You spin me right round baby right round, Like a record baby right round round round
Phase two of the Halion hard mode encounter has provided tanks with a nice twist to the Wrath of the Lich King’s typical tank and spank mechanics. While most of the fights that we have come across over the past few instances have been as dry as a day in the sahara, this provides a little more interesting movement mechanics. The phase starts as soon as Hailon reaches 75% and will continue until 50%. To engage the boss you have to be the first one in the portal, and the first one to be with in melee to whack the boss and establish aggro, as there is a complete aggro drop as you enter the twilight realm.
What I have done to ensure that both of the above qualifications are met is that I will position myself in such a way that I have to look through halion to see the middle of the room. If you all positioned the boss the same way it would be much simpler to describe, but since there are many different positioning strategies, the most important thing to remember is that as you click the portal to the twilight realm, you want to appear with Halion in front of you. This will allow you to run straight to him and hit him with some snap threat. I personally start off with a hammer, judge, then shield to ensure that I have a good deal of threat. As soon as I have a 5 stack of vengeance, then I blow Avenging Wrath. This will ensure that your cool downs will be up by the time you enter your first spin. It is important to understand that cooldown usage will be different for hard modes, this is only a suggestion for normal mode.
I like to rotate the boss 90 degrees so that as the rest of the raid exits, they are in the perfect position to start dpsing. By rotating him 90 degrees, the side of the dragon will be at the portal’s exit point. It is essential that you create as much of a threat buffer as possible between you and your dps, because unless you have gotten comfortable with spinning and dpsing at the same time, it will be more important for you to focus on directing the raid and spinning the boss. After a few attempts you should get into a groove where you are used to the spin mechanics and you can continue to perform your 969 with out any hiccups. The first spin comes approximately 30 seconds after you have entered the twilight realm and it is important that you have your bearings set so that you can do your job perfectly.
The role of the Main Tank in this phase is essential to the survival of the raid, as you will be the conductor to this symphony of side stepping. What I found was most effective was to set my camera at max distance by using the macro:
/console CameraDistanceMaxFactor 9
This macro allows you to see the playing field, the boss, your raid and the two Shadow Pulsars or purple orbs which rotate around the room. While you have plenty of time to get everything in order before the first spinning cutter, it is important that you acclimate yourself with the room to ensure that you can see everything from a comfortable vantage point.
You can dance if you want to, you can leave your friends behind…
Do the Safety Dance! After you have established sufficent threat, and the beams are about to appear it is important that you line them up appropriately in order to ensure that the beams are no where near you. The idea is that you as the tank will be riding the left beam while you spin the boss on a dime, this allows your melee to be dpsing from his hind leg and eliminates any chance of them being in the 180 degree parry haste arc. You line yourself up so that you can see two orbs (on hard mode) or one orb (on normal mode) and the boss. For all intensive purposes, I am going to describe hard mode because it makes it easier to understand the positioning and movement. The orbs will be 90 degrees appart from each other on the circle which surrounds the room. it is important to see where they are when you have about 6 seconds left on the cutter cooldown.
When the cool down has come up and your boss mods tell you that the beams are coming, you want to line the orbs up in a specific manner. As you are looking down the back of the boss, the tail would be noon on a clock, you want to place the orbs at the 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock positions. This will ensure that you are directly in the middle of the void between two cutters. You want to start moving when you see this positioning, and not stop even if the beams do not appear when the mod predicted. It is also helpful if you call out in vent that you are moving. This should give your healers adequate time to prepare for healing on the run.
It is important to remember that it is your responsibility to direct the raid in the twilight realm, and as such if you feel that you need to move early, by all means do so. The rest of the raid will be depending on you to direct them, most of the raid will just try to position themselves on the side of the boss.
Once you have this dance down, the rest is academic. A few more things to think about when it comes to tanking this phase and what you need to do. If you have a sufficient threat ceiling when the first beams appear, and you are not comfortable using your abilities and rotating, just rotate until you get comfortable. The number one thing to focus on is rotating the boss on his current position. This is very important because the Shadow Pulsars do not move relative to the boss, they move relative to the room, so if you move the boss from the center of the room you will be faced with rotating into a beam and dying. The rotation of the boss is very important to the success of phase 2 and phase 3.
Some more things to think about when it comes to tanking in the shadow realm is understanding physical markers which you can use to help manage the Shadow Pulsars, the beams, and the boss. What I do to ensure that my rotation does not move the boss off of his spot, and as a result have him pivot on the spot, is stand on the very outside of his hit box. When you target mobs, there is a red circle on the ground that appears (simple i know, but just to make sure we are all on the same page) which you want to walk along. You just walk the line of the hit box and you will be rotating him on a dime. All you have to do to execute this is hit the strafe left button then the forward button, strafe left, move forward, rinse and repeat. You should use your mouse at the same time to ensure that you are always looking right down the back of Halion with the two orbs at 10 and 2. The coordination of using your mouse to change your camera angle to ensure that you are always on track with your movement, and using the keyboard to rotate independently is all that it takes to get the rotation on a dime movement.
Aside: I am working on fixing some bugs in my video recording software associated with wow so that I can take a movie of this to post, but im getting errors, so it may take some time. However, when I fix it, I will put up an informational video to see how I do it!