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Beginner Arena Guide by doinker08
Version: 1.0 | Updated: 07/17/08
A123456789B123456789C123456789D123456789E123456789F123456789G123456789H123456789 Beginner's Guide to World of Warcraft Arena PVP By doinker08 : David Ishikawa Version 1.0 - July 14, 2008 Current Patch 2.42 - Arena Season 4 Copyright 2008 - David Ishikawa INTRO This is a guide meant for beginners to arena, or people who are not particularly good at arenas in general. If you topped out at around 1700 or less last season, you may get something out of this guide. People at 1900 or more may find a lot of this information redundant, and gladiators at 2200+ may find it of absolutely no help, or even wrong in their specific case. I wrote this guide because I was bored and I thought organizing my thoughts on arenas might prove beneficial. Mostly it hasn't, but I couldn't find any arena FAQs out there, so, here we are. GLOSSARY AOE - area of effect. Any spell or effect which affects one or more targets in a given area. Chain lightning and chain heal affect more than one target but are generally not considered aoe. BigRed(tm) - Beast Within, a 41 point beast mastery (hunter) talent that massively increases hunter dps for a short time while making them immune to all forms of cc, root, snare, and silence. Turns both the hunter and his pet an obvious red color bleed - a physical DOT that cannot be dispelled (rend, garrote, rupture, etc) Bubble - paladin ability that makes him immune to everything but still lets him cast CC - crowd control; anything that prevents a player from acting i.e. sheep, fear, cyclone. All CC is capped at 8 seconds max and is subject to diminishing returns. comp - composition, the makeup of a team. for example, warrior / restodruid is a popular 2v2 comp, shadow priest / rogue is another countercomp - counter-composition, a team makeup that has a strong advantage over another team makeup. using the previous example of war/dru, spriest/lock or spriest/rog are considered countercomps. deadzone - a range where a class cant do anything. the infamous hunter deadzone was removed in a recent patch DOT - debuff that does damage over time (i.e. 3000 damage done over 24 seconds) downranking - purposefully using lower ranks of spells in order to save mana. this is very useful in arenas, especially with CC spells (since cc is capped at 8 seconds anyway) and several shaman abilities; some abilities scale mana cost with level to counter this dps - damage per second. a way of expressing how much damage something is doing or taking DR - diminishing returns; basically if you overuse debuffs they become less effective, dedicated section on this further down fatfinger - to hit a wrong button, because of either clumsiness or panic. often the excuse for lost matches: "I couldnt trinket because i fatfingered it earlier." glaives - warglaives of azzinoth. a pair of legendary weapons that drop off illidan that are the most powerful one handed weapons in game. rogues with these often wear pve gear and do ridiculous amounts of damage, even to plate. hard counter - a comp that will win against another almost all the time if played correctly. dru/warr is a hard counter to disc/rog, which itself is a hard counter to holy pal/lock, etc etc. HOT - buff that heals over time (i.e. 3000 healing done over 16 seconds) hps - healing per second. a way of expressing how much healing something is doing or taking iceblock - mage ability which is almost the same as bubble but does not allow the mage to do anything; provides complete immunity to anything except mass dispel kiting - keeping a particular target attacking you but also keeping it from damaging you (i.e. running away from it just out of range). usually done with snares against melee, kiting is not particularly effective anymore as virtually all classes have ways to break it, and arenas have a limited space in which to kite. LOS - line of sight. one of the most important concepts in arenas, your opponent cant hit what they cant see. conversely, your allies cant heal what they cant see either. Spellcasting that ends with a target out of LOS is canceled, leading to "counterspell by movement." mez - mesmerize. a stun that breaks on damage, similar to sleep MS - a powerful warrior ability that reduces the amount of healing a target recieves by 50%; also refers to similar healing debuffs like 5-stacked wounding poison and aimed shot nuke - a spell that does damage upfront when cast i.e. shadowbolt. extends to damage spells which do damage upfront but also have a dot component, like fireball or immolate OOC - out of combat. allows drinking, restealthing, warriors charge, etc. learning how to get away and drink (also WHEN to get away) is a very important skill at higher levels OOM - out of mana. Usually means the end of the fight, unless the caster is a warlock or is able to get away to drink, evocate, or gain mana back some other way (like pillarhumping and slowly regenning). pewpew - caster dps spec. often used to differentiate elemental (pewpew) shamans from resto or enhancement. can also refer to nuking by casters (i.e. HEP IM BEING PEWPEWED NEED HEALZ) pillar humping - continuously LOSing something by using a pillar. almost a required skill in 2v2 games. especially powerful with HOTs. often the source of great frustration to ranged dps like mages and hunters as it renders them useless proc - procedure. actually refers to chance on hit / cast abilities, like the windfury attack, blackout, blazing speed, etc pushback - if a caster takes damage while casting, his cast bar is pushed back proportional to the speed of the attack that damaged him. snake traps are particularly nasty for this, although aoe wipes them out very quickly. reset - when both sides decide to allow the other to drink to full again, usually when stealthers are involved. RNG - random number generator. refers to random spells that proc effects (most commonly stuns) that can often win the game; can also refer to the unfortunate tendency for those effects to either proc several times in a row, or proc at the worst possible time (i.e. mace stun on the druid who just shifted out of bear into caster to heal himself). root - any debuff that prevents your character from moving Shoulders - season 3 shoulders, which had a 2k rating requirement, often a sign of skill (but not always) sl/sl - soullink/siphon life, a popular warlock spec that maximizes survivability with soullink and lifedrains snare - any debuff that reduces movement speed spec - specialization, i.e. what talent layout you have; also called a build spoofing - caster technicque to avoid interrupt silences, involves starting a spell cast then cancelling it, hoping the interrupt lands while the caster is not casting, letting the caster cast uninterrupted afterwards. Also called faking or baiting. squishy - easy to kill. Any target wearing pve gear (ie under 200 resilence) is considered squishy. terribad - adv. lacking in skill. also: horribad, scrub, noob trinket - n. Medallion of the Horde / Alliance, a required pvp item that breaks cc once every two minutes. trinket - v. to use the above item to break cc once every two minutes trash buffs - useless buffs which only serve to help prevent more important buffs from being dispelled (breathe water, waterwalk, etc) tunnelvision - to focus on only one target, usually by a melee onto a caster. this occurs for several reasons: 1) it requires concentration for melee to interrupt short cast spells, 2) it can be difficult to see the rest of the battlefield when your so close to one target, and 3) the player is bad 5-9 kiting - a special form of kiting which is still effective, it is used by rogues to stay away from warriors who would otherwise destroy them. since the rogues snare is more powerful than the warriors, they can exploit a peculiar deadzone between 5 and 9 yards away (5 yards is max melee range, 9 yards is minimum intercept range). A typical tactic is or a rogue to inflict a few bleeds on a warrior and then 5-9 kite while the bleeds tick and energy regens [IN THE BEGINNING] GEAR Your very first priority will be to get the pvp honor trinket (use to break any cc). This is hands down the most critical part of any pvp set, and the only piece to be completely universal amongst high level arena players. Then collect as many pieces of gladiator gear (any season) that you can. The two piece bonus of every arena set (+35 resilience) is almost mandatory in arenas; having a high resilience is key to surviving in arenas at almost every level of play. Farming honor gear or using tokens to get season gear is a good way to do this. If you have to prioritize, get the 8k blue honor trinket first: this will give you the most bang for your buck. After that, last season's honor gear is usually a good buy for a decent price; it typically has around 5-10% less stats but costs around 15% less. With two notable exceptions (holy paladins and shadowstep rogues), any class without a decent amount of resilience will quickly get blown apart by any other dps class in the game. This goes double for any cloth classes, because melee crits do double damage (often more) instead of 1.5x, and no resilience cloth classes are among to most fun targets for melee to destroy (warrior: "lol 3k MS crit, that mage has no resilience"). Early goals should be 250 resilience and 8.5k health unbuffed, graduating to about 400 / 10k or more later. Resilience caps out at around 490ish, at -12.5% crit chance and -25% crit damage. Going past this decreases crit chance but NOT crit damage, and is generally not recommended as item budgets are usually better allocated elsewhere, like stam / ap / dmg / healing. Another important thing for cloth wearers to note is that all cloth season 3 arena sets (locks, priests, mages) have roughly double the normal amount of armor. This translates into an extra 4-5% less damage from physical attacks. The more armor you have the better, and with the way Blizz implemented armor, the extra 150 or so armor per piece goes a very long way. Hit rating is also very important. The hit cap for melee in pvp is around 90 hit rating (slightly more than 5%). Especially for warriors, missing is frustrating because it gimps your damage AND your rage, and missed mortal strikes can sometimes mean the match. Missed kidney shots are super extra double frustrating, given the already large amount of stun resist in the game. For casters, the ceiling is slightly lower, around 41 rating (a bit more than 3%). Spell hit is even more important for casters, since they generally cast fewer spells and most have much longer cooldowns. Note that spells will always have at least a 1% miss rate, even with an obscene amount of spell hit. The only class that can get by without hit capping is holy paladins; they have very few offensive spells to speak of, so hit rating is unimportant. Healing classes need spell hit too; disc priests and resto druids in particular spend a lot of time casting burns and cc on opponents. WATER If you have a mana bar, you need to have star's tears, no exception. While virtually useless in the lower brackets, drinking in arenas assumes a monumental importance in the higher brackets, especially for healer/xx teams. ENCHANTS / GEMS Try to have the best you can, but always try to have SOMETHING, especially gem slots. Aside from the meta, green-quality gems cost around 2-4g apiece and provide a very good ability boost for a very low price (in comparison, epic gems have around 75% more stats but cost around 100x more). enchants are slightly more expensive, but good if you can get them. generally speaking, if its purple, it deserves enchants, and everything should be gemmed. The metagem is a different story; many metagems give abilities or combinations of abilities which are very hard to come by. In the early games, the Powerful Earthstorm Diamond (+18 stam / 5%) is a solid choice for any class, as you will generally have low stats in both. Later, when your survivability is much higher, Insightful Earthstorm (+12 int / proc mana gain on cast) and Swift Skyfire (+24ap / speed boost) are very good choices for casters and melee, respectively. +15 resilience to chest is also a fairly low cost chest enchant that is almost universal among high rated players of any class and bracket. Other than that, what stats you gem for depend on your class and spec. Any cloth should gem for stam/resil if they are low on it; cloth classes without resilience die *very* quickly to melee. Physical dps classes (melee and hunters) should gem exclusively for damage; casters should gem for balanced stats, since they face a greater variety of situations. Having an extra 800 hp from gems is nice, but if you happen to not be focused it is wasted stats. Dmg/healing is generally more useful than anything else; once you get full arena gear you'll generally be very close to the resilience cap, and mana regen isn't typically very useful in small amounts unless you're expecting very long games. BASIC STRATEGY Every arena team in every bracket falls into one (sometimes two) of three basic categories: outlast, burst, and control. Outlast teams rely on running the opposing team out of mana, rendering them helpless, then finishing off an opportune target. Burst teams use massive, coordinated dps try to kill one target before they die themselves, letting them gang up on the remaining enemy(s). Control teams use CC and silences to paralyze one or more members of the opposing team while killing another, limiting damage taken and healing done. No one type of team is always better than another, although arenas in general have rock-paper-scissors type combinations in every bracket. Trying to make a team good at all three is futile and generally leads to being deficient in all three. KNOW EACH CLASS Knowing about every class is essential to winning in arenas, so that you can respond to or prevent things that would ordinarily cause you to lose. EX: A warrior(A)/ druid combo goes against a paladin / warrior(B). Warrior(B) is low, and the paladin uses his infamous invincibility bubble to let him heal the warrior without interruption. The druid and warrior(A) have no way of dispelling the bubble or preventing the paladin from casting a heal, so the druid cyclones the warrior, making him immune to everything (including heals) for the duration, and keeps cycloning him until the bubble wears off and the paladin is again susceptable to CC. Warrior WOW's classes are balanced around the warrior; most of the mobs and many of the bosses are essentially warriors with extra abilities and more hp. Virtually worthless by themselves, warriors have good synergy with almost every other class, especially healers. PVP warriors are centered around two abilities, mortal strike and hamstring. They work very well in outlast teams, but are very vulnerable to CC of all kinds except fear. They also have the ability to snare single or multiple targets, and interrupt spell casters. All of the warriors abilities are physical in nature and undispellable. Warriors also scale the most with gear; a fresh 70 warrior with all greens poses little to no threat, but a warrior with full epic gear and the infamous two hand mace inspires fear in almost every cloth wearing class. They have a variety of moves which allow them to zoom across the battlefield; skilled warriors are very hard to defend against. They can also reflect spells on a limited basis, although this is very difficult to use properly, but can quickly turn the tide of battle if they reflect a high damage spell or CC back to its original caster. Warriors (un)fortunately lack any CC moves other than an aoe fear, which is on a long cooldown, and as such are not as effective in control teams. Effective CC can severely limit a warriors damage output, which makes him generally worthless. There are basically only two flavors of warrior: ones who use a sword and ones who use a mace. Sword warriors have a chance to get a free attack anytime they hit something, which makes them capable of random acts of extreme violence. Sword warriors with windfury are especially scary, and should be neutralized at all costs. Mace warriors get a chance to stun the enemy for 3 seconds instead, which is less dangerous but much more annoying. The epic weaponsmith hammers deep thunder / stormherald have an additional chance to proc stun in addition to the normal mace spec stun. Warriors can also gain the ability to have their hamstrings randomly root people for 5 seconds, leading to the viable warrior tactic of "spamstringing" ... mashing hamstring in hopes of either a mace stun or a root proc, either of which is bad with a warrior on you. Mace stun procs at around 9% per hit, and hamstring roots procs at 15%, meaning there's a roughly 1 in 4 chance of at least one proc occuring, and, even if it doesnt, you're still snared. However, both mace stun and hamstring proc have been put on diminishing returns to weaken the effect of spamstringing warriors. Understanding the warriors rage mechanic can help when trying to shut them down. The warriors ability currency (like mana for casters and energy for rogues) is rage, which they gain by either DOING damage with regular swings or RECIEVING damage; a regular swing is characterized as a "white hit" ... the combat log records it in white, as opposed to yellow for special abilities, which do not give rage. Every single warrior ability of note costs a set amount of rage to use. The major reason warriors scale so well with gear is that it not only effects how much damage they do, but also how much rage they get to spend on abilities. Same goes for things like stamina; the more health a warrior has, the more he can afford to be hit (and gain rage) without having to turtle up. Certain warrior talents also increase their damage even further when they are being attacked. With the proper talents, warriors gain 25% extra damage and heal 3% of their health whenever they are crit; 25% extra damage equates to around 25% extra rage. That is why warriors with healbots in battlegrounds can go rampaging around destroying the opposition: they will have nearly limitless rage and do boatloads of extra damage while their healers top them off. Its important to note that rage is NOT gained from reflected damage or hitting damage shields. Abilities like thorns, molten armor, and most importantly, the disc priest talent Reflective shield award the warrior no rage even though he is taking damage. A warrior gains no rage from hitting PW:S, ice shield, voidwalkers Sacrifice ability, etc; if "ABSORBED" comes up in the combat log, the warrior gets no rage. Certain classes can rage starve warriors and limit their dps, notably ice mages and disc priests, but also high armor targets like paladins. However, because of the rage mechanic and a general lack of cooldowns, warriors are virtually the only class whose damage ouput remains the same no matter how long the fight goes on, and in most cases can actually increase. Priest A very versatile and popular class that has two (relatively) viable specs in arena, Discipline and Shadow. Discipline priests are very good mobile healers, hardy and difficult to kill with a large amount of instant cast defensive spells, making them difficult to control with counterspells. While probably the least efficient in terms of healing, discipline priests have the best dps of all the healing casters, and can effectively harass enemy healers with their potent manaburns and dispels, which can cleanse magic debuffs off allies as well as enemies, and even remove immunity effects from enemy paladins and mages. They also have a castable buff which reduces all damage taken by 65% for 6 seconds and is very difficult to dispel. Shadow priests have some of the best burst damage in the game, rivalled only by mages and elemental shamans, and almost all of their destructive potential comes with very short cast times. They also have a ranged silence which does not rely on countering (very important), as well as a short cooldown aoe fear that can be used both offensively and defensively. They can also heal in dire emergencies, although this is clearly a last resort, as very very few shadowpriests will have pushback protection, and a rogue will be able to prevent them from casting solely by autoattacking. Like most casters, priests can be efficiently locked down by melee classes (although to a lesser extent than most), and quickly run out of mana if forced to heal for any extended length of time. Shadowpriests in particular run out of mana very fast, and a large part of their dps comes from dots that can be dispelled, meaning they are particularly suited for burst teams but perform poorly in other compositions. Rogue Probably the most popular arena class in the game, currently, rogues do excellent damage while controlling their target. They have a wide variety of very powerful cooldowns and useful poisons, and can cripple caster classes with 2 stuns, 2 interrupts, 3 mezzes, and snares. They can make themselves nearly immune to either melee or magic, vanish from sight, and mez opponents at range or up close. That being said, the entire strength of rogues lies in their cooldowns, for both offense and defense. if their target is able to survive long enough, the rogue will have nothing left. Having had several viable builds in the past, virtually all rogues are now subtlety with shadowstep, as they gain a great amount of mobility, flexibility from extra cooldowns, while losing burst and very little overall dps. Cheat death is rather godly and allows the rogue a few crucial seconds to escape. Combat rogues generally do higher sustained damage, and have adrenaline rush, which grants them almost limitless energy for 15 seconds, but are much more vulnerable than subtlety / shadowstep rogues. Mutilate has very good burst, especially on cloth, but beyond that is generally weak and extremely vulnerable to snares; mutilate rogues get absolutely trashed by warriors ... its hard to get behind something when you're constantly hamstrung. Druid Ah, druids. At this point in time the most powerful arena class in the game. They have a variety of different forms, each with strengths and weaknesses, and shifting into or out of any of them break all polymorph, snare, and root effects. Bear form does little damage, but can stun and charge on cooldown, and has the most armor in the game. Cat form can stealth and does good damage, but is also weak defensively. They have a travel form which lacks any offense but has greatly increased speed, which makes them very difficult to catch in many cases. They also have a castable root, an aoe channeled heal, casted and instant nukes, can cleanse poisons and curses, and a variety of heals. And then there's cyclone, possibly the most useful pvp spell in the game. It banishes any target for 6 seconds, making them completely immune to any and all spell effects except trinket. This INCLUDES positive spell effects as well as negative spell effects. Paladins cannot bubble out of it. Mages cannot iceblock out of it. BigRed hunters are still immune to it however. Smart druids can find a variety of ways to screw you over with cyclone either offensively or defensively; luckily, it doesnt last as long as other CCs. Restoration druids are among the most versatile (and therefore powerful) healers. They are the only healing class to have a truly useful CC, as well as roots, travel form, a tank form, and a partridge in a pear tree. A lot of their healing comes in the form of HOTs, which are almost all instacast and heal for large amounts over time. This has several advantages and a few glaring drawbacks. Druids often spam a load of HOTs on their target, and then either spend their time CCing, dpsing, or running away to drink and regain mana. However, hots can be dispelled, and often do not heal fast enough if the target has a healing debuff (like mortal strike) on them. Druids do have castable heals, but druids dont like casting as a single counterspell locks out virtually their entire spellbook and prevents them from shapeshifting for a good amount of time, leaving them incredibly vulnerable. In addition, their casted heals are all very mana inefficient, and resto druids generally have a smaller mana pool than other casters. Balance druids are damage dealers, characterized by having yet another form, the moonkin form. It has all the armor of the bear and can cast powerful damaging spells with a higher crit rate, as well as cyclone, but cannot heal. Moonkins can also summon 3 treant enemies which have a fair amount of hp and do good damage. They do burn mana very quickly though, and like most casters can be shut down by a competent rogue, although a solo rogue will find it very difficult to kill a moonkin by himself. Feral druids are also damage dealers, but of a physical sort rather than a caster sort. Feral druids are rare, and generally wear a lot of pve gear to help them do more damage ... and they can do a lot. They dps in catform and have many of the same finishers as rogues but lack many of the useful cooldowns rogues have, namely vanish, cloak of shadows, evasion, and blind. They also, like other melee/caster hybrids, have very poor mana pools, and lack meaningful damage mitigation, so a very useful tactic is to focus the druid in catform and force him to shift out to bear, then ignore him and target something else. His small mana pool means repeated shifting in and out of bear will leave him OOM very quickly, stuck in whatever form he is at the time. While druids are very powerful, a primary weakness is their lack of a large mana pool and the fact that many of their heals and escape abilities are expensive to cast repeatedly. Repeated shifting to escape melee can quickly drain a druids mana pool. If you can limit a druids drinking and dispel his innervate, he can be run out of mana. Also, druids lack a useful aoe anything, meaning they are also more susceptable to dogpiles. Druids have a much easier time running away in the smaller brackets, where there are less opponents to worry about. They also lack a dispel (all other healers have one), which can be partially overcome by judicious use of cyclone. A growing trend in 2v2 is a hybrid build which trades healing power and burst for better dps and greater mana regen from a talent called dreamstate. Dreamstate / Rogue is overtaking Resto / Warr as the dominant 2v2 comp. Paladin Once the champions of pvp healing, O how the mighty have fallen. Paladins are infamous for having two immunity bubbles, one giving total immunity, and one physical only that can be casted on others. The other paladin trademark is the Hammer of Justice, the best ranged stun in the game, but on a rather long cooldown. All paladins possess a number of unique buffs and auras which can greatly enhance the defense and offense of the party, most notably blessing of freedom, which makes the target immune to all roots and snares for the duration. This skill alone made the pally / warrior combination a powerhouse in 2v2s until they gave BoF a cooldown double the duration. Also, paladins have a unique system of buffs called seals which can be "judged" onto opponents for a variety of effects, including damage and a speed limiting snare (very useful against travel formed druids). They also have the powerful ability to remove any magical debuff but curses. Holy paladins are healers in full plate and shield, making them difficult to kill by melee, especially warriors, and have the best mana efficiency and straight healing power. On the flipside, they have only one instant heal, which is terribly inefficient and on a cooldown, they have no offensive abilites to speak of, making them bait for other casters with longer ranged spells (which is all of them). Due to this reliance on casted heals, they can be pressured into casting out in the open, where they are vulnerable to CC, counterspells, and manaburn, forcing them to bubble to get uninterrupted healing. However, against teams with very little CC (or with teams that can counter it), the paladin's massive healing can become a very difficult or even insurmountable obstacle to overcome. Commonly, paladins function best with melee, who can prevent casters from harassing him, or with warlocks, who annoy the crap out of casters with curse of tongues and fear. Retribution paladins are a different cut from the same cloth. They have extreme melee burst, with an instant attack, a ranged gouge, a much shorter HoJ cooldown, along with all the useful paladin buffs that holy paladins have. They work very well with warriors; warriors provide a healing debuff, snares, and armor penetration, while retpals provide extra burst, controllable stuns, and protection from snares and roots. Toss in a shaman for windfury totem and paladins can do astronomical amounts of damage in a very, very short amount of time. One major deficiency with ret paladins is they lack any mobility skills, such as intercept or shadowstep. The other major flaw with paladins is their small mana pool, roughly 50% of an equivalent holy paladin. Once the retpal runs out of mana he loses all his burst and most of his functionality. He also is rather susceptable to fear, especially, which is something that rogues and warriors are not generally worried about. Be aware: holy paladins CAN put out a decent amount of burst, but it requires him to blow a good amount of cooldowns and possibly a bit of setup. With judgement of the crusader and sanctity aura, a holy shock / judged righteousness seal can do about 2.5k, possibly followed by hammer of wraths, but the crusader judgement is a dead giveaway that burst is incoming. Warlocks For the longest time considered one of the most overpowered classes, warlocks are now somewhat underrepresented in the high end arenas due to various weaknesses, most of them revolving around melee. Warlocks have a high amount of hp but generally the lowest armor of all the cloth wearing classes (and, by extension, all the classes in the game). They have a wide array of damage spells, ranging from instacast dots to hard nukes, as well as a castable fear AND aoe fear, an instacast nuke that both heals the warlock and CCs the target for 2 seconds. They also have several demon minions, one of which is useless in pvp. The most useful is the felhound or felpuppy, which can dispel, counterspell, and has high spell resistances. The voidwalker has very high armor and hp, but negligible attack power, and can be sacrificed by the warlock to give him a powerful damage shield. The felguard is a demonic humanoid which has good hp and the most damage of all the pets, as well as a warrior-like charge which also stuns, but has much less armor than the voidwalker. The last of note is the succubus, which can hide invisible and can CC with a channeled charm effect, but has very little armor and hp to speak of. Aside from pets, warlocks also can drain health and mana over time, which can become important in long games as well as help keep the warlock alive. They also possess the unique ability to convert health into mana, which means a warlock with enough heals never runs out of mana. Demonology locks, currently the most popular pvp spec, are extra hardy. Their defining talent, soul link, transfers a portion of the damage the warlock takes to his pet instead. The warlock also get buffs depending on what pet he has out at the time, the most useful of which is the voidwalkers protection against physical damage. Soul link will not function when the pet is dead, so the healer must occasionally heal the pet as well, but the warlock can fast summon another one once every 5 minutes. Most demonology locks spam dots on all targets while fearing healers and nuking whenever they have the chance. Unfortunately, warlocks have a hard time against melee who can effectively pummel their casts, leaving them with only instacast dots as a method of dealing damage, which can be dispelled. Affliction locks have much more potent dots that are harder to dispel, as well as an extra nasty surprise: unstable affliction, a powerful dot that does a huge amount of damage to whoever dispels it, and silences them to boot. Crits of over 6k are possible with a well geared lock and a no-resilience dispeller. In addition, affliction locks get an instacast aoe fear and more potent drains, as well as the possibility for instacast shadowbolts on dot ticks. Damage output overtime is incredibly high, as an unhindered affliction lock can drop full dots on a target and spam nukes for even more additional damage. However, a single rogue can limit the locks damage output, and an affliction lock has much less damage reduction than a demonology one. Destruction locks are the burst damage to afflictions sustained. They have faster casting, harder hitting nukes with surprising burst damage, as well as a aoe nuke with a very short cast (.5 seconds) that stuns, which is helpful in helping the lock survive. Melee hits on a destro lock have a high chance of proccing Backlash, which makes the next shadowbolt or incinerate instant cast; these instacast nukes hurt. In addition, they can randomly become immune to all fire and shadow effects, making them perfect for killing other warlocks, fire mages, and shadow priests. However, destro locks must be able to cast unhindered to really maximize their fearsome damage output, and fall quickly to focus fire. Shamans Shamans possess some of the most potent offensive buffs in the game, no matter what spec. Heroism / bloodlust increases attacking AND casting speed by 20% ... for the whole party ... for 20 seconds (but it can be dispelled). They have strong casted nukes, a travel form (not quite as good as a druids), a ranged interrupt on a 6 second cooldown, heals, a proc shield that grants mana regen and mana back on hit, a powerful offensive dispel, and totems. Totems are 5hp castable minions who dont move and give various buffs and debuffs. These range from fairly useless (stoneclaw, windwall) to ridiculously powerful (windfury, grounding), although most have some situational use. The totems are divided into 4 elements, earth, fire, water, and air, and only one of any particular element can be down at a time. Mastery of various totems is the hallmark of a good shaman, and the complexity of the totem system makes shaman one of the more difficult classes to play well in arenas, if not THE most difficult, particularly restoration shamans. Some useful totems include: earthbind - (E) pulses every few seconds for a powerful AOE snare poison cleansing - (W) removes one poison effect per pulse strength of earth - (E) greatly increases strength tremor - (E) pulses an aoe that breaks charm, sleep, and fear grounding - (A) redirects one harmful spell to the totem every 9 seconds unless destroyed wrath of air - (A) greatly increases spell dmg windfury - (A) gives weapons chance to proc a free attack with extra damage healing stream - (W) slowly heals health Totems have several interesting properties which are of note. First, they cannot be AOEd, so dont think about killing them with one arcane explosion. Second, the beneficial totems ignore LOS ... if you're in range, you get the buff. Third, totems can be killed with one hit from anything, since they only have 5 hp. That means casters can melee / wand them, pets, rank 1 instants, etc. Oftentimes the shaman may not notice one of his totems is dead in the heat of battle, or be too busy to spend a global to replace it. Smart shamans often hide their totems behind pillars, under bridges, in cracks so they are harder to find (and kill). Restoration shamans have the most mana and gain a powerful new shield, earthshield, which heals the target on hit and prevents spell pushback for the duration. Unfortunately, earthshield is often easily dispelled since shamans have no other buffs to protect it. They also gain nature's swiftness thats identical to the druids version, as well as better heals and pushback resistance. Since they wont be meleeing, resto shamans use a shield, which raises their armor slightly higher than an equivalent warrior without a shield. However, shamans have NO instacast heals (only NS), no HOTs, no defensive dispel, and no CC, although they still have all the useful buffing totems as well as a spammable interrupt and good burst damage, in a pinch. Elemental shamans are the kings of burst damage. They revolve around lightning spells, with increased damage, cast rate, and crit, and an unhindered pewpew shaman with even mediocre gear can put out an impressive amount of damage. They can also heal in a pinch, since most elemental shamans spend some points in resto for NS. The major weakness of elemental shamans is that they have no inherent pushback protection for their offensive spells, meaning any melee (especially rogues) can limit their dps to almost nothing. Enhancement shamans are much like retpaladins, in that they share the same weaknesses of small mana pool and no mobility moves. Unlike ret paladins, shamans have a ranged snare (but no blessing of freedom) and get a cooldown which reduces damage taken and regains mana with melee hits. They are, however, more brittle than most other classes and are generally incapable of offhealing (no spell damage, little mana) and so must be protected. Mages After shamans, mages are probably the most difficult to play well, depending on the team you are facing. Unfortunately for mages, there is really only one build: full frost. The problem with mages is that they have very few damage mitigating spells, few ways to damage enemies without casting, and few ways to keep enemies from LOSing them. Full frost solves most of these problems: frost mages gain a damage shield (mana shield simply does not count), an elemental pet, improved slowing and freezing, and greatly increased crit on frozen enemies, as well as greatly increased crit damage. The other mage trees do not offer any substantially higher burst (although they do offer better sustained damage) and none of the survivability of the frost tree. Nothing attracts more dps in arenas than a fire mage because they a) cant do anything when attacked, and b) cant get away reliably. Melee hate frost mages. Hitting a frost mage often snares you, and sometimes roots you as well. They have an instant aoe root, and any time they land a spell on you while you are rooted, you take lots of damage. They have an aoe snare (which can also root). A damaging, relatively fast cast nuke, which snares (and also can root). In fact, every single snare has a chance to turn into a root. They also have an instacast nuke, icelance, which does relatively modest damage, unless the target is rooted, in which case it does triple damage, and more often than not, crits. You can see where im going with this. As an added benefit, rooted enemies also cant LOS the mage. Luckily, mages only have one guaranteed root, frost nova, which is an aoe centered on the mage, and on a non spammable cooldown. Plus, roots are dispellable! That isnt so bad, right? You're only partially right. The 41st mage talent lets them summon a water elemental, who not only can spam cast frost bolts with the same properties as the mage (snare, chance to root, etc), but can also cast a ranged frost nova. Which gave birth to the infamous shatter combo. Mage summons water elemental, mage + water elemental cast frost bolt, mage casts icelance, water elemental casts ice nova. Both bolts and icelance hit a split second after the ice nova freezes the target in place, with roughly a 75% chance for each to crit, with +100% crit damage. If everything crits (which it likely will), the frostbolts will do around 3.5 damage (and yes, this is against full resilience targets), the icelance will do about 1.5k, and the nova will hit for a little extra. So, 5k damage in about 4 seconds. Additionally, if you're unlucky, the frost nova wont break on damage, or the frostbolts will proc ANOTHER root, and the mage can do it all over again for another 5k damage. With some communication, it is easily possible for another burst class (elemental shaman, destro luck, shadow priest) to add their burst and time it so that the target goes from full health to completely dead instantly. Luckily, this doesnt happen all that often. First of all, the shatter combo is less guaranteed than it sounds. The icelance and frostbolt fly at slightly different speeds, and its difficult to get them to hit at exactly the same time, which means that the target might not get crit with all the nukes. Second, most players will not allow their teammates to be nuked to oblivion so easily, and will do everything they can to prevent a full shatter combo from coming out. Attacking or cc-ing either the mage OR his pet will ruin the combo, since you need both working together to do the insane burst. A counterspell or interrupt on the pet will lock out its spellcasting, preventing it from freezing the target in place at the proper time. Also, the target needs to be in LOS for the duration of the casting. More likely, the opposing team will make the mage its primary target, meaning he will be too busy running for his life to think about setting up the combo in the first place. Aside from all this crazy shatter business, mages have other important spells which can help. The first is polymorph, which turns the target into a sheep. Luckily, the mage can only have one target sheeped at a time, and a sheeped target heals to full health within a few seconds. They can blink, which teleports them 20 yards in front of them, and breaks all stuns and roots, also very useful. They can steal buffs from a target, the most useful of which are blessing of freedom, earthshield, and blessing of protection, although this is expensive manawise. They have a long range counterspell which locks out spell schools for 8 seconds, which can be an eternity in a fast paced arena match. Lastly, they can cast a buff which either amplify or dampen the amount of magical damage or healing a party member takes. Against melee heavy teams its often very useful to increase the amount of healing they would take (vice versa for magic heavy teams). Fire mages have better dps over time with an important burst ability: presence of mind (POM). POM allows any spell once every 2 minutes to be instacast, leading to large burst, but they suffer greatly from survivability issues. Their one talented escape ability is a proc that removes snares and roots and gives them a short 60% movement speed increase, but is somewhat unreliable and wont always save you. They also have a fire based cone aoe which also mezzes for 3 seconds, which lets the mage get another cast off. Fire mages are capable of very good damage but the loss of more powerful snares and ice shield means they die very quickly, although a fireball -> pom pyro -> fireblast combo is probably the highest burst dps in the game outside of extremely lucky windfury / sword spec procs (around 6k damage all at once, about 10k if everything crits, which is unlikely). There are some mutilate / pom pyro 2v2 teams which have some insane burst; they just sheep / sap / blind / silence something and blow it up in the space of about 5 seconds. However, a lucky warrior can manage to reflect ALL THREE spells if he times it right, which is usually very unfortunate for the casting mage. Mages synergize well with other classes who can root or snare easily, helping immobilize targets for nuking and peeling opponents off the mage, giving him room to cast. Rogues are especially useful for this. Mages are also often the cornerstone of control teams, since they can sheep, root, and counterspell. Mages work poorly in outlast teams, because sheep breaks on mana drain and mages go through their mana pool too quickly to be useful in the long term, unless they can sneak away to get drinks, which is unlikely. Hunters Hunters are like ranged warriors. They have a hamstring, a ranged MS, relatively high armor and high HP. They have strong attacks and many instant attacks (including one which dispels buffs), but at full dps run out of mana very quickly and lose a lot of functionality. They do, however, regen it fairly quickly when dry thanks to one of their many aspects (like paladin auras). They have a pet, which adds a bit of dps but aren't as generally useful as the warlock pets. They also have stings, which function like a warlocks curses but are poisons, one of which deserves particular mention: viper sting. Its a DOT that drains mana instead of health and can be reapplied every 15 seconds, and many arena hunters revolve around using this skill, even going so far as to pick pets with poison to help protect vipersting from being dispelled. They also gain aimed shot, which hits hard and applies an MSish healing debuff. There are only really two hunter specs of note, a burst type and an outlast/drain type. One benefit of hunters is that they cannot be counterspelled and do not suffer from spell pushback; one drawback is that all their damage is mitigated by armor. They also have a useful variety of traps which trigger when an enemy passes close enough; one mesmerizes an opponent, one creates a huge slick of ice which snares (and is undispellable), another makes a crowd of stinging vipers which inflict various poisons. Lastly, they have flare, which uncovers any stealthers in a given area. Beastmastery hunters gain the infamous BigRedPet(TM). It greatly increases the damage of both the pet AND the hunter while making both immune to ANY debilitating status effects (cc, snare, root but not dots). The damage output during bigred is very scary, but they burn through mana quickly as well, and arent generally as dangerous if you can survive the bigred (LOSing the hunter is usually a very good idea). Bigred is cancelled if the pet dies, so killing the pet is a viable tactic, which has the added benefit of making the BM hunter fairly useless, as a great many of his other useful skills rely on it (intimidation makes his pet's attack stun, and hunters gain health regen while their pet is alive). Marksman hunters mainly get a large increase to viper sting drain, which makes it even more annoying for casters (especially priests and mages), improved damage (unlike the burst of the BM hunters) and scattershot, the hunters only point blank shot, which inflicts minor damage and mezzes the target for 4 seconds, usually followed by a immediate CC trap. They also get silencing shot, which, surprise, surprise, silences the target for 4 seconds, though its on a longish cooldown. Its not unheard of for hunters to vipersting a caster then immediately silencing shot, so the drain cant be immediately removed. Survival hunters are extremely rare in arenas, since their 41 point talent is extremely underpowered. The early points in survival offer some useful bonuses to traps and melee, as well as a very significant buff to health. Entrapment is a particularly annoying talent that procs root on trap effects. So if the hunter drops a snare trap, the people in the snare area will be further rooted for 4 seconds, sometimes consecutively. A common tactic for hunter / paladin against melee teams is for the hunter to drop a snare trap and have the paladin BoF him; the hunter then dances around his trap all day long while the melee stuck inside get peppered by his arrows, unable to catch up. The two major problems with hunters that are somewhat easily exploited is their minimum range and LOS. Hunters cannot shoot things that are too close (within melee range). When the hunter is trying to kill melee, especially a warrior or rogue, an effective way to reduce his dps is to simply start beating the stuffing out of him. While a hunter's snares are typically strong, he cannot reapply his MS shot without range, and his melee damage is generally pitiful. The other problem is the same as a casters: many times the target can simply run out of LOS to avoid damage. The most common tactic against BM hunters is for the entire team to run away and hide until the BM wears off. A rogue stunning the target or a frost mage rooting / snaring it in place is very helpful. DUELLING Duelling outside of Ogrimmar (or Ironforge, for you nasty alliance) is a good way to learn the basics of other classes. You will quickly get a good idea of how much damage you take from other classes, how other classes counter your abilities. Don't expect to win many matches; certain classes just flat out beat others in duels. Warriors generally lose to most other classes in duels because they have a small amount of powerful cooldowns (deathwish, intimidating shout) whereas other classes like rogue or mage have many useful cooldowns. The point behind duelling is not so much learning how to beat other classes as it is getting used to what they might do to you in arenas, and maybe how to counter them. For example, warriors fighting frost mages will almost always lose, but you can get a fairly good idea of when a large burst is incoming and maybe how to survive longer against a frost mage. He brought his pet out? He's trying for a shatter combo, better pull out a shield and try to reflect some of that incoming damage. He blink everytime you intercept him? After intercept, immediately turn around and start running behind, you can get a headstart on him
because there's a slight lag in movement after blink. Learning little tricks like this will help in arenas in the long run. PICKING TEAM MEMBERS The first question you have to ask yourself is how far you want to go. There are essentially only four goals to shoot for: 1600, 1700, 2050, 2200. If you're going for #1 rank you probably wouldnt be reading this FAQ, as your skill level is probably higher than my own. If you just want points, spam trade chat for a partner(s) and go have fun. If you want higher than that, prepare to work for it, as there are many other people who are shooting for the same goals you are. As for actually finding partners, the first place to look is friends and guild. They will likely be around your skill level and more inclined to take the team seriously. Plus, you will usually have a ventrilo server available for use, which is always a good idea. The WOW ingame voice chat is not very good, but will do in a pinch. You should also try and figure out what kind of team you can make with what you have: burst, control, or outlast. I'll talk about the different brackets as well as some effective teams that I've seen, although I've seen some surprisingly off the wall combinations that can work well, if only because people are unfamiliar with them. The ideal team members are those who are flexible, willing to try different tactics, and both give and recieve advice well. Avoid at all costs those "1337" players who think they know everything, never take any blame for losses, and refuse to listen or do anything differently. Good arena teams learn new tactics all the time, and if you can't keep up with changing circumstances you're quickly going to end up losing to teams you were beating easily just a few games before. BRACKETS 2v2 is generally the least favorite bracket, as the small team size means that every team has a vulnerability that can be exploited, leading to a rock/paper/scissors arrangement. Classes with CC are generally more prized than others, as 2v1 situations are more powerful than 3v2 or 5v4 in the upper brackets. The best dueling classes are often the best in 2v2 as well, although this is not always true. Warriors and druids are not awesome dueling classes, but together they form one of the most powerful 2v2 teams. My personal experience is best in the 2v2 bracket (i have the luxury of playing two good arena classes and had 2.1k rated 2v2 teams for both) so that's where we'll start. 2v2 TEAMS - there's only two types of basic teams here HEALER / DPS - druids dominate due to their ability to run away and drink to regain mana easily as well as CC Dru / War - the most popular and widespread because a warrior is hard to kill, has ms, and can snare opponents, letting the druid drink Dru / Lock - locks are hard to kill, almost never run out of mana, and can fear; trouble against rogue teams, strong against drain / cc teams Dru / Hunt - fire and forget mana drain as well as multiple CCs mean headaches for healer / melee teams, particularly priest teams Dru / Rog - like dru / warr except more control and less longevity; the new Dru / Warr, as many top teams now use this setup Disc / rog - good against double dps teams, much less effective against warrior teams because of efficiency issues and constant snares Pal / Warr - great against melee teams (im looking at you, rog/rog), much less great against caster teams that can lock down the paladin, particularly spriest/ualock Sham / warr - very offensive team that lacks dispels, the shaman makes or breaks this team; he needs to prevent as much CC as possible DPS / DPS - virtually every single successful double dps team has a rogue in it, because they can lock down a target while killing it. The strat for every double dps team is the same: control one target while blowing up another. Rog / Mage - sheep one target, blow up another; good against dru/warr Rog / Lock - fear one target, blow up another; good against most other double dps and druid teams Rog / Spriest - silence one, blow up the other; decent against double dps, due to priests ability to offheal Rog / Rog - one rogue is good, why not two? good against druid teams, controlling two rogues is next to impossible. Paladins are a very hard counter to this all melee team, however. Spriest / lock - the odd man out among double dps teams, has dots galore, very powerful against warr / dru, almost autoloss against rogue teams, although, again spriest can offheal. Can either dps one / cc another or simply overwhelm the healer with multitarget damage, although this won't work against disc / rog, which is very difficult to beat 3v3 TEAMS - in general, you can take any successful 2v2 team, add a third class which fills a vulnerability, and have a strong 3v3. probably the most balanced bracket, without the easy instagibs of 5v5 or as much of the rock/paper/scissors layout of 2v2, although the vast majority of top teams fall into one of two makeups. DPS / DPS / DPS - virtually no good triple dps teams, as rogues can ruin them very quickly Rogue / BM Hunter / Shadowpriest - can gib the priest in PMR very quickly, as the rogue and hunter can be immune to CC for a short while DPS / DPS / HEALER - the most popular format for 3v3, very balanced, probably the most fun bracket Priest / Mage / Rog - PMR or RMP, very strong and versatile, has dispels, cc, burst, manaburn; top tier - 50% of all 2200+ 3v3s are PMR Rog / Warr / Dru - RWD, can completely lock down one target while CCing another; devastating against casters, problems with paladins. another top tier team - 30% of all 2200+ 3v3s are RWD Rog / Lock / Dru - RLD, like RWD, trades one melee for fears and dots; slightly weaker than RWD, but better against paladins Rsham / Warr / Retpal - not the best, but certainly fun; trades CC for immense amounts of melee burst; shaman makes or breaks this team Pal / afflock / spriest - stresses healers with powerful dots and UA, while pally BoPs and BoFs; healy priests can make this hard with PoM Sham / afflock / spriest - same as pal/lock/spr but trades blessings for earthshield and burst; can produce problems for RWD DPS / HEALER / HEALER - a warrior dominated comp, although locks can be successful; with only one dps, all your games will be long, though. War / Priest / Dru - three hard to kill classes, powerful instant heals / HOTs, CC, manaburn, MS, and dispels (Lock / Hunter) / Priest / Dru - generally not as good as Warr teams because locks and hunters have a harder time killing things afterwards. Pets help stop healers from drinking, however. Warr / restosham / holypal - another good makeup, the major failing of this comp is a lack of CC and manaburns, although damage output is certainly higher 5v5 TEAMS - too many comps to list here, there are only a few popular ones TRIPLE HEALER - an outlast team, usually warr/warr or warr/rogue with rsham / rdru and either pally or disc priest CONTROL - mage/lock/dru/rog with either paladin or priest, the mage/lock/dru rotate cc on three targets while the rogue kills one Eurocomp - PMR + Dru/lock - one of two popular 5v5 makeups, they rotate fear/ sheep/cyclone on three targets, manaburn a healer, and dps something. Its almost impossible to get more control than this. DRAIN - virtually non existant now thanks to major changes (resilience affects mana drain) 4 DPS - bad against teams with disc priests and / or control teams, but excellent against most other kinds of teams BALANCED - doesnt fall into one of the above categories, 5 members allows a good amount of versatility without being generally useless 2345 - warr / mage / elesham / disc priest / hpaladin. The PMR of 5v5. Two offensive dispels, two defensive dispels, on demand burst, manaburns. Short on CC, however, and mostly reliant on caster dps. CRUNCH TIME Ok, the gong sounds and you have an arena match. In the prep area, the first thing you have to do is buff each and every member with every available buff you have. You want the buff bar as full as you can possibly manage (excluding buffs with cooldowns, obviously), so include even things that are technically worthless in arenas, like water breathing. The more buffs you have, the less chance an enemy dispel or purge has to remove something more useful, like fortitude or arcane int. Shamans should plant four totems at the start, particularly windfury, which pulses a 9 second weapon buff. Resto shammies should drop wrath of air totem BEFORE earthshielding someone to make it slightly stronger. Mages should feel free to amplify magic the entire party; it can always be manually removed if the enemy team is high in caster dps, and will be beneficial if all the opposing dps is melee (its like a free 150 healing). Priests and druids should drop hots and shields about 10 seconds before they start, and everyone should either enter the arena stealthed or on their mount. THE FIRST TEN SECONDS The first thing to do is to figure out what you're facing. You may not see anything at all: that means a team full of stealthers or some shadowmelded priests in the starting area. Often times you'll see at least one target, and then you can inspect his buffs to see what you're going to be facing. You can usually tell the exact makeup / type of team you'll be facing from the buffs alone. Here's a short list of buffs / equipment which are useful to note: Arcane Int - mage Molten Armor - fire / arcane mage (should automatically be the first target) Ice Barrier - frost mage Power Word : Fortitude, Shadow Resistance - priest Divine Spirit - disc priest, watch for manaburns Shadowform - shadow priest (likely a burst team) Thorns, Mark of the Wild - druid Leader of the Pack - feral druid (important - probably a burst team) Battle Shout / Commanding Shout - warrior Trueshot Aura - marksman hunter (probably a drain or outlast team) Spirit Bond - beastmastery hunter (99% chance its a burst team) Earthshield - resto shaman shaman with no shield - enhancement shaman paladin with two hander - ret paladin Soul link - demonology warlock no buffs - shaman, rogue Many times you can tell what spec a mana-using class is by how much mana they have, although this is really only useful in some cases: Frost Mage < 10k mana < arcane / Pom mage enhancement shaman < 6k < elemental < 10k < restoration retribution paladin < 7k < holy / healing feral druid < 6k < restoration / balance druid shadow / holy priest < 10k mana < disc priest Warlocks and hunters generally have the same mana pool no matter what spec, but there are buff related clues that are usually present. The only real important distinction which cannot be determined is between affliction locks and destruction locks, and destruction locks are exceedingly rare in arenas. Between mana pool and buffs you can determine the spec of virtually every class in the arena given enough time. So, lets say you're in 3v3s, and you can target a priest. The priest has divine spirit (he's disc), all the usual priest buffs, arcane intellect (he has a mage around), and that's it. The mage isnt around, but he's probably invisible, and we know he's there because of the arcane int. The last class doesn't give buffs, which mean shaman or rogue, and since there are no totems and shamans can't stealth, the last class is probably a rogue, which means the team you're facing is probably PMR. In another 3v3 case, a lone warrior comes out, and nothing else is visible. He's got mark and roots (druid), and commanding shout (from himself) and nothing else. It could be another druid, which would mean either war/ feraldru/restodru (unlikely, since there's no leader of the pack) or war/resto/ resto (very unlikely, DR makes two of one CC class generally bad). More likely, it's a rogue, which means rog/warr/dru, another popular comp. As you gain more experience in different brackets the popular setups become more familiar, and you can immediately equate a lone warrior in 3v3s with RWD or a lone priest with PMR. Identifying comps becomes more important with off the wall makeups you don't see often, or comps with the same classes but different specs. Retpal/warr/restosham is a completely different fight than Hpal/warr/restosham or even Hpal/warr/enhancesham, for example. PLANNING A STRATEGY Picking a Target Once you've figured out what you're fighting, you can choose a target. 90% of the time, its best to focus your dps on one target so it dies quickly and you gain a permanent advantage. There are two things to think of when picking a target, a) will it die quickly and b) will it be useless when focused? For example, most casters are useless when focused on by melee, especially rogues; warriors are often forced to go into defensive stance and shield when focused by casters, limiting their dps. Be aware that certain combinations can be very slippery or resilient targets, mostly in regards to paladins. Melee Targets mages - usually a priority target, preventing as many sheeps as possible is vital; they also have trouble doing significant damage without casting, which can be interrupted. since mages have CC, CS, AND good dps, piling on the mage can really reduce pressure on your team. shadow priests - can easily be shut down by melee, since they lack passive spell pushback protection and most of their dps requires casting; also, they lack escape methods other than an aoe fear on cooldown. they are more durable than other cloth casters, but stripped of their buffs they are probably the easiest for melee to kill. warlocks - very similar to mages, except they can do more damage without casting, but have a harder time getting away (no roots). fear is almost as potent a cc as sheep is, sometimes more so elemental shamans - high armor, but also lacking in spell pushback protection, their high dps is severely stunted when being hit; leaving an elemental shaman free to pewpew is generally not a very good idea hunters - keeping a hunter snared is one of the best ways to protect your clothie partners from being a pincushion Caster Targets warriors - most warriors dps in berserk stance, which gives them higher crit and a spell interrupt, but which also means 10% more damage from everything. their high armor doesnt help at all against spells, and warriors who go to defensive stance and turtle up do much less damage and have a harder time snaring things. smart warriors will also intervene a healer and/or do anything to get out of LOS paladins - paladins are even more helpless against casters, and can only run and hide for the most part. bubble makes them immune to everything, but if it's mass dispelled the paladin is in deep trouble, especially if he's in pve gear Hunters - a soso target, they can scattershot or silencing shot casters, but if focused can only feign death and hope for someone to bail them out. be warned ... if you can nuke them, they can pepper you with arrows, and hunters generally tear through cloth. HARD TARGETS disc priest w/ paladin healer - paladins heal for a lot, disc priests get extra healing and can dispel cc off their paladin, and take less damage, especially from spells (up to 22% less). resto druids / hunters w/ paladins - blessing of freedom helps the two best kiting classes kite even better rogues w/ druids - cheat death + CloS + vanish + HOTs = full life rogue from the brink of death. only thing that helps here is bleeds to knock them out of stealth mages/paladins w/ no mass dispel - 5 seconds of healing and they're at full life again Warriors w/ 2 or more healers - warriors can turtle up and take much less damage from everything, even spells. whenever there are more healers than warriors, the warrior is NOT the best target. THE PLAN Once you pick a target, the rest of your team should be deciding what to do. Mages will often sheep one target, watch another to counterspell, and dps the main target. Druids will heal and cyclone / root a target. Disc priests will clean (completely dispel) the main target and move close to a healer to fear them, healing when necessary. This can change depending on what kind of team you'll be facing. Against a burst team, splitting dps is often a good strategy that makes it hard for the other team to coordinate a good burst; in this case healers might concentrate more on keeping their teammates alive and avoiding cc rather than playing more aggressive. Communication is key; nothing ruins CC faster than having an accidental DOT on the target. Make it clear whats supposed to happen so that CC isnt accidentally broken. Its imperative that you all know what the target is: splitting DPS is NEVER a good idea unless your stated goal is to prevent the enemy from doing something. For example, a generic 3dps/2 healer team will often split dps against a 4dps burst team so that they cannot effectively coordinate the burst. The same team might also split dps against a control team to prevent effective cc rotations. Some things that should almost always be done at the start: Priests - dispel the main target, especially other priests, mages, and warlocks. manaburn, particularly paladins (ret most of all), mages, shadowpriests, and druids. Mages - sheep a DPS (healer if you're a burst team), set a healer on focus for counterspells Shamans - plant totems in a good spot (behind the tomb in ruins, for example), and purge spam primary target until clean Warriors - hamstring and MS, maybe piercing howl or demoshout to knock things out of stealth Rogues - sap something, usually a priest, paladin, or other rogue Druids - stealth to a good area; faerie fire rogues, CC warriors Hunters - flare and take pot (arcane) shots at whatever you can before the fight really starts Paladins - consecrate if there's stealthers about, look pretty if not Countering the Opponents Since you know what the opponent has, you can also figure out what they're going to do an counter it. Obviously, mages are going to be sheeping something; either be prepared to dispel very quickly or plant someone on the mage to hamper his ability to cast. Disc priests are going to be mana burning, shamans will be interrupting and healing, warlocks will be dotting and fearing, etc, etc. Target all the opponents and see what THEY are targetting; it'll give you a good idea of what they're going to gib and should give the healers on your team a bit of advance notice. Everyone will always have to be on the lookout for a couple of things, at the very least: Warriors - keep as many things as you can snared; if you're near a lot of red, piercing howl. If there's a lot of red around you and something is in trouble, fear. Disarm other melee, demo shout / TC as well if you can spare the time. Rogues - blind can be handy in peeling things off your teammates, and you might as well try and sap it afterwards if they dont trinket the blind Shamans - shock those CC spells, flash grounding totems, drop poison cleansing and earthbind if there are rogues/hunters around Druids - roots/cyclones on melee; abolish rogue poisons / viperstings. dispelling curse of tongues is very vital as well Mages - CC like mad, dispel curse of tongues, CS the healers Hunters - keep pets on healers so they cant drink, unless you're BM. Vipersting like mad, scattershot to help your teammates survive Paladins - be ready to BoP and heal; dispel everything, especially cc Priests - fear can buy a moment of freedom to act for your team; dispel everything, especially cc. BE PREPARED TO FAST MASS DISPEL ICEBLOCK. Warlocks - curse of tongues every priest, shaman, and paladin POSITIONING Now that you have a basic plan, its time to put it into action. You see your target across the arena, so you ride forth to do battle with the enemy, wading in their midst and dealing death with sword and spell! Right? WRONG! Melee may do that, but then again, they have to be close to the enemy to do damage anyway. Casters should find the nearest obstacle and be prepared to hump it like a dog in heat. Druids and paladins especially should get adept at pillarhumping; druids can HOT and flee with impunity, and paladins must use LOS to evade CC since they have no counters to it. Positioning is a very difficult concept to explain, but in general, hug CORNERS; corners will allow you to LOS things with minimal movement. Also, you dont need to move very far to break LOS; the less time you spend moving, the more time you can spend casting and other useful things, like drinking. Healers need to move with their dps (important with melee) and communicate if they feel too exposed, although it is the melee's target that determines the positioning. Making your party a raid and putting symbols on all your teammates can help, as the symbols are visible from any distance, although some people might find the large symbols distracting. One consistant problem is melee running around the corner out of LOS of their healers and getting gibbed by a fast target switch. This is partially the melee's fault; they should know when they are going out of LOS. However, melee often find it very difficult to know where their teammates are because they have a very restricted view of the battlefield in most cases, being in the front lines on the opposite side of the field in most cases, often facing away from their healers. Healers should not be afraid to yell "DONT MOVE" or "STOP LOSING ME YOU IDIOT" at their melee in vent (haw haw), especially if they are casting a big heal and their partner is chasing something around a corner. This can also apply to caster teammates who are vigorously trying to pillar hump something and end up pillar humping their healer as well. The pillars in Nagrand are perfect for humping; they have been used by so many druids there are probably some weird mutant druid/pillar hybrid babies somewhere. Druids like ruins of Lordaeron much less; the pillars are much smaller and less satisfying. DPSING You may be tempted to blow your whole load at once (im looking at you, POM mages) but you should really save your cooldowns for a sure kill. This doesnt apply so much for rogues, but for disc priests, resto shams, and other offhealers with burst on cooldowns, and other POM/NS type instacast cooldowns. Melee especially should try to save rage/energy/globals for interrupts, because you'll do a lot less dps when you're sheeped. This is especially difficult for warriors, who generally are using every available global, but try to restrain yourself: you're a steady dps class, not a crazy burst class. Dpsing for each class is very individual and im not going to go into specifics as to the best DOT rotation or sequence of finishers, you should be able to figure this out on your own. The general rule is: don't blow your wad unless something is going to die. The best time to burst is when the healer is CCed or counterspelled for the first time (8 seconds) and noone on your team is CCed. DIMINISHING RETURNS Diminishing returns was put into the game to reduce the power of CC in PVP. With no diminishing returns, mages could easily keep one target sheeped forever while he (and his teammates) blew up the rest of your party. All CC in the game is capped out at 8 seconds, except for freezing trap, which for some reason lasts 10 seconds. If the same type of CC is applied to a target before 15 seconds elapses, then that CC lasts only half as long. So, if you sheep something, and then resheep it just before it breaks, the new sheep lasts only 4 seconds instead of a full 8 seconds. Another consecutive cast of sheep will have halved duration again, for 2 seconds, and thereafter the target will be immune for 15 seconds, after which you can resheep and start the cycle over. Note that since cyclone only lasts 6 seconds, it follows 6/3/1.5 ... the last cyclone doesnt last very long at all, you might want to skip it and go straight to roots. Each debuff with DR falls into a certain category, and any debuff in that category triggers the DR. For example, a warrior charges and stuns a mage for 1 second, but the mage blinks, so the warrior then intercepts the mage. Intercept stun usually lasts 3 seconds, but since it shares the same category DR as charge, it only lasts half as long, for 1.5 seconds. Here's a list of most of the categories: - NON PROC stuns (charge, intercept, cheap shot, hammer of justice, etc) EXCEPT kidney shot - kidney shot (not applicable unless there's more than one rogue around, since KS cooldown is longer than DR reset) - PROC stuns (mace stun, blackout, druids starfire stun, etc) - cyclone / blind (kind of strange, probably balance issue) - sap / gouge / sheep (also strange, probably another balance issue) - fear (fear, psychic scream, howl of terror, scare beast, intimidating shout) - horror (the only horror effect players can currently use is deathcoil) - charm (only mindcontrol and succubus' seduce apply here) - NON PROC roots (frost nova, entangling roots, etc) - PROC roots (imp hamstring, imp wing clip, mage slow -> frost talents, etc) - freezing trap (again, this is on a 10 second max duration, not 8) HEALING If you dont have instant heals, you should be hugging a corner to avoid casted CC, and heal early and often. After some experience you should get an idea of how much damage your partners can take without being in dire straits. Try to stay just inside of max healing range (max is 40 yards, try to stay at about 35) because almost all casted anything dangerous has a maximum of 30 yards. Try to avoid casting longer heals because it is much, much easier to interrupt a 3 second holy light than a 1.4 second flash of light. Always be very very careful around mages: a csed heal will lock you down for 8 seconds, which is probably enough time for them to kill your partner. Its often better to get CSed EARLY and then be able to heal without interruption later (while CS is on cooldown), so long as your partner(s) can prevent the mage from sheeping you immediately afterwards. Possibly, the most important thing for healers is communication. You have to let your partners know when you are CCed, so they can try and protect themselves and survive long enough for the CC to break. You should also let your partners know when they are being blown up, because warriors rarely notice these things when they are doing the HULK SMASH MS SPAMSTRING LOLDPS. Dps should let your healers know when they're being focused; even something as simple as "OW" or "NEED HEALS" should be sufficient, especially for for druids and priests who agressively cast and may not notice your low life total. Priests - shield first, renew/POM, then flash heal; if your target is MSed PW:S is by far your fastest and most efficient "healing" spell. obviously, if your target is being dispel-spammed just skip the buffs and go straight to flash heal - greater heal is more efficient, and heals faster over time; still, you'll rarely cast it, since if you're forced to use it too much you're probably gonna lose anyway and it is bait for counterspells - REFRESH YOUR INNER FIRE - with reflective shield it is barely possible to solo rogues. The key is never to let a fear be cloaked; many rogues are clever about cloaking after KS wears off and absorbing mashed psychic screams. Always keep the rogue dotted if possible. Spoof your heals and TURN AWAY FROM THE ROGUE after a missed kick; gouge will still interrupt your heal for long enough for kick to come back up. Dont let the rogue restealth, mash holy nova after vanish. Keep renew and innerfire up at all times. Only devouring plague AFTER the rogue has cloaked ... in fact, that should be the first thing you apply after the cloak (besides a good psychic scream). After fear make SURE you wand / dot the rogue so he doesnt restealth after the fear. - learn to spoof Paladins - BOP will cleanse MS and aimed shot (NOT wounding poison) off your target, making your heals twice as good - to be safe, you should bubble and THEN heal in dire situations; you cant be interrupted (unless there's a priest around) - blessing of sacrifice if there's a mage or rogue, otherwise blessing of light for extra oomph; the BoSac damage will knock you out of sheep / blind - have concentration aura up, there is very little reason for have anything else; improved concentration aura is also very very important - learn to spoof - paladins are probably the easiest healing class to play because they have so few options in terms of offense; that is, there's really very little question about what you should be doing at any given moment, because there's usually only healing or buffing. - blessing of freedom helps immensely against melee if paired with snares; its pretty hard to hit what you cant catch Shamans - learn to "flash" windfury totem: drop rank 1 windfury for 9 seconds of buff, then immediately drop grounding to absorb spell(s). Redrop windfury when grounding is used up - refresh earthshield! earthshield is very very powerful if there isnt anyone around to dispel it. - rank 1 earthshock every CC you can - hide your totems whenever possible, and try to stay away from them, so melee cant simply turn and hamstring it; make them work to kill your totems. This is especially true for mana tide - water shield is utterly awesome, always have it up if you dont have earthshield on; try to stand in AOE to get free mana. Pets hitting you is unlimited mana, essentially - grounding absorbs counterspell, heh heh heh - if there's a rogue or hunter, poison cleansing should be down without question - learn to spoof DRUIDS - omfg lifebloom lolololol - you can heal almost anything with just lifebloom and rejuv; swiftmend and NS healing touch for burst - lifebloom with around 1700 healing heals for about 200 a second and 1200 on bloom / dispel - apply hots EARLY, they're not called heals OVER TIME for nothing; if your warrior partner is at 70% in 2v2 against double dps, he's in trouble and needs hots. - if you're in 2v2 and healing against double DPS, throw hots ON YOURSELF FIRST; a single rejuv can save your ass when they decide to switch to you. Lifebloom just before you dive into bear - your first instinct against any melee should be bearform; avoid travelform unless you're almost positive you can get away, travelform is just as squishy as casterform. Its much better to wait in bearform and let your partner help you get away than risk getting caught in casterform - druids can CC warriors almost indefinitely (barring trinkets, spell reflects, etc). Cyclone, cyclone, roots, roots, bearform, charge, bash, in any combination of the above. Remember to WALK JUST OUT OF MELEE RANGE before casting - ccing is much cheaper than healing - wait for it... - learn to spoof. spoofing things like cyclone and roots is very effective because melee will rarely expect it and wil always try to kick it. WHEN TO DRINK Especially in 2v2 healer/dps vs healer/dps, drinking is key to victory. Drinking in 3v3 is rare, as it is usually very difficult to evade 3 people, but in 5v5 its possible to sneak off somewhere to drink in the chaos of battle. Even 10 seconds of drinking is a good 2000 mana, which can be a large advantage. Druids are the king of drinking in 2v2, since they can usually get away very easily with the help of their partner and get many good drinks in. However, if your dps can pressure the opponents dps enough, its possible for any healer to get away and drink. This is probably the safest time to drink; when your partner has both of them occupied either surviving or healing. The druid can flee to the opposite side of the battlefield and drink to full mana; one such full drink and the fight is usually over. However, this can work against you. If you are far away from your partner, and they decide to gang up on him, its possible they can gun him down before you can get back in range to heal. This is especially the case if he is stunned on the far side of a pillar. Always stare at your partners health while drinking; if it starts to dip faster, he should turtle until you're in range of healing again. Be aware that you can pull this trick too. If you cant prevent their druid from getting away to drink, force him to come back and heal by piling dps on his partner. Then CC him when he comes into range and finish the other guy. GOING FOR THE KILL You have your target at about 30%, everyone moonfire spam! This *might* work, but with the healer nearby frantically spamming heals on him, it might not. What you do is try to land CC healer, THEN shoot for the final blow. If you have a rogue and a warrior on a warlock, have the warrior intercept the healer and pummel the next heal, then to back to the warlock for an execute or two. Think about it this way: which is better, 1000 dps against 1000 hps, or 500dps against 0 hps? While you may simply be able to overwhelm the healer with dps, a stun or fear on one of your dps might let their healer heal the target to full again, or one of your dps casters might burn all his mana trying to dps the target down. WOW pvp is balanced around the fact that healing is a little less than twice as powerful as dps. For example, scorch is a 1.5 cast spammable nuke that does about 1.2k per cast. Flash heal is a 1.5 second spammable heal that heals about 2k per cast. Obviously, a mage will never be able to kill a priest if they both just spam. Consider gems: a epic quality healing gem has 22 heal, and the same quality dmg gem is 12 dmg. Even a mediocre geared healer in blues can hit 1300 healing very easily; caster dps are often hard pressed to hit that much +dmg even with all purple gear. That is why MS and healing debuff effects were put into the game: to balance out how powerful healing is in relation to dps SPECIFICALLY in pvp. As a rule of thumb, one healer can slightly outheal two dps on an un-MSed target, so limiting healing with CCs and interrupts is always preferable to brute force tactics. The good thing is that every class has at least one way of stopping heals. In general, for the final burst, its easier to have a healer cc the other healer so the dps are free to finish off the target, but anyone who can stop a heal should attempt to do so. Rogues are an obvious choice with blind, which is ranged and instant, but warriors can fear, hunters can scattershot or silencing shot, paladins can hammer of justice, shamans can shock, druid can bear charge or cyclone, priests can fear, etc etc. A momentary effort by the whole team works much better than a continuous effort by only one or two people. Every healer can contribute to the final burst AFTER they cc, as well: Paladins have hammer of wrath, shamans can chain lightning->shock, druids have moonfire spam, priests have MB->SW:D. The important thing is that everyone know what the target is and coordinates the burst AFTER the healer is stunned or what have you. The longer a CC chain you can manage on the healer, the better. Certain classes can cc healers for incredibly long amounts of time; in one recent 2v2 match a spriest / rogue managed about 25 seconds of CC on my druid (silence -> fear -> sap -> blind). Amazingly, I survived without dying and we won the match. If the CC rotation had been different I probably would have died, since fear -> sap requires the rogue to chase the druid, and silence -> fear requires the priest to chase the druid as well. After a crit NS healing touch, though, the other team was out of tricks and I beat the priests head in with 100 rage. My druid commented afterwards that he was staring at my life the whole 25 seconds and saw it dip under 100 hp several times. Second wind procs, a lucky shield bash on mind blast, lots of shield blocking, TC / demo spam, and the big cow 5% hp bonus saved me. So yes, sometimes 20 extra stam can save you, but its a very rare occurence. Once the target is dead, go on the defensive to make sure you dont lose your advantage; killing something is not nearly as useful when one of your own teammates has died as well. Then, pick a new target, rinse, and repeat. AFTER THE FIGHT So, you didnt end up winning. The most important thing to do now is to figure out what you did wrong. There are some cases where there is nothing you can do; certain matchups heavily favor one side, add in gear and skill imbalances and sometimes there's really nothing you can do. However, if you find yourself stuck at a certain rating, most times there is something you are doing wrong. My priest / rogue team was having real difficulties with lock/druid; we kept trying to kill the druid, but he kept getting away to drink while the warlock feaqred and dotted us. My rogue couldn't stay on the druid long enough for a kill to happen, and my mana couldnt outlast the warlocks endless dps. So, my rogue attacked the warlock instead, while i stayed away from mana drain. This led to long battles where the druid could CC my rogue for a breather and the warlock could get a few dots in. The warlock pet insured I couldnt drink while their druid could, so in the end we still lost. Finally, we figured if my priest couldnt drink, their druid couldnt either. Now we regularly farm lock/dru teams with the strategy outlined under [SAMPLE BATTLES]. The first thing you have to ask yourself is "Why did we lose?" Usually the answer is obvious, like "Our XXX died too fast" or "our healer ran out of mana." Second, figure out a way to prevent it from happening. If someone is dying way too fast (for instance, within the first 30 seconds), then you need to control whatever is on him; if a rogue is beating a warlock to death, put your own rogue on that rogue or have a mage sheep him so the warlock can fear and dot freely. If a 4dps team is blowing up your hapless warrior in two seconds, instruct him on the virtues of spell reflect and intervene, and have your dps gangbang an enemy caster to give the warrior some breathing room. You can usually get a simple idea of what to do based on what kind of team they run. Burst team? Either kill one of them really fast or limit their burst with CC. Control team? Split dps and prevent them from casting CC. Outlast team? Either burst something down or dont allow them to drink. Drain teams should be prevented from draining, obviously; usually the best way to do this is by dogpiling the priest, since they have by far the most powerful mana drain and cant use it at all when focused. Druid healing too much? Druids have problems getting away from more than one thing, especially if they're the only healer. Paladin outhealing your whole teams dps? A warlock or a mage can really cramp a paladins style. Here's a list of general counters to individual classes: Rogue - warrior. rogues really dislike warriors, considering warriors have abilites tailored specifically to shut them down and limit damage Mage - rogue, hunter. shadowstep counters blink, and hunters will outdamage mages in a straight out slugfest; arrows dont have pushback Warlock - melee minus retpal. locks are fairly helpless while being beat down HolyPal - warlock or mage. alone they can prevent a paladin from doing anything for long periods of time Warrior - druid or mage. roots and cc galore Priest - hunter, shaman, rogue, warrior with heals. dispel all his buffs and smash him in the face Shaman - rogue, warrior. they generally dislike melee and have a hard time escaping from them Hunter - rogue, warrior. hard to shoot someone when they're in your face Druid - warlock, rogue. stuns or fears and dots, take your pick QUEUE DODGING Frowned upon by many of the arena elite, queue dodging is a way to avoid teams who you have little chance of beating. Since 2v2 is rife with rock/paper /scissor type matchups, queue dodging is often the only way to avoid being farmed by team your makeup loses to, especially since the arena system has the unfortunate tendency to match you up against the same team again and again and again and again (grumble). If you queue for arenas and get another match almost immediately (within 3-5 seconds) there's a very strong possibility you'll be fighting the same team. Queueing becomes almost another game in itself: knowing when to queue and when to stop becomes almost as important as playing well, which is kind of stupid. For example, a warr/dru plays a few games, loses to spriest/rog 4 times, wins once against pal/warr, and loses twice to lock/dru. With the exception of pal/warr, the other matchups are mostly dru/warr counter comps, so the warr swaps to his disc priest and starts playing games as disc/rogue, which is a hard counter to lock/dru and matches favorably against spriest/rog and pal/warr. After several wins lock/dru stop queueing and they begin to fight many mirror matches, at which point they swap back to warr/dru and start regaining lost points. [SAMPLE BATTLES] TAUREN WAR / DRU The battle starts in Lordaereon Ruins, the druid sneaks out to the right while the warrior moves forward to the tomb. There is nothing to see, but the druid says there's a priest in the starting area, a disc priest, and the lack of other buffs means his partner is a rogue. The warrior gets into berserk stance to prevent a sap, and waits for the rogue. The priest comes out and dispels the warrior, but the warrior refuses to engage and circles around the tomb on his mount, waiting for the sight buff or the rogue to appear. The rogue opens with a cheap shot -> kidney shot combo (CS->KS) on the warrior, and the priest opens with a mind blast -> SW:D combo as an opener. The druid leaves stealth and drops a load of hots on the warrior, and the priest sees this, shields/hots the rogue, dots the warrior, and moves towards the druid for a fear and manaburns. While running towards the druid, the priest gets a few dispels off on the warrior, reducing the healing he's getting. The rogue plants a shiv to insure crippling is stacked on the warrior then vanishes, presumably heading for the druid. At this point, the warrior has about 60% health but is hotted, the priest and druid have about 80% mana and the rogue is restealthed. The KS wears off and the warrior immediately intercepts the priest and piercing howls, knocking the nearby rogue out of stealth. He quickly hamstrings the priest and then starts attacking the rogue (100%), who promptly evasions, dazed but still shielded and hotted for the time being. The druid, still far away from both priest and rogue, drops another load of hots on the warrior (90%-100%) and then travel forms into his starting area to drink back to full mana. The warrior stomps and MSes the rogue, hamstrings, then shifts to battle for rends and overpowers. Warrior is at 100% with 15% in hots remaining, rogue is MSed but evasioned, and everyone but the druid is snared. The priest starts heading after the druid, but isnt going to get there very quickly and decides to nuke the warrior to force the druid to come out and heal. He drops an innerfocused devouring plague, SW:P, and shadowfiend on the warrior and casts mind blast and SW:D. When the shadowfiend comes out, the warrior uses his intimidating shout, which fears the pet. The rogue is unaffected because of fear ward, and the priest WotFs the fear and starts casting again. Meanwhile the rogue (75%) and warrior (90% - 5% hots) are still duking it out, the rogue coming out better because of evasion. At the end of evasion and priest (70% mana) nukes, rogue is at 70% w/ 7% in bleeds but NOT MSed, warrior is at 50% with 15% in dots and MSed, and the druid is in starting area with full mana. The druid comes out and NS healing touches his warrior for 35% of his health, then starts a healing chain of regrowth (15%), lifebloom x2, rejuv, and abolish poison (hots good for another 30%). The druid is now in range for manaburns and is busy healing, and the rogue preps and vanishes again, and immediately CS -> KS -> evasion the warrior again. The priest has three options at this point: a) attack the druid, b) attack the warrior, and c) heal his rogue. Things are very unfavorable but not impossible for the priest; he is luckily not hamstringed at the moment, and his rogue is safe for the time being, but the warrior has nearly full life and hots and once the rogue is out of cooldowns (read : evasion) the fight is essentially over. The priest is also behind on mana and is unlikely to get away to drink, but the druid is finally in range and forced into a vulnerable position because he has to heal or his warrior will die. The priest decides to try and kill the warrior, because he can try and force at least an 8 second CC on the druid, and mana war with the druid is futile. He fears the druid, who trinkets it, and has the rogue blind the druid immediately after. However, the warrior trinkets the KS and intercept-> MSes the rogue, who manages to get the blind off but is MSed and hamstringed in return. He counters with his second evasion, and starts trying to kill the warrior in earnest. The priest dispels once and gets a lifebloom and regrowth, leaving one lifebloom (about 10%), dots the warrior, power infusions himself and begins nuking as hard as he can. After the rogue gets out of stun he gets an evasion off and starts dpsing the warrior as well. Now, the warrior has a few choices here. He's got a good amount of life (around 80%) but he's MSed from the rogue's wounding poison and his druid is out of the fight for at least 8 seconds from the rogues blind. He can either attack the rogue and maybe force the priest to heal, or he can turtle up until the druid can start healing again. He decides to play it safe and puts a shield on, and starts mitigating as much damage as he can. One smite is spell reflected, and his demo shout / thunderclap puts a large damper on the rogues dps, but he eats another 3k damage from the rogue and some 4k damage from the priest when his druid comes out of blind. He pops his battlemasters trinket for about 2k health buffer and waits for heals. The priest is now at 40% mana, and the rogue is at 70%ish life and evasion is just about ended, but the warrior has around 35% life. The druid immediately throws regrowth and swiftmend for a quick 30% boost, then starts cycloning the priest and hotting inbetween. Meanwhile, a disarm on the rogue takes his dps to almost nothing for 10 seconds, and the warrior quickly gets back to a comfortable amount of health, and proceeds to destroy the rogue. The priest, when not being controlled by the druid, is forced to expend the rest of his mana healing his rogue through MS and eventually goes OOM. As soon as the rogue is out of evasions he is going to start taking huge amounts of damage from the warrior, will be constantly bleeding and unable to get away. This is a scenario for this matchup at around 2k rating, based on experience I have with both teams. As mentioned before, this matchup heavily favors the druid / warr side because the rogue will find it hard to do anything with a warrior in his face constantly snaring him. Typically, it will go even harder for the rogue, because evasion is not perfect, and in the space of a few mace stuns the rogue can take heavy damage. A rogue/priest cannot burst down a druid if the warrior is diligent enough to keep both snared and let his druid get away. However, if the warrior can be baited into attacking the priest in a bad location, say, around a pillar where LOS is limited, the fight can go differently. Generally speaking, priests can solo warriors (if the warriors dont get heals) and rogues can solo druids, given enough time (resto druids do little to no damage unless they stand in one spot and nuke). Optimally, the priest will lure the warrior somewhere cramped and slowly kill him with dots, reflective shield, and shadowfiend, conserving as much mana as possible. The rogue will jump on the druid and force him to expend a lot of mana healing himself and shifting forms to escape; with luck, the druid will use his trinket to escape a kidney shot or blind. In ruins of lordaeron, sometimes foolish warriors will charge blindly into the enemy starting area to attack the priest, and can be killed with a lucky fear / blind -> sap combination on the druid. The other team wants to pressure the druid so he's never able to drink, either by having the rogue on him at all times or by threatening to kill his warrior. Attempt manaburns at every opportunity. Manaburning is scary for druids because they dont have overly large mana pools, and rapid shifting to escape snares can very quickly run them dry. Unfortunately, it requires several successive mistakes and near perfect play for the rog/priest to pull off a win, and winning becomes very difficult if the warrior turtles up everytime his druid drinks. Even if the warrior attacks the priest and the druid heals him, the instant the rogue appears the warrior will intercept him and the game will continue on as before, except this time there is no wounding poison on the warrior and a few hots will top his health, and the priest will already be hamstrung very far away from the druid. If for some reason the warrior decides to kill the priest, you best chance comes when he runs back towards the druid, allowing the priest to either drink or go with the warrior and help his rogue kill the druid. I'd lean towards drinking.
Dispel EVERYTHING off the warrior. Yes, that includes lifebloom. Lifebloom has better hps but much WORSE efficiency if its constantly being dispelled. If you contribute to the dps the druid will HAVE to keep refreshing HOTs and spend more time in caster, where he can be manaburned. UNDEAD DISC PRIEST / ROGUE The fight starts in blades edge arena, and the priest rides out fully hotted and shielded. He rides to the top of the bridge and sees a warlock w/ felpuppy, looks at the buffs, sees Soul Link and Mark of the Wild, and identifies it as a druid / warlock team. He lets the rogue catch up to him at the top of the bridge while the warlock loiters on his side. The priest then rides in and starts dispelling the warlocks buffs. The warlock sends the felpuppy after the priest and has it devour buffs, then drops curse of tongues on the priest and as many dots as he can lay on, and then drains mana. The rest of the fight is simple, but it can be long. The rogue simply tunnelvisions the lock, interrupting as many casts as possible, particularly fears and drains of any kind. The warlock will almost never be able to get away from the rogue without constant help from his druid, and his druid will have many other things to worry about. The priest will spend 99% of this fight doing two things: trying to manaburn the druid and dispelling. Almost everything important that either the druid or the lock can do can be dispelled. Dots? Dispel. Rogue feared? Dispel. Warlock is hotted? Dispel. Rogue rooted by the druid? Dispel. Rogue fairie fired and cant vanish? Dispel. Between dispels and rogue hits, stuns, kicks, and gouges the warlock will be doing almost no dps. His one undispellable dot is Curse of Agony, and he cannot have both curse of tongues and curse of agony on the same target. The druid has it hard in this fight. He has to continually run away from the priest to avoid fear --> manaburn while healing the warlock through the rogues murderous dps. The usual druid tactic of dropping a load of hots and running away to drink does not work here because the priest will simply dispel some and manaburn the druid. To make this even more unfair, the rogue will be constantly applying wounding poison, making it even harder to heal through the rogues dps, while the priest gets free full strength heals on the warlocks pitiful dps. So what can the warlock and druid do? First of all, dispel magic isnt necessarily cheap to cast; it costs around 250mana to remove two (de)buffs and spamming it constantly will quickly run the priest out of mana. If they manage to start the fight with a voidwalker, it will reduce the amount of damage taken by the warlock, and can be sacced for a damage shield, and another void can be quick casted. If the priest is willing to follow the druid out of LOS of the rogue, he can be cycloned and dps can be applied to the rogue, hopefully forcing him to give up pursuit of the druid to heal the rogue, giving the druid a few short moments to drink. Frequent cyclones on the rogue will give the warlock a chance to fear the priest, and maybe even fear the rogue. Curse of tongues will make it difficult for the priest to manaburn the druid, as well, and he may waste valuable time trying instead of dispelling. Curse of exhaustion will make it hard for the priest to land his fear -> manaburn combo. Priests who dispel too much can actually be run out of mana by using rank 1 dots, which are difficult to distinguish from the full strength ones, and clever sequencing of lifeblooms and rank 1 rejuvs can accomplish the same thing. ADVANCED CLASS TIPS Warrior - spell reflect can reflect one hit procs like nature's grasp - make a spell reflect macro, and for kicks you can add in a /cast [target=healernamehere] Intervene; mash when in trouble - tauren warriors: when duking it out with a rogue/healer and the rogue evasions, warstomp will let you get another MS applied - when on a caster, try to avoid spamming attacks ... pummelling important spells like sheep and fear takes precedence over doing a bit more damage, and if you're spamstringing it is almost impossible to pummel quick spells like sheep / fear / cyclone / roots - the sword vs. mace debate is still ongoing, but in general, mace is better, unless you have windfury, in which case sword is better - for weapon enchant, executioner is the standard, although savagery is still very good. Leave mongoose to the rogues. - because of the way armor works, sunder armor is actually very valuable in pvp against cloth targets. skip it for mages, who can block out of it and are generally much harder to stay on than priests and warlocks, who should almost always be fully sundered unless they have no healer. full sunders on cloth remove ALL their armor, which results in about 15% extra damage, although some buffs like inner fire can raise it again - imp slam is a very useful skill that most pvp warriors prefer not to get, but I personally love. It greatly increases your dps if you can use it correctly, and works great with spamstringing. Do NOT prioritize this over MS (unless theres no healer) or hamstring, however. The only proper use for slam is immediately after a NORMAL WHITE HIT; it will take some timing to get used to this. A swing timer addon helps with this; i recommend Quartz, because it comes with a ton of other useful functionality (like focus target casting bars). A normal warrior will hit, hamstring, MS, hit, whirlwind, hit, MS etc (with full rage). Imp slam lets you convert rage into damage much faster by hit, slam, hamstring, MS, hit, slam, whirlwind, hit, MS, etc. Over 22 seconds, a warrior gets about 12 hits in, whereas with slam they can get about 14-16 hits. Slam generally does about the same damage as MS for half the rage cost and no cooldown. Be aware that slam resets your normal swing, so if used improperly slam can actually REDUCE your dps. When duking it out warr vs warr you will usually have excess rage; in this case hit/slam/slam/ms is your best possible dps, leaving one extra global for hamstring / demo / tc. If you have enough rage (ie constantly sitting on near 100) you will do roughly 30% more dps than a warrior in zerker mashing ms and whirlwind every cooldown, assuming you get off every slam. Deathwish when at 100 rage and a single hit / slam / slam / ms rotation will do about 3.5k damage in about 5 seconds non crit on plate; crits will obviously do much more. I believe that hit / 2x slam / MS is the highest possible dps for an MS warrior without flurry (barring slam / slam / slam ... which consumes a ridiculous amount of rage for almost no dps increase over hit / 2x slam / ms) - shield block prevents melee crits, which is key against eleshams and warrs, and nullifies a good part of rogue dps. Priest - remember to refresh inner fire; its a relatively cheap buff that greatly decreases melee damage, and but it goes out quickly when fast hitting classes like rogues are on you - rank 1 holy nova serves a very useful purpose for uncovering just vanished rogues and killing snake trap snakes - yeah, yeah, ill say it; i can think of a few times where I've used full rank holy nova spam. only a few, though, and almost exclusively against spriest/rogue, strangely enough. it is instant multitarget healing and damage, though at a steep, steep price (802 mana for less than 800 healing / damage). On the other hand, it cant be kicked, soooooo... - pain suppression also provides a very good amount of dispel resistance, which can be very useful in protecting iceblock and bubble from being mass dispelled by enemy priests - be very careful around affliction locks; a careless mass dispel can mean almost instant death if you are unlucky enough to remove two or more UAs - mind control can be a very useful form of CC; MC the healer out of LOS of his heal targets, or move him right next to you so you can fear him immediately afterwards. You can also use MC to jump melee off the bridge in blades edge, which works great if you can manage it. Beware: MC is ridiculously expensive and easily broken. Only use it if your opponent can't break it (trinket / wotf) and then only once. Dont bother at all if the MC target has a mage or shaman as a buddy. - priests have two distinct (useful) trees, unlike all other healers, who basically only have one. Bait interrupts with MC and then heal, or vice versa - priests with very low resilience and good pve gear might consider a circle of healing build with blessed resilience; BR helps mitigate a good amount of damage and circle of healing lets you spam heals without fear of interruption, and spirit of redemption ("improved death" LOL) will give your teammates extra healing when you (inevitably) die. Once you get a good amount of resilience, though, a full disc build is usually much better - disc priests are often the targets in 3v3 and 5v5, and getting points in every survivability talent is a good idea, most notably blessed recovery and spell warding - manaburn works very well against hybrid melee classes such as enhancement shamans and ret pallies, and can be useful against mages, shadowpriests, and other caster dps as well. PI manaburn is one of the most dangerous tools in 5v5, as 10 seconds of uninterrupted casting can drain a caster completely dry - yes, you can mass dispel things behind pillars - disc priests should still sw:p the primary target if possible, as it adds a considerable amount of damage - with good timing, you can use shadow word:death to break sheeps, by casting it just before the sheep lands; the backlash can damage you and knock you out of sheep if done correctly. This becomes almost required in PMR mirror matches. - make sure to dispel fear ward before you try to psychic scream ... - shadowpriests find a ualock to partner with or spec into silent resolve; all your dps minus MB / SWP can be dispelled. Yes, that includes mindflay. Rogues - evasion only works if your target isnt behind you, so that means dont evasion and then go chase something with a warrior behind you. And yes, I have seen rogues do this multiple times in arenas - getting the opener is critical in arenas; as such, anything that increases your stealth level and stealth detection is vital. Master of Deception is almost a required talent; the stealth enchant to cloak is also very useful. Do note that only two extra levels of stealth count beyond MOD; so only 2 out of night elf racial, cloak enchant, or jewelcrafting trinket are necessary - the arena glove bonus, spell interrupt on deadly throw hit, is very useful, but somewhat hard to use; you might want to practice in duels, particularly against mages and druids - gouge to restealth isnt as useful in arenas, but blind -> vanish -> sap is downright godly. If you can get the target to expend his trinket early, a blind to sap is almost 16 seconds of CC. YOU dont need to be OOC to sap, just the target. We played the #1 2v2 in our battlegroup yesterday, and my rogue got sapped after a *cyclone*. - vile poisons is another very important pvp talent, as it makes it very difficult for your poisons to be dispelled faster than you can put them back on. Having to reshiv crippling every cooldown nerfs your damage severely - with very few exceptions, you should have wounding on your mainhand and crippling on your offhand. You should always shiv crippling on your target at the first opportunity; relying on regular hits to proc the poison is very, very risky - an offhand with mindnumbing on it can be very useful; its an extra poison to dispel and makes healing very, very difficult for your target if it's the only healer - you can reapply poisons in stealth without coming out of stealth, if you want to swap wounding for deadly or mind numbing (against double dps in 2v2) - dont always count on vanish to save you; currently pets do not always lose their target when the rogue vanishes, which can lead to some nasty surprises - shadowstep -> sap is very useful for getting people on mounts - sometimes you can preemptively cloak of shadows to stop desperate casters from getting away from you. At lower levels, people will often mash escape spells (psychic scream, deathcoil, frost nova) so they will go off immediately after KS wears off; CloS just before the kidney shot ends and you'll resist it. Smart players will learn from this though, and wait till your CloS wears off before doing it ... take this opportunity to gouge them and setup more mayhem (gouge ... sprint -> stealth -> shs -> garrote/cs, chances are they wont be able to knock you out it) - distract will make drinking people stand up; yes, you can distract when you're not stealthed too - did i mention how useful cheat death is? Too bad its getting nerfed Mages - you can spellsteal hots and iceblock if you're desperate for healing; lifebloom works great for this because it denies the enemy healing and raises your life quickly. - you should set your focus to a healer and have macros for sheep focus and CS focus; this will make your life much, much easier - practice those shatter combos! - iceblock can be used to break CC, as well as counter another mages frost combo, or any burst damage in general; sometimes its better to just prevent the damage, especially if your healer is being mercilessly controlled - spellstealing BoF or BoP can save you a lot of damage if you're lucky enough - pain suppression on your iceblock can help prevent it from being mass dispelled; multiple mass dispels are the fastest way to burn through mana in the game, unless you count spamming PW:Fort Druids - manadrain effects do not work on your bearform; however, shifting into bear costs about as much as a manaburn does, so if you're only going to eat one manaburn, you might as well not shift into bear. It might be wise to shift into bear BEFORE the priest fears you, though. - rogues dont like faerie fire. So you should faerie fire them all the time. (heh heh heh) - faerie fire also works on alliance druids who love to drink / shadowmeld - dont bother trying to kill felpuppies; they have incredibly high resistances. Let your warrior friend kill them. However, insect swarm on the voidwalker will eventually kill it for very little mana. - never, ever leave your hots unprotected. Always lifebloom. - same goes for your innervate. Always throw up roots and lifeblooms to protect your innervate from dispel; pillarhump any potential dispellers - rogues love beating on non-bear druids ... avoid this as much as possible; get a teammate to help your transitions or use bash / charge / natures grasp before you switch Hunters - blessing of freedom + frost trap is an almost unbeatable combo against melee - if you can afford it, get two weapons with +20 int on them and swap when your mana gets low; with aspect of the viper it adds up to a lot of extra regen in long fights, especially when you're dry - get a scorpid pet and name it after yourself; the poison protects your important stings from dispel and having the same name as you screws up many arena targeting macros / addons - if you're bm, cats are usually the way to go, high dps, dash, and stealth; boars are another good choice for boar charge - if you're playing dru/hunter, have at least 3 full quivers of arrows, 200 or more water, and improved revive pet. Many matches vs dru/warr and dru/hunter can be dragged out for a very long time, and only end when one side makes a mistake or run out of mistakes - max out nature resist, shadow resist, stam, and armor on your pets; cobra reflexes is also very, very useful - fear animalform druids - flare makes your team more or less immune to openers from rogues Paladin - if you're ret on a melee team, save your freedoms for the warrior, unless you're being focused; MS is more important than straight dps - dont repentance warriors, they can break it like sap and fear, and it gives them rage and health; repentance healers or fleeing casters - bubble gives you uncounterspellable healing - be very careful after you have expended your bubble: without it you become a valid target for burst - belf holy pallies can get away with wading in, because their arcane torrent racial is very useful for helping lock down healers, as well as regenning a tiny bit of mana - if you're going to wear mostly pve gear, wear visible portions of pvp gear, notably the shield, weapon, and maybe the helm and shoulders. Other than those four there are no other real visible clues that can point to your low resilience until they notice your outrageous mana efficiency Warlock - curse of tongues should be permanently plastered on non-enhancement shamans, priests, and non-ret paladins - deathcoil is one of the most useful spells in your inventory. Deathcoil -> fear to lockout healers, deathcoil -> coex for melee - if a disc/holy priest is on the other team, do NOT dot everything. PoM will bounce like crazy; 382 mana for about 7500 healing done is not the way to pressure a healer. - if you're on a 2v2 team and melee is on you, go ahead and immolate / searing pain them. If they kick it, go straight to fearing; if not, they're taking a lot more damage than they would otherwise. Immolate / searing pain / incinerate is a distinct school from your useful shadow spells and still does good dps - if you're soul link, watch your pets health and position at all times. If it looks like they're luring it away out of LOS, by all means bring it back to you (follow works fine), or long summon another one out of LOS - felpuppies die very quickly to melee, voidwalkers are vulnerable to spells. Make sure you have the proper pet out, hopefully without having to use your quick summon - your quick summon is a BUFF, which means it can possibly be dispelled, avoid this at all costs. I have seen warlocks get screwed because their fast summon got pummeled and their buff dispelled. Me and my partner have also managed to silence/cc warlocks for the 10 second duration of the buff, as well (pummel -> fear -> cyclone -> cyclone) - putting your pet on auto spell lock is rarely a good idea; controlled silences are much better. Auto-devour is probably fine though, as it will help keep your pet alive from soul-link damage - your pet is one of the best ways to prevent enemy spellcasters from drinking. Be aware that certain healers can kill pets over time (puppies can be wanded / meleed to death, vws can be dotted, etc) - nightfall is a one of your best sources of burst as sl/sl ... try to time killing blows with felpuppy silences, CC from your partner, and deathcoil->fear - dont even think about trying to get a soulfire cast off. If you do, you might as well bust out a doomguard because the other team sucks. - health funnel is worthless, dont even attempt to use it - ALWAYS TELL YOUR HEALER WHEN YOU ARE GOING TO LIFE TAP. IF HE SAYS DONT, DONT. MS makes life tap very expensive. Shaman - learn to flash windfury with grounding, and always use rank 1 to save mana. - afaik, all buff totems pulse as soon as you drop them, which comes in handy with tremor - searing totem is fairly cheap and annoying source of damage, but be aware it will keep you in combat - tremor all the time against fearing classes, poison cleansing against rog/hunter, earthbind anything else - focus any CC classes and rank 1 earthshock them every time they try something funny - contribute to burst; lightning bolt -> chainlightning -> earthshock does a very good amount of damage even in healing gear - hide your manatide as best you can, and save it for when you cant drink - learn to love pets, they are free mana with water shield - unless you're in the starting area or the battle isnt joined yet, do not bother with stat buff totems like strength of earth / grace of air / totem of wrath, they are too expensive, easily killed, and do not pulse 9 second buffs like weapon totems - time your bloodlusts/heroisms for diminishing returns on your dps; nothing like using it and having your dps CCed the whole time - purge the hell out of priests; a priest without buffs is a dead priest. - spell hit is very important for shamans, do not skimp on this at all unless you are enhancement - NS should be saved solely for emergency heals, even if you are elemental (maybe even ESPECIALLY if you are elemental). An NSed chain lightning doesnt add much to your burst, but an NSed greater healing wave can definitely save someone's life. Disc Priest / Rogue Very balanced and fun makeup. The disc priest is very versatile, durable class, and reflective shield can 1v1 almost any dps class except enhancement shamans (dispels + melee = not fun). Reflective shield also gives you a large advantage over dual dps comps, and dual caster dps is practically a free win, since dual casters generally require CC, roots, AND burst, and you have multiple ways to counter roots and burst (unlike other healer / dps teams). The hardest opponents for this team to face are war/healer teams (particularly dru/war and sham/war) and hunter / druid teams. Smart warriors will keep both the priest and the rogue hamstringed, and sit on the rogue to both limit his damage and force the priest to waste his time healing. Hunter teams will just kite /cc the rogue and viper sting the priest to helplessness. Another glaring weakness in this team is mana efficiency: disc priest mana efficiency is *terrible*. Remember, discipline is NOT the priest healing tree ... its the pvp tree. Their casted heals are expensive and fairly weak (my 1750 healing priest greater heals for 4k, compared to a similar holy light from a paladin for 5kish). The only thing that makes it possible to beat other healer teams is mana burn; good healers are always afraid of running out of mana. If you can land at least 4-5 manaburns (4-5k mana, about half an average pvp healers mana pool) during the course of the match and prevent drinking there is a very good chance you will win. Since warriors are very common in 2v2, knowing how to solo one efficiently as a disc priest is very important. Shield 10 seconds before the match starts, and engage the warrior asap (dispel), so you can immediately pop another shield after the first one goes down. Warriors get no rage if they do no damage, and reflected damage *does not* give a warrior rage. It's very possible to take a warrior down to 50% health while having full life using nothing but instants. Its important you put the warrior in combat BEFORE he can charge you, as this gives him extra rage he can take down your shields with; dispel magic works well for this (it outranges his charge). Strats Mage / Rogue - you have to avoid the the sheeps while keeping your rogue alive. You should keep dots on the mage while keeping your rogue alive. If you can survive the initial cc/burst you have a very good chance of winning. Breaking the sheep with sw:d is a must. Lock / Rogue - almost a free win, dot everything up and heal the rogue, who can kill either target so long as he can lock down a majority of their dps. Avoid getting chain CCed by the lock and the rest should be easy spriest / rogue - very much like the lock / rogue, they have no real cc to speak of, but the better target is likely the shadow priest. Force two seperate rogue / priest fights and the advantage goes to you; stay as far away from the enemy priest as you can because garrotte -> kick -> silence can really screw you over. Spriest / warlock - the lock is probably UA here, so either target might work, but stopping UA so you can dispel the dots might be a more viable tactic; dispel the priest if you decide to kill him. Distance yourself from the priest as much as possible to prevent a nasty spell lock -> silence -> fear chain and wear down their health. If the priest drops out to heal ruthlessly manaburn him Dru / Rogue - plant the rogues on each other and hope you can get some fear -> manaburn combos on him. Druid has the advantage here but if you can scare him enough with target switching and manaburns he might accidentally let the rogue die. Dispelling the rogue helps quite a bit as well, and reflective shield puts additional pressure on the rogue. Dru / Warr - ugh. Try to focus on the warrior to make the druid heal, then chase him around and dont let him drink while not letting your rogue die. Smart warriors will continually snare both you and the rogue, giving his druid breathing space to drink, so you have to keep the pressure up to minimize his free time. Dispelling may be counterproductive here unless there are a LOT of buffs on the warrior (lifebloom, rejuv, abolish poison). The priest CAN get drinks off while the druid is drinking. If the priest cannot dispel innervate he is probably going to lose. Pal / Warr - also a tough fight, but not nearly as tough as sham / warr or dru / warr. We found the best tactic is to have the rogue on the warrior, surprisingly, while the priest uses instants to keep them both up and do nothing but chase the pally down and fear -> manaburn. Eventually, the paladin will HAVE to stop and heal the warrior, and you will get a few manaburns in. Repeat this a couple times and the pally will be OOM. If you're lucky, both you and your rogue will have bleeds at some point, and POM will bounce between you for good amounts of healing. It's very unlikely that both you AND your rogue will have MS on you at the same time. Avoid SW:P as the paladin can easily dispel it; just use mind blast and sw:d to help your rogue pressure the pally to heal. Pri / Warr - similar to a mirror match, pri/warr is probably harder because a) you will never get a fear off on the warrior, and b) the warrior will be doing more damage to you after the other priest dispels all your buffs. Luckily, this combination is rare as priest rogue is generally much better against most other teams. Dru / Hunter - haha, this one is virtually impossible. You can either try to burst the hunter down or play very conservatively and LOS the hunter as much as possible, and only heal while the hunter is stunned and cant viper sting. You can probably solo the pet with dots if the druid isnt paying attention, getting you some drinking time. Of course, the druid can drink anytime he damn well pleases. This is basically a hard counter to priest / rogue, dont expect to win many of these. Sham / Warr - another ridiculous fight, the warr can choose either of you to kill, and windfury lets him do it. The shaman will either follow the warrior purging his target for the quick kill or play conservatively like warr/druid. Shaman buffs gave them godly regen and decent escape methods. The only advantage you have over them is CC; a lucky blind / fear on one and the other one might conceivably go down. The other major disadvantage here is that you will almost never get mana burns off on a competent shaman. Between earthshocks, earthbind totem, grounding totem, and tremor totem, the shaman has a counter for your usual repertoire. An orc warrior and tauren shaman is the worst possible combination for this, because your rogue will almost never be able to peel the warrior off you. Try to split them up at first, and get them both lowish to pressure the healing; shamans have real problems healing more than one target at once, especially if a rogue is in his face, while priests might actually prefer it, since PoM will bounce and they wont have to cast to heal. Every single successful match we've won against shaman / warr has started out with my rogue on the shaman and the warrior on me, and I have distance on the shaman. After the warrior heads back to the shaman for heals, I dot up the shaman, kill tremor and fear a heal while nuking at every opportunity. Resto Druid / Warrior Another comp I have good experience in, much less powerful now with the cyclone range nerf and buffs to several other classes. Warr / druid works by outlasting an opponents mana and/or slowly wearing down their health until a well placed cc chain on the healer allows the dps to be burst down. Generally, the warrior charges in to dps and snares both opponents while the druid throws hots on the warrior from max range, then flees to drink back to full mana, or ccs the other class. Warrior / Druid is touted as an overpowered combination but is fairly balanced at the high end, with good advantages over most other teams but glaring weaknesses against others, notably dru / hunter and spriest / rogue. Many warrior / druid teams fail when the druid overextends himself in assisting the warrior for the kill; always play defensive, even when it looks like victory is in sight. The best time to go for the kill is after the druid has drunk to at least half and the opposing healer is at a quarter mana or less, this way in case the kill attempt fails the druid still has ample mana to flee and redrink. The worst fear of a druid is to get caught in a stunlock in caster form and burst down. The key is knowing when NOT to get away but simply tank in bear form. Rogues will actively attempt to save their kidney shot for either travel or caster form and simply sit on the druid in bear form; in this case, the druid will either need to use nature's grasp or get help from his warrior. In the space of an intercept stun the druid can hot himself and root the rogue or simply run as far as he can. If there is even the slightest chance that a rogue can catch you in caster form its best to have a few hots running just in case; this goes TRIPLE for double dps teams. The first thing you should always do is faerie fire the rogue so he cant restealth or vanish, forcing him to use his cloak of shadows. This will let you use roots on him later. Warriors should always let their druid know when imp hamstring procs so they can flee and drink. Strats Priest / Rogue - honestly one of the easiest fights if played defensively. The warrior should always be on the rogue, only intercepting the priest to hamstring him or stop a manaburn. Attacking the priest is not advisable since priests do very well against warriors, while rogues do not. The idea is to force the priest to continuously heal the rogue and run himself oom instead of chasing the druid and manaburning him. While the warrior CAN theoretically be burst down while the druid is drinking, a smart warrior can always tell when this is happening and turtle up, keeping snares on both until his druid has more mana. Priests can put out some good dps at the cost of mana, although smart priests will only use a few spells and wand while looking out for the druid. Just keep them both snared and your druid will have free reign of the battlefield. Mage / rogue - from one of the easiest fights to one of the hardest, good mage / rogue teams have a huge advantage because they have many ways to CC the warrior, or force the druid to come out and heal, where he will be vulnerable. They can pick either target to kill and if they are both dpsing something at the same time it will be very difficult to heal through it. The absolute worst case scenario has one person cced on one end of the arena (usually the warrior) while the mage / rogue gangbang the other with stuns and shatter combos. The warrior should start in defensive stance with a shield on; this will help mitigate the initial burst that the mage/rogue will put out. He also has to SAVE HIS TRINKET for the inevitable swap to the druid. Staying on the rogue here is a better idea to prevent easy swaps to the druid; a druid can shift out of frost novas, he cant shift out of stuns. Lock / Rogue - easier than mage / rogue, this is still a hard combo. The important thing here is to determine what they are targetting; if the warrior is being targetted, he should sit on the warlock to prevent fears on his druid. If the druid is threatened, the rogue is a safer bet. This combo is less about CC and more about overwhelming the druid with healing multiple targets and evading cc. Spriest / Rogue - probably one of the most difficult teams to fight, this team can kill a warrior very easily while CCing his druid. Picking a target here is hard; the spriest is usually the best bet so he cant dps as hard or fear the druid, but a rogue in full t6 will be doing monumental amounts of damage on his own. They will usually focus the warrior until the druid pops, then silence -> fear -> blind -> sap or any combination of the above, which amounts to a very, very long period in which the druid cannot heal. Its important that the warrior know when his druid is shut down and turtle up during these times, mitigating as much damage as he can. Spriest / lock - they can put out an incredible amount of dps on the warrior while fearing your druid to kingdom come. Or they can dot everything and make it almost impossible to heal through. While either target can be considered "squishy," leaving the other free to dps will quickly lead to something dying, and LOSing the dps is generally useless since both have powerful DOTs. The best course would probably be to kill one while having the druid CC the other, although this can be very dangerous as it opens up the druid to CSes from the felpuppy. Melee / Healer - every melee healer plays about the same; keep everything snared, allow your druid to drink. Pal / Warr - the problem here is judgement of justice, which is a peculiar snare that your druid cannot shift out of, which combined with blessing of freedom on the warrior allows for long beatdowns on your druid. However, to refresh the snare the paladin must melee your druid; to melee your druid, he most be constantly moving, and while constantly moving, he cant heal. The warrior should be planted on the other warrior until blessing of freedom comes out, then he should be on whatever is NOT blessed. If both the paladin and the warrior are on the druid, he will eventually die, so you have to keep them seperated as much as possible. At some point the paladin may give up trying to kill the druid and go for drinks; in this case the warrior should be on the paladin to prevent this and the druid should take this opportunity to root the warrior out of LOS of the paladin and drink himself. PMR Very much like priest / rogue with a mage, this is probably the most versatile team in 3v3s and is almost certainly the most popular. The weak healing of the priest is compensated by the strong control of his partners, and the team works by creating extreme pressure on the healer through cc / cs / silence. With mass dispel, you can even manage to take down "hard" targets like mages and paladins, but the largest part of this composition is that there are only few weaknesses to exploit, mainly the weak healing of the priest and the mages poor mana efficiency. Typically, against single healer teams, the rogue will lock down one dps while the mage and priest prevent the healer from healing with fears, cses, and sheeps. Most teams will focus on the mage to prevent his burst and CC, so effective teams will be able to keep the mage free long enough to kill something. Its just as possible to lock down another dps instead of the healer, and have the priest manaburn the healer. RACIALS Racials play a big part of the game in high level arenas, mostly in regards to rogues. Since getting the opener is a huge advantage in rogue 2v2s, certain races with stealth related racials have a sizeable advantage in arenas. Priests also get racial spells, some of which are useful or even overpowered; others are useless. If you notice, alliance seem to have many more useful stealth racials than horde, a common source of complaint. Human - perception, which greatly increases stealth detect for about 15 seconds. Rogues *hate* perception, and human rogues can nearly always get the jump on other rogues. Perception is in the running for most gamebreaking racial. Priests get a ranged 2 second root and an instant 3k-ish heal on self, both on cooldowns Nelf - many useful bonuses, including better stealth, +1 dodge, and stealth for all classes (cant move). Very useful for casters as they can drink then stealth. Priests get a fairly useless ranged dmg reduction buff and a very useful free arcane dot Gnome - escape artist, which removes all snares and roots once every 2 minutes or so, very useful for melee classes Dwarf - stoneform, removes all bleeds and poisons (incredible against rogues); priest spells same as humans Draenei - gift of the naaru, a hot (very weak for non casters), nothing else of note orc - 15% stun and charm resist, which is very useful but not really reliable; berserker, +25% ap/dmg but puts ms debuff on you for 30 seconds, not really good in pvp (who in their right mind would want to MS themself?) unless you play double dps, in which case go for it undead - will of the forsaken, break a fear/charm every 2 minutes, very useful as fear is the most common cc (3 classes have fears). priests get a SW:P that heals for the same amount (very good) and an on-hit curse of weakness (melee damage done reduced), which can also be useful against rogues and the like tauren - a very useful free 5% hp and an aoe 2 second stun on a half second cast; druids can stomp -> cyclone/root. also, the hitbox for tauren is larger, making it slightly harder for them to LOS but easier for tauren melee to hit things (through pillars, around corners, etc). For example, tauren can often hit people standing on the pillar in BEA from underneath, stopping a drink. troll - nothing, lol. seriously, they get berserking, which hastes from 10-30% depending how hurt they are. They also get a useless amount of hp regen during combat. Priests get a lightning shield that does shadow damage (semi useful with blackout) and a weak MS curse (-20% healing) belf - 2 second aoe silence, very useful. no idea what their priest spells are Dwarf Priests Hum / Nelf Rogues Tauren Warr / Sham Orc Warr / Warlock / BmHunter Undead Priest / Mage Gnome Lock / Warr Belf Paladin / Priest Troll ... not too many trolls in arenas. RANDOM TIPS - knowing when to trinket and when not to trinket is very important. Trinketing sap is almost always a very bad idea, because the rogue can always just blind you afterwards for a full 8 seconds, often just before he goes for the kill. The best times to trinket are on the first cast of a cc (like sheep) or during a kidney shot where you're going to die. - if you have the good fortune to be night elf, always shadowmeld immediately after drinking, as people will have to run up to you and target and hit you, instead of just throwing something at you or hitting you with a rank 1 instant - if the rogue has expended their kick and KS, and you need to cast, turn your back to them so they cant gouge you ... by the time you're out of gouge their kick will be back up - if you cant interrupt a nuke, dance around inside them crazily and hope you arent in front of them when they finish casting - if you've just lost 100 points to the same team, punch the pillow, NOT the wall. Avoid throwing your mouse and/or small but valuable electronics, pets, etc. - on blades edge, if you're on the pillar, stand at the very edge of the rope; sometimes warriors who intercept you will automatically fall down and look really, really dumb - if melee is hounding you on the bridge at blades edge, sometimes you can fake jumping off and get them to fall down; for this same reason, melee should avoid JUMPING off the bridge, simply fall off. If the target is faking, you can always stop moving, you cant stop jumping. And yes, I have been faked before. - counterspells lock out a whole school; you can prevent a mage from iceblocking if you manage to CS frost, or a pally from bubbling if you CS holy. Technically, what counterspells do it put a universal cooldown on the school in question, which cannot be removed; bubble and iceblock remove all debuffs, including silence - the four pillars on the tomb in ruins of lordaereon can be used to LOS - if a target is at low health and is BOPed, immediately turn and kick / pummel / shock the paladin, who WILL be healing. Hopefully one of your healers can nuke the target or dispel the bubble. - freezing trap will give mages shatter bonuses without resetting the roots dr (!) - ghost wolfed shamans and x-formed druids cannot be sapped. Scare beast and hibernate DO work however! - banished / cycloned warlock pets do not take soul link damage, and the warlock has to eat it all himself. - taunt may not work on players, but it does work on pets ... particularly useful in 2v2s - be careful ... if you can drink, you can be sapped. - learn to identify mana tide totem (it has a special white pulsing aura around it, very unique) and kill it asap. - learn to identify innervate (buff icon is a blue lightning bolt on a dark background) and dispel it asap. - several engineering patterns are useful, particularly the rocket boots for priests and deathblow goggles (for rogues). - watch videos of matches; there are many posted over the internet on youtube and at various sites, you can learn some tricks and tactics from high rated players this way - go read forums for more team specific strategies; I recommend arenajunkies.com, they also have useful macros - bind as many of your useful abilities to keys as you can; certain classes have many abilities which you will use in arenas, others have very little - keyboard turning is horrific - if you dont think you can find the enemy rogue, the next best thing is to get in combat as quickly as possible, to avoid getting sapped - due to the slight lag between server and client, you can drink immediately after healing; just start casting a big heal on your partner then spam drink. You'll technically be in combat, but still drinking. This borders on an exploit, but there are many other uncorrectable lag related issues, so they won't punish it. - melee, particularly warriors, do much better with lower ping. Blizzard's server/client coding makes interrupting very difficult for high ping melee. This extends to things like spell reflect as well; I can't count the number of times that i've sat in cyclone with spell reflect active. One minor bonus: sometimes the spell reflect will last through the cyclone and reflect the next one. ADDONS Im not a huge fan of too many addons, since they can clog up your screen and leave you crippled after a major UI patch, as well as leave you vulnerable to keylogs and hacks if you choose to download the wrong ones. Here's a list of the ones I use: Itemrack - lets you quickswap between sets of gear. I use this more on my warrior for switching between sword/shield and two hander. Also lets you display any item slot (think trinkets) on screen as well as the cooldown for that slot Proximo - brings up a window which displays the current health / mana / class of your opponents in arena. Several other useful functions include castbars for your opponents and customized actions for right clicks (set focus is a useful one) quartz - bar timers for *everything*. Swing timers, castbar timers for almost everything, buff timers, debuff timers Afflicted2 - displays cooldown timers for all the stuff quartz doesnt, mostly for the enemy. Useful for things like scattershot, psychic scream, cloak of shadows, and other cooldowns that tend to get used every time they are available. Can also alert the whole party when those cooldowns are active again, as well as when you interrupt spells, etc. CONTACT Any corrections, strats, tips, tricks, etc. can be sent to my email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and if included in the next revision I will give you full credit for your submission. No spam, no male enhancement ads, etc, thank you. Please use "arenafaq" as the header so I know not to delete your email. I would especially like tips for shamans, hunters, warlocks, and paladins, as these are classes im not as familiar with, as well as more 3v3 and 5v5 compositions; specs will be included in later versions. LEGAL DISCLAIMER This document is Copyright 2008 David Ishikawa. It may be freely distributed and copied for personal use, but may not be altered, published, or sold in any way, shape, or form without express permission of the author. Any violation of the terms of agreement will be met with legal action. All outside contributors have been cited in the section below. CREDITS www.arenajunkies.com - currently the best arena-related site, with a gold mine of info on almost every aspect of arena pvp www.wowwiki.com - contains valuable (if somewhat unreliable) information about game mechanics, scripting, class info, etc