OffTanking the Dragons
If you’re OTing the dragons, you won’t need to worry about any special abilities from them. All they do is melee, but they hit about as hard as Halfus himself. Of the dragon buffs, Fireball Barrage (Time) is the only one to watch for as you’ll want to move out of the way of any fireballs coming down near you. Be ready to use a cooldown if needed when a Scorching Breath is coming though. Position your dragon(s) near Halfus to take advantage of Cleave abilities and AOEs, and to be ready to taunt when needed if the Slate Dragon is up.
If you’re still tanking a Dragon when Halfus hits 50% and begins his Furious Roars, have your cooldowns ready.
If you’re MT on Halfus, Malevolent Strikes (Slate), Fireball Barrage (Time), and Shadow Novas (Storm) are what you want to keep an eye out for. There’s nothing specific you can do about Scorching Breath (Whelps) and Frenzied Assault (Nether) except using cooldowns when needed to make healing you easier.
For Fireball Barrage, just make sure to move out of the way of fireballs, but also watch for fireballs coming down behind Halfus where the melee are. Move Halfus if needed so the melee don’t lose contact time by either moving out of position or being forced to attack from the front.
For Shadow Nova, there should be dedicated interrupters watching for it, but since all Tank classes can interrupt now you can back them up to make sure none get through.
If you’ve got both Fireball Barrage and Shadow Nova at the same time though, be careful when moving him. You don’t want to reposition him when he’s about cast a Shadow Nova, as interrupters might be out of range. In most cases, simply moving to the side slightly is enough to get you out of range of a fireball. If you have to move away though, do it soon after a Shadow Nova has been interrupted or be ready to interrupt him yourself.
When Malevolent Strikes is up, you’ll need to have a taunt rotation ready. If you’re a Paladin, you have the advantage of being able to tank Halfus for twice as long at the start before needing the OT to taunt off you. Using a Divine Shield macro, you can let the debuff stack for a while before bubbling and clearing it off. Keep an eye on how many stacks you have and how much health you’re at, sometimes you can let it go all the way up to 15 before clearing it, but you may need to clear it earlier if you’re getting too low on health. Ask your healers how many stacks they’re comfortable with before Tank switching, but generally you’ll want to call for a switch at 10 stacks. Once Halfus changes targets, concentrate on staying alive and letting the debuff fall off (30sec), you shouldn’t have to grab a Dragon off the OT during that period.
On Heroic, all five dragons will be active. All the abilities will do more damage, but more importantly for Tanks, the Malevolent Strikes buff is now an 8% debuff (though it “only” stacks to a max of 12 for 96%), which means you’ll need a tank switch earlier. There’s also a lot of incoming damage right at the beginning of the fight, so it’s best to use a cooldown when pulling so you don’t just explode right at the start.
We’ve only just started trying this encounter so I’ll add more later.