Onyxia Guide: Strategy, Abilities, Loot (Updated for the Season of Mastery)

Last updated on Nov 13, 2021 at 04:39 by Sellin 1 comment

Onyxia is the only boss in Onyxia's Lair and is the source for the Tier 2 helms of all classes.


Attunement for Onyxia's Lair

You can find out how to become attuned to Onyxia's Lair in our attunement guides for both Alliance and Horde players.


Onyxia Summary by Role



  • Two tanks will be required for this encounter as the Season of Mastery version of this fight will include a pair of Black Drakes at the beginning and a continuous spawn of Onyxian Warders after the flight phase.
  • Make sure to always face Onyxia away from the raid.
  • You cannot do anything to Onyxia while she is flying with melee attacks, so tank the adds in Phase 2.
  • You will need to build threat quickly once Onyxia lands for Phase 3 due to the threat resets.


  • If you are a Priest or Shaman, make sure to use your Fear removal and prevention spells on your tank in Phase 3.
  • Make sure that everyone is topped up as soon as possible in Phase 3 to avoid players dying during the fear downtime.


  • Save your DPS cooldowns for Phase 2 if you are a ranged DPS to ensure that phase is over as soon as possible.
  • Melee DPS should focus on the adds in Phase 2, while the ranged DPS should in Phase 3 due to easier target swapping.
  • Once Phase 2 finishes, stop DPSing to give your tank time to gain threat after the resets.
  • A threat meter is advised throughout the whole fight to ensure you are not too close to the tank's threat.

General Tips for Onyxia

All players are advised to bring Fire Resistance gear and potions if your raid is struggling to get through Phase 2. Alternatively, you can gear for additional damage during that phase (or bring more ranged DPS).


Season of Mastery Strategy for Onyxia

The Onyxia fight is split into 3 main phases, with Phase 1 and 3 being somewhat similar.

  • Phase 1 — After pulling Onyxia, she will fight players on the ground until 65% HP. In the Season of Mastery version of this encounter Onyxia will have with two Black Drakes adds at the start of the fight, both have a single Flame Breath IconFlame Breath ability and just need to be tanked facing away from the group but should be focused down before DPSing Onyxia.
  • Phase 2 — Upon reaching 65% HP, she will fly into the air and your raid will have to dodge her abilities while your ranged burn her down to 40%. During this phase and when she is grounded she will spawn Onyxian Warders. Onyxia will spawn a Warder once every minute coming from the entrance of her cave. These adds should be focused down and killed as quickly as possible as they cleave and cast a stacking fire damage taken debuff on the tank that is holding them.
  • Phase 3 — Once you get Onyxia to 40% HP, she will land and fight your group on the ground again. Onyxia continues to spawn Onyxian Warders once she has landed and they remain the highest priority kill target.

Phase 1

This phase is one of the easiest, as it essentially takes on the form of a "typical" dragon fight.

Her Flame Breath IconFlame Breath and Tail Sweep IconTail Sweep, as with most dragon bosses, will force your raid to position themselves on Onyxia's sides. To make this easier, your tank should pull Onyxia and immediately take her to the back wall so that she faces the wall and her tail is facing the entrance. The two Black Drakes that accompany Onyxia should be killed first before starting to DPS Onyxia.

The tank that pulls needs to make sure of two things:

  • Do not turn the boss around too quickly, otherwise you might end up surprising the rest of your raid and causing them to get hit by a Tail Sweep.
  • Keep your back as close to the back wall as possible, to minimize the effect of the knockback from Onyxia's Wing Buffet IconWing Buffet.

Once she is in position, your raid should stack on one side of her, ensuring that they are not clipping her tail hitbox. If anyone gets hit by Tail Sweep IconTail Sweep, they will most likely be thrown into the whelp eggs that surround the room, causing a number of adds to spawn.

Once your tank has adequate threat and the drakes are dead, you can start to DPS the boss. It is extremely important to note that Onyxia cannot be taunted. This means you must let your tank get adequate threat or you will pull threat shortly after.

Throughout this phase, Onyxia will also occasionally knock the tank back, reducing the threat he currently has on her by 25%. It is strongly advised that you use an threat meter to ensure that you do not accidentally get caught out by this sudden drop in threat.

DPS Onyxia down to 65% and then prepare for Phase 2.


Phase 2

As soon as Onyxia hits 65% HP, she will head to the middle of the room and take flight. Your ranged DPS should focus on DPSing Onyxia at all times, while letting your melee handle the adds that will spawn. The melee players will no longer be able to hit Onyxia outside of ranged attacks and special abilities, so they are much better suited to dealing with the ground adds.

You should save your cooldown for this phase as a ranged DPS so that you can get through it as soon as possible. This phase has a huge amount of potential for things to go wrong and you want to get Onyxia down to 40% as quickly as you can.

Depending on the number of melee in your group, you may have to assign some ranged DPS to help with the adds if you do not have enough melee players. You should have at least 1 group for each side of the room to deal with the whelps that come, with each group having a dedicated healer.

While the adds are spawning, your whole raid will need to be aware of what Onyxia is doing in the air. She will fly across the room and deal a massive amount of damage with her Breath IconBreath ability. She will fly in a straight line across the room and you raid will need to move out of it as soon as possible.

The easiest way to keep track of Onyxia is to have your Hunters using Track Dragonkin Icon Track Dragonkin, as this gives an indicator of where Onyxia is at any time and they can call out to your raid which direction she is moving from and to.

The last important point in Phase 2 is to stay spread out to avoid splash damage from Onyxia's fire attacks.

Once Onyxia reaches 40% HP, Phase 3 will begin.


Phase 3

Phase 3 functions almost identically as Phase 1 does and you should treat Onyxia landing as a new pull. Your DPS should stop attacking and your tank should drag her to the same place she was tanked in Phase 1. Onyxia will continue to spawn Onyxian Warders for the remainder of the fight and they should be the focus of all DPS.

Your raid should position in the same way as it was in Phase 1, but there are some new additions to this phase that you will need to be aware of.

  • Onyxia will periodically fear the entire raid and, just afterwards, cause the cracks in the floor to erupt, dealing Fire damage to anyone standing on them.
  • Whelps will periodically join the fight even if nobody spawns them. It is generally better to have separate whelp groups for Phases 2 and 3, as your melee are better suited to it in Phase 2, while your ranged can swap to them more easily in Phase 3.

Continue the fight as you would if it was still Phase 1, but make sure you either have a Shaman or Priest ready to remove or prevent the fear on your tank. If you do not, it can cause Onyxia to use her breath attack while your tank is running around and, if you are unlucky, he will be in the middle of your raid when this happens. This can very quickly lead to a wipe.


Important Abilities of Onyxia

The following abilities are of note and must be paid attention to throughout the fight.

  • Phase 1
    • Tail Sweep IconTail Sweep — Onyxia will sweep her tail behind her, dealing damage to any players standing in the area and knocking them back.
    • Flame Breath IconFlame Breath — Onyxia breathes fire in a cone in front of her, dealing Fire damage to any players hit.
    • Wing Buffet IconWing Buffet — Onyxia will deal damage to all enemies in front of her and knock them back.
    • Knock Away IconKnock Away — Onyxia knocks back her current target and reduces their threat level by 25%.
  • Phase 2
    • Breath IconBreath — Onyxia will fly across the room in a straight line, breathing fire and dealing damage to any players caught in it.
  • Phase 3
    • Bellowing Roar IconBellowing Roar — Onyxia fears the entire raid, following up the cast with Eruption IconEruption, which makes all of the cracks in the floor explode.

It is also worth noting that Onyxia is immune to Fire damage and taunts.


Loot from Onyxia

Onyxia is the source for all Tier 2 headpieces for every class.

She also drops Mature Black Dragon Sinew Icon Mature Black Dragon Sinew, which is used in the Hunter Quests that lead to you crafting Rhok'delar.

Just as with Ragnaros, Onyxia drops a number of BoE blues each time she is killed. These are random choices from the top level range of BoE gear.


Tier 2 Loot

Item Class
Bloodfang Hood Icon Bloodfang Hood Rogue
Dragonstalker's Helm Icon Dragonstalker's Helm Hunter
Halo of Transcendence Icon Halo of Transcendence Priest
Helmet of Ten Storms Icon Helmet of Ten Storms Shaman
Helm of Wrath Icon Helm of Wrath Warrior
Judgement Crown Icon Judgement Crown Paladin
Nemesis Skullcap Icon Nemesis Skullcap Warlock
Netherwind Crown Icon Netherwind Crown Mage
Stormrage Cover Icon Stormrage Cover Druid

Non-Tier Loot

Item Slot
Ancient Cornerstone Grimoire Icon Ancient Cornerstone Grimoire Off-hand
Deathbringer Icon Deathbringer Weapon
Eskhandar's Collar Icon Eskhandar's Collar Neck
Ring of Binding Icon Ring of Binding Finger
Sapphiron Drape Icon Sapphiron Drape Back
Shard of the Scale Icon Shard of the Scale Trinket
Vis'kag the Bloodletter Icon Vis'kag the Bloodletter Weapon


  • 13 Nov. 2021: Page updated for Season of Mastery.
  • 15 Nov. 2019: Guide added.
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