- This article is about the in-game raid boss. For character biography see Arcanagos.
|Servants' Quarters Beasts|
Nightbane is a summonable boss in Karazhan.
He is a fiery skeletal dragon, transformed by Medivh from Arcanagos and formerly of the Blue Dragonflight. While not the ruler of Karazhan, a position apparently held by Prince Malchezaar, many consider Nightbane to be the true final boss of the tower, due to his superior difficulty in the early days of the dungeon's release. Their comparative difficulty is now in dispute.
One member of your raid needs to complete the  questline to summon the boss. This means Heroic Shattered Halls and Sethekk Halls must be partially completed in order to obtain the , which is used to summon Nightbane.
Attacks and abilities
Nightbane has two phases that he transitions between several times during the course of the fight. In Phase One, the boss is tanked on the ground in a style reminiscent of Onyxia. At 75%, 50%, and 25% health, he enters Phase Two and takes to the sky, during which time the raid's attention is focused elsewhere. After Nightbane finishes casting Rain of Bones and then Smoking Blast he will begin a slow descent back down to the platform (to roughly the same location as the original landing) and phase one begins anew.
Abilities on the ground:
- Bellowing Roar - Typical dragon fear with a 2.5-second cast time, short duration, and 30-second cooldown. Resistible with Berserker Rage, Fear Ward, Will of the Forsaken, or Death Wish. He casts this once every 45 seconds to 1 minute.
- Charred Earth - Chars the ground in a 10-yard radius, dealing 2188 to 2812 damage mitigated by armor to players every 3 seconds while standing in the inflamed area. Lasts 30 seconds. Similar to a Void Zone. The debuff resulting from standing in the area can be dispelled but will also be removed by itself.
- Cleave - Typical dragon cleave, frontal arc. Hits for approximately 6,000 on plate, 11,000 on cloth.
- Distracting Ash - Reduces chance to hit with melee and spells by 30% for 40 seconds. Can be dispelled.
- Smoldering Breath - Inflicts 3,700 to 4,300 fire damage to enemies in a frontal cone. Deals 1,688 to 1,912 damage every 3 seconds for 15 seconds.
- Tail Sweep - Inflicts 450 fire damage on enemies in a cone behind the boss, knocking them back. Deals 450 fire damage every 3 seconds for 25 seconds.
Abilities in the Air:
- Casts Rain of Bones on one random player/pet:
- Bombards the area the targeted person was standing at the initial cast with bone fragments, which deal 352-408 physical damage in a 6-yard radius.
- Summons five Restless Skeletons. Each has the following attributes:
- Hits for approximately 1,300 on cloth, 450 on plate
- Has roughly 13,500 health
- Shoots powerful Smoking Blast every second for approximately 15 seconds. Deals 1,850 to 2,150 physical damage (can be mitigated by armor, approximately 750 on plate) to the target and 3,000 fire damage over 18 seconds. The fire damage-over-time debuff can be dispelled. Targeting for this ability is determined by the individual with the highest healing threat after he goes into the air.
- Fireball Barrage: If any member of the raid is too far away from Nightbane while he is flying he will start pelting members of the raid with fireballs, each doing about 3,000-3,500 damage, casting 1 per second until all members are within range. This is just an ability that exists to prevent exploiting and is not something you will notice if you do things correctly.
- The battlefield consists of a long, narrow terrace, bordered by a dome on one side and row of battlements on the other.
- Nightbane will initially land near a skull close to the dome, two-thirds of the way on the south side of the terrace. After phase two (flight), he will land much closer to the center of the terrace.
- The tank will generally have his back to the outside wall, to direct the cleave and breath attack away from the rest of the raid.
- Melee DPS will stand in typical dragon-meleeing position, at the hind legs on either side. Staying between the legs is important because both the tail and the head do cleaves/swipes.
- Ranged people need to be far enough from Nightbane to avoid his Fear ability. Also, the Charred Earth ability lends itself to people staying close to walls and split into two groups. It centers itself on a player, so a player close to a wall will create half as much affected area.
- Splitting up the ranged raid members and sending group 1 to the north side and group 2 to the south side is a viable strategy. However, many raids see superior results keeping both groups on the same side, with group 1 clustered next the dome and group 2 clustered next to the battlements.
- Make sure no one is standing on the domed roof. This WILL evade-bug Nightbane.
Phase One (on ground)
Phase one lasts from when Nightbane lands until his health hits 75%, 50%, or 25%. He will then take to the air for phase two.
Tanking Nightbane is a fairly straightforward affair, with the exception of fear. Handling fear is paramount to success. One or two uncontrolled fears will guarantee a wipe. Warrior tanks have it easy, as all they have to do is stance dance. For the Druid or the Paladin tank, things are not so easy unless Fear Ward is present. Fear Ward has the same cooldown as Nightbane's fear, so it can always be up with only one priest of the proper race.
If you're without Fear Ward or a Warrior, everyone MUST stand in for the fears, but outside cleave distance. This means that when the fear hits everyone is feared, and nightbane will continue to attack the tank as he is highest on agro out of the feared targets. Sometimes he will go for a totem instead, but that doesn't really matter. Since the idea is to make sure everyone gets feared, remove all fear resistance buffs from everyone bar the tank, shadow resistance buff, Mark of the Wild etc. A Tremor Totem in the tank's group is a huge help for this strategy.
For Paladins, if due to some unlucky charred earths people have to stand outside of the fear range, then you should use Blessing of Protection on yourself when nightbane starts casting his fear, it will prevent it from affecting you. Make a macro so hitting the key again removes it and be sure to remove it as soon as the fear casting finishes to keep nightbane on you. Save your PvP trinket and Bubble for breaking fears when someone resists if you can.
Healing in this phase isn't particularly difficult, and the fight resembles a simple tank and spank. However, Nightbane has a lot of burst potential when his melee is combined with his cleave and smoldering breath, so healers need to be somewhat awake, even though they can get outside the 5 second rule quite often.
Another ability which might prove problematic during Phase 1 is the Charred Earth. Assuming it appears underneath group 1, group 1 should briefly shift over to group 2's position until the area is safe again, and vice-versa. Occasionally, both groups may fall victim to Charred Earth at the same time, and if this happens all healers and ranged must temporarily shift forward to remain in range of the tank and the boss. Consequently, both groups will be closer to the boss and vulnerable to the fear. The tank must be ready to take preventative measures as required should the raid's healers suddenly find themselves incapacitated. When melee DPS are avoiding Charred Earth, they must be careful to not move into the area vulnerable to Cleave (ahead of his front legs) or Tail Swipe (behind his back legs). Any melee-type wandering into his head area are prone to being one-shot.
Phase Two (in air)
Nightbane will fly into the air, signaling the start of phase two. Phase two lasts until Nightbane has finished using his two abilities, Rain of Bones and Smoking Blast.
Preparing for Smoking Blast
When Nighbane takes to the sky, he will target whichever healer has registered the highest healing threat and use the Smoking Blast ability on them repeatedly. He does this immediately after he summons skeleton adds. Before we get into how to handle the skeletons, it's important to understand how to deal with smoking blast.
Smoking blast deals physical damage, so the more armor the healer who is affected has, the better. Paladins would be ideal however, due to their mechanics, it is very difficult for them to have the highest threat. Even if a paladin has improved righteous fury, his healing threat generation is only 0.5*1.9=0.95 vs the 0.7*0.8=0.56 threat (Priest or Druid with blessing of salvation, 0.595 for a Shaman) that the other healers will have. In general, it is fairly difficult for the paladin to compete with healing aggro for smoking blast against priests and shaman who have AoE heals.
Be prepared to spam heals on whomever the other primary healer is. This will likely occupy a majority of your healer's time, which complicates dealing with the skeletons. When formulating a strategy for killing the skeletons, one must keep in mind that your healers are otherwise occupied.
Dealing with skeletons
All healers and ranged collapse to where the main tank is standing in order to avoid the Fireball Barrage. Once Rain of Bones starts, all players must immediately move away to avoid taking too much AoE damage. Five skeletons will spawn during the Rain of Bones, which hit fairly hard. To mitigate this damage:
- Warriors and feral (bear) druids should use taunt and cleave/swipe liberally to keep aggro off of the healers. Warriors can use Challenging Shout during one of the phases.
- Pets with taunt abilities (especially hunter pets) can hold aggro temporarily
- Paladins are uniquely suited to this phase. A Paladin should activate his DPS cooldowns from trinkets and avenging wrath and tank the 5 skeletons. The primary advantages of this strategy are that all skeletons are controlled in phase 2 and will not run about killing the healers, skeletons die much faster due to the AoE and all healers will be able to get the Blessing of Wisdom buff to help mana issues instead of the Blessing of Salvation buff. Warlocks and mages can then begin AoE and down the skeletons much sooner than single target DPS allows.
- Shaman can drop Stoneclaw Totem or Earth Elemental Totem to buy healers an extra second or two
Without a good Paladin tank, it's been found to be more effective to kill the spawns one at a time rather than AoEing them. Due to the Smoking Blast occupying the healers, there isn't much chance for survival if a mage or warlock draws aggro from AoE.
Transition to phase one
Ten seconds before Nightbane lands, all members of the raid should fall back to the previous positions, dragging whatever skeletons are still alive with them. Ideally, all adds will be dead at this point, but having one or two still up before Nightbane descends is fine. The tank must remember to keep an eye on the casting bar and stance dance to avoid an early fear. A recent change has made this fight a bit easier for raids that do not have fear wards/tremor totems/warrior tanks. Nightbane will keep aggro on the tank, regardless of whether the tank is feared or not. This introduces the challenge of the tank being feared into the ranged group, but it does make it paladin and druids tanks more of an option.
The most dangerous parts of this fight are the transitions between flying and ground phases, when the main tank must reestablish aggro. Hunters' Misdirection is especially useful here, to make sure the boss goes directly for the tank.
Phase one begins again when Nightbane lands, rinse and repeat at 50% and 25% until victory.
Patches and hotfixes
- Reverted in a hotfix several hours after the patch.
- Reverted in a hotfix several hours after the patch.
Patch 2.0.10 (2007-03-06): Restless Skeletons no longer have immolation.
Patch 2.0.10 (2007-03-06): Nightbane's Bone Shard Spray can no longer be interrupted by using an immunity effect.
Patch 2.1.0 (2007-05-22): Nightbane was significantly retuned with no official patch note; Rain of Bones no longer follows targets, Smoking Blast damage greatly reduced, Distracting Ash completely changed, no longer able to fear during landing, several bugs fixed.