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Totem Talk: An enhancement guide to Shannox and Baleroc

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shaman. Josh Myers once only tackled the hard questions about enhancement but has recently expanded his sphere of responsibility to all shaman DPS specs. (And no, two-handed enhancement is still never coming back.)

Every fight in Firelands has its positives and negatives for enhancement shaman. Rhyolith takes reduced damage for 60% of the fight, but he goes molten at 25%, and you need to burn him before he burns you. Beth'tilac spends the first 3 minutes making you run around like a confused wildebeest while you try to avoid scary fire on the ground, but then he gives you a nice, long burn phase at the end.

This seems to be the Firelands model, at least in the first four fights. Every fight has periods of low damage to the boss followed by intense DPS phases. Shannox, the Hagrid of Firelands, is no different. His first phase will either make you want to rip your movement keys off your keyboard or make you want to reroll an arcane mage, while his second will just make you want to roll arcane.

Slaying Shannox

Shannox is most likely the first boss you'll be facing on your first foray into Firelands. He's a Flamewaker beast mastery hunter with two Hell Hound companions, Rageface and Riplimb. There are a number of mechanics to this fight, but many of them are ones you don't need to be concerned with as an enhancement shaman.

However, there are some mechanics you really do need to know about. First off, he drops Immolation and Crystal Prison traps. Your main job over the course of this encounter is to avoid these traps. Immolation causes a ton of fire damage up front, puts a painful fire damage DOT on you, and causes you to take increased damage over time for 40 seconds. Crystal Prison Traps trap you in a block of crystal that has 2.2 million health (25-man). The only way to be freed from these traps is for the rest of your raid to break you out of it by DPSing the prison to zero. Since Shannox is mainly a DPS race, it is of utmost priority for you to not be hit by these Crystal Prisons. Most boss timers are very good about warning you about these prisons; my favorite this tier is Bigwigs.

The one other mechanic to avoid on Shannox is his Arcing Slash. Arcing Slash is a glorified Cleave ability that will generally one-shot you. Since you're a good melee DPSer and you stand behind the boss 125% of the time, this normally should not worry you. However, Shannox's hitbox is really wonky, and there have been times that I've stood on his tail and gotten hit by the cleave. Do yourself a favor and stand at max melee range at all times.

The main mechanic of normal Shannox is that every time one of his pets dies, he gets a 30% damage/30% haste buff. On the flipside, if he hits 30% hit points and his pets aren't dead, they both receive a 400% damage buff, a 200% haste buff, and a 100% movement speed buff. It's pretty easy to see that you can live through Shannox's soft enrages more easily than the pets' enrages.

The general setup your raid group will follow will be to have all your DPS start off on Rageface, to kill him as quickly as possible. The problem? Rageface doesn't want to die. He wants to kite you and every one of your little melee friends across a 40- to 50-yard area, all the while using his Face Rage ability to try and murder your friends.

For enhancement, this is a bit of an issue. You'll be outranging your Searing Totem constantly and occasionally outranging your own buff totems if you're not smart about redropping them. For his fight, you really need to pay attention to totem placement and be willing to redrop your totems at the drop of a dime, especially while you have free global cooldowns. On the other hand, enhancement has some of the best sustained movement of all the melee classes through Ghost Wolf, and as a result, your uptime on Rageface should be better than that of retribution paladins, warriors, and death knights.

Once Rageface is dead, my guild had our melee players switch onto Shannox while the ranged players took care of Riplimb. At that point, it becomes a pure DPS race and healer check. Provided your ranged players take care of Riplimb in a timely manner and your healers keep the tanks alive, you'll win.

Banishing Baleroc

Baleroc is the fourth fight most raids will see in Firelands, as Alysrazor's tornadoes make her a raid wiper. Baleroc will most likely be your favorite fight as an enhancement shaman; he's essentially a glorified Patchwerk. He has a few interesting mechanics for the healers and tanks to worry about but only one for the DPS to deal with.

The important mechanic for DPS is a purple crystal called a Shard of Torment. On 25-player, he summons two of these. On 10-man, he summons one. If no one is in melee range of the shard, it pulses shadow damage to the entire raid every second, meaning a quick wipe. If someone is in range of the shard, he gets hit with a stacking shadow damage over time effect, and as soon as he moves out of range of the DOT, he receives a debuff that increases the shadow damage he takes by 250%, which spreads to other players if the debuffed player comes into contact with them.

The core of this fight for DPS is to control the shards by having DPSers rotate in and out of the shards without touching one another. As a general rule, you take Torment up to 12 or 13 stacks, which should take 13 seconds. You start moving out of the beam at 12, while the next melee player starts moving in. Almost a minute later, you take the beam again. How you watch your stacks is up to you. Personally, I have my debuffs on display under my character at all times, but others might go the route of Power Auras or configuring a boss mod to help.

Because you're in the beam for less than 15 seconds every minute, this mechanic is excellent for enhancement. You can keep Shamanistic Rage up every time you're rotated into the shard for the entire time you're in the shard, cutting the damage you're taking from the DOT by 30%. I also save my Glyph of Stoneclaw Totem shield for the last seconds of the debuff, to try and help out my healer.

Beyond that, this fight is a huge DPS race. Pre-potting, smart cooldown usage, and following your priority correctly while being able to pay attention to the Shards of Torment rotation is what will win this fight for you. Our raid found it best to split the tanks/healers, ranged DPS, and melee DPS into three different channels to keep down the clutter on Vent. Do everything you can to maximize your damage, and trust your healers/tanks to know what they're doing, and hopefully a Gatecrasher is in your foreseeable future!

Show your totemic mastery by reading Totem Talk: Enhancement every week. We've got enhancement-specific advice on rep gear, heroic gear, and raiding gear, plus tips on maximizing your utility skills and tactics for raiding Blackwing Descent.

Filed under: Shaman, Raiding, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Cataclysm, Raid Guides

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