Number 8: Nightbane
Technically, Nightbane is the last boss of Karazhan as it used to require a few lengthy chain quests to unlock him. Most raids killed Prince Malchezaar before targeting Nightbane. This dragon (formerly known as Arcanagos) once challenged Medivh and acts as a reminder as to why that was a mistake.
Nightbane had two phases. He had a ground phase which was a standard tank and spank with assorted fears along with an air phase where he spat out bones that turned into skeletons.
Pretty straight forward right?
Why it sucked
Before the nerf, this was one of the more challenging encounters within Karazhan. Rain of Bones had the ability to lock on to targets. Damage from his Smoking Blast was huge. Sometimes he would fear when he landed completely screwing up everything. And the Restless Skeletons that would spawn from his rain? They had an Immolate effect. Every time you were in close proximity, you would take damage. The more skeletons there were around the more damage you and your raid would take. It was not fun at all.
Thank goodness you only had to endure the fight back and forth between ground and air phase three times. Nightbane was significantly retuned during the 2.1.0 patch.
Number 7: Emerald Dragons - Emeriss
The Emerald dragons were once Ysera's lieutenants. The Nightmare that corrupted the Emerald Dream managed to change these majestic creatures into crazy beasts bent on sowing discord. Of the four dragons, by far the worst one was Emeriss (Some will argue that Lethon was more difficult). These bosses did not have an instance of their own. Instead, they could only be engaged out in the world (and were known as world bosses). Each dragon has its own special area in Ashenvale, Feralas, Duskwood and the Hinterlands. You'll know a dragon was active when they start randomly yelling threats of doom across the entire zone.
Where do I even begin? For one thing, he's a dragon. That means he's got a bad breath and a tail that doesn't discriminate. He had a large arsenal of raid destroying abilities. He could throw up diseases. Mushrooms would spawn from corpses. His breath applied a DoT that increased the cooldown on abilities of affected players!
Why it sucked
All of the dragons had unique abilities every time their health dropped to a certain level. Emeriss's ability was a DoT effect that caused the affected player to take 20% of their max health every 2 seconds. There was no way to remove it and it would hit anyone within 100 yards.
Oh and before I forget, if any player died, a mushroom would spawn at their location dealing damage to any player nearby. Multiply this by about 40 people. Remember that this was an encounter that was extremely difficult to execute flawlessly.
Fighting any dragon was a test of stamina for healers. The ability to endure countless wipes and bad luck was a real testament at the time. Priests especially were well sought after.
And depending on the time of day, your raid could have been under siege by opposing factions. Even a single curious and low level onlooker who happened to mistakenly stray into the fray could cause problems for the raid.
As a world boss, Emeriss wasn't always present. Several guilds had to get raid ready within a matter of minutes whenever a dragon was spotted as they were always competing with other guilds for the right to take them down. I remember creating alts and having them summoned to the portal locations of all the dragons. I'd randomly check them throughout the day to see if a dragon was up before alerting the cavalry.
Number 6: Bloodboil
Let's take another step into Black Temple. Gurtogg Bloodboil is number 6 on the hit list. He is the second tough healer fight within the dungeon (Naj'entus would have been the first one raids would have faced). This was a true healer gear check.
This Fel Orc dealt conical damage to a random player in front. He had a cleave attack that could crush melee if they stood in the wrong spot. Raid members took damage from a debuff called Bloodboil. Tanks would gain a stacking debuff that reduced armor and caused them to take damage.
That was all just phase 1.
He would pick a player and turn him into a giant and launch into a flurry continually beating on them until they died or until the effect wore off.
Why it sucked
For most new raids, it took 9 or even 10 healers to successfully heal through Gurtogg's damage the intensity of the healing was high. Coordination had to be precise. Bloodboil only affected 5 targets and they were the ones furthest away. 3 groups had to synchronize their movements and cycle to make sure no person took more than 1 Bloodboil. backups had to be established in the event someone did die. Bloodboil was the middle hump that raids had to plow through. Chain Heal and Circle of Healing were absolutely amazing.
Tanks had to be kept alive. Healers had to be precise with the tanks that had threat on Bloodboil. If they switched too slowly, the new tank would die.
The second phase was plain fun in a sadistic sense. The person who got marked with Fel Rage grew larger than their normal size. The Bloodboil debuffs were still ticking. healers had to divide among the Acidic Wound tank debuff, Bloodboil, and the player who was getting focused. And if you were a cloth wearer who happened to be the lucky winner, your death was virtually guaranteed. For most healers, it was practically impossible to heal through damage that magnitude. It was inconceivable!
That's it for now! Check next week as I count down from number 5 to number 1. If you don't see your favourite bosses on this list, chances are I'm saving them for last!
Want some more advice for working with the healers in your guild? Raid Rx has you covered with all there is to know! Looking for less healer-centric raiding advice? Take a look at our raiding column Ready Check.