A Rogue in Cataclysm – Magmaw

This post describes rogue tactics for a boss fight in Blackwing Descent. The focus is on the 10-man version of the fights, since that’s what most people will be running. If you have suggestions for alternate strategies, or if I say something that you disagree with, please put it in the comments.

This is not meant to be a full raid strategy guide. It are written to describe the role of rogues (or other melee dps) during the encounters. For full strategy guides refer to Raid Boss Strategies or WoWWiki.


Magmaw is one of the first bosses in Blackwing Descent.  This is a low-stress fight for melee.  The difficult parts of the fight are handled by the ranged dps, and there is a lot of raid healing to go around so the healers are busy.  Rogues get to spend most of their time focusing on the boss.

Even though the boss is a huge worm that is off of a ledge, it is possible to get to a position that is behind him.  If you go  around the edge of the ledge to the left as far as you can go, then you can Backstab and Garrote from there.

On the pull, move to that position and start up your attack rotation.  Note that your tank will probably be out of range of your Tricks of the Trade, so if you are using Tricks on the tank you will want to hit that before you get in position for the actual pull.

There will be a lot said by your add-ons or your raid leader about Pillar of Flame and Lava Parasites.  Assuming that your raid has enough ranged dps, you won’t have to worry about those.

If your raid is short of ranged dps, then your raid leader may ask you to help with the Lava Parasites.  In that case, make sure that Crippling Poison is on your thrown weapon.  After a Pillar of Flame, when Parasites spawn, you can run to the parasites and FoK to slow them and help dps them.  However, in this event you are likely to get hit by one.  If you see the debuff Parasitic Infection then you’ve been infected.  In 10 seconds you are going to explode, doing damage to everyone near you and creating additional Lava Parasites. You can Cloak out of this debuff.  Hopefully you won’t need to do this, since your Cloak won’t always be off cooldown and you’ll have to run away from the raid group and the boss. The Parasites are better handled by ranged.

Magmaw has to have a couple of people in melee range throughout the fight, so try to stay at home next to it.  If there is no one in melee range he’ll spew fireballs and blow up the raid.

You’ll notice that you are taking heavy fire damage every 25 seconds or so.  That is Lava Spew.  Its an AoE effect that hits the entire raid, and it is the biggest source of damage in the fight, putting stress on your healers.  There are ways that you can help your healers out with this.  You can Cloak to avoid the damage.  You can Feint to minimize the damage, and you can Recuperate to heal yourself up.  I can go the entire fight with minimal healing by avoiding part of the damage and Recuperating myself back up to full health.

After a bit of dps time, the next ability that happens is Mangle.  When this happens, Magmaw will pick up the tank.  Your threat meter may start yelling at you because the tank is no longer on the threat charts.  Typically another tank will taunt here, but it may not be necessary.  Make sure that you are not at the top of the threat table.  Vanish if you need to.

While he is chewing on the tank, Magmaw will face half the room and the ground on that side will start to smoke.  If that’s your side of the room, you need to quickly get to the other side.  I usually pop Sprint here.  If you don’t get out of the way in time, then the floor will ignite in flames, and then Magmaw is going to fall on you, doing damage and stunning you.

Once you are out of the way, and Magmaw falls over, two people have to jump on his back.  Melee typically gets this job.  You get a green arrow cursor just like if you are getting in a vehicle.  You right-click that and it catapults you up onto the big worm.

When you are on Magmaw, you get an ability on your button bar – Constricting Chains.  You click that and get a little targeting circle.  Aim the target circle at the big spike that’s right in front of Magmaw.  Coordinate with the other person who is on Magmaw.  You both need to click the chains at nearly the same time.  When both chains are engaged properly, you’ll be dismounted off of Magmaw.  If you mess it up, then it will say that Magmaw breaks free of the single chain.  Then you have to try again.

If you don’t get it right, then the tank dies while being Mangled by Magmaw.

When I jump up on him, I make sure that I see the 2nd melee on him before I hit the chains.  Then I say something in vent so that our timing is good.

Magmaw will get pulled down to the ground by the chains.  When this happens, damage against him is increased by 100%, so pop cooldowns, Vendetta, Killing Spree, Potion of the Tol’vir, Adrenaline Rush, whatever.  This process is going to repeat several times during the fight, so you’ll get to use your cooldowns a 2nd and 3rd time.  You’ll target his head, and if you stand inside his body you will be behind it for backstabbing.

When this phase ends, Magmaw has an annoying tendency to one-shot some one standing too close to him before raising back up to his upright position.  For this reason, I try to get away from his head about 2 seconds before the phase ends.

When he stands back up, go back to your melee position and repeat the entire process.  Each time he will Mangle the tank and you may or may not have to move from the smoking area of the floor.  Then jump on him, chain him, and blow cooldowns while he is chained down.

Don’t skimp on the Recuperate!  Healers have a lot to do in this fight so you’re self-healing can really help.  Also, if/when you wipe don’t point fingers.  Melee has the easy job on this boss, and its a pretty harsh learning curve for ranged.  Its better to do your job and stay quiet.

The drop you’re hoping for from him is the Parasitic Bands.  Wrist slot items are hard to come by these days, so good luck!


4 Responses to “A Rogue in Cataclysm – Magmaw”

  1. 1 Finnei
    February 4, 2011 at 11:15 am

    If you are in a raid group that needs your help to down the adds, use TotT to keep them from attacking you. I found it useful to setup a macro to switch between the tanks and whichever ranged dps was kiting the adds. Due to the CD on TotT, I had to pop the first tank TotT 1 second before he pulled in order for it to be ready for the first Pillar. Either that, or don’t pop any damage CDs and save TotT for the ranged. I tested out doing full dps on the boss without using TotT and pulled aggro after 10 seconds and died, so I advise just getting a head start on TotT in order to get the most damage on the boss. With that said, this fight (and most Cata fights) are NOT about being in a dps race; it’s about doing the “dance” correctly. The adds are what wipes most groups, so manage them and you’ll likely survive.

  2. February 6, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    I’m glad you decided to keep doing these guides!

    Like Finnei, I help out with the parasites on 10 man. Fan of Knives with deadly brew is a good way to control the adds if you don’t have a hunter handy, and tricks on a ranged DPS will let you aoe safely without getting infected. Also, I need to confirm this, but I’m pretty sure the infection is not cloakable?

    I’d argue that using recuperate in the way you’re suggesting is counterproductive and you’ll end up costing the healers more mana in the long run by significantly lowering your DPS. Feint is a great tool for mitigating damage, though!

    One other tip: the first expose phase is exactly 2 minutes after fight start, so if you pop vendetta on the pull, it will be back up in time. Subsequent expose phases are much closer together.

    • February 8, 2011 at 10:39 am

      I used cloak when I had the infection, and I seem to remember it working. Might have been coincidental timing, I suppose. I don’t help with the parasites anymore so I don’t know that I’ll get a chance to test it again.

      When I tried using Tricks to direct the worms onto the ranged dps I had positioning issues. I’d run to the parasites and try to pop tricks but would be out of range of the hunters, and then I was in trouble. That method works assuming you’re all close enough together. The way we were arranged, I had problems.

      When we first started on Magmaw the healers were running out of mana before the actual enrage timer, trying to heal everyone through Lava Spew. I’m certainly not suggesting to use Recuperate as your main finisher. However, when I see that a couple of Lava Spews have me at half health or lower, I definitely take it upon my self to help the healing with Recuperate. On our Magmaw kills I am usually the lowest in Healing Received, and still the top overall dps. You can certainly balance the use of both.

  3. February 10, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    I try to run past the ranged on my way to the parasites so I can tricks either a hunter or lock there. Usually grabbing a lightwell on the way to help the healers as well. Pop sprint, run in circles around the parasites spamming FoK.

    Works a treat really.

    Just be sure to get in either the ranged camp, or next to Magmaw before next Pillar of Flame as when we were first trying it, I’d find myself out on my own and the pillar of flame would hit me, not the ranged camp.

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