Tanking Nefarian

After long weeks we arrive at the final fight of Blackwing Descent and face off against Nefarian and Onyxia.

This is a three phase, two tank fight so whether you’re the main or the off-tank, there’re going to be a lot of things to occupy your attention.

For starters, as the tank in charge of Onyxia, you’re going to need to take last week’s advice on how to turn dragons quickly as every now and then, she’ll arc electricity from her sides, dealing damage in that range. The problem lies in the fact that she also has a breath and a tail swipe so you’re going to have to keep on your toes and turn her back and forth as needed as quickly as possible.

The Nefarian tank in this phase doesn’t have all that much to worry about save for finding a good position to keep Nefarian’s breath and tail from messing up the raid so you can take it easy there.

There will likely be a third raid member who’s responsible for kiting the skeletal adds so as a tank, be sure to use your personal cooldowns appropriately and often so that the healers can use their cooldowns on the kiter who’s liable to suffer a few close calls here and there.

For the next phase there isn’t too much for a tank to do. The add can’t really be tanked so all you have to do is make sure that you’re right on top of those interrupts on them. Set up an interrupt rotation with the people on your platform to ensure a smooth fun and remember that when the lava first begins to rise, the platform has a slight lip at the edge of it so if you swim up and jump while you’re right up against it, you’re going to have some trouble getting up there. Treat getting up onto the platform the way you’d jump across a gap; give yourself a little bit of space to clear the edge and you shouldn’t have any trouble getting up there in one shot.

The final phase of this fight can get a little more hectic, moreso for the tank that’s responsible for kiting. The adds need to be collected quickly to prevent too much unnecessary damage around the raid. The wrinkle when it comes to kiting them is that they exist on a slight timer and eventually become inanimate but taking them through a patch of shadowflame on the ground will result in that timer being reset and the adds hitting harder and faster.

Communicating well with your main tank is a MUST in this phase if you’re not to be overwhelmed. One thing that can help is to have both of you running in slow circles in the same direction. So if Nefarian is at the center and being turned clockwise, the offtank runs in a circle in the same direction but slightly ahead, giving the shadowflame patches time to disappear before they both come around to that point again. It’s not entirely necessary to continuously turn Nefarian given that the shadowflame missiles and the blaze spawns randomly but it can help to alleviate the pressure if everyone moves in the same circular direction which gives each patch of fire as much time to fade as the next before you come around to it again.

It can be a little tough to get the raid around to this type of thinking (like Halion!) when the natural impulse is to stay still but as long as you can stress that the main focus of this phase is controlling the adds, it shouldn’t be too hard to get them to come over to this strategy.

Best of luck with this final encounter.



  1. Dorkseid says:

    I have to say that I really appreciate your guides. I was somewhat thrust into raid tanking for our 10m and I find your guides to be clear, concise, and immensely helpful. Keep it up!