Blackwing Descent – DK Tanking Magmaw, Omnotron and Maloriak

>Inspired by my guildmate Glowberry’s musings on healing in BWD, here are my thoughts on tanking in the same encounters. This will be a longish read so be warned.


The strategy we use for Magmaw only requires a single main tank, so for this fight I switch to Frost and get my dps on. I actually really enjoy dpsing this fight, not only because I can hit 20k but because I get to do something other than beat on the boss. This fight requires some thought on rune conservation and making sure Frost runes are available for the lava parasites.

From start to finish, here are my thoughts.

Until the first pillar of flame I simply work on the boss while keeping an eye on the pillar of flame cooldown. Once that starts getting under 10 secs, I stop using any abilities that use a Frost or Death rune. This is so that I have the maximum number of Howling Blasts (HB) available for the parasites.

As soon as the pillar falls on our pillar soaker who is standing at range (usually a Mage or Warlock) I run out dropping a Death and Decay over the spawn point. Once in range I then start spamming HB. I have specced into Chillblains and glyphed HB. This means that HB applies Frost Fever to all targets it hits and then Chillblains slow every target affected by Frost Fever by 25%. This gives me time to get 6 or 7 HB’s making sure that I firstly get the threat on all the parasites meaning I kite them away from the raid and secondly do an enormous amount of damage to them (this is sole reason I can hit 20k).

Once the parasites are down I switch back to Magmaw and the process is the same for the second pillar or flame. Once the main tank gets mangled (eaten), there is usually no more pillars, however this is not always the case so you need to stay aware and react accordingly if another one falls.
Once we are in the clear as far as pillars go, I simply wait for Magmaw’s head to be impaled and then go to town on it. The entire fight is just a rinse and repeat of this cycle. Hit the boss, kill the parasites, hit the boss; all whilst avoiding the fire. Cake.


This fight is a little more complicated than Magmaw but still not that bad once you are used to the 4 different golems. Due to the need for 2 tanks in this fight, I have switched back to Blood.

There are 4 bosses in this fight, each with their own set of abilities. Arcanotron uses arcane abilities, Electron uses electrical abilities, Magmatron uses fire abilities and Toxitron uses poison abilities.

By far the worst of these bosses to tank is Arcanotron. He has 2 abilities that make him irritating. The first is Arcane Annihilator, a fast cast that should be interrupted as often as possible. The problem is, a Blood DK only really has 1 reliable interrupt (whose cooldown is longer than Arcanotrons). The other is on too long of a cooldown, requires a blood rune and is on the global cooldown. The second ability is Power Generator, a swirly pool on the ground from which the boss must be moved as soon as possible as it gives a large damage boost to anything standing in it.

The other 3 bosses aren’t too bad from a tanking point of view, pretty much stand and deliver stuff apart from the occasional moving out of Toxitron’s poison cloud. There are however a couple of little niggles that you need to be aware of. The first is the change over, for a short period of time, you have 2 golems beating on you. This is the time when the raid is most likely to wipe as the tanks are tanking much more damage than usual. This can be partly negated by doing 2 things; making sure you have an emergency button available (Icebound Fortitude being the best) and place yourself a distance away from the activating golem where possible so that he has to run to you. Hopefully by the time he gets to you, the previous golem will have deactivated. This is possible because the golems retain their threat tables between activations.

Apart from the above, the only real movement you will have to do in the fight is when kiting Arcanotron around. Our guild employs a strategy whereby we move Arcanotron towards the group of ranged standing towards the rear of the room so that he drops his pools near them. This provides the damage boost but also gives some much needed mana regen. Occasionally the tank not on Toxitron will get a slime focussed on them, which will require some movement away from said slime.

It is also important to remember that you cannot hit the bosses while their shields are up. Thankfully they are only up for a relatively short period of time, namely from 45 to 30 energy. Once you pass 30, feel free to start beating on the boss once more, which in my case gives me the much needed Death Strike heals and blood shield.

This fight is another rinse repeat type deal, except that you need to be aware of what boss is activating next (usually this falls into a pattern after a couple of rounds) and make sure you are positioned correctly as well as proper use of cooldowns. We found it very messy until everyone was fully aware of how to interact with each of the bosses abilities. We are now at a stage where we can get them down in 3-5 attempts.

Its not too bad once you get a handle on it, just need to stay aware of what’s going on.


I started off as the add-tank on Maloriak, but we decided that wasn’t working so well so I switched to tanking him instead.

The shifting red/blue/green phases have no effect on the main tank at all; they are a problem for the dps and heals to worry about. What you do need to concentrate on in those 3 phases is controlling the flow of adds. Maloriak casts 2 add summons per coloured phase. He has a total of 18 small adds and 2 large adds. A small add cast summons 3 adds each time. The large add cast, which occurs at 25% summons 2 large adds. The key to this fight is controlling and killing the adds.

The strategy that we employ is as follows. I, as the main tank, interrupt the first cast of the first coloured phase (red or blue) then let the second cast through along with the following 2 casts of the second coloured phase (red or blue). This gives a total of 9 adds prior to the green phase. In the green phase these adds must be burned down by your dps as fast as possible. If not Maloriak gets kinda pissed and starts hitting you very hard indeed. If the adds don’t die, you most likely will.

However, whilst you are madly popping cooldowns to stay alive, you need to interrupt the 2 add casts in the green phase. These are really important. If they make it through, you will have 3 or 6 adds without the green vial debuff, meaning you won’t be able to kill them, meaning you are much more likely to die. Try very hard to interrupt these casts.

Thankfully the time between casts is longer than the cooldown on your Mind Freeze (MF) so it is possible to only use MF. Be aware that the cast will always follow an arcane storm, so don’t jump the gun and interrupt the storm, let the assigned dps handle that one. Abilities like Curse of Tongues really help here.

The red/blue/green vial phase will occur twice. By assuring that only 9 adds are released each time, you allow your add tank to survive, meaning you don’t wipe. If either tank dies, just reset the fight by running out.

The last phase, which occurs once the boss hits 25%, is a dps race. Maloriak has a 7 minute enrage timer and the first time we killed him, we did it in 6 minutes and 58 seconds… so high dps is a must. In terms of tanking this phase you need to make sure you avoid the fire where possible. There is no cast bar for this ability, but if you are standing in it when it is cast you will be thrown up in the air and suffer moderate fall damage. I finally worked out how to avoid it last night. Before each cast he will stop hitting you and stand in the one spot with his arms in the air. This is your queue to move. Simply strafe to one side as fast as possible. Note that if you don’t move early you will still get caught even if it ‘looks’ like you are out of the fire.

I tend to always move in the same direction, clockwise, so that I always have a direction in which to move. This ends up with me doing tight circles around the boss for the entire last phase. The add tank is kiting the 2 large adds this entire time, don’t even attempt to kill them, just focus on the boss.

I guess that the main tank doesn’t have to be the one interrupting the boss, but because you are always targeting him, it is just easier than sacrificing a dps during the green phase. This aspect of the fight really is key to getting him down. In future gear tiers, the off tank and healers may be able to handle more than 9 at a time which would change your interrupt pattern but for now, 9 at a time is about the limit.
So far I have really enjoyed these fights; they feel a more challenging than Wrath with a lot less room for mistakes. We have just ventured into Chimaeron’s lair so expect some more thoughts on that fight once we get him down.

Until then:

My demise accomplishes nothing! The master will have you! You will drown in your own blood! The world shall burn! Aaaghh!



2 responses to “Blackwing Descent – DK Tanking Magmaw, Omnotron and Maloriak

  • Nardelan

    >Good stuff Voros, keep the blog posts coming – great to read about a tanks perspective.Have you had much tanking experience previously? I know when Whiz and I joined late in Wrath, you were solely dps'ing. How have you found the role change?

  • Voros

    >havent tanked full time since Kara, but its been a nice change – enjoying the role change. Plus the way some of the BWD fights have been structured so far, I get to DPS a bit.V

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