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Cenarius, DPS Guide

Updated 6 years, 8 months ago for patch 7.2 by Virendra. View the change log.

Cenarius Dungeon Journal ModelThis page covers a DPS-focused strategy for Cenarius in The Emerald Nightmare. While it's tailored for DPS, other roles may also find the information useful. If you have any suggestions or feedback, you can leave a comment below or tweet @SquidWonder.

This guide will be updated as needed.

Normal and Heroic

The information below pertains to Normal and Heroic difficulty. Heroic-only mechanics will be noted.

General mechanics to know about

Stage 1 - Forces of Nightmare!
  • Cenarius will summon his Forces of Nightmare at 100 energy (about 10 seconds into the fight, and every 80 seconds after)
    • Northeast Corner spawns Corrupted Wisps
    • Northwest Corner spawns Rotten Drake
    • Southwest Corner spawns Twisted Sister
    • Southeast Corner spawns Nightmare Ancient
    • Four types of adds can spawn: Corrupted Wisps, Rotten Drake, Twisted Sister, and Nightmare Ancient
    • These adds will always spawn in the same place (ie, Wisps in one corner, drakes in another, etc), but only 3 of the 4 types spawn per wave
    • Each wave has a predetermined composition (ie Wave 1 will always have Wisp, Drake, and Ancient spawn)
    • Malfurion will cast Cleansed Ground beneath one of the add spawns in each wave - this is determined by which Nightmare Seed most of the raid is near. Once cleansed, the add will turn into an Ally of Nature and assist the raid
  • The entire raid will gain stacks of Creeping Nightmares throughout the fight. To reset the stacks, step into a Cleansed Ground area. Try to reset around 17-20 stacks, or more if you can use a defensive cooldown. Don't linger, as each time it consumes Creeping Nightmares the area gets smaller
  • Right after the Forces of Nightmare spawn, Cenarius will gain Aura of Dread Thorns, redirecting 50% of any damage he takes back to the attacker. This aura buffs adds within 20 yards. Aura of Dread Thorns makes multi-DoTting Cenarius potentially dangerous - be aware when this buff is up
    • In Heroic, this aura is extended to 30 yards
  • Cenarius will cast Nightmare Brambles, spawning a Bramble Swarm that fixates on a random player and chases them. While there isn't an debuff that can alert you, if you see the Brambles coming after you, kite it away from the raid. Stepping into a Bramble Patch will damage and root you
Handling the Adds

This part of the guide will discuss the adds specifically - it is important to familiarize yourself with individual abilities

  • Corrupted Wisps spawn in the Northeast Corner
    • Wisps fixate on random players; there is no debuff indicating this
    • If a Wisp touches its target, it uses Destructive Nightmares, exploding for moderate damage that splashes to nearby players (8 yards)
    • Rather than exploding, the wisp picks another target and continues until killed
    • Wisps can be slowed, stunned, and taunted
    • If targeted, run away from other players to minimize splash damage
    • Cleansing the wisp Nightmare Seed will spawn 5 small Cleansed Ground areas to help with resetting Creeping Nightmares stacks
  • Rotten Drakes spawn in the Northeast Corner
    • Rotten Drakes periodically cast Rotten Breath at a random target - players will need to move out of the cone
    • At 50% health, the Drake will continuously use Nightmare Buffet on the entire raid
    • Cleansing the Corrupted Emerald Egg will randomly buff one of the tanks with Ancient Dream
  • Twisted Sisters spawn in the Southwest Corner
    • Unbound Touch lets you run through roots with impunity
    • Gives you shadow immunity
    • After expiration, players within 4 yards will get Unbound Essence
    • Twisted Sisters cast Twisted Touch of Life to heal other adds, which must be interrupted
    • Random players will be targeted with Nightmare Javelin which will apply a DOT to everyone within 4 yards of the target location
    • Twisted Sisters will periodically use Scorned Touch on random players - these players have 12 seconds to get away from the group before exploding
    • Cleansing the Corrupted Nature buffs random players with Unbound Touch
  • Nightmare Ancients spawn in the Southeast Corner
    • Nightmare Ancients will use Desiccating Stomp at 100 energy - players need to be within 8 yards of the ancient to split the damage
    • If nobody is in range of Desiccating Stomp, the entire raid will take damage from Desiccation
    • Cleansing the Nightmare Sapling will cause the Cleansed Ancient to periodically cast Replenishing Roots to restore nearby players' mana
Stage 2 - Your Nightmare Ends!

Stage 2 starts at 35%

DPS Strategy

  • Prioritize adds over Cenarius
  • Know which add will be cleansed so that you can move to the spawn point
  • Your raid leader should be coordinating cleanses and kill order, but here is my suggested kill order:
    • Melee classes: if you notice a wisp getting too close to its fixate target, you can slow/stun (or taunt if you have it) the wisp to buy time
    • Have ranged handle wisps
    • Melee should focus and interrupt the Twisted Sisters (ranged should help once wisps are down)
    • Rotten Drakes should not be brought to 50% before Wisps or Twisted Sisters are down or Nightmare Buffet will quickly wipe the raid
    • Nightmare Ancients' Desiccating Stomp needs to be handled correctly or it will wipe the raid as well
  • Keep your Creeping Nightmares stacks in check, but don't linger in Cleansed Ground
  • Kite Nightmare Brambles away from the raid
  • Minimize the various sources of splash damage
  • Make sure strong DPS cooldowns are available when Cenarius reaches 35%
  • Use Heroism/Bloodlust/Time Warp at 35%
  • Ranged DPS needs to free Malfurion when he is hit by Entangling Nightmares


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Changelog - View the last ten changes. - +

March 24, 2017 - 12:00 am (The Emerald Nightmare) - Guides reviewed for patch 7.2, no major updates made.

December 31, 2016 - 6:00 pm (The Emerald Nightmare) - Reviewed for patch 7.1.5.

December 25, 2016 - 12:00 am (The Emerald Nightmare) - Updated Healer guide for Xavius, adding Mythic kill video and additional Mythic information.

December 18, 2016 - 12:00 am (The Emerald Nightmare) - Updated Mythic Healer guide for Cenarius and added Mythic kill video.

November 24, 2016 - 12:00 am (The Emerald Nightmare) - Added Mythic video to Il'gynoth Healer guide.

November 14, 2016 - 12:00 am (The Emerald Nightmare) - Added Mythic videos to Ursoc and Dragons of Nightmare healer guides.

November 12, 2016 - 12:00 am (The Emerald Nightmare) - The Mythic information on the healer guide for Dragons of Nightmare was updated.

October 23, 2016 - 12:00 am (The Emerald Nightmare) - Added additional clarifications to the Mythic section of the Elerethe Healer guide, along with a Mythic video.

October 22, 2016 - 12:00 am (The Emerald Nightmare) - Added Heroic video to the Xavius Healer guide.

October 20, 2016 - 12:00 am (The Emerald Nightmare) - Added videos to the Healer guides for Nythendra (mythic), Il'gynoth, and Cenarius.