Which Cataclysm Raid Boss Should You Attempt First?

There’s no rush on shooting for raids at the moment. The holidays are over now and I know a number of guilds have scheduled their raids after New Years. While Conquest began informal raiding operations in December, I know that one question I struggled with was trying to decide what raid bosses to go after first. Each boss had it’s own set of challenges which made some easier than others. Raid composition also plays a role as some (Most?) encounters are ranged friendly compared to others.

You know you’re ready to raid

  1. You’re bored to tears of doing heroics repeatedly
  2. You’ve gotten all the epic gear you can get from reputations
  3. You paid an arm, a leg, and auctioned off the naming rights to your first born to buy epic quality gear
  4. Full set of augments including shoulder enchant, helm enchant, normal enchants and superior gems

You have 9 or 24 other people that are in the same boat as you are. It’s not enough that you are ready. You need to have a composition that looks like a competent raid group. Make sure you have enough tanks, healers and DPS players. If you’re serious about giving some of these bosses a shot, you don’t want to go in with 4 tanks, 4 healers and 2 DPS. While you might get certain fights down eventually, several of these encounters function as DPS checks with enrage timers.

Let’s take a look at what your raid leader need to figure out.

  • Can your raid group handle dynamic encounters? The Omnitron Defense System varies every attempt. You may not get the same sequence of Trons. Your raid group must be able to respond to different sets of abilities depending on which Trons are up. This is ideally suited for players who can pick up abilities quickly. It can be frustrating the first few times especially when your group is learning how to deal with poison clouds, ch ain lightnings, red lasers and so forth. But if you log enough hours on the encounter, you’ll eventually get a feel for the mechanics.
  • Does loot matter? Scout out the loot tables of the various bosses and see which one offers the greatest variety of loot which can be used. I wouldn’t worry about this too much though as this is the first tier of raid content. I guarantee at least someone will want something.
  • Is time of the essence? This may not be a big deal for some guilds, but others have extremely limited raid hours. Blackwing Descent only has one set of trash per boss. Bastion of Twilight has multiple pulls which involve up to 10 mobs on 25. Throne of the Four Winds has no trash at all. If you want to start throwing yourselves against a wall instead of grinding through the fun that is trash, then Throne of the Four Winds or Blackwing Descent will be the instances you’re looking for.

Great! So which boss should I aim for?

This is the order I would personally recommend and why.

Argaloth: I refer to him as Brutalus’ brother. This is a great DPS check for your raid composition to see how they do. If Argaloth repeatedly enters the berserk phase and your raid is unable to take him down without dying, it’s a good bet that some of the players need to acquire more gear somehow to meet the requirements. It also awards tier gear and PvP gear.

Magmaw: This boss will be easy to take down after a few attempts at it. Your raid will know what to watch for and expect during the two same phases.

Omnitron Defense System: A little tougher compared to Magmaw but the learning curve is steeper. Your raid group will need to make repeated pulls to cycle through all the Tron abilities and see for themselves what to do.

Halfus Wyrmbreaker: The trash leading up to him is a good check of DPS, tanking and healing. In the past 3 weeks we’ve taken him down, we’ve always gotten at least one epic item from trash. In fact, last night we received two Chelley’s Staff of Dark Mending. I grabbed one of them and we looted the other to a resident Resto Druid. I believe the heroic version of the staff is one of the best weapons out there for healing priests.

Conclave of Wind: The loot from this boss is an epic belt or epic ring which has a random enchantment on it. In other words, we don’t know what we’re getting when we take down the boss. I’d rather aim for the bosses where we do have an idea of what will drop. Conclave is also slightly more technical in the amount of coordination among the different groups that is required.

Regardless of what you choose, remember that you’ll experience all of them soon enough.

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About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.

Comments

  1. Geros (VeCo) says:

    We’re itching to raid, but we only have a handful of people geared so far, so it’ll be a while yet. It’s unfortunate I am already burning out on running heroics.
    I do have a question about Chelley’s Staff of Dark Mending though. What makes up for not having an offhand to enchant with 100 int when you’re wielding a staff. Unless the staff has a lot more int than the same ilvl main hand/offhand combo, that seems like a pretty steep penalty. In Wrath I know they had a caster staff enchant, but I haven’t found one yet in Cata.

    • They are reducing the 100 int enchant to only 40 in the next patch.

      I use the staff even over my 100 int mh/oh bc of my dire need for the extra spirit.

  2. For us, we chose Conclave of Wind to be our first boss encounter after Argaloth. My reasoning was to see how we could handle coordination.

    However, another factor that should not be overlooked and especially in the 10-man guild level, is that we don’t encounter as many epics. So even disenchanting stuff for Maelstrom Crystals is extremely important… even though we many not get the right enchants on the belts and rings, we do at least materials to put good enchants on our weapons!

  3. I think you somewhat exaggerate how much gearing up you need to do in order to be ready to start raiding. You certainly don’t need to be anywhere near optimal pre-raid gear to start raiding, the Cataclysm bosses are much more in the “execution check” direction than the “gear check” direction, imho. Better to get in there, start learning the execution, and you WILL get kills.

  4. I think it should be noted that there are some differences in difficulty between 10m and 25m (contrary to what Blizzard says), mostly due to composition, which affect the bosses people might consider to tackle first. For example, we tried Magmaw with a relatively melee-heavy 10m and found it rather difficult. In 25m, it was much easier for us because we had plenty of ranged. It was the same experience with Omnotron and Halfus. We did Conclave in 10m first with a fairly balanced group and killed it in 1 or 2 attempts. In 25m, however, we found it much more difficult (4 hours of wiping) due to getting 25 people to execute the movement coordination. Cannot comment further because we’ve only done the other bosses on 25m.

    For the trash epics alone I recommend Bastion of Twilight. One night we had 4 epics drop (2 from trash before Halfus and 2 from trash to Valiona). Getting Chelley’s and Soul Blade make a pretty big difference over the 333/346 blues most people will have.

  5. On the boe drops in these zones..has it been confirmed or can someone link an armory where one of these has actually dropped (any of the raid boe’s). There are conflicting posts that the boe drops are the same on normal and heroics that drop from trash (same as in wotlk).

  6. Argaloth is definitely the easiest raid encounter out there – I think he was specifically designed to be PUGable. The most important suggestion for new raiders, I think, is to not concentrate on one instance. My guild tried to get as deep into Blackwing Descent as possible without setting foot in the others, but the bosses beyond the first two are a big difficulty upgrade and have significant gear checks. We spent too much of our second week beating our heads against Chimaeron. Conclave, Magmaw, Omnitron, Halfus and Valiona & Theralion should definitely be the first five to gear up for the harder bosses that come later in the raids.

  7. I agree on Argaloth, but disagree on Magmaw. While he was the 1st boss we did, bc we only had 1 tank and 9 ppl, I think Wyrmbreaker is definately the easiest entry boss. If you have any drake combo other than Slate, Scion, Storm then he is insanely easy. We had the 2nd hardest combo (Slate, Scion, Time) for our 1st kill and it still only took 3 attempts. Magmaw took us over 12 attempts. Conclave was also very easy it seemed, with under an hour of attempts before our first kill. So I guess I’d say:
    Argaloth (Baddie Brutalus)
    Wyrmbreaker
    Conclave
    Omnitron
    Magmaw
    Just my experience.

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