World of Warcraft recently released its latest expansion, Shadowlands, and the end-game raids are already proving to be exceedingly difficult for even the top guilds. Castle Nathria, for example, threw players for a loop thanks to Shadowlands’ more complex boss mechanics – it was only cleared on Mythic difficulty for the first time more than two weeks after the raid was released.
In World of Warcraft‘s 17-year history, there have been a number of near-unbeatable raid bosses that only fell after several hundred attempts. Bosses like Kel’Thuzad, Kael’Thas, and C’Thun are each worth an honorable mention as they took many months to be cleared back in the early days of World of Warcraft.
Sadly, not many guilds kept track of how many attempts were made on these bosses. Luckily, guilds in later expansions started tallying attempts, making the process for finding the hardest raid bosses of all time far easier.
10 Blackhand, Warlords of Draenor (325 Attempts)
Blackhand was the final boss of Blackrock Foundry in the Warlords of Draenor expansion. Blackhand’s first phase usually went easy enough, with a few distractions thrown at players with the Marked for Death debuff for example. When Blackhand fell to 70% health, his second phase would begin along with a transitionary explosion, and then every 50 seconds he would summon a Siegemaker to the fight.
It was a raid that required intense communication and focus, as well as knowing exactly what to do at any given moment. It’s no wonder it took 700 attempts for the world’s second Blackhand kill.
9 Jaina Proudmoore, Battle for Azeroth (346 Attempts)
Jaine Proudmoore was a boss in Battle for Azeroth‘s raid Battle of Dazar’Alor. Her fight was not particularly difficult for any laundry list of reasons like Blackhand, but rather because of one mechanic unique to Jaina: the Chilling Touch debuff.
Chilling Touch slowed players by 2 percent, stacked, and when it reached full stacks froze the player solid. One guild went to the extreme measure of changing the race of every member of the raid to troll, as trolls had a racial passive that reduced movement impairing effects.
8 Queen Azshara, Battle for Azeroth (359 Attempts)
Queen Azshara was a boss in Battle for Azeroth‘s The Eternal Palace raid. Queen Azshara was a legendary character in World of Warcraft going all the way back to Cataclysm, and her raid was just as legendary for its, to put it lightly, unique raid mechanics.
Most of her skills revolved around targeting players who were in her line of sight. A successful Azshara raid required constant movement and constant knowledge of what was around the player – for casters, this was nigh on impossible.
7 Fallen Avatar, Legion (453 Attempts)
The Fallen Avatar is one of the few bosses listed here that was not the final boss of the raid. As the second to last boss of The Tomb of Sargeras in Legion, the Fallen Avatar raid was full of random elements that made consistent progress on the boss extremely difficult.
One such ability was Dark Mark, a debuff with unlimited range that targeted three random raid members, dealt massive damage, then launched them into the air. He also dealt an insane amount of damage in waves to players close by based on buffs the boss gained constantly. The only way to get a good run with the Fallen Avatar was to hope party members with low health didn’t get targeted.
6 Archimonde, Warlords of Draenor (472 Attempts)
Archimonde was the final boss of the Warlords of Draenor raid Hellfire Citadel, a callback to the dungeon of the same name from The Burning Crusade. Archimonde’s fight required players to constantly be aware of each other and constantly communicate positioning, as well as random elements that turned the boss fight into a roll of the dice most of the time.
One such random element was the Doomfire spell, a spirit cast by Archimonde that dealt a massive amount of damage to a player for 10 seconds before switching to a new player. The spirit was tough to kill alongside Archimonde, and some raids turned all of their attention to the spirit once it spawned.
5 Yogg-Saron, Wrath of the Lich King (Over 500 Attempts)
Yogg-Saron is an Old God in World of Warcraft, near-omnipotent ancient beings that envelop and consume worlds across the universe. While the version players fought in Ulduar in Wrath of the Lich King used a fraction of its true power, it nonetheless proved tough – especially on its hardest difficulty.
The raid was designed for keepers, NPCs that could be summoned during the raid, to also aid raids in defeating the Old God. For maximum difficulty, some guilds ignored these keepers, choosing to take on Yogg-Saron without this help designed for the raid.
4 Ragnaros, Cataclysm (Over 500 Attempts)
Ragnaros was a boss in Vanilla World of Warcraft who received a revival in Cataclysm’s Firelands raid. It was not a particularly tough fight for any unfair or broken mechanics (although it certainly wasn’t a walk in the park). It was tough because it took most guilds more than 20 minutes to complete.
20 minutes is a long time for mistakes to happen, and even one or two party members’ deaths could jeopardize the fight in the long run. Focusing for a third of an hour on pinpoint precision and timing is tiring – it’s no surprise many guilds simply stopped keeping track of attempts out of tedium.
3 Garrosh, Mists of Pandaria (638 Attempts)
Garrosh holds a unique spot on this list as one of the few bosses who can claim a massive number of attempts in the 10-man raid category. In Mists of Pandaria 10-man raids and 25-man raids dropped the same loot, and while his fight was not particularly difficult due to one mechanic – like Ragnaros it just went on for absolute ages.
Players had to be on-point and exactly correct with their timings if they wanted to down Garrosh, and that’s quite hard to do over an average of 15 minutes.
2 Kil’Jaeden, Legion (654 Attempts)
Kil’Jaeden was the final boss of Legion‘s Tomb of Sargeras, following the Fallen Avatar fight. Upon release, the Kil’Jaeden fight was actually bugged, so much so that some guilds stopped running the boss altogether until a fix came out. Kil’Jaeden’s abilities also did far too much damage for healers to mitigate, almost as if the developers wanted to design a raid that was functionally impossible.
Eventually, Kil’Jaeden fell, and after a round of debuffs more than a few guilds got in on the action. But at 654 attempts, Kil’Jaeden lived up to his title as the Supreme Commander of the Burning Legion and put up quite a fight to match.
1 Uu’nat, Battle for Azeroth (731 Attempts)
Uu’Nat in Battle for Azeroth‘s Crucible of Storms is the unquestioned most difficult and most attempted raid boss in the history of World of Warcraft, and it’s because of one mechanic. Unstable Resonance was an ability that affected more than half of the raid at once, and forced players to avoid teammates who had a different resonance type from them. If players touched and had different debuffs, the ability would trigger and deal a lethal explosion within 10 yards of the players.
It was an insane boss fight and one that required a lot of patience to overcome. Eventually, it was completed, but not without a complaint from the World of Warcraft community on the design of the Mythic difficulty mechanics.