With the release of Blackwing Lair, Season of Mastery is seeing some changes. These don’t even include the changes each boss is receiving for the re-release of the fabled raid. With the release of Nefarian’s sanctum coming on February 10th, it feels like a good time to rank each boss in one of my favorite raids of Classic World of Warcraft!
As always, these rankings are made up of my opinion and my opinion alone. Blackwing Lair is a personal favorite of mine, but it’s also incredibly dated. In terms of how it stacks up against other classic raids, I’d put it up in the upper echelon. Let’s get on with the list!
Why am I ranking Broodlord below two bosses that are essentially a tank and spank? Because it’s fun getting to go hard on DPS. Do you know what you can’t really do on Broodlord? Go hard on DPS.
The encounter is based entirely on threat management. A key mechanic wipes the threat of the tank in half. Off tanks must be ready to pick the boss up without being able to taunt. It’s up to the DPS to play it safe and chill, at times simply auto-attacking and not using spells or abilities. If you wipe, it’s a frustrating experience because you have to re-clear an aggravating section of trash.
Broodlord deaths result in a solid 15-20 minutes of lost time. It’s not fun for anybody.
It doesn’t get much easier than Flamegor. This is a tank and spank for most of the raid. Tanks will need to have specific placement and use an Onyxia Scale Cloak to mitigate fire damage. Hunters will need to use Tranquilizing Shot on occasion. Everybody else gets to pump out DPS. This is one of the easiest bosses in Blackwing Lair, but not as easy as…
Instead of a tranq rotation for hunters, there’s a taunt rotation for tanks.
Everyone else just tries to top the damage meters.
Fun fact, though! Despite being incredibly simple bosses that are the literal reskin of a mob in the open world, Ebronroc and Flamegor drop the most desired piece of loot in all of Blackwing Lair: Drake Fang Talisman.
You can honestly flip-flop these next two as you see fit. Firemaw is lower on my list due to personal experiences with the boss. Even though the mechanic of dropping off your fire debuff is neat and adds in a challenge, having to not DPS is never fun.
Yes, I know I’m going to contradict myself later on this list.
Firemaw is also, like Flamegor and Ebonroc, a reskin of a world mob. At least Chromaggus is a unique model.
Razorgore the Untamed
The nice thing about Blackwing Lair is that you walk into the instance and a boss is waiting for you. No trash packs to deal with, here.
There’s a catch, though: the boss involves fighting several waves of trash.
Razorgore is a neat concept that isn’t necessarily challenging but is still an involving encounter. Progression required concentration and coordination. Once you have the boss on farm, it’s a chance to joke around with friends.
While nothing exceptional by today’s standards, Razorgore is revolutionary for a classic World of Warcraft boss. Add in the fact that he’s the very first encounter in Blackwing Lair, and it became obvious very quickly: you’re not in Molten Core anymore.
Chromaggus is a challenging encounter whose mechanics are somewhat cheesed. The main thing to watch out for here is the breaths, all of which do different things. You can, however, line of sight the breaths to not get hit by them. Essentially, the entire raid hides behind a corner to avoid the mechanic.
Is this a little anti-climatic? Sure. Does Chromaggus still put up a challenge? You bet. You still have to execute, especially considering the Time Lapse breath requires people to actually be hit by it instead of avoiding it. The randomness too of the breath mechanics (each week, two of five possible breaths are used by the boss) requires players to stay on their toes.
This is a perfect example of a great fight that has aged poorly due to optimization and fifteen years of min-max culture.
Vaelastrasz the Corrupt
Vaelstrasz is a race to the finish. It was often viewed as “the guild breaker” back in the original days of Blackwing Lair. In Classic World of Warcraft, he was mostly a pushover, but also a way to trim the fat out of your raid composition.
While you’re achieving your unlimited power, you realize that this greatness has a cost. Players will not only be taking constant fire damage over time, but also randomly obtaining a debuff that will eventually kill you with explosive AOE damage.
These mechanics act as a soft enrage timer; it’s a battle against the clock to pump as hard as you can, resulting in some crazy DPS numbers.
The final boss of Blackwing Lair is one of the best encounters in Classic World of Warcraft. Many people returned to the game for the sole purpose of defeating the famous member of the Black Dragonflight.
Nefarian’s claim to fame is his class calls, which target random classes with detrimental effects. Priests, for example, can’t heal because they’ll end up damaging their allies. Hunters will have their bows break and become unable to use them.
While time has led to the Nefarian encounter being far more manageable, it was, back in the day, a marathon of a boss battle. Defeating him was an accomplishment that few were able to achieve. Today? Everyone had perfected the fight’s strategy and he was dying thousands of times every week.
That doesn’t detract from how enjoyable the fight is, though. Nefarian rightfully sits on his throne as the best boss of Blackwing Lair.