Legion Timewalking: Which Raid Would We Want?

Patch 9.1.5, the frontrunner of the “most improvements in a single patch” award, is arriving on November 2nd/3rd. With the patch comes the highly-anticipated Legion Timewalking! While this special version of Timewalking features Legion Mythic+ dungeons and the Mage Tower, we have yet to hear about a potential Legion Timewalking raid.

Legion was a memorable expansion, so it makes sense that Legion would get a unique Timewalking event. So far though, it seems that Blizzard has opted to honor the expansion by focusing solely on Mythic+ and the Mage Tower. In the more recent expansions such as Mists of Pandaria and Warlords of Draenor, we have been seeing a sad tradition of an absence of Timewalking raids. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that we won’t get a Legion Timewalking raid in the future.

In fact, we decided to do a little speculation of our own: we held a Twitter poll for which raid the community would most love to see in Legion Timewalking.

The results of our poll shed light on some interesting discussions: what criteria should be used when picking a Timewalking raid? What raid might Blizzard choose to bring to Legion Timewalking? What raid should they bring back? In this piece, we will discuss the 4 major Legion raids, their significance, and why the obvious choice for Timewalking may not be the “right” one. Do we have an unpopular opinion in store for you today? Let’s take an inside look!

Table of Contents

The Emerald Nightmare

Our Twitter poll on Legion Timewalking Raids sparked a series of discussions among the Raider.IO staff. While The Nighthold took the biggest lead, the Emerald Nightmare received the smallest number of votes by a large margin. Ironically, this is something that we anticipated prior to making the Twitter poll and discussed perhaps making Trial of Valor one of the choices instead, despite its low boss count. Thus, the debate began about what exactly qualifies an instance as a good choice for a prospective Timewalking raid. Is the main criteria whether a raid was well liked, or is there potential to “right” some past “wrongs”? Is Timewalking maybe a way to give a poorly received raid another chance?

First off, let’s talk about the significance of The Emerald Nightmare. From a lore standpoint, the Emerald Nightmare had perhaps the most quoted/referenced boss of all time, as Il’gynoth’s little cryptic prophecies/lies/totally-accurate-predictions are brought up basically any time a storyline goes anywhere near them, including the recent Shadowlands Jailer-related events:

In terms of the Emerald Nightmare raid itself, the reason most people may have ignored it could be because, aside from the big eye-tree whispers, it just wasn’t that memorable. Emerald Nightmare had a total of only 7 bosses, and the Race to World First (RWF) finished within merely TWO days time. In fact, the race technically only lasted one day if we measure the starting point as the time when the winning guild’s server first came up.

Xavius, the final boss of the Emerald Nightmare, never got the attention he deserved. Despite it being a pretty cool boss fight with some engaging mechanics, Mythic Xavius was dead within only 18 hours of Exorsus entering the Emerald Nightmare on Mythic difficulty, making the Emerald Nightmare the shortest-lived instance in a long, long time. You’d have to go back all the way to Wrath of the Lich King’s poor Naxxramas 2.0 replica to find a shorter World First raid clear, and the Emerald Nightmare was not even significantly faster.

Another interesting coincidence (or was it): the Emerald Nightmare was Exorsus’ first ever raid endboss World First kill/RWF victory, and their second and only other endboss WF/RWF win was…The Nighthold.

The Nighthold

Perhaps to no one’s surprise, The Nighthold took the crown in our Twitter poll, as the Suramar aspect of Legion seems to be a crowd favorite in general. The raid itself was very well made, offering an iconic face-off at the end as we went face-to-face with both Gul’dan AND Illidan in the “secret” Mythic phase! While the Tomb of Sargeras and Antorus were suitably epic and very lore-relevant, as well as concluding not only the expansion but also the story of the Burning Legion, it seems our community may value a great atmosphere and a non-fel-green environment. The fact that the encounters in the Nighthold were very well crafted and well tuned can’t hurt either.

On the RWF side of things, many top raiders felt that the raid duration was the optimal length, lasting for a total of 11 days (aka 2 lockouts). As mentioned before, Exorsus took the race for The Nighthold home too, as they were at the peak of their powers during the first half of Legion. Nighthold was certainly a very exciting race despite not being streamed by the top guilds, as Exorsus went up against both Method and Serenity for the top spot and pulled a bit of a surprise win as Serenity had taken several boss WFs, including Elisande.

The Nighthold truly is a special raid in World of Warcraft’s history. It masterfully blended with its zone and the Legion storylines up to that point, incorporating the stunning atmosphere and storytelling of Suramar into one of the best raids we’ve ever seen. The overall difficulty curve was solid, and even the earlier bosses displayed a wide variety of fights: from the memorable cake-tossing Trilliax to familiar lore-faces like Tichondrius, culminating in perhaps the most visually impressive skyboxes ever made for WoW, as Star-Augur Etraeus showed us the truth lurking out there in space.

However, it was the final two encounters that made The Nighthold truly special. In fact, even the penultimate boss of the raid was worthy of endboss status, as Elisande is considered one of the best WoW raid bosses to date! With the Nightwell as the perfect backdrop for the fight, Elisande showcased her time-manipulating powers and was, in many ways, the real ending for the Suramar storyline that captivated players throughout Legion up to that point.

The final encounter of The Nighthold had us facing off against the person that started this whole Legion invasion mess in the first place: Gul’dan. As Gul’dan attempted to bring Sargeras in via Illidan, it didn't quite go his way. The fight had one of the more memorable Mythic-only phases that added a great deal to the encounter, both in terms of the lore and the fight itself. The Mythic-only phase had players go up against “the Demon Within” (aka Illidan’s other side), as influenced by Sargeras himself. We even saw a glimpse of the vision that put Sargeras on his path to creating the Burning Legion… well, not really — it’s just an ability that instakills you if you “see” the vision, but it’s still pretty cool nonetheless!

Considering its rich lore, difficulty curve, iconic encounters, and brilliant atmosphere, it’s unsuprising that Nighthold won our community poll. With the raid being so iconic, well-liked and well-known (not to mention still popular due to that awesome Hellfire Infernal mount), is Nighthold the best choice to bring back for Legion Timewalking?

Tomb of Sargeras and Antorus, the Burning Throne

We bundled Tomb of Sargeras (ToS) and Antorus, the Burning Throne together as one because, well, that’s basically what the WoW community sees them as, right?

Jokes aside, the two raids are very similar in terms of aesthetics, theme, and storyline as we fight through a whoooole lot of Burning Legion demons to get through these two instances. Antorus throws us a little bit of a curve at the end with the final fight being against a new Titan/World Soul, but let’s face it, Argus was just a Sargeras stand-in, really. The raids themselves were very solid. The joking hyperbole above was just that, and they are both certainly well-liked, but they don’t seem to have that certain something that keeps them in players’ minds — that is unless you’ve progressed on Kil’jaeden

Old Kil’jaeden was a bit of a nightmare to progress on in Tomb of Sargeras given that he received SO many stealth fixes that most of us never even heard about. Method, Exorsus and AFK R slammed their heads against a basically impossible boss only to see him not get fixed properly time and time again throughout the world first progression. This way, Kil’jaeden was definitely memorable and one the longest-lived bosses in Legion. In fact, he was actually one of the longest-lived bosses of all time, as you’d have to go back all the way to the early part of Cataclysm to find bosses that survived longer.

Also, as a small and insane fun fact: Kil’jaeden died exactly 2 years from the day of his fellow Burning Legion general Archimonde’s death! Both raids basically teased Sargeras, as ToS had his literal Fallen Avatar, and Antorus had, well “sArgus”, who is basically the in-game equivalent of an avatar — a new Titan we fight in Sargeras’ stead (and then there was Cloudgeras, but that one doesn’t count). And THEN at the end of Antorus, they proceeded to lock him away so we couldn’t kick his a** and Illidan got to have all the fun. Sidenote: I think Illidan vs. Sargeras wins the “longest raid clear of all time” argument — how many wipes do you think Illidan has had so far? Argus was much easier on the RWF raiders than Kil’jaeden was, as he fell over in a timeline closer to modern day endbosses, taking “only” 8 days to kill.


Now that we’ve discussed all 4 major Legion raids, it’s time to get back to our little debate. While it seems clear why The Nighthold is beloved by our community and is most likely the favorite in general with it being extremely memorable, tied to a beloved storyline and zone, with some of the most impressive visuals we’ve seen in the game to date…wait. I actually had SOME argument here...

Ah yes, the Emerald Nightmare argument. Okay, “unpopular opinion” time:

While The Nighthold may be the clear winner, there is a point to be made about perhaps giving a new life to a basically forgotten and poorly received raid. The Emerald Nightmare wasn’t a bad raid after all, and seeing it re-tuned might give it a new lease on life while showcasing it for some new players as well. Many players will continue heading to the Nighthold even without a Timewalking version to obtain the mount and see the awesome sights it has to offer, but no one is going to the Emerald Nightmare any time soon.

There’s also something to be said about an upgrade vs. a “poor” replica, as any new version of Nighthold would certainly be a paler imitation of the original. The difficulty of a Timewalking version simply wouldn’t be up to par, and Blizzard might even skip the awesome Mythic-only phase of Gul’dan entirely. Speaking from personal experience, I progressed on Black Temple back during its World First race and cleared it many times during the Burning Crusade. When I replayed Black Temple in its Timewalking version, it was a bit of a letdown. It certainly wasn’t the original experience, and the very nature of Timewalking raids as shorter events intended for leisure and nostalgia actually took something away from the instance. I wouldn’t say it ruined my experience/memories of Black Temple, but it definitely left a slightly tarnished view of the raid in my mind. Regardless, I’m happy that players who didn’t get to experience it back then did get the chance now, so there’s a tricky balance to strike.

Therefore, while it may seem like a silly idea to bring back the “worst instance” as Legion’s only Timewalking raid, the Emerald Nightmare does offer potential. A Timewalking version of EN would definitely feel more like “new” content than a revamped Nighthold, as a new Nighthold may not meet the exceedingly high standards of its die-hard fans.

So, what do you think? Should Blizzard go with the iconic, visually stunning, bigger and better raid, or should they try to redeem and improve a smaller but poorly received one?


About the Author

Starym is an old-school raider with a wide history of World Firsts under his belt. He is a long-time news writer and interviewer for Icy Veins and formerly Manaflask. Having raided in the Race to World First (RWF) until the end of The Burning Crusade, he has been covering the events since Cataclysm and the RWF has become his greatest passion in WoW. A (Tauren, obviously) Warrior main at heart, when pushed, he will admit to loving Diablo more than WoW and, thus, should be punished.