Raiding is one of World of Warcraft‘s most important pillars. Joining a guild, playing with friends, and downing some big bads is the WoW equivalent of popping to the pub and sharing top banter from the week’s work or whatever else non-geeks get up to. So what better way to celebrate WoW‘s most exciting pastime, than ranking the 5 hardest raids in WoW history to date?
Tomb of Sargeras
Tomb of Sargeras is rightfully first on this list. Not only was the raid’s end boss, Kil’Jaeden, attempted a whopping 654 times before being killed by esports org Method, but he was preceded by Fall Avatar, who took 453 attempts out of Method.
Kil’Jaeden is one of the bosses who makes more than one appearance in WoW history, and although his first appearance was a tough one, his Tomb of Sargeras form was something else.
Kil’Jaeden is one of the bosses to feature a secret phase (more on those later), and in an age of WoW world-first races pre-streaming, you had no idea who else was at this phase. As for the rest of the raid, it was for sure a tough one.
With Legion, it really felt like Blizzard was pushing for high communication from raid teams, and the reality that each raid party was only as strong as their weakest link was fully realized in Tomb of Sargeras.
Vanilla Naxxramas goes down as one of the hardest World of Warcraft raids (so far) for simply being cleared by so few guilds. Around 134 guilds are known to have fully cleared the entire Naxxramas raid. Now, it was a hard one for a few reasons, though most of those come from the fact only a few classes were really relevant.
Firstly, you needed eight tanks for one of the bosses (Four Horseman), and Warrior was essentially the only class that could do it, as Taunt – a key mechanic to the fight – was unique to Warrior at the time. It also required those Warriors to have a specific set of gear so that their Taunt couldn’t miss. The main problem with requiring eight tanks was that guilds didn’t have that many, so they would snipe them off each-other and create a higher demand than was possible to fill.
Naxxramas was also a 40-man raid, so you had to coordinate all those people, and make sure they had reliable internet, something not everyone had back in 2006. With Naxxrama being a part of Classic WoW, it will likely be a cake-walk for fully prepared guilds. However, Naxxramas will forever go down as a legendary raid, especially since the vanilla version of Wrath of the Lich King is no longer part of the game.
Sunwell was the final raid of the Burning Crusade expansion. With guilds having killed the big bad in Black Temple, Sunwell presented players with a truly tough final raid. The first few bosses were fairly easy for top guilds, but the raid ramped up as guilds hit the final three bosses. While Eredar Twins caused a few issues, it was claimed by EU guild Nihilum. Once guilds started on the second to last boss, Muru, things started to get a little tricky.
While Kil’Jaeden was hard enough, Muru held guilds up for so long it took three rounds of nerfs for most to move on. Kil’Jaeden was also statistically one of the game’s hardest bosses, however, some of that is accredited to the fact Muru was so hard that so few guilds actually managed to get good progress on Kil’Jaeden.
Sunwell was one of the first raids that had guilds stuck on the second-last boss. It was a warning to guilds that it wasn’t just the end bosses that they needed to fear.
Hellfire Citadel was another one of those tricky raids for a multitude of reasons. To start with, you had to deal with thirteen bosses. Add to that the fact that Archimonde, the raid’s final boss, was one of the few end bosses to feature a “secret” Mythic phase. Simply put, this was a phase of the boss that wasn’t available to view in any way before you actually hit it. This final secret phase was so gruelling, that the possibility of a final phase like Archimonde’s continues to strike fear into Mythic raid guilds to this day – especially now, when these events are streamed live during progress.
It would take Method 472 attempts to finally down Archimonde, an increase on 150 from the previous final boss, Blackhand. As for the fight itself, on paper it’s a fairly standard 4-phase encounter, requiring a standard 2 tanks, 4 healers, 14 DPS setup. Like most Mythic bosses, it’s all about practice and nailing mechanics. In practice, however, the fight is messy. Messy enough to take 472 attempts.
Crucible of Storms
As with most games like World of Warcraft, as the game gets older the content gets harder, as the playerbase and mods get smarter and more skilled. Really, this last spot on the list could easily just be “insert most recent raid”, however, I think Crucible of Storms deserves a mention here. While I’ve mentioned a couple of times in this list that it’s not always the last boss that’s hard, Crucible of Storms was unique in that the first boss (of a two-boss raid) was arguably the harder one.
Uu’nat was a tactically complex and long fight. It required guilds to juggle 4 major mechanics constantly, while making sure to perform flawlessly so that everyone was alive for the final burn phase. Tanks had to keep the boss and his adds 10+ yards apart, while the rest of the group fought through mechanics, using 3 unique items which gave them access to special abilities, or exposed boss weaknesses.
The fight was intense. It wasn’t just hard for Mythic guilds: even the Heroic version stalled guilds for weeks, while Blizzard continued to drop nerfs to make the fight more accessible for more players.