Boss Spotlight: Onyxia

200px-OnyxiaMGOnyxia, especially 10 man, requires extreme coordination among your raid group.  This is a divide and conquer type fight, and one that will really expose the weaknesses in your raid.

Core Mechanics

  • AMG!  Adds!
  • Healer Under Attack!
  • Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid!
  • Team Coordination
  • Pay The **** Attention!

onyInitial Information

Onyxia is a three phase fight.  As you enter the room at the blue spot, ony will be at the red spot, resting as if she is not about to be slain.  At each of the arrow locations, there are caves with eggs in them.  These are the whelp caves.  They are very bad.

You will need a minimum of two tanks on 10 man – one for whelps one for leet adds.  Three for 25 – one for each whelp cave, and one for the leet adds.

Git’ er Done!

Fire resist, from at least one pally is pretty essential, especially if the group is undergeared.  Rember, this is a T9 fight.

Upon engaging Ony, the tank will need to pull her to the back wall (red spot) with her tail to the blue spot.  Get her into position as quickly as you can.  While the tank is positioning, the DPS needs to hold off.  She is easy to pull from the tank.  Once the tank has aggro, and is stationary at the back wall, then you may open up.

Positioning on the first phase is key.  She does a tail swipe, as well as a frontal cleave.  Melee DPS must find that sweet spot, as well as ranged.  If someone gets swiped into a whelp cave, it will spawn adds, and can quickly spell doom for your raid.

At 65% or so Ony will move into phase two.  In phase two, ony will run back away from the tank to the blue spot – where you came in.  She will then take into the air. During phase two, only ranged DPS will be able to attack ony.

When Ony moves to the second phase, you will need to STOP all DPS.  If you continue to dps, you will get aggro from one of the many adds that spawn.  Right at the start of phase two (shortly after she takes to the air) whelps will spawn from each of the whelp caves.  All raid members should stack onto the whelp tank, and remain there until the whelp tank has aggro.  Then burn the first adds down.

Once the first whelp wave is down, once every 45 seconds or so, a new wave will spawn.  You will need at least one AoE DPS to AoE those down.

Also, after the first whelp spawn, large elite adds will spawn from the entrance – the blue spot.  DPS (typically Melee) should be assigned to down them.  Usually, you need two DPS there (for ten man) 3-4 on 25.  These adds MUST go down ASAP.  If you manage to get two leets, it often spells doom for the raid.  Also, these leet adds do an AoE fire attack.  Melee should be wise and look at the cast bar, and run when it starts to cast.  It can easily one-shot lesser geared players.  Because of this, the leets should be tanked near where they spawn, at the entrance.

Whatever DPS is not assigned to whelps and/or the leet adds must be constantly pounding on Onyxia.

If the adds are not enough for you, periodically she will do a deep breath.  This is a AoE fire attack, but it can be avoided.  When she calls out that she is about to do a deep breath, look up and see which way she is pointed.  She will deep breath the ground in the direction she is pointed from where she is at until she flies all the way over to the other side of the room – basically a straight beeline from one side of the room to the other.

At 40% Ony will move into phase three.

When she moves into phase three, Ony will land and make a beeline right for the tank that was tanking her in phase one.  Contrary to her build at lvl 60, she does not reset aggro when in the air.

You will need to mop up any adds quickly, while you resume the fight against Ony, however, no more will spawn (unless you get knocked into the whelp caves).

The first thing that ony will do when she lands is a raidwide fear.  She will do this periodically throughout the fight as well.  If you have a preist, fear ward should be placed on the MT.  Otherwise, a tremor totem is very helpful as well.  If you dont have any of those…. You are just going to have to eat the fears, and cry on the inside.  Because of the fears, ony should be tanked at the blue spot for phase three, with her back to the raid.

During phase three, the cave floor will occasionally errupt with lava.  Do not stand on any cracks, and you will be fine.  Else the healers will scream at you and hate you for all eternity.

Fight ends with Ony’s death.

Alternative Strats

Ummmm.   This is a pretty straightforward fight (though a bit complicated).  Really, this is the only way to down her.


My 10 man raid group was struggling on this for a while.  It is absolutely key for everyone to be alive in 10 man the whole time.  Love your healers.  Give them cookies.

Also, if the transition from phase 2 to phase 3 is giving you trouble, try having the whelp tank be your “MT” and tank ony for the first and last phase.  The whelps hit a lot lighter and can be killed faster if there are adds still up when she grounds.  If the MT is the leet tank, your healers are going to have a pain in the rear keeping them up.

Notes For Ret

Contrary to conventions, you do not HAVE to be assigned to the big leet adds.  As you well know, recent changes have made you into an AoE powerhouse (that is, if you chose to talent into SoC – and if you didn’t, you need to visit a respec trainer immediately).  You can just as easily move to the whelps.

If you ARE assigned to the leet adds, just be aware of their fire blast.  It can easily one shot lesser geared pally’s.   Move out of it and your healers will be the ones giving YOU cookies.

Notes For Holy

You, of course, will be assigned to tank duty.  In 10 man in particular, you will probably need to strike a good range balance in between the leet adds and the whelp adds.  This range is often too long for your beacon, but you can help out with the other tank as needed (not to mention raid).

The biggest issue that you are going to have is the deep breaths – especially if you are healing the leet tank.  Bad luck is bad, but often the AoE fire attack off of the leet and the deep breath co-inside with one another.  If this happens, you may have to bubble and eat the deep breath, while healing the tank through both attacks.  Mobility + AOE OMGWTFBBQ Damage = Not a happy holy pally.

Also, watch out for the transition to phase three.  Fear is bad, mmmmkay?

Notes For Prot

Sorry Prot – you are the whelp tank.  You are best suited for this with your consecrate constantly generating aoe threat.

If you find (on 10 man) you are having trouble getting all the whelps, try this:  Move to one cave and drop consecrate right before they spawn.  This will aggro them to you while they are escaping.  Run to the other side and use your other tools to pick up the other whelps.  Move back to the center and drop consecrate to solidify your aggro before your whelp DPS opens up to clear them out.

3 Responses to “Boss Spotlight: Onyxia”
  1. Red says:

    Very nice writeup! When is the Anub’arak breakdown coming?

    • Firespirit says:

      Coming! Coming! I want to get the Northrend Beasts encounter all prettied up first. Unfortunately, I don’t think it will be done before our raid on friday….

  2. Yarsh says:

    Anub’arak, wait till you see Faction Champions

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