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This guide is intended to provide a comprehensive description of the encounter with Shannox in Firelands. It is mostly targeted to tanks who desire to have a short but detailed overview of what is expected of them during that fight.
This guide applies to patch 4.3 of World of Warcraft.
While the encounter against Shannox does not present overly complicated tasks for any role, tanks are the ones who will have to pay the most attention during this encounter.
1. Overview of the Fight↑top
Shannox is essentially a single phase encounter during which you will not only face Shannox himself, a Flamewaker with the traits of a hunter, but also his two pets, Riplimb and Rageface. The abilities of his pets and their synergy with Shannox will shape the strategy you should employ.
Shannox will become enraged and do additional damage and attack faster whenever Riplimb and Rageface are killed, and Riplimb and Rageface will become enraged when Shannox reaches 30% health. Because of the specifics of their enrage mechanics (detailed below) you will want to kill Rageface and Riplimb first, and survive Shannox's enrage.
In addition to maintaing aggro and performing another, tank-specific task for this encounter, tanks will have to be on the look out for various traps that the boss places on the ground, and which should be avoided at all costs.
2. Relevant Enemies and Abilities↑top
Shannox is immune to taunt. He has has the following abilities:
Riplimb has a normal aggro table, but is immune to taunt. He has the following abilities:
Rageface cannot be tanked and will run around targeting random raid members. He has the following abilities:
As mentioned above, both Rageface and Riplimb become enraged (and will one shot players) if Shannox reaches 30% health, and Shannox himself becomes enraged (though it is a much more mild form) when the dogs are killed. As such, your raid's aim is to bring Shannox close to 30% health, kill Rageface and Riplimb and then nuke down Shannox.
However, the greatest challenge for tanks, during this fight, is managing (and getting rid of) the Jagged Tear debuff that both Shannox and Riplimb apply to their respective tanks.
In addition to this, tanks will also have to watch out for various sources of environmental damage.
Ground effects are abundant in this encounter, and none of them are beneficial. Indeed, the first thing players will notice is that, often, Shannox will throw Crystal Prison Traps and Immolation Traps on the ground. Stepping on a Crystal Prison trap will cause the player to be encased in a block of crystal, while Immolation traps deal large amounts of damage.
Tanks will simply have to be on the look-out for these traps. Shannox always targets a player's location when casting a trap, so if he targets you, you must be ready to move at a moment's notice. While doing this, you should also be careful not to step on anyone else's traps.
We have included a screenshot of each of the two traps:
In addition to traps, Shannox will regularly cast Hurl Spear. The location where the spear will land is visibly marked by a red marker, and should be avoided, as should the many small fiery explosions that radiate out from the red marker after a few seconds. Hurl Spear will also deal 42,500 unavoidable Fire damage, with which you should not concern yourselves.
3.2. Tanking and Jagged Tear
As both Shannox (through Arcing Slash) and Riplimb (through Limb Rip) apply Jagged Tear to their respective tanks, and this bleed stacks, tanks need to engineer ways to get rid of the debuff every so often, or the damage will overwhelm them.
Keeping in mind that Shannox and Riplimb are immune to taunts, we propose one of the following two methods.
Your raid can choose to have Shannox and Riplimb tanked by the same tank. Once this tank has too many Jagged Tear stacks, the off-tank should gain aggro of both Shannox and Riplimb, and continue tanking them until the main tank's Jagged Tear stacks drop off.
Alternatively, your raid can have one tank on Shannox and one tank on Riplimb. Obviously, in this situation, Jagged Tear will continue to stack on both tanks indefinitely. To counter this problem, your raid should attempt to delay Riplimb's return to Shannox after a Hurl Spear as much as possible to allow the stacks to drop on both tanks. While Riplimb is returning the spear, he does not cast Limb Rip, and therefore does not apply Jagged Tear on his tank. The same applies to Shannox who, without his spear, cannot cast Arcing Slash, the attack that applies Jagged Tear on his tank.
To facilitate this, Shannox and Riplimb should be tanked apart from each other, so that there is more travel time needed for Riplimb to complete his journey. Additionally, Riplimb's tank can and should attempt to trap the dog in Crystal Prison Traps, allowing for even more time for Jagged Tear to drop off of not only himself, but also the Shannox tank.
Tanks will have to keep Separation Anxiety in mind when positioning themselves, as forcing a distance greater than 60 yards between Shannox and Riplimb will cause both of them to become enraged and most likely wipe your raid.
3.3. Other Tanking Concerns
After Riplimb's death, Shannox will enter a soft enrage phase. During this time, only one tank needs to tank Shannox, while the other can simply DPS the boss.
Tanks should also attempt, when possible, to move Shannox or Riplimb away from traps which would otherwise impede melee DPS from performing their role with ease.
4. Heroic Mode↑top
Shannox' heroic mode version presents the most accessible challenge for raids attempting heroic Firelands. This section contains all you need to know to make the transition from normal to heroic Shannox.
4.1. Differences from Normal Mode
When compared to the normal mode of the encounter, you will notice the following differences:
Overall, these changes make the fight easier (though slightly different) in its execution. We will cover the adequate strategy for the encounter in the section below, but to sum up, we can say that the heroic mode strategy revolves around focused DPS on Shannox and strategic trapping of the dogs.
In addition to these changes, there are a few other, less important changes. Namely, Immolation Traps deal significantly more damage. Also, Shannox and both of his pets melee for more as well. Tanks should, therefore, expect more incoming damage, although this is not unusual when transitioning from normal to heroic mode.
4.2. Strategy Changes
Whereas in the normal mode version, trapping Rageface in Crystal Prison Traps was entirely optional, and trapping Riplimb was very useful, in heroic mode, it is mandatory that both pets be trapped regularly. The chief motivation for this is resetting their stacks of Feeding Frenzy, which can only be done by preventing them from meleeing anyone for 20 seconds. Obviously, in the case of Riplimb, it also serves the purpose of resetting Jagged Tear stacks on the tanks.
The trapping of Rageface is only of marginal concern to tanks (as tanks have virtually no interaction with him), and only the Riplimb tank needs to concern himself with this.
There are other small adjustments to be made to your strategy, which we will explain below, but to sum up, this is the key difference.
In both 10 and 25-man difficulty, you will want to utilise 2 tanks and have one tank on Shannox and the other on Riplimb.
4.2.1. Notes Regarding Mechanics
Feeding Frenzy, as noted above, is a stacking buff which both Rageface and Riplimb gain each time they successfully melee a player. Each stack increases their damage done by 5%, and the buff lasts 20 seconds.
Parried, dodged or missed attacks do not apply stacks of Feeding Frenzy.
It is important to note that Riplimb is immune to traps while running back to Shannox with his spear (after a Hurl Spear cast), so any trapping of him to delay a him returning Shannox' spear must be done when Riplimb runs to the Hurl Spear location.
4.2.2. Riplimb Tank Concerns
Successful completion of the encounter will require your raid to regularly trap both Rageface and Riplimb, in order to reset their stacks of Feeding Frenzy (and in the case of Riplimb, the stacks of Jagged Tear as well).
Trapping Riplimb is the exclusive task of the Riplimb tank. As in normal mode, Riplimb should be trapped when a Hurl Spear occurs, in order to delay his return to Shannox. Because Riplimb is immune to traps while he is carrying the spear, the tank should move Riplimb onto a Crystal Prison Trap before he has a chance to pick up Shannox' spear. The time it takes Riplimb to break out of the trap, grab the spear and return it to Shannox should be sufficient to reset his stacks of Feeding Frenzy as well as Jagged Tear stacks on both tanks.
As a tank, you will want to always keep track of where Crystal Prison Traps are, and tank Riplimb next to one of them. As no melee DPS will be on Riplimb, you need not concern yourself with positioning too much. Simply wait for a Hurl Spear to happen (Shannox always throws his spear close to Riplimb's location) and quickly move the dog onto a Crystal Prison Trap.
Keeping Riplimb close to a trap allows you to, at least, move him in such a way that he needs to run through the trap to get to the spear, which will trap him.
For reasons detailed below, you should trap Riplimb using, roughly, every other Crystal Prison Trap. If his stacks of Feeding Frenzy and your own stacks of Jagged Tear are high, use defensive cooldowns.
Trapping Rageface is not something that tanks need to concern themselves with overly much. This is the job of DPS players and healers. Your only duty here is to make sure that not all Crystal Prison Traps are "wasted" on Riplimb, and that some (as mentioned above, every other trap is a good measure) traps are left to be used for Rageface.
Because your raid will want to get some distance from Crystal Prisons in which Rageface is trapped (so that Rageface has a greater distance to run to his first target, allowing for his stacks of Feeding Frenzy to drop off), you should be prepared to move yourself (and Riplimb) to accomodate this new position of the raid. The Shannox tank will most likely set the rhythm for this, but you should make sure that you do not get separated from him by more than 60 yards, as otherwise you will trigger Separation Anxiety.
4.2.3. Shannox Tank Concerns
As the Shannox tank, you will simply need to tank the boss as in normal mode, moving him when there are traps under him so that melee DPS can still perform their duties. Using abilities that allow you to get some distance from Shannox for your Jagged Tear to drop off (so, right as his spear is being returned to him) is still useful.
There is one heroic-specific concern, though. Your entire raid will need to get some distance from Crystal Prison Traps in which Rageface is encased (so that Rageface has a greater distance to run to his first target, allowing for his stacks of Feeding Frenzy to drop off), so you will need to kite the boss away from said Crystal Prison. 20-30 yards is more than enough distance. While doing this, it is important that you do not become separated from Riplimb's tank by more than 60 yards, so that you do not trigger Separation Anxiety.
4.2.4. Shared Tank Concerns
The heroic mode of this encounter actually simplifies the fight, compared to normal mode. Your raid will no longer DPS Riplimb at all, as damaging him is totally useless. Rageface will also only take minimal damage, and the bulk of your DPS will be focused on Shannox himself.