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Totem Talk: The enhancement shaman guide to Nefarian

Josh Myers

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shaman. On Saturdays, Josh Myers tackles the hard questions about enhancement. Can we tank? Can we DPS with a two-hander? How does one shoot web? The answer to the first two is "no," and I have no idea about the third.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the first three bosses of Blackwing Descent from an enhancement perspective. I was planning on using this post to continue that trend, detailing Chimaeron, Atramedes, and Nefarian from an enhancement viewpoint. However, things didn't work out as planned. I started writing about Nefarian first, knowing his post would be the longest. I didn't realize what a beast of a fight Nefarian was, though, and Chimaeron and Atramedes' budgeted space was quickly consumed by the Nefarian post that was growing as quickly as a Defile with a disconnected player in it.

As a result, look for Atramedes and Chimaeron in an upcoming post, possibly tagging along with Conclave of Wind. For now, sit back and focus on the undead dragon Lord Victor Nefarius.

Nefarian is my favorite fight in this expansion to be an enhancement shaman on. This is partly because it drops excellent loot for us in Spaulders of the Scarred Lady, our tier 11 helm, and Crul'korak, the Lightning's Arc. However, my real love for this fight stems from two things: first, it's a single-target boss fight with no silly adds that need to be killed with AoE. Second, it is a fight in which our utility shines.

Phase 1

The first phase of this fight starts with Onyxia being the only active dragon. You'll be DPSing her down normally until Nefarian lands 30 seconds later, at which point the tank will drag Nefarian to the opposite side of the room. You'll switch to him then. I like to use my run across the room to drop totems in the middle of the room, ensuring coverage of every raid member.

Once you're on Nefarian, the rest of this phase is straightforward for you. You DPS the boss hard until his health percentage is close to a multiple of 10 (90%, 80%, 70%). When he's approaching these percentages, you slow your DPS and wait for your healers to call for an Electrocute, and then you push hard.

These Electrocutes (colloquially called "crackles") are one of the defining factors of the Nefarian fight. At every 10% health, Nefarian hits the raid with an Electrocute for 100k damage. When first learning Nefarian, this attack will be a killer for your healers. Fortunately, that's where you come in. Glyph of Stoneclaw Totem will be your best friend for this healing-intense fight, allowing you to cut the damage short on Electrocutes by around 16k damage.

Even better, Shamanistic Rage cuts damage done to you by a full 30%, and with a 1-minute cooldown you can generally mitigate every other crackle. Consider investing the time into getting a Mirror of Broken Images from Hellscream's Reach. Since it also has a 1-minute cooldown, you can use it to mitigate the crackles that your Shamanistic Rage is on cooldown for. That way, every Electrocute has you using either a 30% damage reduction or 40% magical damage reduction cooldown and a 16k shield. I rarely dip below 70,000 hit points during Electrocutes now!

Phase 2

When Onyxia dies, phase 2 starts. Nefarian will walk to the center of the room and lift off. This gives you time to get close to your assigned pillar. Lava will start to fill the room, and you'll have to swim up through the lava to get on top of the safe platforms. This lava hits like a truck and leaves a painful DoT on you, so use your Stoneclaw shield and your Shamanistic Rage during the swim to mitigate.

On the platform, you'll find a Chromatic Prototype, your DPS target. These aberration dragonkin cast a Blast Nova every 12 seconds or so that needs to be interrupted. Phase 2 sees Nefarian breathing Shadowflame Barrages on your entire raid and doing massive AoE damage. This makes the phase incredibly straining on your healers, and even a single tick of the add's Blast Nova can wipe your raid. Wind Shearing these is your priority above everything else.

Your second priority is staying alive, and any manner of damage reduction cooldowns should be used on CD to mitigate damage. Again, consider using the Mirror of Broken Images for this fight. You'll be losing out on any proc/use effect for burst damage, but the static mastery rating is still desirable and the damage reduction cooldown is amazing. You also might consider using your fully stacked Maelstrom Weapons to heal yourself (or your platform's healer if they're low on health).

Depending on the strength of your healers and their level of comfort with the fight, your ranged DPS might be encouraged to push an Electrocute while Nefarian is in the air. Provided the healers can keep your raid alive through this crackle, this is a really smart strategy. Less time spent in phase 3 is always a good thing. In the case that your group does this, save your survivability cooldowns for this crackle. You'll want to stack them all so as to make life much easier on your already stressed healers. When all three Chromatic Prototype die, phase 3 begins.

Phase 3

Phase 3 is really intense on your add tank and your healers but less intense on you. Much like phase 1, the objective of phase 3 is to DPS hard in between your electrocute marks but also to know when to stop DPS entirely. This means stopping all your damage output, including Searing Totem. My Searing Totem once pushed a crackle in phase 3 by itself when the rest of us had stopped DPS too late, killing our add tank and wiping the raid. Stop all DPS.

The other great thing about phase 3 of Nefarian is that every member of your raid other than your add tank and maybe on healer are stacked up next to him, maximizing your Healing Rain throughput. Healing Rain will be a huge help while you're stacked up after Electrocutes, so acquaint yourself with that button. Your healers will love you. Mitigate damage, control your DPS well, and do what you can to keep your healers from running out of mana. When Nefarian hits zero, nerdscream to your heart's content. You deserve it!

Show your totemic mastery by reading Totem Talk: Enhancement every week. We've got enhancement-specific advice on rep gear, heroic gear, and raiding gear, plus tips on maximizing your utility skills and tactics for raiding Blackwing Descent.

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