Shadow Shrike in PvE

What’s your first association when you hear the word “Shrike”? When is it used and what’s it purpose? If your answer is “that shadow thingy everyone uses in PvP” then you’re right. Except you’re not! Shadow Shrike is indeed notorious for being a commonly used PvP spell, but that’s not why we’re here today. We’re going to expand further on this spell and explore it’s applications in PvE.

Back to Basics:
What is Shadow Shrike and what does it do?

ShrikeYou’ll receive the quest to defeat Sofia DarkSide somewhere during your journey in Khrysalis. Fire, Myth and Storm wizards will automatically learn this spell for free, while other schools will need to spend an extra training point to learn it. It’s just one point though and it’s a very good investment if you ask me.

Anyway, Shrike is a shadow spell, which enhances your stats for three rounds. You’ll receive 50% additional pierce, 10% extra damage and 25% less incoming healing. Additionally, the entire team will receive an additional 10% pierce blade if you use any attacking spell while Shadow Shrike is active.

Extra damage is always nice, but the main focus lies in all the pierce we receive. Pierce is a great way to counter any form of resist on our opponents. Whether it’s enemy’s natural resist, a shield or defensive auras (Fortify, Brace and other cheat variations). It doesn’t work with weaknesses (negative charms) though, so keep that in mind when you’re going to attack your opponent.

Some math and examples…

Order of piercing the resist is as follows: Aura -> Shield -> Resist. Let’s say you have 20% pierce from your gear, 50% from Shadow Shrike and 10% from the blade you received while being in Shrike (Total 80%). You’re facing an opponent with Fortify (15% resist), tower shield (50% resist) and an extra 50% resist to your school (Total 115%). That’s what will happen when you attack your opponent:

  1. You’ll pierce all the way through fortify, leaving you with 65% pierce to spare.
  2. Next, you’ll pierce all the way through tower shield, leaving you with 15% pierce left.
  3. At the end you’ll pierce 15% of opponent’s resist, leaving them with only 35% resist left.

Pretty cool eh? Just keep in mind the following fact. Pierce working on various types of resist uses subtraction (as shown on example above). Actual hitting through the resist uses multiplication. For example, if you’re attacking the opponent described above with 10,000 base damage and you have no pierce, here’s how much damage you’ll do: 10,000 × 0.85 × 0.5 × 0.5 = 2125 damage dealt.

Formula for calculating damage when opponent has resist

Base damage × ((100-resist%) / 100) × ((100-resist%) / 100)1

1 Add one “formula set” for every layer of resist.

Why Shadow Shrike instead of prism?

ShrikeFirst, we need to clear out one thing. I’m not saying to replace Prism with Shrike. I’m just saying to use it in conjunction with it. There are cases when Prism is enough as well as cases when Shrike is better. We’ll go over some examples so you’ll get a better idea how and when to use each spell. Also, keep in mind that I found this useful in Empyrea (especially pt. 2). Up to Mirage, I didn’t really see any need for replacing a good ol’ prism.

Let’s start with most obvious advantage. It lasts 3 rounds, so you can chain 3 attacks in a row if you have enough pips to do so. It also doesn’t require a power pip like you would need for mass prism in case you’re facing multiple opponents that resist your attacks. Balance wizards can also utilize this spell. They don’t have any prism and first non-balance AOE damage spell is Nested Fury, which is accessible after Shadow Shrike. And what’s probably the most awesome fact: it is highly beneficial for damage over time attacks! Even when your shrike runs out, the over time will still deal pierced damage and you won’t have to use prisms with every DoT tick.

But sometimes, prisms are still good enough in specific scenarios. But what happens when the boss resists to multiple schools? To schools, which includes both – your and the opposite school. Prism doesn’t work, in that case and you need to pierce through the resist. Or when the opponent resists to your school AND uses shields at the same time? You can simply prism+shrike instead of prism+off school attack. And don’t get me even started on cheating auras – yes i’m looking at you Neumian Lion!

If this didn’t convince you though, just keep Shadow Shrike in your mind. It will come handy if KingsIsle ever decide to put universal resist on our opponents.

The Negatives

Of course there are negative aspects as well. First and most obvious one is the cost of one shadow pip. Which can be tricky if your deck is mainly filled with Shadow hits. But harder bosses require more time to set up, so by the time you’re finally ready for a big hit you might be sitting comfortable on power pips. It doesn’t really matter if you spend 10 pips or 5 pips + 1 shadow pip when both options will defeat the boss.

Another disadvantage of Shadow Shrike over Prism is the fact that you lose natural damage boost against opposite schools. But since this boost isn’t as high in Empyrea anymore and you receive an extra 10% with Shrike anyway,  this doesn’t play too big role in the fight itself.

Are you using Shadow Shrike in PvE?
Did we miss any key points?

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