If you’re consulting this thread you’re either looking forward to or are in the process of struggling with Shandra HM.
In this guide I’ll cover several key elements that your group needs to focus on in order to score your first Shandra kill, or perhaps to make your existing MCHM run play more smoothly.
First thing’s first: Wipes will happen.
That’s fine, people will get clipped by abilities, lag out, or derp the debuffs. Keep a cool head and understand that it is a learning process, and misfortune happens.
I’ll go ahead and break this down into as thorough of chunks as possible, feel free to append to this guide in following posts or leave feedback on how your group does things differently.
1 – Comp, Gear, Glyphs
2 – Egg phase
2a – Kiting
2b – Everything else
3 – The Queen herself
3a – Attacks
3b – Debuff
3c – Percent breakdown
3d – Strategy
1 – Comp, Gear, Glyphs
Shandra is a mercifully versatile boss able to accommodate whatever group you will be bringing to it, but there are key differences to how each composition is played. The boss is capable of being killed with Dreamkeeper T13 weapons but it’s a longer fight which spends a dangerous amount of time in Shandra’s 2nd and 3rd non-removable buffs, greatly opening up the opportunity for mistakes.
Positioning and consistency is always important in any fight, but in this one you also need to be able to crank out that DPS. Check that your group is running glyphs which focus on high sustained damage which a secondary focus on mobility. DPS should be running cooldown/reset glyphs for their major distance-covering abilities such as Headlong Rush or Teleport Jaunt.
Everyone in the group except for the tanks needs two crystal sets for this fight, one to use during egg phase and one to use during queen herself.
DPS should be running a back-crit build (Focused, Savage, Acrimonious and either Carving or Forceful) for both sets, one with Anarchic for egg and Relentless for queen with their choice or power or carving zyrks.
Healer should run a 3x Threatening Crux, 1x swift/fleetfoot crux build if they’re kiting for egg phase, and Brilliant/Anarchic for queen
For tanking you run whatever mix of Mutinous/Threatening you need to just barely hold aggro while doing the most damage as you can, and I personally like a 2/2 mix of Anarchic and Relentless just in case you have to cover a debuff, and your choice between power and swift zyrks.
Actually going into the queen fight you probably want 30minute charms (Power/Enduring/Infused) and if you have a mystic healer, you can actually go ahead and pick up priest buffs outside to help you out. A dedicated priest for this task with 20min buffs is handy as it’s convenient to not have to keep recasting power mid-fight.
Tanks: Your armor actually isn’t a huge factor here, as the most threatening attacks are all one-shots. However, that isn’t to say you’re allowed to completely neglect your armor as you still get hit by things like pool, claw, leap, tail, wave, trample, and drop. For the sake of your healer make at least some investment, but understand it’s not critical if you simply minimize the damage you take.
Lancer: You probably want to glyph reduced cooldown on Backstep, Charge, and Pledge
Healers: Glyph the reduced cooldown time on your offensive dispel “Regression” for mystic and “Plague of Exhaustion” for priests.
In addition, everyone should be bringing healing potions, healing draughts, panaceaic bolsters, heart potions, savagery scrolls and Nostrums. Your kiter should be bringing Scroll of Dash as well.
2 – Egg Phase
2a – Kiting
This part is pretty straightforward: throughout this phase shandra will summon up monsters preceded by a popup dialogue, and the monsters will spawn exactly 5 seconds after the dialogue. You will have one designated kiter (Sorc or healer) who will pick up aggro on these monsters and kite them in circles around the perimeter of the arena for the entire time on their mount.
If you cancel fireblast quickly enough after beginning the cast, you will not put it on cooldown and you can rapidly iterate fireblast/cancel in order to swiftly pick up aggro in the whole room with pretty much unlimited range. Mystics just drop red balls and Priests just use Heal Thyself. It is absolutely critical that you stay out of combat the entire time so that you can stay mounted; the monsters that chase you will once in a while ‘enrage’ and actually begin running at mount speed for a duration, this is telegraphed with a sound and a dark graphic over them. Teleport jaunt reset glyph is key here.
None of the normal monsters will trample so it’s alright if players get run over
But when the Egg’s hp hits 30%, Orisk BAMs will begin spawning which will trample.
If you’re running two people who can kite, make sure they can communicate quickly if one is about to have trouble so that the other can break off from their duties and grab aggro, provided they can get out of combat and assume those duties. A Scroll of Dash is particularly handy for mishaps during kiting.
Fanged Gullets – Once in a while you’ll get a popup-notice that Fanged Gullets are on their way, it’s not overly important that they’re grabbed but it’s the most effective way for the monsters to be killed, don’t put yourself in danger to aggro these.
They’ll chase their chosen target, and once they catch up they’ll stop and drop a poison with enough delay for you to get clear – the poison is a powerful DoT to both players and monsters. Again, don’t put yourself in danger to pull this off, this is more of a luxury. They have low hp and killing them causes their poison to go away, but they don’t last very long if you plan to just wait it out.
2b – Everything Else
Tanking and DPS is fairly easy, there’s just a few things to look out for:
Circles – Shandra will once in a while target a player specifically for an AOE under their feet.
* If it takes a while to drop and tracks you, it’s going to be a lingering Pink Circle which does pulsing damage and a bleed. It lasts some super long duration like 3-5 minutes I haven’t actually timed it.
Make sure you drop these out of the way of your kiter and DPS, generally to the sides of the queen and within the medium circle where the egg rests. Putting them right next to the egg is a big no-no for melee 😛
* If the circle doesn’t track your character it’ll hit in about a second or so, doing damage and a bleed. This generally doesn’t do enough damage to kill but it will likely knock you down.
Tentacle Slam – This is telegraphed by the lifting of the four tentacle arms hanging around the boss, coinciding with a sound. If you’re precisely in front or precisely behind the egg you’ll be safe from harm. This attack does moderate damage and frequently knocks down, which makes it dangerous when coupled with the next attack.
Cross-Wave – This is probably her most common attack, which most often follows a Tentacle Slam. Shandra will execute an eye-flash and begin an animation within the egg which looks like a castanic pyroblast, and then fire a white wave simultaneously directly toward and away from her target extending almost to rim of the bronze platform (about 16m), and then again to both sides after a short delay. The next time she does the attack the waves will be at diagonal bias, first wave to the left of target. This will usually do around half the hp of a melee depending on gear, and almost one-shot ranged characters, again depending on gear. This is the reason you wear Anarchics to egg phase.
360 Wave – A melee-range version of the above wave attack that hits all sides just once for less damage, but is not preceded by the tentacle slam.
“Donut” – The one your ranged has to worry most about is a donut-shaped AOE which will just about one-shot melees, but is survivable if you have good gear. Block classes may block it with some damage overflow. Only in the most severely gear-carried instance can cloth survive the hit, perhaps full +12 with mana barrier. It’s safe completely outside the big circle, or completely inside the smaller circle, and has a short delay. This attack can occur on its own but will always follow the Pool that comes after a Fence. It’s safe at 17m from the egg, but stand at 18m to be sure.
“Fence” – This attack which hits the innermost circle, which animates a series of elongated hexacons to encircle the area, and then hit it with a stun. Tanks: As you block this attack, keep an eye on your party. If one of your melees gets hit by the stun, you can get in front of them and hold block in order to save them from the following Pool attack. They’ll be ever grateful.
Pool – This attack hits the innermost area around the egg, ticking rapidly for like 10-15k up to ten or so times. This attack can occur on its own but will always follow the Fence.
Be mindful of monsters being aggroed and chasing through the center, especially as a tank as you can easily pick up aggro by hitting monsters and they’ll be stuck there attacking you. They take very little damage and have humongous hp, so actually killing them is fairly unrealistic. Be patient with your kiter.
Stop DPS just before 5% and give everyone a chance to change their crystals, and then when everyone is ready to go, burst it from 5% to 0% as fast as possible because below 5%, hella monsters begin spawning and you’ve got only a few seconds before you will be hopelessly overwhelmed.
Recovery in Egg Phase is pretty easy because there is no time limit to the boss, the only thing that makes it dangerous is the fact that there are a ton of these monsters running around that can quickly get out of control. If you’re a DPS try not to die inside a Pink Circle because that means you can’t get up until it fully disappears.
Below 5% there is no recovery for egg phase, just kill it as fast as you can and perform your recovery in the above-90% phase of Queen.
3 – The Queen Herself
Alright, you’re broken the egg. Grats. The real fight begins. Queen will spawn after a bit of fanfare, at the edge of the bronze circle to the southeast.
Holding pattern has everyone smashing it with damage from the rear, preferably at a slight bias for tail swipe or laser.
Melee stick really close, and ranged stay 14m to be safe.
The queen has a 15 minute enrage, so you can’t take forever recovering.
3a – Attacks
Explosion: Queen curls up into a ball and after a short delay bursts and kills everything within 18 meters. The explosion lasts a second or so, so be careful about re-entry. This is the reason you spec shorter cooldown on your distance-covering abilities and SAVE them for this.
While evasion frames DO work on this attack, the explosion sustains for a second so you’ll wind up getting hit anyway. If you’re at the very outer edge and severely gear-carried (in which case why are you even reading this guide?) then you can actually survive getting tipped and knocked away from the explosion, but don’t even bother testing this -.-
Every class but Zerker – Use your dashing ability to get out, but make sure you clear out of Shandra’s immediate area first otherwise your character will just dash within Shandra’s hitbox and go nowhere. This is especially dangerous for Lancers because you don’t have any other distance covering abilities so when your Charging Lunge bugs out you’re generally screwed. Backstep, run a few steps, and then charge.
Alternatively you can use other gapping abilities like like Rising Fury and Leaping Strike to move out.
The point is 18m isn’t a huge distance, just don’t panic if one ability bugs out and use another.
Zerker – Dash + run it for a sec, then leaping, lethal, or evasive smash out.
Ranged should be starting at 14m, so a simple backstep will clear you outta there no problem.
“Donut”: This attack first threatens a ring around the queen of about 13m range with a small safe circle for melee on the inside, then follows to reverse the role, attacking the center safe area. It can’t be blocked but can be evaded, and will one-shot kill. Queen telegraphs this attack by hopping up and hovering mid-air for the duration. Melee just STAY CALM for the first outer ring, then backstep out. Even in hard-mode it’s slow enough that you can simply walk to safety between the two hits without using any abilities. You can use abilities like Lethal Strike, Fury Strike, Backstep, Evasive Roll, and Leaping strike to cover the small distance. Warriors can use Death From Above with a lil timing to avoid death. Generally speaking you’ll want to dodge in rather than out.
Laser: Following a purple-circle aggro (“secondary target”), shandra will turn and fire 3 parallel lasers which do rapid-fire ticks of damage. There’s a short delay to the attack where her wings detach and begin spinning like turbines. This can be completely negated with a block, and mostly threatens ranged characters. Just be quick to react if she turns away from the tank for any reason, and be ready to dodge LATERALLY in relation to the boss. If you’re lucky you may eat a hit and get knocked out of the remaining hits, but in the prevailing majority being hit by laser is fatal.
Fence: Much like the egg-phase attack, the queen will encircle a large area with elongated hexagons, after which she’ll fire a cleansable root to anything caught within. It can be blocked or evaded. She always follows this attack with something that will doom whatever is caught in it. She can target a non-tank within melee range. This attack in particular has a tendency to get a graphical bug which misrepresents the threatened area, so don’t presume to be clear away from it if you’re anywhere near it. After a Fence, Shandra will follow with either Donut, Pool, or Explosion
Pool: Sometimes after the fence, she’ll target the same person with a large, pulsing aoe which ticks for a moderate amount of damage, scaling up as the fight progresses. This damage cannot be blocked, but you can evade to avoid a few ticks as you get out of it. Don’t panic and waste your escapes while it’s still tracking you, just wait for the circle to hit before you use your escapes and be careful about where you position the pool so that you don’t hurt your teammates. That’ll mean that you eat a minimum of one tick even if you jaunt well. One Leaping Strike can clear you out of its area. The total damage of the pool is significant, and easily fatal under 8%. Nearer the end of the fight have your potions on a hotkey to hammer as you get out of the pool.
Tunnel: Shandra will tunnel either 2 or 3 times to secondary targets and drop a Pool onto them. She can target the same person multiple times. She’ll use this move whenever, but has a high tendency to do so if people are 30m or further away from her. If Shandra is low health and buffed up, your escapes are on cooldown and you’re effectively doomed, it’s best to use this attack to position the queen and subsequent pool in a good place for your team. On rare occasion Shandra’s tunnel will instead do a Leap after tunneling.
Trample: Shandra tramples toward main aggro, doing a fair bit of damage. If you pull aggro as a ranged character and she begins to walk toward you, you might have to blow stoneskin or feign death for this, otherwise just Mana Barrier and tank it if you have the gear to do so. To avoid this issue your tank should be regaining aggro as fast as he can when he loses it.
The next attacks apply a poison on hit, which if it stacks 5 times will cause a death.
Grenade: Shandra acquires a secondary target and after a brief animation throws a grenade at them. It’s a small area and does a low amount of damage, but knocks down.
Tail: Shandra briefly looks behind her and slams her tail down, then again with a pulsing fan-shaped aoe, doing a relatively low amount of damage on the first attack, and a large amount of damage if you eat all the pulses of the second attack.
Claw: Shandra hits the tank and an area behind the tank with her claw doing moderate damage.
Wave: Shandra projects a long wave like a priest’s metamorphic blast, doing moderate damage.
Leap: Shandra leaps forward to pounce onto a secondary aggro target, dealing heavy damage. This attack can sometimes be done twice in a row. This has a high frequency of bypassing block based on your angle in relation to Shandra. The best way to dodge the leap is to move TOWARD Shandra and to the side. Beware of her leaping past the tank, doing a 180, and casting Laser on your whole party. As a block class if there’s no way to evade the leap then you can block it by blocking toward where she will land after the leap, sometimes that means blocking backwards. More frequently it’s best to just drop block and let her leap harmlessly over you.
Drop: Shandra hovers and gains an aoe marker under her, then flies to a secondary target and tries to land on top of it. The best time to dodge this is right after she begins traveling. This attack does a large chunk of damage but won’t one-shot unless you’re a somewhat undergeared clothie.
Backstep: This rare move is a more or less harmless maneuver where Shandra animates a backstep away from main aggro. This is usually followed by a Wave, and frequently comes after a series of Leaps.
3b – The Debuff
Shandra will occasionally do a debuff phase (people call it “stand-up”, “debuff”, “rotation”, whatever) where she sequentially hits different areas around her with 40,000 damage. You can mitigate this damage with shields, but not armor or anarchics. The debuff itself is a dot that lasts about 90 seconds and kills you if it times out.
Refer to this picture: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/94346179/queen.jpg
She’ll hit area 1 first, then area 2, then area 3 (Everywhere else).
Area 1 applies a white debuff which overrides the red debuff
Area 2 applies a green debuff which overrides the white debuff
Area 3 applies a red debuff which overrides the green debuff.
After each debuff phase there must be at least one copy of each of her debuffs on the field in order for her to avoid wiping your group. A message of “Insufficient Wave. You cannot stop the angry queen.” will let you know you failed the debuff event.
(Refer to “Forced Standup” below for an exception to the auto-wipe)
So what you do is assign 3 players to each get hit by different debuffs, and cycle out as necessary. 1 to 2, 2 to 3, 3 to 1.
If you have red debuff your next place is 1
If you have white debuff, your next place is 2
if you have green debuff, your next place is 3
Make sure you have 40k hp when debuff hits, have potions on hand.
If you die, make sure you immediately let your backup what your next position is so they can cover for you.
Repeating this important point: Keep an eye on your HP as you’re waiting to get hit by a debuff. If you don’t have 40,000 hp when the debuff is about to hit you, go ahead and hit a potion.
Healers: Be aware of the sequence of people getting hit by debuffs and make sure you top them off in that order; the priority is to make sure nobody gets killed by the initial 40k hit. Be sure to communicate if people have to use potions, and be aware of whose potions are on cooldown.
3c – The Percentage Breakdown
90% – Shandra begins standup cycle, 50s cooldown
70% – Shield
50% – Forced standup, shield, green boot, begin dispel cycle, 50s cooldown.
30% – Forced standup, shield, green boot
20% – Forced standup, shield, green boot
8% – Runaway
Forced standup – Shandra will do a forced debuff cycle on these percent intervals independent from her regular 50 second cycle. If this means that she does two standups one right after the other then you may “skip” the second standup animation (Avoid all the hits) without penalty… though this has been known to be buggy once in a blue moon. Make sure you’re loud and clear about skips prior to the actual skip so that people don’t accidentally take/cancel debuffs and cause her to wipe your team.
Shield – “You think to hurt me? You’ll have to touch me first!” – After a short delay, Shandra will apply a 1 million hp shield (blue shield icon). You have to break this within 15 seconds or she wipes your group. Be wary of blowing all your damage in the short delay before the shield actually goes up, and make sure your dps don’t accidentally blow all their CD’s for when shield comes up. This is more a gear check than anything else, you can sorta gauge your group’s overall DPS based on how fast you break the shield. Update: following the shield, Shandra will briefly do a “staggered” animation where she’ll take increased damage. Don’t be over-tempted to hold your damage for this, since you can still wipe if you don’t break shield fast enough.
Green boot – “You must know you won’t escape.” – This is a non-dispellable self-buff that she applies with a head-bobbing animation where you get some free DPS on her. The icon is a green boot which applies +15% attack speed. This will last up until her next shield phase where it’ll go away until she reapplies it, where each iteration will have another stack of the buff, up to 3 times. If you DPS her fast enough you can bug the sequence out so that she either skips or fails to re-apply this buff to herself… but if you have that kinda gear you don’t have a use for this guide ;_;
Dispel cycle – “Great ones! Lend me your powers!” – Shandra begins doing a head-bobbing animation as she begins to stack a red buff on herself which your healer needs to dispel before it gets to 3 stacks. If she gets to 3 stacks, she gains a permanent damage and attack speed increase which makes the fight intensely difficult. She begins to do this once every minute, but its queue priority is low compared to standup and shield. Be careful so that you don’t dispel too early. Even if you dispel successfully she’ll have a 20 second buff on herself; don’t worry it doesn’t do anything. If it has no duration, then you screwed up. Important: Below 8%, she gains the permanent buff automatically but will go through this animation regardless, so do not bother dispelling it.
Runaway– If you cross 8% she’ll do a lil running away animation, it doesn’t do anything other than present her back for some free DPS to help you push her over.
3d – Strategy
The most important bit for the queen fight is to stay calm, frazzled nerves can cause you to do something like backstep into donut before the outer ring detonates, miss your debuff, push beyond a % without being ready, or fail a shield.
Fire weapons are a point of contention here because while it can interrupt her dangerous animations and give you time for chunks of free DPS…
if your debuff timer runs out you simply die so a badly timed fire proc can cause a wipe. These weapons are a relic from the time when the heal-through method was viable, since then it was patched such that you cannot do this anymore.
The prevailing strategy is that you want to wait for a standard standup right before a forced standup and use the two slow animations to get some burn going and push her from milestone to milestone. 30% is a common place to do this, if you have the DPS for it.
If the queen targets somebody for Drop or Tunnel, it’s a good time for people to reposition the boss if she’s in a difficult position, or if you want to place her near mystic balls.
An easy way to keep track of her Standup cycle is to use Pledge of Protection (which works on the 40k hit) at the start of each standup, which matches the cooldown of the attack if you glyph it. Alternatively, those who have the debuff can keep an eye on the remaining duration — When it reaches about ~45 seconds left, she should stand up after the next animation.
While you’re standing in your designated zone for Standup be wary of using attacks which may cause you to move. Both of your charge-up shots for Archer, for instance, may cause you to derp up the debuff. Onslaught can glitch through the boss and place you in an errant zone as well.
Going into any major animation Shandra will re-orient herself toward main aggro, so be careful about pulling aggro right before an important burn animation such as shield or self-buff.
Melee – Be careful about re-entering Shandra’s 14m radius as she may drop a perfect Donut on you as you come back in for damage. Either have an ability ready to deal with it, or wait for a safe animation.
Tank: Once you’re comfortable with her mechanics and doing debuff the next step in streamlining your queen fight is positioning; your tank should be constantly working to make sure that the queen’s back is easily accessible by your DPS in what capacity he has to influence it.
Make sure you’re vocal about which way queen will face, I personally like to use players as reference points i.e. “Queen will face away from sorc after this animation”
DPS: your biggest enemy is going to be maximizing your DPS while not using your cooldowns recklessly. For example as a slayer you might be tempted to use Backstab or Headlong Rush to get back at the queen after an Explosion but this may open you up to getting killed if she does another one right away. Additionally if she does two Donuts back to back you might find your Evasive Roll on cooldown, just have the contingency in your head so that you don’t panic and lock up.
Warriors and Slayers – You can use your Backstab as an ad-hoc dodge, this is especially good for Laser.
Zerkers – Your donut mechanic is going to be pretty difficult, just stay in and use a Lethal Strike to transition from inside to outside, just be careful about your timing.
Archers and Sorcs stay 14m away unless you’re burning and she’s guaranteed to do safe animations, and play on a “Counter-attack” mentality, saving dangerous long cast time abilities like Fireblast or Rain of Arrows for when she’s locked into a safe animation.
Around 50% everyone should go ahead and refresh their Savagery scrolls and Nostrums before they forget to do so.
Archers – Staying 14m is the safe way to go but if you feel like your mechanics and reaction times are good enough you can get as close as 10m to get more damage, just don’t eat a Donut
Healers: The reason you prefer your 3 dps to take debuffs is so that you don’t have to circle the Queen in order to heal the tank, but if you’re in that situation you will have to position off to the side so that you can hit both tank and dps with your heals. Remember to stay 14m away at all times; you can move away for Explosion easily but Donut will be too difficult to react to if you’re too close.
Mystics: The difficult part is going to be using your Regression for her Dispel Cycle well because you have to be close in order to hit the queen with it. Be mindful of your use of Teleport Jaunt because that’s your only movement skill in a fight rife with movement obligations. An advanced tactic you can employ is allowing a Thrall to absorb a debuff, it’s actually possible if you feel ballsy enough to try it.
Priest: The lack of a crit aura means you have to lean heavily on a good use of Energy Stars in order to cover the difference. The advantage is that you aren’t ever under a lot of healing pressure as compared to a mystic. You can also cover a debuff since it’s easy to keep yourself topped off. Movement isn’t any easier than a Mystic, either.
Recovery in queen is rough, and focuses primarily on being able to cover a dead person’s position in the debuff cycle. If you’re ressed make sure you get rebuffed and recharmed, it’s better to take a second to get these rather than spend the rest of the fight bottoming out your mana or doing less damage.
If you’re running a melee-heavy comp, you may opt not to skip the skippable (two in a row) standups, so that your melee can have more time DPSing the queen.
Finishing – Below 20% the queen gains maximum stacks of her Green Boot buff and is animating 45% faster. Generally, though, you’ve been slamming her with DPS throughout and she comes free of her scripted animations with only a little bit of HP left. Your next hurdle is getting to 8% for some free damage as she runs away. When she’s “loose” and just slinging fast attacks out, play for survival and save your big damage for when she’s locked in scripted animations. Do your best to stay within 30m reduce the frequency of her Tunnel-Pool spam.
While it may be tempting to blow everything for when she’s doing her Standup, understand that Shandra has some damage reduction while using this animation. It’s not much, but if you know she’s going to follow with another safe animation then you might want to save your burst for that instead.
The entire idea behind finishing Shandra is forcing her to queue up enough harmless animations to allow your DPS to go to town. That way, you minimize your exposure to her maximum-speed full attack suite. So, if you don’t have enough animations queued going toward 8% you would want to pause again and play survival, then wait until she’s about to do a standup before you resume your burst to queue that up with her runaway and self-buff.
In that line of thinking remember that at 50% and down she follows each shield with a turn and Wave, followed by Tail, or sometimes a Fence followed by a short stagger animation (Where she takes a lil bonus damage) before proceeding to Green Boot and lastly Standup Cycle and Dispel Cycle if it’s time. That means if you have the gear, you can actually start your big burn at 50%.
And that wraps it up, guys. Good luck!