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Healing tips for Halfus Wyrmbreaker

February 3, 2011
by

Somebody report this guy to the ASPCA.

Halfus Wyrmbreaker is the first boss your raid will encounter in Bastion of Twilight.  As his name implies, Halfus seems to be in charge of “breaking” various drakes and wyrms for use by the Twilight Cultists.  Halfus has five drakes with him on his platform, though only three of them will be active.  The other two will have an Unresponsive debuff, telling us that they’ve been “badly beaten.”  Personally, I didn’t feel too badly about having to kill this guy.

It’s difficult to write a guide for Halfus (and yet I’m trying!), because which three drakes your raid will have active changes every week.  The combination is consistent across all servers from week to week, and MMO Champion has recently reported that the pattern of drakes is actually predictable.  The three drakes your raid has to deal with will completely change your strategy for this fight, and to a lesser extent it will change how you heal it as well.

Phase 1

Who’s who in the Halfus fight

The three active drakes all grant Halfus some kind of extra ability.  You have the option, however, to free any number of the three active drakes as well.  Doing so will place a debuff on Halfus that will help to counter the ability the drake gives him:

Drake Ability Debuff
Nether Scion Frenzied Assualt Nether Blindness
Slate Dragon Malevolent Strikes Stone Touch
Storm Rider Shadow Nova Cyclone Winds
Orphaned Emerald Whelps Scortching Breath Atrophic Poison
Time Warden Fireball Barrage Time Dilation

The trick is that if you release any of the drakes who are active, they will put their corresponding debuff on Halfus and then immediately become mind-controlled.  You will then need a tank to pick up the drake and the raid will have to kill the freed drakes as well as Halfus.  You want to kill any of the drakes that you free before focusing on Halfus because each drake who dies will place the Dragon’s Vengeance debuff on him, increasing the damage he takes by 100% per drake killed.

As a healer, you’ll need to be aware of the abilities each of the drakes can grant Halfus so that you’re prepared to heal all the damage that’s going around.  Your individual raiding experience may change depending upon which drakes you have and which your raid leader decides to release, but here are some basic tips:

If you have the Nether Scion,  incoming tank damage will be extremely high until the Scion is released.  Prepare to use cooldowns and have your tank do the same.  This is an attack speed buff, so that means that if you’re tank healing, you’ll likely always want to have a heal queued.  If you’re on raid heals, your tank healers will be very appreciative if you toss a Rejuv or stack your lifebloom on the player who’s tanking Halfus.

If you have the Slate Dragon, there will need to be a tank swap to manage the Mortal Strike-like stacking debuff that’s put on the Halfus tank.  Be prepared to use your CDs when stacks get high, and make sure that the second tank is fully topped off before he taunts.

If you have the Storm Rider, pray to the WoW gods that your raid’s interrupters are reliable.  Even if you release the Storm Rider as soon as you pull, your raid will probably take at least one Shadow Nova, so be ready to heal the raid-wide damage from that.  Shadow Nova interrupts spellcasting and knocks you back, so it’s always a good idea to make sure you’re standing far away from the cliff edge when you have the Storm Rider – you can easily be knocked off the edge if someone misses an interrupt.  Blow your instant-cast CDs (Swiftmend, Nature’s Swiftness) at the beginning of this fight on the tank you’re healing, since a few interrupted heals from Shadow Nova can quickly mean a dead tank.

If you have the Whelps, prepare yourself for a burst of group damage.  If you’re lucky, your raid composition will have enough strong AoE classes to burn them down quickly.  If you’re me, it won’t and you’ll burn through a chunk of mana at the start of the fight just keeping everyone alive.

If you have the Time Warden, make sure the entire raid stays spread out to avoid multiple people being hit by the Proto-Behemoth’s Fireball Barrage.  Until the Time Warden is freed, these fireballs will be unavoidable, so spreading out is the only way to be sure that only the targeted raid member is hit by them.  Once the Time Warden has been freed, you’ll see a flame circle animation below the feet of the Behemoth’s Fireball target.  You will have time to move out of the flame circle before the Fireball hits you.

Phase 2

The first phase lasts from the beginning of the fight until Halfus is at 50% health.  At this point, Halfus will begin to use Furious Roar, a raid-wide ability that causes damage, interrupts spellcasting, and stuns you for 2 seconds.  He will roar three times in a row, so you will effectively be stunned for 6 seconds.  Despite other things around the internet saying differently, even instant-cast heals cannot be cast during Furious Roar – believe me, I’ve tried.  You can, however, move very slightly, and should do so if you have the Time Warden and a Fireball Barrage circle has appeared below your feet during the roar.  You can also use Barkskin (for the damage reduction only – it will do nothing to prevent the interrupted casting) at any point during the Roar, and should do so every time it’s available.

Using CDs on your tank is essential during this phase, since 6 seconds without a single heal will easily kill him.  Keep an eye on the Furious Roar timer and make sure you refresh your HoTs before going into it – if you’re feeling especially “pro,” you can try to refresh your stacks of Lifebloom at about 4 seconds before Halfus roars.  That will ensure that LB expires and blooms near the end of the third stun.  Tanks really have to be using their own survival CDs, though, and a Guardian Spirit goes a long way as well.

Manage healing and tank CDs throughout the remaining 50% and things should go smoothly.  I tend to find myself more pressed for mana on this fight than others, so I make sure to use Innervate early to be sure that it will be up for a second use before Halfus dies.

Loot

Unfortunately, Halfus’ loot table is pretty lackluster for trees.  The only piece you might be interested in is the Wyrmbreaker’s Amulet, a Spirit/Crit neck-piece.  Assuming that you worked your way up to Exalted with either Wildhammer or Dragonmaw, you’ve probably already picked up your Yellow Smoke Pendant or Lightning Flash Pendant.  Unless you desperately need the Spirit on the Halfus neck-piece, I’d pass.

I’ve actually found this encounter to be one of the more enjoyable ones in Cataclysm.  The changing nature of the fight and the way that it allows raids to choose how they want to deal with the drake combination makes it a unique fight every week.  Hopefully you have fun with it as well – and please cross your fingers that MMO is wrong and we’re not going to see a month straight of Whelp combos!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Squelchy permalink
    February 3, 2011 11:04 pm

    Want to write my rogue guide for me? The way things are looking I won’t see this encounter again until March…

    I may be forced to steal your annotated drake illustration, it is very good.

    • February 4, 2011 1:58 pm

      Thanks, Squelchy. I guess I can waive the normal $50 per guide view royalty fee that I usually charge should you decide to use the illustration in the Stealther’s Guide. (And if I wrote the rogue guide, all I’d know to say is “OMFG interrupt that Shadow Nova now, my kick’s on CD!” Something like that.)

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