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Spiritual Guidance: Shadow priest's guide to Shannox


Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. On Wednesdays, shadow priesting expert Fox Van Allen rains down sweaty, sticky, uncomfortably warm destruction on all who oppose him (especially Tyler Caraway). Fox encourages you to follow him on Twitter.

It's pretty miserable here in Boston today. I'm sweating, and not in the sexy, glistening skin way -- in the wring out a T-shirt way. It's, like, 90-something, which to a New Englander is damn hot. And to all you people who live in Las Vegas (Oh ho ho, it's 129 here today, you wimp!), shut up -- you chose to live in a place that's awful year round, not me.

Anyway, this uncomfortable sweatiness has me starved for revenge. Beings of fire, you shall face my wrath!

Over the next few uncomfortable, sweat-stained months of summer, we'll be taking on the bosses of the Firelands right here in Spiritual Guidance in seek of precious relief (and purples). This week: vile hunter Shannox and his adorable flaming skeleton pets.

The fight's basics

In simplest of terms, Shannox is a three-target fight that eventually whittles its way down a single-target beat the clock. Joining Shannox are his "dogs," Riplimb and Rageface. In non-heroic mode, the most common strategy seems to be to kill Rageface first, burn Shannox down near 30%, kill Riplimb, and then finish off Shannox.

So where does a shadow priest begin? Well, obviously, since Rageface needs to die first, he's the one you're going to want to prioritize rolling your full complement of DOTs on. Shannox needs to be worked down to 30% as your team kills off the dogs, so he's your second priority. Riplimb has an aggro table and is not tauntable, so avoid attacking him too much at first. Once Rageface is down, Riplimb is your key target.

Know Your Target: Shannox

Shannox will be up for the entire fight, so you really need to learn how to deal with his abilities first.

  • Arcing Slash is Shannox's frontal melee ability. You don't need to know much about it, other than the fact that you should never stand in front of Shannox. Got it?
  • Being a hunter, Shannox will regularly throw out one of two different kinds of traps. Either type will detonate when a player or one of Shannox's dogs runs over it.
    • The first kind, the Crystal Prison Trap, will freeze its victims in a (spoiler alert!) crystal prison. If a player gets trapped, he won't take any damage, but he's essentially out of the game until the raid can DPS the high-health prison down to 0%. If a dog gets trapped, it will be immune to damage for a few moments as the prison steadily loses 10% of its health in regular ticks. As a shadow priest, your job is to not run over these traps and to free your hapless raidmates from them as necessary.
    • The second kind, Immolation Trap, is a much more painful to the target. If you're hit with it, you'll lose a solid 50% of your health right off the bat, and gain a fire damage debuff that ticks every 3 seconds. You'll also take 40% more damage for 9 seconds. As a shadow priest, your goal is to trick Riplimb and Rageface into triggering these. This is best accomplished by positioning yourself next to an Immolation Trap such that if you gain Rageface's attention, he'll wind up walking right on top of it in order to rage your pretty little face off. The up-front damage that causes Rageface isn't super-important, but the 40% increased damage he'll take for the next 9 seconds is.
  • At regular intervals, Shannox will Hurl Spear to the ground near where his dog Riplimb is. When he's about to use the ability, the ground he's targeting will smolder. Priority #1 is to move from the 3-yard epicenter; the damage caused by a direct hit can be deadly. Priority #2 is to move out of the smoldering "eruption" areas; these will explode, causing anyone caught in them to lose about 50% health or so. Priority #3 is to cast Power Word: Shield on yourself; if you're within 50 yards of where the spear lands, you'll take about 50,000 points' worth of (resistable) fire damage.
When Shannox falls below 30%, both of his dogs gain the Frenzied Devotion buff. It is absolutely critical that the dogs be defeated before Shannox's health drops below that threshold. Be very judicioius with your DOTs on Shannox once he gets to 35% or so; you may even want to use a single Mind Spike to erase them all at that point.

Know Your Target: Rageface

Rageface usually gives guilds the most trouble, which is why he's usually the target burned down to 0% first. Since he doesn't have an aggro table, you'll frequent find yourself on the business end of a mauling.

He really has only one attack you need to know about: Face Rage. (I see what they did there.) Breaking Face Rage requires someone to hit Rageface with an attack that deals more than 30,000 damage. It can turn into a deadly attack if it's not broken ASAP, since the damage dealt by Face Rage increases quickly over time.

Thanks to a hotfix, all attacks during a Face Rage are now guaranteed to be crits. Unfortunately, not all of your crits -- even those from Mind Blast -- will cause more than 30,000 damage. To get to that level, you're going to want to be generating as many Shadow Orbs as you can over the course of the fight, as Shadow Orbs will easily push Mind Blast damage up over 30k. Keep all three targets DOTed up with Shadow Word: Pain if you can.

If you're getting Face Raged, you'll be subject to a stun. Your first instinct may be to use Dispersion, but don't use it immediately. Face Rage's first few ticks hit like a feather. Wait a few seconds for the damage to start getting harder to manage, and then use Dispersion. This buys you the most time in case your teammates struggle to score that 30k hit.

The Key to Victory: Situational awareness

The one thing most DPS players seem to have trouble with on this fight is Shannox's traps. He throws them at players' current locations, so situational awareness is a huge part of beating this fight.

If you're having trouble noticing these traps -- and granted, on certain types of computers with certain types of internet connections, it's not easy -- you may want to stack the deck with a little bit of extra help. The DXE addon, short for Deus Vox Encounters, pretty much smacks you upon the head when Shannox is dropping a trap on your current location. My guild wound up requiring it, and once everyone did, the number of people getting caught in crystal prisons dropped dramatically.

Rummaging for purples

Shannox's loot table runs fairly deep, with a number of i378 items (i391 on heroic mode) that will interest shadow priests. They include:
  • Crystal Prison Band, a caster ring with 133 crit and 162 mastery
  • Coalwalker Sandals, caster boots with 208 crit, 172 haste, and a yellow socket
  • Goblet of Anger, a caster off-hand with 137 spirit and 160 haste
  • Smoldering Censer of Purity, a two-handed staff with 310 spirit, 186 haste, 2,334 spellpower, and two red sockets; an especially fine staff for a shadow priest who does a lot of off-spec healing
Shannox also drops Eternal Embers for those shadow priests working on creating their Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa's Rest legendary staff and even Seething Cinders for those that far along in the chain. He also drops the still-valuable Living Embers, the crafting item needed for creating i378 gear via tailoring. And finally, in heroic mode, Shannox also drops Leggings of the Fiery Conqueror, the heroic leg tier token. It's redeemable for Leggings of the Cleansing Flame, provided you've already obtained the non-heroic version.

Are you more interested in watching health bars go down than watching them bounce back up? We've got more for shadow priests, from Shadow Priest 101 to a list of every monster worth mind controlling and strategies for raiding Blackwing Descent.

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