Friday, January 28, 2011

A shift in healing - and a Halfus trifecta from hell

First, we had a shift in our roster recently. Monger is back on his priest, and he's brining the lightwell back to the front of our raiding. Our resto druid switched back to his mage (so we still have a bloodlust type buff), so our overall healing/dps makeup is going to have to adjust to a shift in our play. We did fairly well last night though, especially since we wound up pugging a DK DPS (our now mage was out).

Before we made this switch we sat down and looked at all the buffs/debuffs we were going to gain/lose, and weighed the chages carefully. We also laid out some basic goals and stipulations, so we wouldn't be going in with the 2nd healer wearing greens and inappropriate blues. In the end, I think this move will really help us out, as both of these guys are now back in the roles that I think they excell at instead of just do well at.

Halfus nightmare

Last night we got a combination on Halfus we'd never seen before - all three drakes that buffed Halfus. Storm, Scion, and Slate - so we had Shadow Novas to interrupt, a stacking MS debuff, and increased attack speed.

With this combination we had to release the Storm drake first - there was no negotiating that. Having an increased attack speed mixed with the MS debuff was also a challenge, and this combination casued to to rethink our standard lineup. With no Bloodlust available, we tried to reduce the MT damage by releasing two drakes, plus holding the boss. This ended in tears and teeth gnashing, so we made a composition change.

Halfus is one of the only bosses we currently three heal, but last night we dropped back to two healing instead. While this might seem counter-intuitive if our tanks are getting rolled, it actually fits our healing model (Monger and I). By putting our 3rd healer back on Shadow DPS, it reduced the overall time that we had two drakes chained down. There wasn't an excessive amount of raid damage, so Monger could sit in his single target chakra (don't ask me what that is) with occasional raid heals if a shadow nova slipped through.

I will say that while this worked well, the healing was really tight. I never felt like I had an opportunity where I could safely use Divine Plea, but it was a great check to see if I was using all my other cooldowns well (I wasn't). There's obviously still a lot of room for my personal improvement, things I'll need to fix if I plan on being successful in heroic raids.

What this means

Is Halfus tough? You bet. With the right combination of drakes he can be extremely taxing for some guilds. I don't think the fight is overly complicated though. There are certainly more complicated fights in the game, and even those aren't too tough to understand. Execution is a different story obviously.

There's a lot of talk right now about Halfus being too tough, or overly complicated, becuase every week the boss add composition changes. Some compositions can be easier than others, depending on your group makeup and raid size.


  1. Without the nether scion (shadow Nova) this fight becomes so much easier.

    If you have a pally tank and the mortal strike effect he can bubble off the mortal strike effect. Not sure if Hand of protection can be used for the same effect, with a cancel aura macro from the tank.

    the set up you described was what we encountered in our first week of raiding in cataclysm. gogo famous last pull of the night and killing past the enrage timer.

    But we got him and it was our pre-christmas treat and then we De'ed the hunter loot :)

  2. We tried bubbling the stacks off in the first week, but we noticed that either our tank sucks at the bubble taunt, or Halfus just goes cattywompus when you do this. In this instance we were getting the stacks so fast, it didn't really matter.

  3. We managed to pull this combo for our first ever attempt at Halfus.
    This biggest problems were getting interrupts out on the Shadow Novas and make sure the tank switches went quickly.
    After that It was just making sure the few PuGs had enough damage to get him down.
    The biggest help however was a PuG mage that we taught to blink through the Furious Roar to interrupt the following Shadow Nova.

  4. Regards bubbliong off stacks, as long as your tank has his bubble macro'ed like the following

    /cancelaura divine shield
    /cast divine shield

    he can hit it twice and hopefully the rogue/who ever is doing the interrupts doesn't get ganked.

    He instantly returns to the paladin as soon as the bubble is cancelled off.

    Also popping avoidance trinkets at the beginning can help slow the stacks of mortal strike as only applied when he hits.

    We found in this scenario you have to release shadownova dragon and frenzy dragon at the very start. We ignore mortal strike dragon for the whole of the fight.

    but yeah horrible combo. roll on patch 4.06 so paladins can interrupt reliably.

  5. Believe it or not, we actually got through this combo by using less healers, and only one drake at a time. Release shadownova and nuke (lust/timewarp), then speed hit, then MS. We just used up a ton of CDs to keep the tank topped until the first drake was dead and they kept swapping every 20 sec or so. This combo taxed my mana as bad as cho'gal, but it worked.


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