Cenarius Abilities

Last updated on Sep 21, 2016 at 00:20 by Damien 5 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

On this page, we list all the abilities from the Cenarius encounter in The Emerald Nightmare. The idea is to give you a solid understanding of the encounter before you read the strategy.

If you are already familiar with the encounter, then you can skip to the strategy and tactics page or access any other page of the guide by using the table of contents on the right.

About our Reviewer

This guide has been reviewed and approved by Pottm from Serenity.



The fight is made up of two phases. In the first phase, you fight Cenarius and a number of adds he summons. All their abilities combined require you to move a lot. Malfurion helps you by cleansing some of Cenarius' adds and making them fight for your raid instead. In the second phase, there are no more adds and it becomes a simple burn phase during which you have to kill the boss before you run out of room on the platform.


Phase One

During Phase One, you face Cenarius and a number of adds. You also receive help from Malfurion and can recruit some of Cenarius' adds to fight with you.



Cenarius uses 4 abilities in Phase One: Aura of Dread Thorns Icon Aura of Dread Thorns, Creeping Nightmares Icon Creeping Nightmares, Nightmare Brambles Icon Nightmare Brambles, and Forces of Nightmare Icon Forces of Nightmare.

Aura of Dread Thorns Icon Aura of Dread Thorns is very simple. It causes the adds spawned by Cenarius to reflect 50% of the damage they take back to the attacker, if they are within 20 yards of Cenarius (30 in Heroic mode and higher).

The other abilities are more complex and will be explained in their own sections below.


Creeping Nightmares

Every 2 seconds, Cenarius damages the entire raid with Creeping Nightmares Icon Creeping Nightmares. This does a very low amount of damage, but it applies a stacking debuff that increases the damage taken by Creeping Nightmare by 20%.

One important thing to note is that the initial damage is very low, so the damage ramps up over a very long period of time. At 30 stacks in Normal mode (or 25 in Heroic mode), players take about 100k damage every 2 seconds.

Also worth noting, but it is very minor, the damage always happens before the new stack is applied.

As we will see below, there is a mechanic in the fight called Cleansed Ground Icon Cleansed Ground and used by Malfurion that allows you to clear your stacks of Creeping Nightmares Icon Creeping Nightmares.


Nightmare Brambles

Every 30 seconds, Nightmare Brambles Icon Nightmare Brambles is cast at a random location. A few seconds later, brambles appear at that location, fixate on a random raid member, and follow them for 20 seconds. Every 2 seconds, the brambles leave behind a patch of brambles. At the end of the 20 seconds, the Nightmare Brambles disappear, but the patches they have created remain until someone step in them.

If a player comes in contact with a patch of brambles, they are rooted for 6 seconds and take a moderate amount of damage every 2 seconds. When the 6 seconds are up, the player is freed and the patch disappears. The root/DoT effect can be dispelled.



Very shortly into the fight and every 80 seconds after that, Cenarius casts Forces of Nightmare Icon Forces of Nightmare. This causes 3 inactive adds to spawn at various locations on the edge of the platform and we will speak more about it in the next section. After about 8 seconds, Malfurion cleanses the inactive add that has the most raid members next to it. When the adds activate after 15 seconds, the cleansed one fights for you for 1 minute, while the other 2 fight for Cenarius.

When Malfurion cleanses the add that you want to recruit, he creates a large green patch of Cleansed Ground Icon Cleansed Ground at that add's location. Entering this patch causes your stacks of Creeping Nightmares Icon Creeping Nightmares to drop. Every time someone steps into the Cleansed Ground patch, he diminishes in size, until it disappears.

In our experience, the patch is large enough for every raid member to clear their stacks at least once. Note that being in the patch's area of effect as it appears clears your stacks but do not cause it to shrink, but it will start to shrink if you do not move out fast enough and receive an application of Creeping Nightmares Icon Creeping Nightmares while still standing in it.


Forces of Nightmare

As previously said, Cenarius casts Forces of Nightmare Icon Forces of Nightmare every 80 seconds, summoning 3 inactive adds. One of them will be cleansed to fight for you by Malfurion, and the other 2 will fight for Cenarius.

There are 4 possible inactive adds and they activate differently, depending on whether or not they get cleansed.

  • Tormented Souls (looks like a tree) spawns:
    • 5 Wisps when cleansed (they help removing stacks of Creeping Nightmares Icon Creeping Nightmares);
    • 5 Corrupted Wisps when not cleansed (they have low health and deal AoE damage).
  • Corrupted Sapling spawns:
    • 1 Cleansed Ancient when cleansed (it regenerates the raid's Mana);
    • 1 Nightmare Ancient when not cleansed (it deals AoE damage around itself).
  • Emerald Egg spawns:
    • 1 Emerald Drake when cleansed (increases healing);
    • 1 Rotten Drake when not cleansed (it deals AoE damage).
  • Corrupted Nature spawns:
    • 1 Redeemed Sister when cleansed (helps with removing Nightmare Brambles Icon Nightmare Brambles and reducing incoming damage);
    • 1 Twisted Sister when not cleansed (it deals damage to the raid and heals allies).

In the subsections below, we detail the abilities of each of these adds (in the same order we listed the adds here).



Wisps simply detonate at a random location, leaving a small patch of Cleansed Ground Icon Cleansed Ground that can be used a few times to reset stacks of Creeping Nightmares Icon Creeping Nightmares before disappearing.


Corrupted Wisps

Corrupted Wisps can be taunted, but otherwise fixate on the target with the highest threat on their aggro table. When they reach their target, they deal AoE damage with Destructive Nightmares Icon Destructive Nightmares within 8 yards. Then they fixate on another raid member and so on until they die. These adds can be crowd-controlled (roots, sunts, knockbacks, etc. work).


Cleansed Ancient

The Cleansed Ancient casts Replenishing Roots Icon Replenishing Roots twice during the 1 minute that it helps your raid. This causes all nearby raid members to regenerate 3% of their maximum Mana every second for 8 seconds. So, if the raid decides to get a Cleansed Ancient, this will regenerate a total of 48% Mana for the healers.


Nightmare Ancient

The Nightmare Ancient melee its tank and casts Desiccating Stomp Icon Desiccating Stomp, which deals a very high amount of Shadow damage, split amongst all raid members within 8 yards. If no enemies are damaged by this ability, then every raid member takes a large amount of damage from Desiccation Icon Desiccation.


Emerald Drake

The Emerald Drake applies Ancient Dream Icon Ancient Dream to a tank every 30 seconds This increases healing received by 50% and causes the next deadly attack to bring the tank back to 50%.

Ancient Dream lasts for 30 seconds but is not always re-applied for some reason. Looking at combat logs, we could not figure out why.


Rotten Drake

The Rotten Drake melee its tank and has a breath attack called Rotten Breath Icon Rotten Breath, which is not cast at the drake's current tank, but in the direction of a random raid member. It deals low Shadow damage in the chosen direction every second for 4 seconds.

When the Rotten Drake gets below 50%, it starts pulsating Nightmare Buffet Icon Nightmare Buffet every 2 seconds. This deals low Shadow damage to all raid members and each pulse increases the Shadow damage the drake deals by 20% (so it increases the damage of both Nightmare Buffet and Rotten Breath, which it keeps casting).


Redeemed Sister

The Redeemed Sister has one ability called Unbound Touch Icon Unbound Touch. She casts it twice during the minute she helps the raid. It targets a random raid member and grants them immunity to Shadow damage and movement impairing effects for 4 seconds. It also increases movement speed by 75%. When the 4 seconds are up, the buff expires and applies Unbound Essence Icon Unbound Essence to all allies within 6 yards.

Unbound Essence is a copy of Unbound Touch, just that it does not jump to other players once it expires.


Twisted Sister

The Twisted Sister is the most complex of the adds. She melees her tank and has 3 abilities: Twisted Touch of Life Icon Twisted Touch of Life, Nightmare Javelin Icon Nightmare Javelin, and Scorned Touch Icon Scorned Touch.

  • Twisted Touch of Life Icon Twisted Touch of Life heals an ally for a small amount of health but then leaves a HoT on them that heals them for a massive amount every 2 seconds for 8 seconds. She usually only has time to cast this once. The cast itself can be interrupted and the HoT can be dispelled.
  • Nightmare Javelin Icon Nightmare Javelin is cast every 5 seconds. It targets a random raid member, inflicting low Shadow damage every second for 6 seconds to all allies within 4 yards.
  • Scorned Touch Icon Scorned Touch is cast every 20 seconds. It targets about 3 random raid members, instantly dealing high Shadow damage and reducing their movement speed by 30% for 12 seconds. When the 12 seconds are up, Scorned Touch spreads to every players within 8 yards (instantly dealing damage to them and reducing their movement speed by 30% for 12 seconds before spreading again to nearby players).

Phase Two

Phase Two starts when Cenarius reaches 30% health. He retains Creeping Nightmares Icon Creeping Nightmares and Nightmare Brambles Icon Nightmare Brambles, but gains 2 new abilities: Spear of Nightmares Icon Spear of Nightmares and Entangling Nightmares Icon Entangling Nightmares.

Spear of Nightmares Icon Spear of Nightmares is cast every 18 seconds. It deals extremely high damage to the current tank and increases damage taken by Spear of Nightmares by 100% for 25 seconds. In addition, it creates a large void zone at the tank's location. Its size is increased by the amount of damage the tank took from Spear of Nightmares.

Entangling Nightmares Icon Entangling Nightmares is cast every minute and engulfs Malfurion in Nightmare Roots, damaging him and preventing him from assisting your raid with Cleansed Ground Icon Cleansed Ground (which he now casts at the location with the most raid members nearby). The Nightmare Roots can be killed to free Malfurion.

We do not know how often Malfurion casts Cleansed Ground, because there is was no need to free him during beta testing on Normal mode, as the boss was dying very quickly. On Heroic mode, the fight was very hard and very few testing groups actually made it to Phase Two.

Also, we do not know what happens if you let the Nightmare Roots kill Malfurion. This probably results in a wipe or a failed attempt.



  • 21 Sep. 2016: Added more details following pottm's review.
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