Training Wheels For Raiders: Part 2 – Naxxramas

Continuing with the guide is an introduction to the 14 bosses of Naxxramus, what mechanics they use, and where are some places you can go to get a feel for these mechanics before taking on the bosses themselves. Keep in mind this is not meant to be a comprehensive boss-strat post, there are plenty of places out there to find some of those.

Anub’Rekhan: Perhaps the first boss of Naxxramas any new raider is likely to see. Tanks will need to be ready to either tank the boss in convenient places for the raid or to grab the add(s) and keep them away from the backfield. When Anub’rekhan uses his Locust swarm ability the tank can either stand there and fight through it while healers focus on him, or he can attempt to kite the boss around the room staying ahead of the attack and taking less damage. Healers and DPS should take care to stay away from the Locust Swarm Radius at all time so they do not get locked out of their abilities and become temporarily useless in their role.
[Where to learn]: While no heroic bosses I’m aware of silence tanks, plenty of trash mobs in dungeons like The Nexus and Azjol-Nerub do. You can’t outrun those silence effects, but you can get used to how to act when most of your abilities are locked out.

Grand Widow Faerlina: Tanks again will have to deal with both the boss and a selection of adds in this fight. Faerlina has a multiple enrage mechanic that can be very difficult to heal through or survive with cooldowns if your or your healer’s gear is not good. Her enrage can be canceled if one of her acolytes is killed in close proximity to her. If your group plans to cancel her enrages this way, make sure that the adds are marked so the raid knows which is the priority target. If all the adds are killed before the boss is, there will be no way to stop her enrages and you’ll have to hope your raid can survive through it.
[Where to learn]: In Old Kingdom, the boss Jedoga Shadowseeker has a similar mechanic. She will periodically ascend to the air and call forth an acolyte to the center of her platform. If the acolyte cannot be killed before it reaches the center, the boss will descend with a large damage buff which must be healed through and mitigated through cooldowns.

Maexxna: This giant spider places a debuff on the tank which will limit the amount of healing the target can take. If this is not cleansed, the tank will not be able to survive, make sure the people responsible for cleansing this are aware. She will also periodically spawn adds, so the off-tank needs to be ready to try and get the attention of as many as possible before they run all over the place. The boss will also occasionally web a specific person in the raid and stick them to the wall. Someone must be ready to take their focus off the boss and free this person from the web so they can rejoin the fight. The boss will also occasionally web the entire raid at once while continuing to attack the tank. The tank is immobilized in this case and block, dodge, and parry will be unusable, so many cooldowns and trinkets used immediately before this happens will give no benefit, it is up to the healers to make sure the tank is full health before this event begins and to place heal over time spells to keep the tank alive. Failing that, they need to be immediately ready to snipe-heal the tank to a point where he can survive until they can cast larger heals on him.
[Where to learn]: There’s no better place to fight spiders and get poisoned and webbed up than in Azjol-Nerub. The first boss room especially has enemies which will web party members and run amok in your backfield and kill the healer. Poison-cleansing is a must. The Gundrak boss Slad’ran summons many snake adds which can be hard for the tank to control, much like Maexxna’s spiders, and these adds will randomly ensnare a party member who must be freed from this much in the way a party member is during Maexxna. This boss in Gundrak can be killed quickly in a DPS-race fashion, so it is important to take your time if you are interested in practicing the “freeing from web” mechanic.

Noth the Plaguebringer: He’s basically a big warlock and he dots the raid and kills everyone quick. Decursers need to be on the ball at all times making sure that no one is taking heavy damage over time. He will summon adds from the bone piles around his room so the off-tank needs to be ready to pick them up. It can be helpful if the raid all positions themselves in the small green circle in the middle of the room so that all the adds converge on the same place making it easier for the off-tank to pick them up. The boss will periodically teleport away and summon more adds and the whole raid can focus on killing them.
[Where to learn]: <heroic bosses with curses?> Anub’Arak in Azjol-Nerub will burrow underground every third of his health and summon adds to attack the party similarly to the way that Noth will teleport away.

Heigan the Unclean: Everyone’s favorite dancemaster. This fight is all about raid positioning, coordination, and decursing duties. Tanks need to keep Heigan far enough away from his platform that all the ranged DPS does not get affected by debuffs and curses which will heavily increase cast time, while healers need to pay attention to the tanks who will often be tanking with half their max health because of debuffs. And, of course, all the while, most of the floor is erupting causing nature damage. Every time the floor erupts all the tanks and melee dps need to move to the next safe zone or they will take lots of unnecessary damage healers will hate them for. Periodically Heigan will teleport back to his platform and EVERYONE will have to move between safe zone and safe zone as the floor erupts in sequence. This fight is heavily reliant upon raid coordination and positioning, something that definitely needs to be practiced.
[Where to learn]: While no heroic bosses make you dance, or dodge their floor damage rhythmically, there are several who you can kite to avoid floor damage such as Mage-Lord Urom in The Oculus who throws frost bombs on the ground that damage you while you stand in them. The Collosus in Gundrak also creates floor-damage tiles that must be moved out of and avoided. In the Halls of Lightning, there is a way to kite Loken around the globe in the center of his chamber to avoid his Lightning Novas that can be similar to the safety dance, but make sure you bring a tank that knows that method of kiting if that is what you’re trying to practice.

Loatheb: This boss is really for the healers. It requires only one tank, and you can be stationary the whole time. The boss does not hit very hard but he does place a raid-wide debuff that prevents all healing from being done. This is periodically let up for approximately 6 seconds, so healers need to be ready with the pre-emptive heals which land the second the debuff lifts and begin snipe-healing other targets before the effect is re-applied. Small spores will spawn occasionally and can be killed in order to create a cloud the raid can stand in to have their dps increased dramatically. DPS needs to be aware that they can potentially pull threat off the tank because of this buff, and the tank should also keep an eye on the boss to make sure he is maintaining threat.
[Where to learn]: No other boss in the game, that I’m aware of, entirely locks out healing done, so there is really no way for healers to practice for this other than getting an addon like Deadly Boss Mods which will give them a better advance warning than the ingame messages so they can pre-cast their healing bombs. Healers can attempt to practice this on Loken in the Halls of Lightning. If no one moves out of range of the lightning nova, the healer can begin their healing cast when the Nova cast is half over so it lands moments after Loken is finished casting, they can then snipe-heal the non-tanks in preparation for the next lightning nova.

Instructor Razuvious: This boss has a vehicle mechanic. On 10man anyone can assume control of his disciples (there are 2), but in 25man you need a priest with mind control and preferably a high hit-rating (there are 4 disciples). Whoever assumes control of the disciples will become tanks for the fight, so it’s usually best if tanks do the mind controlling with the obelisks in 10man because they will not be of much use otherwise. The disciples have 3 main moves, “bone shield” “strike” and “taunt”. One disciple will cast bone shield, taunt the boss, then spam strike until bone shield wears out. He will then alert the other disciple to taunt the boss off him. The other tank casts bone shield, taunts, and spams strike while the other disciple spams strike while waiting for his bone shield cooldown to refresh. All healers should heal the disciples with a few keeping an eye out for the occasional raid damage. The boss throws spears which place a large damage DoT on players which must be healed through as well as some initial impact damage. Everyone else should concentrating on DPSing the boss. Razuvious hits for way too much damage for a player tank to effectively tank the boss so it must always be done by a disciple, no amount of healing or cooldowns will really be sufficient to keep a player tank alive. In 25man, if the raid does not have 4 mind-control available priests, a tank or two must tank the remaining adds but do as little damage as possible so they can be used as spare-tanks should any of the other disciples currently being mind-controlled die.
[Where to learn]: There are several vehicle-type boss fights in the game, but the one that most closely resembles this is the Prophet Tharon’ja in Drak’Tharon keep. The boss will periodically steal the flesh from the party and turn you into skeletons with a strike, bone shield, taunt, and life-absorb ability. The heroic boss does not require priests, mind controlling, or tank-switching, but the vehcile interface most closely resembles the Razuvious fight.

Gothik the Harvester: There are a few different ways to handle this fight, but the most common is to split the raid up as evenly as possible between the living and undead sides of this boss’s room. Each room will be enclosed for more than half the fight and groups will not be able to assist each other so it is important to have one tank and one healer (at least) in each group. Adds will spawn in waves and the tanks must be ready to pick them up. There are various types of monsters that spawn so the death knights on horseback are the primary targets as they cause the most damage. Once all the waves of adds have been defeated the boss comes down and places a stacking debuff on the raid that reduces all their stats by 10%. When this reaches 100% the raid dies so you’ll need to kill the boss before then so it is important to know what damage-increasing cooldowns your raid has to maximize the damage and it is important for tanks to be ready with their defensive cooldowns as the stacks get higher and higher to avoid being killed too quickly.
[Where to Learn]: <don’t know any bosses like this in heroics>

Four Horsemen: Each horseman must be tanked in its own corner of the room, this is because each horseman puts a stacking debuff on their respective tank and once that stack is at 3 or 4, the tank must switch with another or they will die. Once the tanks switch, they will be with a new horseman and a new stacking buff will be applied while the old one expires. Meanwhile the raid chooses a priority target (what order to kill the 4 horsemen in) and proceed to kill one at a time until they’re all dead. One of the horsemen has a void-zone mechanic where he creates dark circles on the ground. If you stand in these you will take damage, so make sure you don’t stand in them. Make sure to position yourself in a way that you’ll always have someplace to move because each new circle he creates will be directly under you, but you must keep the boss reasonably in his corner or else his debuff might hit others if he is brought too close.
[Where to Learn]: There are no bosses like this in heroics, but some of the mechanics used by each of the 4 horsemen can be learned from separate individual bosses such as stay out of the dark circles (Gundrak trash) and tank-switching and priority targets and raid-movement coordination. The Collosus in heroics creates little poison pools on the ground that work in a similar manner so you could potentially practice your moment on this boss as a tank.

Patchwerk: The proverbial tank-and spank boss. This boss requires 2 tanks with high health (3 on 25man) and lots of healers and DPS. Patchwerk’s auto-attack hits every 1 second, so he does damage very quickly. He also has an ability called “Hateful strike” which will auto-target whoever has the highest health within a range of 25 yards (so even range-dps is not necessarily safe from this “melee” attack). It is imperative that both tanks always be topped off or they can be killed in as few as 2 hits. This fight is entirely pre-emptive healing, basically just pressing the button every time the global cooldown is over. DPS, this is a long fight so use your cooldowns early and often so you can get the most out of them. If there is a bloodlust, try to time your cooldowns to coincide with it for added damage. Tanks also need to be aware of how much damage they’re taking as most cooldowns will not be enough to save you, however, cooldowns that increase dodge rating are a big help, but since you are just being spam-healed, whether you get hit or not, your healers are using up their mana, so concentrate on building and maintaining as much threat and damage as possible to kill him.
[Where to Learn]: In most heroics if you gear is strong enough many fight mechanics can be ignored and you can just pound on bosses like you pound on Patchwerk, but no bosses I’m aware of require constant heal-bombs the way patchwerk does. There is not much art to the fight, so there isn’t much to do in the way of practicing for it. As a healer you could have the tank remove some of their gear so they take more damage, or just artlessly spam your heals on the tank, though your party members may suffer. Patcherwerk only ever hits tanks, this is rarely the case with most bosses in the game. If you took long enough on Trollgore in Drak’Tharon keep and he got his strength buff high enough the fight might be comperable in a tanking and healing sense.

Grobbulus: Grobbulus places an area of effect damage cloud on the floor under his feet periodically so it is important the tank be ready to move him so that everyone can get out of the way of the ever-expanding cloud. The boss will also periodically inject a member of the raid with a debuff which, when it expires, will cause one of those clouds to be dropped at the player’s feet so it is important that the injected person 1) be aware that they have been injected 2) know where to go to to place the cloud in the least-dangerous area possible for the raid so no one will get hurt by it. The boss will also spawn adds periodically for every person in front of him. There will always be at least 1 because the boss is being tanked, so all the DPS and the healers should try to stay behind the boss at all times to prevent an unnecessary number of adds from spawning each time. Healers need to pay attention to people who are injected as they will take damage when moving out of their cloud. This fight has plenty of avoidable damage so the raid needs to be aware of their surroundings to make the healers’ lives easier.
[Where to Learn]: Mage-Lord Urom in The Oculus throws frost bombs on the ground under the tank’s feet that damage you while you stand in them and the boss can be moved out of them so the melee dps and tanks won’t take unnecessary damage. Ionar in the Halls of Lightning does something similar to Grobbulus’ Inject ability in that he puts a lightning debuff on a member of the party which damages everyone within 10 yards of them and eventually expires, so if you’re afflicted with that debuff make sure to stay out of range of others so they don’t take damage too. The best place, however, is likely the 2nd boss of Hellfire Citadel: Blood Furnace. He is a floating eyeball that drops expanding poison clouds identical to Grobbulus, but he’s much more likely to die on the quick, being a lv 63 (73 on heroic) monster.

Gluth: Gluth places a debuff on tanks which decreases the amount of healing they are able to take, so a secondary tank must be ready to taunt the boss off the main tank until the debuff expires. Gluth also spawns adds from the grates at the back of his room. These zombies create a debuff each time they hit someone reducing 1% of the target’s armor. This stacks up to 99, so if it gets this high, the person kiting these adds is going to die very quickly. Thus it is important that someone with a movement speed buff kites them and maintains agro, or classes with slowing abilities like hunter’s frost trap or mage freeze keep the zombies away from people. The adds have too much health to kill so they must be kited until the boss uses a move called “Devastate” which reduced everyone in the room, players and adds, to 10% of their health. healers need to be ready with pre-emptive heals on tanks if possible, and all dps needs to ignore the boss and kill the adds once this happens. Every add that reaches the boss will cause him to regain considerable heath. It is important for those kiting he adds keep them as close to the back of the room as possible so they have farther to travel to reach the boss.
[Where to Learn]: <not aware of any heroic bosses that have mechanics similar to devistate or adds-refill-health>

Thaddius: Perhaps the grand-daddy of raid-coordination fights. The first part of the fight features 2 sub-bosses who must be killed within 10seconds of each other or one will resurrect the other. Tanks will be thrown across the room periodically so each tank will take both adds at one point or another during the fight. This is done automatically and does not require anything on the part of the tank, though healers should be aware that their current tank-to-heal has changed. Once those two bosses are dead the raid needs to jump across a gap to get to Thaddius. It is possible to miss this jump so players need to be careful. Once people are on the platform and the boss is active, he will soon cast a “polarity” buff applying a status to every raid member as positive or negative. It is each individual person’s responsibility, regardless of class, regardless of role, to check their polarity and make sure they are on the correct side of the boss. Those with the positive (+) polarity need to be on the right side of the platform, those with the negative (-) need to be on the left. The boss will cast “change polarity” repeatedly throughout the fight, it is important each person check to see if their debuff changed, and if it did, to move to the correct side as quickly as possible. If you do not move to the correct side you will damage all people around you. If you stand next to other people with the same polarity as you, you will gain a % debuff that can stack up to 100% for incredible DPS and healing. The boss has millions and millions of health so it is imperative that as many raid members stay alive and stacked up on the correct polarity in order to kill the boss before his enrage timer ends and he kills everyone
[Where to Learn]: No bosses in heroics have this polarity dynamic and no bosses in heroics use the multiple-death window mechanic.   You can however create an artificial “multiple-death mechanic” in Utgarde Keep’s 2nd boss. While the boss does not require that the two die within any amount of time, you can coordinate your group so that this will be the outcome.

Sapphiron: Sapphiron has heavy frost-based raid damage that is unavoidable and healers will have to compensate. Frost resist gear is helpful, but not required, even on 25man. He also uses a blizzard spell that moves around the room on its own slowly, so dps needs to move out of it and not take unnecessary damage. He will also periodically ascend to the air and freeze people in ice blocks; two people in 10man, 3 in 25man. These ice blocks cause damage when the target is hit but then render the encased person invulnerable. He will then cast a raid-wide aoe which will instantly kill anyone who is not hiding behind one of the people in an iceblock. Paladins can use their hand of protection ability on raid members too far out to make it, or divine shield themselves if they can’t reach an iceblock in time. When he ascends into the air and iceblocks people, the raid needs to make sure to spread out, anyone within 10 yards of a person being iceblocked will become blocked themselves. This is avoidable damage and stresses the healers, so be aware. He also spawns void zones around that people need to be aware of and move out of so they don’t die.
[Where to Learn]: Cyanginossa in the Violet Hold has a blizzard attack like a weaker version of Sapphiron’s blizzard, also it doesn’t chase you, but you can still practice getting out of the way. No other bosses really mirror the air phase or iceblock phase. Mage-Lord Urom in The Oculus comes close. He does not iceblock you but he will teleport to the center of his room and cast a large-range AoE which will hit anyone not hiding behind one of the stone walls in his area. Hiding behind these is just like hiding behind the iceblocks Sapphiron makes. While Mage-Lord’s AoE likely won’t kill a decently-geared player, Sapphiron’s will.

Kel’Thuzad: In phase one, this fight is all about dps types matching to add types. Tanks get the abominations, melee get on them as well as the skeletons, ranged on the banshees. As long as everyone pays attention and targets people it goes by relatively quickly and painlessly. Like Saphiron, Kel will iceblock people but his iceblocks work slightly different. These iceblocks will damage whoever they hit for 105% so if they are not immediately snipe-healed they will die, so healers need to be on their toes. These iceblocks will also hit people within 10 yards of the person so keep spread out. Healers need to be aware of this spread and be sure to stay in range. In the 3rd phase adds will spawn and an off-tank just needs to pick them up and hold them until Kel is dead, they will despawn when he dies. Kel will also create void zones, by the time you get here you should know how to avoid these. Kel’Thuzad will also cast frostbolts on the whole raid, these can be interrupted every time, thus interrupting classes can prevent a large amount of damage on this fight and need to be aware. Oh yeah, and I almost forgot, he mind-controlls random members of the raid who will assist him either by healing and buffing him, or making your life miserable. Have fun raiders!
[Where to Learn]:The only way to learn this fight is to fight other raid bosses and use what you’ve learned in prepping for the boss mechanics of other bosses. Void zones, snipe-healing, raid positioning, and priority targets have all been covered elsewhere. Moorabi in Gundrak has a big interrupt cast mechanic that can be practiced on, but the boss doesn’t usually live long enough to make it worthwhile. If you want to practice this your group will have to intentionally draw this fight out. For Kel’s Mind Control, actually, the best place to learn this isn’t a heroic at all, but a level60 raid, the Temple of Ahn’Quiraj which requires no keys and no attunements. The first boss is 3 tank-and-spank trash pulls inside the door, 40 people can go in at once so the whole guild can practice at once as opposed to 5-man groups, and it’s far less dangerous than even overgearing northrend heroics. The Prophet Skeram will mind control one member of the raid in the exact manner and mechanics with which Kel’Thuzad does. You can practice seeing your friend become a buffed up giant red enemy who needs to be CC’d immediately and doing something about it. Since he is a raid boss he has almost 500k health but he’s not used to dealing with these mysterious plate-wearing rune users who top the charts or paladins who have been allowed to do damage since WoW 2.0 so he will drop like a rock if you set out to squash him rather than practicing mind-control strategy. He will mind control in all 3 of his phases, and can mind control pets, though he probably won’t when there are perfectly good mages, hunters, and rogues to abuse. The last boss of Arcetraz in Netherstorm in OL (you need a key) is basically a 5-man version of the Skeram fight if you don’t want to practice in a 25-man setting (silly you). If you want to stay in Northrend, Old Kingdom’s Herald Volazj is probably the closest you can get with his Insanity phases where you have to fight and kill the rest of your party rather than just crowd-controlling one of them until it wears off, but this is much closer to the Yogg-Saron MC mechanic. Or you could just 3v3 or 5v5 against alot of shadow priests.

Next time we’ll head into Ulduar and see many of these mechanics repeated, and a few new ones that don’t have much heroic preperation.

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