Originally Posted by LoreWelcome back to the Tankspot Dragon Soul Raid Guide. My name is Lore, and today I'll be showing you the Madness of Deathwing, the final encounter in the Dragon Soul raid instance. Like most other Dragon Soul encounters, you'll want 2 tanks, 6-7 healers, and a balanced mix of DPS.
As the final fight in Dragon Soul, Madness has a lot going on. Not only do you have Deathwing throwing everything he can at you, but the Dragon Aspects are trying to help out as much as they can as well. Fortunately, once you've gotten the jist of things, the strategy ends up being pretty straightforward. Let's see what you're up against.
Phase 1 - Abilities
The encounter takes place on four platforms around the Maelstrom, which players can move between by just walking off the edge -- a gust of air will toss you over to the next platform. Each platform has a Wing or Arm tentacle, which Deathwing is using to grab ahold of it, and a Dragon Aspect which add their own buffs and mechanics throughout the fight. We'll start by taking a look at the Aspects.
Ysera, the green dragon, provides the raid with an aura that increases all healing done by 20%. She also gives everyone an Extra Action Button ability called Dream, which reduces the damage you take by 50% for 5 seconds, on a 30 second cooldown. Remember, just like Ultraxion, if your UI doesn't show the Extra Action Button frame, you can keybind it under Extra Action Button 1, or use a macro.
Nozdormu, the yellow dragon, provides a 20% haste aura, and will also create Time Zones -- little bubbles that look similar to a Power Word Barrier that are used to deal with various other mechanics. We'll discuss those in more detail later.
Alexstrazsa, the red dragon, increases everyone's maximum health by 20% and uses an ability called Cauterize, which kills off some of the adds you'll be dealing with in phase one. Again, we'll talk about those a bit later.
Finally, Kalecgos, the blue dragon, actually provides you with two buffs. The first is an aura that increases the damage you deal by 20%. The second is called Spellweaver. This causes all of your spells and attacks to trigger an extra attacked called Spell Weaving that deals a heavy amount of arcane damage.
Shortly into the phase, Deathwing will begin to attack whichever platform has the most players standing on it. Now, as each dragon's platform is cleared, they'll move on to assault Deathwing directly, causing you to lose whatever benefits they were providing you with before. In order to clear each platform, you'll have to take out the Wing or Arm tentacle there, while also dealing with several different mechanics that Deathwing is throwing at you.
The first of these are the Mutated Corruptions. They're giant tentacles that spawn towards the back side of the platform, where they need to be tanked, and have two main abilities. The first of these is Crush -- an extremely powerful AOE attack that targets a random raid member and hits everyone in a small cone in that direction. The second is Impale. He'll start casting this on his current target, and after a couple seconds, deal massive physical damage that will actually 1-shot a tank if they don't use a cooldown.
Next up, Deathwing will fire an Elementium Bolt. If this lands, it does a huge Fire AOE to the entire raid. The farther away you are from the impact point, the lower that damage will be, but it still hits pretty hard. After it lands, it continues to radiate a fire damage aura, but the damage from that is much lower. Now, if Nozdormu is still active, the Elementium Bolt will get caught in his Time Zone and be slowed down significantly, allowing your raid to actually kill it before it lands.
Not long after the Elementium bolt is cast, Deathwing will start to Hemorrhage, which spawns several Regenerative Bloods. These can be AOE'd down; however, they have an energy bar that will slowly fill up over 10 seconds. Once the bar gets to 100, they'll be instantly healed back to full. On top of that, they'll be stacking up a shadow damage over time effect on the tank, so they do need to be killed quickly.
Every 25% of the Wing or Arm tentacle's health, it will spawn a wave of Blistering Tentacles. These will quickly stack up an aura called Blistering Heat that deals significant damage the higher it gets. What's worse is that they cannot be hit by multi-target abilities -- each Blistering Tentacle must be killed with single target abilities. Fortunately, if Alextrasza is still active, she'll kill them all off for you.
Eventually, Deathwing will just decide to go ahead and start up the Cataclysm. When he does, you'll have 60 seconds to finish off the Wing or Arm tentacle and break the cast or, well, everything dies. While he's casting this, the Dragon Aspect for the platform you're on will start attacking the tentacle as well, which increases the damage it takes by 100%. Once the tentacle is killed, he'll stop the Cataclysm, and the raid should move on to the next platform.
Alright, so now that you know everything you're gonna be dealing with, let's talk strategy.
Phase 1 - Strategy
When you first start on a platform, Deathwing won't have spawned anything yet, so you'll want to put as much DPS as possible into the Wing or Arm tentacle as you can before the Mutated Corruption spawns. Once that's active, a tank should pick it up and DPS should immediately switch and start burning it down as quickly as possible. Now, the damage it deals from Crush is in a cone, so it can help a lot to try and position the ranged and melee groups so that, when one is targetted, the other isn't hit. When it uses Impale, tanks should swap immediately and whichever tank was targetted should use a major defensive cooldown to make sure they can survive the hit when it comes.
You should try to kill the Mutated Corruption as fast as you can, but it will most likely still be alive when the Elementium Bolt comes. If Nozdormu has a Time Zone active, DPS should switch immediately to kill it before it lands and avoid the huge burst of AOE damage. If there is no Time Zone, you're going to get the big AOE no matter what, so get as far away from the impact point as possible (which shows up as a swirly yellow graphic on the ground), use a raid cooldown such as Divine Guardian or Tranquility, and continue to burn down the Mutated Corruption. After the initial blast, the continued AOE is actually less dangerous than the Stomps from the Mutated Corruption, so it's best to finish that off first before moving over to kill off the Elementium Bolt.
After both of those are dealt with you should have a short period of time to start working on the Wing or Arm tentacle again before the Regenerative Bloods spawn. Those should be picked up and AOE'd quickly, and tanks should bring them over by the tentacle so that AOE damage hits it too. Any that aren't killed before they regenerate should be quickly finished off with single target DPS. Note that Nozdormu's Time Zones do NOT slow the amount of time it takes for the bloods to regenerate.
Somewhere around the same time you should get your first wave of Blistering Tentacles. If Alexstrazsa is still active, just ignore them and let her kill them off. Otherwise, you'll need to single target these down in a hurry, as the damage they do ramps up extremely quickly. This is another great time to use a raid cooldown. If you do happen to have a wave of Blistering Tentacles while the Regenerative Bloods are still alive, the Blistering Tentacles take priority. They need to die quickly. You'll have three waves of Blistering Tentacles to deal with before moving on, although in some cases the third wave doesn't actually spawn until the Wing or Arm tentacle is almost dead, at which point you can just finish it off instead.
Now, since you lose the assistance of one of the Aspects every time you clear a platform, the order you clear them in is obviously going to be important. I recommend starting with Ysera's platform, then moving over to Nozdormu's platform, then Alexstrazsa's, then finally going all the way back across to Kalecgos. That means you'll only have to deal with the elementium bolt landing twice, and you'll only have to kill the Blistering Tentacles yourself once. You really need the DPS buffs that Kalecgos provides to be able to kill everything quickly enough, so he needs to be last, and although the healing buff and damage reduction cooldown that Ysera provides are nice, they simply don't make up for the extra raid damage you'd be taking by clearing another platform first.
Note that some raid groups prefer to clear Alexstrazsa's platform before Nozdormu's, but in our kills we've found the single, large AOE easier to manage through raid cooldowns than the higher sustained AOE damage from the Blistering Tentacles.
Once you've finally cleared all four platforms, Deathwing will lurch forward, with his head landing on Ysera's platform at 20% health. Assuming you cleared Kalecgos last, you'll be able to get over there quickly and start to finish him off. This is a huge burn phase designed to push the capabilities of all your raiders to the limits. Fortunately, you'll regain the help of all four dragon aspects.
Throughout the phase he'll be hitting the entire raid with an AOE damage aura called Corrupted Blood. This already hurts a lot at the start, but every 5% of his health the damage will increase even further, so healers will be pushed really hard to keep everyone alive.
Soon after the phase begins, he'll summon a wave of Elementium Fragments. These are small tentacles that cast an ability called Shrapnel on a random raid member. Shrapnel deals a huge amount of physical damage, so players targetted by Shrapnel should use Ysera's Dream ability to keep themselves alive. When these tentacles spawn, DPS needs to switch over and kill them immediately.
Shortly after the Elementium Fragments, two Elementium Terrors will spawn as well. These have a heavy melee attack which also stacks up a debuff on the tank called Tetanus, which deals around 30,000 Shadow damage every second per stack. The stacks can be slowed by tanking them inside Nozdormu's Time Zone, but even then, the tank will be taking a ridiculous amount of damage and need to rotate cooldowns to stay alive long enough for DPS to burn them down.
Once both sets of adds are killed, DPS should focus hard on burning the boss. This is the best time for DPS cooldowns, potions, and Bloodlust. Your goal is to get him down before either the next set of Elementium Terrors spawns, or your healers run out of mana. Try to stagger any and all available raid cooldowns past the 10% point, and if you get another set of Elementium Fragments, just ignore them and keep burning the boss. Don't forget to use Dream as well to keep yourself alive. Once Deathwing's health gets to around 1%, he'll rear back and the Dragon Aspects will finish him off, saving the world from the Cataclysm and finishing the encounter.
The final burn phase is tough, but as long as you can make it there in good shape, you should be able to put out the numbers needed to finish him. Just focus on staying alive and pushing your DPS as hard as you can.
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