The Brood Mother returned in World of Warcraft’s patch 3.2.2 bumping up her level to level 80 and making her return again as if it was a prelude to Cataclysm. She’s got nearly the same fight...

The Brood Mother returned in World of Warcraft’s patch 3.2.2 bumping up her level to level 80 and making her return again as if it was a prelude to Cataclysm. She’s got nearly the same fight so veterans of the old fight will just need to know what’s new and a tad bit of a refresher to jump in. Otherwise, it’s a fairly simple fight with some awesome loot drops.

Can I run Onyxia?

The Brood Mother herself.

Ah, that’s an excellent question and one we’ll address first before we get into the discussion of how to fight her. Well, it’s difficult to say if you’re ready to take on Onyxia or not. She falls in to about the gear range of someone completely decked out in heroic badge gear. You may want your tank (you only need one) to be geared from Ulduar or above, for the obvious reason you’re going to want some mitigation. As a guild, if you can do Ulduar you can probably do Onyxia as well. Those still chomping on Naxxramas may find this to be a difficult encounter, but possible.

The 10man version is easily puggable and has fewer requirements than the 25man version, but it’s not unheard of to pug the 25man version if the pug is either ran by a group of people (tanks/healers) who are decently geared and know the fight or if it’s ran by a partial guild that finds Onyxia to be trivial. The 10 man version can be done easily.

Consider it slightly harder than VoA. If you can do well in VoA than you can probably do alright in Onyxia. The good news is that you won’t save until she’s dead.

Onyxia Basics

Onyxia has the standard Tuesday lockout timer, so you can do her once a week in both versions. She does drop 3 Triumph Badges in each difficulty meaning you can get an additional six badges per week.

The only difference between the old Onyxia and the new Onyxia is that she can’t be hit by melee in phase 2, she no longer drops aggro when she flies, Deep Breath takes a little longer to cast (it still can kill even geared people), and Lair Guards will spawn in the second phase.

If you don’t know where she’s at (it’s ok, old world is nearly forgotten now) then look no further than Dustwallow Marsh. She’s in the southern area, in a cave. There is NO attunement.

If you got the achievement before this came out for Onyxia then it’ll be a Feat of Strength.

Raid composition should be 2 tanks (3 tanks if you’re undergeared), 2 healers in 10-man, 5 healers in 25-man, and the rest DPS.

Watch out for her flame! It's hot and can melt most non-tanks easily.

Onyxia Achievements

Looking for achievements? Here they are. They’re all titled after the hilarious MORE DOTS! video of a failed old school Onyxia raid and are pretty simple.

  • More Dots!: Get her down within 5 minutes and this is yours.
  • Many Whelps! Handle It!:  Spawn 50 Onyxia Whelpings within 10 seconds then defeat Onyxia. It’s easy as pie if you have the gear/skill to handle it. If you run into the cave you can spawn whelps. Do that and spawn enough of them and defeat them. It’s simple, but hard. You need the gear and skill to handle it. Have all your ranged DPS to focus on it.
  • She Deep Breaths More: Defeat Onyxia without anyone taking a deep breath. You’ll just need everyone in the raid on their toes for this. You’ll want to take phase 2 slower but faster, as in when she deep breaths get EVERYONE away but have your DPS going nuts when she’s not breathing.
  • Onyxia’s Lair: Easy, kill Onyxia
  • Onyxia’s Lair (Old World): No longer attainable, it’s now a feat of strength.

Onyxia Tactics

There are three phases to the fight that are similar to before. A ground phase, an air phase, and finally a final ground phase. We’ll go into each phase below.

She has about 5 million HP in 10-man and 22 million HP in 25-man.

Phase 1 (100% health to 65% Health)


  • Wing Buffet: Frontal cone damage ability that does massive damage.
  • Tail Sweep: Knock back and damage ability in her rear cone (where her tail is). This can knock someone into the whelp cave causing MORE WHELPS. Don’t stand there. Ever. Seriously. Just don’t.
  • Cleave: She cleaves in her frontal arc and does about 10~20k damage so you don’t want to stand in front of here. If Wing Buffet wasn’t a big enough clue there is…
  • Flame Breath: Does like 20,000 damage or something like that. Between the cleave, the buffet, and the breath then you’ll just insta die if you get in front of her. She should be close to the wall, so that’s hard to do unless you’re the tank.

The tank needs to run ahead of the raid and pull Onyxia and move quickly to the back wall positioning Onyxia facing the wall. This needs to happen fast so she doesn’t Breath or Cleave the raid. DPS should trail behind doing light DPS and avoiding the tail. When Onyxia is in position then the melee needs to be position on her sides avoiding the frontal cone (where she cleaves, breaths, and buffets) and the tail (where she will tail smack you). If you get tail smacked into the whelps you can wipe, so don’t even mess with her tail.

[protip]If you get hit in the whelp caves you’ll spawn more whelps and this can and will wipe the raid. Offtanks can pull the whelps and you can AoE them down, but it’s best to avoid this. You might not get invited back next time if this happens.[/protip]

Ranged DPS should avoid the tail too and just stand to her sides. There won’t be any adds in this phase so it’s just a straight up DPS fight. When she gets to 65% she’ll walk south and fly up in the air. When she’s in the air it’s what we liked to call phase 2.

Phase 2 (65% to 45%)

  • Whelp Spawn: Many whelps come from the sides. Handle them. 40 come out and they come out at first and then every 90 seconds or so more will come.
  • Fireball: Takes two seconds to cast and does light AoE damage. Have everyone spread out.
  • Deep Breath: Kills you, fires off from a frontal cone that’s in front of her and goes all the way to the other side of the room.
  • Lair Guards: Lair Guards come every 30 seconds or so and they use a cleave, a fire AoE, and Ignite Weapon which does a ton of damage.

There will be MANY WHELPS of which you will want to HANDLE THEM. 20 from each side and you want your tank to chill in the middle with EVERYONE else so the whelps all go into the middle. Just call to collapse into the middle for EVERYONE and then have your melee and some of the ranged to AoE down the whelps fast. A tank can easily handle it for a bit (Paladin tanks rock here) but 40 mobs will easily eat through even the strongest defense over time so get them down fast.

[protip]Her hit box is HUGE, so even when she’s flying off you can still whack her some more. Use your DoTs to make sure you get a ton of rolling melee damage even after she’s past the 65% point. Once she’s in the air you won’t be able to hit her again as melee. [/protip]

Afterwards you’re going to have two roles. Ranged DPS needs to KEEP on Onyxia with MORE DOTS (ok it’s not that funny anymore) and ranged attacks while melee keep on the adds that spawn every 30 seconds. They do an Ignite Weapon which can be defeated by disarming them and an AoE blast wave that has a cast time (just run away). If any are still alive when the next ones come then have some ranged switch over.

Deep Breath is a big deal here. Every now and then (it is random folks, it is still random) she’ll do a deep breath. This is when she’ll do a raid warning and start casting it. Everything in a line in front of her will be hit by the deep breath. This means that you shouldn’t stand in her frontal arc while she’s in the air. Tilt your camera up and look. Don’t assign someone as a safe spot since everyone is going to be spread out (especially while dealing with the whelps and the adds). Move out of her frontal arc and stay out. She’s going to fly in a straight line leaving a large path of flames that will insta kill you if you’re in the middle of it and do a ton of damage even if you’re near the edges and run out.

[protip]Staying alive keeps your damage moving more and Deep Breath can kill you faster than anything else this phase. So take it serious. Another pro tip is to avoid DPSing or AoEing the whelps too early, else you’ll get torn apart real fast.[/protip]

From personal experience I will say that you shouldn’t get cocky with deep breaths. Thinking I was over geared and didn’t really have to care about running too far away. I quickly learned my lesson as I was hit by it and couldn’t run away.

This pet is a drop from Onyxia. Good luck with winning it!

Phase 3 (45% until dead)


  • All of phase 1 abilities
  • Fear (Bellowing Roar): Fears everyone for 3 seconds.
  • Eruption: Fire damage from the cracks in the floor, can happen during Bellowing Roar. Does light (5,000ish) damage.
  • More Whelps: A small number of whelps spawn in this phase.

This is a repeat of phase one. The tank will have aggro when she lands and everyone will want to get away from her as she’s dragged back to the wall to be tanked again. She’ll fear so put Fear Ward on the tank and your healers will need to do a bit of raid healing to make up for the Eruption damage.

At this point if your raid is mostly alive then you should have Onyxia down. She drops a plethora of loot in both modes including a 22 slot bag, a bag of gems, and her head which gives an awesome healing ring. A rare mount and pet drops, as well. Not to mention Tier 2 replacement helms with level 80 stats.

I hope your fight goes well with Onyxia and be sure to come to our forums and ask any questions you have if you’re having trouble.

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our World of Warcraft Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

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Get in the bush with David "Xerin" Piner as he leverages his spectacular insanity to ask the serious questions such as is Master Yi and Illidan the same person? What's for dinner? What are ways to elevate your gaming experience? David's column, Respawn, is updated near daily with some of the coolest things you'll read online, while David tackles ways to improve the game experience across the board with various hype guides to cool games.


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