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Scattered Shots: Hunting Halfus, Valiona, and Theralion

Brian Wood

Every Monday and Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. Frostheim of Warcraft Hunters Union uses logic and science (mixed with a few mugs of dwarven stout) to look deep into the hunter class. Mail your hunter questions to Frostheim.

Last week, we covered the first two bosses of Blackwing's Descent, so this week we're going to go over the hunter strategies for the first two bosses of the Bastion of Twilight: Halfus Wyrmbreaker and Valiona and Theralion (who we fondly refer to as Theraliona).

As always with these hunter guides, this is not a strategy guide for these bosses. I am assuming you are already familiar with the general boss strategy. Instead, we're just focusing on hunter-specific tips that the general guides tragically skip over. If you want to learn the basic mechanics of the fights, you can check out the Halfus Wyrmbreaker and Valiona and Theralion strategy guide over at Tankspot.

Join me after the cut as we get into the hunter-specific tips and tricks for these bosses.

Halfus Wyrmbreaker

Much like Magmaw over in Blackwing Descent, Halfus is the introductory boss of Bastion of Twilight and as such is a pretty easy kill. The real tricky thing on this fight is that it won't be the same from week to week -- with different drakes available each week on normal mode, your raid strategy will change, as will the set of hunter tools you need.

Your first job as a hunter is likely going to be to use Misdirection on the drakes as they're released and turn hostile. Since we have a bit of time at the start of the fight before we can target any of the drakes, I like to start off with a few potshots at Halfus himself, being sure to DoT him up. For survival, you definitely want to get your Black Arrow ticking right out of the gate so you have a chance at a Lock & Load proc when it's time to open up on the drakes, and marksman hunters will want to get a pair of Steady Shots off on Halfus at the start to get Improved Steady Shot buff going.

A few specific pointers:

  • If the Time Warden drake is active, you will have to be dodging fire nonstop. You have some warning before they hit, and you can usually finish an active Steady/Cobra cast before scooting out of the way; however, you're very likely going to be better off just fighting in Aspect of the Fox so that you never have to interrupt or delay your shots.
  • If the Emerald Whelps are active, this fight suddenly becomes a SV fight. No hunter spec AoEs like SV does. Regardless of your spec, be sure to use your Ice Trap to slow the whelps and keep them clustered up.
  • If your strat is to fight two drakes at once (my raid does), then be sure your main tank is tanking Halfus by the drakes so he can get splash damage. Other classes are far better at this than hunters, but if there are three targets, it is worthwhile for SV to use Multi-Shot with Serpent Spread. Don't spam your Multi-Shot; instead, just apply it every time the Serpent Spread Serpent Sting's fall off. Remember though that while you increase your overall damage this way, you're decreasing your single-target damage done. If your raid is struggling and needs to get a drake down fast, then stick to single-target. Once there are only two targets up, you want to focus on single-target again -- Multi-Shot is a DPS loss with only two targets.
  • Save your cooldowns until the drakes are down, so you can burn them all with the damage multiplier on Halfus himself. If you're MM, you'll still want to use your first pair of Rapid Fires right out of the gate on the first drake, to ensure that you get your full four Rapid Fires during the fight.
  • During phase 2 when you're getting knocked down, you can't actually get a shot off in between knockdowns. Your Auto Shot, however, will fire between knockdowns.
Theralion and Valiona

Theraliona is a substantially more difficult fight, requiring heavy movement, instant movement, and very precise movement. It's a fight where we hunters excel among the ranged DPS with our superior movement skills.

You want to pay very close attention to your aspect dancing skills on this fight. Even during the relatively easy Valiona ground phase, you'll be moving a decent amount and you do not want to lose any Steady/Cobra casts due to that movement. Pop into Aspect of the Fox any time you know you're going to have to move, and pop back to Aspect of the Hawk when you're standing still or when you're casting your instant shots.

Specific pointers for Theraliona:
  • Disengage is your friend on this fight. If Valiona turns to breathe in your direction during her ground phase, you can easily jump-disengage out of the way. There's enough time between breaths for your Disengage cooldown to end, so you can do this on every breath if you have to.
  • If you get the Engulfing Magic debuff, disengage to get far away instantly.
  • Deterrence will completely deflect all damage from Valiona's breath, in case you do get caught flat-footed.
  • Stay in Aspect of the Fox during transition phases. With all the running and dodging, you're better off just not losing any shots.
  • During Theralion's ground phase, if your raid strat requires ranged to cluster separately (the common strat), then you'll very likely want to stay in Aspect of the Fox for the entire phase, with one finger poised over your strafe key. You can't afford to wait a fraction of a second when the void zone appears, and odds are good that it will appear during a Steady/Cobra cast. Even if you only interrupt one Steady/Cobra every 12 seconds, it's still a DPS gain to just stay in Fox the whole time. Losing a shot is a lot of damage, the 637 AP from Hawk is a smaller amount.
  • Blow your cooldowns after Valiona's first breath on her first ground phase, when you'll have a good amount of time to just sit still and DPS. MM will want to squeeze in their second Rapid Fire after Valiona's second breath, and the next two wherever they can squeeze them in. Bonus points if you're able to use it while you have Engulfing Magic.

Scattered Shots is dedicated to helping you learn everything it takes to be a hunter in Cataclysm. From leveling your hunter to optimizing for heroics to gearing up with pre-heroic loot and pre-raid loot, we've got you covered.

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