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Arcane Brilliance: Ruby Sanctum preview - mage edition

You'll have to forgive Arcane Brilliance (the weekly mage column) this week. Arcane Brilliance is a little down in the dumps. You see, Arcane Brilliance just isn't sure it can live in a world where Duke is the NCAA basketball champion and the Lakers are the NBA champion. One was bad enough, but now both of those evil basketball programs are champs? Ugh. What's that, you say? I could always just give in and root for Duke and LA? I suppose I could, but that would be like giving in and rooting for warlocks to do anything but die painfully in a fire of my creation. In other words: not going to happen.

All signs point to patch 3.3.5 dropping very soon. When it drops, it will bring with it a few fun UI changes and quests, but most importantly, it will herald the final raid instance of this expansion, the last raid boss we're going to get before Cataclysm erupts in a massive explosion of Goblins and Worgen and Tauren paladins and Wars of the Ancients and such. Soon after the patch hits, the portal to the Ruby Sanctum below Wyrmrest Temple will open, and the same heroes who ended to reign of the Lich King will enter and challenge the fearsome Black Dragonflight, led by The Twilight Destroyer, Halion.

And I want my fellow mages to be ready.

So fill your pockets with strudel, put on your best dress, and meet me at Wyrmrest, mages. We've got dragons to slay.

The Instance

Much like the Obsidian Sanctum before it, the Ruby version is a short, one-boss affair, though you do need to best Halion's three lieutenants prior to facing off with that final loot pinata. These three function as minibosses who drop no loot, but will be worth an Emblem of Frost. There's no option to bypass these sub-bosses this time around, no 3-drakes-up mechanic. You will need to clear them prior to challenging Halion.

You'll find Baltharus the Warborn on a cliff to your left as you enter the instance. General Zarithian on the far side of the instance, and Saviana Ragefire on the west. None of these minibosses amount to anything more challenging than a souped up trash encounter, but undergeared groups may struggle. Just know that if you're having trouble with any of these three, you're likely not prepared to face Halion.

Strategies are fairly general:
  • Don't stand in the whirlwind.
  • When adds arrive (Baltharus makes copies of himself, which is fun), let the off-tank pick them up.
  • Focus your fire on the generals themselves, ignoring the adds, who will despawn when the miniboss dies.
  • Just generally be awesome.

When the three drakes are down, you can move on to the twilight dragon himself, Halion.

Phase One

Halion begins by conjuring a wicked huge circle of fire around himself. Like most fire, you should avoid standing in it. It is hot, and will burn you. Mages burn fast, like tissue paper.

The tank should be positioning the big dragon as close as he can to one side of the fire circle, giving everybody some room to work with. Halion is a dragon, so that means he'll be doing a tail swipe to those behind him and a cleave to those in front of him. Position yourself accordingly. By which I mean hang out near one of hind legs, a little back from the melee DPS--not behind, and definitely not in front of the actual dragon.

Halion will randomly throw out a debuff called Fiery Combustion. It does ticking fire damage to its target. Nothing that can't be healed through, but it stacks every time it ticks. After 30 seconds, the debuff will expire, causing the person afflicted by it to explode and cause significant fire damage and knockback to anybody in the general area. It also generates a fire area on the ground that grows in size depending on how many stacks the debuff had grown to before expiring. If you let the thing stack to the full 30, this fire spot is going to be annoyingly large.

One of the spells that can dispel this debuff is Remove Curse, but if you use it while the afflicted raider is standing with everybody else, you're effectively setting off a bomb in the middle of your group, something that is generally frowned upon in civilized company. Anybody who gets this debuff should immediately run away from the group, toward one of the far edges of the flame circle. Once there, they need to either wait out the debuff or have it cleansed. Since you can remove it, you should do so, but wait until the debuffed person has put a bit of distance between themselves and the group to do so. This debuff seems to hit ranged DPS like yourself more often than it does anybody else. I don't know if this is by design or if I'm just super unlucky, but keep in mind that you have the means at your disposal to cleanse yourself. Run away and do what you need to do, then resume nuking.

The dragon will also do a thing called Meteor Strike. This sounds painful, and it totally is. It strikes you with a freaking meteor. The nice thing is that it's avoidable. A pulsing flame circle will appear under a random raider. At that point, everybody needs to move away, because about 5 seconds later a freaking meteor will strike that location. It'll send out these neat little lines of fire, which, being fire, will also sear your flesh from your bones, leaving you a charred husk, vaguely humanoid in shape. These lines resemble an X, more or less, and are fixed, and thus easy to stay out of. Stay out of them. Fire + mages = flaming mages.

Phase Two

At 75%, Halion does something that is never good: he opens a portal to the twilight realm, a place to which nobody ever really wants a portal opened. Because he's a bastard, he exists in both realms. Unfortunately the part of him that exists in the real world is immune to damage. The main tank and a single healer will need to stay put, but everybody else needs to hightail it for the twilight realm, where they can resume blowing the holy hell out of Halion. Alliteration!

You'll notice that the fight proceeds in the twilight realm much the same as it did in phase one. Position yourself in the same spot and watch out for the bizarro-versions of Meteor Strike (now called Shadow Pulsar) and Fiery Combustion (Soul Consumption).

Soul Consumption functions like its fiery counterpart, but instead of a knockback effect, it sucks everybody in, only to ultimately disappoint them, just like the new A-Team movie. Deal with this the same way you did Fiery Combustion.

Shadow Pulsar replaces Meteor Strike. There are two of these balls of dark energy circle around the edge of the fighting area, staying opposite each other. Because the game designers hate you, these balls will then send out a beam of death that extends between them, dividing the raid-space. Then they will continue to circle slowly around the area, meaning the entire raid must shift to avoid getting hit by the beam. It lasts for 10 seconds at a time, then you'll get 20 seconds without it before it comes back for another 10 seconds.

Just keep moving with the group (away from the beam when necessary) and save your best DPS rotation for the 20-second periods when you can basically stand still.

Phase Three

At 50% you hit the third and final phase of this fight. It's super fun.

Two portals open that allow travel back and forth between the twilight world and the real one. You can now do damage to Halion in both realms, but his Corporeality (an actual stat that appears as a percentage from 1% to 100%) will adjust depending upon how much damage you're doing to him in either place. As you do more damage in the real world, he'll become harder to damage there, but easier to damage in the twilight realm, and vice versa. The amount of damage the boss dishes out will adjust in similar fashion.

The idea here is to divide your DPS between the two realms and try to equalize it as best as you can. You want to be doing as much overall damage in one place as in the other. Your goal should be to keep Halion's Corporeality in the 40%-60% range. Use the two portals to adjust your DPS division accordingly. If you don't, half of you are going to die. Which will probably lead to the other half of you dying also. Just throwing that out there.

Just stay aware of where you're needed. If Halion's Corporeality is above 50%, you need more damage in the physical realm. If it's below 50%, you need more damage in the twilight realm. Adjust accordingly.

Loot

At 0%, Halion employs an ability called "Drop Phat Loot." It's way better than Meteor Strike.

Here's a brief preview of what you want him to drop:

10-man


Misbegotten Belt

25-man

Cloak of Burning Dusk
Charred Twilight Scale
Bracers of Fiery Night

So what do you say, mages? Anybody want to go kill a dragon? Just watch out for those freaking meteors.

Every week, Arcane Brilliance teleports you inside the wonderful world of mages and then hurls a Fireball in your face. Check out our recent look at how much I hate damage meters or our lengthy series of mage leveling guides. Until next week, keep the mage-train a-rollin'.

Filed under: Mage, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

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