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How to SK

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*****************Last Updated 15/12/2019********************************************************

Left much out, I'm not interested enough to write a nice neat concise guide.  And to comb over every last thing would be a long document that would drive me crazy.

How to SK


This is my raid spell lineup from one raid event, however there are some interchangeable spells here:

Sometimes I don't load both Touch of Falsin and Insidious Denial and just go with 1 of the 2.  There are a few gems here that are expendable for swapping in/out other spells.  Refute for Power is an expendable slot, and i have spellsets that load a single spell to replace this one with Torrent or Hemofax that i switch in when i want to refresh these buffs.  Other spells that you may want to swap in for certain events/situations = Concordant Disruption, Disgust line of spells, dots, a second or third Terror, or the pet bomb line of AE nukes (e.g. Abhorrent Sacrifice lv93). 

For some events you won't need to have both Spear of Tylix and Hateful Bargain loaded, or you might not have another SK around to bother with Bloodletting Covenant.


This next picture shows my lifetap multibind, which i chose to set to my middle mouse button:

Having lifetaps assigned to a multibind is very useful, allowing u to spam press the button to keep healing yourself, whenever your brain is thinking about something else e.g. what disc to use next.  (For whatever reason, i happened to have spear at the bottom of my bind here.)

You set this up in options, under 'keys' > 'spellcasting'.  And set the spell gems that you want to use to a single key.  Now whenever you hit that key you chose, it will try to cast the spell you set that is the lowest number spell gem (in my case, spell gem 1, which is set to mouse mid).  So i tap my middle mouse button, and it first attempts to cast that spell.  If that spell is on cooldown, then it will look for the next spell i have set to that key (In my case, spell gem 2).  And so on. 

I like to have 2 weaker lifetaps at the start of my multi-bind when tanking, because usually when i cast Dichotomic/Insidious, and sometimes even Dire, i want those to be deliberate casts that can get me out of a dangerous hp spike, rather than waste them as spam. 

If you are going full dps mode, move Spear & the bigger lifetaps to the front of your multibind. (Dissident>Spear>Dire>Touch of T`Vem>Touch of Lutzen>Insidious Denial>Touch of Falsin. 

You'll also want to load our latest 'blood' DoT, and try to reapply it on monsters whenever it fades, provided you believe the monster that you're casting on will be alive for at least 30 seconds or so.


There are lots of ways to do it on a shadow knight.  It is rare that i am satisfied with the AE aggro of an add tank crew, even a decent one.  In the rare case that I feel that there are enough aggressive tanks, i will tame my style a bit and play more of a watchful role, or a DPS role, wherever i think i can be most useful.  Tanks can LD/AFK/die/fall sleep on the job, so having a decent amount of AE aggro on everything always is something an SK can do to safeguard these common issues.

First thing, you want to make sure you have acquired a mask with an aggro mod on it.  There are group & raid masks that increase your aggro.  On top of this, you need to keep one of the two aggro buffs on you:  Voice of Thule AA or Gift of Hemofax (Received by casting Touch of Hemofax).  Both of these buffs can be on you if you like, but their aggro effects don't stack. 
For aggroing single targets, i frequently throw in 2-3 casts of any of the following:  Terrors, Spear, Dissident, Insidious Denial. 

It's common that i'll mix in some AA abilities such as Hates Attraction/Veil of Darkness/Stream of Hatred/Burst of Spite/Explosion of Hatred etc. 

My third or fourth cast is often impose, if i expect the mob to live a long time (e.g. Raid bosses). 

Beyond that, every cast is a fast decision between lifetap/aggro/refresh short duration buffs/DPS.  That is what i consider to be my standard casting for initial aggro on a 'typical' single target, be it group or raid.  This is not counting clickies that i may hit between spell casts, aggro from DPS (Full burning is strong aggro!), bite of chaos, etc.
We can throw in a lot more, or a little less, depending on the situation though.  Usually I hold Ageless/Undivided Acrimony in case i spot a DPS player being hit, and need to snap aggro.  Those two abilities, as well as Taunt are your methods for snapping aggro off another player.  Note that with Ageless and Taunt, you will only be equal on aggro to the DPS player, and need to follow up immediately with some aggro spells & abilities.

Keep in mind that you can use your AA AE aggro abilities on single targets, for the purpose of single target aggro as well.
On bosses, engaging with Unflinching & using your burn abilities + Refute & Terror/s should provide a tonne of aggro.

You can also take note of the assigned tanks for the bosses, and add them to your extended target window.  This way if you see one of them die, you can check if that boss has a tank on it and run in to save the day.  This needs to be an experienced judgement call though, because if you have duties of your own that you neglect to instead go pick up the boss, you are solving one problem and just creating another.

On add heavy events, or grouping with piles I often drop Spear.  I use Hateful Bargain & Insidious Denial sometimes supplemented with Concordant Disruption.  On occasion I may even load 1-3 from the Disgust line.  However you need to be careful with Concordant.  It can overwrite the aggro of other tanks who are actually doing things right to aggro their single target.  If separate adds are assigned, you probably shouldn't use it (Or use it sparingly, clicking the buff off yourself as you start to rise too high on other tanks mobs). 

In fact, unless you know that you can survive tanking everything, or need to tank everything, and unless you are a hawk at monitoring your aggro on multiple targets, you might be better off not using it.  If you're feeling really proactive, you can cast it on yourself and click it off whenever your aggro is rising too high on mobs that you don't want to be tanking/stealing. 
The most important thing when new adds spawn or reach the raid is to aggro them as fast as possible.  If it's one add, maybe u will single target aggro it.  Maybe you will cast an AE if u know that you can time the spell to go off the same instant that it's about to enter melee proximity of the raid.  Maybe you will run out a little bit and intercept adds by casting one or a few AE's before they can even touch anybody.  The main focus is to proactively protect the raid, ideally, no DPS players to take hits, regardless of whether they are even assisting the MA.

Tanking Piles

Be sure to get the slot 3 gems for your lifetaps to enhance their damage (Including some of the older expansions slot 3's for Touch of Lutzen & Falsin).  Make sure you have your SK epic 2.0 and your Duskbringer's Plate Chestguard of the Hateful from OoW for when Epic & Leechcurse are not available.  (There is also Blood Drinker's Coating, though its effect is minor for us).

You want to lifetap, all the time.  Every cast is a judgement call between lifetap / aggro / refreshing a utility buff / doing damage.

When tanking a pile, you can get aggressive with the lifetaps, and when you take a bad spike (or are anticipating one), attempt to cast Insidious Denail or Dissident (and if those are down, Dire Testimony, though Dire is a bit slower to get off). I like to keep these lifetaps at the back of my lifetap multibind so they are usually up to manual cast when i feel they are needed.

When you have many mobs on you though, often your casts will get interrupted, or maybe you will just get unlucky and fizzle, so when casting these things with many mobs on you, you need to spam click/button mash until the spell actually goes off.

If all of those are down, Repel can be used to buy u a little bit of time to get off a slower, less powerful lifetap.  If all of these things are down, then you can waste something with a longer cool-down (Shield Flash, Leech Touch, Deflection, Forceful Rejuvenation)

Forceful Rejuvenation can be instantly followed up with Dissident (or if you think you have enough time, Insidious first).

When you have leech effects running, you can use offensive abilities as instant heals too e.g. Wounding Blade.  Using a variety of these and timing them with the damage spikes, it is possible to keep yourself up for a short time when you are receiving no healing, and when epic + lifetap spam on it’s own is not enough to keep you up.

Another important part of pileage is Tylix's Skin.  If this buff wears off you and you have a big pile on you, you are very likely dead soon. Another killer is not noticing that your mitigation disc or epic has dropped, be mindful of when they are due to expire and think ahead to what you can get running for when they drop.

If you can get Mortal Coil to proc by kill-shotting something, that will provide a lot of healing on you as well.

How many mobs are feasible each pull is an educated guess based on what discs you have available, what healers you have (a good cleric makes a massive difference) and the dps/utility of the group.  Sometimes i ask my group members if DPS or heal burns are up, to aid in my decision on how many mobs i will bring in for the next pull.  You can sort of feel these things out through repetition, and pushing yourself to live dangerously.

If I'm mostly killing 1-3 mobs, I load spear of Tylix.  If I'm consistently doing larger piles then I usually swap it for Distasteful Bargain.  You can load both of these if the number of mobs that you're fighting each pull is pretty inconsistent.

Visage of Death can be handy with leech effects running too, because you're hitting for more melee damage, so you're getting more healing back.

Bond's heal over time is kind of nifty too, though it only heals you every 6 seconds. You can cast it on multiple mobs, sometimes i will try to cast this on various mobs that i will kill last if i feel i have time to cast it (during Deflection is a great time).

Dragon Glyph:  Since they upgraded this AA, it's become the ultimate defensive disc.  You'll notice that you can tank more mobs than usual with it running.  If you have any job that you fear will be risky, this is the thing to hit for 4+ minutes of easy-mode tanking.  Between raids, I like to re-max my AA count to 220, so I can use many Dragon & Destruction Glyphs.

The buff from activating Cursed Guardian provides a good bit of healing, you can activate this disc to receive the buff, then /stopdisc to put on a better defensive disc, such as Mantle or Impenitent Influence.

Use First Spire, even if its for tanking.  The other spires are rarely worth touching.

Discs in order of defensive benefit:  Dragon Scales Glyph / Reaver's Bargain > Mantle > Impenitent > Unholy Guardian
You can use Dragon Scales, Reaver's Bargain + one of the others altogether.  In fact, those 2 + Leechcurse is nice for a while.  Note that to get the full benefit from Reaver's Bargain, mobs need to be hitting you for at least 25K damage.


Again, Be sure to get the slot 3 gems for your lifetaps to enhance their damage (Including some of the older expansions slot 3's for Touch of Lutzen & Falsin).  You also want the slot 3's for Spear, Hateful Bargain & Wounding Blade.

These are 2 burn setup macro's that I use, but you can pair them with your defensive discs to increase your survivability as well.  You may opt to hit some of these manually as I sometimes do (e.g. Claret Blade can be timed as a heal when you take a big spike, T`Vyl's Resolve usually should be saved for a mob with lots of HP etc).

(macro's courtesy of Gimamam)

Spell burn
/alt activate 1450 (first spire)
/alt activate 747 (visage of decay)
/alt activate 2034 (gift of the quick spear)
/pause 3, /useitem Flowing Etheric Soulrender Breastplate
/alt activate 746 (reinforced malaise)

For more damage, you can run Glyph of Destruction too /alt activate 7019

Melee burn
/pause 8, /useitem Innoruuk's Dark Blessing (SK epic)
/pause 2, /alt activate 9403 (Visage of Death)
/alt activate 742 (Tyvl`s Resolve)
/pause 2, /disc claret blade rk. iii (you may need to change the rank to i or ii depending on your version of this disc)

It's useful to use the spell burn during Reaver's Bargain (or after it), as you can keep your mana up a bit better when your Bite of Chaos AA is boosted by it (be sure to be hitting that!).  You also want to be using Thought Leech during the spell burn to increase the chance of it getting a high crit.  A Thought Leech crit can fix most of the mana/endurance penalty that you take from using Reaver's Bargain.

Prior to activating the spell burn, you can activate Cursed Guardian (just to get the buff in your window), then /stopdisc and activate Unholy Aura.

Harm Touch does more damage when boosted by things such as ranger Third Spire, SK First Spire, Glyph of the Cataclysm and your luck stat.  At least on raids, or when it counts, i make sure to have these running whenever I use Harm Touch.

Often I like to separate the melee & spell burn, so i have more offensive/defensive things spread out for named spawns when I'm grouping.  However, you will actually get more total damage by combining them both together.  So for maximizing your dps-output on a raid for a better combined parse, combine these burns into 1.

Visage of Death is better than Visage of Decay, and you can only use one at a time..  So for this, activate your melee burn.  ..Then right after that's all on, activate your spell burn.  This will put all of it on you except Visage of Decay.  Visage of Decay can ride the short bus mostly by itself and get activated after Visage of Death drops.

Our DPS discs are Unholy Aura (lifetap damage boost), Impenitent Influence (Pet DPS boost), Leechcurse (Increased accuracy).  The gains to accuracy from the SK epic 2.0 & Leechcurse are more apparent when Auspice isn't running.  So if your raid has a shortage of rangers to keep Auspice up, you can make an Auspice trigger and time your 2.0 & Leechcurse around it.

More Assorted Tanking Stuffs..

One trick that i find helpful, is to use Spurn not always on cooldown (as nice as Synergy is for everybody), but as a timed button right AFTER an hp spike.  The reason for this, is that the healers see you on extended target window, that u have taken a hit, and it takes some time for them to 1) realise, 2) target u and 3) heal u.  If you were to run in and hit repel first, you might not take any or much damage and so not receive any attention from healers until that next spike instead.

The more AC/HP you can get from gear/trophy/augs/tribute/buffs/potions, the stronger you will become.

A balance of Hdex/Hagi/Hsta is perfectly fine, or you could pump one of them.  I've gone all 3 routes at various times, and also had a balance of the 3.  It shouldn't make or break your SK.  If you are going for DPS, pump Hdex, though.

I use the TDS rune proc aug in my 1 hander.

UI/control method doesn't have to be pretty, it has to be practical in empowering your ability to both see what's important & react quickly.  In the case of SK, in particular, you want extended target, target's target positioned/large enough to always be in the corner of your eye.  I can keep good watch of my HP bar by having target's target close-ish to the center of the screen.  A Multibind (not a macro), is useful for fast lifetapping, we have a lot to focus on sometimes, and it can be handy to have a button to press to spam cast lifetaps when you are thinking/multitasking.


I like to load 3 terrors for most kiting situations.  They're great because they're instant cast, can proc a heal and defensive buff, so they are good to spam even when the extra aggro is not needed.  If a swarm of adds descend upon your raid, then obviously single targeting each add is going to be finicky and time consuming.  In that scenario, you want to run into melee range of the disaster and hit your AA AE abilities and spells from the revile line.  You can go in and shield flash/deflect to pile these things on.  You should also swap in your no damage primary weapon so you don't riposte, causing the mobs to start summoning.  Once you've got off your AE's, or right as deflect is going to drop, you can run off and start kiting.   At this point I'll keep changing targets to the various mobs and casting terror spells as i kite (and the AA instant cast aggro abilities every time they're up).  Pay attention to what % second on aggro is on all of these mobs as some might require more terror casts than others. 

Movement speed buffs can help a great deal kiting, be sure to have one on you (and get a recast if you die and are back up from rez).  Dissident and Bond are great spells to have loaded when on kite duty as well.  If the adds that you're kiting summon, then you obviously can't be casting these spells on them, but even in that case, there's usually a boss around for you to cast these on.  Dissident being the emergency heal, and Bond being something to keep on as many mobs as you can for a big heal every 6 seconds. 

Hate step is another useful ability for kiting, SK Hate Step can send you further than any other leap ability that I'm aware of, it's a good ability to get used to using, not just for kite scenario's, but for moving around in general.  One thing to be wary of, is that Hate Step is SO good, that it can teleport you out of range of the mobs that you are kiting, so it is often a bad idea in large open spaces when kiting, unless you can intentionally hate step into a tree/dip in the terrain. 

If you're able to damage the mobs, then you can load up the instant-cast dots, in particular, our snare dot can be nifty in certain situations.  If you are snared while kiting (or rooted, or chain summoned) a well timed Hate Step right after the summon can allow you to survive where you otherwise wouldn't.  If you know that you're going to be snared a lot while kiting, you might want to click off Levitate.  This is because when snared, you move slower when moving forwards.  You can jump forwards to gain a little bit of speed, you can also strafe, which is faster than moving forwards.  If your levitate is not on, you can also use the Steamjet Pack clicky to escape a death.

Your ability to look around and move is going to play a large factor in how good of a kiter you are.  I like to use WASD and i mousewheel in and out of first/third person.


He has a few uses, though they require you to be quite proactive. And the main benefit in almost every scenario is that he is allowing you to do things a tiny bit faster. for example:

He can be used to pull. When I do a clear of Plane of Fire raid for aug drops, and we are zerging through the zone, and we're in combat with a mob, but i want to pull the next one.. But the next mob is out of my line of sight.. you can use an eye of zomm clicky, and use the eye to get a view on the mob u want to target without having to stop fighting. Once targeted, you can then send your pet in to attack. As soon as that mob appears on the hatelist, you can /pet back off (with gpet hold on) or use summon companion. Then it will pull that next mob in for you.

Alternatively, you could deal with that same scenario by having your pet taunt the mob that u were tanking, then run off and grab the next mob, then once back in camp u can taunt back off your pet.

Another example of using a pet to pull (there are a few ways), would be in this video at 4:27

pretend that the mob i marked to pull was a named, and that the mobs around him were immune to snare for example. Now i used projection for this split, but i could have sacrificed my pet instead if proj was down. The trick in that particular pull, was to cast one AE aggro (that way the mobs dont all go for your pet, proj or your pet with /taunt on will be able to rip aggro on just the one mob u want. then u corral the others away from it, and right as the pet dies (or is about to, you can fd fade and hate step over to the namer). Pulls like that are kinda technical and knowing how to do them isn't important for most of your everquesting, but they have their niche.

I recall years ago when i was group geared, and getting adds, setting my pet to meet adds with invulnerability running, to CC them for a short time. (doesn't work anymore if pet is invul). You could speedbump sacrifice him to buy more time in place of a shield flash or something for your mezzer, if you're using one.

Our pet as mentioned already, can also be used as a tank. He is very weak, just like a shaman pet. But I have done TBL missions where i needed a second tank on a mob, and so he filled in just fine with solid healing support.

You can use your pet to tank the last 1-3 mobs of current content while u go off and pull (lil drogbone has done this in Mearatas). Allowing you in some cases to not only be the groups tank, but its chainpuller as well, depending on how fast your group is chewing through those mobs. The key thing to do is to inform the healers that your pet will be tanking the last 1-3 when you go off to pull. Many healers don't add pets to their extended target window, and many who do wont be expecting your pets damage spikes when it happens, so you may even want to go a step further and use a social hotkey to announce that 'heal my pet, my pet is tanking' kind of thing. Key note: you need them to be aware, because 95% of them won't react in time if they're not anticipating it

You turn your pets taunt on when down to 1-3 mobs, and you cycle through the targets one by one, until he has successfully taunted all of them. I tend to keep AE aggro pulsing during this, and just watch for the taunts, until i know he has taunted each mob and is likely second on aggro for all of them. Then i feign death rq so that he is ontop of the hatelist and run off to pull. If 3 mobs, you definitely want to be using defensive discs on your pet. The moment you return to camp, you can turn pet taunt off and regain aggro on everything that he was tanking using your own taunts.

Earlier in the year, i had it explained to me that mobs which cast mez 'normally' cast it on the first mob on their hatelist. I don't know if this is always true, however many spellcasters have nasty things such as stuns they may cast shortly after being aggro'd. There have been times over the years where it is very helpful to have your pet aggro the mob before you so they can eat the nasty spell, rather than it slowing you down. There have been AE's that don't affects pets as well, such as Lanys big AE in the final cotf mission which takes palce in the void. So you can set it to taunt, back out for the AE, and then return.)

In some older expansions where you might get banished, your pet can stay on aggro when you get the banish, giving you time to run back to the mob before it resets..

You could also aggro mob through doors and things using your pet. Trying a /tar mobname00 (and guess the 00 number) then hope the pet can do enough damage to cause it to summon you through after it died or feigned death.

I think that covers everything that I've ever used my pet for /ponder.

mages have nukes that rely on having a bunch of pets popped as well 'of many' line iirc. So he is helpful for that.

Shd spell "abhorrent sacrifice' does an AE nuke around your pet.  Worth noting if you ever use that.

There is a good argument to not use your pet on raids, because sometimes when healers try to target you, some of them may use a manual click on your name on the extended target window, and accidentally click the little green bar underneath which instead targets your pet. Causing you to not get the heal that you may have needed. Personally I prefer to use my pet and take that gamble, but its a solid argument.


If you are doing all of these things, then you're likely covering the main bits survivability-wise. There are many more nuances to SK tanking, and SK overall, and you can mix and match a lot of these things differently.

DPS and pulling tricks, or advanced techniques could have their own thread or write up, but I'm too uninterested/impatient to devote time toward write ups. 

Thanks for posting this current expansion (RoS), SK guide, Drogba!  It's very thorough.

I sticky'd this topic, to help it stand out.  But I also left some of the others, as they may still contain relevant information (let me know which; if any, doesn't and I can un-sticky them accordingly, thanks!).

As I mentioned in other threads, it'd be ideal if others from Team SK could reply with their feedback/thoughts in this area.  As much as we push DPS performance, Aggro/Tanking are a top priority.

Later! :)

I see mention of Mindless Hatred AA in Drogba's notes, but I can't find that AA now. Was it changed or just deleted?

It was removed in a patch, they reduced the re-use time of Undivided Acrimony in the same patch, perhaps as some kind of consolation.

Made some minor edits:

-removed mindless hatred
-moved cataclysm glyph to the spell burn
-added some notes regarding maximizing Harm Touch damage.


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