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Long ago, Sapphiron served Malygos and along with the rest of the Blue Dragonflight protected Northrend. As Northrend was lost, Sapphiron continued to protect his treasure and his brood.
Defeated by Arthas, Sapphiron’s final displeasure was being resurrected as a Frost Wyrm to serve at the Scourge’s command. Tied back to his previous life, to this day Sapphiron caries on his body the Key to the Focusing Iris (needed to summon Malygos in the Eye of Eternity).
The fight, one of the most healing intensive within Naxxramas thanks to the constant damage taken raid-wide throughout the entire encounter, consists of two alternating phases in which Sapphiron is on the ground and in the air. On Heroic, he has a 15-minute enrage timer, however it is highly unlikely you would ever actually see the fight last that long.
Gear and consumables
Sapphiron is the only fight in the initial Northrend raid content in which resistance gear can make or break the battle (at least before the entire raid is decked out in Naxx epics). Although the mats for the various 3-piece Epic-quality Frost-resistance gear sets can be steep, it is worth it for the advantage against the encounter. Each of the sets – Glacial (cloth), Polar (leather), Icy Scale (mail) and Icebane (plate) – provide 438 Stamina, 286 FR and seven sockets of various colors.
If your raid has very strong gear, you may be able to overcome the fight’s frost resistance requirements. Getting the best possible gear for your character will make this fight a whole lot easier.
In WotLK, professions can be used to craft high quality epic gear. Most raid bosses also drop an epic bind-on-equip item. These items are the easiest way to get your character geared up fast, but they’re expensive to craft or buy on the AH. The easiest way to get your hands on them is to use a guide like WoW Gold Secrets, which has tips for making several thousand gold per day. This is a great way to save time and down bosses faster.
Chill: Chill is an ice storm that moves around the room in a random pattern once Sapphiron is engaged. Upon contact, Chill will deal approximately 3,000-6,000 Frost Damage to any raid member within its radius every two seconds. Much like the mechanic of a Mage’s Blizzard, Chill will slow an affected target’s movement speed by 50 percent for 10 seconds.
Frost Aura: Upon engaging Sapphiron, Frost Aura remains up on all raid members for the entirety of the fight. Frost Aura is a DoT that does approximately 1,100 Frost Damage per second (10-man, 1,600 in Heroic). With a high level of Frost Resistance gear, Frost Aura can be partially resisted and less detrimental. The fight has a built in “enrage” timer: if the battle lasts beyond 15 minutes, the Frost Aura tick damage will increase to approximately 7,000 per second in the 10-man and 9,000 in Heroic.
Life Drain: Approximately every 24 seconds, Sapphiron casts the Life Drain curse on two random raid members in the 10-man. The curse, lasting 12 seconds, does 1,500-2,000 Shadow Damage every three seconds and heals Sapphiron for 3,500 every three seconds. In Heroic, the curse hits five people at once and does 3,500 damage per three seconds and heals Sapphiron by double each tick that is allowed to happen (7,000 per 3-second tick per one person).
Melee: Sapphiron has both cleave (12,000-15,000) and tail sweep (2,000-2,500 damage and a knock-back). Even on a well geared tank, he hits for 6,000 (10-man, 9,000 on Heroic). Melee DPS are best placed just behind his hind legs to avoid his attacks.
Ice Bolt: Once Sapphiron takes to the air, he will cast Ice Bolts on two (10-man) or three (Heroic) random players per air phase. The Bolt freezes the target in place, encased in ice. The initial Ice Bolt does 3,000 Frost Damage in the 10-man and 7,500 damage in Heroic and has a 10-yard splash radius. Anyone within this range will also take the damage. The blocks of ice created last for 22 seconds, block LoS with Sapphiron and are crucial to the rest of the raid avoiding Frost Breath.
Frost Breath: Once Sapphiron has cast the appropriate number of Ice Bolts, he emotes, “Sapphiron takes in a deep breath…” and begins the seven-second Frost Breath cast. Once the cast time is up, everyone within LoS will be hit by more than 100,000 Frost damage. This can be avoided by hiding behind the Ice Bolted raid members. Once Frost Breath is complete Sapphiron will land and resume melee attacks.
Raid composition (10 man)
6-7 DPS (including the OT serving as DPS)
Raid composition (Heroic)
1-2 Off Tanks (mainly serving as DPS in this fight, since there are no adds)
Healers Group heals are key in this battle as the entire raid takes the same base damage every second on top of any additional damage done. There should be at least two members of the raid (four for heroic) who can decurse the Drain Life curse. Whether they are Druids, Resto Shamans or Mages makes no difference, just be sure to spread them out as the curse not only damages raid members but can significantly heal Sapphiron if they are allowed to burn down.
The following macro describes example raid assignments:
/rw Sapphiron Incoming
/raid MT: [Tank 1]
/raid [Player 1] decurse Group 1, [Player 2] decurse Group 2
/raid Call out if you get Ice Bolted
On the Pull
Upon first triggering Sapphiron, you will have a brief animation as the dragon pulls himself together from bones on the ground. You can use this opportunity to get the raid positioned properly. On future attempts, the dragon will remain in-tact and can be engaged accordingly.
Warrior The main tank should stand within the inner circle on the floor with his back facing the entrance and remain here to tank the dragon. The remainder of the raid should spread out on one side of the room/to Sapphiron’s side (either side works) staying out of cleave and tail swipe range.
Melee DPS Once the dragon has pulled himself together, melee should run in and stand behind his hind leg to damage him while avoiding his melee abilities.
Lasts one minute
Raid All raid members should be cognizant of the Ice Storm and ready to move if it drifts in their direction, especially the melee cluster.
While all ranged dps and healers will be spread out, those with decursing and healing duties should be in range of everyone. Keep in mind that decursing should be a priority as not only can it kill raid members, but it will also heal the dragon, thus prolonging the battle.
Healers, Main Tank Rather than having the tank turn the dragon to avoid the Ice Storm, healers should just heal him through it. The risk of hitting the rest of the raid with cleave or tail swipe is not worth the chance.
Healers Far and away, the most difficult part of this battle will be that of the healers. Keeping everyone up through the repetitive damage can be mana intensive and nonstop. If the rest of the raid is in Frost Resist gear, it will help ease the healer’s duties, however they themselves may choose to forgo the FR gear if it impairs their mana pool too much. If possible, have one healer solely dedicated to the Main Tank and the other two (if you have that many in a 10-man) on raid healing.
DPS DPS has it pretty easy: do as much damage as possible to keep the fight as short as possible, avoid Chill and if necessary, pop a Health Potion (bandages are basically useless since the Frost Aura serves as a DoT). If you receive the Drain Life curse and it is not being decursed, call it out.
Keep in mind that although he is not resistant to Frost Damage, it does limited damage to him. Frost Mages may want to forgo their normal attacks for something that will hit more readily.
After one minute has passed, the fight will transition to Phase 2.
Lasts 30 seconds
Raid At the beginning of Phase 2, Sapphiron will take to the air. Once he takes flight, melee and the tank should head to the side with the rest of the raid. In order to avoid splash damage from incoming Ice Bolts, everyone should try and remain 10-yards apart.
Ideally, everyone should be outside the inner circle on the ground, as having the dragon land for the next phase. Sapphiron will cast 2 Ice Bolts and freeze two raid members (three in heroic). Everyone should, upon the emote “Sapphiron takes a deep breath…” run and hide behind the closest Ice Blocked player in order to stay out of line of sight of the Deep Breath.
Do not, however run and hide behind the first Ice Blocked target you see before the emote is called. By hiding too soon, you run the risk that, 1. you will be Ice Bolted, thereby putting the Ice Blocks too close together for the rest of the raid to reach, and 2. that if too many people gather up too soon, you will have mass damage from the Ice Bolt’s splash.
Remain behind the Ice Block through the Deep Breath and the Ice Block Fades.
Main Tank At this point the tank needs to return to the tanking location and phase one starts all over again.
The battle continues like this until you get Sapphiron down to 10 percent in which the flight phase will no longer trigger.
Sapphiron’s Demise – Defeat Sapphiron.
The Hundred Club – Defeat Sapphiron without any member of the raid having a frost resist value of more than 100.
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