Naxxramas Strategy: Anub’Rekhan

9 01 2009

editor’s note: to date, I have not been able to run any of Naxx on 25-man (heroic) difficulty, so the boss mechanics may change slightly in that format. This post is addressed from the 10-man setting.

  Many, if not all of you are taking your first steps into Naxx by now. On most servers, a large number of guilds have successfully cleared it in its entirety at this point as well. I’m writing more for those who are new here, in order for you to better help understand the mechanics of the fights and what to expect so that you can successfully collect your epics! Regardless of what role you have in the fights – tank, DPS or healing – I’d recommend that you read over the roles that each group will be performing in order to have a clear understanding of how the whole fight will go.


  The first boss faced in the Arachnid Wing is a massive Scarab Lord, Anub’Rekhan. as you enter the first room of trash pulls, he may be accessed via the hallway to your immediate left. Do not be too concerned about trash here (or really, in most of the raid). The Skitterer packs are easily managed and constitute no threat at all. For the four-pulls, you may want to get a Poison Cleansing Totem out if it is available to make things easier; the bright yellow & green spiders will occasionally charge to random member of the raid, but they will return to the highest aggro target afterwards. Spiders are also capable of a web-pull, much like the Death Grip skill, though you will only typically see this done to the tank as they close into range for the initial pull. Regardless, they are not difficult pulls and should not pose a problem to your raid. After a few pulls you will arrive at Anub’Rekhan’s room. Get your raid just inside the archway so that nobody gets locked out, and take a moment to look over the setting.

  You will notice that the room is laid out in a circular fashion, with alcove platforms at 12 o’clock (Anub’Rekhan’s starting position) and 6 o’clock, where your raid is standing presently. These two platforms will play a major role in the fight, and will be discussed in the tanking section. Additionally for tanks, take a look at the perimeter of the room between the two alcoves. You can see that there is a trench of green liquid (like the canals of Undercity) around the edges, and a small lip to the outside of that canal as well. Once again, this terrain is important to tanking successfully, so be sure that you understand the topography. Finally, note the floor textures for the room; you’ll see a large green circle on the floor in the very middle. This is a very good reference point for ranged players – notably casters and healers – and you will likely be using it during the movement portions of the fight.

  Tanking – The fight will require two tanks, one of them a defined and well geared Main Tank, and the other one (which will pick up adds) can be outfitted in largely DPS gear, but will still need to maintain some degree of mitigation. For this (and other) reasons, a Feral Druid is an ideal Offtank for this encounter. Death Knights and Warriors are good, while Paladins may struggle somewhat due to one of the mechanics involved.

  To start the initial pull, the Main Tank will simply run in; Anub’Rekhan will body pull when the tank reaches approximately the center of the room. Once initial aggro is established, the Main Tank should work to drag Anub’Rekhan back towards his starting position. Take care not to move him too deeply into the alcove; you ideally want to be located in a position that would place you right in that circlet of green slime around the room, if not for the bridge area that you’re standing on. The Offtank will want to engage Anub’Rekhan as well during this initial phase.

  Shortly after the fight begins, you will receive a raid warning that says “A Crypt Guard joins the fight!”. This is the cue for the Offtank to get busy. The Offtank must immediately pick up this add and hold aggro as all DPS should be switching to it. Because they can function in Cat form for DPS phases (and with DPS gear) and switch out to Bear for adds, this is what makes a Druid desirable. You don’t lose much DPS in the gearing, and they have the tools to immediately pickup and hold the add. For this first add, though, any tanking class should have no trouble picking it up via Taunt and the usual threat mechanics. Once it is down, the Offtank can return to DPS on Anub’Rekhan.

  Not long afterwards, Anub’rekhan will initiate the one difficult mechanic of the fight and start his Locust Swarm. This ability will silence casters in a 30-yard radius and place a DoT on anyone in range as well. Around the time that he does the first Locust Swarm, the second Crypt Guard will invariably spawn. Because of the silencing effect, this is why a Paladin Offtank is less favorable as they will have a difficult time establishing initial aggro, and even if they do it may well be pulled off them. Regardless, the Offtank should either maintain the second add in its spawn position, or consider bringing it more towards the center of the room and away from the main action as the fight is about to transition 180 degrees from its present point.

  As a Main Tank, you will know that Locust Swarm is starting because Anub’Rekhan will raise his abdomen and make a sort of bowing motion in the direction of the Main Tank. This is your cue to run, as this is the kite phase. The Main Tank will begin running around the perimeter of the room from the 12 o’clock position to 6 o’clock, back to where the raid stood on first entering the room. You will want to run on the outer lip of the slime trough, right next to the wall so as to maintain maximum range for Anub’rekhan and his Locust Swarm from the raid. Do not run in the slime; it will debuff you to half health if you enter it. Anub’rekhan will follow you as you run – he is just a bit slower than run speed – until you reach the 6 o’clock position. once you reach this spot, stop running and pivot around to face him. On arrival, he will cease the Locust Swarm and the fight continues as before, until this cycle repeats. Also, be sure to designate beforehand which side you intend to run to, so that the raid can maintain proper spacing away from you. Most raids will have the tank make their kiting run through the 3 o’clock side of the room. When the time comes to move him back to 12 o’clock on Locust Swarm #2, retrace your initial path back instead of completing a full revolution so as not to cause any confusion which may result in a wipe.

  A minor secondary note for the Offtank: Anub’rekhan will periodically Corpse Explode the bodies of the fallen. Usually, this is limited to the defeated Crypt Guards, but should a member of the raid die, they will be included as well. These explosions will spawn a number of smaller adds which do not hit terribly hard and have low health, but the potential to be a nuisance. More often than not, these can be AOE’d down, but (depending on the situation) may require a brief bit of offtanking. Note that these spawns are a really, really good reason to not let any one member of the raid die. Do your best to help out your healers!

DPS – Melee DPS will want to follow the Main Tank in on the initial pull, and set about their business once Anub’Rekhan is properly positioned. As Crypt Guards spawn, switch over to them immediately and down them so that you can return back to the Boss. During the kiting phase, you will likely be occupied with a spawned add, but once it is down simply make your way via the shortest route possible to the 6 o’clock part of the room (or 12 o’clock, depending on which way he is being kited) and resume DPS once Anub’Rekhan arrives.

  Ranged DPS should ideally setup at maximum range when DPSing Anub’Rekhan. As Crypt Guards spawn, shift your attention to them until down and resume on the boss. When Corpse Explosions occur, ranged DPS will have the primary responsibility for eliminating the spawned trash adds. If an AOE attack like Blizzard, Hurricane or Volley is available, use it as soon as possible and return to boss DPS once the threat is neutralized.

  For Shamans, place your caster totems in the green circle as you run in, then go a little bit towards the melee group to drop any totems that may be down for their benefit before you either join the melee or caster group, as spec demands. Adjust the melee totem after the kiting phase so that it remains in beneficial range to the melee and tank group.

  During the kiting phase, ranged DPS may continue to attack Anub’Rekhan if no adds are present. Be conscientious of the Locust Swarm debuff; not only do you not want to get DoTted and place additional strain on your healers, but the silence effect will also occur if you get too close and prevent you from doing anything effective for a few seconds until it wears off. This is where that green circle in the middle of the room comes into play. Most ranged DPS can stay in range for damage, but out of range for Locust Swarm, simply by pathing in a small arc around it. Take note of how far to the north of the circle you had to stand for initial DPS, and more or less mirror that distance as you move around it, and you should stay clear of the swarm, but in range to land your attacks.

  During the Crypt Guard spawns, Hunters may want to be especially aware with their Misdirects, especially if it’s during a Locust Swarm as this may make it difficult for an Offtank to acquire aggro. You may want to make a macro before the fight in order to make the process go smoothly, something like this:

  •   /target (offtank name)
  •   /cast misdirect
  •   /target crypt
  •   /cast arcane shot (or similar)

  Finally, Anub’rekhan will periodically send out lines of spikes from his position when Locust Swarm is not active. This ability will cause affected players to be thrown up into the air; you will take damage from the initial hit and from falling (though Rogues, Cat Druids and anyone with the presence of mind to cast Slowfall or Levitate can mitigate this). As melee DPS, you more or less have to grin and bear it; group healing spells will pick up the damage you take soon enough anyhow. For ranged players, try not to clump up too much. Stay close enough that spells like Chain Heal and Wild Growth will jump between you , but far enough that only one or two players are tossed into the air and it should not become overly burdensome to heal through.

Healing – As the main Tank is running in, set any HoTs and pre-emptive heals (like Earth Shield or Prayer of Mending) so that nothing bad happens before you get set up. Your initial positioning should be just slightly past the far edge of the green circle in the middle of the floor. Once you’ve set up in a spot to heal the tank, back up slowly until you reach maximum range. This will help to lessen the chance that you are impacted by Locust Swarm when it is up, thereby depriving the raid of any of your healing.

  Until the Locust Swarm, you should be able to remain more or less stationary during the fight. Dump whatever group healing you can into the melee group, but don’t lose focus on the Main Tank or Offtank – Anub’Rekhan is capable of taking most tanks down in 3-5 hits, so letting your attention wander for a moment too long can prove fatal to the raid.

  When he starts the Locust Swarm, you will have your most critical role in the raid. One of the more common reasons for a wipe is that the Healers lose that Main Tank during the kite. This happens primarily because the Main Tank outranges the Healers, or they get too close and become silenced. Ideally, the Main Tank Healer should mirror the movement of the tank as he runs around the perimeter of the room, moving is a small arc near the center of the room so as to always be in range of the tank, but outside of the Locust Swarm debuff range.

  As soon as the Locust Swarm is imminent, renew your proactive healing on the Main Tank – new Earth Shield, Prayer of Mending, HoTs – and it should serve as a sufficient buffer during the phase. If your tank is skilled enough at the movements, and leaves for his run the moment that the Locust Swarm animation is visible, this may constitute all of the healing necessary to see the Main Tank through to his new position. In this case, the Healer assigned to the tank can simply make a beeline south to a position mirroring his initial position and be ready to resume tank healing as soon as the Main Tank arrives.

  The healer(s) not assigned to the Main Tank will be responsible for keeping the Offtank and raid topped off. In general, these Healers should be able to station themselves sightly to the 9 o’clock side of center, and far enough north or south (dependant on which side Anub’rekhan has been kited to) that they can target the melee DPS. This reserve position will place them well away from any threat of Locust Swarm, and they will be free to focus on their healing duties. Offhealers should be aware during the kite phase of the positioning for the Main Tank and able to move into position for an emergency heal, should the Healer assigned to the tank accidentally come within range of the silencing effect.

Anub’Rekhan has an enrage timer of 10 minutes. With only 2,230,000 health (and assuming that you have to spend 1/3 of your DPS time on adds, or in kiting phases, and that you have 7 players as DPS or Tanks, with Healers as noncontributors to DPS), that only works out to a 796 DPS average between DPS and Tanks to beat the timer. In other words, if you can’t get him down before the enrage, you may want to consider getting better gear.




3 responses

21 01 2009

Had a go at this last night and our tanks couldn’t get the hang of the running + us healers struggled to keep in range – will make sure to tell them to run around the outside of the slime tomorrow 🙂 Thanks!

21 01 2009

For Naxx-10, we just tank him by the door and keep all ranged and healers at max range. Then just burn through the Locust Swarm instead of kiting. This doesn’t work in 25-man, but for 10-man it can work just find if your healers are good.

27 01 2009

We actually found that its not that hard to heal through even on 25 man. Its certainly do-able.

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