“Hah!” Nefarian – 16, Guild – 0
Last night we worked on Nefarian for four hours, and I must say that we made a lot of progress! All our previous attempts had either ended with a bang in Phase 1 when Onyxia exploded or shortly afterward on the pillars. However, by the end of last night we’d managed to get Nef down to about 25% on our best attempt.
Now, for the rest of this post I’m going to assume that you know the basic mechanics of the fight, and I’ll just describe how we’re trying to handle them.
“Behold, the Broodmother… Onyxia… REBORN.”
We have finally managed to figure out a strategy for getting 2 Electrocutes out of Nefarian in Phase 1 while still managing to kill Onyxia. Originally we had tried burning Onyxia down to a sliver of health and then pushing the Electrocutes, but the timing wasn’t working for us.
Now we start with everyone on Ony until Nef lands and is in position, at which point all the DPS – except for our Hunter – switch to Nef. It’s important to keep enough DPS on Ony, as it seems to slows down her energy gain. (I can’t find any reference for this, but it sure feels true.)
For those who may not have tackled Nefarian yet, when you DPS him down to 90%, and every 10% of his health thereafter, he will strike the entire raid with Electrocute, which deals about 130k damage to each person in the raid. It is therefore imperative that the raid is topped up before pushing each electrocute. Electrocute also adds 25% charge to Onyxia’s charge level, and when she hits 100% charge she explodes and wipes the raid. We were managing to get two Electrocutes off before having to kill Ony and push to Phase 2.
Each dragon also has a breath attack that deals enormous amounts of damage: Ony’s deals about 105k damage over 1.5 seconds, and Nef’s deals about 162k damage over 1.5 seconds. We had a couple of tank deaths when Electrocute and a breath attack happened at the same time, but we got better at timing and surviving the attacks.
“See how the shadowflame animates their bones! They fight at my command!”
We had our Mage kite the Animated Bone Warriors in Phase 1 because we don’t have any plate-wearing DPS at the moment. I tell you, I do not envy his job at all! The adds appear in random places around the room, he has to get and hold aggro on them without letting them hit him and kill him, make sure the dragons don’t breath on them to reset their energy, and then make sure they all die in a nice pile in a specific spot in the room when their energy runs out. It’s not easy, and we had a few attempts where they just got away from him, but by the end of the night he was handling those adds like a pro.
Oh, and did I mention that our Mage did this while specced Arcane? He is a dedicated Arcane Mage, and he constantly puts Fire Mages to shame and makes Frost Mages weep to see his leet kiting skills. (He did give himself a secondary spec that has Frost as a sub-spec in order to improve his kiting for this fight.)
The biggest problem our Mage has for establishing aggro is me. As a Resto Druid my HoTs cause a huge amount of threat, and as soon as adds spawn they always run straight at me. (This is a problem for our add tank on Maloriak too.) I’m assigned to healing the Nef tank, so in order to prevent myself from establishing aggro on the adds I spend the first 30 seconds of the fight not healing. Or, rather, I can’t use any HoTs during that time. So I spend the first 30 seconds spamming Nourish on people to top them up, since people take fall damage damage jumping down to Ony. (If you are a Druid, jump down in cat form! You won’t take any damage at all that way.) I don’t start any true healing until Nef has landed, and even then I sometimes pull aggro. *sigh* WTB aggro dump!
“Curse you, mortals! Such callous disregard for one’s possessions must be met with extreme force!”
Once Ony is dead, it’s time for the fun mini-game of “Jump on the Pillars”. So far I haven’t had any trouble jumping up at all. But a lot of other people had issues getting stuck under the lip of a pillar or accidentally jumping right over the damn thing and back into the lava. When people get stuck in the lava they usually die. The only advice I have for this is the same advice I’ve read elsewhere: Stay about a yard away from the pillar and wait until the lava has filled the room, then press spacebar to swim up. When you jump out of the lava move forward onto the pillar. Sounds so easy, amiright?
There are three pillars in this Phase, with one add on each pillar. These adds do nothing but try to spam cast a really devastating ability called Blast Nova. This must be interrupted! This means that ideally you need to split the raid up so that you have three groups, one on each pillar, and each group must have the following:
- A ranged interrupt to stop the first cast of Blast Nova that happens as you are jumping up on the platform. (Apparently the Blood Elf racial ability Arcane Torrent works too.)
- A melee interrupt (or a shaman’s Wind Shear) on a short cooldown in order to interrupt all subsequent Blast Nova’s.
- A healer.
- Sufficient healing or damage mitigating cooldowns to keep everyone on the pillar alive through the huge amount of damage in this phase.
- Someone with a battle rez, since each pillar is out of range of the other pillars. Thankfully DKs and Warlocks have brez now.
- Sufficient DPS to kill the add. Once all three adds are dead, this phase ends.
In 10 man, there will be two groups of three and one group of four, each group somehow managing to cover all those roles. Here’s how we did it:
- Group 1: Warrior tank, Resto Druid, Mage
- Group 2: DK tank, Resto Shaman, Warlock
- Group 3: Disc Priest, Rogue, Hunter, Boomkin
At first, we did not attempt to push an Electrocute in Phase 2. We were much too concerned with making sure all the interrupts were happening on each pillar and that the healers could deal with the constant damage from Nef’s air attacks. However, after a few attempts at Phase 2 we noticed two things. Firstly, the healing burden wasn’t too bad as long as interrupts were happening. Originally I was hitting Tranquility as soon as we jumped up on the platform, but if all interrupts happened I didn’t need to. The other healers felt the same way. Secondly, because Group 2 had three DPS classes, their add was dying a good 30 seconds or so before the other adds, and then they’d just sit twiddling their thumbs waiting for the other adds to die. So we decided to have the Rogue focus on the Group 3 add while the Hunter and Boomkin pushed a third Electrocute, and then got Nef close to a fourth Electrocute going into Phase 3.
Having an Electrocute go off in Phase 2 makes that phase a lot more difficult. If an Electrocute and a Shadowflame Barrage hit at the same time people died. It was necessary to blow healing/mitigation cooldowns to survive it, but it was possible.
“I thank you for coming, but you really all must DIE now!”
Phase 3 is all about the add tank. The Animated Bone Warriors are, well, re-animated, and need to be kited around the room. Our DK tank took over kiting duties and all the DPS focused on killing Nefarian.
Now, from my perspective, this phase was actually pretty easy. It’s just like more of Phase 1 – heal the tank and watch out for Electrocutes. (At first my biggest issue was going into Phase 3 with low mana, but on our last couple of attempts I got there with about 60% mana left.) For the DK and his Priest healer though, this phase was anything but easy.
You see, the Bone Warriors start out with energy, and when they run out of energy they die. They also start off small and gradually gain stacks of Empowering Strikes, which makes them grow larger and do more damage. When they die, they lose all their stacks. When they are hit by any of Nef’s flame attacks, they reset their energy to 100%. So, in theory, the add tank kites the adds around the room, keeping them out of the shadowflame attacks until they die, then resumes kiting when Nef reanimates them. Simple in theory, but not in practice.
The adds were just refusing to die for us. Our DK kept complaining that sometimes his raid warnings for spells were going off before the spell was cast, but other times it was going off just as the spell was cast – and therefore too late for him to move the adds out of the way. It was also hard for him to find a kiting path through the room, since most of the room fills up with fire, and a couple of times he trapped himself. Eventually the adds got so many buff stacks that they just one-shot the tank. They then rampaged through the raid, one-shotting people until everyone was dead.
I know our DK is planning to do some research into how the adds are best kited in Phase 3. I’m sure that once he gets some practice at it Nef will die.
That’s right, Nef. Your days are numbered.