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Shannox Healer Strategy Guide

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This guide is intended to provide a comprehensive description of the encounter with Shannox in Firelands. It is mostly targeted to healers who desire to have a short but detailed overview of what is expected of them during that fight.

This guide applies to patch 4.3 of World of Warcraft.

The encounter against Shannox, within the Firelands, is one where healers will find that there is a great deal of avoidable damage, as well as a great deal of unavoidable damage.

While the encounter itself is not complex, mistakes from raid members can quickly cause huge amounts of damage.

1. Overview of the Fight↑top

Shannox is essentially a single phase encounter during which you will not only face Shannox himself, a Flamewalker with the traits of a hunter, but also his two pets, Riplimb and Rageface. The abilities of his pets and their synergy with Shannox will shape the strategy you should employ.

Shannox will become enraged and do additional damage and attack faster whenever Riplimb and Rageface are killed, and Riplimb and Rageface will become enraged when Shannox reaches 30% health. Because of the specifics of their enrage mechanics (detailed below) you will want to kill Rageface and Riplimb first, and survive Shannox's enrage.

In addition to healing tank damage and other sources of unavoidable damage, healers will have to be on the look out for various traps that the boss places on the ground, and which should be avoided at all costs.

A large amount of damage in this fight is Fire damage, so a form of Fire resistance is advised (either Resistance Aura Icon Resistance Aura or Elemental Resistance Totem Icon Elemental Resistance Totem or Healing Stream Totem Icon Healing Stream Totem).

2. Relevant Enemies and Abilities↑top

During this encounter, you will be faced with three enemies: Shannox and his two pets, Rageface and Riplimb. Below, we detail the abilities which are relevant to DPS players.

2.1. Shannox

Of Shannox' abilities, the following are relevant to healers:

  • A melee attack, which hits for about 22,000 damage in 10-man difficulty and 46,000 damage in 25-man difficulty, and occurs roughly every 2 seconds.
  • Immolation Trap: Shannox will regularly fire off Immolation Traps around himself. 2 seconds after being fired, a trap will become armed and it will detonate on contact with either a raid member or Rageface or Riplimb. On detonation, the trap will deal 65,000 Fire damage followed by another 50,000 Fire damage over 3 seconds, and it will increase its target's damage taken by 40% for 9 seconds. The trap is not AoE and will only affect the player or dog who has triggered its detonation.
  • Crystal Prison Trap: Shannox will regularly fire off Crystal Prison Traps around himself. 2 seconds after being fired, a trap will become armed and it will detonate on contact with either a raid member or Rageface or Riplimb. On detonation, the trap will encase its target in a Crystal Prison. The block can be damaged and destroyed, which will free its target. The Crystal Prison has 600,000 health in 10-man difficulty and 950,000 health in 25-man difficulty. When Rageface and Riplimb become trapped in a Crystal Prison, the prison will damage itself entirely over 10 seconds.
  • Arcing Slash: every 10-15 seconds, Shannox performs a cleaving attack with his spear in a wide conic area in front of him. In addition to the cleave damage, Shannox also applies Jagged Tear on his main aggro target.
  • Jagged Tear: places a bleed on the main aggro target whenever Shannox performs an Arcing Slash. The bleed ticks for 2,500 Physical damage every 3 seconds for 30 seconds, and stacks if the same player is targeted multiple times, thus requiring a tank swap.
  • Hurl Spear: Shannox throws his spear at a target location, indicated by a red circle on the ground. The spear deals a high amount of Physical damage to enemies within 3 yards of the location and 42,500 Fire damage to everyone within 50 yards. It then causes the ground around it to erupt in fiery explosions in a spiraling pattern clearly indicated by small fire marks. Both the initial location as well as the explosions should be avoided. Shannox's spear is then returned to him by Riplimb. While he misses his spear, Shannox cannot perform Arcing Slash.
  • Magma Rapture: after Riplimb is killed, Shannox performs an ability similar to Hurl Spear. He no longer throws his spear at a target location, but instead he drives it into the ground, inflicting 42,500 Fire damage and increasing fire damage taken by all players by 40% for 1 minute. The fire damage increase stacks. Magma Rapture causes the same kind of fiery explosions as Hurl Spear. Shannox casts this every 15 seconds.
  • Frenzy: Shannox becomes enraged when Riplimb and Rageface are killed, gaining 30% increased damage and attack speed for each of his pets.

2.2. Riplimb

Riplimb has the following abilities relevant to healers:

  • A melee attack, which hits for about 14,000 damage in 10-man difficulty and 26,000 damage in 25-man difficulty, and occurs roughly every 2 seconds.
  • Limb Rip: every 8-10 seconds, Riplimb deals a moderate amount of damage to his main aggro target, and more importantly, applies Jagged Tear (same as Shannox's) to them as well. Remember that Jagged Tear stacks.

2.3. Rageface

Rageface cannot be tanked and will run around targeting random raid members. He has the following abilities relevant to healers:

  • A melee attack, which hits for about 15,000 damage in both 10 and 25-man difficulty, and occurs roughly every 2 seconds.
  • Face Rage: makes Rageface focus on a target, stun them and deal 7,000 Physical damage to them every 0.5 seconds, which increases over time. Rageface will continue this until he is damaged for at least 30,000 damage (in 10-man difficulty) or 45,000 damage (in 25-man difficulty) in a single hit. This is made considerably easier by the fact that, while Face Raging, Rageface is 50% more likely to receive critical hits.

3. Strategy↑top

As mentioned above, both Rageface and Riplimb become enraged (and will one shot players) if Shannox reaches 30% health, and Shannox himself becomes enraged (though it is a much more mild form) when the dogs are killed. As such, your raid's aim is to bring Shannox close to 30% health, kill Rageface and Riplimb and then nuke down Shannox.

During this fight, players will need to survive Shannox' abilities and keep the raid alive. We will detail the abilities which may kill you and then will list the various sources of damage.

3.1. Surviving

Ground effects are abundant in this encounter, and none of them are beneficial. Indeed, the first thing players will notice is that, often, Shannox will throw Crystal Prison Traps and Immolation Traps on the ground. Stepping on a Crystal Prison trap will cause the player to be encased in a block of crystal, while Immolation traps deal large amounts of damage.

Healers should keep in mind that Crystal Prisons block line of sight with targets behind them. Therefore, you should always be prepared to move sideways in order to be able to heal someone who is behind a Crystal Prison.

Healers will simply have to be on the look-out for these traps. Shannox always targets a player's location when casting a trap, so if he targets you, you must be ready to move at a moment's notice. While doing this, you should also be careful not to step on anyone else's traps.

We have included a screenshot of each of the two traps:

  • Immolation Trap (yellow/orange flame):
    Shannox Immolation Trap
  • Crystal Prison Trap (red flame):
    Shannox Crystal Prison Trap

In addition to traps, Shannox will regularly cast Hurl Spear. The location where the spear will land is visibly marked by a red marker, and should be avoided, as should the many small fiery explosions that radiate out from the red marker after a few seconds. Hurl Spear will also deal 50,000 unavoidable Fire damage, which will need to be healed. We will detail this below.

After Riplimb's death, Hurl Spear becomes Magma Rapture. In the case of Magma Rapture, only the fiery explosions on the ground must be avoided, and the same 50,000 Fire damage is dealt to the raid.

If you manage to successfully avoid all of these dangers, then you are most likely going to survive the entire encounter, unless your raid is wiping. Your other focus, now, should be on healing.

3.2. Sources of Damage

There is a large amount of unavoidable damage during this encounter, which will require attention. In addition to this, there are many sources of avoidable damage whidh your raid members may fail to avoid.

3.2.1. Unavoidable Damage

Below, we list the sources of unavoidable damage:

  • Tank damage from melee attacks, bleed damage from Jagged Tear as well as damage from Arcing Slash and Limb Rip.
  • Face Rage damage caused by Rageface. This will be on random raid members and require intensive healing (and possibly healing cooldowns).
  • The raid-wide portion of damage from Hurl Spear and, later on, Magma Rapture.

As you can see, tank damage is fairly high and sustained. In addition to this, raid-wide damage from Hurl Spear or Magma Rapture, when coupled with normal tank damage can cause the tanks' health to drop to dangerously low values, so healers should be prepared for this.

Ideally, the damage listed above is the only damage you should ever have to heal.

Once Riplimb is dead and Shannox begins casting Magma Rapture, the fight gains a soft enrage mechanic of sorts. Each Magma Rapture will deal increasing Fire damage to your raid, as each one will cause your raid to take 40% extra Fire damage.

Healing cooldowns should be used to minimise damage taken by subsequent Magma Raptures.

3.2.2. Avoidable Damage

There are several sources of damage which should be avoided. Unfortunately, they do not usually one shot players, which means you will have make up for people's mistakes through healing. They are:

  • Fire damage as well as a short, undispellable DoT from Immolation Trap.
  • Fire damage from the explosions resulting from Hurl Spear and Magma Rapture.
  • Massive Fire damage from the initial impact area of Hurl Spear.

4. Heroic Mode↑top

Shannox' heroic mode version presents the most accessible challenge for raids attempting heroic Firelands. This section contains all you need to know to make the transition from normal to heroic Shannox.

4.1. Differences from Normal Mode

When compared to the normal mode of the encounter, you will notice the following differences:

  • The fight has a single phase which is the same from start to finish. Neither Riplimb nor Rageface can be killed, nor do they enrage when Shannox reaches 30%. They should not be DPSed either (except for one specific player assigned to Rageface). There is no longer a soft enrage phase at the end of the fight.
  • Both Riplimb and Rageface gain a stacking buff, Feeding Frenzy, each time they perform a successful attack. Feeding Frenzy increases their damage done by 5% per stack and lasts 20 seconds.

Overall, these changes make the fight easier (though slightly different) in its execution. We will cover the adequate strategy for the encounter in the section below, but to sum up, we can say that the heroic mode strategy revolves around focused DPS on Shannox and strategic trapping of the dogs.

In addition to these changes, there are a few other, less important changes. Namely, Immolation Traps deal significantly more damage. Also, Shannox and both of his pets melee for more as well. Tanks should, therefore, expect more incoming damage, although this is not unusual when transitioning from normal to heroic mode.

4.2. Strategy Changes

Whereas in the normal mode version, trapping Rageface in Crystal Prison Traps was entirely optional, and trapping Riplimb was very useful, in heroic mode, it is mandatory that both pets be trapped regularly. The chief motivation for this is resetting their stacks of Feeding Frenzy, which can only be done by preventing them from meleeing anyone for 20 seconds. Obviously, in the case of Riplimb, it also serves the purpose of resetting Jagged Tear stacks on the tanks.

There are other small adjustments to be made to your strategy, which we will explain below, but to sum up, this is the key difference.

4.2.1. Notes Regarding Mechanics

Feeding Frenzy, as noted above, is a stacking buff which both Rageface and Riplimb gain each time they successfully melee a player. Each stack increases their damage done by 5%, and the buff lasts 20 seconds.

It is important to note that Rageface will focus on the player who broke his Face Rage, and attack that player for some time.

4.2.2. Non-healing Concerns

Successful completion of the encounter will require your raid to regularly trap both Rageface and Riplimb, in order to reset their stacks of Feeding Frenzy (and in the case of Riplimb, the stacks of Jagged Tear as well).

Trapping Riplimb is the exclusive task of the Riplimb tank and does not concern healers in the least.

Generally, one or two players will be assigned to DPSing Rageface at all times, ensuring that most of the time, Rageface will target them (as they are the ones breaking Face Rage. However, because during the rest of the time, Rageface attacks targets at random and cannot be tanked, the entire raid is responsible for ensuring that Rageface does not trigger Immolation Traps (to avoid gaining the Wary buff) and that he triggers Crystal Prison Traps when needed.

As a healer, you should always keep an eye out for the location of Crystal Prison Traps and make sure that, if you are being attacked by Rageface when he needs to be trapped, you kite him over one such trap.

Riplimb will also, often, be trapped by his own tank, and as there are not enough traps to freely trap both dogs, you should make sure that when you do trap Rageface, the Riplimb tank did not need that trap more urgently than you.

4.2.3. Healing Concerns

The damage sources on heroic mode are the same as on normal mode, the only differences being that the damage is, generally, higher. Immolation Traps are usually damaging enough to be lethal to players triggering them, as is damage from Hurl Spear.

Additionally, the damage done by both Riplimb (to his tank) and Rageface to his designated kiter(s) as well as his random targets will vary depending on their current stacks of Feeding Frenzy. At high stacks, it may be worth using cooldowns such as Guardian Spirit Icon Guardian Spirit and Pain Suppression Icon Pain Suppression on targets of dogs with high stacks.

As noted in the changes section, the soft enrage mechanic of the last part of the encounter, present in normal mode, does not exist in heroic mode, and Shannox does not become enraged either. Therefore, the damage is without much variation for the entire duration of the encounter.

4.2.4. Actual Execution

The heroic mode of this encounter actually simplifies the fight, compared to normal mode. Your raid will no longer DPS Riplimb at all, as damaging him is totally useless. Rageface will also only take minimal damage, and the bulk of your DPS will be focused on Shannox himself.

Raiders will still have to avoid Immolation Trap as well as the impact zone and subsequent explosions from Hurl Spear.

Finally, your entire raid should attempt to get as much distance as possible from the Crystal Prison Trap in which Rageface is encased, so that when he breaks out, he will have to run a great distance to his first (random) target, allowing for Feeding Frenzy to wear out.

During this relocation of the entire raid, it is important that healers do not lose range of their targets (especially tanks).

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