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

Showdown at Blackrock Mountain.jpg
"These two epic bosses of Blackrock Mountain are settling things once and for all... with your help!"

Showdown at Blackrock Mountain is a Tavern Brawl. It debuted on June 17, 2015. See the schedule for exact times.

The Brawl sees players take the roles of Ragnaros and Nefarian, duelling it out for dominance of Blackrock Mountain. Matches are played on the Blackrock Mountain battlefield using Molten Core Card back.


Tavern Brawl Start End
1 June 17, 2015 June 22, 2015
22 November 11, 2015 November 16, 2015
111 July 26, 2017 July 31, 2017
143 March 7, 2018 March 12, 2018
203 May 1, 2019 May 6, 2019
311 May 26, 2021 June 2, 2021

Showdown at Blackrock Mountain was also mistakenly featured as the seventh Tavern Brawl. This sparked widespread complaint from disappointed players, who assumed this to the intended Brawl. The correct Brawl, Too Many Portals!, replaced it around an hour later, but not until numerous players had played and won matches, earning their weekly card packs. Zeriyah remarked, "Sometimes when you play with dimensional space, the wrong Tavern Brawl gets sucked through the portal. Whoops."[1]


The first reprise of this Brawl in November 2015 saw the Nefarian hero's starting Mana Crystals reduced from 5 to 4, helping to address balance complaints from the original run.


At the start of the match, each is randomly placed as either Ragnaros or Nefarian,[2] with the other player always playing the opposite hero. The choice of character will determine the player's Hero Power and premade deck, as well as their starting Health, Armor, weapon and mana.

  • Nefarian starts with 30 Health and 30 Armor, and has 4 mana on his first turn. He uses the Hero Power Wild Magic.
  • Ragnaros starts with 60 Health (no Armor), and has 1 mana on his first turn. He starts with the weapon Sulfuras equipped, and the Hero Power Molten Rage, but destroying Sulfuras will replace his Hero Power with Blackrock MountainDIE, INSECT!.


Ragnaros the Firelord

Hero Powers[]

Wild Magic
Molten Rage

Special cards[]


Core Hound Pup
Coren Direbrew
Dragonkin Spellcaster
Drakonid Slayer
High Justice Grimstone
Living Lava
Moira Bronzebeard
Rock Elemental
Son of the Flame
Whirling Ash


Core Hound Puppies
Living Bomb
Open the Gates



Removed cards[]

Added with the same patch, the following card appears to have been intended for use with this Brawl, apparently as a means of summoning the various Trons, but was absent from the released version of the encounter. Since Nefarian's deck contains the four Tron minions themselves, it seems likely this card represents an earlier model for obtaining them.

Omnotron Defense System


A typical match in progress

For a full list of special cards, see the sections below. Note that the below classes are listed purely for reference, and have no effect on the boss' use of the cards in the encounter.

Both decks include numerous minions and spells from Blackrock Mountain, mostly in slightly altered forms, as well as some new Tavern Brawl cards unique to the Brawl. Some bosses from the adventure are also present as minion cards.


Nefarian has a deck of 30 cards, with a strong Dragon theme, and a top-heavy mana curve. The deck also features four Normal mode Tron minions from Blackrock Mountain's Blackrock MountainOmnotron Defense System boss encounter.

Class Card No
Neutral Blackrock MountainBlackwing Corruptor 2
Neutral Blackrock MountainBlackwing Technician 3
Neutral Blackrock MountainChromaggus 1
Neutral LegacyOnyxia 1
Neutral Blackrock MountainRend Blackhand 1
Druid LegacyBite 2
Paladin Blackrock MountainDragon Consort 2
Warlock LegacyShadowflame 2
Blackrock Mountain Blackrock MountainArcanotron 1
Blackrock Mountain Electron 1
Blackrock Mountain Magmatron 1
Blackrock Mountain Toxitron 1
Blackrock Mountain Chromatic Drake 3
Tavern Brawl Atramedes 1
Tavern Brawl Dragonkin Spellcaster 2
Tavern Brawl Drakonid Slayer 2
Tavern Brawl Open the Gates 2
Tavern Brawl Razorgore 1
Tavern Brawl Vaelastrasz 1


Ragnaros has 30 cards in his deck (and he starts with Sulfuras, already equipped). The deck has a fairly low mana curve, but still has a few expensive options.

Class Card No
Neutral LegacyBaron Geddon 1
Neutral LegacyMolten Giant 2
Mage LegacyFlamestrike 2
Shaman LegacyFire Elemental 2
Shaman LegacyLava Burst 2
Warlock LegacyFlame Imp 2
Blackrock Mountain Blackrock MountainFlameheart 2
Tavern Brawl Core Hound Puppies 2
Tavern Brawl Coren Direbrew 1
Tavern Brawl Garr 1
Tavern Brawl Golemagg 1
Tavern Brawl High Justice Grimstone 1
Tavern Brawl Living Bomb 2
Tavern Brawl Living Lava 3
Tavern Brawl Lucifron 1
Tavern Brawl Moira Bronzebeard 1
Tavern Brawl Son of the Flame 2
Tavern Brawl Whirling Ash 2



The random class cards generated by Wild Magic can result in some unusual plays

NB: This section was written during the Tavern Brawl's first run, when Nefarian started with 5 Mana Crystals (now reduced to 4). The guide may therefore need updating to reflect current balance and strategies.

Strategy for this Brawl is strongly determined by hero. Nefarian has a strong advantage in the early game, while Ragnaros has an advantage in the mid- to late game.[3][4] The Brawl is generally considered to be set in favor of the Nefarian player, who starts 3 Mana Crystals ahead of the Ragnaros player. However, victory with Ragnaros is quite possible, with his second Hero Power, Blackrock MountainDIE, INSECT!, allowing him to stabilise if he can survive the early game.


Nefarian starts his first turn at 4 mana, and unless he draws poorly Nefarian is able to put a number of very strong minions on the board very quickly, as he has a very aggressive deck. However, Nefarian's play becomes much weaker in later stage of the game and also tends to run out of cards, so he has to be quick about killing Ragnaros. The spells which Nefarian can gain through his Hero Power are completely random and may affect outcome significantly.

As Nefarian, it is best to play aggressively, trying to overwhelm Ragnaros before he can gain access to Blackrock MountainDIE, INSECT!, or at least dealing enough damage early on to snowball into the mid or late game. Nefarian can still win in the late game, provided he has established strong board control, exhausted Ragnaros' supply of cards, or dealt enough damage to push through in spite of DIE, INSECT!.

Mulligan for 4 and 5 cost cards for a strong start. Dragonkin Hatcher and Blackrock MountainChromatic Drake are some of the strongest starts, as well as Blackrock MountainBlackwing Corruptor if the opponent has already played a LegacyFlame Imp. Magmatron is powerful but can punish Nefarian through its triggered effect, especially as they may be playing more cards than Ragnaros, so this will usually count as a drawback in the early game. Blackrock MountainBlackwing Technician x 2 can also be a good start if you have a Dragon in-hand, but can cause your hand to empty prematurely.

Wild Magic is a powerful but unpredictable option, like a vastly improved LegacyLife Tap. The mana cost reduction means it can be very effective played at the start of the turn, since it allows you generate and play the spell (no matter its base cost) for a total of only 2 mana. It is also one of the most fun elements of the encounter, and can be worth using simply for entertainment value. Note that Wild Magic provides only spells, so cannot compensate for a lack of minions. For this reason it is wise to mulligan for minions or Open the Gates which provides minions.

LegacyShadowflame is a very useful counter to Living Bomb. Attack with the minion first, then Shadowflame it even if the enemy board is empty, to prevent the damage to your other minions (and yourself). Nefarian's deck is heavy with Dragon-synergy cards like Blackrock MountainBlackwing Technician and Blackrock MountainBlackwing Corruptor, which can make it risky to empty the hand of dragons. Shadowflame can also be combined with Electron for a cheap board clear by using it on Electron itself, clearing possible Core Hound swarms while preventing Ragnaros from benefiting from Electron's effect.

Once DIE, INSECT! is in play, it is often best to draw the fire away from your hero by filing the board with whelps by playing Open the Gates or LegacyOnyxia.

Playing Toxitron early renders Ragnaros' initial Hero Power useless and Blackrock MountainDragon Consort can effectively trade with Blackrock MountainLiving Lava.

Wild Magic

The spells provided by Wild Magic cost zero mana to cast, so even a weak spell may have its use. There are however some spells that are less then useless e.g. weapon-related ones like LegacyBlade Flurry or LegacyDeadly Poison. Nefarian does not have a weapon and thus these spells cannot be cast at all, they just take up space in your hand.

Worse yet is Goblins vs GnomesSabotage's combo you might accidentally trigger. Sulfuras and LegacyMagma Rager are generally weaker than Blackrock MountainDIE, INSECT!, so hastening the availability of Ragnaros' late-game Hero Power is usually a mistake.

As there are no demons in Nefarian's deck, playing LegacySense Demons always produces two Worthless Imps.

LegacyShadow Word: Death is a very handy spell: you can kill your own minion that has Living Bomb cast on it, take down Blackrock MountainLiving Lava, Golemagg or Blackrock MountainEmperor Thaurissan.

LegacyVanish is a highly situational spell, but if Ragnaros has Flame Imps and Core Hound Pups on the board, playing these cards again he will have to suffer through Imp's battlecry and each Pup card costs 3 mana. In the early game the mana cost alone will be a tremendous blow to Ragnaros.

When LegacyHeadcrack is returned to the hand, it costs 3, not 0 mana.

Some spells are especially useful, like LegacyMark of the Wild to buff a 7/7 minion. If this minion is on the board early in the game and the opposing player lacks the minions or spells to remove it, it may force him to attack into the powerful minion with Sulfuras, taking a lot of damage in the process, or "skip a turn" using his weapon, delaying the availability of DIE, INSECT! Hero Power. LegacyMindgames can summon LegacyMolten Giant or even Golemagg from Ragnaros' deck.

Another way of delaying the availability of DIE, INSECT! is freezing Ragnaros with e.g. LegacyIce Lance.


Ragnaros has weaker minions and starts in a very bad position. His task is to survive for the first six turns. Once his Sulfuras weapon is spent, he will be able to use his second Hero Power Blackrock MountainDIE, INSECT!, which in many cases allows him to gain control of the board and usually win afterwards. It may be considered an enrage timer of sorts.

In order to survive, Ragnaros has several exotic ways to clear the board, including Coren Direbrew which generates a copy of LegacyBrawl (which he always wins), Lucifron applying the LegacyCorruption debuff to all minions, Living Bomb and also a couple of Flamestrikes. Living Lava and Garr are able to add some protection as well. Also if he will be able to put four or six Core Hound Pups on the board, they may be tricky to rid of unless Nefarian has LegacyShadowflame or gets some other form of mass removal spell through his Hero Power. If things go very badly for the Ragnaros player, Golemagg can be a powerful last resort.

As Ragnaros, you will need to play defensively to survive. Try to control the board, and trade as much as possible to slow down Nefarian's momentum and prevent damage from adding up. Use Sulfuras every turn in order to reach its Deathrattle as soon as possible; it is useful for clearing small targets like Whelps and damaged larger minions, and also to use it directly on the enemy hero; do not try to save the Durability, just use it up as quickly as possible.

With Ragnaros, it is important to mulligan very aggressively for low cost cards, mostly 2s and 3s. Molten Rage is usually a pretty weak option. However, if Nefarian lacks AoE damage such as Toxitron, the LegacyMagma Rager's 5 Attack can force him to address it with minions or single target spells, providing good value. Once you have Blackrock MountainDIE, INSECT!, it is good to use it often, for gaining both board control and card advantage.



The Nefarian hero uses the following audio and written emotes in response to specific events. They seem to be based on his first appearance in Blackrock Mountain.

NB: Many of the below emotes are not actually spoken by Nefarian. While the text is used, the sounds produced depict only laughter (as indicated in italics).

Type Emote
Thanks Thanks.
Well played Well Played. Aha ha ha ha ha!
Greetings Let the games, Begin!
Sorry Sorry. Ha ha ha ha ha!
Oops Oops. Hu hu hu hu!
Threaten Behold! The true power of NEFARIAN!
Attack *roar*
Concede *Growl*
Opening remark I am the master here!
Thinking [1]
Thinking [2]
Thinking [3]
Running out of time *growl*
Almost out of cards
Out of cards
Error: Too many minions
Error: Generic
Error: Hand already full
Error: Hero already attacked
Error: Minion not ready
Error: Minion exhausted
Error: Not enough mana
Error: Need a weapon
Error: Can't play that card
Error: Can't target stealthed minions
Error: Not a valid target
Error: Must attack taunt minion


The Ragnaros hero uses the same emotes as those used by the Ragnaros replacement hero generated by Blackrock MountainMajordomo Executus' Deathrattle, with the addition of the opening remark, "I WILL HAVE MY REVENGE, DRAGON!"

Type Emote
Well played WELL PLAYED.
Sorry SORRY.
Thinking [1] HMMM...
Thinking [2] I WONDER...
Thinking [3] WHAT TO BURN FIRST...
Running out of time TIME BURNS AWAY!
Almost out of cards I'VE BURNED MOST OF MY CARDS.
Error: Too many minions TOO MANY MINIONS.
Error: Generic CAN'T DO THAT.
Error: Hand already full TOO MANY CARDS.
Error: Hero already attacked I ALREADY ATTACKED.
Error: Minion not ready MORTALS NEED A TURN TO GET READY.
Error: Minion exhausted IT'S ALREADY ATTACKED.
Error: Not enough mana NOT ENOUGH MANA.
Error: Need a weapon I NEED A WEAPON.
Error: Can't play that card CAN'T PLAY THAT.
Error: Can't target stealthed minions IT IS STEALTHED.
Error: Not a valid target NOT VALID.
Error: Must attack taunt minion THAT TAUNT MINION IS IN MY WAY.

Patch changes[]