After a disastrous first week when my raid group got completely shut out of Shannox, we were able to storm back in and take him down fast. The main reason for our initial trouble was the fact that we were using the completely wrong approach when it came to tanks and who they were on.
Tank healing an encounter like Shannox is demanding on so many fronts. A standard healing template I use is to place one healer on each tank and the rest on the raid so that they can exercise their judgment. From there, I can scale up the amount of dedicated tank healers if I feel it becomes necessary. Once a dog gets taken down, his damage just goes up. In other words, it is necessary to add more tank healers as the fight progresses.
On top of that, there is a high amount of traps that get dropped. Don't get trapped in one of those red ice block traps (more commonly known as a Crystal Prison trap).
Depending on your raid composition and philosophy, there are two methods of approaching Shannox.
- Approach 1 Bring the dogs and Shannox down to low health levels, approximately 5% on the dogs and around 35% on Shannox himself. When their health evens out, take down the dogs and focus your efforts on Shannox.
- Approach 2 Take down a dog straight up and heal through the damage increase before focusing down the other dog and Shannox.
Shannox is a big test in tank healing.
I've healed both the Shannox tank and the Riplimb tank. I can say that the Shannox tank is in for a world of hurt after the first dog dies and is arguably the more painful of the two assignments. I started off with two tank healers, but I ended up using three tank healers after Rageface died. A 30% increase in damage and attack speed is serious business.
If your tank hits an immolation trap after Frenzy kicks in, it'll probably be a wipe. Melee swings, Immolation Traps and Arcing Slash. Pick two of those, and healers can handle it; three is asking a bit much.
With the amount of movement that's bound to happen, you'll need to be able to adapt and move just as nimbly. Your tanks will be in constant motion, and you have to strike a balance in keeping them alive and ensuring you're still within range. Don't neglect yourself, either! Throughout our attempts, I noticed healers would sometimes develop tunnel vision and end up stumbling into a trap or get caught with line of sight issues due to the various rocks that are sticking up from the floor.
If you've played a hunter, then you may have kited mobs before. Kite healing is no different, other than the fact that you're the one being kited. If you know the precise path the tank is going to take, then you can stay a few steps ahead of him. Just make sure you don't get caught by a cleave (Arcing Slash). I've been on the business end of one of those before, and I was instantly wrecked. Your tank should know how to swing and move him around -- but don't place yourself in such a bad position in the first place.
During the Frenzy phase, your healers are going to need to stay spaced out, not just to avoid the traps but so that when a healer moves, the other healers can still cover the tank until the moving healer winds up in good position. This encounter is all about good positioning. If any tank healer has to move, use a cooldown. When I played discipline, I placed a Power Word: Barrier directly above the tank and Shannox and instructed him not to move until I said go. I shuffled over to a new spot, and I gave a green light to go. As Shannox is being kited around in a large circle, you're better off positioning yourself near the middle of the circle to minimize your movement.
Healing the Riplimb tank isn't the easiest job but is easily manageable with a stream of communication between you and your tank. Coordinate with him the direction he plans to move. Call out any traps near him so that he can drag Riplimb over one and put it in a prison, giving you precious seconds of breathing time when you can sneak off a potion or regenerate some mana. If your tanks position him just right, you'll have even more free time as spears are being retrieved.
When Shannox hurls his spear, it creates a series of spiral eruptions. Look for a gap, and stand in it as quickly as you can. The actual damage from the molten eruption is about 70,000+, which is manageable.
I've done next to no raid healing here, since my efforts were focused primarily on our tanks. Raid healers are there to look after anyone who trips over an Immolation Trap. While there shouldn't be too many people working on Riplimb, it is safe to assume that Riplimb's tank healers might get caught, and they'll love you if you can bail them out. Cover the melee players. That slash is a 120° arc, which means it will hit someone. Above all, stay within range of your tanks, and be prepared to step in.
All in all, Shannox takes a few attempts before healers get a handle on the amount of incoming damage. The damage really ramps up in the last half of the encounter when the dogs are down, but there isn't much to worry about after that. Just keep dumping big healing spells on your tank.
Need advice on working with the healers in your guild? Raid Rx has you covered. Send your questions about raid healing to firstname.lastname@example.org. For less healer-centric raiding advice, visit Ready Check for advanced tactics and advice for the endgame raider.