Ready Check: Guide to Naxxramas (Arachnid Quarter)

Ready Check is a weekly column focusing on successful raiding for the serious raider. Hardcore or casual, ZA or Sunwell Plateau, everyone can get in on the action and down some bosses. This week, we look at the first few bosses in Naxxramas.

Today we'll be looking at a blast from the past, revisiting Naxxramas and providing details on the boss encounters that await those brave enough to enter the dread citadel. For those of you who haven't had a chance to look inside the all-new Naxx, here's your spoiler warning: look away now if you don't want to hear about what's in store.

This week's article examines the Arachnid Quarter, and we'll be visiting the other quarters in upcoming articles. We'll look at each boss on both normal and heroic modes, pointing out the differences (beyond HP increases). Generally, if you've defeated the boss on normal mode, there are only minor changes to adapt to on heroic mode (and vice versa).

Mr Bigglesworth

The first boss to be found in Naxxramas, and not technically in the Arachnid Quarter at all, Mr. Bigglesworth can be soloed but it's unadvisable. Folk legend varies from server to server, some guilds claiming better loot if Bigglesworth is left alive, and others rewarding bonuses to the first to kill him. Proceed with caution.


This crypt lord is the first resident of the Arachnid Quarter, and there are no special achievements linked to him. The challenging part of the fight involves avoiding his Locust Swarm ability -- you also need to handle his adds, and spread out to minimise Impale.

Locust Swarm is cast at some point after 80 seconds, but isn't on a fixed timer, so your raid (especially the main tank) have to be awake and react when Anub'rekhan starts to cast it. The swarm lasts for 20 seconds, and any player within 30 yards of the boss becomes afflicted with the Locust Swarm debuff which not only prevents all abilities from being used, but also applies a stacking DoT. Therefore, until the swarm ends, the raid needs to move away from the boss and outrange it, while the tank also runs away from the boss. Anub'rekhan is slowed by Locust Swarm and so can be kited along the outer edge of the room -- a hunter's Aspect of the Pack, or other speed-increasing effects, can help here but aren't necessary.

Anub'Rekhan also summons Crypt Guard adds (additionally, on heroic, he starts with two adds) occasionally throughout the fight. These cleave, apply a stacking DoT and frenzy, so they do need a plate or fur tank of some sort. As a crypt fiend spawns at the start of Locust Swarm, a good approach is to tank them on the opposite side from the kiting tank's path. As well as the large Crypt Fiend adds, occasionally Anub'Rekhan will summon corpse scarabs from a nearby corpse. These simply need to be AoEd down quickly.

Differences between heroic and normal:
Starts with two adds on heroic (none on normal)
Moves more slowly during Locust Swarm on normal

Grand Widow Faerlina

After killing more spiders and several AoE packs of acolytes, you'll meet Faerlina. She has the linked achievement 'Momma Said Knock You Out' and comes with six adds on heroic and four on normal. The main challenge of the fight is dealing with her Frenzy ability, cast every 60 seconds.

When Frenzied, Faerlina deals significantly more damage to the tank. For the achievement, any way of removing Frenzy is ignored and the extra damage is mitigated by cooldowns and healed through, simplifying the fight. However, this requires a well-geared tank, so the normal approach is to remove Frenzy -- which is where the adds come in.

There are two ways to remove Frenzy, one for normal and the other heroic. On normal, if a Naxxramas Worshipper is killed near Faerlina, it applies the Widow's Embrace effect to the boss; on heroic mode, the Worshippers can be mind controlled and used to apply this effect manually. On normal, the adds can be reduced to low HP by their tank alone and simply finished off at the right time.

If Widow's Embrace is applied before she Frenzies, note that she can Frenzy again in 30 seconds (when Widow's Embrace fades); if applied after, she will have to wait for her 60 second cooldown to be up. Depending on your DPS and tank's gear, preventing rather than removing Frenzy might be safer.

The rhythm of the fight therefore follows the pattern: engage Faerlina, wait until she is about to Frenzy, remove Frenzy by killing a specific add or using mind control, repeat. Additionally she casts a poison volley and rain of fire which simply mean additional movement and cleansing. On heroic mode, her two extra adds -- Naxxramas Followers -- are not needed for mind control and can be killed or offtanked.

Differences between heroic and normal:
Two more adds on heroic
Immune to mind control on normal


If you're a little arachnophobic, you might not like this giant spider, lurking at the end of the Arachnid Quarter. (Note that the aptly-named Arachnophobia is a linked achievement for completing the wing -- from Anub'Rekhan's death to Maexxna's -- in 20 minutes). Maexxna has several abilities which can combine to pose a lot of danger to a raid.

Web Wrap sends a player flying against the wall and wraps them in a cocoon, dealing damage while they're in there. The player is incapacitated so ranged DPS need to be assigned to destroy the cocoons as soon as possible -- for example, on normal mode, if a healer gets cocooned you will need them free very quickly.

Web Spray
incapacitates the entire raid and is cast every 40 seconds. It lasts for 4 seconds on normal and 6 on heroic, so the tank needs to be loaded up with HoTs, shielded and so forth to survive this period. Maexxna also casts a poison on the main tank which reduces healing done (Necrotic Poison) so if you have a druid, keeping Abolish Poison up is important (a shaman's totem can work through Web Spray if there's no druid).

As if this wasn't enough, Maexxna spawns spiderling adds underneath her which need to be AoEd down -- having casters ready to AoE on time stops the adds getting loose and thus becoming much harder to kill. These don't really need to be tanked if your casters all nuke at once.

At 30% Maexxna enrages, so you need to watch your DPS against the Web Spray timer and try to avoid hitting a Spray after 30%. The fight's timings are fairly easy to get used to, especially if you have boss mods, so it's just a case of stopping DPS as required.

Differences between heroic and normal:
Web Wrap affects two people on heroic, one on normal
Web Spray lasts longer on heroic

Watch this space for next week's Ready Check, where we'll be visiting the Plague Quarter!

[Thanks to Gizen for correction]