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This guide is intended to provide a comprehensive description of the encounter with Magmaw in Blackwing Descent. It is targeted to anyone who desires to understand the fight mechanics.
This guide is updated for World of Warcraft 4.3.
Magmaw is one of the first two encounters in Blackwing Descent, both of which need to be defeated for the raid to gain access to the other bosses. This fight is mostly a gear check for your healers and requires some attention and awareness from the rest of your raid.
1. General Information↑top
1.1. Health Pool
Magmaw's health pool is as follows:
1.2. Enrage Timer
Magmaw has no enrage timer.
1.3. Raid Composition
The following raid compositions are advised:
2. Overview of the fight↑top
The Magmaw encounter consists of two phases which alternate throughout the fight until the boss is dead, henceforth referred to as the Normal Phase and the Impale Phase.
This encounter is unique in that the Impale Phase must be triggered by the raid at certain fixed intervals of time where it is possible to do so. These intervals of time will be referred to as the Mounting Phase. Because the Normal Phase is by far the most complex and problematic one for raids, this guide will focus greatly on it.
The Impale Phase lasts 30 seconds and is essentially a DPS burn phase with no raid or tank damage at all.
3. Summary of Abilities↑top
This section will list the mechanics of the encounter in preparation for teaching you how to deal with them.
4. Normal Phase↑top
When first engaging Magmaw, he will be in the Normal Phase. This phase will last for 90 seconds, after which time he will enter the Impale Phase provided that your raid can execute a rather simple task (the Mounting Phase). The Impale Phase lasts 30 seconds, after which Magmaw will revert to a 30 second Normal Phase followed by a 30 second Impale Phase (again, provided your raid can trigger it) and so and so forth until he is dead or your raid has wiped.
Molten Tantrum is a stacking buff that increases Magmaw's damage dealt. He casts this ability when he has no targets in his melee range. Because he is stationary for the entire fight, it means that the tank must also always be in melee range.
Magma Spit is the first thing you will notice after pulling Magmaw. He casts this ability every 5 seconds targeting 3 raid members in 10-man and 8 in 25-man, hurling lava at them and dealing a considerable amount of fire damage. This damage does not splash to nearby targets and must essentially just be healed through.
Lava Spew is the next obstacle your raid will face. It is a raid wide damaging ability which cannot be avoided or out-ranged in any way and its damage must simply be healed through. Due to the high amount of damage caused by it and the fact that it is often cast in quick succession with Magma Spit, healing can be quite intense. Magmaw will cast this ability roughly every 25 to 30 seconds.
Pillar of Flame will target a random raid member and place a fiery zone under their feet, which two seconds later will turn into a Pillar of Flame. Anyone standing in the fiery zone will be knocked into the air and damaged by the Pillar of Flame. Shortly afterwards, the explosion will spawn 9 Lava Parasites.
Whenever the Lava Parasites reach melee range of their aggro target, they will cast Parasitic Infection and 10 seconds later the target will be affected by Infectious Vomit. For these reasons, it is generally advisable to deal with the parasites from range.
Magmaw will cast Pillar of Flame 30 seconds into the fight, 30 seconds after that and from then on once each time he reverts to a Normal Phase from an Impale Phase. Sometimes he may cast this ability twice during a Normal Phase.
Magmaw will target members more than 15 yards away from him with Pillar of Flame in preferrence of members in melee range, provided that at least one such raid member exists in 10-man and two in 25-man (do note however that this does not seem to always be respected in 25-man). If no one is more than 15 yards away from Magmaw, he will simply target someone close to him.
Mangle is an ability Magmaw will cast on your tank 90 seconds after the start of the fight. This will cause the tank to be chewed upon by Magmaw, taking a large amount of damage over time. If impaled, Magmaw releases the tank.
Magmaw also casts Mangle at the end of every subsequent Normal Phase.
Ignition is cast by Magmaw shortly after Mangle. It covers a random half of the room in fire. Anyone standing where the fire is will, after 6 seconds, take a large amount of damage from Massive Crash.
Seconds later Magmaw will enter the Mounting Phase.
4.2.1. Dealing with Pillar of Flame in 10-man difficulty
Your raid's positioning is crucial to handling the Normal Phase with ease. Your tank should be on one side of the boss while the rest of your raid should position themselves on the other side, in melee range. One single person should be designated to stay more than 15 yards away from the boss at all times.
The reason for this is that Pillar of Flame will target someone not in melee range provided that such a target exists. As such, the person who is assigned to be at range will attract Pillars of Flame to them making them easy to avoid and predict.
The image below illustrates correct positioning for your raid:
The green area indicates where your designated ranged person should be standing for most of the encounter.
The best way to deal with the Lava Parasites is to assign a Frost Death Knight to be the person who stays more than 15 yards away from the boss at all times. He can then use Glyph of Howling Blast and take the Chilblains talent. By using Blood Presence for extra threat generation and casting Howling Blast on the parasites, he is able to slow and keep aggro on them without ever being close enough to be attacked.
This enables your ranged dps (who are stacked with your melee at Magmaw's side) to focus freely on killing the parasites before returning to Magmaw. Alternatively, it is possible to have only your Death Knight damage the parasites and slowly kill them himself with Howling Blast, though having your ranged DPS on the parasites offers more control.
If you do not have access to a Frost Death Knight, you can have another ranged class staying at range, such as a Mage or a Hunter, and when they are targeted by Pillar of Flame, the resulting Lava Parasites should be slowed or snared and focused down by your ranged DPS. With adequate slows, this strategy works very well.
Lastly, you can opt to use a real tank to tank the parasites. In this case you want the tank to be more than 15 yards away from Magmaw to attract Pillars of Flame and then you simply want him to tank the parasites while ranged DPS kill them. In doing this he will gain Infectious Vomit and spawn additional Lava Parasites, but since the number of parasites which can be alive at any one time is limited and their damage done is low he can continue to tank and grind them down himself until the next Pillar of Flame is cast.
4.2.2. Dealing with Pillar of Flame in 25-man difficulty
Pillar of Flame will not always target the person(s) at range in 25-man and you will sometimes have your melee group hit by Pillar of Flame. For this reason it is recommended that you split your raid up into two groups: a melee group and a ranged and healer group.
This strategy requires your tank to be on one side of the boss, in melee range, while your melee DPS and any designated healer(s) will be on the other side of the boss. The rest of your raid group will alternate between two fixed positions at range, one on either side of room.
This image shows an example of ranged group positions for Pillar of Flame, as well as melee group and tank positions:
Thus, your ranged DPS and healers will begin the fight stacked together on the right side of the room. When the first Pillar of Flame is cast they should all quickly move to the second designated stacking location, on the left side of the room.
If you have access to a Frost Death Knight, they can use Glyph of Howling Blast and take the Chilblains talent. By using Blood Presence for extra threat generation and using Howling Blast on the parasites, he is able to slow and keep aggro on them without ever being close enough to be attacked. This enables your ranged DPS to kill them with ease.
Alternatively, you can choose to ignore the Lava Parasties and let your Death Knight kite them around for the entire duration of the fight.
Once the second Pillar of Flame targets the current location of the raid, they should all move to the initial location on the right side, dealing with the Lava Parasites in a similar manner.
4.2.3. Other Normal Phase Considerations
90 seconds after the start of the fight and at the end of each other Normal Phase, Magmaw will cast Mangle on your tank. He will pick the tank up and attempt to eat him. While Mangled, the tank can use all of his abilities and can be healed. In addition, he is also able to attack Magmaw's Exposed Head.
Mangle will last for 30 seconds or until Magmaw becomes successfully impaled.
Before the end of the Normal Phase, Magmaw will cast Ignition which will cover a random half of the room in fire. Anyone standing in the fire should immediately move to the other half of the room. Failing to do so will result in a large amount of damage caused by Massive Crash.
The image below illustrates which parts of the room Ignition affects:
To make moving from the affected half of the room easier it is advised that your raid's stacking positions are relatively close to the demarcation line in order to reduce travel time.
5. Mounting Phase↑top
After he slumps forward, 2 raid members in 10-man difficulty, or 3 in 25-man will be able to mount him by right-clicking him. In the vehicle action bar that appears, there is a single ability: Constricting Chains. To impale Magmaw, Constricting Chains needs to be targeted at the spike in front of him by all the members who mounted him, and it must be done at the same time, or Magmaw will break the single chains holding him down.
Doing so successfully will cause Magmaw to become impaled. Unsuccessful attempts will allow Magmaw to revert to the Normal Phase for a few seconds and cast abilities such as Lava Spew or Pillar of Flame shortly after which he will again be mountable. This continues until Magmaw is successfully impaled.
It is worth noting that the spike on the ground in front of Magmaw must be targeted with Constricting Chains by people who have mounted him. You will be presented with a green circle with which you must target and click the spike.
You should assign people specifically for this task ahead of time and all of them should understand what they are meant to do, as delaying the chain or failing to chain altogether will cause great problems for your raid.
Because mounting Magmaw requires you to be rather close to him, it is best to assign melee DPS to this role. In any case, healers should not be assigned for this task and neither should ranged DPS who have strong AoE DPS and are handling the Lava Parasites.
6. Impale Phase↑top
After successfully impaling Magmaw, a new enemy will become targetable, called Exposed Head of Magmaw. Magmaw's head is debuffed with Point of Vulnerability increasing damage taken by 100%. It is during this time that the raid will do the larger part of the damage to Magmaw.
The Impale Phase lasts 30 seconds and during this time there is absolutely no damage on the raid or the tanks (unless there are lingering Lava Parasites) making it an ideal time for mana regeneration for healers, who can make use of such abilities like Divine Plea, Hymn of Hope and Potion of Concentration.
It should be noted that the Exposed Head of Magmaw has an enormous hitbox making him attackable by melee DPS from quite far away.
This is the ideal time for using Heroism/Bloodlust/Time Warp as well as personal dps cooldowns.
Because of the cooldowns of Magmaw's abilities and how they line up, it is possible to occasionally have a Pillar of Flame and therefore Lava Parasites cast just as an Impale Phase begins. It's generally a good idea, if this happens, to focus first on the Lava Parasites and then on Magmaw, unless your strategy of choice is to have your Death Knight or your tank deal with the parasites on their own.
When the Impale Phase ends, the threat of Magmaw's tank is reset and the tank must be quick to taunt Magmaw back as he will otherwise attack and kill anyone else in melee range. For safety purposes you should have everyone except the tank move away from the boss for the few seconds before and after the Impale Phase ends.
7. Subsequent Alternation of Phases↑top
Once you have reached this stage of the fight, you have seen everything that Magmaw has to offer. From this point on the fight will follow a rather rigid succession of normal and Impale Phases alternating roughly every 30 seconds.
Keep in mind that after being mangled, the tank will receive a debuff called Sweltering Armor which will be present during all of the Normal Phases and will require additional healing.
8. Learning the Fight↑top
Because this fight is not a DPS race and is a lot more about healing and control, your DPS should focus entirely on avoiding damage and especially avoiding being hit by Pillar of Flame, giving your raid a chance to experience more than just the Normal Phase.
Once everyone has mastered the mechanics of the fight, then you can begin focusing on numbers.