Nefarian Guide: Strategy, Abilities, Loot (Updated for the Season of Mastery)
Nefarian is the eighth and final boss you will encounter in Blackwing Lair, and can be found in the final room on the edge of Blackrock Mountain. This is the most challenging and complex fight in the game up until this point, so be ready for a hard fought battle.
New to the Season of Mastery version of this encounter are more aggressive add waves and empowered class calls.
Nefarian Summary by Role
- You will need at least 3 tanks.
- One tank will be holding Nefarian whenever he is active while the off tanks should be ready to pick up adds when they spawn, either the Drakonids, Infernals, or Bone Constructs in Phase 3.
- Tanks should save cooldowns for Phase 3 when they need to pick up the Bone Constructs. Specifically, make sure to have Shield Wall and Challenging Shout available.
- Make sure your tanks are watching for their specific class calls. Warriors and Druids will take significantly more damage during their class calls specifically.
- Watch the tanks during their class calls as they will be taking significantly more damage.
- All of your healers should know their class calls and how it affects what they do.
- The Bone Constructs in Phase 3 hit quite hard, so pay special attention to the tanks during these adds.
- Having Fear Ward or Tremor Totem available for tanks during Bellowing Roar is a great idea when possible. Be 35 yards away from the boss to ensure you are not feared as well.
- Melee should never be in front of the boss, and should be split to help kill adds whenever they spawn.
- Melee need to pay attention for when Bellowing Roar is about to be cast so they can LoS it using the rocks around Nefarian.
- Ranged DPS will want to stay 40 yards away from Nefarian to avoid the fear.
- Ranged with strong AoE like Mages are great for killing the adds when they spawn.
- All DPS need to be aware of what their class calls are and how to deal with them.
General Tips for Nefarian
- Every single person in the raid absolutely must have a Onyxia Scale Cloak equipped. If you do not, you will instantly die when fighting Nefarian.
- Start with the raid split in half such that each half will do roughly the same damage. The two halves should each take one of the two doors, as Phase 1 consists of adds coming through those doors.
- Adds will always take priority over the boss. If adds are up, kill them quickly.
- For Phases 2 and 3, make sure to hold Nefarian facing away from the raid while being next to a good LoS source for melee. Ranged and Healers can be 40 yards away.
- Every person in the raid needs to know exactly what their class call is and how to deal with it.
Strategy for Nefarian
Nefarian will be the most challenging and complex fight that raids will have attempted up to this point. There are three distinct phases, with phase 1 being and add phase, Phase 2 being when Nefarian spawns, and Phase 3 being the final 20% of Nefarian's health. In addition to have multiple phases, Nefarian has rotating add types that change week to week, unique class mechanics for every class known as "class calls," and a normal set of abilities that need to be dealt with.
Phase 1 is the first phase of the fight that starts immediately. This phase consists entirely of dealing with waves of adds. These adds will spawn out of two doors on either side of the room, so the raid group should be separated into two groups of 20 with each group standing by a door. The adds that spawn during this phase are called "Drakonids," and similar to Chromaggus, there will be two types of adds out of five possible types that will spawn each week.
- Black Drakonids will deal Fire damage, but are resistant to Shadow and Fire damage themselves.
- Blue Drakonids will drain Mana and chill their targets, lowers attack speed. Additionally, they are resistant to Frost damage.
- Bronze Drakonids slow cast speed and attack speed, and they are resistant to Arcane damage.
- Green Drakonids will stun with their attacks and are resistant to Nature damage.
- Red Drakonids will afflict nearby targets with a Fire DoT, and are resistant to Fire damage.
All five types of Drakonids are resistant to at least one type of magic in addition to having some sort of negative buff or effect that they afflict. You will only have to deal with two of these per week, and the general priority order is Red > Blue > Black > Bronze > Green. Red and Bronze Drakonids can be AoEd down when they spawn, but the others will need to be focused. Red is the most dangerous and should be AoEd down quickly, but Blue is also quite deadly and should be focused for single-target.
Phase 1 will end when 42 Drakonids have been killed by the raid. This will start Phase 2, where Nefarian joins the fight.
At the start of Phase 2, you should quickly finish killing any remaining adds from the previous phase. Once those are down, you should set up your new positioning for Nefarian. The tank should hold Nefarian facing away from the raid, preferably facing the edge of the cliff. You will want to position him such that the melee can stand on the side of the dragon while being able to quickly duck behind one of the larger rocks to LoS Nefarian's Bellowing Roar when needed.
Nefarian himself has a few abilities, but the most important ones are Bellowing Roar, Cleave, Shadow Flame, and Veil of Shadow. For the fear, your tank will either want to use Berserker Rage if they are a Warrior, or will need to have a Fear Ward or Tremor Totem. The melee should be able to LoS the fear, and the ranged and healers can outrange it at 40 yards. Just keep the boss pointed away from the group to avoid the Cleave. Additionally, if the tank gets Veil of Shadow, they need to be decursed quickly to avoid the healing reduction. Lastly, as long as everyone in the group has their Onyxia Scale Cloaks equipped, the Shadow Flame should not be a problem.
The biggest part of Phases 2 and 3 are the class calls. Nefarian will do one class call at a time in a random order roughly every 30 seconds. These class calls can be identified from his emotes, and will all start with the name of the class that he is about to do his call on. For instance, for Warriors, he will say "Warriors, I know you can hit harder than that! Let's see it!" When these calls happen, the affected classes must know what to do, as they are not obvious if you do not know what is coming. In addition, in the Season of Mastery version of this encounter each class call has an additional effect. The complete list of class calls are below, with their extra Season of Mastery effects prefixed by (SoM).
- Druid: "Druids and your silly shapeshifting. Let's see it in action!" Every Druid in the raid will be forced into Cat Form for the duration of the call. The best option here is to just run away and hide until you can shift back out of Cat Form, or to keep DPSing if you are a Feral Druid. (SoM) It will also spawn shadowy roots that will emerge from the ground and move randomly throughout the room, if you are hit by these Nightmare Brambles you will be rooted in place and take a considerable amount of Nature damage, so make sure to avoid the roots or get dispelled if you are hit.
- Hunter: "Hunters and your annoying pea-shooters!" Hunters have the worst class call by far. As soon as Nefarian does the Hunter class call, any ranged weapon that Hunters have equipped will instantly break. This can be avoided by unequipping your ranged weapons before every class call and putting them back on once you see the emote go out. Again though, you will need to do this for every single call since you do not know when he will do the Hunter one. It is recommended that Hunters bring multiple ranged weapons to the fight just in case you forget and your weapon breaks. (SoM) It will also spawn shadowy bow Corrupted Weapons that will project a line from them; standing in this Corrupted Shot will result in you taking a large amount of damage so make sure you avoid the lines as much as possible.
- Mage: "Mages too? You should be more careful when you play with magic..." Mages will start casting Polymorph on random raid members who will then need to be dispelled. Mage can use Ice Block to break out of this call. (SoM) It will also spawn shadowy wand Corrupted Weapons that will cast an Arcane Explosion that deals a large amount of Arcane damage and knocks back anyone hit by it, so make sure you keep your distance from them; they are mostly stationary except for occasionally Blinking to a new location.
- Paladin: "Paladins, I've heard you have many lives. Show me." Paladins will be forced to cast Blessing of Protection on Nefarian, which will make him immune to Physical attacks. Since tanks will not be able to generate threat during this time, the best option is to just have everyone stop attacking until the call is over. (SoM) It will also spawn shadowy sword Corrupted Weapons throughout the room dropping their own version of Consecration that you must avoid.
- Priest: "Priests! If you're going to keep healing like that, we might as well make it a little more interesting!" For the duration of the call, any direct healing that you cast will instead put a DoT on the target. Priests can still use their shields and utility spells, but should not cast their healing spells during this. (SoM) It will also spawn shadowy wand Corrupted Weapons that will fixate on the closest player to them, these wands are stationary but apply their own version of Mind Flay that can quickly become deadly, so make sure you are not the closest person to a wand for very long.
- Rogue: "Rogues? Stop hiding and face me!" Rogues will be teleported somewhere in the room and rooted. The main threat is if they get ported in front of the boss and get cleaved, so the tanks need to be ready to turn the boss if needed. Rogues can also use Vanish or Evasion to have a better chance of living when this happens. (SoM) It will also spawn shadowy dagger Corrupted Weapons that will randomly attack members of the raid with Corrupted Weapon, dealing a low amount of damage.
- Shaman: "Shamans, show me what your totems can do!" While this is active, Nefarian will spawn some corrupted totems that can give Nefarian some bad buffs or deal damage. These totems should be immediately killed by DPS for the duration of the call. (SoM) It will also spawn small balls of lightning (Bouncing Bolt) that will bounce randomly throughout the room, dealing Nature damage to anyone in the area where they land and applying the Pulse Lightning debuff to them. This debuff offers a substantial 30% increase to movement, casting, and attack speed, but causes the victim to damage nearby allies for 15 seconds in a Chain Lightning-style effect.
- Warlock: "Warlocks, you shouldn't be playing with magic you don't understand. See what happens?" Two Infernals will be summoned for every Warlock in your raid. These Infernals should be AoEd down quickly be the DPS. It is worth noting however that they are immune to fire damage, so Warlocks cannot help AoE them down. (SoM) It will also spawn shadowy fissures beneath where the Infernals spawn. These fissures will shoot bolts of Corrupted Coil outward in random directions that you must avoid.
- Warrior: "Warriors, I know you can hit harder than that! Let's see it!" Warriors are forced into Berserker Stance and take 30% more damage for the duration of the call. This is especially dangerous for tanks, and they will require substantial amounts of healing during this. The raid will also need to be careful since the tanks will not generate as much threat during this phase. (SoM) It will also spawn shadowy sword Corrupted Weapons that will Charge to the farthest away member of the raid from the sword's location, it is possible to avoid the damage from it entirely by moving preemptively when you see the swords starting to charge. They also can cast Corrupted Slam, stunning the victim and dealing heavy Physical damage.
Once you get Nefarian to 20% health, Phase 3 will begin.
Phase 3 is the same as Phase 2, except all of the dead Drakonids will respawn as Bone Constructs to start the phase. These adds hit very hard, but do not have a ton of health. You should have all off-tanks waiting to pick these up immediately once they spawn, preferably with Shield Wall and Challenging Shout to get threat immediately. Once the tanks have them, they should be promptly AoEd down by the DPS. Once they are all dead, return to killing Nefarian and dealing with the class calls.
- The class calls are by far the most important abilities, which are listed above.
- Bellowing Roar is his fear that he will cast once every 30 seconds. This will fear anyone within 35 yards who is in LoS. Melee should LoS this using one of the rocks nearby, ranged and healers can out-range it, and tanks should either us Berserker Rage, Fear Ward, or Tremor Totem to avoid being feared.
- Veil of Shadow can sometimes go onto a tank, and if it does they just need to be decursed promptly.
- Shadow Flame is only an important ability in that this is another reminder to have every single person wearing a Onyxia Scale Cloak. If you do not have a cloak, you will die.
Loot from Nefarian
Tier 2 Loot
|Robes of Transcendence
|Breastplate of Wrath
|Breastplate of Ten Storms
|Archimtiros' Ring of Reckoning
|Ashkandi, Greatsword of the Brotherhood
|Boots of the Shadow Flame
|Cloak of the Brood Lord
|Crul'shorukh, Edge of Chaos
|Head of Nefarian / Head of Nefarian
|Lok'amir il Romathis
|Mish'undare, Circlet of the Mind Flayer
|Prestor's Talisman of Connivery
|Pure Elementium Band
|Staff of the Shadow Flame
Other Blackwing Lair Guides
If you were looking for a full guide for the Blackwing Lair raid, or would like to know what other loot is available from its bosses, see the links below.
- 07 Feb. 2022: Updated for Season of Mastery Phase 3.
- 10 Feb. 2020: Guide added.
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