Light & Leafy

Divine Illumination – Healing Your Way Through The Arachnid Quarter

Posted on: August 25, 2009

Sure, everybody loves a good guide to boss strategy. But how often do you find a good healing strategy for boss encounters? Presenting DIVINE ILLUMINATION. Every installment will try to break down our dungeon denizens’ special abilities and make sure to highlight the bits and pieces especially important to healers. Without further ado, let’s venture into the cobweb covered quarters of the first bosses in Naxxramas.

Hanging silently over the archway leading into the quarter, the stony predator seems poised to trap any prey who unwittingly crosses the threshold. At the end of the first short hallway, you and your brave companions catch glimpses of the hundreds of spiders skittering around the large room. There is no ambiguity as to which of Naxxramas’s deadly sections you foolhardy adventurers have stumbled upon; you are in the Arachnid Quarter.

By this point in Wrath of the Lich King, most raiding guilds have already defeated the many-legged foes found in what’s considered the easiest zone of the Naxxramas instance. Still, I’d wager there are a few players out there who have not yet stepped foot inside the quarter; there are also those who may have never taken a healer through this kind of content. And what better way to start than at the beginning. The Arachnid quarter is a 3 boss wing teaming with creepy crawly spiders from start to finish. Like the other quarters, there are no skippable bosses and the progression is linear. Defeating the final boss is paramount to opening up the last section of the instance, known as Frostwyrm Lair. The three bosses, with their abilities and recommendations, will be described in the order you’ll encounter them. On to the big baddies!


Our first foe is an Nerubian Crypt Lord. Once a proud spider commander under his leader, Anub’Arak, Anub’Rekhan fell victim to the Lich King’s scourge, and now carries out Arthas’ commands from within the halls of Naxxramas.

Impale – A distanced raid member is impaled, doing a fair amount of damage and sending the player and all players standing in a straight line between Anubbie and his victim, flying up in the air.

Locust Swarm – An AOE Damaging spell that completely silences and immobilizes anyone in a 30 yard range. Anub’Rekhan’s movement speed is slowed while casting, and players can still use items such as lightwells, healing pots and healthstones.

Summoning Corpse Scarabs – Can be summoned from any corpse in the room (from his adds or from player deaths). Easily aoe’d down, but will likely attack healers do to their immediate healing threat.

Crypt Guards – Are present at the beginning of the fight and will be resummoned during Locust Swarm. They cleave and have a pretty mild poison debuff. When they are low health, they will frenzy and increase the damage done to their tank.

Usually, in a 25-man encounter, I leave 2 healers on Anub’s main tank, 1 on each of the Crypt Guard tanks, and the rest of the encounter raid healing. Depending on the gear of your tanks and healers, you may find yourself spreading the love around a little differently. Almost invariably on 10 man with 3 healers, 1 person is assigned to the main tank, 1 to the offtank and 1 focusing on party healing.

The start of the encounter is fairly straight forward: the main tank will position the giant spider, while everyone else focuses down the add(s). Healing on the offtank(s) may be a little more stringent because of the Frenzy buff the adds acquire at low health, but everything should be fairly straight forward. The corpse scarabs coming from the adds’ bodies are troublesome to healers because of the instant threat we put on them, but it’s nothing that top-notch aoe (or a treepunch) can’t easily rectify. Staying spread out, but within range of the raid, is key for Impale. If you notice several of your allies flying up in the air, feel free to laugh a little then sprinkle on the Circle of Healing/Wild Growth/Chain Heal to bring them back up. Locust swarm is where it gets a little tricky. If your tank feels comfortable kiting, he will be moving around the ring. You’ll need a lot of hots and instant heals, and to be moving with the tank at all times, while keeping max distance from the boss to avoid being silenced yourself. If your tank stands still in the locust swarm, it’s completely up to the healers to keep him alive. You can position a lightwell (if you have a priest spec’d into it) next to the tank so he can use it in addition to healthstones and healing potions. Hots ticking and big heals landing will keep your tank in tip-top shape (as a side note, feel free to remind the melee dps to get the heck out of range and move back to the adds when locust swarm is active. You don’t need to be healing them while trying to keep the main tank alive). After this, it’s just rinse and repeat until Anub’Rekhan is dead….again….for good. He will enrage after 10 minutes of combat, but that shouldn’t be a problem for most groups =)

Levitate is awesome to decrease the amount of damage after impale! And trees and boomkins look especially cute when they don’t touch the ground. Also, save heroism/blood lust until after a locust swarm; since it’s on a 90 second cooldown, using it immediately after Locust Swarm will give you the most bang for your buck.

Grand Widow Faerlina

A botanist in her previous light, this high ranking Cult of the Damned Mistress oversees the production of poison (taken, no doubt from the venomous fangs of her comrades) and breeding of the spiders in this quarter.

Poison Bolt Volley – Will hit 3 players in 10 man and 10 players in 25 man. Players will also suffer from a poison damage over time after being hit.

Rain of Fire – Faerlina uses this at random intervals throughout the fight, using a player’s position to cast the AoE. Easy to avoid.

Frenzy – Every 50-60 seconds, Faerlina will frenzy, increasing her melee damage by 150% and her melee haste and size by 50%. To dispel the frenzy, you must kill one of her worshippers (there are four of these adds on her podium, and must be offtanked). In 10 man, you must dps one down next to Faerlina, and in 25 man you must mindcontrol a worshipper and use its suicidal Widow’s Embrace spell to dispel the frenzy.

For this fight, I usually like leaving 2 healers on Faerlina’s tank (with everyone paying attention to the tank during her Frenzies), one on the off-tank taking care of her adds, and everyone else raid healing and cleansing.

For healers, this is a fairly straight forward fight. The real challenge lies in making sure the person mind controlling the Worshipper in 25 man uses Widow’s Embrace before Faerlina kills her tank. The poison from her volley needs to be dispelled as soon as possible, and like most bosses, you must move out of her rain of fire aoe as quickly as you can. Having a cleansing totem in each group is ideal to keep the poison at bay., otherwise you non-priestly healers will have to keep dispelling the majority of your group. And heroism early in the fight just helps burn her down quicker.


Shielding the mind-controller is always a good idea in order to keep your priest friend alive should their mind control break early. This also provides them some protection against Faerlina’s multiple forms of splash damage that will decrease the channel time on Mind Control. If your group happens to be having issues with the main tank dying on Faerlina’s frenzies, you might consider having 2 mind controls up at all times in case one breaks prematurely (only using one Widow’s Brace per Frenzy though). It also may be worthwhile to have an offtank taunt Faerlina to have threat in case the main tank dies in the middle of the fight.

Vanquishing the first foes thrown into your path, you have now made it to the final encounter in the zone (and I’m sure all the arachnophobes are rejoicing). Once living freely in Northrend, the colossal broodmother Maexxna now guards the last chamber of the quarter, feeding her young the remains of fallen heroes.

Web Wrap – Maexxna knocks a player (2 in 25 man) against the wall and surrounds them in a cocoon. The Web Wrap then must be destroyed by other dps to free the trapped player. The wrap will also do periodic damage to the trapped player.

Poison Shock – Every 10 seconds, Maexnna will spray poison in a frontal cone attack.

Necrotic Poison – A poison debuff applied to any melee in front of Maexxna which reduces healing taken by 90% for 30 seconds.

Web Spray – Every 40 seconds, Maexnna will envelope the entire raid in silk webs, causing a fair bit of damage and immobilizing the raid for 6 seconds.

Spiderlings – At the 30 second mark, and every 40 seconds after that, Maexxna will summon 8 spider hatchlings.

Frenzy – At 30% health, Maexnna will frenzy, increasing her physical damage by 75%, her melee haste by 50% and her size by 15%.


F0r Maexnna, I usually like to have 3 healers on the main tank (especially those with heal over times) and the rest on raid, spread evenly from the far wall to the entrance of her lair (this is so no matter where the wrapped people are thrown, healers can keep them alive while DPS break them out).

When the pull starts, healers should run up with the tank to make sure they’re in range to immediately heal and dispel (healing is important should the tank accidentally leave his back open to Maexnna while adjusting her position). Hots should be kept up at all times to ensure the tank can survive the incapacitation that accompanies web sprays. Abolish poison should be continually reapplied to the tank to ensure the Necrotic poison is dispelled in a timely fashion (having a Cleansing Totem in the tank’s group also proves helpful). Players in web wraps should be healed through the damage by nearby healers (these healers can also help break the webs as they only have 15k health on 25 man and 6k health on 10 man *the garden variety level 79-80 Northrend monster you’ll find in the wild has about 12k*). The spiderlings should be aoe’d down fairly quickly, though they can be quite annoying because of the healing threat being generated throughout the fight. When Maexxna frenzies, it’s even more crucial that the Necrotic poison is quickly dispelled and that all healers focus their heals on the Main Tank, especially in the moments leading up to the final webspray. Before the final spray, you’ll want to make sure the tank is at or near full health and has plenty of hot’s and incidental heals (earth shield, prayer of mending) stacked up on him so he can survive the 6 second wrap. Don’t fret too much if you end up loosing the main tank; I know this sounds horrible, but every now and again my group still looses our main tank to the frenzy. Just have a reliable offtank standing by in case the preventative heals aren’t enough to keep the main tank up during the silence.

To make it easier to turn Maexnna around as we position her for the fight, we often use Baby Spice to make her smaller and more manageable. Just remember that as she grows, so will her hit box. We also save heroism for her soft enrage. This is solely to dps her down as fast as possible and make the experience less stressful for the healers and the tank that is getting clobbered.

And, there you have it! The arachnid quarter has be squashed into a messy, icky goo! And you have kept your friends from being dinner for thousands of creepy crawlies! Now, where’s that recipe for Gooey Spider Cake?


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