The 3.3.5 patch brought us the final raid instance before Cataclysm strikes Azeroth. Halion, a fairly large Twilight dragon, has invaded the Ruby Sanctum. Naturally, the job falls to us to try to repel him and and the rest of his followers. Before you get to engage Halion, you have to deal with Saviana Ragefire, Baltharus the Warborn and General Zarithrian.
There's also the trash, which has crippled and stalled many pickup raids (and some guilds).
Quick trash tips
Use any form of crowd control, if you feel it's necessary. As an example, druids can easily Hibernate dragons. If you need to, have them sleep the Invokers (the spellcasters). I find the Invokers' AoE explosive abilities are quite annoying. Strong group heals will be needed to counteract this if there are loose Invokers running around.
Phase 1: Surface phase
Mark of Combustion Add this to your list of customized debuffs, if your raid frames allow it. What will happen is an ability called Fiery Combustion will be cast on a random player in the raid. Whenever the affected player takes damage, a charge of Mark of Combustion will be applied on that player. Tell your trigger-happy dispellers to back off. People like me who see something dispellable in a raid will usually aim for it and try to cure the affected players. Unless they're already in a proper position, it is almost always going to be fatal to the raid if the mark gets removed when there are other players around them. Removing the Mark means that a giant, flaming void zone will appear on the ground where the player was when the debuff was removed. Any nearby players will get knocked back by the resulting explosion.
What you want to have happen here is for affected players to get as far away from the raid as much as possible. The longer it takes for marked player to get dispelled, the larger the flaming void zone will be.
Standard dragon tactics Halion has a Cleave and a Tail Lash. You'll need to stand on his side when healing to avoid getting blasted by any of those attacks.
Meteor Strike Every so often, Halion will target the ground where a player is standing. After about five seconds, a meteor will come flying in from the sky and land. It'll also cause fires to expand in four different directions.
It is possible for a tank to get targeted with Meteor Strike. On one occasion, the tank had Halion right by the fire wall that encircles the raiding area. He got targeted with a Meteor Strike and didn't realize it. When the fires were supposed to stretch out and expand, they didn't. Our tank got destroyed in less than a second with full health because of all that fire on the ground stacking on his location.
Moral of the story? Don't tank the boss in an area where fire can't expand outwards.
Phase 2: Twilight phase
Once Halion reaches 75% health, he'll shift over to the twilight plane. A portal will appear where he was and you'll need to click on it to engage him on the other side.
Mark of Consumption It is a similar ability to the Fiery Combustion above. The difference is that when Mark of Consumption is removed, it'll pull any nearby players directly on top of the void zone it generates. Same rule applies when it comes to dispelling and getting these players away from everyone else.
Twilight Cutter Two orbs will be floating around area. Every so often, a beam will appear between the two of them. Anyone caught by them will (more or less) instantly die. Keep a very close eye on the tank when the cutters are active. They can last maybe two seconds before they cut down. Have cooldowns ready to save them if they get too close to the cutters.
As far as positioning, Halion should be in the middle. Once again, you'll be healing from the side.
Phase 3: Surface and twilight combined!
Here is the fun part of the phase for healing officers. The decision on who stays on the surface to heal and who stays in the twilight realm to heal can affect your chances of success. If you want to really narrow down the choices, then keep in mind these two simple things:
- Twilight healing Requires near-constant movement. Select healers who are both aware of their surroundings and for whom moving has minimal impact on their ability to heal.
- Surface healing Not as much movement required.
Here is how I set up my team. Yours may look different.
- Shaman My lone shaman holds down the fort on the surface. I would get him to do dispels.
- Paladin My paladin sticks with the tank on the surface.
- Holy priest I round the trio up top on the surface with a holy priest with a holy priest who can cover anything those two miss.
- Discipline priest This is me! I like to heal down low in twilight. I'm also responsible for dispels in that area.
- Two resto druids My team of trees are stuck with me in twilight.
The procedure for the final 50% is that half your raid is going to go back to the surface and half your raid will stay on the bottom. It'll be a combination of both phase 1 and phase 2 at the same time.
Corporeality (which is pronounced cor-por-reality) might have an effect on healing, depending on which way the DPS is going. The more Halion gets pushed in one direction, the more damage he'll dish out on the corresponding side. So healers need to be aware of this. In other words, if his Corporeality is at 60%, he'll take more damage in the physical realm but deal extra damage in that same realm.
Want some more advice for working with the healers in your guild? Raid Rx has you covered with all there is to know! Need raid or guild healing advice? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and you could see a future post addressing your question. Looking for less healer-centric raiding advice? Take a look at our raiding column Ready Check.