Demon Hunter flamereaper weapon from World of Warcraft's Mage Tower challenge Closing the Eye

[Update]: As a part of Update 9.1.5 Blizzard will be bringing back the Mage Tower challenges.

The Mage Tower is a brand new addition to World of Warcraft that arrived with the recent Patch 7.2. While its active it offers a variety of minor benefits such hidden chests full of goodies and additional artifact power, and most importantly of all, the ability to undergo an extremely difficult trial in order to unlock class and specialization exclusive weapon skins. As you can probably guess from the title alone, the challenge I will be guiding you through is called "Closing the Eye", in which you will have to defeat not only Archmage Xylem, but his demonic master as well!

If you would like to try and obtain one of these fancy new cosmetics it is important that you understand that the Mage Tower Challenge is exactly what the name entails - a challenge. If you think you're going to beat it in a single attempt, or even a dozen attempts, I'm afraid you're in for a rude awakening. That said, it is not impossible, and if you come prepared chances are high you will be able to complete it just fine. So if you willing to do what it takes to look downright awesome, allow me to give you a helping hand and hopefully make your journey just a little bit easier.

Video version of this guide

1.1) Are you prepared?

Before you even begin thinking about attempting this challenge you will need to gather a large amount of consumables, but thankfully they are mostly on the cheap side. Here's what you're going to need: 

 2000-3000 Nethershards

 1 Damage-orientated flask

 10 Drums of the Mountain (if you're not a class that has access to Bloodlust, Heroism, or Time Warp)

 10 Defiled Augment Rune

 10 Tome of the Tranquil Mind (you're going to need to swap from an AOE/survivability built to a full-on single target one)

 20-30 Food

 20 Damage potions

The amount of consumables you need will vary depending on how quickly you adapt to the fight and how much you're willing to endure in a single sitting. I would personally recommend going with one flask, about 20-30 food, 20 damage potions, and 10 pieces of all the rest. The reason for this is that the first phase (the actual fight vs Archmage Xylem) does not require much in terms of damage, so there's no need to waste any of your precious runes or potions on it. And if you manage to get to the final phase of the battle 10 times within 2 hours, chances are you're about to finish the whole thing anyway, so there's no need to overspend on the more expensive consumables. 

As for the talents, the name of the game here is survival. Pick the ones that amplify your healing (especially when you kill an enemy), ones that give you an extra stun or silence, and if your class has any ability that lets you jump around on a relatively low cooldown you'll want to get that as well. Finally, you want to ensure you have at least one strong source of burst damage in order to deal with the Ice Prison should your jump ability ever be on cooldown. The first phase of the fight is not about damage, so don't worry if you're taking defensive talents that lower your overall DPS significantly, just make sure you actually survive until phase 2! 

While it isn't necessary, and I personally haven't used it, you can also make the challenge slightly easier by installing the Deadly Boss Mods Challenge pack. It gives you a bunch of helpful timers and warnings - things you don't technically need, but might just come in handy while you're still learning.  

Closing the Eye Mage Tower Challenge Demon Hunter Havoc talents

The Demon Hunter talents I used for Phase 1

2.1)  Phase 1 - Frost

The initial Frost phase begins after Xylem finishes his overly lengthy monologue. All you will have to deal with in this phase is a constant barrage of relatively low damage Frostbolts and three Ice Prisons you will have to escape as quickly as possible. Once the battle begins the first thing you'll want to do is interrupt his starting Frostbolt cast and then drag him as close to the middle as you are comfortable with. This is done in order to ensure that when you get stuck in the Ice Prison you can easily jump straight to him and continue punching him in the face. If you have absolutely no mobility spells and you can't avoid the center beams, consider dragging him to the side instead. 

The Frostbolts aren't terribly powerful, but Xylem pretty much chain-casts them, so don't be surprised when the damage starts to stack up. In order to survive this you will need to use a combination of interrupts, stuns, and self-healing cooldowns. Once you get a bit of experience you shouldn't feel afraid to drop low on health during this phase, because as long as he's not about to use Ice Prison you are going to be perfectly safe due to Frostbolt's slow and consistent damage. How exactly you do this part of the Frost phase is going to vary depending on your class, but here are the general guidelines that should work for pretty much everyone: 

 Silence the first Frostbolt and pull him towards the center

 Let him hit you 2-3 times in order to give you something to heal

 Activate a self-healing cooldown/ability and completely ignore interrupts if you can maintain ~90% HP

 Interrupt everything he does right before he casts Ice Prison - you want to be as high on health as possible for the next step

Closing the Eye Mage Tower Challenge positioning Archmage Xylem

The proper position - Xylem as close to the center as you're comfortable with

If you've done everything correctly you're going to get imprisoned with around 70% HP. The individual shards of ice that surround you aren't very strong, and a single powerful AOE spell will clear them out (in my case a Demon Hunter's Eye Beam is enough on its own). Things aren't as easy as they sound, however, because you will be taking constant heavy damage while standing in the icy circle. And if that wasn't bad enough, if you accidental run into one of the shards you will die instantly! 

As terrifying as this sounds, the Ice Prison is not actually that hard to overcome. If you're a class that can jump or teleport all you need to do now is to find where Xylem ran away to, and then simply jump there in order to continue with the same strategy from above. I would recommend jumping before using your dash/teleport spell, because while it technically might not be necessary, I found myself occasionally clipping the ice shards and dying a pointless, lazy death. 

If you have spells that give you health when you kill or stun enemies (such as Demon Hunter's AOE stun) you might want to consider killing the ice shards around you in order to regenerate a bit of health. This is also the way you will have to break out if you're a class with low or no mobility (such as a Frost Death Knight). Simply use your strongest spells to break the ice around you, all the while leeching as much health as possible from the massive amount of shards you're killing. You're probably going to die a few times before you learn what spells to save for this phase and how to best approach it, but don't worry, once you figure it out you will be set for good as its always exactly the same. On the other hand, if you're a Demon Hunter the Ice Prison is a complete joke since you can not only double jump over it, but you can also use your stun to generate souls in order to heal to full! 

Once you escape the Ice Prison chances are you will be somewhat low on health, but don't panic as Xylem's damage is slow and predictable. Just make your way towards him, interrupt him the moment you come in range, and drag him back towards the center - just like before. The one difference this time around is that you most likely won't be able to let him hit you 2-3 times before healing, which means you will be potentially starting the next Ice Prison phase with lower health. This is an extremely dangerous proposition, so I would recommend carefully weaving stuns and interrupts in order to minimize incoming damage from Xylem's Frostbolts.

Mage Tower Challenge Closing the Eye Ice Prison screenshot

The Ice Prison looks scary, but its relatively easy to deal with

2.2) Phase 1 - Transition (Shadow)

After Xylem uses three Ice Prisons the timing for the fourth one will be replaced with a transition to the Arcane phase. The transition is by far the hardest part of this encounter, and you're probably going to die quite often, so just make your peace with that right now. So what happens is that Xylem instead of using the fourth Ice Prison teleports to a random location on the opposite side of the map, and soon begins channeling a spell that does a ridiculous amount of damage per second, and also slows you down... because why not! The only way to stop it is to run all the way to where he's hiding in order to hit him with an area-of-effect spell since he is otherwise untargetable. I've heard many people complain that they have no idea where Xylem teleports to, but I've personally found him to be rather easy to spot. All you need to do is start running to the opposite side of the map the moment he teleports away from you, and while running simply take a glance at the minimap to find where the giant yellow circle is - that's pretty much it. If you're more of a visual type of player, however, you can also spot Xlyem by a large amount of white sparklies that float all around him. 

If you're a class with high mobility, and if you've previously positioned Xylem as close to the middle as possible, this phase can be done within a couple of seconds. Simply use all of your mobility and damage reduction spells in order to reach him, and then just hit him with an AOE spell before he even deals a shred of damage to you. Similarly, if you have spells that make you immune or highly resistant to magic you can use them to completely ignore this phase - just don't forget that Xylem's spell not only deals damage, but also slows! 

If you mess up, or if you have no mobility cooldowns to rely on, you will have to do this phase "properly". Once Xylem teleports away the entire room will be filled with clones of him, all slowly channeling a spell that bounces you around. These illusions don't have a lot of health, and they can be interrupted, so pick the furthest one you can safely reach and just nuke it down as fast as possible. Once dead these illusions will drop a rapidly shrinking shield that lets you ignore Xylem's damage and refresh your cooldowns. While you're safely inside the bubble you should pick which illusion you're going to go for next and slowly start whittling its health down from range. After that is done all you need to do is take a stroll to the next bubble, and then repeat the process until you're able to hit Xylem with some sort of AOE attack. 

All of this sounds simple, and in reality it is, but there are a lot of ways to mess up and die almost instantly. So if you're not sure if you can reach Xylem before the damage/slow starts ticking in, just err on the side of caution and jump from illusion to illusion. Its going to take you a bit longer, but there is no big DPS check you need to worry about, so just make sure you stay alive. 

Mage Tower Challenge Closing the Eye Shadow phase transition

Look for either the white sparklies (top left) or the yellow circle on your minimap

2.3)  Phase 1 - Arcane

Once you hit Xlyem with an AOE attack he will immediately begin channeling the slow, but insanely powerful Arcane Barrage. It is going to be tempting to interrupt them as soon as possible, but I'm afraid you're going to have to keep your instant interrupt on standby for later. The reason for this is a spell called Draw Power which Xylem seems to cast almost completely at random, and if you don't interrupt it instantly it will give him a stacking damage buff that will almost surely spell your doom. As such you will need to interrupt the Arcane Barrage with stuns, incapacitates, and any other tricks your class has access to. Every time you interrupt an Arcane Barrage you should also move slightly backwards because Xylem will follow you for ~1 second before resuming his casting. Much like the Ice Prison phase this will greatly help you with events to come as you will be in a much better position and much quicker to react. 

As I've mentioned before, these Arcane Barrage spells are very slow to cast, so if you have particularly strong healing cooldowns you might be able to completely ignore their damage and just heal yourself in between each cast - only occasionally stunning to buy yourself some time. If you do decide to stun/interrupt his Arcane Barrage, just make sure you do it near the end of his cast in order to gain as much time as humanly possible. That said, don't drop down too low on health because he will teleport after 5-6 casts, and it would be really silly for you to die just because you got a bit too comfortable. 

Besides Arcane Barrage Xylem will also try to kill you with Shadow Barrage, which is an uninterruptible spell that creates hordes of little shadows that spawn in the distance and then shoot down a straight line (think Hunter's Stampede spell). Unless you use a powerful defensive cooldown these shadows will instantly kill you on contact, but they are surprisingly easy to dodge so I wouldn't really worry about them. All you need to do is stand slightly behind Xylem (away from where the shadows are spawning from), and use this little bit of downtime to heal up and refresh your cooldowns. If you find yourself having trouble with this particular spell feel free to completely avoid its area of effect and just have a sip of coffee while you wait for him to finish. Again, its not a DPS race, all that matters is that you stay alive! 

Mage Tower Challenge Closing The Eye Shadow Barrage spell

The orbs are very easy to dodge, but don't underestimate their damage

Once Xylem attempts to cast 5-6 spells he will most likely teleport to the other side of the map, immediately followed by another Arcane Barrage cast. If you've slowly moved him towards the center as I've instructed you above this should be nothing more than a minor inconvenience. Simply find where he teleported to, walk over there, and interrupt the extremely slow Arcane Barrage before he's able to knock 50% of your HP off. Just make sure you don't panic and use your standard interrupt spell while walking towards him, because you can never really tell when he's going to use Draw Power, and if you let it channel for even a second you're going to be in for a world of trouble! 

After 2-3 teleports Xylem will once again enter the transitional phase by teleporting to the opposite side of the map and becoming all sparkly. As such, it is of the utmost importance that you pull him towards the center as often as you possibly can! If you need to trek from one side of the map to the other there is a high chance you'll mess up and die, but if you just need to do one jump from the middle then you're going to be able to completely skip this entire phase. So practice your pulling because it will make your life much easier! 

2.4)  Phase 1 - Frost ++

The second (and all future) Frost phases are slightly more difficult than the one you started out with. Almost all of the mechanics are exactly the same, but instead of teleporting a couple of meters away Xlyem will teleport to the other side of the map each time he puts you in the Ice Prison. This doesn't really change anything in terms of how you execute your strategy, but you will need to be much more careful with how and when you use your interrupts. I would recommend saving a long-range stun right before you get stuck in the Ice Prison, purely so that you can interrupt the Frostbolt spam as soon as you're free. 

The one new addition to this phase is that Xylem now also casts Shadow Barrage, which is again an amazing boon since it gives you plenty of time to heal up and take a refreshing drink. The strategy is the same as in the Arcane phase, but since you're pulling Xylem towards the middle much quicker you will have a lot less room to work with. Its slightly more difficult than before, and you can occasionally find yourself cornered, but as long as you don't take massive risks you will be perfectly fine. 

2.5) Phase 1 - Xylem's Downfall

The entire battle against Xylem is a constant repeat of Frost - Transition - Arcane until he reaches 10% health. While you might feel compelled to use all of your strongest spells when you see him on low health, I would strongly advise you to do no such thing because you will need all of your DPS cooldowns for phase 2. Instead, finish off Xlyem by using as little of your resources as possible, and with as high of a health pool as you can manage. If you were forced to waste your big 5-minute cooldown earlier in the fight and it still hasn't recovered, consider delaying the kill for as long as you can because every little bit of DPS will be of great use later.  

Mage Tower Challenge Closing the Eye - nearing the end screenshot

Don't focus on his health, just continue doing all of the mechanics

3.1) Phase 2 - The Wait

Once Xlyem drops to 10% HP he will run to a predetermined point on the map and begin talking for around ~30 seconds. It is now that you should use Defiled Augment Rune to slightly boost your damage, and Tome of the Tranquil Mind to respec into a primarily single-target focused build. You might occasionally get stuck in combat, which will delay your respec by ~10 seconds, so make sure you can pick your talents and set your spells as quickly as possible! You can practice this whole procedure in front of the Mage Tower as its considered a rest area, and I would strongly suggest you do just that because you never know how buggy the challenge is going to be. 

If you're a class that doesn't have much AOE in its base kit, consider grabbing one or two AOE talents just to make sure you can deal with the upcoming adds. If you're geared enough (around 900 item level) chances are you won't have much trouble with the adds, and this goes doubly so for those among you that have good legendaries, but its always nice to have a safeguard just in case.  

Mage Tower Challenge Closing the Eye Demon Hunter talents for Phase 2

The Phase 2 talents I used on my Demon Hunter

3.2)  Phase 2 - The Final Showdown

The battle in phase 2 is against a single demon that doesn't do anything special itself. The dangerous part of this fight is the corrupted ground the boss leaves underneath him, because eventually it will cover the entire zone and kill you rather quickly. In order to avoid this you will need to constantly drag the boss forward, always slightly ahead of the corrupted ground. The best way I've found to do this is to start where the boss spawns, and then very slowly drag him to the edge of the map and then go around in a circle. In order to ensure you're still dealing damage to the boss while running away you should move him in a sort of diagonal. As before, you'll probably mess up a few times before this clicks, but once you figure it out you will be kite him around quite easily. Just keep in mind that you should only move him when the corrupted ground is nearly upon you, because if you move the boss too quickly you're going to find yourself with very little room to work with!  

Besides the corrupted ground the only other ability the boss has is a channeled spell that puts a short debuff on you, which when it expires spawns 3 adds that you absolutely need to kill before they reach the boss. There is no way to avoid this, so do not interrupt his channel! What you should do is continue dealing damage to the boss for as long as possible, and when you have around 3 seconds left on the debuff you should jump/teleport as far away as possible. If you have no mobility spells available, however, you should start moving a few seconds earlier, just to be safe.

Mage Tower Challenge Closing the Eye Seed of Darkness spell

The purple beam is what spawns the adds, do not interrupt it under any circumstance!

Once the debuff reaches zero three demons will spawn directly around you and soon start moving towards the boss. They are completely immobile for the first second after their spawn, so take this opportunity to set up some ground based AOE and deal heavy damage. Once they start moving you should use your AOE stuns and slows in order to prevent them from reaching the boss. And that's pretty much it as far as strategy goes. Its all about doing as much AOE damage as possible in as little time as possible. If you're undergeared you might find this portion of the fight nearly impossible, in which case I'm afraid you're simply going to have to admit defeat and farm out a bit of gear before trying again. The same applies to the boss itself given that he is entirely a DPS check. There are ways to make this slightly easier, and I'll note them in a second, but if you find yourself consistently running out of room and the boss is still 40%+ HP, you might need a bit more gear before you're truly ready. 

In order to dish out the most damage onto the demon you should use a potion before the battle even begins, so that way you will be able to use two potions throughout the entire fight. The first one you should chug when Xylem is half-way through his "Hold them off!" line as this signals the start of the encounter. As soon as the demon starts moving you should activate your Drums of the Mountain, your strongest DPS cooldowns, and go completely berserk since you won't have to move for around 10 seconds. Eventually the corrupted ground will creep in and you will be forced to move, but make sure to prioritize getting as much damage in as possible given that this is your largest burst window. 

Mage Tower Challenge Closing the Eye screenshot of me running out of room

This is a straight up DPS check, so bring your A-game or you'll end up on 1mm of ground like me

As for the second potion, you will be using it around 2 minute into the fight, when the second pair of adds spawn. Try and kill them by using as few DPS cooldowns as you can, mostly relying on the power of your DPS potion to carry you, and as soon as you're done you should go ham on the boss with your newly refreshed 2-minute cooldowns and last bits of potion. 

There is really nothing else to it. If you're capable of dealing a decent amount of damage (~600k-700k DPS buffed), and you can maintain a cool head in order to kite the demon around, you will be able to kill the boss within a couple of attempts. If you try to do it undergeared like me you might run out of room and be forced to fight him in the corrupted ground for a couple of seconds, but as long as you save some sort of defensive cooldown you should be able to survive through that as well. 

The one last piece of advice I can give you is to not worry about your failures. Even extremely good players with extremely good gear have died quite a few times before mastering the Mage Tower, so just believe in yourself and keep pushing forward - you will get there eventually, and when you do, it will be the best feeling in the world! Good luck!