The first time I faced Ragnaros, I was invited to soak up gear in a Molten Core run. The only reserved item was Perdition's Blade, as one of the guild's veteran rogues had been waiting for it for weeks. Of course, as soon as we Ragnaros packing, that infamous dagger was left behind. The master looter tried assigning it to the experienced rogue, but his name didn't show up in the looting console. He had fallen asleep during the Majordomo encounter, and because he didn't participate in the Ragnaros kill, he was ineligible for the weapon. As the only other rogue present, I was given Perdition's Blade by default. Drunk with power, I killed hundreds of priests and warlocks over the next few days, just because I could.
When I heard that we'd be facing Ragnaros again, I immediately started salivating at the thought of scoring a Perdition's Blade 2.0 from his fiery corpse. When I found out that Rag still drops a Sulfuras for the warriors but doesn't have a single dagger on his loot table, I was pretty upset. He's had like six years to forge a new Perdition's Blade for me, but apparently he spent all of his time building an army instead. Forgetting to make a new dagger will be Ragnaros' biggest mistake, as I will have my revenge by sharing all of my tips for killing him with you.
Standing is half the battle
The first thing that you'll notice about Ragnaros is that he's another one of those "stuck in a pool" bosses that can't move. He was stuck in a similar pool back in Molten Core, but his new room in Sulfuron Keep doesn't give us 360° access to him. In order to make the fight less awful for rogues (and the other lesser melee classes), Blizzard adjusted his front/back cones, like it did to Magmaw.
Instead of the normal 180° split where half of the boss counts as the front and the other half counts as his back, it's a 90°/270° split, so most of his hitbox is considered to be part of his back. As long as you're not directly in front of him, you're probably behind him. The easiest way to ensure this is to attack from the opposite side of the room from your tanks. My raid has the tanks standing on the far left side, so rogues stand on the far right side. Just make sure that you're standing opposite the tanks, and you'll be set. If you end up in front of the boss, you lose a ton of your potential damage to parries. You also don't want to run too far away, though, as you need to stay in range of your raid's healers.
He will randomly knock you back a few yards while dealing some fire damage. Your response is to just run back in and continue as normal. Phase 1 consists of you just beating Ragnaros up, moving back in after the knockback. If you do happen to be in the middle of the room when a Sulfuras Smash goes off, just dodge the waves.
Dealing with Magma Traps
Ragnaros will be tossing Magma Traps out onto your ranged classes, and someone needs to step in them in order to clear them from the floor. When someone hits the trap, it deals a ton of damage to everyone in the room and launches the triggering player up into the air. Before you get any bright ideas, know that even glyphed Safe Fall won't save you, as the initial Magma Trap blast is too strong. Mages or warlocks will likely be assigned to setting these traps off, so you get to just burn down the boss. Have your trap activator tell you right before he hits a trap, as you can use Feint to halve the damage you personally take from the trap. We're already going to be pretty far away from the healers since we're on the opposite side from the tanks, so reducing your healing needed is always good.
Handling the Sons of Flame
Phase 1 is pretty routine for rogues, including our regular Feint usage. The transition period between phases, however, proves to be much more exciting. Ragnaros tosses his hammer onto the floor, and eight Sons of Flame spawn and start moving toward the hammer. Your job is to intercept and annihilate any Sons of Flame before they get to the hammer and wipe the raid.
Don't bother with Crippling Poison here -- the Sons are immune to slows. As their life dwindles, their speed decreases, so you should focus on doing as much damage as quickly as possible. I save my cooldowns for this phase, as there's really no reason to rush phase 1 since it's so easy.
In the unfortunate situation where an add is getting too close to the hammer, you can use Kidney Shot or Cheap Shot to stun it for a few crucial seconds. You should be focusing on nuking the adds closest to the hammer, as that will ensure you're not running too much. As new adds get closer, move out and kill them. Make sure you don't run through the hammer itself, as its heat will melt the leather right off of your skin. Kidney Shot is incredibly valuable for stunning the closest add, and I like to save my Vanish cooldown for a clutch Cheap Shot only if it's absolutely necessary. Subtlety rogues are actually awesome against the Sons of Flame, as Shadowstep, Shadow Dance, and Preparation give them a ton of mobility and extra Cheap Shots.
Phase 2 of the Ragnaros encounter is similar to phase 1 but introduces two new elements. Every once in a while, Ragnaros will light up a section of the floor and use Engulfing Flame, which ignites that section. If it's the section nearest the boss, just run out of the fire and continue attacking Ragnaros from the edge of the fire. If it's any other section, you're fine. Dodging the fire is pretty easy to do on normal mode, as you only deal with it once every minute or so. Be careful with the edge of the fire, though, as it deals damages a few feet past its graphic on the ground.
The second and more difficult mechanic involves a ton of Molten Seeds spawning. Your raid will be stacking up quickly after the seeds are spawned, so make sure that you're always facing and attacking the boss as you run towards the group. The seeds will explode soon after spawning, so use Feint or Cloak of Shadows to cancel some of that AOE damage. Once the seeds pop, they spawn Molten Elementals. Depending on your raid's strategy, you'll either ignore the elementals and burn down Ragnaros, or you'll be spamming Fan of Knives or activating Blade Flurry to cleave them down. The adds have low HP and don't do a lot of damage, so just run in and start nuking.
More Sons of Flame
Ragnaros uses his Splitting Blow a second time, and we take out the second set of Sons of Flame just like we knocked out the first pack. There will also be two large Lava Scion adds that spawn, but you want to ignore them until the Sons are dead. Use your cooldowns to ensure they're handled promptly. Once that's completed, work with your other DPS to nuke down the Lava Scions to move into phase 3. Blade Flurry works wonders here if the Scions are stacked up and near Ragnaros. If you happen to get stuck with Blazing Heat from one of the Scions, try to use Cloak of Shadows to clear it. If Cloak is down, just run along the back wall of the room until the buff fades away.
Ragnaros goes bowling
In his final phase, Ragnaros will start tossing out Living Meteors that will fixate on and follow random raid members. If they hit a player, the player is instantly killed. You can usually ignore these, as your ranged classes will be kiting them around the room, but one will eventually fixate on you. You want to try to kite the Living Meteor away from the raid, even though it will cost you uptime on the boss.
When the Meteor is getting too close, use your Throw skill to toss your throwing weapon at it. By hitting it with a ranged attack, it will get knocked back and fixate on someone else. I've heard of rogues using Fan of Knives as well, but I think that's a bit too dangerous. You can spam Fan of Knives while running if you don't have time to turn around and Throw, but you're just hoping for the best at that point. Try to run the Meteors across the room and lead them toward the back of the room. If you run toward one of the corners near Ragnaros, you risk getting trapped without anywhere to go.
Once the Meteor is safely following another raider, you can rush back to the boss's melee range. Beware of Engulfing Flames during this phase; you should always be ready to run to safety if he engulfs the section you're standing on. Also remember to stay close to his hitbox to avoid Sulfuras Smashes. As long as you kite the Living Meteor properly, the rest of this phase is business as usual. Since your ranged classes will be busy with Meteors, you need to focus on getting as much DPS in on the boss as possible. The Living Meteors keep coming throughout the final phase, so if your raid's DPS is too low, you'll have tons of Meteors rolling around and you won't be able to DPS at all.
Sneak in every Wednesday for our Molten Front ganking guide, a deep-dive into the world of playing a subtlety rogue -- and of course, all the basics in our guide to the latest rogue gear.