Our intrepid team attacked the Ruby Sanctum as soon as it opened. We’ve been having problems filling our raid, and our first night in the Sanctum was no different. We eventually got a raid together and started clearing the trash.
The first mini-Boss and the trash proved to be little problem for our group. It helped that we had made an unsuccessful run into Ruby Sanctum on our alts the previous night, so we knew what to expect. I think the familiarity combined with everyone on their Mains made a huge difference.
Due to our Raid makeup we had no Hunter and no Rogue to remove the enrage from the second mini Boss. When the Boss enrages, he/she/it does a constant fire AoE pulse. I found the Boss a little annoying to tank. It stays in the air just long enough to make sure divine plea drops off. The Devs love to send me little reminders that they don’t really think about Paladin tanks when they design encounters.
We had another reminder of that on the 3rd mini-Boss. He uses my absolute favorite mechanic in the game, Fear. Warriors can break the fear with Berserker Rage, and I think Tremor Totem works, too. Our DPS Warrior discovered that if you use Berserker Rage to break the Fear and your tank is still feared, the Boss turns around and one shots you. Usually, a Boss will stay on the highest aggro target during a fear, regardless if someone breaks it. The Boss forces Tank swaps by putting a Sunder Armor type debuff on the current tank. He also summons adds throughout the fight. What we did was have the tank that was not tanking the Boss grab one add while a plate dps ‘tanked’ the other add.
With the prelude out of the way, it was time to get your popcorn ready for the main event, Halion. I was the Physical realm tank, so I had Halion first. In Phase 1, you have to dodge Meteors, and Flame Trails that spawn from where the Meteor lands. I discovered that, yes indeed, Meteor could be targeted on the tank. Fun times! Someone in your raid gets a debuff and they have to run out and get it cleansed off. When they get cleansed, they drop a big ole fire circle. Fire is bad, mmmkay?
Phase 1 is pretty easy and we mastered it quickly. At 75%, we went into Phase II, which I called the Phil Collins Phase. Halion goes into the Edward…I mean Twilight… Realm. There’s a portal that all my team mates jump into. I /dance, and in my head I hear “I can’t dance…I can’t sing….I’m just standin’ here sellin’..everything…” Phil Collins phase. Halion seems to have a thing for Warriors in this phase.
At some point in Phase 2, people make mistakes and our Raid Leader calls for a wipe. At this point, I have to jump into the portal and die. If I don’t die, the boss never despawns, so I have to die.
A couple of times, we actually made it through Phase 2. At 50%, he goes into Phase 3. Now the real fun begins.
In Phase 3, he exists in both the Physical and Twilight realms. Half the raid comes back to join me and the other half stays with Edward. The transition can be a little tricky since we don’t leave a healer in the Physical realm. I usually have to blow a cooldown to survive. This is the first time I’ve considered using my 4pc bonus. While it’s still vastly inferior to what to what the other tanks got, dodging a Cleave or Melee at the transition seems like it would be very helpful.
Everything from the first two phases is still active: the Meteors, the Flame trails, the debuffs. In addition, you have to keep DPS pretty similar between the two realms or Halion gets a buff that makes him take less damage. As an added bonus, if either realm wipes, he starts healing in the other realm. We made some solid progress the first night. We had one attempt where I thought we’d get him but we wiped at 5%.
We went back in on our next raid night. We had a slightly different raid makeup. Instead of our Holy Paladin, we had a Resto Shaman. What was really exciting for me though was seeing our master of melee back in action. Our Rogue took a break after we killed Lich King, and I was really excited to see him back raiding with us again.
A couple of people hadn’t seen the fight, so we had to explain it and get the learning wipes out of the way. We made solid progress again. The Twilight Realm DPS was getting ahead of the Physical realm to the point that our Raid Leader had to have them stop DPSing a couple of times. Eventually, he just put them on full burn. Time seemed to slow down as Halion’s health was whittled down. It felt like we were moving in slow motion. At 3%, I popped Raid Wall (Divine Guardian), and Bubble Wall (Divine Protection) to give the healers some breathing room. I don’t know if it made a difference or not, but a few moments after the Bubble Wall fell off, Halion fell as well.
As Halion’s body hit the turf, it dawned on me. This is the last progression boss I’ll ever tank. I sat there kind of numb as loot went out. I didn’t want anything, even if the tanking boots had dropped, the crafted ones I have are better. But this was it, the end of my tanking career.
We’ll probably kill Halion a couple more times before we shut down raiding for good for Wrath. People are just tired of ICC, and one boss isn’t going to hold their attention for very long. I really hope we get Cataclysm sooner rather than later. Of course, the guild survived a 6 month stint at the end of tBC with virtually no raiding, so I’m sure we can survive another one.
Raiding this expansion from Ulduar to Halion has been fantastic and I attribute that mostly to the fantastic group of guys I run with and to our Raid/Guild Leader.