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Healing tips for Magmaw

January 13, 2011

He eats tanks for breakfast. Mmmm, plate armor.

Magmaw is one of two bosses first available in Blackwing Descent; he can be fought even if your raid has not yet downed the Omnitron Defense System.  While the Magmaw fight is a bit more intense in terms of DPS requirements and group composition than Omnitron, the encounter itself is actually easier to master.  Magmaw has none of the random elements that make Omnitron so unpredictable, and has a few easily memorized abilities.  If your raid group has a composition that favors AoE damage, I’d recommend trying this before you head across the way to Omnitron.

MMO Champion recently ran a contest for submitted guides on a wide variety of subjects and one of the winners was the guide to Magm…aaaaaaaaw! It’s surprisingly accurate despite its goofiness and is worth a look if you’d like a decent visual guide to the encounter.

As pictured in the Magm…aaaw guide, our raid group established two positions for the ranged pile, and we marked them with the spiffy new raid markers.  It’s essential that ranged remain stacked on top of one another during the first phase of this fight.  Aside from group damage from Magma Spit and Lava Spew, Magmaw will target one player in the ranged pile and cast Pillar of Flame on them.  Pillar of Flame shows up as a steaming circle on the ground and will erupt after 3 seconds, throwing anyone standing it up into the air high enough for them to take fall damage on the way down.  If your ranged pile has stacked properly, Pillar of Flame will always show up where you are currently standing, giving you a chance to run into your second ranged position before it erupts.

Let’s be clear – you should not get hit by Pillar of Flame.  Doing so is going to cause unnecessary fall damage and also put you dangerously close to the Lava Parasites that will spawn where Pillar was cast.  If, however, you should end up flying through the air because you didn’t start running the second you saw the Pillar graphic on the ground, don’t panic.  Druids have a bit of a get-out-of-jail-free card on this one.  Shift into cat form, as Feline Grace will completely negate the fall damage you’d have taken.  When you hit the ground, use Stampeding Roar to give yourself and any other stragglers a brief speed boost that should put you out of harm’s way.

One HUGE warning about this trick, though.  If you miss running out of Pillar of Flame, there’s a chance that you’ll get bitten by a Lava Parasite and have the Parasitic Infection debuff.  If you have this debuff, you do NOT want to run toward the rest of the ranged pile.  When the Parasitic Infection wears off after 10 seconds, your character will expel some particularly nasty Infectious Vomit, which will deal damage to everyone around you and create even more parasites.  It is possible, though not at all ideal, for the DPS to burn down an extra parasite or two.  It is probably not possible, however, for your healing team to heal through all the splash damage that will occur if Infectious Vomit is bouncing around the ranged pile.  If you or anyone in the raid becomes infected, they should try to be near the other parasites (and away from the ranged pile) when Parasitic Infection wears off so that the parasite they create will be AoEd down with the others.  Elemental shaman and boomkin are particularly helpful for this fight since their knockback abilities will buy the DPS some time to finish off the parasites before they can reach the ranged pile.

Phase 1 of the fight is simply dodging Pillar of Flame and killing the parasites that result over and over, until you see the emote, “Magmaw slumps forward, exposing his pincers!”  At this point Magmaw usually will cast Ignition, which will light half of the room on fire.  It’s easy to spot which half – it’ll be covered with steam.  Simply reposition yourself so that you’re not standing in it, and then turn your attention to the tank.  Magmaw will now grab the tank in his mouth, placing the Mangle debuff on him.  Mangle deals a massive amount of damage every few seconds, and will instantly kill your tank if it lasts its full 30 second duration without your melee successfully chaining Magmaw to the ground.  (Incidentally, if your melee is having trouble getting the chains to work, my good friend Squelchy has an excellent article about what essential information many other guides are leaving out when it comes to the coordination required to do this.  I should note that I’m now contractually obligated to link to Squelchy’s blog at least once a week since he wrote a post plugging my blog a while ago.)

Mangle isn’t particularly difficult to heal through, mostly because (as long as your DPS has managed to kill the most recent batch of parasites in a timely manner) all of your healers will be focused on the tank at this point.  The one aspect that may trip you up, though, is that Magmaw is tossing and turning all over the place, taking your tank with him.  This means that you may experience occasional range issues on this phase of the fight before the DPS gets the boss chained to the ground.  Communication is essential here.  Call out if the tank has gotten out of your range so that the other healers can be ready to make up the difference and the tank will know to use a cooldown.  You can step forward to heal the tank, but be cautious.  When Magmaw’s head slams down, anyone under it will take massive damage.  If you’re not topped off, there’s a chance that it will kill you.

Once Magmaw is chained, it’s time for the DPS to do their thing and time for you to take a breather – no one will be taking damage, even the tank.  During this phase, I basically only refreshed Lifebloom (to keep up the Replenishment buff) and didn’t cast anything else.  If my Innervate and trinket use were already on cooldown, then just standing there and allowing my mana to regen naturally would usually get back about 40-50% of my total mana by the time the burn phase was over.  If you have a priest in the raid, try to time casting your Innervate while they’re channeling Hymn of Hope.  When I did this correctly, I’d usually be back to full mana once Magmaw broke free of the chains.

Once the burn phase is up, you’ll go back to the same strategy as phase 1 – dodging Pillar of Flame and burning down the parasites.  Don’t be too worried if you use a good bit of mana getting though the parasite phrases, as mana management isn’t quite as strict in this fight as it is for Omnitron. On the long periods when Magmaw’s head is exposed, you’ll have nothing you need to do except get mana back.


Magmaw has a fantastic 1H weapon, Incineratus, with Haste and Mastery.  He also drops the Scorched Wyrmling Vest, which is a great alternative to our Spirit-less Tier 11 chest.  Snatch both of these up if you can!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 13, 2011 8:45 am

    Only once a week? We need to review the terms of your contract.

    More seriously, good guide; I’ll definitely refer to it when (if?) I start healing raids again.

    • January 13, 2011 11:22 am

      Guess that means we’re up to one link per post. >.>

  2. Thomas Jespersen permalink
    January 16, 2011 1:09 pm

    I will try to keep in mind your tip about cat-form. Nice guide and love the image.


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