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Tavern Brawl - promo.png The subject of this article is part of the
Tavern Brawl game mode.

Nefarian Rises!.jpg

"Join forces with a friend to take down Nefarian. Again. Anduin teams up with newcomer Morgl in this new cooperative Tavern Brawl!"

Nefarian Rises! is a Tavern Brawl. It debuted on August 17, 2016.

The third cooperative Tavern Brawl, Nefarian Rises functions similarly to its predecessors Unite Against Mechazod! and Return of Mechazod!, but is not thematically related.


Tavern Brawl Start End
62 August 17, 2016 August 22, 2016
137 January 24, 2018 January 29, 2018
208 June 5, 2019 June 10, 2019



This cooperative Brawl sees players working together to defeat Nefarian, a special boss minion. Each turn, Nefarian will swap which side of the board he is on, allowing the currently active player to attack him. However, not content to provide target practice for the players, at the end of each turn Nefarian will cast a special spell of his own, attempting to defeat the players.

Nefarian himself is a special minion with 200 Health. Nefarian starts with 0 Attack, but as soon as his Health reaches 160 he will become temporarily Immune, gain 5 Attack and cast Elemental Eruption, dealing 4-6 damage to all other minions. Nefarian becomes immune a second time at 60 Health, when he gains another 5 Attack (for a total of 10) and casts Twisted Light, healing himself 30 Health and dealing 30 damage to all other minions. Reaching the "glorious finale" also empowers Nefarian's spells, making them deal even more damage. If the players can bring him to 0 Health, he will be destroyed and the players will win the Brawl. However, if Nefarian defeats either player both players will lose the Brawl, making cooperation vital. If either player concedes/disconnects, both players will also lose.

At the start of the match the players are randomly chosen to play as Anduin (priest) and Morgl (shaman). Each player receives a premade deck as well as the standard Hero Power for their class. The decks contain a mix of regular cards and powerful Tavern Brawl cards, with the cards provided allowing for some very powerful combinations if the two players can work together.


  • During the End of Turn Phase, if Nefarian is not able to switch sides due to a full opposing board, he will automatically destroy every minion on that side of the board using a special effect. This does not use a card and he will still cast a spell that turn as usual.
  • As soon as Nefarian's Health is reduced to either 160 or 60, a temporary Immune effect is activated, preventing him from being damaged below that number for the rest of that turn.
  • Stoneskin Gargoyle can most of the time return to full Health after it has been "killed" by Nefarian's 30 damage Twisted Light attack. The Gargoyle falls to or below 0 Health, and then heals itself back to full Health during the start of the next turn, thus preventing it from dying.[1][2][3] This is because Nefarian's spells are cast during the start of turns, so Nefarian's spell resolves, and then Stoneskin Gargoyle's start-of-turn healing resolves. However, this doesn't work a small portion of the time and it is unclear why; this might be a bug. This is similar to the ability to heal a hero from negative health to positive health without the hero dying.[4]
  • Flame Missiles are able to "overkill" minions, repeatedly striking them even when they are already at or below 0 Health, unlike similar spells such as Arcane Missiles.
  • On some turns, Nefarian does nothing and will only switch sides.[5] This can happen at any stage in the game, and it is unclear whether this is intended or a bug.
  • Youthful Brewmaster's Battlecry can target your own Explosive Rune. However, Nefarian primarily summons single Explosive Runes on the opposite side of your board so the effect of Youthful Brewmaster is not able to be used in this manner, unless Nefarian summons two Explosive Runes, which are summoned on both sides of the board.
  • Explosive Runes will not be targeted by Nefarian's Flame Missiles.
  • Main Tank also buffs Explosive Runes, in addition to player minions.
  • If both players have a Raid Healer, the healing effect will bounce back and forth until one player is fully healed.
  • Nat, the Darkfisher's start-of-turn effect can still activate even if killed during Nefarian's start-of-turn area of effect damage spells.
  • Nefarian can use Bamboozle to swap players' hands up to four times, or even more, during the game. He never casts Bamboozle after entering his 10-attack phase, or after reaching 60 health. Note that Nefarian can only cast one start-of-turn spell per turn, so casting Bamboozle means Nefarian doesn't cast any of his start-of-turn damage spells.
  • If Nefarian's health does not reach 160 or 60 health before certain points in time, he will automatically move on to his next attack phase, gaining 5 attack. His immune response will still trigger if he gets reduced to 160 or 60 health.
  • There is an alternative way to win the brawl. If Nefarian is on the opposite side of the board and you have a Wobbling Runts with Ancestral Spirit cast on it, if Nefarian manages to kill Wobbling Runts that turn and the three Runts that are summoned causes your side of the board to become full with 7 minions, Nefarian will destroy himself when he tries to enter your side of the board, causing both players to win the brawl.[6] This may be because Nefarian checks for occupancy space before checking for minions summoned from the resolution of Deathrattles, which are triggered from Nefarian's damaging Flame Missiles.
  • If a player's board is full with Freewheeling Skulker and 6 other minions, at the end of the turn, Freewheeling Skulker will move to the opposite side of the board, freeing up space for Nefarian, but all 7 of the minions including the Skulker will still be killed by Nefarian, due to there having been a full board of 7 minions previously.
  • Like all cooperative Tavern Brawls, Nefarian Rises! does not use an MMR to determine matchmaking.[7]

Special cards[]


Explosive Rune(35380).png
Explosive Rune(35378).png
Flame Missiles(35376).png
At 160 Health
Don't Push Me!(35382).png
Elemental Eruption(35375).png
At 60 Health
Glorious Finale(35370).png
Twisted Light(35371).png
After reaching 60 Health
Explosive Runes(35381).png
Flame Missiles(35377).png

Player cards[]

Shadow or Light(35388).png
Dragonscale Warrior(35385).png
Main Tank(35392).png
Raid Healer(35394).png
Freewheeling Skulker(35386).png
Intrepid Dragonstalker(35391).png


Secrets of Shadow(35389).png
Alms of Light(35390).png



Class Mana Card Number
Tavern Brawl 4 Main Tank 1
4 Raid Healer 1
Priest 1 Inner Fire 1
1 Mind Vision 1
1 Northshire Cleric 1
1 Power Word: Glory 1
1 Power Word: Shield 2
2 Convert 1
2 Divine Spirit 2
2 Shrinkmeister 1
3 Shadowfiend 1
3 Thoughtsteal 1
3 Velen's Chosen 2
4 Eternal Servitude 1
4 Greater Healing Potion 1
5 Power Word: Tentacles 2
Neutral 1 Zombie Chow 1
2 Youthful Brewmaster 1
3 Arcane Golem 1
3 Brann Bronzebeard 1
3 Coldlight Oracle 1
3 King Mukla 1
4 Refreshment Vendor 1
5 Corrupted Healbot 1
5 Cult Apothecary 1
6 Justicar Trueheart 1

Total: 30/30


Class Mana Card Number
Tavern Brawl 3 Dragonscale Warrior 1
4 Main Tank 1
5 Freewheeling Skulker 1
5 Intrepid Dragonstalker 1
Shaman 0 Ancestral Healing 1
1 Rockbiter Weapon 2
2 Ancestral Spirit 2
2 Vitality Totem 1
2 Windfury 2
3 Healing Wave 1
4 Windspeaker 1
5 Bloodlust 1
8 Al'Akir the Windlord 1
Neutral 2 Nat, the Darkfisher 1
3 Arcane Golem 1
3 Coldlight Oracle 1
3 Dancing Swords 1
3 Fjola Lightbane 1
3 Stoneskin Gargoyle 1
5 Leeroy Jenkins 1
5 Validated Doomsayer 1
6 Bolf Ramshield 1
6 Cairne Bloodhoof 1
6 Mukla, Tyrant of the Vale 1
6 Sideshow Spelleater 1
6 The Skeleton Knight 1
6 Wobbling Runts 1

Total: 30/30


A win percentage of 90-100% can be achieved in this particular Tavern Brawl, notwithstanding people who concede early and/or intentionally try to lose. A lot more control is provided to both players, compared to the first two cooperative Brawls Unite Against Mechazod! and Return of Mechazod!, due to the various options both players have for healing and surviving damage. The key to victory in this Brawl lies mainly in surviving Nefarian's damage output in the early game, and continuously buffing a powerful minion in the midgame. The primary goal is to buff up a single minion to survive Nefarian's devastating area of effect damage spell Twisted Light, which deals 30 damage to all minions, which is cast when Nefarian reaches 60 health, and then proceeding to launch the final assault on Nefarian. As Nefarian lacks instant-kill effects such as Assassinate, a buffed minion will prove incredibly deadly to him.

  • In the early game, it is best to mulligan for cards which heal, draw for more cards, or gain mana, such as Coldlight Oracle, Nat, the Darkfisher, Mind Vision, Thoughtsteal, Dancing Swords, Arcane Golem, Zombie Chow, Vitality Totem, Healing Wave, Refreshment Vendor, and Power Word: Shield. Northshire Cleric is not a good choice to keep in the opening hand since she dies a lot in the early game, before her effect can be fully utilized for card draw.
  • Note that in the early game, minions are likely to be killed off by Cleave or Flame Missiles. The Shaman player can mitigate this by summoning Totems using his Hero Power to serve as bait and reduce the likelihood of Nefarian's spells hitting other more valuable minions.
  • For Nefarian's first attack phase at 0-attack, focus on keeping both players' heroes healthy while playing some but not a lot of minions to attack Nefarian while sponging the occasional Flame Missiles and getting rid of the occasional Explosive Rune. Try not to overflow the board with too many minions to prevent Elemental Eruption from wiping out the board.
  • Consider holding off attacking Nefarian until you have sufficiently buffed some of your minions to survive his area of effect attacks (Elemental Eruption at 160 health and Twisted Light at 60 health). The most dangerous is Twisted Light, which deals 30 damage to all minions and heals Nefarian for 30 life.
    • Once Nefarian goes from 0 to 5 Attack it's much harder to keep main attackers healthy. By late game, Nefarian's 10 Attack will make it impossible for most minions to survive attacking Nefarian.
    • Before attacking Nefarian down to 60 health, make sure you have plenty of backup minions in your hand to keep fighting the battle if the main buffed attacker dies suddenly due to player error.
  • There are several great candidate minions to buff for dealing damage to Nefarian:
    • Stoneskin Gargoyle is a good minion to buff due to its ability to heal itself back up to full at the start of the controlling player's turn, and having a large health pool will allow it to survive clashing with Nefarian even after his Attack increases.
    • Intrepid Dragonstalker is a great minion to buff since she continually buffs herself with each card played, gaining synergy with both versions of Mukla and other buff cards the Priest can play on her.
    • Dragonscale Warrior is a great minion to buff since every buff played on it will draw a card for the player that buffed it. This is a great minion to cycle through both players' decks.
    • Fjola Lightbane is a similarly good choice due to her gaining a Divine Shield whenever she is buffed. The Divine Shield will also allow her to survive Twisted Light no matter how much health she has.
    • Raid Healer is a good early-game minion to buff as well, since she has a large amount of health (9 health) for 4 mana, making it easy for buffs and Divine Spirits to work more effectively on her.
  • Unlike single-player Adventure Bosses, it isn't possible to bypass Nefarian's Immune phases and kill Nefarian in one hit; he will hit 160 and 60 health respectively no matter how much extra damage is dealt. Bear this in mind and ensure the main attacker has sufficient buffs to survive Nefarian's board clear spells each time Nefarian goes immune.
  • Sticky minions on the board, such as Cairne Bloodhoof and Wobbling Runts, can help regain momentum after Nefarian uses his second AoE spell Twisted Light.
  • Since the Shaman has more high-cost minions than the Priest, The Skeleton Knight's return-to-hand deathrattle will trigger most of the time for the Shaman and not for the Priest, so it's best to play The Skeleton Knight when you are the Shaman and not when you're the Priest. This is similarly true for Healing Wave.
  • Sideshow Spelleater will allow the Shaman to help heal minions and players more effectively, preferably after the Priest has played Justicar Trueheart.
  • Youthful Brewmaster is a good card to use its return-to-hand effect on value-generating Battlecry minions such as Coldlight Oracle, Main Tank, King Mukla, and Mukla, Tyrant of the Vale.
  • Convert and Ancestral Spirit are good cards to use on Intrepid Dragonstalker, as it will ensure an emergency backup win condition in the lategame.


The Brawl features numerous special quotes from Nefarian, spoken in response to specific events.

Turn 1
I am the master here!
Don't Push Me!
Hahahahaha... Behold! The true power of Nefarian!
Mortal minds... So easily manipulated....
Elemental Eruption (reduced to 160 Health)
SHAMAN! The elements obey ME now!
Twisted Light (reduced to 60 Health)
PRIEST! The light serves ME now!
Glorious Finale
Heheheheheh... You made it to the glorious finale!
No... NO! I will destroy you!
I have tried to be an accomodating host, but you simply WILL NOT DIE!
Time to throw all pretense aside, and just KILL YOU!


This Brawl recreates a World of Warcraft-style raid on the mighty black dragon. For background lore, see Nefarian.


  • The Brawl was designed by Dan Emmons.[8]
  • The announcer says the opening line "The heroes versus Nefarian", a departure from previous co-op Brawls, in which the announcer said "[hero name] versus [hero name]".
  • The Priest deck used to have two copies of Shadow or Light?, but as of the brawl on June 5, 2019, the two copies of Shadow or Light? were replaced with one copy of Eternal Servitude and one copy of Greater Healing Potion.
  • In previous versions of this Tavern Brawl, when Nefarian swapped the players' hands with Bamboozle, discounted cards drawn with Shadowfiend were no longer discounted in the other player's hand. This was no longer the case in the Brawl on June 5, 2019, where the discounted cards remained discounted. This was most likely corrected due to some previous game mechanic update patch.


  1. http://imgur.com/a/jUMKw
  2. http://imgur.com/a/CWoWB
  3. http://imgur.com/a/m2AvI
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9DFVeo_KRY
  5. Verified by User:Aegonostic on June 6, 2019
  6. Experienced by User:Aegonostic when Nefarian was at Stage 3 (10-attack)
  7. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2016-01-13). 
  8. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2016-08-17).