Friday, July 15, 2011

A Bear's Guide to the Firelands: Shannox

Shannox is the first boss a lot of guilds will be tackling in the Firelands. When you first enter the raid, he's not around. You have to start killing trash to get him to eventually spawn. A lot of trash. Which is good. Because unlike any boss that's come into the game since Molten Core, Shannox doesn't have a little area of the raid to call his home. Instead he pats around the road that circles the big, open area in the center of raid. And if you want to deal with him without worrying about trash, you have to clear a good-sized area in which to fight him.

Once Shannox does spawn (you'll hear a third "horn" sounding and a /yell emote), he moves very fast. Make sure you're not anywhere near the road unless you're ready to pull. He can come down on you in a hurry if you're not careful.

This is a two-tank fight. One tank will be on Shannox. The other will be holding one of Shannox's Hellhounds, Riplimb. Shannox's other Hellhound, Rageface, is not tanked.

Both tanks
Shannox, in a what can only amount to a giant EFF-YOO to every Hunter in the game, spawns more traps than the Noblegarden bunnies spawn offspring. And they persist until triggered.

He has two types of trap.

The first is an Immolation trap. It doesn't look much different than the standard Hunter Immolation trap. Just bigger. It has an orange dancing flame above it. Walking over one of these does big fire damage and applies a hefty DoT.

The second trap is a Crystal Prison Trap. Basically an Ice trap. When triggered, it locks the target in a Ruby-colored crystal block that must be DPS'd down to be broken. It's not trivial, either. It will require several seconds of focused DPS by your raid (not just one or two people) to break. This trap has a deep red, elongated octahedron floating above it.

Both tanks should avoid stepping in either trap. The longer the fight goes, the more difficult this becomes. Occasionally it can be necessary to kite your target to an area of the raid that's nearly empty of traps to give you more room to work with. Communicate before you do this, as it will force almost everyone to reposition.

It's also worth noting that both of Shannox's Hellhounds can trigger the traps. This is important later.

Both tanks will also be receiving stacks of Jagged Tear from their respective targets. The key to this fight is getting those stacks to drop. More on how to do that below, but I'm going to note here that one of the key factors in making this happen is tanking Shannox and Riplimb well away from each other. 60+ yards away. 80 is better.

Just don't go too far. There's some point (we don't know exactly where it is...100 yard range, maybe) where Separation Anxiety kicks in. This is bad, mmmkay?

Finally, none of the enemies in this fight are tauntable. That becomes most important late in the fight, but just keep in mind that if you lose control of your target, you have to actually hit it to get it back.

Riplimb Tank
Other than avoiding the traps Shannox is laying everywhere, the Riplimb tank has two specific things to deal with.

The first is Limb Rip, which is the attack that stacks Jagged Tear on the the Riplimb tank. There's nothing you can do about it. Just be aware that it's happening.

The other is Hurl Spear. Shannox will frequently toss his spear towards Riplimb. You can tell where it's going to land because of a bright red column of light that appears. You've seen this before on Mimiron (his missile attack) and on the adds prior to Om(nomnom)notron with their Laser Strike. When this appears, you need to move. The further away (without inducing Separation Anxiety), the better.

Prior to this point, it's a good idea to keep Riplimb clear of traps, as well. When he hits a trap he becomes immune from other traps for a short time. In an ideal situation you'll be looking for a nearby Crystal Prison Trap and kiting Riplimb over it (without going over it yourself) when Shannox starts to toss the spear.

Once the spear lands, it will crate a large fire spiral around the impact point. Find a gap between the flames before they erupt.

At that point, Riplimb will stop attacking you. He runs to the spear, picks it up, and runs it back to Shannox, and finally runs back to you to keep attacking. This is where you drop your stacks of Jagged Tear and it's the reason you want to trap him in a Crystal Prison. It gives you a lot more time for the stacks to drop. Depending on the exact timing of the debuff application and the spear toss, you could need up to 20 seconds. That doesn't sound like long, but in practice it feels like forever and can be very tricky.

Whether or not you manage to trap Riplimb, do what you can to slow his movement once he picks up the spear. Bears are probably the least capable tank for this. During this part of the fight, Riplimb gains a buff that prevents him from being slowed below 50%. He definitely can't be rooted. I also believe he's immune to stuns.

For Bears, this means the only thing we can do is our very best to apply Infected Wounds before just letting him go. You don't want to chase him to keep it up, as the run-back time after he gives Shannox the spear is also important to dropping your Jagged Tear stacks.

This cycle continues until Riplimb dies.

Your DPS should down Riplimb before Shannox gets to 30% health to prevent him from going into a Frenzy.

Shannox Tank
The Shannox tank's job doesn't differ too much from that of the Riplimb tank. You're still avoiding traps. You're still watching Jagged Tear stacks.

One of the key differences is that Shannox has a frontal cleave with a 10-yard range. So make sure to keep him facing away from you raid. This is also the attack that causes stacks of Jagged Tear.

When Shannox hurls his spear he loses the ability to cleave and, by proxy, to stack Jagged Tear. This is where the Shannox tank tries to drop his stacks. Much of this depends on how well the Riplimb tank does their job. If they sufficiently slow/trap Riplimb, you're in the clear. If not, you may have to do some kiting to increase the time it takes for Rimlimb to give Shannox back his spear. If you find yourself in this situation, Stampeding Roar can help a lot.

At the start Shannox doesn't hit too terribly hard. But each time one of his Hellhounds dies he will gain a Frenzy stack, increasing his physical damage and attack speed by 30% each. Make liberal use of Barkskin and Survival Instincts throughout the fight to help your healers.

After Riplimb dies, Shannox will begin to drive his spear into the ground in front of him, instead of tossing it. Functionally, this has the same mechanics as when he tosses it, minus the massive damage at the impact point.

Since he's no longer tossing his spear, and since he can't be taunted, you can't drop your Jagged Tear stacks anymore. The fight is a race at this point. The DPS have to kill Shannox before he drops the tank and then makes quick work of the rest of the raid. (It goes without saying that if you can time entry into this phase to a point where you have 0 stacks, you should.)

The general idea is to have Shannox as close to 30% as possible before killing Riplimb. This leaves Shannox with the minimum amount of health you have to burn at the end of the fight while still preventing Riplimb from going into a Frenzy.

I like to save Frenzied Regeneration for this phase. I also do what I can to make sure I have Survival Instincts at some point during this phase. Obviously, still roll Barkskin every time it's available.

Once Shannox dies, you're hoping to see the Gloves of Dissolving Smoke drop. It's the only thing he has to reward you for your efforts.

As with all my boss strats, I'm writing from the overall perspective of a Bear tank (in 10-man) and what they will need to do. For you Cats reading this blog, I suggest you check out Dinaer's guides on Forever a Noob. They're written for Rogues but are a pretty good guide for melee in general and his gear drop suggestions (with the exception of weapons) will be spot on for Cats. If I have additional insight, I will try to add it in my blog.
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