The Emerald Nightmare is the first raid instance in World of Warcraft: Legion, which will be available on Live on September 20th in NA and 21st in EU. As the introductory raid of the expansion, it’s not expected to be overly elaborate, however, at least the Mythic version of it should present raiders with some challenges.
Nythendra appears to be the first boss in the instance, so it’s expected to be quite simple, especially if you’ve ever fought a dragon before. In order to make everything as clear as possible, I will go over the abilities of the boss in all difficulties except for LFR first, and then present you with what I expect to be a decent strategy to defeat the Normal and Heroic versions of the fight with some thoughts on the challenges presented in the Mythic difficulty. So, without further ado, let’s dive into Nythendra’s abilities.
Stage 1: Abilities
Infested Ground is basically patches of the terrain, infested which corruption, which deal 186,244 Plague damage every 1.5 seconds to anyone standing on it.
The ability works the same, only deals 266,063 Plague damage over 1.5 seconds.
The damage dealt goes up to 380,091 every 1.5 seconds.
Together with a tail swipe, this ability is a quintessential dragon ability with a twist. Instead of breathing at a tank, it targets a random DPS or Healer and channels a breath for 5 seconds, inflicting 217,285 Plague damage every second. Additionally, this ability leaves patches of Infested Ground after it.
Works the same, but the damage dealt increases to 310,407 every second.
Damage is boosted, reaching 443,439 Plague damage every second for 5 seconds.
During the course of the fight, Nythendra will put a debuff called Rot on several members of the raid. When it explodes after 8 seconds, it will deal 253,394 Plague damage to all allies within 8 yards every 3 seconds for 9 seconds. Once it expires, a blob of Infested Ground will also appear under the feet of the players.
The damage ticks for 296,470 in Heroic.
The damage jumps up to 385,411 Plague damage in Mythic difficulty.
To give the tanks something to do, Blizzard added an ability called Volatile Rot. It puts an 8 second debuff on the tank. Once it runs out, it deals 1,368,326 damage to everyone, reduced by the distance between the tank and the rest of the raid at the time of explosion. It also creates Infested Ground. Obviously, the tanks should run out to the edge of the area when they get it to create distance, while the other tank picks up the boss.
The damage of the ability is ramped up to 1,621,720 Plague damage in Heroic.
In Mythic difficulty, Volatile Rot deals 1,897,412 damage.
Infested – Heroic and Mythic ONLY
In Heroic difficulty, every time players are hit with any kind of Plague damage, they will gain a stackable debuff, called Infested. Each stack will tick for 7000 Plague damage every 2 seconds.
Once Stage 2 is over, the debuff will reset.
In Mythic, Infested will deal 13,500 Plague damage per stack instead of 7000 and won’t be removed after each time Stage 2 is over.
Infested Mind – MYTHIC ONLY
Once a player reaches 10 stacks of Infested, Nythendra will take control of his mind and he will start periodically cast Spread Infestation, which deals 444,452 damage to all players. To make the players gain back control of their characters, the rest of the raid will have to deal damage to them, because a hard enough slap up the noggin’ breaks mind control. Medically approved to work in real life, btw.
Stage 2 – Abilities
Heart of the Swarm
When Nythendra casts Infested Breath she loses 50 of its 100 energy. Once it reaches 0, she goes to sleep for 20 seconds and engorges ads, which cast Burst of Corruption three times. The ability balloons an insect on the ground, making it explode 3 times, dealing 484,235 Plague damage to everyone within 8 yards each time. If you get hit by one Burst, you will take 25% more damage from another one for 5 seconds.
The damage dealt by Burst of Corruption increases to 691,765. Additionally, once Heart of the Swarm finishes, your Infested stacks reset.
The Burst deal 988,235 Plague damage and the end of Heart of the Swarm DOESN’T reset Infested.
Strategy – Stage 1
This boss is a Resto Shaman’s wet dream. Everyone, both Healers, Ranged DPS, and Melee DPS should start the fight stacked up by the dragon’s side. Once Infested Breath is started, they should move as one in the same direction, while the tank turns the boss too. It might also be a good idea to try and tank it a little bit closer to the walls than it would be if you stood it in the middle of the room, to minimize the area covered by Infested Breath. Of course, the people infested by Rot should move away from the group ASAP. It’s best to place the green blobs close to other green blobs, to effectively use up the space in the room. What I mean to say is that if someone else already exploded Rot, run to the edge of the Infested Ground already present, essentially overlapping the blobs of doom. Same goes for tanks and Volatile Rot as well. It’s a simple boss. You DPS and heal from the side, dodge Breath moving together to one side, run out with Rot and Volatile Rot, trying to overlap the bad stuff.
Heroic is where the fight becomes a little bit harder, depending on how good your Healers are and how well the rest of the raid does at avoiding unnecessary Plague damage due to the stacking Infested debuff. While it’s not a big problem at one or two stacks, with HoTs being able to take care of the damage, it becomes more serious at 10+ stacks, maybe even requiring someone to spam AoE Heals. If everyone was taking a lot of damage and the DPS was… meh at best, making the fight very long, it’s not unreasonable to consider the possibility that the Healers might run out of mana in time. Fortunately, Infested gets removed after Heart of the Swarm is done. So, you need to survive two Infested Breaths and 20 seconds of Heart of the Swarm.
All of that goes out of the window in Mythic. Infested deals twice as much damage, stacks forever, and mind controls players who get to ten stacks, making the DPS waste time on breaking them out of it or take 444,452 bursts of Plague damage over and over again. Coordination and staying on top of the fight both in dealing with the mechanics, and keeping people at least close to topped up will not only gear-check the raid, but skill-check it as well. Fortunately, the players who get hit more than they should will be easily recognizable because of their higher-than-most Infested stacks.
Strategy – Stage 2
This is where efficient placing of Infested Ground whenever possible pays off. The more open space you have, the more room for the raid to move freely, avoiding Bursts of Corruption. It’s only a matter of watching your surroundings carefully, looking for that damn insect to swell up and start blasting your anus with damage. The sad thing is that they’re untargettable, you can only move away from the insect instead of blasting it with fire for daring to farm beside you.
While this phase should serve as a bit of a respite for Healers in Normal and Heroic if everything goes to plan, that’s not going to be the case for Mythic, unless people don’t take unnecessary damage.
TL;DR – Stack at the side of the boss in melee range, move as one to avoid Infested Breath. Move away with Rot, overlap it with existing Infested Ground, same for Volatile Rot for tanks. DPS mind-controlled players in Mythic, don’t stand near blasting insects during Phase 2.