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Magmaw Tank Strategy Guide

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This guide is intended to provide a comprehensive description of the encounter with Magmaw in Blackwing Descent. It is mostly targeted to tanks who desire to have a short but detailed overview of what is expected of them during that fight.

This guide is updated for World of Warcraft 4.3.

The Magmaw encounter is extremely simple and straightforward for tanks, regardless of their role. More than anything, this fight as a tank will require quick taunting and proper use of defensive cooldowns.

1. 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, a third "Mounting Phase", where it is possible to do so.

The first Normal Phase lasts 90 seconds, all subsequent Normal and Impale Phases lasting 30 seconds.

There are two roles tanks can have during the Magmaw encounter:

  • the role of main tank, thus tanking the boss;
  • the role of off tank, thus tanking the Lava Parasites.

1.1. Normal Phase

  • Tank Magmaw and always be in Melee range or tank the Lava Parasites if assigned to do so.

1.2. Impale Phase

  • Damage the Exposed Head of Magmaw.

2. Normal Phase↑top

2.1. Main Tank

Tanks tanking Magmaw should be aware of a few important details regarding the Normal Phase of the encounter:

  • Magmaw is stationary and will never leave his location, thus his tank must always be in melee range or Magmaw will begin killing other raid members.
  • Magmaw will cast Mangle on the main aggro target repeatedly throughout the fight; this ability is the source of a great risk of dying.
  • While being mangled, as the tank, you can still use all of your abilities and can in fact target and damage the Exposed Head of Magmaw.
  • After being released from Mangle, the tank will be debuffed with Sweltering Armor, greatly increasing damage taken.

Once your raid positions have been assigned, you should pull the boss by running up to him and attacking him. You will spend the entirety of the fight in melee range of Magmaw (or inside Magmaw's mouth), and you should be aware that it is possible and very deadly to fall off the floor and into the lava behind Magmaw.

You should expect to take damage from Magma Spit and Lava Spew in addition to Magmaw's normal melee swings of around 50,000 to tanks. You may use minor damage reduction cooldowns such as trinkets to aid your healers though for the first 1 minute and 30 seconds of the fight this is generally not needed.

2.2. Off Tank

If your raid chooses to utilise two tanks, and your role is that of off tank, you will undoubtedly be assigned to tanking the Lava Parasites spawned by Pillar of Flame. In order to attract Pillars of Flame to you, it is ideal that the entire raid except for you stacks in melee range of the boss, at least in 10-man difficulty.

When a Pillar of Flame targets you, you should move out of it and then simply tank the Lava Parasites while the ranged DPS kill them.

Because you will be suffering from Parasitic Infection and will eventually be causing damage to players around yourself through Infectious Vomit, you should remain at range and away from other players. Any Lava Parasites spawned by Infectious Vomit should simply be picked up and tanked.

2.3. Tank Swapping

Despite Sweltering Armor and the increased tank damage it causes, tank swapping is not necessary, but it is an option your raid may choose to explore. If you do choose to tank swap, your off tank can either taunt Magmaw before a Mangle is cast thus taking the Mangle and then returning to his off-tanking duties while leaving an un-debuffed main tank on Magmaw, or he can taunt Magmaw after the end of an impale phase and tank him through the following Normal Phase while your previous Magmaw tank can handle the adds.

Again, though it may appear to lower damage taken, tank swapping is generally an unneeded complication.

3. While Being Mangled↑top

1 minute and 30 seconds after pull, the first Mangle will be cast and you will begin to take a very large amount of damage while in Magmaw's mouth. Depending on the ability (and mana) of your healers, you can opt to use a big defensive cooldown at this point. While you are being mangled you are able to attack the Exposed Head of Magmaw and should do so. Especially for Paladins and Death Knights this is important as it provides you with the ability to self-heal.

Once Magmaw is impaled you will be dropped from his grasp and you will be able to damage his Exposed Head like all the other raid members.

You should note that being Mangled will have reset your threat and you should be prepared to taunt Magmaw immediately as he finishes the 30 second Impale Phase.

At this point you will notice that you are debuffed with Sweltering Armor. This debuff will last the entirety of the upcoming Normal Phase and will indeed be present for all subsequent Normal Phases. It increases the damage you take by a lot and you can expect to see regular melee hits upwards of 70,000 damage. Coupled with Lava Spew and Magma Spit, this will put a lot of strain on your healers and you should aim to use a big defensive cooldown here to help.

From this point on the fight will be a continuous cycle of 30 second Normal Phases alternating with 30 second Impale Phases until the boss is dead or you have wiped.

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