Setting up for the pull
Given that Shannox does not have a set location to fight him in, you have to create one somewhere along his path by clearing mobs. There are several places all over the map where you can do this. The key point is that this space needs to be rather large and as flat as possible, to avoid any strange LOS issues caused by small pitfalls in the ground. I have found that the area just in front of Beth'tilac and the area full of Flamewalkers near Alysrazor's path are fine choices.
Frankly, I would say that the perfect place is actually the same room where you fight Baleroc, but using it actually requires that you kill Baleroc first.
Like any good hunter, Shannox does not fight alone, bringing his two trusty companions to the fray. You will need to contend with all three at the same time.
Arching Slash Inflicts 125% weapon damage in a cone in front of the caster; inflicts Jagged Tear on the primary target.
Hurl Spear Hurls a spear inflicting physical damage, creating an explosion of fire.
Jagged Tear Inflicts 3,000 physical damage every 3 seconds for 30 seconds; stacks.
Immolation Trap Places an Immolation Trap at the foot of an enemy that arms after 2 seconds; if triggered, deals fire damage and increases all damage taken.
Crystal Prison Trap Places a Crystal Prison Trap at the foot of an enemy that arms after 2 seconds; encases the one who triggers it inside a crystal prison.
Enrage Upon losing a companion, Shannox gains 30% damage and 30% attack speed.
Magma Rupture Causes an explosion of fire that also increases fire damage taken.
Separation Anxiety When the distance between the huntsman and his pets is too great, both gain increased damage.
Limb Rip Hits the target for 130% of normal damage and causes Jagged Tear.
Fetch Spear Chases after his master's spear and returns it.
Killing off Rageface
Face Rage Pins a target to the ground, stunning them and dealing increasing damage; increases change to be critically hit by 50%.
Rage Focuses on a single target for 15 seconds.
While it seems as though there is a lot to deal with all at once, the fight isn't all that bad, in truth. First and foremost is knowing how to set up the pull. Both Shannox and Riplimb need to be tanked -- Rageface will always target the player dealing the most damage to him, when not raging -- yet neither can be taunted. You need to do a Misdirect pull or a tank face pull, and healers/DPS have to be exceptionally careful about threat.
The primary job of DPS and healers in this encounter is avoiding traps. In fact, aside from your standard jobs, that is the only thing you have to avoid. Immolation Traps won't kill you, but they will pull healer attention toward you, which can be bad. On the other hand, Crystal Prison Traps are terrible to hit because the prison has to be killed and has several million health; these traps can also cause LOS issues.
The main tanking issue of this encounter is Jagged Tear, which has to be dropped at some point in time; otherwise, healers won't be able to keep up at all. You can use an additional tank on Shannox to deal with this, but tank swapping is a lot more difficult here, and there are better ways without wasting a DPS slot. (More on that just a bit later.)
All three mobs have to die, but there are a few caveats, as always. Every time one of the dogs dies, Shannox gets a light Enrage. Further, if you get Shannox to 30% without killing the dogs, any living dogs (especially Rageface) will gain a massive Enrage that will wipe your raid. The goal is to get Shannox close to 30%, then kill the dogs.
Despite the fact that it enrages Shannox, killing Rageface outright is your best option. The random targeting is more difficult to deal with than the increased tank damage, and Face Rage is a major pain to get through, requiring either 30,000 damage in 10-man or 45,000 damage in 25-man to break. Having all of the DPS focus on Rageface at the start also gives tanks plenty of time to gain a massive threat lead.
For whoever is currently being targeted by Rageface, keep in mind that the dogs can trigger the traps, as well. You really want to avoid locking Rageface in a Crystal Prison Trap, but crossing him over into an Immolation Trap is a large boost of additional damage.
At this point, you only have a single dog left plus Shannox to deal with. Far simpler.
Dealing with Jagged Tear
Tanks really need a way to reset their stacks of Jagged Tear. Luckily, there are two very easy methods of dealing with this. Shannox can only apply Jagged Tear when he has his spear in hand; your chance to reset stacks happens once Shannox throws his spear for Riplimb to fetch. Similarly, this is also when the Riplimb tank will reset his stacks. Now, you have two ways to do this.
The first method is to always kite Riplimb near a Crystal Prison Trap that he will have to cross in order to get the spear. The trap will encase the dog for approximately 12 seconds before breaking, which should be plenty of time for both of your tanks. You really have to be good on positioning to nail this. Alternatively, just drag the dog into the trap once you see the emote for the spear throw.
The second method is to merely pull Riplimb far enough away from Shannox that the path itself causes the tanks to drop their stacks. This isn't all that difficult, and you can assist it via slows or traps, as well. Keep in mind with slows though that every slow applied to the dog gives him a stacking resistance to them. If you rely on slows and take too long, you'll end up in a situation where you cannot decrease his movement speed at all. Since you do not have to rely on slows, it is best not to.
Killing off Riplimb
Once you have Rageface down, your DPS should split at this point. Riplimb runs around quite a lot, due to the spear. While melee can easily keep up and still deal damage while the dog is running, this significantly increases the chance that someone is going to hit a trap, which you want to avoid at all costs. It is best to have melee go on Shannox and get ranged to take down Riplimb.
You don't want to push Shannox past 30% yet, and you do not want to kill Riplimb until Shannox is close to that point. This is the part where you need to focus on balancing your damage output on both mobs. The great news is that there is virtually nothing else to worry about at this point in the encounter. Jagged Tear resetting should be an automatic, and DPS only have to move out of an odd trap should one happen to spawn under them.
This phase of the encounter is literally cruise control.
Once you kill the last dog, Shannox will enter into phase 2. First, he will gain another stack of Enrage, further increasing the damage that he deals. That's bad, but there is literally no other damage to contend with at this point. All you have is tank damage. The second change is that Shannox will no longer throw his spear; instead, he just sort of slams it into the ground for Magma Rupture. This is avoidable in the same manner as Hurl Spear was, so DPS should have no problems staying out of the way.
The issue you have at this point is that there is no way for the tank to reset their stacks of Jagged Tear, unless you happened to be using two tanks the entire time. Given that most guilds won't be using that second tank (because there isn't much of a reason to), that puts something of a cap on the life expectancy of your tank.
This is where you want to Bloodlust
and burn the boss as quickly as you can. You also want to have the secondary tank who had been on Riplimb to start building as much aggro as he possibly can. Doing so at least may allow you to recover, should the main tank end up going down.
That's all there is to it! Tune in next week when we push further and further into the heart of fire. Happy raiding!
Ready Check shares all the strategies and inside information you need to take your raiding to the next level. Be sure to look up our strategy guides to Cataclysm's 5-man instances, and for more healer-centric advice, visit Raid Rx.