Shirrak the Dead Watcher is the first boss of the Auchenai Crypts in Auchindoun. He is located at the end of the Bridge of Souls. One minor detail that should be noted before entering this fight is that he is not a Demon like other floating eyes, but rather Undead.
- Inhibit Magic: This aura places a debuff on all players in its range, which increases casting time by 50% per stack. Stacks up to 4 times for a total of +200% to cast time. The maximum level of stacking is related to the distance the player stands from the boss; the closer you stand the higher it stacks. It is possible to get the debuff before entering combat. Casters can (and should) stand at maximum range to minimize the effect of this debuff. Receiving this debuff will also remove stealth when applied.
- Carnivorous Bite: Melee range bleed debuff that is applied on all nearby players roughly every ten seconds. This can stack if you stay in melee range, dealing considerable damage. He seems to always trigger it right after using "Attract Magic" (so that everyone getting pulled in will get it before being able to move away).
- Focus fire: Shirrak emotes "Shirrak the Dead Watcher focuses his energy on <target>" (this is actually a "raid message" type message, not an emote that only shows up as text). He places a static (non-targetable) beacon under one player; after 3-5 seconds, the beacon will "explode" and emit several pulses of AoE fire damage. This is about 1650 fire damage per hit in normal mode. In Heroic this is more like 3500. This is by far his most dangerous ability, and much of the fight relies on keeping good positioning and quickly reacting to this attack.
- Attract Magic: Area effect attack that pulls party members closer to him like a reverse knockback. As of patch 2.1.3 (maybe earlier), this ability is used in normal mode as well as Heroic. If you are far away, you are also pulled significantly *upwards*; if Shirrak is between you and the stairs, you can actually be thrown down them and take significant fall damage. This (obviously) interrupts casting, and being pulled in will give you the full Inhibit Magic debuff, which can be tough on healers if he does it multiple times. You can cast instant-cast spells while in midair.
This fight is fairly straightforward, but the party must have room to maneuver. This means that you must fight him on the elevated areas where he spawns after you first enter the bridge of souls. Fighting him on the stairs and bridge will spell disaster in most cases.
Opening: The main tank should charge Shirrak and either tank him in the middle of the elevated area or pull him over to one of the walls, in order to give the rest of the party plenty of room to move. As soon as the tank charges, the rest of the party should move past Shirrak to the large flat area behind him and take up position. All casters should stay at their maximum cast range and stay spread out to avoid flares (below).
The Fight: Shirrak's debuff will affect all casters so healers will need to put some lead time into their casts. DPS casters should focus on instant to provide consistent damage. Channeled spells are also reportedly affected by this debuff. Melee classes have to deal with the stackable Carnivorous Bite. It's best to get out of melee range to let it fade if this gets stacked to 3.
All the while, Shirrak will drop his flare bombs on randomly selected party members, announcing it each time with "Shirrak the Dead Watcher focuses his energy on <target>" text in the center of the screen. These bombs travel to the current location of the <target>. Giving that location a wide berth until the flare explodes will mitigate the issue.
You will have approximately 3-5 seconds to vacate the area after the raid message appears, so ignore accumulated combo points, forget about that skill you were just about to use or that spell you were in the middle of casting -- RUN! Strafing away is often the quickest method of leaving the area. One untried strategy includes running behind the abutments along the wall (out of line-of-sight), which should also disrupt the damage.
Final thoughts: Another way that has worked for some groups is to use a warlock Felguard to tank the boss. The warlock is able to spam his pet heal while the healer keeps the rest of the party up. This especially works when your party has tons of melee DPS to take Shirrak down before mana pools are exhausted.
The Inhibit Magic debuff stacks more times depending on how close you are to him, so try to stay as far away from the boss as possible. The outer range for the debuff is about 45 yards and a priest's heals have a maximum range of 40 yards, so it is impossible to heal the tank without at least one application of the debuff. The debuff becomes active the moment you step within 45 yards of the boss, or maybe a half-second or so after that, so you can't really avoid it by moving in and out. It is critical to stay positioned so that you only have a 50% cast time penalty; unless you are a Restoration-spec'd Druid, it is unlikely that you can keep the tank up with just instant-cast HoTs, and with a 100% time debuff you just take way too long to cast even 1.5-second spells like Flash Heal. Running out and back in does nothing to reduce the debuff, but it does reduce the time you are healing or attacking, so don't move unless you get a flare bomb near you or Shirrak moves towards you (for example, if the tank has to move Shirrak to avoid a flare bomb).
If you position the tank on the far side of the boss and your other melee DPS on the near side, you might be able to heal the melee DPS and ranged DPS with no penalty, but then you won't be able to reach the tank at all. This doesn't seem too worthwhile, since ranged DPS takes very little damage in this fight. It might make sense for a secondary healer to try to position themselves this way, however, as it would make keeping everyone but the tank up a trivial job.
The bleed effect due to Carnivorous Bite DoT on melee DPS is sometimes the hardest part to deal with. Keeping HoT spells active on melee DPS is a good idea.
If you get knocked back, reposition yourself immediately. If you are the <target> of the "Focus Fire", abort your spell-casting and run. It goes without saying that in order to do this, you have to have an eye out for the raid warning that pops up in the center of the screen, don't just be looking at your party's health bars.
Totally solo heal-able, and an absolute cakewalk if you have two classes along with HoTs.
Priest as healer Edit
As a Priest, don't bother with Greater Heals, even with only 1 debuff. By the time you can finish it off most likely you'll be interrupted by Shirrak's pull, need to run out of fire, or sudden absence of tank whom you were going to heal.
Instant cast spells are your best friends for this fight. If you have Circle of Healing, there's your main healing spell. If you don't, it is still doable. Keep Renew up on anyone that is taking damage. This can be your tank, melee DPS with the dot-debuff or people that got to low health through the fire. Power Word: Shield is a healing spell too! It stops approximately 1.5-2k damage and thus roughly equivalent to a Flash Heal. Last but not least: Prayer of Mending -- it will be especially effective if you have at least another melee player (or hunter's/warlock's pet) except for tank, affected by Carnivorous Bite -- it will jump rapidly between them on each tick healing large amounts of damage.
Fortunately, Shirrak doesn't do that much of melee damage. However healing people caught in the beacons' fire AoEs (if they somehow manage to survive... that fire does over 11k damage on heroic) would be really hard. They should bandage themselves in order to ease your task a little.
If you keep Power Word: Shield on the tank, correctly timed, it will absorb carnivorous bite long enough for the debuff to fade.
Druid as healer Edit
Druids make an excellent healer in this boss fight. With at least 31 points in Restoration, any lv 64+ druid wearing proper gear can solo heal the fight easily.
At the start of the fight, cast Rejuvenation and Lifebloom on the MT while moving. After the Global Cool Down of Lifebloom, cast Regrowth regardless of MT's HP. Your Regrowth should land perfectly due to the longer casting time. Apply another Lifebloom and use Swiftmend to consume Rejuvenation, then apply a new Rejuvenation.
Now the MT should have 3 HOT on him and be safe for a while. It is time to use HOT on other melee classes to counteract Carnivorous Bite.
When the CD of Swiftmend is done, cast it again on the MT to consume Regrowth. Now wait for 3 seconds then repeat the procedures you have done to MT. If MT has less than 40% HP, perform a “Nature's Swiftness + Healing Touch” before you repeat the procedures.
Paladin as healer Edit
A paladin can be an effective healer for this boss. First you need to understand your limitations. Lack of instant cast HoT makes healing a challenge. Stick to casting Flash of Light because Holy Light will simply take too long to cast. Spam Flash of Light early and often even if the MTs life seems to be full, because by the time the spell goes off MT will surely take damage.
Mana will not be a problem for this boss. Technique will be everything. Make sure to coordinate with the MT to make sure you are at maximum range without the risk of MT moving out of range.
The clutch move Paladin has to offer is Blessing of Protection. Often overlooked ability of Blessing of Protection is that it removes all Bleed effects which the dreaded Carnivorous Bite is. This gives Paladins the unique ability to remove the stacked Carnivorous Bite effect. Have the MT call it out when Carnivorous Bite stacks three times and cast Blessing of Protection on the MT, immediately followed by another Blessing. It's important you do the second blessing immediately so that the MT does not lose aggro.
If you get behind in healing remember that Divine Shield removes the Inhibit Magic debuff and will make you immune to further applications of the debuff for the duration of the shield. This will allow you to cast spells at normal speed and also allow you to ignore Focus Attack.
Secondary healer Edit
Having a main and off-healer can be a life-saver, especially with the casting debuff. The main healer can focus on the tank while the off-healer catches the rest of the party. This also gives you backup when a flare focuses the main healer and they have to run.
A secondary healer, especially one that can transition between dps and healing, helps a lot during this fight.
If your other DPS can do the job, even a feral druid with good healing gear can be valuable in this fight as a second healer. Simply stand in the middle between melee and ranged groups, using nothing but HoTs to get around the cast time debuff.
One of the biggest risks to the tank are being hit by a "focus fire" attack on either the tank directly or on a nearby DPS unit. Tank the boss to the left or right, and when a flare appears strafe to the other side ASAP to avoid the damage. Since healers can't spam big heals, standing in range of a flare when it detonates is the primary cause of tank death.
Non-conventional tanking strategies of using warlock or shaman pets have proven successful for some groups. Shaman pets are immune to bleed effects (i.e. Carnivorous Bite) and some have reported that Shirrak doesn't target pets for his "focus fire" attack. Hunter pet is not an option because hunter pets are not immune to Carnivorous Bite.
It is a great advantage in this fight to have at least some physical-based DPS, since the debuff will cripple casters. A hunter is ideal since they will remain mobile and not run the risk of attracting the boss' "focus" near the tank. An affliction-spec'd warlock is also an asset: using dots and drain life, he will pretty much do as much damage as in another fight, while healing himself and avoiding bites.
Melee DPS is great for avoiding the cast time debuff, but it increases the chance the tank will have a flare appear under them. Melee DPS might have to run to the healer to get heals if they are positioned on the far side of Shirrak from the healer. If you get more than 2-3 stacked Carnivorous Bite DoTs on you, it's a good idea to step back out of melee range to let them fade -- especially if it looks like the healing is having trouble keeping up with it.
Caster DPS should be at MAX range. They can bandage or get a heal if the healer can spare it. A good caster strategy is to simply chain-cast instant spells, disregarding the Inhibit Magic debuff. Keep in mind that caster DPS will be severely decreased for this fight, whatever strategy is undertaken. Wait until you are pulled in to the boss (by his Attract Magic ability) before trying to evocation or bandage, as his Attract Magic will interrupt evocation and bandage.
The abilities are the same except the damage is increased. The Focus Fire is increased to nearly 3800 Fire damage, and there are 3 balls of flame shot at the target. At the end of the fight his Carnivorous Bite can tick up to 2,500 damage every 3 seconds. A good strategy is to have the healers stand on opposite sides of the area to prevent getting double fire-balled while healing and have them use Power Word: Shield and Prayer of Mending liberally. HoTs help out considerably on this encounter. As long as you pay attention to the flare/fireball area the encounter is simple.
To avoid taking heavy damage from high stacks of carnivorous bite, it is possible for the tank to move out of melee range when Shirrak focuses on a player and stay out of range long enough for the debuff to fade. This will prevent Shirrak from adding another stack of carnivorous bite onto the tank (which also resets the fade timer on the carnivorous bite). At high stacks the damage from carnivorous bite is high enough to negate two druids HOTs, and only the best healers can heal through it. This tactic is made easier if the tank positions Shirrak on one side of the room early in the fight. Since Shirrak moves slowly, there is a good chance that carnivorous bite will have faded by the time he reaches the tank again. Obviously, DPS party members must not pull aggro while the tank is waiting for carnivorous bites to fade.
If there is an off-tank in the group, a potentially easier way to avoid this "carnivorous bite" problem is to have an off-tank pick up the boss when there are three or more stacks on the main tank. The main tank can then move out of melee and let the debuff fade before retaking aggro.
If you have a paladin in your group, he can use blessing of protection to clear the bleed from the tank (and a quick follow up with another blessing will prevent Shirak from going after anyone else). A good time to use this is after the fourth Attract Magic/Carnivorous Bite combo, while running back to position.
A group make-up including a healing paladin, any type of shaman, and leatherworker is ideal. Since Shirrak has relatively low HP, one good round of healing should be enough to keep the party up long enough to burn him down. The group should wait until several members of the party need drastic healing (60% health remaining). Shirrak should be at around 40-70% by then. The Paladin should use Divine Shield to remove the casting slow effect. At the same time have the shaman use Heroism and the LeatherWorker throw out his drums. This will enable the paladin to quickly restore everyone back up to full while still dps-ing. If the party is still getting in a bind, using holy shock as a fast heal (since it is an instant cast) works the best (albeit mana inefficient).