So the question was, “how do I know when to use the Shadowfiend? Is it really worth it?” Not only will we be talking about that, we’ll also explore some tricks for getting the most bang for your 15-second buck.
Let’s look at the Shadowfiend’s specifics:
- Uses 6% of your base mana, 5-minute cooldown, instant cast.
- Fiend automatically begins to attack your current target when summoned, although you can switch targets mid-fight by selecting a new target and using the Ctrl-T command.
- Has a 1.5 second attack speed – he’ll hit ~10x during his lifespan.
- Attacks are shadow-melee.
- Caster gains mana for each of the Shadowfiend’s attacks.
So let’s see just exactly how much damage the little guy does, and how much mana he returns. For the record, Prin has the following attributes: 7751 hp, 8805 mana, 480 Bonus Shadow Damage (unbuffed).
Test Mob #1 – Lvl 70 Shadow Serpent. SF did 878 damage over the course of his summon, returning 2192 mana to Prin via “Mana Leech.” I also made sure to dump ~4k mana before the fight, so that all of the mana returned by SF would be captured on Recount.
Test Mob #2 – This time I’m buffed with Superior Wizard Oil and Poached Bluefish, Bonus Shadow Damage is now 545. Lvl 69 Scorchshell Pincer. SF did 1516 damage over the course of his summon, returning 3790 mana back to Prin.
Quick Math Alert – put on your safety goggles.
Additional 13.54% +damage to the caster resulted in ~73% more damage done and mana returned by the SF. Whoa.
Test Mob #3 – I forgot to reset Recount, data is skewed. Dammit. Resetting Recount.
Test Mob #4 – Okay, now I’ve added Adept’s Elixir to the mix, for up to an additional 24 +damage (569 total). Lvl 69 Shadow Serpent. Disappointing results – on this fight the SF did only 1237 damage to the mob, returning 3092 mana. That’s less than with the lower +damage… (Still got your goggles on? Okay, there is still an apparent correlation between damage done by SF and mana returned – it looks like 1.5 mana per 1 damage, that figure holds for all three working attempts thus far.)
Test Mob #5 – Still have the 3 +damage buffs on, total Bonus Shadow Damage is 569. We’re going after another Scorchshell Pincer. 1247 damage done by our SF, with 3115 mana returned. Just like Test Mob #4, the 18.5% more +damage over TM#1 is only giving us ~41% more damage and mana returned by the SF. Mana returned continues to be 1.5 per damage.
Test Mob #6 – Lvl 68 Scorchshell Pincer, same Bonus Shadow Damage of 569. SF did 1275 damage and returned 3188 mana. ~45% more damage and mana over TM#1, mana returned still at 1.5 per damage.
Time to mix things up a bit. I did a little browsing over at ShadowPriest.com and came up with an awesome idea! (Thanks to Nenormalen of the Silvermoon EU server.) If you’ve been doing the Cooking Quest dailies, you likely have the recipe for a little treat known as Kibler’s Bits. Well, apparently the SF’s AP is based on the caster’s Shadow damage and the fiend’s own Strength attribute. Let’s see what feeding our cute lil‘ guy a Kibler’s does for us:
Test Mob #7 – Lvl 68 Scorchshell Pincer again, same Bonus Shadow Damage of 569. The pet treat increases our SF’s strength by 20. SF did 1609 damage and returned 3583 mana. So this time he did quite a bit more damage (83% over TM#1) but returned less than the 1.5 mana per damage we’ve been used to (1.23 on this attempt).
In summary, I’d have to say that all this requires far more testing by someone more knowledgeable about the mechanics. We can safely say that upping caster damage and the Shadowfiend’s strength stat definitely pads both the additional damage done and the mana returned by a significant amount.
Of course, our original question concerned when to use our faithful, shadowy minion. To keep it short and sweet – as soon as you’re down ~3k mana, and as often as the cooldown allows. Keeping this guy waiting in the wings for an emergency is a huge hit to your dps and costs you more downtime as well. In long boss fights you may very well have the opportunity to call him forth twice; with a mana pot between, that’s an awesome strategy for keeping you in the fight and supplying dps.
Concerns – first and foremost is threat. Think of your ‘Fiend as your teenage son… whatever trouble he causes is going to ultimately be your problem. He’s up there wailing on the bad guy and returning mana – that’s additional threat that’s going to be laid at your doorstep. Please don’t summon him before your tank has sufficient aggro! That makes tanks cranky, and Crankytank is less likely to want to go out of his way to save your precious, purple-y hide. And while you can justify VE– & VT-generated threat as benefiting the entire group, SF-returned-mana is only going to you, Princess.
Have you learned to love your own personal Shadowfiend minion yet? If not, why not take him out for some play-time today? Go farm for the Firefly or something. Learn to love him, or at least, use him to do your dark bidding. If nothing else, maybe you can get him to take out the trash, or something.
**Edit – I removed the macro I had here in order to work on it a bit more. If anyone out there has one that will summon the SF, use Kibler’s Bits, and announce in /y, /s, or /e – let me know! The best I came up with required a double-click, and that made for duplicate “announcing.”