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2430 • BRMA17_2
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Set:Blackrock MountainBlackrock Mountain
Health:30 Health
Artist:Mauricio Herrera
Voice actor:Matthew Mercer
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2431 • BRMA17_3
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Set:Blackrock MountainBlackrock Mountain
Health:15 Health
Artist:James Ryman
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For the other representations of Nefarian, see Nefarian (disambiguation)

Nefarian is a boss encounter found in the Blackrock Mountain adventure. It is the fourth encounter of the adventure's fifth wing, Hidden Laboratory, and the final encounter of the adventure. It is a three-stage fight, with the first and third stages fought against Nefarian, and the second against Nefarian's sister Onyxia.

Hero Powers[]

Stages 1 and 3: Nefarian[]

Normal Heroic
Bone Minions
Bone Minions

Stage 2: Onyxia[]

Normal Heroic
Nefarian Strikes!

Onyxia's hero power causes Nefarian to deal damage to the player's hero, along with an emote from Nefarian. The following table charts how much damage is dealt for each subsequent turn the hero power is used. After the 7th turn in Stage 2, Nefarian's hero power deals 20 damage to the player every turn until Stage 3 is activated by killing Onyxia.

Turn Damage Emote
1 1 Behold as I spit fire from above! One damage is just the beginning!
2 2 Two fireballs! I am spitting them at you from above!
3 1 This time I will spit just a single fireball, because I am charging up for a glorious turn!
4 3 Oh ho! Three fireballs! Take that! From above!
5 1 From now on, I will spit only 1 fireball.
6 4 Just kidding! FOUR fireballs! Ahahaha!
7 0 I will shoot no fireballs this time... but get ready.

Special cards[]

Any stage[]


Stages 1 and 3: Nefarian[]


The Bone Construct minions are produced by Nefarian's Bone Minions (Heroic) hero power.

Bone Construct
Bone Construct

Stage 2: Onyxia[]


Blackrock MountainOnyxiclaw is automatically equipped by Onyxia when she enters play.



The below classes are listed purely for reference, and have no effect on the boss' use of the cards during the battle.

Normal and Heroic
Class Card Quantity
Boss Blackrock MountainLAVA! 2
Blackrock MountainTail Swipe 2
Mage Blackrock MountainDragon's Breath 2
Priest Blackrock MountainTwilight Whelp 2
Warlock LegacyPower Overwhelming 2
LegacySoulfire 2
LegacyShadowflame 2
Neutral Blackrock MountainDragon Egg 2
NaxxramasNerubian Egg 2
Blackrock MountainBlackwing Technician 3
Blackrock MountainDragonkin Sorcerer 2
LegacyTwilight Drake 2
Blackrock MountainDrakonid Crusher 2
Blackrock MountainVolcanic Drake 2
Blackrock MountainChromaggus 1


Nefarian's final appearance in the adventure is a particularly tough encounter.

The starting boss is Nefarian himself, equipped with the Bone Minions (Heroic) hero power. Once his Armor is removed, the action will immediately pause and Nefarian will rise into the air, with Onyxia stepping in as the enemy boss, equipped with Blackrock MountainOnyxiclaw, and using the Blackrock MountainNefarian Strikes! hero power. This hero power is auto-cast, and will be used at the start of each turn. However, since Onyxia will appear immediately after Nefarian's Armor is removed, this will usually happen during the player's turn.

While Onyxia is alive, Blackrock MountainNefarian Strikes! deals damage to the player at the start of each turn, with a different amount dealt each turn. The amount of damage done is: 1, 2, 1, 3, 1, 4, 0, 20 and then continue to do 20 every subsequent turn. Obviously, this makes defeating Onyxia fairly quickly a priority.

Defeating Onyxia will restore the original Nefarian boss, with his previous Health total, and will also see Nefarian immediately destroy all minions on the player's board. Once again, this takes place immediately upon defeating Onyxia, even if this is during the player's turn. Defeating Nefarian will complete the encounter.

Because of the different phases of the fight, intentional stalling can be effective in preventing the use of Nefarian Strikes! Players should also prepare for the board wipe following the defeat of Onyxia, and plan around it as much as possible. The player should generally try to lose as few minions as possible to the board clear; Deathrattle minions such as NaxxramasNerubian Egg, Goblins vs GnomesPiloted Shredder and LegacyHarvest Golem can also be effective in recovering quickly. It should be noted that unlike the Kel'Thuzad boss fight, the player's turn does not end when a phase ends. Therefore, it can be wise to wait until Onyxia can be destroyed with the player having at least 8 mana still available, so that they can play NaxxramasKel'Thuzad and immediately get their minions resurrected.

An alternate and very effective workaround for the encounter is to stall during the first Nefarian stage, and then perform a one turn kill (OTK), thus skipping the Onyxia phase completely, avoiding both the additional damage required to defeat the boss, and the subsequent wipe of the player's board. Priest is a good class for this, using a classic Divine Spirit/Inner Fire combo.



The following deck can succeed against Nefarian, but will still require a lot of luck: 1 LegacyMirror Image, 1 LegacySecretkeeper, 1 LegacyArcane Explosion, 1 Goblins vs GnomesUnstable Portal, 2 NaxxramasMad Scientist, 1 LegacySorcerer's Apprentice, 1 LegacyArcane Intellect, 1 LegacyCounterspell, 2 NaxxramasDuplicate, 1 LegacyFrost Nova, 2 LegacyIce Barrier, 1 LegacyIce Block, 2 LegacyMirror Entity, 2 LegacyVaporize, 1 Goblins vs GnomesIlluminator, 2 LegacyKirin Tor Mage, 1 LegacyFireball, 1 LegacyPolymorph, 2 LegacyEthereal Arcanist, 1 LegacyBlizzard, 1 Goblins vs GnomesDr. Boom, 1 Blackrock MountainChromaggus, 1 LegacyRagnaros the Firelord

You need to save the LegacyPolymorph for when your opponent plays their own Blackrock MountainChromaggus. The LegacyIce Block needs to come out as soon as possible, so as to allow as much use of your Ethereal Arcanists as possible. After you kill Onyxia, Nefarian will wipe your board so hit him for as much damage as possible when you break his Armor so he will be weaker when he lands again. Do not play any minions you don't have to before Nefarian lands, so try to kill Onyxia using as little as possible. All 3 of the legendaries in the deck may be needed to bring down Nefarian at the end, though it is possible to kill him with a very powerful Ethereal Arcanist. The legendaries will distract Nefarian from your other minions, such as the Arcanists, so as to allow you time to go for his face. The bosses will always go for your face unless you have a legendary or a minion with 6 Attack or more on the field.


Several classes can use this strategy effectively; shaman is a good choice. The key strategy is to minimise the impact from Blackrock MountainNefarian Strikes! and the board clear at the start of Stage 3, using Deathrattle minions like NaxxramasNerubian Egg and NaxxramasHaunted Creeper, and high value control cards. Bloodlust Shaman decks work well for this strategy.

During the first phase, use removal such as LegacyLightning Storm/LegacyWhirlwind to remove Bone Constructs and keep Nefarian's board down, while building a board of your own. Taunts like LegacyDefender of Argus and efficient trading options like LegacyTotemic Call and LegacyFlametongue Totem can be very effective. Take your time to establish a solid hold of the board, without concern for tempo. After a while Nefarian will start playing bigger cards such as Blackrock MountainDrakonid Crusher, which will be less of a threat since your Health should still be high at this point.

If you can manage to hold the board, Nefarian will quickly empty his hand, at which point you can push to Stage 2. During this stage you will suffer unavoidable hero damage, and so you'll want to complete this as quickly as possible. If you've built up a good board this should be easy, and you may even be able to achieve a one-turn kill on Onyxia. However, once Onyxia is defeated, your board will be destroyed. This is where minions like LegacyHarvest Golem, Goblins vs GnomesPiloted Shredder, etc, will come in handy, allowing you to spring straight back into action following the clear. However, be careful to lose as few minions as possible during this transition, by not placing any minions onto the board unless necessary.

Once Nefarian has returned, it should be a fairly easy match, so long as your Health has not dipped too low during the earlier stages. High value cards like NaxxramasKel'Thuzad, LegacyRagnaros the Firelord and Goblins vs GnomesDr. Boom can be used to trade efficiently, and Nefarian should only be able to play 1 card each turn at this point, giving you a very good chance of overwhelming him with your larger hand and high value cards. With a few Deathrattle minions having survived Stage 2, you may be able to coast from here even at low Health, although be aware of his Soulfires and Tail Swipes.


A simple and effective workaround for this encounter is to achieve a one turn kill (OTK), by using LegacyDivine Spirit and other Health buffs (LegacyPower Word: Shield, Goblins vs GnomesVelen's Chosen, buffs from LegacyTemple Enforcer/NaxxramasDark Cultist) to build up a high-Health minion (NaxxramasDeathlord is ideal) and then use LegacyInner Fire to increase its Attack to the same number. Once the minion is created, the player must defeat Nefarian in one hit, thus skipping the Onyxia phase and subsequent board wipe.

A OTK on Nefarian will require at least 31 Attack. Note that removing all of Nefarian's Armor without defeating him will immediately summon Onyxia, even if the player has not yet finished their turn; it's therefore vital to take him from at least 1 Armor to defeat with a single blow.

The main challenge of this approach is drawing the right cards, and preventing Nefarian from removing the key minion before it's ready. Nefarian lacks any hard removal, but it still makes sense not to play the key minion until you can afford to immediately buff its Health, allowing it to survive subsequent attacks - ideally have most or all required cards already in hand, then play several of them in one turn. Alternatively, focus on clearing Nefarian's board before playing the minion, and hope LegacySoulfire/LegacyShadowflame are not on hand to destroy it without direct attack.

NaxxramasKel'Thuzad can be very effective for allowing other minions to trade repeatedly with Nefarian's, preventing them from whittling down the key minion. Additionally, a current bug means that with Kel'Thuzad and a Taunt minion on the board, Nefarian will not physically attack any of the player's minions, making this an extremely easy workaround for the encounter. However, Kel'Thuzad can still be removed with LegacySoulfire, LegacyShadowflame etc.


A Mage deck can defeat heroic mode given enough attempts to get a good starting sequence. Round 3 or 4: LegacyIce Block. Round 5: LegacySea Giant x 2. Round 6: LegacyAbomination to clear the enemy board. Round 7: Remove remaining armor with Sea Giants, Goblins vs GnomesIlluminator x 2. Round 8: LegacyHarrison Jones. Keep LegacyOnyxia up for up to the next 5 rounds to empty out the enemy hand, clear his board and fill your hand with 10 cards. The health restored from one or both Goblins vs GnomesIlluminator will counteract the hero power damage. Finish off LegacyOnyxia at the start of a turn before round 8 of the hero power damage, which would do 20 damage to you. Use all your mana to play as many minions as possible to replenish your board following the clear. The golden play is LegacyArchmage Antonidas against the empty enemy board. This will allow you to blast away every minion that the enemy plays and use the attack damage of LegacyArchmage Antonidas to burn down the enemy hero until he is in range to be finished off.

A Mill Rogue deck can handily beat Nefarian provided a few precautions are made. Very little to no unnecessary draw should be in the deck, such as LegacyFan of Knives or LegacyShiv, as the total 90 health of Nefarian will mean that every card counts (for this reason, Blackrock MountainGang Up is essential). It should also be made sure that the boss is out of cards before entering Stage 2, as blowing through this stage with forced drawing and limiting Nefarian's damage as much as possible is necessary. Blackrock MountainDark Iron Skulker, while not essential, is an extremely effective way of dealing with Nefarian's hero power. Beware however than Nefarian's Bone Constructs only cost 1 mana, and returning them to his hand is extremely inefficient.

Guides and decklists



  • If you deal enough damage to break Nefarian's armor and kill all 30 of his hitpoints in a single hit in Stage 1, the game skips both Stage 2 and 3 of the battle and awards the player a victory immediately.
  • Previously, if you used LegacyBane of Doom as the killing blow on Onyxia during Stage 2, it would skip Stage 3 of the battle and awards the player a victory immediately. However, as of November 2016 this is no longer true.


Dragonkin Sorcerer

Wing completion[]

As the final boss of the Hidden Laboratory, defeating Nefarian also unlocks the following reward:



Before match

This time you won't be so lucky.

Stage 1: Nefarian[]


You made it to the glorious finale!

Turn 1

My ultimate creation awaits, mortal.

Emote Response

Mortal minds... so easily manipulated.

Hero Power

My shadowflame animates their bones!

Blackrock MountainLAVA!

I hope you can swim... IN MOLTEN LAVA!

Play LegacyDeathwing


Stage 2: Onyxia[]

Appearance of Onyxia

I will rain destruction upon you from above!
Gaze now upon my ultimate creation! Rise sister! Rise Onyxia!

Emote Response


Hero Power

Behold as I spit fire from above! One damage is just the beginning!
Two fireballs! I am spitting them at you from above!
This time I will spit just a single fireball, because I am charging up for a glorious turn!
Oh ho! Three fireballs! Take that! From above!
From now on, I will spit only 1 fireball.
Just kidding! FOUR fireballs! Ahahaha!
I will shoot no fireballs this time... but get ready.



Stage 3: Nefarian[]


I have tried to be an accommodating host, but you simply WILL NOT DIE.
Time to throw all pretense aside and just KILL YOU!




Nefarian in the TCG

Blackrock Mountain[]

Nefarian, AKA, Blackwing, AKA Victor Nefarius, Lord of Blackrock. When he’s not smashing intruders with his sorcerous might, he enjoys long walks through his domain, the sound of victims sniveling in fear, and quality time on his throne. His family is known across the land for their wisdom, restraint, and humility. Psyche! His family tree includes some of the most hideously evil dragons Azeroth has ever known, including his sister LegacyOnyxia and their father, LegacyDeathwing. They’re all pretty much the worst kind of awful, but true to his name, Nefarian is, well, nefarious. Not only does he have that being a huge dragon deal going for him, he’s also cunning and manipulative, as evidenced by his not-so-friendly rivalry with the elemental Firelord Ragnaros (probably because they’re both really terrible neighbors). Neighborhood watch? More like neighborhood watch your back!

You need magic? Nefarian’s got magic aplenty, and he delights in using his enemies’ tools against them.

Nefarian really, really loves experiments—specifically mad experiments. He loves them so much that he’s had himself re-animated and is now back from the dead, fully ready to resume his twisted work. Being a very goal-oriented dragon, he’s outfitted another secret laboratory deep inside Blackrock Mountain, complete with sparking lightning coils, vats of questionable substances, and the sounds of draconic agony. Nefarian spared no expense in decking this place out with all the tools, materials, minions, and victims he needs to succeed. He even had his pad tricked out with amazing Dark Iron technology (Hint: It’s not a sound system, though that would be totally sweet).[1]

Nefarian - Monster Guide.png

The black dragon Nefarian, son of LegacyDeathwing, claims the upper reaches of Blackrock Mountain as his own. Ruthless and cunning, Nefarian built Blackwing Lair as a home for the black dragonflight and his various experiments. It was also here that he concocted the ultimate army of home-cooked chromatic dragons, perfect for thwarting Ragnaros and his fiery minions that lurked under the mountain (Nefarian’s favorite pastime.)[2]

Nefarian, AKA Blackwing, AKA Lord Victor Nefarius, son of Deathwing and interim leader of the black dragonflight--need we say more? Cruel, plotting, evil, and snarky, this draconic menace is a true threat to all the mortal races of Azeroth. You’ve already beaten him once, but now he’s back bigger and badder (though a bit un-deader) than before.[3]

World of Warcraft[]

Wowpedia icon.pngThis section uses content from Wowpedia.
Nefarian, also known as Blackwing, was the eldest son of LegacyDeathwing and his Prime Consort Sintharia. Like his father and his sister LegacyOnyxia, he had a human guise, appearing as Victor Nefarius, Lord of Blackrock. Holding the Blackrock clan and various clans of ogres under his control, Nefarian ruled from his lair at the top of Blackrock Spire until he was defeated by champions of Azeroth. Upon the return of his father and the Shattering that resulted, Nefarian was brought back to life as a rotted abomination, and descended further into Blackrock Mountain, where he set up a laboratory full of new (and mostly failed) experiments - including reanimating his sister Onyxia. Ultimately, he was destroyed once again by Azeroth's champions.

Nefarian in World of Warcraft

Since Deathwing's departure to Draenor during the aftermath of the Second War, his eldest children have arisen to lead their brethren and recoup their failing numbers. Deathwing's eldest son, the malicious and cunning Nefarian, has claimed the burning fortress of Blackrock Spire — and Blackwing Lair as his aerie as Deathwing commanded.
Nefarian has been experimenting with the blood of all of the various dragonflights to create a chromatic dragonflight of unstoppable warriors. In this task he has succeeded his father, and aided by his sister, he plans to use them to rally the Black Dragonflight to his command.
In Blackrock, aided by his loyal dragonspawn, he fights a constant battle with Ragnaros and his forces for control of the mountain, and ultimately control of the entire region. To this end, he made efforts to bolster his forces like his father Deathwing in ages past. Nefarian delights in capturing Ragnaros' elemental minions and using them for his own insidious purposes.
He has struck up an alliance with Blackrock MountainRend Blackhand, though he only uses him and his Dark Horde to further his own goals. Nefarian's mad bid for dominance has even attracted the ire of the red dragonflight — in the form of the red dragon Vaelastrasz — which has always been the Black flight's greatest foe. Though Nefarian's intentions are known, the methods he is using to achieve them remain a mystery.

Nefarian in his human form as Victor Nefarius

With the black dragonflight once again under solid leadership, and with the support of these new chromatic dragons, he plans to strike back against the other dragonflights, as well as the mortal nations of the world.
After his death in Blackwing Lair at the hands of adventureres, Nefarian was reanimated and charged by Deathwing to continue his insidious endeavours within Blackwing Descent.
Nefarian, the eldest son of Deathwing the Destroyer, has been bested by the heroes of Azeroth in the past, most recently in Blackwing Lair. Hubris and arrogance have ever been the great dragon's weak points - but returning from beyond the veil of death has made him cautious. Where another wyrm might strike back with brutish anger against the tiny insects who disrupted his plans, Nefarian has retreated.
Dwelling on the lessons learned from his defeat in Blackwing Lair, he has burrowed deeper into the heart of Blackrock Mountain, and rebuilt his sanctuary. The Vault of the Shadowflame, a deep pit of cascading magma, is the heart of Blackwing Descent, and the location of horrific new experiments in undeath and magical augmentation, including a triumph dear to even Nefarian's cold, wrathful heart.
He had continued his experiments along with his minion Maloriak, which yielded results such as Chimaeron, Atramedes, and the reanimation of his sister, LegacyOnyxia, until he was slain yet again by adventurers in Blackwing Descent.


Nefarian, full art

Patch changes[]