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This guide is intended to provide a comprehensive description of theencounter with Spine of Deathwing in Dragon Soul. It is targeted to anyonewho desires to understand the fight mechanics.
This guide applies to patch 4.3 of World of Warcraft.
Spine of Deathwing is the 7th boss encounter of the Dragon Soul raid. Itfeatures the first part of the confrontation against Deathwing. After havingdefeated Warmaster Blackhorn, players are now parachuted off of the Skyfireand onto Deathwing's back.
Here, your raid must defeat several types of adds and perform various tasksin an effort to dislodge Deathwing's armor plates, weakening him for the finalencounter, Madness of Deathwing.
1. General Information↑top
1.1. Health Pool
1.2. Enrage Timer
The Spine of Deathwing encounter has no known soft or hard enrage timer.
1.3. Raid Composition
3. Overview of the Fight↑top
Spine of Deathwing is a single phase encounter that takes place onDeathwing's back, as he is flying through the air. Your raid will need toproperly deal with several types of adds in order to pry up and remove3 armor plates from Deathwing's back. The idea is to open a big enoughhole in Deathwing's armor, so as to give Thrall a clear shot with the DragonSoul.
The armor plates can only be removed sequentially, as removing one enablesthe raid to reach the next one. This causes the fight to become increasinglyharder, as the number of adds you need to deal with increases after an armorplate has been removed.
4. Enemies, Abilities and Their Interaction↑top
During the fight, you will be faced with 4 types of adds: Corruptions,Hideous Amalgamations, Corrupted Bloods,and Burning Tendons. In order to pry up and remove the armor plates, youwill need to properly combine the abilities of these adds.
You can also control Deathwing to some extent, forcing him to get rid ofall the adds when you are starting to feel overwhelmed.
Corruptions are the first adds that you will see. They are stationarytentacle adds that do not melee and cannot be tanked. At the start of theencounter, there will be 4 Corruptions alive. As you can see in the screenshot,they come out of holes in Deathwing's back. Each time one ofDeathwing's armor plates is removed, 2 new Corruptions will appear in thenewly revealed holes.
4.1.1. Killing Corruptions to Spawn Other Adds
When a Corruption is killed, it leaves an empty hole in Deathwing's back,from where 1 Hideous Amalgamation and 1 Corrupted Blood spawn.Killing all the Corruptions will cause a new Corruption (and only one)to spawn in one of the empty holes. The rule is that there will always be atleast one Corruption up, no matter what you do.
As we will explain in the strategy section, an important aspect of the fightis choosing how many Corruptions to kill and striking a balance between thedamage done by the Corruptions and the damage done by the adds that spawnfrom the empty holes. This balance differs whether you play in 10-man,25-man, or LFR difficulty.
In LFR difficulty, the Corruptions are harmless and cast no abilities.
In 10-man and 25-man difficulty, the Corruptions have the followingabilities:
4.2. Corrupted Blood
Corrupted Blood are small adds that spawn from the holes in Deathwing'sback after a Corruption dies. These adds always respawn when the raid killsthem: the residue of a dead Corrupted Blood (not targetable or attackable) willslowly make its way back to the nearest empty hole in Deathwing's back, whereit will form into a new Corrupted Blood.
Sometimes, extra Corrupted Bloods spawn from the empty holes for reasonsthat we have yet to understand. In any case, the raid eventually becomesoverwhelmed by the number of Corrupted Bloods.
The only purpose of these adds is that,when they die, they leave a fire puddle. When a Hideous Amalgamation walksin this puddle, the puddle disappears and the Amalgamation receives a stack ofa buff. This buff eventually enables the raid to pry upan armor plate (see the next section for more details).
When they die, in addition to this stacking buff, Corrupted Bloods deal asmall amount of Physical damage (13,000 in LFR difficulty,10,000 in 10-man difficulty and 20,000 in 25-man difficulty) to all playerswithin 200 yards through Burst (10-man/25-man/LFR).
Finally, Corrupted Blood have a normal aggro table and they deal weakmelee attacks (about 5k every 2 seconds).
4.3. Hideous Amalgamation
Hideous Amalgamations spawn each time a Corruption is killed.This is a large add that has a normal aggro table and needs to be picked upby the tanks, as it performs moderately strong melee attacks (15-20k every2 seconds). These adds have three abilities,all of which have a strong synergy with Corrupted Bloods, one of theother types of adds.
4.4. Armor Plate Removal
When a Nuclear Blast from a Hideous Amalgamation occurs close to anarmor plate, it weakens it, exposing an add called Burning Tendons, which represents the remaining link between the armor plate and Deathwing. Assoon as it is exposed, this tendon starts casting Seal Armor Breach inan attempt to reattach the armor plate to Deathwing.
Seal Armor Breach has a 23 second cast time in 10-man and 25-mandifficulties and a 34 second cast time in LFR difficulty. If the raid kills theadd before the cast is over, then the armor plate will fly off, leaving theraid to deal with the next one. Note that, by the time the Burning Tendonbecomes attackable, it will already have channeled its spell for 5 seconds.
If the cast completes before the add is killed, Deathwing's armor willbe reattached and players must start over. Note that the health of theBurning Tendon is not reset, so you can just finish it off at thesecond attempt.
Targeting the tendon will become increasingly difficult as there will bemany nameplates on the screen by the end of the encounter. To prevent thisproblem from happening, DPS players should make a /tar burning macro that they can use in the 5 seconds that they havebetween the moment the tendon appears and the moment it becomes attackable.
4.5. Deathwing and the Barrel Roll
Despite the fact that you spend the entire duration of the fight on hisback, Deathwing does not exist as an actual enemy unit that you can targetand attack. However, there is one way that you can interact with him. If all theplayers in the raid stack on the same side of his back, this will causeDeathwing to perform a Barrel Roll (he will roll on himself), getting rid ofall the Hideous Amalgamations (Corrupted Bloods remain attached), aswell as all the raid members who are not glued to his back at the time. Thisis very useful if you start to get overwhelmed.
The easiest way to handle a Barrel Roll is to have the entire raid stack inthe same empty hole on Deathwing's back. In addition to triggering a BarrelRoll, this will also grant players the Grasping Tendrils (10-man/25-man/LFR) debuff. Thisdebuff slows player movement speed anddeals a very small amount of damage (6,000 in 10-man difficulty and 6,500 in25-man and LFR difficulty) every 5.2 seconds and is removed by moving out ofthe hole (something that raid members must only do after the Barrel Roll isover).
Players under the effect of Fiery Grip (the stun that Corruptionssometimes cast in 10 and 25-man difficulty) should not be freed, as beingaffected by this ability makes them stay on Deathwing's back during theBarrel Roll. Freeing them is indeed risky, as freed players then need torun to an empty hole, something that they might not be able to do in time.
5. Strategy Summary↑top
Removing any of the three armor plates requires the exact same actions fromyour raid. As you progress through the encounter, you will have to deal withmore and more adds, thus increasing the damage to your raid. Indeed, sinceeach armor plate removed exposes two new holes, your raid will slowly becomeoverwhelmed by Hideous Amalgamations and Corrupted Bloods(or Corruptions if you choose not to kill them).
To remove an armor plate, your raid will need to do the following:
5.1. Recovery from Failure
If, for some reason, your raid kills the Hideous Amalgamation before itreaches 9 stacks of Absorbed Blood, makes the Hideous Amalgamation detonatetoo far from the armor plate, or fails to kill the Burning Tendons intime, the fight is not over.
Indeed, you can try to recover by killing the last remaining Corruptionand starting over with the Hideous Amalgamation that will subsequently spawn.
5.1.1. Note on the Burning Tendons
If your raid fails to kill the Burning Tendons, the health of this addwill not be reset when you pry the armor plate up again. Be aware of the factthat there are two Burning Tendons associated to each armor plate, one on theright and one on the left. Whichever you get depends on where the HideousAmalgamation blew up. Therefore, you need to make sure that when going tofinish the Burning Tendon, the Hideous Amalgamation blows up on the sameside as previously.
6. LFR Strategy↑top
In LFR, the fight is made considerably easier by the fact thatCorruptions do not have any abilities. Therefore, the raid onlyneeds to initially kill 1 Corruption. This significantly decreasesraid damage and healers only need to worry about the damage that theCorrupted Bloods deal when they die.
For the second armor plate, kill a second Corruption. This time, you willhave 2 Corrupted Bloods so you will stack Absorbed Blood even fasteron the new Hideous Amalgamation.
For the third armor plate, kill a third Corruption. This time, you willhave 3 Corrupted Bloods so you will stack Absorbed Blood even fasterthan before on the new Hideous Amalgamation.
Keep in mind that a second Corrupted Blood sometimes spawns fromempty holes after a varying amount of time. This means that you willprobably finish the fight with more than 3 Corrupted Bloods up.
The main problem in LFR difficulty is players who accidentally killextra Corruptions. Though, this is usually fixed after a few attempts.
7. 10-man/25-man Strategy↑top
This complicates the encounter, so we decided to give you the simplestpossible strategy for the fight before discussing ideas on how to customiseit (mainly for preparing the Heroic mode version of the fight).
7.1. Initial Barrel Roll
Initially, your raid needs to kill 3 of the 4 Corruptions.We do not advise keeping all 3 resulting Hideous Amalgamations up, so forceDeathwing to perform a Barrel Roll in order to get rid of them. Afterthe Barrel Roll, spawn a new Amalgamation by killing the lastCorruption.
7.2. Prying up the Armor Plate
With only one Hideous Amalgamation to deal with, simplyapply the steps that we described above, in the Strategy Summarysection. Also, you should keep in mind the following:
7.3. Removing the First Armor Plate
Once the Hideous Amalgamation has reached 9 stacks of Absorbed Blood,it will begin pulsing AoE damage to your raid. It should be quickly finishedoff. While it channels Nuclear Blast, all players should get at least 10yards away from it.
Provided that the Hideous Amalgamation was properly positioned, the nearestarmor plate will be pried up and Burning Tendons will be exposed.
If the add is successfully killed, the armor plate will fly off, exposing2 more holes on Deathwing's back, each containing one Corruption.
7.4. Removing the Second and Third Armor Plates
Removing the other two armor plates is a repetition of what you did forthe first armor plate (including making Deathwing perform a Barrel Rollto get rid of the Hideous Amalgamations).
The only difference comes from the Corrupted Bloods. Their numberskeep increasing throughout the fight. This increases the overall damage thatthey deal both through their melee attacks and the Burst (10-man/25-man/LFR) damage that theydeal to the entire raid upon dying.
To mitigate this, DPS players should make sure to only kill 9 Corrupted Bloodsfor each armor plate. The rest of the Corrupted Blood should be left to attacktheir tank as their weak melee attacks are more manageable than Burst (10-man/25-man/LFR).Also, DPS players should not kill Corrupted Bloods too rapidly, as dealingwith Burst damage from all the Corrupted Bloods at the same time is verydangerous.
7.5. Cooldown Usage
During the fight, DPS players should keep their cooldowns for killingthe Burning Tendons (remember, there are 3 of them, one per armor plate) asthey should not be allowed to finish their cast of Seal Armor Breach andreattach the armor plate. Since you need to properly balance DPS on the3 tendons that you will have to kill, your raid can do the following:
Potions should be used on the first or the third tendon. Ideally, you willwant half the DPS use their potion on the first tendon and the other halfon the third tendon.
7.6. Variations and Training for Heroic Mode
This encounter can be done in many ways and the reason why we gave a single,specific strategy is that it is easier to devise a new strategy from an existingone rather than making it from scratch following general guidelines.
The strategy presented here can be tuned by simplyusing a different timing for the Barrel Roll(s) or by leaving more than oneCorruption alive, depending on how easily your raid can handle thedamage done by the adds.
7.6.1. Using 1 Tank in 10-man Mode
The Corrupted Bloods deal rather low melee damage to their currenttarget and for this reason, you can choose to have a single tank take them all,in addition to also tanking the Hideous Amalgamations. Towards theend of the fight, when the number of Corrupted Bloods greatly increases,you can have Plate DPS (Death Knights, Warriors, and Paladins) or Feral Druidsin Bear form taunt andtank them. This is not risky since the Corrupted Bloods deal rather low meleedamage. Using only 1 tank will give your raid a better chance to kill theBurning Tendons in one pass.
7.6.2. Heroic Mode Training
One main reason for tuning the strategy is to make the fight harderand practice for the Heroic version of the fight, where the raid needsto kill as few Hideous Amalgamations as possible (for each HideousAmalgamation killed, the maximum health of raid members decreases by6%) and subsequentlyhas to deal with much more raid damage.
The damage increases as the encounter progresses. Therefore, it mightbe a good idea to spend as little time as possible removing the secondand third armor plates. To this end, you can start the fight by bringing 3Hideous Amalgamations to low health with 7 or 8 stacks of Absorbed Blood.Separate one from the others, get it to 9 stacks, pry up the first armor plateand remove it. Then, repeat this for the second and third armor plates withthe remaining Hideous Amalgamations, while surviving the damage from theadditional Corruptions or the newly spawned Hideous Amalgamations.
After removing an armor plate, you get two new Corruptions.You can opt to kill only one of them so that you practice dealing withmore Corruptions up, something that will most likely be required inHeroic mode to prevent the raid from having to kill Hideous Amalgamations.
8. Learning the Fight↑top
The fight requires the raid to perform the same task three times in a row.Even if a tight enrage timer is introduced when patch 4.3 goes live, this willstill leave plenty of time to practice on removing the first armor plate.
Once the raid is comfortable with the strategy for removing the first armorplate, the rest of the fight is very similar, just that the damage taken bythe raid keeps increasing.
9. Heroic Mode↑top
The Heroic mode of Spine of Deathwing makes for an extremelydifficult encounter. Indeed, this fight is a clear step up in difficultyfrom all the other previous Dragon Soul encounters. Moreover, we believeit to be more difficult than Madness of Deathwing Heroic as well.
There are many small changes from the normal mode, all of whichwill be listed below. The difficulty, however, comes mostly from theridiculous DPS requirement of the encounter.
9.1. Differences from Normal Mode
There are two categories of differences from normal mode:
9.1.1. Increased Health and Damage
All the enemies in this encounter have their health valuesincreased significantly from normal mode. The biggest increase is inthe health of the Burning Tendons. These mobs now have such highhealth that your raid will find it impossible to kill them within asingle exposed tendon phase. In fact, even killing a Burning Tendon duringtwo exposed phases will require a very high amount of DPS.
All abilities in the encounter now deal more damage, as follows:
9.1.2. New Mechanics
In addition to the changes listed above, a few new mechanics existin heroic mode:
The general strategy for the Heroic mode version of Spine ofDeathwing can be presented as:
After your raid finishes the first burn phase of a tendon, you will have toobtain another Hideous Amalgamation in order to repeat the process. Simplykill another Corruption to obtain another Amalgamation. This will probablyhappen anyway, since your raid will be damaging the existing Corruption tobreak the Fiery Grip channels.
Below, we will detail a few subtleties and tips.
9.2.1. Reaching 9 Stacks of Absorbed Blood
The Hideous Amalgamations melee for a very high amount in heroicmode. As such, it is not advised to have them progressively stack the Absorbed Blood, as this means that your tank will have to handlean Amalgamation with at least a small number of stacks (and thusincreased damage) for a long time.
Instead, we recommend that the Corrupted Bloods be killedaway from the Amalgamation, and that the tank simply pulls theAmalgamation over the dead bloods to instantly reach 9 stacks.
To make things even easier, you should tank the Amalgamation awayfrom the armor plate, and have all the Bloods killed right next to thearmor plate. This way, when the Amalgamation is low on health, the tankcan simply pull it to the armor plate (where it will quickly reach 9stacks) and then keep it there until its death.
9.2.2. Dispelling Blood Corruption
Blood Corruption: Death generally must be dispelled 3-4 timesbefore it turns into Blood Corruption: Earth. This means that the15 second duration of the debuff should not be problematic if yourhealers have a reasonable reaction time. This is not all, however, since it isbetter to have Blood Corruption: Death turn into Earth when there is still alot of time left on the debuff (as this increases the chances of gainingtwo stacks of Blood of Neltharion from it). For this reason, BloodCorruption: Death should be dispelled with great urgency.
It is very important to ensure that there is no chaotic dispellinghappening, as Blood Corruption: Earth must not be dispelled (except for thesituations described in the next paragraph). We recommend assigning one of thehealers to this dispelling duty. You should assign a back-up dispeller, aswell, since Fiery Grip can incapacitate a healer.
There are two situations where you want to dispel Blood Corruption:Earth:
As Blood of Neltharion effectively negates the effects of Degradation, your aim should be to have all of your raid members receivestacks of this debuff. This is, as you can tell, largely out of your control,since you cannot dictate who Blood Corruption: Earth will jump to. DispellingBlood Corruption: Earth from players who have sufficient stacks of Blood ofNeltharion is a means of guiding it in the right direction.
9.2.3. Nuking the Burning Tendon
By far, the most difficult aspect of this encounter is killing theBurning Tendon. Because of its much increased health, you will have tokill 2 Hideous Amalgamations (to expose each tendon twice) for eachtendon, totaling 6 Hideous Amalgamations. Because of the Degradation debuff, you cannot afford to kill more.
The DPS requirement is very high, and players must try to maximisetheir output over an 18 second period of time (this is how long youhave to DPS the tendon each time). Players should practice on thetraining dummies in order to understand the best rotation to use.
It is worth noting the value of the Valor Point trinkets(Bottled Wishes, Kiroptyric Sigil and Rotting Skull).These trinkets have very powerful on-use effects that are availablefor each exposed tendon phase.
As a raid leader, you should try to make sure that none of the 3 tendonswill lack the burst DPS needed. Employ a rotation such as the one below (thiswill vary depending on your raid-size and composition):
9.2.4. Handling the Corrupted Bloods
While Corrupted Bloods do not melee for a lot, towards the end ofthe fight there will be a very high amount of them alive, and anincreasing amount will continue to spawn. There are two things youcan do to help with this:
10. Achievement: Maybe He'll Get Dizzy↑top
The Maybe He'll Get Dizzy... achievement is part of the Glory of the Dragon Soul Raider achievement. It is extremely simple, and itrequires your raid to perform the following sequence of Barrel Rolls beforedefeating the boss: left, right, left, right.
There is absolutely no subtelty or difficulty to this achievement. In orderto make things as easy as possible, we recommend that your raid kills 3Corruptions at the start of the fight and then performs the entiresequence right then. This should not take more than a minute. After that, youshould kill the final Corruption and just proceed with the fight as normal.
Alternatively, you can direct your raid to either the left or the right,while performing the Barrel Rolls needed to defeat the boss, but we feel thatthis adds more pressure in the middle of the fight and is more prone tofailure or a wipe.
11. Final Considerations↑top
Like several fights in Dragon Soul, Spine of Deathwing presents quite a fewunique mechanics that will contribute to making the whole raid a memorableexperience.
As always, we would be pleased to read any feedback that you have (typos,suggestions, praise, etc.) by e-mail or in a comment below.