- Author: Furious
- Date: July 7, 2020
- Expansion: TBC Classic
Thanks for taking a look at our Burning Crusade Classic strategy guide for Nightbane in Karazhan! While Prince Malchezaar is technically the finally boss in Karazhan, Nightbane is often viewed as the raid’s ultimate encounter. It is a tougher and longer fight than the Prince and requires completion of a majority of the Karazhan questline to summon Nightbane. The encounter certainly isn’t easy and will test the coordination of your raid group. Let’s get started and take a look at what it takes to bring down Karazhan’s final form.
Nightbane can be summoned at Master’s Terrace, which is by the side entrance to the raid. The boss will not initially be at the balcony, instead spawning 30 seconds after using the Blackened Urn. Use this time to get into position for the fight, which will start in a ground phase assault. It’s easiest to split the raid group and have half of the raid group on the north side of the balcony and the other half on the south side. Make sure your entire raid is prepared with plenty of consumables as the fight is extremely long!
- Melee DPS on rear right leg, ranged DPS at max range to avoid fear.
- Run away from Charred Earth during ground phase.
- Focus skeletons during air phase.
- Slow DPS during transitions to allow the tank to grab aggro.
- Stand at max range to avoid fear.
- Run away from Charred Earth during ground phase.
- Remove Distracting Ash from whoever is targeted.
- Overheal the Rain of Bones and Smoking Blast targets during air phase.
- Face the boss away from the building with your back to the edge of the balcony.
- Use defensive cooldowns or Berserker Rage to help avoid mitigate damage from fears.
- Focus on quickly building threat after transitions between phases.
- Don’t let the boss move or turn around.
The fight with Nightbane is cyclical and features two repeating phases. The bulk of the encounter will be spent in his ground phase, during which you’ll be focusing your DPS on him. After he loses 25% of his health, he will switch into an air phase, during which you’ll need to focus on adds. This repeats at 50% health and 25% health. The two phases are quite different and successfully completing the fight requires thorough understanding and precise execution of each phase. We’ll split each phase into a breakdown below to help you learn it.
The ground phase accounts for most of the fight and is also how it begins. During this time, Nightbane will physically attack the raid group and damage should be focused on him. He has a total of six abilities that he uses during this phase. This includes Cleave, Tail Sweep, Smoldering Breath, Charred Earth, Distracting Ash, and Bellowing Roar.
Cleave hits all targets for heavy damage in an arc in front of the boss. Make sure the tank is always facing the Nightbane away from the raid to avoid this. Tail Sweep will hit anyone hiding by his tail for light damage, but it also applies a DoT that repeats this damage 8 times. To avoid this, all raid members should only be standing near Nightbane’s sides, never his tail or front.
Smoldering Breath is another ability used in front of the boss, shaped in a cone that does heavy fire damage. It also applies a DoT that deals significant damage. This should only hit the tank and will require extra healing to survive through. Charred Earth creates a damaging effect under a random raid member, dealing moderate damage each second that will quickly cause a death. The damaged ground lasts for 30 seconds and must never be stood in.
Distracting Ash will reduce spell and melee hit chance significantly for 40 seconds. However, it can and should be dispelled, making the spell fairly trivial. More important to watch out for is Bellowing Roar. This is similar to the Onyxia ability, used every 50 or so seconds and fearing all raid members within range for 2.5 seconds. Ranged DPS and healers should stand far enough away that they are never in range to get hit by it. Melee will need to manage or make use of niche fear breaks like Berserker Rage, Tremor Totem, and Will of the Forsaken.
Every ground phase is identical and should be approached the same way. Tank the boss facing away from the building (tank’s back should be to the balcony edge) with melee DPS near his rear right claw. Place your two groups of ranged DPS and healers near the door but still in range to hit the boss.
Overall, the ground phase is not that hard if you’re positioned properly, quick about moving away from Charred Earth, and have a good rotation for keeping the tank alive during Bellowing Roar. Slow down on DPS when you begin to approach a transition and prepare to group up in the center of the balcony when it happens.
Upon losing 25% of his health, Nightbane will retreat to the air and use ranged abilities while summoning adds to attack the raid. He does not use any of the abilities from the ground phase and cannot be attacked. He has a total of three abilities that he can use while in the air, but doing the fight properly only has you dealing with two of them.
Nightbane’s air phase abilities include Rain of Bones, Smoking Blast, and Fireball Barrage. Rain of Bones is cast shortly after he takes flight, which targets a random raid member and pelts them with bone fragments. These deal minor damage, but hit all raid members within 6 yards of the target. Because of this, whoever is hit by Rain of Bones must run slightly north to avoid hurting the raid group.
Additionally, Rain of Bones will spawn five Restless Skeletons. These are fairly with low health and must be killed as quickly as possible. To effectively deal with them, the raid group should clump during a transition into an air phase and be ready to AoE the skeletons down. Any classes with a taunt should use them to prevent healers from taking damage.
Smoking Blast is the other spell Nightbane will typically use. This picks a target and bombards them for 15 seconds, dealing roughly 2000 damage per second. It also applies a DoT, which can and should be dispelled. This attack is focused on whoever has the highest threat, which is often a healer because threat resets upon a phase change. With this in mind, whoever is hit must be prioritized by healers to keep them alive.
Lastly, Nightbane will use Fireball Barrage if any raid members are too far away from the boss. This will pelt all raid members for heavy damage each second, causing a rapid wipe if not immediately addressed. By staying grouped in the center of the balcony, this should never be used.
Putting this together, the air phase isn’t actually that bad. Just make sure the Rain of Bones target reacts quickly and is topped off while also focusing heals on the Smoking Blast target. Kill adds as quickly as possible so they aren’t alive during the next ground phase. Make sure you don’t run too far away from the center of the balcony! Once Smoking Blast finishes, Nightbane will return to the balcony for another ground phase.
The whole fight is a combination of the ground and air phases mentioned above. You’ll have 4 ground phase periods and 3 air phase periods, which should last roughly 10 minutes for a successful kill. Executing the phases themselves is not hard and just requires good positioning and practice.
One final concern to watch out for is the transitions from air phase to ground phase. This is always a dangerous point in the fight because Nightbane’s aggro table will reset. The main tank needs time to regain threat, so healers and DPS must be careful. At the same time, it is critical that all skeletons die before the transition ends. The raid must reposition themselves prior to Nightbane landing, so any loose adds will be problematic.
While the mechanics of the fight aren’t hard, the length of the encounter makes it a challenge in itself. Maintaining accurate play for 10 minutes is always difficult and mistakes are likely. Any errors must be minimized to successfully kill the boss as raid damage is already fairly high. Be careful around transitions, prioritize positioning, and top off the right targets during the air phase to topple the true final boss of Karazhan!