WoW Classic Spotlight: Onyxia's Lair
Hey everybody! In this new series, we start exploring elements that made Vanilla hold its coveted spot in our hearts. For the very first article, since we had a taste of classic raiding with the
, we decided to spotlight one of the very first raids in the history of WoW:
Serving as most player's first raiding experience in Vanilla, Onyxia's Lair is located in the swamps of
. Gaining entrance to her lair, though, was no simple task: to be able to even enter the lair of the black dragon, you would need to have a
in your bags. This amulet also became a staple for people raiding
because of its Fire Resistance.
Without this very special, draconic-infused amulet, her fiery wards would be enough to
turn you and your friends into charred husks
Considerd one of the most epic journeys in Vanilla, the quest chains to obtain the Drakefire Amulet had you going all around the world, rescuing lost soldiers, uncovering nobles, or using illusions to fool a black dragon! If you never experienced those questlines before, or simply want to relive the memories from days long past, you can check the walkthrough for both factions below:
Since Patch 3.2.2, during Wrath of the Lich King and WoW's 5th Anniversary, Onyxia's Lair got revamped and turned into a level 80 raid. The quests below, as well as the
are no longer obtainable, and thus no longer required to enter the raid.
The level 80 version of Onyxia's Lair is what we have ingame nowadays,
and you can check out all about the revamp on this post!
In the Alliance quest chain, you investigate the Blackrock Orcs in the Burning Steppes, and learn a sinister truth about one of the closest advisors to Prince Anduin Wrynn...
Your adventure begins as a small quest chain to prove your prowess around the black dragonkins around Burning Steppes. This quest could be started as low as level 54, and it was the only quest available from this chain till level 60. Once you hit 60,
will have you know about his findings.
Helendis has reason to believe that the Blackrock orcs in the Burning Steppes are actually pawns of the Black Dragonflight. Having that knowledge, you're sent to talk to the leaders of the Alliance cities nearby. In Lakeshire,
, in desperation, sends you to Stormwind to talk to
. Bolvar understands the situation, but tells you he can't afford to send any help as Stormwind's forces are already spread out thin. He then sends you to talk to
, who has extensive knowledge of the dragonkin.
She tells you, quite bluntly, that this world does not need more heroes. Hm, that's weird.
After being sent back with the bad news to Lakeshire, all you can really do is report to
in the Burning Steppes, who sends you to
, a drunkard that was in a recon mission with Marshall Windsor. We learn that Windsor is still alive, aprisioned in the
You're sent to the Blackrock Depths to find what might be left of Windsor. He's found by one of the cells in the Detention Block, alive and well, but...
Looks like the data Windsor found was lost, and proof is right in front of Bolvar, but he just won't see it! Imprisoned and without hope, Windsor sends you away with a little reward. Looks like we reached a dead end. But, as you kill mobs in the Depths...
What is this? This note has omens of the fall of the Alliance from the inside. Information is being held by the Dark Iron Dwarves? Windsor must know!
So the dwarves did not destroy Windsor's information! We can yet put a end to whatever is going on in Stormwind. Go after the Dark Iron generals and retrieve that information back at once!
Looks like we have enough to uncover whoever is attempting to destroy the Alliance. Get Windsor safely out of Blackrock Depths! This is a escort quest that has you go all around the Detention Block, freeing inmates as you go. Remember Windsor can't die. Go back to Marshal Maxwell!
Gather friends and go to Stormwind at once! We have a dragon to uncover, right in the heart of the city!
You're walking with a legend. As you escort Marshall Reginald Windsor, wielder of
, the guards in the city all salute to him. Nerves of thorium, they say. Stand down, they say! Can you not see we have heroes walking among us?
As you approach Stormwind Keep, Windsor reveals to you that he knows he won't survive this. Even then, you both rush into the keep and, with the help of the tablets you uncovered, Windsor reveals the truth. Lady Katrana Prestor, advisor to the Highlord, is in fact the black dragon
Broken tooltip, but the video works! Witness Onyxia's ousting.
As Windsor reveals her real form, the prophecy turns true, as Onyxia incinerates the Stormwind Knight then teleports away. All the guards around the throne room change to their true forms as soldiers of the Black Dragonflight. The act of sheer defiance breaks Onyxia's hold on Bolvar Fordragon, and shatters the amulet Onyxia used to control him. She escapes, but we will ger her! Sadly, the amulet Bolvar held dear is the key to get to her lair.
The medallion is shattered, useless in its current form. Maybe if we find another dragon blooded individual, we might be able to fix it. But where can we find one? Oh, I remember that blue woman from
... Time to visit Winterspring!
The Matron Protectorate of the Blue Dragonflight,
, mentions that while the amulet is broken, it can be repaired, although it requires the blood of a Black Dragonflight champion. The only known one is
, the final boss of Upper
. Gather a group and gather the
reforged, Onyxia's wards can't prevent you from entering her lair in Dustwallow Marsh. Good luck!
In the Horde quest chain, you first take care of a false leader under the control of the Black Dragonflight, then use infiltration tactics to gain access to the beast's lair...
Your first step is chat a bit with
, located by Kargath in the
. You're required to get a group and venture the Lower portion of
, killing the bosses
, as well as return any important documents you might find within the Spire.
Remember the words of the Warlord: Succeed and be honored. Fail and be forgotten.
Upon recovering the
and reading them (since the Warlord didn't mention you couldn't read those!), you learn that
is controlling the Overlord of the Lower Spire. Wait, Warchief? No, this can't be! You're then send to
to seek advice.
By talking to
, advisor to the Warchief and former Blackrock orc, you learn that Eitrigg left the Blackrock Clan due to the deaths of his two sons by the hands of Rend Blackhand, how he lived his days as a hermit in the
, and learn that it isn't really Rend that rules the the Spire, but
, brood of Deathwing. We learn that Rend is also protected inside Upper Blackrock Spire, but a powerful ascension seal blocks the way to him. You're then sent back to
Thrall had enough of Blackhand's claims of being the true Warchief of the Horde. After you obtain a
(or pay someone who has one), you venture into the upper portion of the Blackrock Spire and put an end to him, bringing his head to Thrall as proof of demise.
After finally defeating the false warchief, Thrall rewards the people of Kalimdor with the
In this quest, you have a chit-chat with Thrall, who
mentions how the black dragon Onyxia was ousted out of Stormwind
. Now back to her lair in the
, she became far too close to the Horde capitals for comfort. Now it is time to go after her!
Thrall has mentioned that one of his most loyal champions might have found a way into the dragon's lair. You can find
, Champion of the Horde, patrolling the roads of
. Rexxar points out that, to enter Onyxia's Lair, you need to... be a black dragon.
Okay, this might be a bit difficult.
After Burning Crusade was launched and Rexxar moved to
, Rexxar's role in this quest chain was replaced by
Rexxar mentions that you could be able to fool the black dragons by means of deception and illusion, sending you to a former master illusionist in Lordaeron,
After Burning Crusade was launched and Rexxar moved to
, this quest was renamed. The quest's original name was The Testament of Rexxar. Only the quest name and the NPC it starts from were changed.
Myranda tells you that the ritual to transform into a black dragon is quite simple, although the ingredients can be challenging to gather. You'll need to go to the Upper Blackrock Spire and gather enough
for the enchantment.
crafted by Myranda, you're ready to venture into southern Dustwallow Marsh and enter
's Den. Using the amulet, you transform into a black dragon! Emberstrife is an old gatekeeper of Nefarian himself, assigned to test the dragonkin who wish to ascent to the rank of Elite Guards of Onyxia.
The Test: Kill Elite Dragons
Emberstrife assigns you to kill three powerful dragonkin from the other dragonflights, and bring their skulls as proof of demise.
, the bronze dragon, is flying just outside the Caverns of Time in
, the blue dragon, is deep inside the cavern of Mazthoril, in
, the green dragon, is flying around the lake where Sunken Temple is located at, in the
After dispatching the first 3 dragons, Emberstrife gives you your hardest mission: get rid of a powerful red dragon,
. This quest is held with special care by Emberstrife, since Axtroz is located by Grim Batol in the
. Grim Batol is where Deathwing raged against the combined might of the Dragon Aspects, and Alexstrasza saved them. Bring Axtroz's skull to Emberstrife.
Emberstrife crafts the
from the skulls of the slain dragons, all the amulet is missing now is the final enchantment, presented by none other than
, deep into the Blackrock Spire. All you have to do is present the amulet to him.
There is a small problem with that: the illusion made by Myranda the Hag only works within Emberstrife's Den in Dustwallow Marsh. Looks like the intricate charade will be over. You return to Rexxar to see his assessment.
Pff, says Rexxar. Ritual? Enchantments? Nothing more than the Black Dragonflight boasting. All you need is spill the blood of Drakkisath on the amulet. You don't need a illusion to spill his blood, right?
After venturing into Upper Blackrock Spire and slaying the black dragon champion, Rexxar imbues the
with the dragon blood and you're now able to avoid the wards at the entrance of her lair. Good luck!
Onyxia would always drop two pieces of Tier 2 Helms, two pieces of her loot table, the
and an assortment of uncommon and rare items for level 60. Her loot table:
Tier 2 Helms
started the quest
. These quests had a selection of dragon-themed loot as rewards:
Those quests also have a really cool RP event, with the head of Onyxia herself being chained to Stormwind's gates, or put on a spike near Orgrimmar's entrance. After the RP event, players in the city will be blessed by the
Players with 315 Skinning, obtainable with either
附魔手套 - 剥皮
enchant could also also skin Onyxia for 2 to 4
. Those are used in creating
, and were fundamental for progressing through
Hunters that were on the quest
, part of the
quest chain, could also loot
Players also could use her Deep Breath in
, to temper the epic sword
Additionally, players that were on the quest to open Ahn'Qiraj could loot Chapter VI of
from her, provided you were on the quest
Boss Fight and Strategy
Onyxia, as the first dragon boss most people face in the game, set up the example of what a dragon fight should be all about. Dragons like both versions of
and others since her have had the same share of dragon-themed abilities.
You can check all her abilities below!
Onyxia is immune to all taunt abilities such as
. Abilities that have increased threat generation like
do work, though.
Onyxia is also immune to all Fire spells and effects. This includes wands with Fire damage and weapons with Fire damage procs, such
附魔武器 - 烈焰
To the east and west side of the room you fight her in, there are two entrances to a tunnel full of whelp eggs. Running too close to these nests will make the eggs crack, and spawn
Unlike many bosses, Onyxia does not close off her room once engaged. However,
s will respawn as soon as she is in combat, and will disappear once your raid wipes/Onyxia dies. This stops players from wanting to use the corridor leading to the Onyxia room for a possible advantage.
Onyxia can teleport characters to herself if they're too far away from her or her mechanics. This usually happens to characters near the start of her room, but there's been multiple occurrences of this happening to characters anywhere within her arena.
Onyxia unleashes a blast of fire that hits everyone in front of her, dealing considerable damage, enough to one-shot a non-tank without the proper preparation.
Knocks her main target back a short distance, and reduces their total threat by 25%.
Knocks all targets in front of her away. Unlike most dragons with this ability, this does not cause a threat drop.
Inflicts normal damage to her main target and up to 10 additional targets in front of her.
Sweeps her tail, dealing little damage but knocking away enemies behind her a fair distance.
At the beginning of Phase Two, Onyxia will take flight. Normal melee attacks won't reach her, but abilities such as
can still hit her while she's flying.
Onyxia breathes Fireballs at random targets. Those will deal a main hit on the target, and splash on a short area around the target.
Onyxian Whelps will spawn through all of Phase Two, even if there's no players near the nests. The spawns include a huge wave after Onyxia takes flight, then small waves through Phase Two.
: Onyxia signals she's gonna use this ability by using the emote,
"Onyxia takes in a deep breath..."
. A few seconds later, she flies across the room, unleashing a massive wall of fire as she passes to the other side of the room.
Phase One Abilities:
Onyxia lands back at the beginning of Phase Three, and continues using all her Phase One abilities till she dies or the raid wipes.
After a few seconds, Onyxia unleashes a zone-wide fear, causing everyone to run away randomly for a few seconds. The fear is usually accompanied by a wave of lava eruptions, with the cracks of the room's floor spewing lava.
Onyxian Whelps will continue spawning through Phase Three, although not as many times or as numerous as Phase Two.
Considering Onyxia has harmful abilities coming both from her front and her back, safeguarding a good position is fundamental. Let the tank charge in first, with the raid following by the sidelines 2 or 3 seconds after. Taking longer than that risks aggroing a
that respawns near the entrance of the room.
The main tank should position her by walking on a straight line to the back of the room, while the DPS takes the sidelines, trying to be away from her tail and also away enough to not trigger any egg nests. Getting hit by
and thrown to the whelps while the tank is positioning usually signals a very early wipe.
Give the main and off-tank enough time to build threat. What guilds usually do is let the tanks DPS her down to 99%, then start dpsing slowly. P1 is not a DPS race, so you don't need to go all out. A good strategy for casters is to forego spells and just wand her down in the first 10-15% of her health or so. This also helps conserve mana for P2, where ranged will need to pull as much DPS as possible. If you have any abilities that reduce threat, like
, use them on cooldown to help your tanks.
You must not pull aggro off Onyxia by any means, as a misplaced
will one-shot all cloth and leather users. If you pull aggro by accident, quickly accept that you will likely not survive and run to the tanks till they re-estabilish threat. You're very likely getting hit by a breath or cleave.
Onyxia goes to Phase 2 at 65%.
Once Onyxia hits 65%, she will walk to the entrance of her room, then take flight. Melee should be damaging her as much as they can, before she flies off. Tanks should take this time to position near the whelp nests.
After Onyxia takes off, a huge wave of whelps will spawn from both side entrances. Tanks must be positioned and ready to take aggro with any AoE abilities they might have. Mages can make the ordeal easier with
. After the whelps are secured, they need to be killed immediatly. This is the only big whelp wave of the fight - those will continue spawning at regular intervals in smaller waves, easy enough for tanks to hold and kill them.
Melee's main job is to kill whelps and maybe throw some ranged attacks at Onyxia, while Ranged needs to go all out as they're the main source of damage on this phase. Try to not clump as a stack to avoid splash damage from her
Also be mindful of Onyxia's positioning in the air - she will move around every 5 or so fireballs. You need to pay attention to that and get ready once she prepares a
. You'll know she'll start a breath by her announcing via a chat emote (
"Onyxia takes in a deep breath..."
). She will always move to a new position before preparing her Deep Breath, and will always breath the room in a path in front of her position, so move to the corners of that position once the emote is up. Ideally, always prepare for a possible breath once she moves to a new position, as those are random.
P2 is by far the most taxing on healers, so ranged should save all possible cooldowns and mana to burst her down during it. Onyxia lands back at 40%, and Phase 3 starts then. Preferably you will want to slow DPS at 42% and go back to wanding, to give the tank an easier time with threat on P3.
Once Onyxia lands at 40%, the fight is mostly the same as P1. The same start applies: stop attacking her entirely and let the tank hold threat and position her back in her P1 spot. Tanks may have a hard time holding aggro due to residual threat from P2, so use any threat reduction abilities you might have.
The main addition to Phase 3 is that the cracks on the floor now have lava crackling out of them, so take that into consideration on your positioning and stay away from those cracks. This is not always possible, as Onyxia ensures some chaos with
. Horde guilds have a easier time dealing with the fear, as they can plant
s next to the tanks so they're quickly broken out of fear. Alliance guilds with Dwarf Priests can cast Fear Ward on the tanks. Warrior tanks can also stance dance out of every other fear.
If you're not the tank, don't break the fear and stay away from potential Tremor Totems, as Onyxia prefers attacking non-feared targets. Just eat the fear and reposition once it's over. If you somehow resist the fear, run to the tank's position till the fear is over.
You still want to not pass the tanks on threat. Pay attention to your threat meter addons and never go above 75% threat. Keep your DPS slow and steady and she should eventually die.
, Onyxia's Lair was one of the first raids in WoW, available right at the game's launch.
Onyxia became famous outside of WoW thanks to the
Onyxia Wipe Animation
(WARNING! Loud yelling and lots and lots of swearing)
, which shows a raid leader rigorously set up a strategy for Onyxia only to have someone from his raid feared into the whelps. Originally only available in soundboard version, an animation was made later in true Newgrounds fashion.
Another meme born from Onyxia is how random her Deep Breathes are. Theorycrafters back in Vanilla attempted to pinpoint how often she does breath, never reaching a satisfying answer.
WoWWiki has a good list of reasons as to why she could be Deep Breathing more
, Onyxia had a huge influence over the House of Nobles of Stormwind, and was directly responsible for the disbanding of the Stonemasons, and the creation of the Defias Brotherhood.
If you really like Lady Katrana Prestor, you can look just like her with
. Check it out in our
Onyxia made a final appearance during the Cataclysm. She was "ressurrected" by her brother
and is part of the final showdown against him in
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