Not your normal guide
I'm in the business of guides as of late. You see, guides are what I write; they're what I do. A while back, I took over the Ready Check column full time as well; there, we explore boss strategies for every boss to come.
This guide is specifically going to deal with how to maximize your specific role during the Shannox encounter, not the overall strategy for killing him. If you would like that information, then check out the WoW Insider Shannox guide.
Know your boss abilities
One thing I will list are the abilities that you'll find yourself against. The first rule of being a good DPSer is to always know what to expect. Okay, so it may not be the first rule, but it is certainly a rule to raid by. Knowing what a boss does is key in understanding how to do your utmost in killing him.
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.
For Serious: Kill Rageface
Face Rage Pins a target to the ground, stunning him and dealing increasing damage; increases change to be critically hit by 50%.
Rage Focuses on a single target for 15 seconds.
There are multiple ways to kill Shannox and his dogs. Some people whittle down both dogs, whittle down Shannox, then kill the dogs, then switch back to Shannox. Frankly, I don't see the point in using this method at all. Yes, killing Rageface outright will cause Shannox to gain 30% more damage -- but here is why that isn't a terrible thing.
Your tank has more avoidance, more mitigation, and more cooldowns than you do. Focusing healers on a single target instead of that same single target plus and random raid targets is far less stressful, as well. Not to mention that Rageface stuns when he Face Rages someone -- having that on a key healer at the wrong time is Bad News Bears. Then you have the matter of DPS; melee players hate to be on Rageface and his spastic jumping issues as he leaps from target to target. Trust me, rip off that Band-Aid and kill the puppy. Everyone will thank you for it.
Second, I have a personal loathing for anyone who drags Rageface over a Crystal Prison Trap. Look, guys, you want to kill the dog. His damage is peanuts; don't think that you're in any danger of dying should he be attacking you, because it's not going to happen. Dragging him over the Prison Traps makes him untargetable, which reduces everyone's DPS. Ranged players might be able to switch to new targets, but melee players are screwed. Plus, you have Owlkin Frenzy
; having him attacking you is awesome.
Third, do drag Rageface over Immolation Traps if one happens to be near you. Immolation Traps deal damage and increase damage taken by 40%. That's a pretty big deal for you and everyone else.
Fourth, do use all of your cooldowns, such as Force of Nature
or any racials that you might have, at the start of the encounter. It's probably best to keep Force of Nature focused on Shannox instead of one of the dogs, since the treants don't seem to take the whole movement thing so well.
DOTs, DOTs, and MOAR DOTs!
This encounter is a balance druid's paradise. No matter which NPC is currently your focus target, keep DOTs rolling on every target possible.
Range becomes a factor in this encounter; it isn't uncommon to have the Riplimb tank pulling his dog in such a way that all three targets aren't in your range. Remember this, and remember your ABCs. Don't wait until your DOTs have already fallen off and you're trying to recast them to find out if a target is out of range or not. Instead, select the target you need to re-DOT mid-cast. This should cause your abilities to turn red or become greyed out if the target is out of range. At that point, ignore DOTing that target and just check back periodically. Multi-DOTing is a great thing, but it isn't worth it to stop casting for even a second.
However, do be wary of accidentally pushing either a dog or Shannox early when DOTing both targets. Your DOTs aren't going to be the only ones on the target, and anyone who thinks mere DOTs can't push a boss by 2% is kidding himself. Not everyone has a method for removing their DOTs, so keep that in mind.
Taking out Riplimb
After Rageface is tanking the floor, your focus should be Riplimb until he is fairly low. Your tank is probably going to be fairly far away form Shannox for this, so what you need to do is always stand right in the middle of them to keep both in range. Also, now is a pretty good time to learn how to mouse turn if you haven't already. Riplimb is going to be running back and forth, and you'll need to spin slightly to keep him in front of you.
During this time is probably when Force of Nature and any other long cooldowns are going to be coming back up. Chances are, you shouldn't actually use them at this point in time. Most Shannox kills are probably going to hover in the 7- to 8-minute range, which means you'll only be able to get two uses out of any of your 3-minute cooldowns. It is always better to save these for during Bloodlust
, especially Force of Nature.
Showing the hunter what-for
After bringing Shannox to around 34ish%, you'll want to finish off Riplimb and then have the raid switch back to Shannox himself. At this point, pull out the trees, as the raid should be using Bloodlust. From a DPS perspective, there's nothing really to worry about doing that falls out of the normal single target rotation past here. There will be moderate raid damage that you should Barkskin to mitigate, and it might proc Olwkin Frenzy for you, but otherwise, there's no more target switching or even movement.
Delicious, purple rewards
For an early boss, Shannox has a few fairly decent items that you can pick up. Here's a list of the things to watch out for.
The ring is decent as far as rings go. I personally wouldn't take it over another guild member unless it's a significant upgrade for you in comparison to them, as there's certainly better out there that you can use instead. The off-hand is amazing. A lot more people are switching to using staves, given that balance druids only have a rather poor trash drop or a fantastic mace off Ragnaros as one-handed weapon choices. If you can get the off-hand, then do so, because it's a better combination than the any staff would be, even with just the dagger off of normal Magmaw.
The shoulders can be hit or miss, depending on the enchant that you draw. The other downside is how you end up replacing your prior tier gear. Most people probably won't be using heroic tier shoulders, so upgrading those are better than upgrading over a heroic piece; just remember those set bonuses.
Every week, Shifting Perspectives: Balance brings you druidic truth, beauty and insight ... from a moonkin's perspective. We'll help you level your brand new balance druid, tweak your UI and your endgame gear, analyze balance racials and abilities, and even walk you through PvP as a balance druid.