One strategy for fighting normal Magmaw involves having a single person kite the add packs while all other dps focus on the boss. Often enough, that single person is a hunter. What should you do if you get tasked with this job?
This guide focuses on the add kiter’s perspective and so it is not a good resource for someone who does not already know the fight. For general explanations of the encounter and its mechanics I would recommend the tankspot and learntoraid tutorials.
The ‘lone kiter’ strategy originates from a simple trait of the Magmaw fight: there is no penalty for the whole raid stacking at the boss’s hitbox so long as one person remains at range. If the raid stacks like this, the one person left out at range can determine the locations of the Pillars of Flame and consequently the add spawn points. The kiter also has almost the entire room to herself, as is clear in the picture below where the boss is the red dot, the tank is the yellow dot, the raid stack is the blue dot and the kiter is the green dot. This layout leaves a lot of room for kiting. Combine this with the slow movement speed of the adds, their potential to be snared and their lack of ranged attacks and you have a situation ripe for kiting.
Pros of This Strategy
- It allows all but one of the dps to be on the boss the whole time, resulting in a significantly faster fight and a more efficient use of time and energy.
- It reduces the number of people who can fail on pillars and adds to one, providing that the people in the raid stack group up appropriately on the boss’s hitbox.
- It is also a fairly easy way to get the Parasite Evening achievement so long as you have a good kiter.
- Edit: It’s also an easy way for the kiter to get a WoL ranking. I got 90th the other night as SV at 32k.
Cons of This Strategy
- It rests a lot of responsibility on one player.
- In my observation it increases the chances of the wrong person initiating chains.
- The strategy can stink for any hunters who aren’t the kiter because Magmaw’s hitbox isn’t as accomodating as Chimaeron’s or Valiona’s. Unless the hunters stand out at range and coordinate pillars with the kiter, they have to go within their min range on the boss every pillar cooldown (to avoid spawning a pillar on the raid stack). They also have to run out and away every head phase because the boss’s hitbox encroaches on their min range and halts their dps.
Before you enter the raid instance there are some things you might want to set up. One is your spec. An SV spec with Entrapment really excels at kiting on this fight because of its amazing AoE and its ability to hold spawns in place for four seconds with every application of Ice Trap. I’d also recommend glyphing Ice Trap for the larger area of snare and enabling nameplates (to see rogue adds more clearly). A nameplate addon that shows agro, such as Threat Plates, is particularly useful.
Before the fight starts make sure that healers know what you’ll be doing. Ask for a Beacon and/or a Lightwell if extras are available. I’d also recommend dismissing your pet or putting it on Passive. If it is left on Defensive and you aren’t paying attention it can start dpsing (and taking agro) on adds when it loses the boss target during the head phase. Agro isn’t so bad in itself except that it causes the pet to get infected and to start spawning more parasites, like that poor dog in Dreamcatcher. Lastly, scout out the rubble around the room. Some pieces can halt your movement and so it helps to know what areas to avoid while kiting.
- When the fight begins, stand where you want the adds to spawn because the pillars will always trigger under you. The first pillar comes 30 seconds into the fight. Drop Ice and Explosive traps and save up Focus in preparation.
- Run away to a safe distance when the pre-pillar flame circle appears.
- As soon as the adds spawn at the pillar’s location, target one in the middle of the pack and fire Multi-Shots. Do this right away before some of the adds start wandering toward healers.
- Kite the adds around in a circle on top of the Ice Trap to maintain high uptime on the snare effect. Refresh the trap in the middle as necessary.
- Use Aspect of the Fox to build Focus on the move. Always dump Focus with Multi-Shot (unless you need snap threat on some rogue add).
- Stay in range of healers as much as possible. You will be taking unavoidable damage from Magmaw throughout the fight and so you will need regular heals.
- Try to avoid kiting up against the raid. Stray tank attacks (like Revenge) can snag adds off you and keeping pillars well-away from the raid helps as well.
- Watch the pillar cooldown so that you can be in a good spot when the next one occurs. Treat subsequent pillars much like the first, excepting that you may wish to only use your Ice Traps in the middle of the room. Note that sometimes the cooldown will be interrupted as a normal part of the fight, such as when the boss gets pulled down by the chains.
- Stay out of Ignition (see the guides above to know what this looks like).
- Try to kill the adds so long as it doesn’t get in the way of your kiting. Kiting two packs requires more effort and takes up more space (at least initially) than one, and so if you can kill every pack before the next pillar your job will be easier.
- Use any downtime you have to dps the boss.
Difference Between 10 and 25man
The big difference between 10 and 25man is the amount of health that the parasites have. On 10man it is fairly easy to kill each set of adds before the next pillar. On 25 you may end up with a new pillar starting before the last batch is dead. So long as you place the pillars effectively and maintain a lead on the old pack this should not be a problem.
Things That Can Go Wrong and What to Do
getting hit by a pillar: It isn’t the end of the world, especially not for a hunter. Just Disengage before you hit the ground, preferably in the direction that you would have kited anyway. Disengaging allows you to avoid the fall damage entirely and gets you away from the adds.
someone other than you spawning a pillar: If someone not you is slightly out of the boss’s melee range at the time of the pillar spawn, it may well spawn a pillar on the raid stack. Caution the raid about this ahead of time if it’s your first time doing this strat. You can’t save anybody from the damage that ensues from a stray pillar, but you should be on the add spawns immediately with Multi-Shots. I’d caution you to not use an Ice Trap since (1) you want the adds away from the raid faster rather than slower, and (2) if you have Entrapment it will cause the adds the hit anyone they can in melee range even if you’re the one topping on threat.
being in melee range of an add: Pop Deterrence before you get hit and then Disengage to safety. If you do get infected by an add, make sure to be in range of healers and to pick up agro on your new baby as soon as it pops out. You don’t want to just watch with anguish as the evil ****-weasel goes after a friend (violent movie clip, nsfw).
someone other than you taking agro: Use Distracting Shot if it’s close to the player, otherwise use a high-threat shot like Explosive Shot for long-term threat. If multiple shots don’t take agro back, then the person who stole agro is doing something wrong. If the agroing person gets infected, keep an eye on them and snag the new add as soon as it appears.
Questions? Concerns? Please leave them in a comment below.