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The Light and How to Swing It: Tanking Hagara and Ultraxion

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Protection specialist Matt Walsh spends most of his time receiving concussions for the benefit of 24 other people, obsessing over his hair (a blood elf racial!), and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

Three down, five to go. Or, four, if that's how you prefer to count it. The difficulty is starting to ramp up at this point, and you'll soon find that it's all uphill from here. Hagara will test the awareness and mobility of your raid team, and Ultraxion will provide the first major gear check for the raid. Both will set you up for the pursuit of Deathwing and the closing out of the raid.

Hagara

Before I get too far ahead of myself, let's start with the next boss on our hit parade: Hagara. This is a very straightforward fight for you. There's some deadly burst that can be avoided with fancy footwork and an add you'll need to pick up, making the most exciting components of tanking the fight. Thankfully, to break up the monotony, there's some calisthenics to keep the blood flowing and the raid moving.

You'll want to start by tanking Hagara off to the side, somewhere between the middle and the edge of that large, central circle of the platform. The reason for this is when an ice phase begins and Ice Waves goes out, you don't want to be standing in the center where she spawns them. If she's off to the side, she has to run to the center and then unleash the ice. So don't get you and all your melee DPS killed! (Only the DPSers' dying is acceptable.)

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Independent of the two phases she goes into, Hagara will occasionally throw out Shattered Ices at random players. On top of that, she has Ice Lances that will float around, pick a target, and start lobbing icicles at their fixated targets. If a melee is targeted, make sure that a ranged person "tanks" the icicles, so that they don't hit the melee DPSer who was originally targeted, which will then hurt you in the splash damage.

Ice Tombs will periodically go out and entrap random players, depending on your raid mode. These should pile up off to the side of where Hagara is being tanked, since they will create line of sight issues for your healers.

Most importantly, Hagara will from time to time perform a Focused Assault in your direction. This is a huge burst of damage you really shouldn't eat. Just strafe backwards from her (not to the side), and you'll avoid taking any unnecessary damage.

When Hagara starts her ice phase, you want to immediately get the hell out of Dodge and to the nearest spawned crystal. Ice Waves will spawn and spread out to the four points between each of the four crystals. Don't stand there. Likewise, keep an eye on the ground so that you don't stand in the marked spots where Icicles will come crashing down.

Help the DPS smash the crystals, and move back into pick up Hagara until the next phase.

For the lightning phase, the add you need to immediately pick up will spawn in the north edge of the platform, so head there when the phase begins. Drag it over to a Crystal Conductor and have it killed there to begin the lightning round. Har har har.

The damage isn't terribly intense, but you can use this as the point to blow your Divine Guardian.

Help the raid make the chain from one Conductor to the next until the phase ends and the boss is stunned. Likewise with the end of both phases, the stun Hagara suffers as combat resumes is an excellent time to use Avenging Wrath and get some extra damage on the boss.

When the boss exhales her last, you can recover from her the following loot:
Ultraxion

This fight is easily my favorite in the entirety of Dragon Soul, thanks to its interaction with tanking. However, I feel dirty admitting that, because it's a bit of a Patchwerk fight. You won't be doing much other than standing perfectly still and working through your rotation and well as occasionally hitting the right buttons at the right time.

The best part of this fight is the buff bestowed on the tanks by Thrall, Last Defender of Azeroth. This buffs all our defensive abilities, cutting their cooldown period in half and doubling their durations. Holy Shield, for example, can (and should) be up for the entire fight. Likewise, this will enable you to use a glyphed Divine Protection for every single Hour of Twilight. (I'm getting a little ahead of myself, though.) Also buffed: Ardent Defender and Guardian of Ancient Kings.

With the start of the fight, you'll have a new ability called Heroic Will sitting in the lower middle of your screen surround by purple waves of "this is really important." And it is. You'll need that button to survive whenever you have the Fading Light debuff, which Ultraxion will periodically cast on his current tank and two random raid members.

When Fading Light is applied, you'll have a debuff with a duration between 10 and 5 seconds. Right before it ticks off (Heroic Will has a duration of 5 seconds, so no earlier than that), you want to hit Heroic Will to send yourself to the normal realm, thus negating the damage. Flub it and you'll be one-shot. It's really not fun to have an "oops" broadcast so very publicly, so be on your toes there!

Fading Light also nukes your threat, so it necessitates a tank swap. When your co-tank gets Fading Light applied, taunt off them.

It might be a good idea before the first time you do this fight to make sure your bar mod is up to date (if you use one) and to make a power aura/weak aura for Fading Light. Y'know, to cover all your bases.

Anyway, the other ability you would normally use Heroic Will for is Hour of Twilight, which can occur up to eight times over the course of the encounter. However, rather than getting the hell out of Dodge and avoiding the damage, you'll going to pop a cooldown and eat the 300k. In this case, a glyphed Divine Protection works wonders. After the blast hits, you should still be at around 40% health or so.

The Mirror of Broken Images is, sadly, useless here -- the shadow damage of Hour of Twilight is not resistible. Only cooldowns can mitigate it.

As for your other cooldowns, save GAnK and AD for the hairier parts of the fight, especially toward the end if your raid is still fighting Ultraxion going into the soft enrage when his Unstable Monstrosity aura ticks every second. Obviously, Divine Guardian does wonders in that portion of fight.

The fight itself is not hard. The most difficult part is getting the tunnel visioners in your raid to notice Fading Light. The cries of "I just got one-shot, not sure what happened!" get old very, very fast. But I digress. When Ultraxion pushes up daisies, you have following loot to look forward to:
The Light and How to Swing It shows paladin tanks how to take on the dark times brought by Cataclysm. Try out our 4 tips for upping your combat table coverage, find out how to increase threat without sacrificing survivability, and learn how to manage the latest version of Holy Shield.

Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

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