Welcome to my guide to Ruby Sanctum, the raid instance released in Patch 3.3.5 of World of Warcraft.
This guide will cover the basic abilities that Halion and the minibosses within the instance will use on the normal versions of the encounter. It will also give you some ideas on how to deal with these abilities during these fights. It will also talk a bit about trash and how to get through it relatively unscathed.
Located beneath Wyrmrest Temple in Dragonblight, Ruby Sanctum, like Obsidian Sanctum before it, is a dragon encounter. Similarly to the Obsidian Sanctum instance, there are three minibosses to defeat before you encounter the main dragon. Unlike Obsidian Sanctum, Heroic mode is not triggered via leaving these minibosses up; it is triggered by the raid leader selecting the mode via the in-game interface, much the same way that Icecrown Citadel heroic modes are toggled. As such, unlike Obsidian Sanctum, all the minibosses must be killed in Ruby Sanctum in order to get Halion to spawn. Each miniboss drops one Emblem of Frost.
The three minibosses are:
Baltharus the Warborn
Important: Saviana Ragefire and Baltharus the Warborn must both be defeated before you can then attempt General Zarithrian!
But first, let’s take a quick look at…
There are three types of trash mobs you will encounter in Ruby Sanctum. They are all Dragonkin and most (all?) seem susceptible to the typical forms of crowd control that work on other Dragonkin; a druid’s Hibernate, a hunter’s Freezing Trap or Freezing Arrow or Wyvern Sting (survival hunter only), a retribution paladin’s Repentance and a rogue’s Sap (rank 4 only!) can all control Dragonkin. Don’t laugh, you may actually want to use some of these CC methods.
“Rallies allies to support each other in battle, increasing each unit’s damage dealt by 25% for each other friendly unit within 8 yards.”
If memory serves, this guy shows up in packs of five. That means that each dragon who gets Rallying Shout automatically gets a 100% damage buff if they’re all standing near each other.
I definitely recommend pulling this guy away from the rest and crowd-controlling him so he can’t buff his friends.
Okay, on to the minibosses!
Ragefire is the easiest of the three minibosses, in my opinion. She’s located on the right-hand side of the instance after zoning in and she only has two real tricks up her sleeve.
1) She will occasionally Enrage. This means you should have a hunter use Tranquilizing Shot or have a rogue using Anesthetic Poison in order to dispel the enrage. It’s not that she hits hard when enraged, but hits much more frequently. She also casts a Fire Nova while she’s enraged that hits every two seconds for the duration of the enrage. I’m not sure what the range is on that, but it seemed that my groups were taking regular damage despite being at range, leaving me to believe there is a range of at least 40 yards on the Fire Nova.
Dispelling the enrage is not absolutely necessary (especially if your tank and healers are well-geared) but it certainly makes the encounter easier.
2) Every so often, Ragefire will fly up and mark some of your raid members with a Flame Beacon, which means that they will get the Conflagration (same damage on 10-man) debuff. This is a moderate amount of damage to each marked person. If you get the Flame Beacon, run away from the raid and ensure there is at least ten yards between you and anyone else to ensure you don’t hit them with Conflagration.
I believe three people are marked with Flame Beacon on 10m and five people are marked with it on 25m.
Apart from these two major abilities, Ragefire also casts a rather painful Flame Breath (10-man) and hits relatively lightly on both 25-man and 10-man, for around 14,000 damage a swing, according to my logs.
Once you make sure to dispel the enrage and that the appropriate people are running out of the raid when marked, Ragefire becomes a simple encounter. I’d still strongly recommend Fire Resistance Aura or Fire Resistance Totem.
Baltharus the Warborn
If your raid is going to run into trouble on one of the three minibosses, I’m pretty sure that this is that miniboss. Baltharus is located on the left-hand side of the instance after zoning in.
If you kill him, you can turn in Assault on the Sanctum, a quest you get from Krasus (above you, at the top of Wyrmrest Temple). You turn it in to Sanctum Guardian Xerestrasza, who is trapped within the tree. She will give you another quest, The Twilight Destroyer, which asks you to kill Halion, then turn it in to Krasus at the top of Wyrmrest Temple. She will despawn on a soft reset of the instance.
But back to Baltharus.
He has a few annoying abilities that will wreck your raid if you’re not careful.
1) Blade Tempest. All I have is a log to go on, but I think that’s every 0.5 seconds for four seconds. This is usually what will ruin your raid and it’s all because of…
2) Enervating Brand. “Weakens you and nearby allies every 2 sec, reducing damage and healing done by 2% per application.” What this means is get the hell away from everyone. From what I can tell, it works similarly to Saurfang’s Boiling Blood, in that he’ll target someone with it specifically, but if you’re within range (12 yards in this case), you’ll get it, too.
If too many people get Enervating Brand, Baltharus will get too buffed and will kill everyone.
Here’s how it spreads. You can see that I wasn’t spread out properly until the very end of the Enervating Brand debuff on me, when I only afflicted myself with one last debuff.
[21:21:36.539] Baltharus the Warborn casts Enervating Brand on Madrana
[21:21:36.555] Madrana afflicted by Enervating Brand from Baltharus the Warborn
[21:21:38.713] Madrana afflicted by Enervating Brand from Madrana
[21:21:38.928] Priest 1 afflicted by Enervating Brand from Madrana
[21:21:38.942] Moonkin 1 afflicted by Enervating Brand from Madrana
[21:21:38.942] Hunter 1 afflicted by Enervating Brand from Madrana
[21:21:38.942] Hunter 2 afflicted by Enervating Brand from Madrana
[21:21:38.942] Moonkin 2 afflicted by Enervating Brand from Madrana
[21:21:40.524] Tank 1 afflicted by Enervating Brand from Mylana
[21:21:40.729] Madrana afflicted by Enervating Brand (2) from Madrana
[21:21:40.995] Priest 2 afflicted by Enervating Brand from Madrana
[21:21:41.028] Warlock 1 afflicted by Enervating Brand from Madrana
[21:21:41.028] Warlock 2 afflicted by Enervating Brand from Madrana
[21:21:42.649] Madrana afflicted by Enervating Brand (3) from Madrana
[21:21:43.044] Priest 2 afflicted by Enervating Brand (2) from Madrana
[21:21:43.044] Warlock 1 afflicted by Enervating Brand (2) from Madrana
[21:21:43.044] Warlock 2 afflicted by Enervating Brand (2) from Madrana
[21:21:44.607] Madrana afflicted by Enervating Brand (4) from Madrana
[21:21:44.620] Priest 2 afflicted by Enervating Brand (3) from Madrana
[21:21:44.620] Warlock 1 afflicted by Enervating Brand (3) from Madrana
[21:21:44.620] Warlock 2 afflicted by Enervating Brand (3) from Madrana
[21:21:44.620] Shammy 1 afflicted by Enervating Brand from Madrana
[21:21:46.468] Madrana afflicted by Enervating Brand (5) from Madrana
[21:21:46.468] Madrana’s Enervating Brand fades
Short form of above: spread out so there’s 12 yards between you! Alternatively, if you’re in a 25-man group, probably the best way to deal with it is to clump 2-3 to a spot to minimize the amount of people it can spread to. I spread it to ten people. Way to go, Kurn, way to go!
3) Clone. At 66% and 33% (50% on 10-man), he will clone himself. The clone has all the same abilities and should be off-tanked away from the raid so that Enervating Brand and Blade Tempest aren’t a worry. Once you kill Baltharus, all the clones die. This effectively makes it a three-tank fight on 25-man and a two-tank fight on 10-man.
4) Repelling Wave. Finally, Baltharus will occasionally cast Repelling Wave. It knocks you back, does damage to you and, as if that weren’t enough, stuns you for three seconds. It’s handy if the tanks have their backs to a wall, healers have their backs to a tree, what-have-you.
It’s also handy to clear out all nearby trash before engaging him, so that you don’t pull any trash when you get blown backwards by him.
Once you’ve cleared both Ragefire and Baltharus, you can engage…
Perhaps the easiest of the three minibosses in Ruby Sanctum, General Zarithrian is located beyond either Ragefire or Baltharus and is inaccessible while either of them are still up.
He has two major abilities, both of which can be dealt with easily.
1) Cleave Armor. 20% armor reduction per stack, lasting 30 seconds, refreshing on new applications. This is similar to Kologarn’s Overhead Smash in Ulduar and simply requires a tank swap. I strongly recommend swapping tanks every two stacks. It is possible for stacks to fall off if you have a significant amount of avoidance, however.
2) Intimidating Roar. A slightly different kind of fear than usual, but a fear nonetheless. You’ll be stunned, essentially, for four seconds when he casts this. The good news: Tremor Totem, Fear Ward, a feral druid’s Berserk, Berserker Rage, Every Man For Himself and likely most other such abilities will break you out of the fear or help you to avoid the fear entirely.
During this encounter, four adds will spawn every so often (2 adds on 10-man), called Onyx Firecallers, who will do a Blast Nova (10-man) which cannot be interrupted, and Lava Gout (10-man), which can be.
Make sure the adds go down, then get back on the boss. Once he goes down, Halion will spawn in the center of the instance.
Important: Though I have not confirmed this myself, I strongly suspect that, like Obsidian Sanctum, uncleared trash will join in on the boss encounter if left alive. It is likely a good idea to kill everything in the instance before attempting Halion.
The first thing to note is that there is a brownish (earthy-looking) sort of circle around Halion. This circle gets lit on fire shortly after Halion is pulled and therefore keeps the entire fight contained in a relatively small space. You may not enter or exit this circle area once the fire has been lit. Think of it as Anub’arak in Azjol-Nerub; you have to all go in together, more or less.
Before we get into Halion’s special abilities, like all standard dragon encounters (Onyxia, Sindragosa, etc), Halion has a frontal Cleave, a Flame Breath (10-man) and a Tail Lash. So don’t stand in front of him and don’t stand behind him. The safest place for anyone is just behind the front legs, attacking the dragon’s side.
Halion is a three-phase encounter, with the first phase taking place outside, the second phase taking place inside a shadow realm and the final phase taking place in both realms simultaneously. The abilities from phase one and phase two are identical to the abilities we see in phase three.
Additionally, Twilight Precision is active throughout the encounter.
1) Fiery Combustion. This is a debuff that Halion will periodically cast on a raid member. If someone gets this, they should run away from the raid, ideally to the very edge of the circle, and then have the debuff dispelled from them. When it is dispelled, depending on how many stacks of it they’ve gotten, they drop a big light orange circle on the ground. Anyone standing in it gets Combustion damage (10-man).
Here is a properly-placed Combustion circle (left-most one, although the other isn’t bad, either. Click for a larger version.):
There has been a LOT of debate about this, despite the tooltip, but please, allow me to clarify:
THIS DEBUFF MAY BE REMOVED BY THE FOLLOWING SPELLS:
a) A paladin’s Cleanse. (The magic removal portion.)
c) A restoration shaman’s Cleanse Spirit. (The curse removal portion.)
d) A druid’s Remove Curse.
e) A mage’s Remove Curse.
This means that all four healing classes can remove Fiery Combustion. And so can the mages.
The key is to do so with an eye as to where the person actually is. I liked to cleanse it with no more than two stacks on the person, but if they weren’t actually running towards to the edge of the circle, I wouldn’t cleanse them until much later, if I could help it at all.
There was a mage in my 10-man pug who NEVER moved. EVER. Towards the end of our (ultimately unsuccessful) attempts on Saturday, everyone ELSE moved and we’d cleanse him ASAP, which was probably the most hilarious thing about our Saturday run, except for the fact that our OT would disconnect every time his neighbour received a phone call.
2) Meteor Strike. Every so often, Halion will emote “The heavens burn!” and then a meteor will fall out of the sky, aiming to land where a player was when Halion emoted. You have plenty of time to move, so if the ground beneath you changes colours, gets a rune-like thing on it, MOVE. This is what a meteor strike looks like after it hits.
Please don’t stand in it, it’s pretty easy to dodge.
At 75%, Halion will turn around like a big baby and vanish into the Twilight Realm, leaving behind a portal for your raid group to follow him.
I personally recommend that you leave one tank and one healer in the physical realm for reasons that I will explain when I get to phase 3. I also strongly suggest a tank jump into the portal first (and quickly) to properly position the dragon in the Twilight Realm and so that no one else gets initial aggro. Pre-hotting the tanks or using a cooldown is helpful, particularly if people lag through the phasing.
Welcome to Phase 2. It’s a great deal like Phase 1. Again, Halion retains his Cleave, his Tail Lash and his Flame Breath is replaced by Dark Breath.
In addition to the standard dragonesque abilities, there are a few other things of which one ought to be aware.
1) Dusk Shroud. So there’s a persistent damage aura in the Twilight Realm. From experience, this is a ton of damage to heal.
2) Soul Consumption. Remember Fiery Combustion from P1? This is its shadow counterpart. It works exactly the same, only when dispelled, it will pull people towards it, if they’re within 12 yards. Think of a weaker Gravity Bomb from XT-002 in Ulduar. Again, anyone standing in it takes damage from Consumption. (10-man) Like Fiery Combustion, Soul Consumption is dispellable by virtue of any abilities that can remove a magic effect or a curse from a friendly target.
3) Twilight Cutter. Well, there has to be an environmental gimmick here too, right? In the Twilight Realm, there are two orbs that form at the edge of the shadowy circle that marks the fighting area. These orbs will always be directly across from each other. They rotate in a clockwise fashion. In every 30 seconds, you have 20 seconds where they do nothing but keep rotating, always 180 degrees apart, but you also have 10 seconds when they are active.
When they are active, there is a very painful beam stretched between the two of them that will deal something like 14k damage per second (on 25. 9k on 10?) and will almost certainly kill you. This is the real trick of the fight. You have to be super aware of where you are, where the orbs are and where the dragon’s danger zones (cleave/breath zone and tail lash zone) are, plus not run into Consumption, run away if you have Soul Consumption and other such things, like cleansing Soul Consumption.
It really depends on your tank, but if your tank times it right, he can be just on the right-hand side of one end of the beam with you back out a bit and down to his left, which means two things:
a) Your tank doesn’t need to move, thus the dragon doesn’t need to be moved.
b) If you’re standing far enough left and back out enough, you should not need to move. Melee may want to run through the dragon from the left side to the right side (as you face the dragon) at a slight left angle, as the beam comes around to you from the right, but your mileage may vary. (I don’t play melee toons, unless I’m tanking.)
At 50%, Halion will open portals inside that lead back outside. These portals remain open throughout Phase 3.
You should have pre-determined who will stay inside the Twilight Realm and who goes back outside. Since Halion spawns almost immediately outside at 50%, it’s important for the tank you left there to either have a healer to help cover the transition or to be ready to blow all their cooldowns.
Phase 3 is exactly the same as Phase 1 if you’re outside and exactly the same as Phase 2 if you’re inside.
The one difference, which is just another twist, is that Halion now has something called Corporeality.
Essentially, if you do more damage outside than you do inside, he’ll start phasing into the Twilight Realm, taking more damage there and also dealing more damage there.
If the opposite is true, he’ll start phasing more into the physical realm, taking and dealing more damage there.
Your aim is to keep Corporeality at 50%, which means equal damage taken and dealt in both realms. You can use the portals to adjust as necessary.
If Corporeality is lower than 50%, the physical side needs to slow down and the Twilight Realm needs to increase their DPS.
If Corporeality is higher than 50%, the Twilight side needs to slow down and let the physical side catch up.
Ideally, keep Halion between 40%-60%.
It’s important to note that if you don’t have people in both realms, if Corporeality reaches 0% or 100%, he’ll deal (and take) 400% extra damage in the realm he’s been forced into.
Halion drops 258-level gear on 10-man normal, 271-level gear on 10-man heroic and 25-man normal and 284-level gear on 25-man heroic. He will also drop three Emblems of Frost.
Thanks for reading! I hope this guide has been helpful and that you too can become a Twilight Destroyer. :)