Tanking the Twilight Realm

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!


5 Responses to “Tanking the Twilight Realm”

  1. August 10, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    Does the heroic twilight realm spawn Bella and Edward?

  2. August 11, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    Hey Wrathy! Thank you very, very much for this.

    I was really excited when you hopped on my server to say hi and update me on the blog. I have been reading your blog since I was a noober tank, and so it was pretty neat to get that whisper. I have to apologize if I sounded a little preoccupied – it was right about as we were pulling Halion trash (which we proceeded to wipe on twice. We R Pro Giuld.) Thus I couldn’t give your appearance the attention it deserves. We’ll have to chat later.

    I mentioned to you that I was panicking a little – my panic centered on this specific fight. Rhidach has been tanking the Shadow Realm every week, and I was going to have to hop in there and do it straight off the bat for my guild which has become quite used to one-shotting it.

    While I did not have a chance to read your blog before Rhidach’s absence threw me into the fire, I managed well enough, and with the aid of your recommendations I should do a lot better next time.

    … I still feel pretty strongly that we use a really, really overly complicated strategy for the shadow realm.

    Basically, I spent the entire fight turning. I just think there’s no real reason to do this. The dragon is never, ever still. A slight turning error is really hard to recover. I will push my 10 man to try it while mainly stationary, only adjusting before the orbs activate, because I think this would benefit everything from tanking to DPSing to healing. Constant motion is no fun when there is a viable alternative.

    I also struggled with threat (the first time I saw this). I like to think that my threat is usually very solid, and I am very much capable of (usually) doing my rotation while moving. This is sort of the point of precise mouse movement, IMO. But my strafe keys are keys, and learning to do my rotation while strafing the *entire fight* – minutes on end – was a bit of a curve.

    In the end, last night I was ok. We only wiped once, because I messed up the first Phase 1->2 transition. (I didn’t run straight at the dragon, he moved way out of position) I learned my lesson, and the second time, I kept him largely in the center. Fight down. And I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

    The only real problem I had with my own circular movement was that I tended to move forward a little, and found myself a bit off center at times. Slight adjustment worked OK to keep him in place, but I could be a ton more precise with my circling.

    Definitely appreciate the instructions for how exactly to move around the hitbox and turn the dragon on a dime. Strafe, forward, strafe, forward… I will try this next week. I was doing a combination of strafing and mouse movement, and it was not precise enough.

    Well, the one benefit of the “constant motion” strategy is that Rhidach and I should be SERIOUS pros at turning the dragon when we see it on Heroic!

    Anyways, long comment over… I should have blogged this on Rhidach’s blog instead of posting it here. Anyways, thanks again for your helpful guide to moving around in this fight, I have learned a lot (as usual)!

  3. 3 Repartee
    August 11, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    Everything you mention here is on point with how we did our 10 man heroic.

    I’d like to toss out an optional way of moving him in the shadow realm. Using strafe left, move forward, etc.. has a tendency (for me anyway) to move the boss off center if you strafe a millimeter too much.

    What I do is wait for the DBM warning for cutters and right before moving is to turn perpendicular to the boss, erring on the side of caution by making sure to not have my back to him. While facing perpendicular and on edge of hit box, just run forward and mouse look (holding down right click for most) to turn. The red hit box graphic is a perfect guide for this. You will know if you are facing too far away from boss if you can’t attack anymore. Always err on the side of facing toward her than the alternative.

  4. 4 Sil
    October 12, 2010 at 1:02 am

    Looking forward to the video!

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  • What is this nonsense? HoPo and a total overhaul. It's going to be a long weekend of playing around.. 8 years ago



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