For character biography, see Deathwing.
Image of Deathwing
Gender Male
Race Black dragon (Dragonkin)
Level ?? Boss
Reaction Alliance Horde
Location Deathwing, The Dragon Soul
Status Killable

The Spine of Deathwing is the first of two confrontations with Deathwing in the Dragon Soul raid. The battle begins on The Skyfire as players leap onto the Destroyer's back, attempting to weaken his armor enough for their allies to attack, and ends when he is defeated and crashes into the Maelstrom.

World first heroic kill achieved 17.12.2011 by KIN Raiders(즐거운공격대) - KR-Kargath.


Adventure Guide

When Deathwing first channelled the Dragon Soul's power against the other flights, the massive energies that were unleashed threatened to break apart his very body. Rather than forgo this weapon, he had adamantium plates fused to his scales to hold his body together. Later reinforced with elementium, these plates are now his weakness -- the sole vulnerability to Deathwing's lethal presence.


Deathwing heading toward the Maelstrom.

The first stage occurs as players are flying on the airship Skyfire, chasing down Deathwing while his Twilight's Hammer drake riders are swooping in to harry the pursuit. In the second stage, players paratroop commando-style onto Deathwing’s back and start ripping up his armor, trying to pry a hole big enough to give Thrall a clean shot with the Dragon Soul. During this phase, players are actually riding on Deathwing as he’s swooping around and trying to knock the players off with barrel rolls and such. Players will have to hang on at key points in the fight to avoid falling while also tangling with all kinds of monstrosities that are rising out of Deathwing’s corrupted magma blood. Once the players get enough of Deathwing’s armor off, Thrall blasts Deathwing with the Dragon Soul and sends him crash-landing into the Maelstrom.[1][2]


  • Achievement bg returnxflags def wsg.png  Barrel Roll Important Deadly — Throughout the encounter, Deathwing tries to throw players from his back when he senses that they are all standing on the same side of his spine. During a barrel roll, all players and other creatures not attached to his back are thrown off.
  • Elementium Reinforced Plates Important — The glancing strike from the Dragon Soul has destroyed one of the large armor plates on Deathwing's back and loosened another three. Players must remove all of these plates to give Thrall a chance to get a clear shot.
    • Burning Tendons Damage Dealer Alert — Players expose Burning Tendons when they pry up one of Deathwing's armor plates. Destroying these fibrous strands is the key to removing an armor plate.
      • Ability deathwing sealarmorbreachtga.png  Seal Armor Breach — After the players pry up an armor plate, the Burning Tendons rapidly pull the plate closed, protecting the tendons from further damage and preventing the plate from flying off.
  • Deathwing's Immune System — The creatures that comprise Deathwing's Immune System emerge from the holes in his back left by torn off armor plates. Deathwing defends himself with increasing intensity as more plates are torn off.
    • Ability deathwing grasping tendrils.png  Grasping Tendrils — These tendrils sprout from holes in Deathwing's back that aren't currently occupied by Corruption tentacles. The Tendrils grasp any player that wander too close, reducing their movement speed by 50% and inflicting 6000[note 1] Fire damage every 5.20 sec. until they move away. This effect prevents players from being thrown off Deathwing's back.
    • Corruption — These tentacles are dramatic physical manifestations of the Old God Corruption that runs rampant through Deathwing's body. They emerge first from the holes in his back left by armor plates, and they seal the wound completely, preventing any other creatures from emerging from it.
      • Spell fire ragnaros lavabolt.png  Searing Plasma Healer Alert — The Corruption coats the victim in the searing blood of Deathwing. The thick blood will absorb up to 200000[note 2] healing done to the target and causes the victim to cough up blood. The violent coughing periodically inflicts 10000[note 3] Physical damage ever 10 sec. This ability is not used on Raid Finder difficulty.
      • Ability deathwing fierygrip.png  Fiery Grip — The Corruption grips victims with a whip-like cord of plasma, stunning them for up to 30 sec and inflicting 60000[note 4] Fire damage every 3.50 sec. The corruption must channel to maintain this effect, and players may break by inflicting significant damage to the tentacle. This effect prevents players from being thrown off Deathwing's back. This ability is not used on Raid Finder difficulty.
    • Hideous Amalgamation Important Tank Alert — These unstable creatures are a patchwork of Elementium Armor fragments and pieces of the former Dragon's body held together by his molten blood.
      • Inv misc volatilefire.png  Absorb Blood — The Amalgamation absorbs nearby Corrupted Blood residue. The Amalgamation grows more unstable with each Residue absorbed, increasing its damage by 10% and attack speed by 10%. At 9 stacks it becomes superheated.
      • Inv elemental primal fire.png  Superheated Nucleus — The core of the Amalgamation becomes critically unstable, causing it to inflict 15000[note 5] Fire damage to all enemies every 3 sec. If players destroy the Amalgamation in this state, then it will trigger a Nuclear Blast.
      • Inv gizmo supersappercharge.png  Nuclear Blast Important Deadly — The superheated nucleus of the Amalgamation triggers a massive explosion, inflicting 375000[note 6] Fire damage to targets within 10 yds. This powerful blast pries up one of Deathwing's Elementium plates if it is within range.
      • Ability warlock backdraft.png  Degradation Heroic Difficulty Healer Alert — Destroyed Amalgamations degrade the maximum health of all enemy targets by 6%. This effect occurs regardless of the state of the nucleus and stacks up to 15 times.
      • Ability deathwing bloodcorruption earth.png  Blood Corruption: Death Magic Effect Heroic Difficulty Healer Alert — Deathwing's corruption courses through your veins. This corruption takes hold if it is not removed quickly, infecting the player with the Blood of Deathwing. When dispelled this effect jumps to a new target and can mutate into Blood Corruption: Earth.
        • Ability deathwing bloodcorruption earth.png  Blood of Deathwing Deadly Heroic Difficulty — The blood of Deathwing explodes violently from your veins, inflicting 875000 Fire damage to you and several other players.
      • Inv elemental mote nether.png  Blood Corruption: Earth Magic Effect Heroic Difficulty Healer Alert — A shadow of Neltharion courses through your veins. This corruption takes hold if it is not removed quickly, infecting the player with the Blood of Neltharion. When dispelled this effect jumps to a new target and can mutate into Blood Corruption: Death.
        • Inv elemental mote nether.png  Blood of Neltharion Heroic Difficulty — The barest hint of a shadow of the former Earth-Warder suffuses your blood. Damage taken from all sources is reduced by 10%. This effect can stack up to 3 times.
    • Corrupted Blood Tank Alert — These living globs of Deathwing's blood appear fragile, but leave behind an indestructible residue when killed.
      • Spell shaman firenova.png  Burst — Corrupted Blood explodes when destroyed, inflicting 10000[note 7] Physical damage to nearby enemies within 200 yards.
      • Spell fire fire.png  Residue — Destroying a Corrupted Blood leaves behind an indestructible residue. It slowly creeps toward the nearest hole in Deathwing's Back where it reconstitutes into a new Corrupted Blood.
  1. ^ Raid Finder: 6499, 10-man heroic: 12000, 25-man: 6499, 25-man heroic: 13000
  2. ^ 10-man heroic: 280000, 25-man: 300000, 25-man heroic: 420000
  3. ^ 10/25-man heroic: 12000
  4. ^ 10/25-man heroic: 90000
  5. ^ Raid Finder: 11375, 10-man heroic: 30000, 25-man: 17500, 25-man heroic: 35000
  6. ^ Raid Finder: 243750
  7. ^ Raid Finder: 13000, 10-man heroic: 14000, 25-man: 20000, 25-man heroic: 28000


The Spine of Deathwing is the first of two encounters dealing with Neltharion (Deathwing the Destroyer), in which the goal of the raid is to remove three of Deathwing's armored plates while dealing with different adds through out the encounter.

The encounter starts with a small cut scene, which players can escape out of to allow more time to get obtain one's bearings before landing on Deathwing's back. Once players land, the raid encounters four Corruptions tendrils. When a Corruption tendril is killed, it spawns a Mob Hideous Amalgamation, while Mob Corrupted Blood appears from the hole where the tendril was. The key to this encounter is to manage these two types of adds correctly as the raid destroys Deathwing's armored plates.

The raid should generally always be in the middle of Deathwing's back. To manage these adds correctly, decide which one of the four Corruptions to leave intact. After three Corruptions are killed, the entire raid must stack on one side of Deathwing's back to trigger his Barrel Roll ability. All players must stack on top of a spot where a Corruption used to be to gain a rooted buff that prevents him or her from being thrown off during the Barrel Roll. After the barrel roll is complete, players return to the middle of Deathwing's back.

After the barrel roll, the raid should kill the last Corruption. This spawns another Corruption, which can be ignored, unless it channels Fiery Grip, in which case the ranged should use instant casts to stop it from channeling as it attempts to spawn a Hideous Amalgamation. Casting DOTs should be avoided since killing it prematurely will spawn another Hideous Amalgamation.

The tank should move a Hideous Amalgamation up to an armored plate near Deathwing's head, while DPS takes it down to roughly 20-25% health, at that point, they should turn their attention to killing Corrupted Bloods. When a Corrupted Blood dies, a small fire will spawn at their death location. The tank then needs to move the Amalgamation over the fires so that it stacks Absorb Blood. Once the Amalgamation gains 9 stacks, the raid should kill it immediately, as it will pulse an AoE over the raid.

When an Amalgamation dies, it causes Nuclear Blast. All DPS and ranged should flee to the back of Deathwing's Spine. This Nuclear Blast will lift either the right or left portion of Deathwing's armor plate, depending on where the tank positions the Amalgamation. This in turn exposes his Mob Burning Tendon, and killing this cause Deathwing's armor plate to fall off.

The rest of the encounter repeats this process; that is, kill a Corruption, stand in its root, go through a Barrel Roll, kill another Corruption, and start the whole process over. Ideally you will want to kill the Burning Tendon in one strike; as such, it is best to blow Personal CDs on the first Plate, Lust on the second plate, and Potions + Personal CDs on the third plate.

Healers must deal with a debuff called Searing Plasma that is cast by Corruption tendrils. The more corruptions that you leave up, the more Searing Plasmas will be cast on the raid. Overhealing the absorbtion mechanic removes the debuff.

Heroic Mode

The encounter in heroic mode is considered to be one of the hardest fights on Dragon Soul(it is even considered by many to be more difficult than heroic Madness) due to the high DPS and survival requirements:

The differences between the normal and heroic versions of the encounter consist of the health and damage increases of the Corruptions, Bloods and Amalgations, as well as the additional abilities they obtain. Hideous Amalgations now hit much harder due to the increasing stacks of Degradation, drastically reducing the amount of time the tank (and effectively the entire raid) is able to survive, since the initial 6% stacks up to 15 times. This requires the rest of the raid to quickly damage the Amalgamation to approximately 10-15% health, while gathering and killing Corrupted Bloods in the middle of the spine, so as to allow the damaged Amalgamation to quickly reach 9 stacks and be killed near one of the plates. The key to success in this phase is a swift and smooth execution. Note that Degradation is applied each time an Amalgamation is killed, and will not be removed as a result of a Barrel Roll.

As in normal mode, once one of the plates is opened via Nuclear Blast, the raid must proceed to quickly burn down the Burning Tendons. However, in heroic mode, there are two Burning Tendons instead of one. Due to the combined total HP of both tendons and the limited time for which they are exposed, only one tendon can realistically be destroyed. The raid must proceed through the Blood/Amalgation phase twice to be able to destroy both tendons. This is then repeated for all the other plates.

Another change is a debuff casted by the Amalgations called Blood Corruption: Death, which is applied to random players and causes significant damage. It must be dispelled immediately, after which it will jump to a random player. However, to prevent players from blindly dispelling the debuff as it appears, every time Blood Corruption: Death is dispelled, there is a chance for it to mutate to Blood Corruption: Earth when it jumps to another player. Blood Corruption: Earth reduces damage taken by 10% and stacks up to 3 times, effectively negating the effects of Degradation.

It is critically important to keep each and every raid member alive, especially the DPS. Due to the high DPS requirements and the raid's health being continually reduced, each and every member of the raid must be alive to kill the Burning Tendons before they disappear.

Solo strategy

With only one player in the encounter, Deathwing is always attempting to roll left or right. He will roll 10 seconds after the Deathwing feels players on his <side> side. He's about to roll <side>! boss emote. Stand near the center of his back and side-step one way or the other every 6-8 seconds.

Start the encounter by blowing up three of the four Corruption tentacles. Let Deathwing roll to get rid of the spawned amalgamations. Make sure to stand in the Grasping Tendril when Deathwing rolls to not instantly fail the encounter. Don't instantly kill the Corrupted Blood oozes, but instead let them get close, and try to kill them in one clump near the center of the spine so it's easier to run the Amalgamation over them.

Once nine oozes have been killed, finish off the last Corruption tentacle. While putting out some light damage to the amalgamation, run it over the ooze pools until it reaches nine stacks of Absorb Blood. At this point, get as close to Deathwing's head as possible so the amalgamation is within range, and finish it off. Don't tunnel-vision the amalgamation, as the 10-second clock is always running. Once the amalgamation is dead, get away from it (move closer to the tail) and let it cast Nuclear Blast. Quickly run back up toward the head and kill the Burning Tendon.

Rinse and repeat for the second and third plates. Try to leave only one Corruption tentacle active so the oozes spawn more quickly.


Main article: Greater Cache of the Aspects

Like many final bosses of raid instances, the item levels of the gear from Deathwing are higher than gear from the rest of the instance - in this case, six item levels higher.

Item Type
 [Gloves of Liquid Smoke] (LFR · H) Caster cloth gloves
 [Molten Blood Footpads] (LFR · H) Agility leather boots
 [Belt of Shattered Elementium] (LFR · H) Spirit mail belt
 [Backbreaker Spaulders] (LFR · H) Strength plate shoulders
 [Gauntlets of the Golden Thorn] (LFR · H) Spirit plate gloves
 [Eye of Unmaking] (LFR · H) Strength trinket
 [Heart of Unliving] (LFR · H) Healer trinket
 [Resolve of Undying] (LFR · H) Tank trinket
 [Will of Unbinding] (LFR · H) Caster DPS trinket
 [Wrath of Unchaining] (LFR · H) Agility trinket

Related Achievements


Sky Captain Swayze yells: The plates! He's coming apart! Tear up the plates and we've got a shot at bringing him down!
Sky Captain Swayze yells: Don't worry about me. Stop the Destroyer! Enshu-falah-nah, dorini.
Taunting the Adventurers
  • Your tenacity is admirable, but pointless. You ride into the jaws of the apocalypse.
  • You are less than dust, fit only to be brushed from my back.
  • Ha! I had not realize you fools were still there.
  • Your efforts are insignificant. I carry you to your deaths.
  • Cling while you can, "heroes". You and your world are doomed.


10-man Normal Live

25-man Normal Live

25-man Heroic Live

Patch changes

  • Legion Hotfix (2016-08-08): Players who die and release in the Spine of Deathwing encounter should again be able to rejoin the encounter.
  • Warlords of Draenor Hotfix (2014-10-20): Spine of Deathwing's Blood of Deathwing effect should no longer be able to critically strike or Multistrike against players on Heroic difficulty.
  • Warlords of Draenor Hotfix (2014-10-17): Searing Plasma's heal absorption effect has been reduced to a more reasonable amount.
  • Cataclysm Patch 4.3.2 (2012-01-31): Burning Tendons health has been reduced by 15% in 10- and 25-player Heroic mode. This change eases the burst damage requirement to complete the encounter, which should allow players to make use of more varied raid compositions.
  • Cataclysm Hotfix (2011-12-20):
    • A Safe Fall aura has been added to the start of the encounter, preventing players from taking falling damage, should their parachutes end early.
    • Corrupted Bloods now use Burst regardless of crowd control conditions, including silence.
  • Cataclysm Hotfix (2011-12-02): Players should no longer get disconnected once they release their spirit after jumping or falling off Deathwing.
  • Cataclysm Patch 4.3.0 (2011-11-29): Added.


External links