Boss Tactics: Nightbane

As a side note, I’m going a little out of the order I had planed on but these are the fights I have good screenshots for.  Deal with it 🙂 

Nightbane is usually one of the last fights a guild will attempt. You have to complete the Medivh’s Journial quest line order to summon him and it’s usually a good idea to have the Prince fight mastered before you attempt Nightbane. If your tank can handle Prince and you have enough DPS to get through it, Nightbane isn’t much harder.

Encounter Mechanics

Nightbane is an alternating 2 Phase fight; he takes off into the air at 25%, 50%, and 75% health. Positioning is key for this encounter. The tank needs to stand in a specific spot in order to pick up Nightbane when he lands. What we call the “magic skull” is in the picture below (Yellow Circle on the right). It tends to shift in and out of view so you may have to move your camera angle to find it. Have your tank stand on the outer wall directly across from that skull for a clean pick-up (Green Circle on the left, also the guy marked with the circle in-game). Everyone else needs to stand at max range to avoid getting squished if the pick-up isn’t perfect.


Ground Phase 

Nightbane has a frontal attack and a tail swipe so the raid needs to stay at range and Nightbane needs to be positioned properly:


He should be perpendicular to the railing so that melee can get close enough to attack and ranged won’t get hit by the frontal or tail attacks, as shown above. Melee should aim for his ribcage. In addition Nightbane periodically does an AOE fear, Tremor Totems are helpful and Fear Ward should be on the tank whenever it’s available but stance-dancing is a must so that Nightbane stays in the correct position (if the tank runs in fear, Nightbane is going to follow him and tail-swipe the raid). The strategy we use is to have the ranged split up between the north and south sides of Nightbane, with at least one healer on each side. That way if one side gets feared or gets trapped behind Charred Earth out of range, the other side is there to keep the tank alive.


The last hurdle in the ground phase is that patches of Charred Earth will appear on the ground that will damage anyone standing in it. The picture above is a little hard to see, but you can see the patch of Charred Earth, and Deadly Boss Mods has put “Charred Earth” in the middle of my screen.  If you’re having trouble seeing the Charred Earth, turn your Spell Detail up. Keep moving away from the Charred Earth until the warning goes away since the visual edges of the area aren’t quite the same as the actual edges.

Air Phase 

When he takes off into the air, a few things happen. Nightbane will cast “Rain of Bones” and you will get 5 non-elite skeletons that need to be killed. They have about 13.5k health.


It is best for the raid to stack up on one person to the side of where Nightbane was so that the tank can pick up the adds easily. As you can see, we are basically standing on top of each other and the Restless Skeletons are all in easy range for the tank to pick up.  We have found that it works best for the adds to be focus-fired down as AOE tends to be too mana intensive. Choose one DPS and assist them (create a macro that says “/assist PlayerName” or if you want to be more generic, “/assist focus” and set your focus to whoever your raid chooses). You do need to be careful about where your raid stands, anyone who gets more than 40 yards away from where Nightbane lands will get hit with Fireball Barage, it hits for about 3k a second.  If you split the raid the other side should still join the group for the air phase and stay until Nightbane is properly positioned. Then they can run through Nightbane’s ribcage to the other side.

The person with the highest healing aggro in the air phase gets hit with Smoking Blast. This is mitigatable by armor so if you have a Pally they should spam heal to take the damage (read Galadria’s article about it, most of the good info is in the comments). Nightbane will also cast Distracting Ash on random raid members.  This does very little damage and is’t really worth the mana to dispell.  Once the adds are down, the tank should return to the pick-up position and the raid stay at range until Nightbane is positioned properly.

A big thing to realize here is that most healing groups can’t be responsible for EVERYONE’s health. Nightbane hits like a freight train and healers need to conserve mana to make sure the tank stays alive. DPS needs to carry heave Netherweave Bandages, use Healthstones if available and if possible save potion cooldowns for health pots.

This fight requires everyone to be on their game. Tanks need to know how to effectively work around the fear and have the gear to deal with a heavy hitter. Healers need to be able to heal the tank and deal with possible widespread raid damage. Most importantly everyone has to be aware of their surroundings! Each person is responsible for knowing if they are standing in Charred Earth and get out of it as quickly as possible.

Shadow Priest Specifics from Vladvin

In this encounter you might want to be careful about using SW:D. If you’ve just gotten a crit and Charred Earth comes up right below you it could mean bye-bye mana battery. I’m not telling you not to use it, just be careful. Use your bandages and healthstones. This fight can be very healing intensive so be responsible for your own health bar. Be careful with range. You’re going to have to be closer in order to be within Mind Flay range so you have less wiggle room to get out of Charred Earth and not get close enough to be tail swiped. Just be aware of what’s going on around you.

Holy Priest Specifics from Galadria

This fight can be very healing intensive. Nightbane hits really hard and if you have raiders who aren’t used to being mobile in boss fights there can be a lot of raid damage from Charred Earth. Priests are probably better for raid healing in this encounter. Keep a Frisbee and Renew on the tank and throw heals to anyone in the raid who needs them. In phase 2 you’ll need to hold back on doing anything for a little bit. Let someone with more armor take the aggro for the Smoking Blast. Right when the Rain of Bones starts I like to Frisbee my self, Fade, and Shield. If you do get some attention from Nightbane in phase 2 make judicious use of Binding Heal, it’s got less threat and will heal someone else who needs it. This can be a long fight so it’s a good idea to use your Shadowfiend and potions early so you can use them again late in the fight.

Key Players

Any player with any ability to provide protection against fear is nice in this encounter, especially if your tank isn’t a Warrior.

Some strats out there will tell you to take up to 5 healers. That simply isn’t necessary, in fact you’re more likely to get good use out of extra DPS to make the fight go quicker. This fight (as do many others) tends to get harder the longer it goes on.

Priest Loot

Object of the Encounter

Nightbane and Prince are what I would call “raid check” fights. These encounters will tell you if your raid is ready to move on to harder content. Your tank has to be able to handle a hard hitter. Healers need to be able to handle the incoming damage. Your DPS needs to be strong enough to get you through the fight at a reasonable pace. Everyone has to be mobile and aware of their surroundings. All of these are important for moving on to 25-man content.


Guy: Listen to me ___. I’m not the first guy who fell in love with a woman that he met at a restaurant who turned out to be the daughter of a kidnapped scientist only to lose her to her childhood lover who she last saw on a deserted island who then turned out fifteen years later to be the leader of the French underground.
Girl: I know. It all sounds like some bad movie. 


Explore posts in the same categories: Gear, Healery, Instance Tactics, Raiding, Shadow

3 Comments on “Boss Tactics: Nightbane”

  1. Boobah Says:

    Top Secret is good for SuperCoolPoints? Who knew?

  2. ian Says:

    Top Secret.

    what do my points buy me?

  3. Galadria Says:

    @Boobah & ian
    10 Points to both of you… they don’t really buy you anything… sorry

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