2.0 First Steps
3.0 Trash Mobs
4.0 Boss Fight
5.0 End Statement
Welcome to Cyrus's Onxyia's Lair Raid Guide! This is a guide aimed at new and old players alike, for the new players that will be heading into WoW Classic to experience the thrill of Azeroth for the very first time and the old players whose memory of the raid is starting to fade (much like mine). For those who are unfamiliar, Onxyia's Lair will be available from release of the game (Phase 1 out of 6), the gear inside this raid will largely remained unchanged as the game progresses through each phase, however, your pre-raid BiS certainly will.
This guide will be highlighting and taking you through the strategies required to run Ony. Most, if not all, of this information should be accurate as WoW Classic aims to provide an experience as close as possible to how it originally was back in the day.
The aim is to detail the basic strategies and compile everything into one place. Reading this will prepare you a little for what to expect in Onxyia's Lair, but it will not make you an expert! No amount of reading or guides can make up the experience of at least one full run yourself. Reading guides are extremely useful if you wish to run raid content and not become a burden to the group. Many raid/group leaders will expect you to know the basics already as going out of their way to explain everything whilst organising 38 other people can be extremely hampering. So do your leaders a favour and be prepared!
The philosophy of Cyrus is to jump into WoW Classic as a completely new experience. We are all going to be patient and happy to progress as though the game were new. New members are NOT expected to have intimate knowledge of the raids beforehand. Wiping lots makes better players, so our Guild Leader wont be looking for shortcuts.
If you have any better/differing strategies, or you feel something in this guide is wrong, please let us know in the comments so we, as a community, can discuss it. I will then update this post if better strategies or correct information has been revealed.
1.1 Table of Abbreviations
|DPS||Damage Per Second (Damage Dealers)|
|LBRS||Lower Blackrock Spire|
|UBRS||Upper Blackrock Spire|
|LoS||Line of Sight|
|AoE||Area of Effect|
|PBAoE||Point Blank Area of Effect|
|RSTS||Random Secondary Targeting System|
2.0 First Steps
Before you enter or start thinking about partaking in any raid, there is a little thought and preparation required. As with most vanilla raids (exception being Zul’Gurub), an attunement is required to give you access to the raid. Onyxia’s Lair is an extremely short raid, consisting of just a few trash mobs and a single boss. Despite being the only boss, the mighty dragon Onyxia should definitely not be taken lightly. Not only is Onyxia a tough foe herself, but there is a lengthy attunement process required before you can even step into her lair.
Similarly to MC, you'll want to think about bringing some fire resistance gear. How much and why is detailed more in Section 2.3. Additionally, you’ll also want to have a good supply of consumables on hand to use. This includes flasks, potions, food, ammunition, and anything else that can help boost your damage output or overall survivability, Consumables are further detailed in Section 2.4
2.1 Onyxia's Lair Attunement
Attunement with Onyxia’s Lair is no small endeavor. As a matter of fact, it is the longest attunement process in the entire game. You will require a Drakefire Amulet prior to claiming Onyxia’s head. I have listed a number of guides below to help with through the quest chain if you so please:
It's a quest chain that takes you right across Azeroth to fight elites and run some errands whilst also having you fight through BRD, LBRS and UBRS. So buckle up and enjoy the ride!
So what type of gear should you be looking to take? A good benchmark is that your gear should be your class's blue set or better. Most of the class sets are adequate but not great. To determine what pre-raid gear you should be looking at check out any class pre-raid guide for the Best in Slot (BiS) items. BiS gear can be found in any of the "Big 4" instances: Stratholme, Scholomance, Blackrock Spire, Blackrock Depths (Phase 1), or Dire Maul (Phase 2), and once they are released; Zul'Gurub (Phase 4) and Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj (Phase 5).
Fire Resistant (FR) gear is rather useful for fighting Onxyia. While everyone might not need it, it would be helpful to have a couple of +FR gear items just in case. FR is detailed below in Section 2.3. As much as possible, try to make a FR set that doesn't sacrifice all stats (In other words, don't wear all greens of +FR, although it may be necessary in a couple of slots).
2.3 Fire Resistance
When you get closer to raiding Onxyia you are going to have start thinking about obtaining pieces of Fire Resistance (FR) gear to wear or take along with you in your bags and swap over when necessary. The following stats are a rough benchmark to meet if your raid requires it.
- For Melee: 150-200 unbuffed.
- For Casters: 75-100 unbuffed.
- Hunters can get away with 0 FR unbuffed. However, I advise going in with around 75-100.
Here is a quick list of items that provide +FR that you might what to think of obtaining: http://brafish.tripod.com/FR.html.
Your class will have its own specific group of consumables that will be taken along to any raid. For a comprehensive list, please see the following lists and guides:
The minimum level of consumables to at least take should be to reach 200-300 FR buffed (when necessary) and a stack or more of bandages. Everyone should have potions; Major Healing for just about anyone and Major Mana if applicable.
Other consumables worth considering – These can be annoying to farm but can be an awesome asset:
- Food (+12 sta/spi, Nightfin Soup, etc.), Night Dragon's Breath and Whipper Root Tuber (since these don't share the potion cooldown)
- Blasted Lands Buffs
- Felwood Consumables
- Winterspring Juju’s
- Weapon Buffs
- Fire Protection Potion (If you haven’t been able to get your FR to 300 – if you have decent enough gear, this might not be necessary).
2.5 Raid Group Composition
A group learning how to kill Onyxia should bring a full level 60 raid group – 40 people. Every raider needs to have their Drakefire Amulet in their inventory before zoning in.
The classes you have at your raid should be pretty evenly distributed. There are nine classes and raids can hold 40 people, so most raid encounters are balanced for a raid group consisting of 4-5 people from each class. This is true for Onyxia. It’s important to have good healing and solid ranged damage dealers. Melee damage classes have limited usefulness during Phase 2 of the fight, but are important for Onyxian Whelps and the times when she’s on the ground.
People often ask if the talents your character has are going to make or break a PvE raid encounter. Yes and no. Experienced raid groups/guilds often play out their raid by having people spec certain ways. There is typically a “preferred” spec for each class and, in fact, there may be a need for different specs for the same class.
Most high-end encounters are planned out ahead of time and require certain specs to work properly. This is especially important before you get your higher-end equipment from the dungeons that you’re raiding. You can benefit greatly from those times and that’s when your spec becomes less important. A totally geared up, Tier 2 Warrior may be able to handle some raids without a full Protection spec, but it’s unlikely that they’ll do that.
It all depends on the demands of the group that you’re planning on raiding with and whether or not they can assimilate your current spec into their plans. To be invited to a raid group, simply ask what type of spec they require or would like and get into the raid. Don’t try and force your way in as your own spec unless you’ve been raiding for a while and have tested that spec.
3.0 Trash Mobs
Given the raid's short length, there is only one type of trash mob to face before taking on Onyxia herself. They are the Onxyian Warder and four of them are spread along the path to Onxyia's room.
+ Means info on the mob.
- Means what this mob does during combat.
= The strategy involved in killing it/dealing with it.
3.1 Onxyian Warder
+ Level 60-63.
+ Respawn when Onxyia is in combat.
- Pierce Armour: Reduces target’s armor by 75% for 20 sec.
- Cleave: Frontal cone attack.
- Flame Lash: Appears to target one random player. Deals 12-120 Fire Damage and applies a Magic debuff that reduces FR by 68 for 45 sec. The debuff can stack, and can be dispelled.
- Fire Nova: No cast time. Hits everyone within 20 yards for 1500 damage. They cast is every 5-10 seconds.
= MT can enter the melee range, while the rest of the raid kills it from a distance.
= Flame Lash can be dispelled and the other two abilities are melee-oriented.
= They have long patrol routes and you don’t want to fight more than one at a time.
4.0 Boss Fight
Its time for the only boss in the raid: Onyxia. She drops Tier 2 headpieces, as well as other fairly comparable loot. Onyxia drops the Head of Onyxia, which like most other end-bosses starts a reward quest for killing the last boss of an instance.
Her actual room is fairly circular and you enter from the south. On the east and west side there are egg pits, that should be avoided. If someone enters, any eggs that are touched will hatch and attack in swarms.
Onyxia is more about long term patience than all out DPS and speed. If you follow the strategies laid out here and have patience and practice a little you should have no issue beating her. She has roughly 1 million HP.
4.1.1 Attacks and Abilities
- Full immunity to the Fire school of magic.
- Full immunity to taunts. Best way for tanks to gain aggro is Sunder Armour.
- Fire Breath
- Cone shaped fire breath attack that hits everything in front of her for 3063-3937 damage.
- It is resistible.
- To avoid this, always keep her pointed north, away from the groups on the sides. Only the MT should be hit by her breath.
- School: Fire
- Radius: 45 yards, 180 degrees
- Wing Buffet
- A knock back attack (563-937 damage) that hits everyone in front of her, tossing them a fair distance.
- To avoid this, correctly position yourselves at her sides as far away as possible while still being in melee range.
- Keep your back away from the eggs.
- School: Physical
- Radius: ?? yards
- Tail Whip
- Another knock back attack (600-1000 damage) that hits everyone behind her, near the tail.
- Tail Whip throws players much further than Wing Buffet, likely well into the eggs if their back is to them.
- Causes a 2-3 second stun.
- Avoid this by never standing behind an angry dragon.
- School: Physical
- Radius: 30 yards
- Deals melee damage +315 to the primary target and up to ten other targets in front of Onyxia.
- Avoid this by remaining in your assigned and let the MT adjust who will be hit by this attack.
- School: Physical
- Radius: ?? yards
- Onyxia spits fire at random people. The fire hits for approximately 1700-2300 damage to anyone in the AoE.
- Avoid this by staying spread out so that the fire doesn’t hit people near you.
- Use bandages to heal yourself so your healers don’t use all their mana.
- School: Fire
- Radius: ?? yards
- Deep Breath
- When you see the emote: “Onyxia begins to take a deep breath,” approximately 5 seconds pass before a huge column of fire erupts along the floor from her spot.
- It’s more than likely that it can instantly kill everyone it hits.
- Bellowing Roar
- The ground shakes and Onyxia Fears everyone in the lair.
- The Fear is resistible.
- Occurs roughly every 30 seconds.
- The floor shoots lava every time Onyxia Fears the raid.
- Damages players within range for about 1500 health.
- Bandage yourself as often as you can.
4.1.2 Preparation and Setup
- When you reach the main chamber at the end of the tunnel, you will see Onyxia resting on the ground. Take this time to buff everyone and ensure that everyone has full health and mana. If you are using Greater Fire Protection Potions, take them now to start the potion cooldown.
- Enter Onixya's cave as a group. If any character enters before the rest of the group is ready, the battle begins. Once the battle does begin, the rest of the instance is filled with Onyxian Warders that can easily wipe anyone who lags behind.
- The raid is going to be split in half – even-numbered groups and odd-numbered groups. Evenly distribute the classes for each side. The organization of the groups is very simple, but unfortunately you have to do it during the start of the fight. Groups 1,3,5 and 7 are placed on the left of the room, while 2,4,6 and 8 are placed on the right.
- Groups 7 and 8 should be dedicated to keeping the whelps under control during Phases 1 and 3 in case one appears (they don't have to, but it can happen if someone gets too close). Otherwise their focus is solely DPSing Ony like the rest of the raid.
- On the east and west side there are egg pits, that should be avoided. If someone enters, any eggs that are touched will hatch and attack in swarms.
- The MT should have a Priest, a Warlock (for Blood Pact), and a Shaman or Paladin (for fire resist) in their group.
- Set up a healing rotation on the main tank to ensure he stays at full health, and that healers can regenerate mana between rotations.
- Mages should have Priests because they will need to AoE the Onyxian Whelps at some point.
The MT should proceed to begin the encounter and tank Ony up against the back wall to negate the knockback affects of Wing Buffet and give the rest of the raid room to maneuver. The Melee DPS should then flank Onyxia and position themselves away from the 180 degree attacks of Cleave, Fire Breath, the Frontal knock back and Tail Whip. Ranged DPS should follow suit and keep especially aware of their position in relation to Onxyia's Tail.
The Onyxia fight is made up of three separate phases. The first is when you enter and lasts until she is dropped until roughly 65% health. At this point she will walk to the south end of the room and take flight, entering Phase 2. This stage lasts until she is dropped to about 40% health, at which point she will land and enter the third and final stage of the fight.
Onyxia is definitely one of the tougher challenges within WoW Classic. This is due to the sheer number of mechanics in the fight, not to mention the length of time the fight actually takes. Onyxia has a mix of passive and active abilities, as listed in Section 4.1.1 above. Her active abilities will differ depending upon what phase of the fight you are in.
In Phase 3, Onxyia has all the abilities of Phase 1 with the addition of Bellowing Roar and Eruption.
MT should rush in a good 20-30 yards ahead of everyone to make sure they get initial aggro. Have the MT slowly move into position at the north centre of the lair. The MT’s exact position is very important due to the knock back. They need to be 10-15 yards away from the north wall. When positioned correctly, the knock back from Wing Buffet should bounce the MT against the north wall and have them land very close to their original position. Keep Onyxia facing north.
If you wish to play it really safe, no one should start attacking Onyxia until one of these two things happens: Her life drops to 99%, or a minute of battle passes.
The raid should pace itself slowly, this fight is more akin to a marathon then a sprint. Range DPS's will have the second phase to go all out and release their full power. It is advised that any magic ranged DPS use their wands from time to time to conserve as much mana as possible.
Furthermore, the other reason to not go completely crazy with DPS during this phase is because if Onyxia turns and uses her Flame Breath, all the characters with light armour (Warlocks, Mages, Rogues...), will die instantly, which would obviously lead to a wipe.
All classes that have some type of aggro reduction ability should use it as often as possible (Vanish, Feign Death, Cower ...) to assist the MT in maintaining his position on the top of the threat table.
There should always be no whelp spawns whatsoever during this Phase unless someone gets knocked into the eggs. If there are whelps, have a couple mages use Frost Nova and AoE’s to wipe them out. Keep Priests/Warriors ready to help if things turn sour. You should be able to handle any amount of whelps that come, but any more than about 15 may significantly damage the raid’s long term survivability. Don’t get anywhere near the whelps and you’ll be fine. Remember that the eggs do not require you to stand on top of them before they spawn like the UBRS Rookery room; their spawn distance is much larger.
Again, Onyxia should always be facing north.
During your first runs as an inexperienced raid group, Rogues should stick to using their default attacks (no combos/finishing moves) and casters should wait a few seconds between each spell. It’s best to survive the run slowly than continue to pull aggro from the MT and likely wipe the raid. Kill her slowly and steadily by keeping her on the MT and in position.
When she’s reached 70% life, take a good 30-second break on attacking to let the MT rebuild aggro; better safe than sorry. During that break is a good time to drink a fire absorption potion in preparation for Phase 2.
Aggro management and MT positioning are the keys to this Phase. This Phase is remarkably easy compared to the next two due to its straightforward “MT tank her in the middle, healers keep MT alive, everyone else DPS slowly” strategy. There should be no deaths and no whelps alive when Phase 2 starts. There shouldn’t be any need to drink any potions (except maybe a fire protection) or use anything with a noticeable cooldown during this Phase.
As said above, it is very important to let off DPS some time before the start of Phase 2 to ensure that the MT is at the top on the aggro list. It is best to let him/her re-establish firm control by giving him/her another 60 second period of time some time between Onyxia having 70% and 65% health. When she reaches 65% health Onyxia will walk towards the south end of her lair and take flight, starting Phase 2.
In this phase you must ensure that everyone maintains spacing from each other to negate the AoE damage when she casts Fireball. Players need to move around to ensure they have range to Onyxia while she is flying. In addition to avoiding Deep Breath and Fireballs you have two basic goals:
- Keep the whelp spawns under control.
- DPS Onyxia as fast as possible to get her to land.
Here is a visualisation of the safe and danger areas when Deep Breath triggers:
This attack completely destroys the run if it’s not dealt with properly. Deep Breath simply can’t be avoided and is completely random, so you’ll have to dodge it to your best ability. Every time Onyxia is going to move, there’s a 30% chance that she’ll decide to advance forward from her current position, a 35% chance that she’ll move left to a new position and a 35% chance that she’ll move right to a new position. If she chooses to move forward (in any of her positions) she’ll use Deep Breath. There’s a relatively intuitive method to avoid her flame. Imagine that her lair is a giant clock. If she’s facing 6:00 (south), you will be out of range as long as you are three clock positions away (3:00 or 9:00). Otherwise, you’ll be caught in the blast.
During this phase, all melee must focus on killing the whelps that appear on the sides of the cave.
When Onyxia takes off, each whelp pit will spawn a large group of whelps that need to be dealt with quickly. The raid should help the whelp groups (Groups 7 & 8) clear this initial spawning as fast as possible. After the initial group is dead they spawn in regular intervals and in smaller numbers that can be dealt with fairly easily once you are used to them. The Range DPS should assist with the first spawn of whelps before moving on to going all out with Onyxia.
The second main objective is to get Onyxia down to about 40% health as fast as you can. Ranged damage is all that can hit her while in flight, so it is important to have everyone doing as much ranged DPS as possible. You should track all debuffs and DoTs on her and ensure they are kept up so that you move through this phase as fast as possible.
Stop casting all DoTs when she reaches 42%. You do not want to build any threat with Onyxia through damage spells once she lands.
At 45% the MT should start building rage on whelps to pull Onyxia back onto him when she lands. At roughly 40% health Onyxia will land. Starting at this point the MT should follow her movements in the air so that he is right beside her when she lands. Also just before this point all ranged DPS on her should stop so that the MT can re-establish aggro when she does land. When she lands you move to Phase 3 of the fight.
Seconds before she lands, everyone needs to move away from the egg entrances to avoid being Feared into them. Everyone needs to go back to their Phase 1 positions against the wall.
Phase 3 is a reflection of Phase 1 with some key changes, she gains a new fear ability and fissures begin erupting around the room. The entire raid must recover the same positions as in Phase 1, but this time, stick closer to the wall.
At the beginning of Phase 3, the main tank may have a difficult time re-establishing aggro. There seems to be no clear reasoning behind which player she targets as she lands. She may clear her threat list completely, nobody really knows. Onyxia may attack and kill a half-dozen members of the raid before the main tank finally gets her attention. Getting her attention is a lot faster if, near the end of Phase 2, the main tank applies Sunder Armor and the casters stop attacking. Usually a full 1% health drop (as in Phase 1) will ensure complete aggro control for the rest of the fight if people are careful with their DPS.
As in Phase 1, if you draw aggro from the main tank, either shake it or run to the tanking spot to die. This is very likely to happen at the beginning of Phase 3 to all cloth classes, so be ready for it. You always want her facing north to avoid the Fire Breath attack.
The only other thing that makes Phase 3 tricky is the use of Bellowing Roar and Eruption. Every 10-30 seconds, Onyxia will briefly fear everyone in the raid and erupt lava from all the cracks in the floor.
It’s likely that the MT will get Feared and lose aggro before they’re in position. Assuming the MT has enough threat, she will chase them around while they are Feared. If she doesn’t, the second person on her aggro list is probably going to die. If she uses Fire Breath on a bunched up side while the MT doesn’t have aggro, it’s almost certainly a wipe.
For the tank to mitigate the affects of fear, they should look to obtain items such as item=10418. It requires blacksmithing, but any MT should have blacksmithing as a profession for all the other epic gear that would be available.
It is key is to keep the DPS at 50-75% similar to Phase 1.
Fire resistance is essential for all raid members, especially for the MT and OT, due to Eruptions from the cracks on the ground. The lava fissures explode with lava causing fire damage. You should make sure you are not standing on the cracks at all to limit the amount of damage when feared. If positioned right, you could avoid being feared into the cracks completely.
To avoid MTs being feared, they have to rely on changing to Berserker stance, activating Berserker Rage, and quickly changing back to Defensive stance. An experienced Warrior will be able to do this very quickly. Shamans should also be placing tremor totems, which occasionally remove Fear on party members. It’s very bad for the MT to be Feared because Onyxia will then turn and face the MT as they run around, possibly blasting a Fire Breath attack while facing a side of players.
You will see the ground shake, the Fear hit, and the lava fissures explode. Avoid this by getting rid of the Fear, if you can, and control where your character is standing, stay away from cracks in the floor; the explosions have limited range. If you do get Feared, and you usually will, there isn’t much you can do about it.
This part of the fight should be very similar to the first phase. Keep your DPS under control doing about 50-75% of your max and clearing aggro as often as you can. The biggest change is the addition of the fear. Make sure you stay away from the whelp pits so you are not feared into them and if you are call it out fast so that the whelp groups can kill them quickly.
Anyone that can do damage should be focused on balancing DPS and threat while surviving. Anyone that can heal should be healing the MT. If your Priests say the MT is under control, backup healers should be keeping people alive who are hit by the exploding lava.
Just keep the MT alive, keep yourself alive, and do as much damage as possible. Kill her before she kills all of you.
Stick to the plan, stay calm, and be at the top of your game. Your MT has a lot of learning to do during this Phase. They need to be ready to deal with Fears, aggro, positioning, knock back, occasional teleports, everything. The MT makes or breaks this Phase.
5.0 End Statement
If you have reached this point and have read, pretty much, the entire thing, I applaud you. You are the type of raid member every raids needs. It is a very long read, and a lot to take in. So feel free to have this up whilst you are running Onxyia's Lair (this is where a second screen is amazing). Well done for putting up with my writing style, I am no novelist. If your first language isn’t English then you deserve even more praise. Feel free to get in contact if there are some things you don’t quite understand - my inbox is always open.
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Note: I take the credit for compiling the guide you see here, however, quite a bit of the description and strategy in each part has been taken from different sources across the net, with a lot of tweaking here and there by yours truly.
My sources include: https://classic.wowhead.com/guides/onyxia-lair-attunement-classic, https://www.warcrafttavern.com/guides/onyxias-lair/, https://wowwiki.fandom.com/wiki/Onyxia_(original), https://classic.wowhead.com/guides/classic-raid-onyxia-lair, https://classic.wowhead.com/guides/onyxia-lair-attunement-classic, https://www.wowhead.com/, https://www.ownedcore.com/, http://www.angelfire.com/, https://alliancehall.wordpress.com/