Nefarian Raid Guide

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Reanimated by his father, Deathwing, Nefarian has returned to terrorize Azeroth and finish what he started. Not satisfied with one undead dragon, Nefarian also brings his sister, Onyxia, back with him.

(You can reference the Nefarian Loot list if you want to see all of the boss drops.)

  • Take advantage of your range to DPS Nefarian where possible.
    • In Phase 1 you can multidot Nefarian and Onyxia
    • In Phase 2 you can hit Nefarian while in the air
  • Use what you can to slow the Animated Bone Warriors and mind controlled players in Phase 1 & 3.
  • Avoid being behind or in front of Nefarian and Onyxia.
  • Avoid being behind or in front of Nefarian and Onyxia.
  • Stay focused on interrupts during Phase 2!
  • Coordinate cooldowns for Electrocute.
  • Avoid wasting mana, this is a long fight.
  • Position Nefarian and Onyxia with their flanks toward the raid.
  • Rotate Onyxia during Lightning Discharge to avoid the DPS being hit.
  • Avoid aiming the bosses face at Animated Bone Warriors and their corpses.
  • Save mitigation for Electrocute.


All Phases

Every time Nefarian loses 10% of his health, he will deal massive Nature damage to all players. Be prepared!

Nefarian has an enraged timer, and after 10 minutes will deal massively increased damage, almost guaranteeing a wipe.

Phase 1

Shared Abilities

While Nefarian and Onyxia are within 50 yards of each other, they attack twice as fast. To mitigate this, the bosses will need to be tanked on opposite ends of the room.

Nefarian and Onyxia deal Shadowflame damage to everyone in a frontal cone. This will also resurrect any Animated Bone Warriors hit. Make sure this only hits the tank, as well as avoids Animated Bone Warriors where possible.

Nefarian and Onyxia are dragons, so of course, standing behind their tails will hurt.


Before Nefarian lands, he will cast this, summoning a handful of Animated Bone Warriors and dealing damage to nearby players. Animated Bone Warriors have an energy bar that functions as their health, slowly depleting over time. Once this reaches zero, they will die. If they are hit by Shadowflame Breath or Shadowblaze Spark, they will be resurrected.

As Animated Bone Warriors are alive, they gain stacks of Empowering Strikes, increasing their damage and movement speed significantly.

Occasionally Nefarian will mind control a few random players, forcing them to walk towards a portal. If the player reaches the portal, they will die instantly. While effected by Dominion, players gain a handful of new abilities.

The first is Siphon Power, allowing players to steal some of Nefarians power, giving them a stacking buff that increases their damage and healing for 15 seconds. This can stack very highly, and is the key feature of Dominion.

Players also have Free Your Mind, allowing them to break Dominion. Your goal is to gain as many stacks of Stolen Power as you can before casting Free Your Mind to break Dominion. While mind controlled, players can slow you, giving you more time to generate stacks of Stolen Power. If players fail to stack this effectively, it will be difficult to beat the Berserk timer.


Onyxia gains Energy throughout the fight, as well as a significant amount of bonus Energy whenever Nefarian casts Electrocute. If she reaches full Energy, she will cast Electrical Overload, instantly wiping the raid. This is effectively a Berserk timer on Phase 1.

Onyxia will occasionally discharge electricity from the orbs by her sides, dealing moderate Nature damage to all targets within 60 yards.

Phase 2

This Phase begins once Onyxia dies.

Nefarian breathes Shadowflame at random players, dealing heavy Shadowflame damage. This needs to be healed through.

On Heroic difficulty, Nefiarna occasionally coats random players in Explosive Cinders, dealing Fire damage every 2 seconds and detonating after 8 seconds, dealing Fire damage to everyone within 10 yards. To avoid unnecessary damage, the target should move away from their allies.

A Chromatic Prototype will spawn on each of the platforms for the fight. These will remain stationary, casting Blast Nova.

Blast Nova deals heavy Fire damage to all players every 2 seconds. This can and should be interrupted every time to avoid damage.

Phase 3

Nefarian deals Shadowflame damage to everyone in a frontal cone. This will also resurrect any Animated Bone Warriors hit. Make sure this only hits the tank, as well as avoids Animated Bone Warriors where possible.

Nefarian is a dragon, so of course, standing behind his tail will hurt.

Nefarian creates a Shadowflame void zone at an Animated Bone Warrior. This will spread rapidly, dealing damage to players and resurrecting Animated Bone Warriors hit.

Raid Composition & Preparation

You will want a lot of healers for this fight, as this is a long and healing intensive fight. A minimum of 5 is recommended.

The more DPS you have, the easier this fight will be, and the less strain placed on the healers. Ranged DPS are valuable as they can DPS Nefarian during Phase 2, but it is also vital to have classes with good interrupts like Shamans, Rogues, and Warriors.

You will need two full tanks, and one kiter for the Animated Bone Warriors in Phase 1 & 3. The kiter doesn’t have to be a tank, but tanks have an easier time dealing with any mistakes.


Phase 1 – Onyxia

This fight begins with fighting Onyxia by herself while Nefarian flies above the raid. For the first 30 seconds he will cast Hail of Bones, marked with a purple effect on the ground, dealing damage when it hits. After a few seconds, a handful of Animated Bone Warriors will spawn. These need to be kited, and can be slowed or stunned. After 50 seconds, the Animated Bone Warriors will die off, and will remain dead unless they are hit by Shadowflame Breath or Shadowblaze Spark. Make sure you have a player assigned to kiting these, but be careful, they hit very hard!

After 30 seconds, Nefarian will join in on the fight. These dragons will need to be tanked separately on different sides of the arena, and kept stationary. DPS and healers will want to make sure they are never behind either boss, to avoid Tail Lash. This Phase ends when Onyxia dies, and if she lasts too long, reaching 100 energy, she will wipe the raid. Onyxia also casts Lightning Discharge. This is marked by her wings glowing. When this happens, the tank should attempt to rotate her so that her flanks are not pointed at the raid. It is better at this point to be hit by Tail Lash than Lightning Discharge.

Your first focus should be to get Onyxia to low health, around 25%. After that, DPS Nefarian down as much as you reasonably can. This will make later stages of the fight easier, and as long as Onyxia is not allowed to reach 100 energy, you can safely do this. Each time Nefarian loses 10% health, he will cast Electrocute. This needs to be carefully planned and mitigated, as the damage is very high.

On Heroic, while Nefarian is on the ground he will also cast Dominion roughly every 15 seconds. This causes players to be mind controlled and walk towards a portal, and if they reach the portal they die. One or two players should be assigned to slowing mind controlled players, while they use their new ability, Stolen Power. Spam this as much as possible, up to a maximum of 150 stacks. Once you ever just on the brink of entering a portal, use the ability Free Your Mind to break Dominion.

Phase 2 – Chromatic Prototypes

Once Onyxia dies, Nefarian will take off. The arena will start to fill with lava, excluding three small platforms. The raid will need to get to these platforms as fast as possible to avoid dying to the lava.

Each platform will spawn a Chromatic Prototype, a large add that will continuously try to cast Blast Nova. This spell will deal massive damage to the raid if it is ever able to cast. To make sure this is always interrupted, the raid should be split between the three platforms with an interrupt rotation that can cover every cast of Blast Nova.

On Heroic difficulty, Nefarian will target a player on each platform with Explosive Cinders. This will cause them to explode after 8 seconds, damaging everyone close by. Anyone targeted by this will need to heroically throw themselves in the lava to avoid blowing up their team, and healers will need to take extra care of them to make sure they survive both the Explosive Cinders and the lava.

The Phase ends when all Chromatic Prototypes die, but ranged DPS are able to DPS Nefarian during this Phase too.

Phase 3 – Nefarian

Once all Chromatic Prototypes are dead, the lava will drain and all players will need to jump from their platforms to fight Nefarian on the ground. For the most part this Phase works like Phase 1, with one additional ability. Nefarian casts Shadowblaze Spark every 25 seconds, aimed at the Animated Bone Warriors. This will revive them on hit, and because it is cast every 25 seconds, they will never have time to run out of energy. Just like Phase 1, these adds need to be kited effectively, but they will eventually become too fast to kite at all, adding a soft enrage to this fight. Shadowblaze Spark also creates flame patches that will quickly spread, limiting the space in the arena, adding another layer of difficulty to kiting.

Nefarian will still cast Electrocute every 10%, making it vital that healers are able to keep up. The more damage dealt in Phase 1 and Phase 2, the easier and quicker this Phase will be, so make sure you maximize damage dealt to Nefarian during those Phases.


About the Author


I love MMOs of all shades, especially the nitty gritty numbers parts of them. You might recognize me from the Shadow Priest discord, otherwise I play a little bit of everything, especially games with support roles available.
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