Originally Posted by LoreWelcome back to the Tier 14 raid guide. My name is Lore, and today I'll be showing you the 25-man normal version of the Sha of Fear encounter. This is a very long encounter by current standards -- he has a 15-minute enrage timer, and many groups will actually hit it during progression. It requires 3 tanks on 25-man, and anywhere from 5 to 7 healers depending on your raid team's individual strengths.
The Sha of Fear really only has one phase. He will occasionally send a small group of players to one of three side platforms, but we'll start by focusing on the primary platform where the boss is located.
The first thing you'll probably notice is the circle of light on the floor directly in front of the boss. You'll want your tanks to stand inside this circle as long as they're on the main platform. By doing so they'll not only get automatic aggro from the boss, but they'll also create a large, v-shaped safe zone called Wall of Light behind them. Anyone standing inside this safe zone will take 10% less damage and also be immune to the boss's Breath of Fear ability.
The boss will cast Breath of Fear every 30 seconds exactly; you can track it either by using a boss mod, or by keeping an eye on his energy bar. When he casts it, anyone who isn't standing inside the Wall of Light will be feared and take a massive amount of shadow damage -- 165,000 every half a second, to be precise. As you can imagine, getting caught outside the safe zone pretty much just means you die.
However, you can't just sit inside the Wall of Light the entire time, as the boss will be constantly summoning Terror Spawns at either side of the platform. These will spam a Penetrating Bolt ability that not only deals a decent chunk of damage to whoever they hit, but also causes them to take 25% increased shadow damage. There will be a graphical effect on the ground where these are going to land, so they can and should be avoided as much as possible.
Now, the adds will have a shield in front of them that requires you to actually be standing behind them to land any sort of attack -- including ranged attacks. This means that DPS will need to run out from the Wall of Light behind the adds to kill them, while making sure they're back inside the wall of light before Breath of Fear comes. Any sort of extra mobility you can use here is extremely helpful. We've found Warlock portals to be particularly useful.
Note that melee DPS can stand behind the boss to get some extra damage in, but due to the adds and the Breath of Fear, they won't have much time to actually do so. Adds are always highest on the DPS priority any time you can get outside of the Wall of Light.
On top of spawning adds and casting Breath of Fear, the boss has a couple other abilities he'll use on the main platform. Eerie Skull is a random target nuke that he'll spam, which deals splash damage in a 2 yard radius. 2 yards isn't very big, but you will need to make sure everyone's trying to avoid stacking up as much as possible.
Every fourth melee strike, he'll Thrash the main tank, which gives him two bonus melee strikes on top of the first one. Tanks should try to keep track of this and use cooldowns when possible, and healers will need to make sure to top the tanks off inbetween Thrashes.
Finally, if there's no one in melee range, the Sha will use Reaching Attack. This is bad. Technically, it's an infinite range melee attack that deals Shadow damage instead of Physical and stacks up an increased Shadow damage debuff. Realistically, if he casts this, people are going to die. Since this also means nobody's standing in the Wall of Light, he should only ever use this if you're doing something horribly wrong.
That pretty much wraps up the main platform, so lets talk about the side platforms. Every 45 seconds the Sha will use an ability called Ominous Cackle, which will send 5 players off to one of the side platforms: the current tank, 1 randomly-chosen healer, and 3 randomly-chosen DPS.
Once you arrive at the side platform, you'll have to defeat a Terrace Guardian to return to the main platform. This is essentially a mini-boss inside the encounter. The Terrace Guardian should be tanked, but does use a couple of abilities. Dread Spray is the first -- he'll fire off several volleys of arrows around the platform. The first hit just deals shadow damage, but if you get hit twice, you'll be feared for a couple of seconds.
Now, Dread Spray is actually not random -- each platform has a set pattern that it goes through, so if you want, you can take the time to learn each platform's patterns and find the safe areas to stand in. However, since the ability really doesn't do too much damage, the fear only lasts 2 seconds, and there's a total of 12 different patterns to learn, we found worrying about that to just overcomplicate things. It may end up being necessary on heroic, but for normal mode at least, it doesn't really seem that important.
His other couple of abilities, however, are a much bigger deal. As you burn him down, he'll spawn Sha Globes around the room. If these are left alone, he'll eventually absorb them, which heals him for 5% per globe. You need to walk over these to pick them up, which will deal a small amount of shadow damage to you but also refill some of your primary resource -- so mana, energy, rage, etc. The tank should be trying to pick up as many of these as possible as they can best deal with the extra damage, but everyone should grab them when they can. None of them should ever stay up long enough for the guardian to absorb them.
Last up is Death Blossom. Death Blossom will deal a very large amount of physical damage to anyone in line of sight for 5 seconds. Everyone but the tank should run behind a pillar when he's about to cast this as it does hurt non-tanks quite a bit. While everyone else is hiding, the tank should remain focused on picking up any Sha Globes still active.
Now, it's very important that you kill the Guardian as quickly as possible - if you take any longer than 90 seconds, all three tanks will have been sent to a side platform, which means no Wall of Light, which means everyone dies. In a pinch, you can have someone else stand in the beam for a couple seconds (such as a Rogue with Evasion active) but that's certainly not ideal.
Once the Guardian has been defeated, a portal will open up where he was standing that you can click on to return to the main platform. That will also give you the Fearless buff for 30 seconds, which not only makes you immune to the Breath of Fear but also gives you increased damage, healing, and movement speed. Since you'll be landing just behind where the adds spawn, it's best to have DPS returning from platforms immediately focus on burning down any remaining adds before returning to the Wall of Light and focusing on the boss.
It's worth mentioning that the Sha seems to remember who he sends to each platform, so unless someone dies you'll probably have the same three groups being sent to the same places for the whole fight. There doesn't appear to be any way to control who gets sent, other than the tank, but you can at least plan around it as the fight continues.
And that's pretty much it! Once you get the basics down, it's just a matter of going through the motions until the boss eventually dies. This can be a really long fight that will definitely wear on the stamina of your raiders over time, but as long as you can keep everything under control, the strategy itself ends up being relatively simple.