The Iron Assembly is the third wing of the World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor raid called the Blackrock Foundry.  It is the second raid of the expansion and features four wings with a total of 10 different boss encounters. 

This third wing contains three boss encounters: Beastlord Darmac, Operator Thogar, and the Iron Maidens. The last of which is one of the best encounters Blizzard has created in a while (at least in this writers opinion).

Beastlord Darmac

This first encounter in the Iron Assembly wing of the instance is a very interesting 5 phase fight. Even more interesting is that you can control which order the phases occur in, other than the first and last.  This allows you to move through the phases as you chose, based on your parties strengths or weaknesses.

The fight starts with just Beastlord Darmac active and is very simple, he only has two abilities at this point.  Those abilities are Call the Pack and Pin Down.  Call the Pack summons groups of beasts that should be killed off quickly, they only cause issues if players leave them alive, in which case they will generally swarm the healers.  When Darmac uses the Pin Down ability he will throw heavy spears out at random ranged players, there will be a few seconds to avoid being hit as the AOE is marked before it is applied.  If hit, players will be rooted in place and take heavy damage.  Whether the spear hits a player or not it will remain in place until destroyed, this is important later.  Darmac will use these abilities throughout the fight, in addition to any he gains as discussed below.

Once Darmac is lowered to 85%, 65%, and 45% health he will enter another phase of the fight. What that phase entails depends on which beast he is closest to at that time.  This means that the tank can control which beast Darmac will mount next.  Each beast has their own abilities, and grants Darmac an ability once they have been defeated.

Cruelfang is a Worg who allows Darmac to leap to random targets dealing damage and placing a bleed on all players nearby, then leaps back to the tank that had agro and again deals damage to and places a bleed on all nearby players.  This ability is called Rend and Tear, and Darmac will keep this ability after Cruelfang has been defeated.  While alive Cruefang also uses Savage Howl which boosts damage but can be removed with Soothe or Tranquilizing Shot.

Dreadwing is a Rylak that deals a lot of damage with Inferno Breath, which is a cone AOE that deals damage and applies a stacking DOT.  Unlike most cone AOEs though, it will aim in a random direction, not necessarily at the tank.  Players need to watch for Dreadwing to turn before casting and get out of the AOE quickly.  Inferno Breath also leaves AOE fire zones on the ground that players will need to avoid. Any Heavy Spear in an AOE fire zone will get set on fire and start throwing burning embers at random players, meaning that the number of spears in play needs to be kept very low. Dreadwing also occasionally targets random players at range and hits them with Conflagration which deals initial damage to that player and anyone nearby, as well as Appling a DOT and making the player stagger around briefly. Once Dreadwing has been defeated Darmac gains the Superheated Shrapnel ability which functions exactly like Inferno Breath.

Ironcrusher is an Elekk that goes into a Tantrum that deals damage to all players in the raid every second for 5 seconds.  Darmac gains this ability after Ironcrusher has been defeated.  Ironcrusher also has a Stampede ability which charges a random ranged player, knocking back all melee players and dealing damage to them, the target, and anyone else near the target.  Ironcrusher also has a stacking armor debuff called Crush Armor that lowers armor by 10% per stack and lasts 15 seconds.  Tanks should trade at 2-3 stacks.

Once all three beasts have been defeated the raid will need to deal with a much improved Darmac until they have defeated him or died trying.  Since the AOE fire damage or the raid wide tantrum damage tends to be the most dangerous for groups, the normal kill order should be: Cruelfang, Ironcrusher, Dreadwing.

Operator Thogar

The second boss encounter in this wing of the Blackrock Foundry is against Operator Thogar and is a single phase fight.  While only a single phase fight, it is far from simple, since players need to deal with a number of adds and avoid moving trains or die!  There are 4 tracks that the trains can travel down that break up the room.

Thogar himself has very few mechanics, essentially just requiring tanks to swap at 2-3 stacks of Enkindle, throwing out Prototype Pulse Grenades that deal AOE damage and pull in players, and the ability to buff his allies with the Berated ability.  Berated boosts the adds damage and movement speed by 10% and increases haste by 5%, and decreases casting time by 3%.  This buff stacks and is applied every 10 seconds, which means adds need to die quickly or they will start dealing more damage than the healers can manage.

Most of the mechanics in the fight revolve around the adds and moving between the trains that come down the tracks. Trains can either move right through or will stop to drop off adds.  Sometimes this will mean that the raid will be split up into two groups so you need to be prepared for that as well.

The adds that can spawn are:

  • Iron Raiders that can be tanked but apply a bleed to their target, and throw grenades at random players.
  • Iron Crack-Shots can be tanked and shoot guns at their target, and throw grenades at random players.
  • Iron Gunnery Sergeants can operate the cannons that are on the train cars, shooting at players and launching bombs.
  • Grom’kar Firemenders which will use Cauterizing Bolt which deals damage to the target but then heals them back up over time.
  • Grom’kar Man-at-Arms can be tanked and deals  damage to everyone around them with Reckless Slash, and deals raid wide damage with Iron Bellow.

The adds spawn in groups of 12 Raiders + 4 Crack-shots, or 2 Crack-shots + 2 Firemenders + 1 Man-at-Arms, or a single Gunnery Sergeant.  The first wave will come in on a train about 40 seconds into the fight, the second wave 20 seconds later and then another group will arrive roughly every 30 seconds.  Sometimes though more than one group will arrive at a time, so be prepared.  All of the adds from a train must be defeated before that train will leave, therefore it is critical to kill them quickly, or players may not have any room to get away from the next incoming train and will die.

 That’s all there is to the fight, kill Thogar while managing adds and avoiding trains.  The important times in the fight are at 2:10, 4:20, 5:15, and 6:20 which are all times where two trains arrive at once, forcing the raid to split up.

Iron Maidens

The last boss encounter in the third wing of Blackrock Foundry is against the Iron Maidens: Admiral Gar’an, Marak the Blooded, and Enforcer Sorka.  The fight is a council style fight with each of the three maidens having their own health pool. It is also an amazing fight that players should enjoy, I know I did.

Each boss has their own mechanics that need to be managed and they gain more abilities as they gain energy.  All of the bosses share the energy pool which grows very slowly over time.  They will reach 30 energy at roughly the 3 minute mark and then 100 energy at the 11 minute mark.  However, once any single boss is dropped to 20% or lower health, they will jump to 100 energy and gain access to their most powerful abilities.  Therefore DPS needs to be split evenly until all bosses reach 21% health, and then are nuked down.

The fight is broken up into several phases and is a very long fight, expect it to take 10 to 15 minutes.  The three bosses and their abilities are as follows:

Marak the Blooded needs to be tanked and has an agro table.  Her main ability is Blood Ritual which places a beam onto a random player.  The beam lasts for 5 seconds and then deals damage down that line towards the targeted player.  The first tank needs to get into that path to absorb the damage as it is enough to kill pretty much anyone else.

  • At 30 energy Marak gains the Heart Seeker ability which debuffs 3 players then throws an axe at those players. The axe travels from player to player dealing huge damage to each.  However, the damage is reduced by the distance that the axe has to travel, so as soon as the three players are marked they need to separate as far as possible.
  • At 100 energy Marak gains Sanguine Strikes which makes every attack against the tank also cause raid wide damage.  With the buffs that take place throughout the fight this damage grows very quickly.

Admiral Gar’an is not tankable, and starts out by dealing damage to random players in the raid with her Iron Shot ability. She can also deal out a lot of AOE damage with Rapid Fire.  This ability marks a player and then shortly after starts sending AOE explosions at them, however if you move quickly and keep moving you can avoid all of the damage, just make sure you kite the damage away from the raid.

  • At 30 energy Gar’an gains Penetrating Shot which is a 6 second cast time ability that marks a random player with a beam.  After the 6 seconds the beam deals damage to everyone in it, but is split between all targets, meaning that you need to stack in the beam.
  • At 100 energy Gar’an gains the ability to summon turrets.  These turrets deal fire damage to random players and apply a stacking fire DOT.  The turrets can be killed off, and should be so that the damage they cause is kept to a minimum.

Enforcer Sorka needs to be tanked, but will run around a lot due to her Blade Dash ability.  This hits a random ranged player dealing a lot of damage to them and anyone nearby, and then jumps to another target within 8 yards, and continues to bounce until there are no more valid targets that have not already been hit.  This means players need to separate as soon as she starts to dash around the room.

  • At 30 energy Sorka gains Convulsive Shadows which applies 5 stacks of a DOT.  The DOT deals damage every 2 seconds and then drops one of the stacks.  If the DOT is cleansed off it will deal all of the damage that it would have caused all at once, which can kill a player if it was at 5 stacks, this means that it should not be cleansed.
  • At 100 energy Sorka gains Dark Hunt.  This allows her to mark a random player and then jump to them shortly after dealing extremely high damage.  The targeted player should use any cooldown they have and healers should HOT or shield them.  She will then jump back to the tank.

As if dealing with the maidens in their room was not enough, there is a ship to deal with.  One minute into the fight and then every 3 minutes later, the maiden with the lowest health that has not yet been on the ship will board it and attempt to fire the main gun.  You will then have 90 seconds to deal with the mechanics on the ship before the maiden that is there fires the main gun, which will wipe the raid. When a maiden boards the ship, you need to send several players over to the ship to stop this from happening. 

When Marak boards the ship you need to send a tank, healer, and several ranged DPS. The tank will need to hold agro on the add, while DPS kills him.  However, all players need to avoid an AOE damage pool that the add will spawn every 3 seconds under each player.  Once the add dies you can activate the bombs at the rear of the ship to stop Marak and then return to the main part of the fight.

When Gar’an boards the ship you need to send melee DPS and a healer.  There will be two adds that need to be dealt with.  The healing add needs to be interrupted while the melee add is killed.  As soon as the melee add is killed players can activate the bombs at the rear of the ship and return to the main part of the fight.

When Sorka boards the ship you will need a tank, healer, and AOE style DPS..  The main add targets random players and throws a knife that deals huge damage, however the tank can get in the way to soak the damage from the knife.  Throughout the fight there will also be a huge number of adds that are summoned that apply a stacking debuff to players they hit, and therefore need to be AOE’ed down extremely quickly or the tank will be overwhelmed with damage. As soon as the main add is killed players can activate the bombs at the rear of the ship and return to the main part of the fight.

While players are on the ship are dealing with the mechanics there, the remaining players must continue to deal with the other two maidens.  However, during this time waves of bombs will land in the room.  There will be an initial wave with a few bombs that players need to avoid as they land, then everywhere else in the room will be hit by a second wave, meaning you need to move to the places the first wave landed.  Then the first wave will start to explode, so move to where the second wave landed, then the second wave explodes, so move back to where the first wave just finished exploding.  Sound complicated?  It’s not, once in the fight you will see how it works and its pretty easy, basically a 1-2-1-2 dance. This is a rinse and repeat process until the boss on the boat is stopped and the player’s return.

Once the bosses get to 20% health the fight becomes insanely hectic.   You need to get rid of the bosses as fast as possible, so this is where you should use Heroism.  Also since Marak has the most damaging 100 energy ability, she should die first.  The normal kill order is Marak the Blooded, then Admiral Gar’an, and finally Enforcer Sorka. However, keep in mind that any time a turret is summoned, it needs to die quickly.

This fight is extremely elegent and one of the best from Blizzard in a while.  All of the mechanics are simple and understandable, but when tied together create an extremely challenging and rewarding encounter.



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Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Byron has been playing and writing about World of Warcraft for the past ten years. He also plays pretty much ever other Blizzard game, currently focusing on Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone, while still finding time to jump into Diablo III with his son.


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