Shade of the Horseman will attack Kharanos, Goldshire, Azure Watch, Razor Hill, Brill, and Falconwing Square. These attacks consist primarily of Shade of the Horseman circling overhead on a flying horse. As he circles the village, he throws flaming pumpkins at the various buildings, and at points, at players.
World spawn and event
Players who are present while the Shade of the Horseman is present are offered  instead. These are both daily quests, and only one can be completed each day. For a short time after the event has concluded (by the characters slaying the shade, or the shade riding off), neither quest will be offered.
The Shade will throw flaming pumpkins at several of the buildings in town. Fires will appear there, and start throwing burning embers, starting fires nearby. The players are able to loot from a nearby large water tub, and throw the water as a targeted AoE effect either on a fire, or to a nearby player. Each time a bucket of water is thrown on a patch of fire, the fire there will be reduced somewhat, or extinguished. Fires increase in size over time, though, and when they have reached their maximum size they start causing nearby areas to catch on fire as well.
If all the fires are put out before the Shade rides off, then the Shade will land and attack characters who are nearby. When slain, a Large Jack-o'-Lantern will spawn on the ground nearby, offering the daily quest for a short time. (You need not have been present when the shade was defeated to be offered the quest.)
- At the beginning of the attack
- Prepare yourselves, the bells have tolled! Shelter your weak, your young and your old! Each of you shall pay the final sum! Cry for mercy; the reckoning has come! [guffaws terribly]
- Part-way through encounter
- The sky is dark. The fire burns. You strive in vain as Fate's wheel turns.
- Time almost up
- The town still burns. A cleansing fire! Time is short, I'll soon retire!
- Upon successfully dowsing his flames
- My flames have died, left not a spark! I shall send you myself to the lifeless dark!
- Upon failing to douse his flames
- Fire consumes! You've tried and failed. Let there be no doubt, justice prevailed!
- Upon successfully defeating Shade of Horseman's body
- So eager you are, for my blood to spill. Yet to vanquish me, 'tis my head you must kill! [horrifying guffaw]
- Casting Conflagration (randomly)
- Harken, cur! Tis you I spurn! Now feel... the burn!
Shade of the Horseman cannot be attacked while he is in the air.
The encounter may scale to the number of players in the area. This makes it possible to solo the event if you're alone, but it can also make the event near impossible to complete if there are a number of people not participating.
The encounter starts with the shade setting 1-3 fires (depending on number of people in the area). Fires are laid out on a square grid. Fire have three levels, and periodically grow in size if left alone (the speed of growth is also dependent on number of people nearby). When a third level fire grows, it sends out embers into any adjacent spaces that don't currently have fires, starting level one fires there.
The trick to fighting established fires is to limit their potential growing area as you slowly push them back. If an entire building is on fire, pick one end to start with, otherwise start with whatever side is open to more burnable spaces. Don't put out level one fires if there are level three fires adjacent, or they'll just be re-kindled; knock the level three down first (or along with the level ones). Buckets hit a number of spaces at once, so try to center them one space into the burning area, so you're putting out the front line while you're driving down the spaces behind them.
If you can get everyone to concentrate on a single building at a time, it makes putting out the fires a lot easier. The fires spread if you leave them alone or cannot put them out fast enough, so its easiest to put out one building and then the next rather than trying to put out two buildings simultaneously.
A useful tactic is to form a bucket line. Someone stands close to the water tub, loots water buckets from the tub, and throws them to someone closer to still-burning fires. If necessary, that person throws to someone yet closer.
- As water buckets are unique, throwing a bucket to someone who already has one wastes it.
- Due to lag, it is very difficult to throw a bucket to someone who is moving.
Because of these, it is useful to arrange the bucket line before starting the event.
Another useful tactic is for all nearby players to have buckets in hand before the event is started. Putting out fires that are further away from the bucket, before they get a chance to spread, makes it much easier to win the event.
If you are not in a bucket chain, any speed increase is useful. Druids and Shamans can use items while shifted so Travel form and Ghost Wolf respectively make you much more effective. Also, if you are in a group with a Hunter they can make you run much faster with Aspect of the Pack. Also, as you instantly mount the Flying Broom, it makes it a useful mount for this.
- Credit is granted for putting out flames for  or  as long as you have picked it up before Shade of the Horseman has spawned, so these can also be completed while attempting to douse the village fires.
- Note that both and are completed once the fires are out. Defeating the Shade is not required for them.
- One of:
- (causing the Shade to spawn)
- Patch 6.0.1 (24-Apr-2014): Conflagration (both types) periodic nearby damage increased to 270.
- Patch 5.2.0 (5-Mar-2013): Conflagration (type 1) now has 4 sec cooldown.
- Patch 5.1.0 (27-Nov-2012): Model updated.
- β Patch 5.0.1 (Beta): Conflagration (type 1) damage increased to 10%/sec.
- Patch 4.1.0 (26-Apr-2011): Conflagration now has fixed damage (40/4 sec or 90/30 sec + periodic 150 to nearby).
- / Patch 3.0.2 (14-Oct-2008): Shade of the Horseman now spawns in response to a quest, where before he appeared at 4 hour intervals.