Strategy: Nefarian

Morynne —  June 24, 2011 — 1 Comment


I managed to get into my guild’s Nef kill. So here we go!

  • Name: Nefarian
  • Raid: Blackwing Descent
  • Tanks Needed: 2-3
  • Phases: 3
  • Catch: Very different mechanics in each phase.
  • This guide is for the normal encounter.

This fight is broken up in three phases, the first of which you have to kill undead Onyxia — which is amazing in and of itself.  Second phase is dealing with a lot of raid damage and interrupts, and the third phase is a burn phase.

Phase 1: Sibling Rivalry

The fight begins by jumping off the ledge and pulling Onyxia.  If you are late jumping down, or forget, Nef will nuke you from space, so make sure you pay attention.

Nef Phase 1

Positioning is important on this fight, as Ony and Nef can’t be close to each other because they buff each other.  When Ony is pulled, my guild moves her off to the right on the grate (from the platform perspective) with her head pointing toward the wall on the right side of the circle. (Confusing enough? Check diagrams) Nef comes down 30 seconds into the fight, and we pull him around the pillar on the left, again, on the grate.

Onyxia has a mechanic for DPS that is really a pain, especially for range.  She does Tail Lash behind her , Shadowflame Breath in front of her, and Lightning Discharge to her sides.  Range will typically stand off to her side, or close to one of her back feet.  When Lightning Discharge happens, quickly move between her back legs to avoid the discharge. You will be hit with the Tail Lash, but that damage is less than the discharge.  Definitely a “lesser of two evils” decision.

Nef is pretty similar when it comes to abilities, but a more persistent lightning mechanic.  Nefarian casts Tail Lash and Shadowflame Breath just like Onyxia, but instead of Lightning Discharge, he casts Electrocute, a massive Nature-damage AOE that is triggered at every 10% of his HP. Use personal and raid-wide cooldowns to reduce damage.

Several Animated Bone Warriors spawn from Nefarian’s Hail of Bones. On 25s, the adds are kited by a tank but on 10s, they can be handled by dps with kiting and CC abilities. The raid should move away when the adds are spawning, or else they will take shadow damage. These adds begin with 100 energy and can be slowed and stunned. The adds will die when their energy decreases to 0.  The goal here is to get all the adds to die in a pile so when Phase 3 begins, they’re easy to pick up.

The goal of this phase is to DPS Onyxia down, and kill her, after about 2 cycles of Nefarian’s Electrocute.  When Onyxia dies, you will move into Phase 2.  The strategy I’ve used is to have a DPS on Nef as soon as he lands, then when your DPS tank for the Bone Warriors is done with them, get on Nef and DPS there.  Then as another cycle of Electrocute comes up, move another DPS over to Nef.  Fun fact: If you position correctly, your folks on Nef will not be hit by Lightning Discharge.

The positioning on the Bone Warriors is also important.  They should not be in the line of fire of the shadow breath from Nef or Onyxia — they reanimate with those hits.  Once they’re down in phase 1, you want them to stay down.

Phase 2: Magma is Hot

Once Onyxia dies, Nef takes flight and fills the basin with magma.  It’s hot, you want to minimize your time in it.  It’s important to have a plan for your raid prior to entering this phase.

Each pillar will have a mob on it, and has an ability that MUST be interrupted.  Ideally, each pillar will have 1 healer, 1-2 DPS, and at least one person who can interrupt.  Shaman are great because the cooldown on their interrupt is very quick, as opposed to Scatter Shot or Silencing Shot, with it’s awesome 20-30 second CD.

Once those mobs are down on all three pillars, the magma will drain.  Jump off the pillar and enter phase 3.

Phase 3: Burn!

This phase is very similar to phase 1, minus Onyxia. Tank Nefarian in the center of the room. Raid will still need to watch out for Electrocutes, Shadowflame Breath, and Tail Lash.

Bone Warriors will be reanimated during this phase with Shadowblaze, so again, that tidy pile makes things much easier here.

Nefarian will periodically cast Shadowblaze Spark in the direction of the Animated Bone Warriors which will regen their energy in a similar fashion to Shadowflame Breath and damage anyone standing in the purple fire. (As always, stay out of stuff trying to eat your feet) The add tank must make sure the adds are not slowed or snared at this point, to make it easier to move them away when this casts. As the fight progresses, Nefarian will cast Shadowblaze Spark progressively faster, covering the room in purple fire and making it extremely difficult to kite.

The easiest way we’ve found to handle positioning on this phase is to again, tank Nef in the middle of the room, and tank the warriors out closer to the grate.  Your warrior tank will move in one direction (clockwise or counter, doesn’t matter) and Nef should be adjusted slightly in the opposite direction.  All of your raid (other than your tanks) should be grouped up on Nef’s side and make sure to keep moving as he’s being turned.  This is where AOE heals come in super handy — Nef still does Electrocute every 10%, so optimizing your mana use is going to be very important.  The Bone Warriors will deactivate when they reach 0 energy, but not for long.  They will activate when they’re hit with Shadow damage.

This is the right phase to blow all your cooldowns, drink your potions, and make it end as quickly as possible.  Your healers will thank you.

What does a Hunter need to know?

Phase 1: If you’re lucky, you’ll be the DPS that gets to go over to Nef early.  If that’s the case, just DPS as much as you can on Nef.  It’s worth calling out when Nef is nearing a 10% marker so your healers can prepare for Electrocute.  If you’re on Ony, make sure you know how to avoid her lightning discharge.  Back foot, and between her back legs are where you want to be standing.

Phase 2: Burn your add as fast as you can, interrupt when you’re able.  Be careful with your pet positioning — I’ve had my pet die to magma before, so make sure to keep your buddy from dying a molten death. A comment from Twitter @LedonLite said that using glyph’d Raptor Strike helps mitigate some of the shadow damage coming down in phase 2, as well as electrocutes.

Phase 3: Stay grouped up with your raid on Nef’s side.  Be aware of the purple fire on the ground, and DPS as fast as you can.  Blow cooldowns and use any damage reducing abilities for Electrocute (Dwarf hunters, I’m looking at you.  Stoneform.)

Hunter Loot from Nefarian

Still having trouble? Check out Tankspot’s video.

Good luck!


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Morynne is an avid hunter, and prefers Marksmanship. She has co-hosted the Hunting Party Podcast, and appeared on the Twisted Nether Blogcast. For more information, click here.

One response to Strategy: Nefarian

  1. Same way we did it with an some exceptions on phase 1:

    We hunter pet tanked the adds (only need two people tank spec'd this way). This required the MD glyph and the healers to heal the Turtle pet but works out great as once the adds are down the hunter can dismiss the beat up pet and call out a fresh one that's more suited to DPS.

    The other difference we had was that ranged DPS moved out of range of the tail swipe, back edge of inner circle, and the Ony. tank did his best to position her so tail swipes didn't hit melee at her feet and then turned her for the Lightning discharges. We took Nef. down to about 72% in phase 1, after the secondary tank had his agro and got him to the opposite side of the room, focusing mostly on Nef. to that point and then burning Ony. down.

    Raptor strike was also a huge help to our healers through phase 1, as well as all the phases, as every 10% the hunters, being in his attack box while still being able to shoot, could pop a Raptor Strike off to reduce the Electrocute damage by 20%. That 20% adds up fast in this fight.

    We also aspect danced to reduce Nature damage a bit for the Electrocutes and kept up the Aspect of the Wild up for phase 2 since this is more of an interrupt the adds and mitigate damage for healers to heal phase.

    Transitioning into phase 2 we put our pets on passive as soon as Nef. reached the center of the room, and then put them back on aggressive once we got our initial concussive shots off into phase 2.

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