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Halfus Wyrmbreaker Tank Strategy Guide

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This guide is intended to provide a comprehensive description of the encounter with Halfus Wyrmbreaker in Bastion of Twilight. It is mostly targeted to tanks who desire to have a short but detailed overview of what is expected of them during that fight.

This guide applies to patch 4.3 of World of Warcraft.

As a tank, your main tasks during the encounter with Halfus will be to properly use your abilities to survive the high amount of damage thrown at you for the first minute of the fight.

1. Overview of the Fight↑top

Halfus is keeping 5 captive drakes. Each of them grants him a different buff or ability. When a drake is released, he debuffs Halfus (as a token of gratitude) in order to mitigate the buff he gives him. Both the buff and the debuff persist through the entire fight. After a drake is released, Halfus binds him to his will, forcing him to attack your raid. You can then either kill the drake or off-tank him. When a drake dies, Halfus receives a stack of Dragon's Vengeance, increasing damage done to him.

The mechanics of the fight revolve around which drakes are available for release. Each week, you will have a combination of 3 drakes active, the other two being inactive (not buffing Halfus) and not releasable. The hard part of the fight will invariably be the beginning, when the drakes are released. Once they are dead, the encounter becomes much easier.

Your raid leader will decide to release the drakes in a specific order, based on your raid setup and the drakes available. You role will be to tank Halfus, a drake, Halfus and a drake, or maybe even two drakes.

This fight will mostly test your ability to survive through heavy damage. With some particular combination of drakes, you can be required to take turns, with one or two other tanks, in tanking Halfus because of a debuff a la Mortal Strike. There are also some Fireballs thrown at the raid that can be avoided in some cases.

2. Enemies↑top

2.1. Halfus Wyrmbreaker

By default, Halfus has the following abilities:

  • A melee attack, which hits for about 15,000 damage every 1.6 second (in both 10-man and 25-man difficulties);
  • Furious Roar, which Halfus always casts 3 times in quick succession and that stuns the raid for 2 seconds. This ability is enabled only after Halfus' health reaches below 50%.

2.2. Proto-Behemoth

Halfus' side-kick, the Proto-Behemoth, has only one ability by default: Fireball, which he casts at a random raid member every two seconds. It deals Fire damage (20,400 to 27,600 in 10-man and 34,000 to 46,000 in 25-man) to everyone standing within 4 yards of the targeted party member. Even though the spot where a Fireball will land is clearly marked with a fire circle, the Fireball travels too fast to be dodged.

This enemy is neither tanked or attacked for the entire duration of the fight.

2.3. Drakes

On the platform where Halfus is fought, there are 5 captive drakes:

3 of the 5 drakes are active. The 3 active drakes change every week. A drake interacts with the fight in three ways:

  • An active drake provides a buff to Halfus or his Proto-Behemoth for the entire duration of the fight (i.e., from start to finish). That buff persists through the death of the drake.
  • A drake is released when a player right-clicks it, which triggers a 1.5 second cast. When released, a drake gives Halfus or his Proto-Behemoth a debuff (which aims at mitigating the effect of the buff the drake gives), which will last until the fight is over (so, it persists through the death of the drake). A released drake needs to be tanked because it deals melee damage every 1.5 to 2 seconds (about 35k in 10-man and 50k in 25-man).
  • When a drake is killed by the raid, it gives Halfus a stack of Dragon's Vengeance. Therefore, when all drakes are dead, Halfus will take 300% increased damage (if you release and kill all 3 drakes, that is).

The health pool of the drakes is 3.3M in 10-man and 12M in 25-man. Regarding the Orphaned Emerald Whelps, since there are 8 of them, each has a health pool equal to one 8th of that of a drake.

The drakes' melee attacks deal 25,000 to 30,000 damage in 10-man difficulty and 40,000 to 60,000 damage in 25-man difficulty.

2.3.1. Nether Scion

When active, Nether Scion provides Halfus with Frenzied Assault, which increases his attack speed.

When released, Nether Scion debuffs Halfus with Nether Blindness, which more than mitigates the effects of Frenzied Assault.

2.3.2. Slate Dragon

When active, Slate Dragon provides Halfus with Malevolent Strikes. This enables Halfus to apply Malevolent Strikes, a healing debuff, on his target, whenever he performs a melee attack that deals damage (a normal attack, a blocked attack or an absorbed attack). Therefore, Halfus will not apply Malevolent Strikes following a melee attack which was dodged, parried or missed. Nether Blindness from the Nether Scion causes 25% of the application of Malevolent Strikes to fail, in addition to causing 25% of his melee attacks to fail.

When released, Slate Dragon debuffs Halfus with Stone Touch. This debuff stuns Halfus for 12 seconds approximately every 30 seconds, which makes it easier for the tanks to drop their stacks of the healing debuff, or for the healers to top off everyone.

2.3.3. Storm Rider

When active, Storm Rider provides Halfus with Shadow Wrapped, which grants him a new ability: Shadow Nova.

When released, Storm Rider debuffs Halfus with Cyclone Winds. This debuff increases the cast time of Shadow Nova, making it interruptible.

2.3.4. Time Warden

When active, Time Warden grants the Proto-Behemoth a new ability: Fireball Barrage. This ability launches 20 fast-travelling Fireballs over 15 seconds at random raid members, and occurs every 20 to 25 seconds. The gap between each Fireball Barrage is filled by a few Fireballs cast with a 2 second interval.

When released, Time Warden debuffs the Proto-Behemoth with Time Dilation, which decreases the travel speed of the Fireballs to such an extent that they can now easily be dodged, provided that raid members are quick enough to move from the fire circles marking the spots where the Fireballs are to land.

2.3.5. Orphaned Emerald Whelps

Tanks should not be concerned with what the Whelps do. To sum it up, they grant the Proto-Behemoth with a raid-wide AoE damage ability, and when release, they reduce the damage that the Proto-Behemoth does.

3. Strategy↑top

Your main objective as a tank is to survive the attacks of whatever enemy your raid leader will assign you to. You might have to do some additional tasks, depending on what drakes are available.

Only the first part of the fight is hard, when the drakes are released. Once they are dead (note that your raid might not decide to release all of them, sometimes one will be kept unreleased or alive), the fight becomes easier and it all comes down to whether your raid can kill Halfus before reaching the enrage timer.

3.1. Avoiding Fireballs

When Time Warden is active and released, the Fireballs thrown by the Proto-Behemoth will travel slow enough that they can be dodged. Simply watch out for a fire circle appearing next to you. It means a Fireball will soon land there, so move away from it. The range is 4 yards from the center of the circle.

3.2. Interrupting Shadow Nova

Halfus casts Shadow Nova only when Storm Rider is active. That ability can be interrupted only when Storm Rider is released, because its casting time increases from 0.25 seconds to 1.5 seconds.

In 25-man, Shadow Nova is cast every 7 seconds approximately. Unless you have a Shaman in your group (because of Wind Shear Icon Wind Shear), you will probably be asked to be part of an interruption rotation.

In 10-man, Shadow Nova is cast every 10 seconds approximately, enabling all tank classes to single-handedly interrupt that ability.

3.3. Tank Swapping

When Slate Dragon is active, Halfus will apply Malevolent Strikes on his target whenever he deals a damaging melee attack. For this reason, you can be asked to rotate Halfus with one or two other tanks, in order to let your stacks of the debuff to drop before you can tank Halfus again.

4. Heroic Mode↑top

In Heroic Mode, all 5 drakes will be active, forcing your group to release at least 3 of them at the beginning of the fight. This results in more tank damage than in Normal mode.

Besides the boss and the drakes having more health points and the abilities dealing more damage, tanks will be particularly interested in the following changes between Normal and Heroic mode:

  • In 25-man Heroic mode only, Halfus melee attacks deal more damage than in Normal mode (about 35,000, up from 15,000).
  • In 10-man Heroic mode, the melee attacks of the drakes hit for less than in Normal mode (about 20,000, down from 25,000 to 30,000).
  • In 25-man Heroic Mode, the melee attacks of the drakes hit for more than in Normal mode (about 60,000 to 80,000, up from 40,000 to 60,000).
  • Malevolent Strikes now decreases healing received by 8% by stack (up from 6%).

The fight is the same as in Normal mode, just that you will take a lot more damage, due to more drakes being released, more healing reduction from Malevolent Strikes, and deadlier raid-wide damaging abilities. Therefore, you need to use your abilities perfectly, in order to survive the first minute of the fight.

5. Tips and Tricks↑top

All the tips and tricks described in this section apply to all difficulties of the fight. In Normal mode, you can certainly defeat the encounter without using them, unlike in Heroic mode, where they are pretty much mandatory.

Splitting the Orphaned Emerald Whelps among the tanks can make tanking them much 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 Icon Vampiric Blood (modified by Glyph of Vampiric Blood) for Blood Death Knights, or Frenzied Regeneration Icon 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 Icon Icebound Fortitude for Death Knights, or Shield Wall Icon Shield Wall for Warriors, should only be used when the tank has more stacks.

Note that all those abilities, such as Last Stand Icon 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 Icon Dancing Rune Weapon ability of Blood Death Knights).

Whatever strategy a raid is using, it is important to remind your raid leader 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.

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