Friday, August 1, 2008

An Exercise In Anti-stun-locking

And now for something completely different.

You know how I'm always so down-trodden when I speak of my arena experiences? Well, for just one night, I experienced some high points. I didn't quite achieve my goal (Vengeful Shoulders, /swoon), but I did get a funky looking helm and some laughs, and I learned a bit of arena strategy in the process.

I logged in on Thursday just to check my mail and the auction house and got a whisper almost immediately from one of my rogue guildmates. This particular rogue is an avid PvP'er on several characters, and has a pretty good nose for the do's and don'ts in the arena. He usually whispers me when I log in to share an achievement he made with one of his PvP characters (going undefeated earlier in the week, peaking at ~2000 with a partner in 2v2, his plans to partner up with X person who's awesome, etc), but tonight he was just bored.

He asked me what I was up to, and I responded that I didn't have a set plan. My choices for the evening were to a) coerce a partner or several partners to join one of my arena charters and play some games with me, b) put together a PUG Gruul's Lair run so I had a shot at a [Dragonspine Trophy], c) go play Titan Quest with a few college friends, or d) give my poor wrist a night off from computer usage and go watch TV or somethin'. He musta' been really bored, because he hinted that he might play some 2v2 games with me on one of his characters, since he'd need to get points this week anyway. This is quite a juxtaposition, as oftentimes he is the one I end up whining to that I can't find quality arena partners, I suck, and I can't break 1650. Usually somewhere in our conversations I hint that he should carry me to good ratings on any one of his many PvP alts.

Originally he was going to test his mage skills out with me and try frost mage/ret paladin, a very strong comp, but ultimately he decided he felt like playing his rogue. "Joy!" I thought to myself, as his rogue is his main, and he happens to be pretty darned good at it. After dicking around for about 10-15 matches and not gaining much ground rating-wise, we started getting into a groove. My partner started imparting little pieces of advice as we went along, and I immediately incorporated them into my game. We pushed into the mid-1600's before a match went sour because I couldn't 1v1 a shadowstep rogue after the enemy priest and my partner both died.

At that point, my rogue-ish companion dragged me outside of Ironforge and showed me what's what when dueling a rogue mano a mano. Want some tips for taking down a rogue 1v1? Here's what I've got for ya:

  1. If the enemy rogue starts to disengage, and you can't stop him with Repentance/Hammer of Justice, don't chase him. Let him go - go hide behind a pillar and drink/bandage.
  2. If you just got Cheap Shot and you anticipate a Kidney Shot to follow, Divine Shield or Blessing of Protection out of the Cheap Shot. You'll likely throw the rogue off when he can't land his Kidney Shot, and then he'll be vulnerable and possibly a bit surprised.
  3. If the rogue pops Evasion and tries to go toe-to-toe with you, Repentance him. Wait out the 4 seconds of Repentance and let his Evasion duration tick down. You're not going to hit him when he's got 95% dodge.
  4. Stun the rogue with Hammer of Justice as much as humanly possible. Keep hammer on cooldown - he can't dodge while he's stunned.
  5. Deny the rogue his opener. Use rank 1 Consecration randomly to chance popping him out of stealth. Things go a lot smoother if you don't get Garroted, Sapped, or Cheap Shot.
  6. If you want to be a real pisser and make the rogue scream obscenities, use Seal of Justice intermittently while attacking him. You'll lose a bit of damage, but the random stun procs will drop their dodge down for a second so you can land a Crusader Strike, and the rogue will have flashbacks to the last time a mace warrior random stun proc'ed him to death.
  7. Use Retribution Aura. Yea, Sanctity boosts your outgoing damage, but Ret Aura punishes the rogue for hitting you, and he probably will be doing that quite a bit while keeping you from hitting him.
  8. Keep Judgement of Justice on the rogue. If he tries to sprint away, it will prevent him from doing so, and if you need to get away for a moment's respite, you can Blessing of Freedom yourself and (in conjunction with a run speed enchant or Pursuit of Justice) outrun the rogue for about 20 seconds.

I'm sure there's more, but that's what I can remember right now of my wealth of knowledge on introducing rogues to the blunt end of my mace.

After dueling my partner a few times and picking up a few of the nuggets above that I didn't know, we went back into the arena. And what'dya know, we faced a frost mage/subtlety rogue combo! My partner and I tore the mage to shreds, but the enemy rogue managed to kill my partner. Time to test my mettle! I put Justice on him, activated Ret Aura, stunned him, and went to work. He blinded me and re-stealthed, so I went behind a pillar and sat down to drink. He re-opened on me with a Garrote, and I started pounding him again, so he decided to Vanish and lick his wounds. I grabbed a Shadowsight buff and started flying around the arena, looking for him. I saw him just in time for him to Sap me. He opened with a Cheap Shot, so I Blessing of Protection'ed myself out of it, and then dropped a rank 1 Consecrate to keep him in combat an extra second or two while I clicked off the BoP. He tried to Evasion, so I Repentance'd him and dropped a small heal on myself while I waited it out. Then I Hammer of Justice'd him in the face, popped my [Berserker's Call] and finished him off. Woo! 17 points! A dumb dog can learn new tricks!

At some point in the night we hit 1650something so I took a trip to Stormwind and picked up a [Guardian's Band of Triumph]. Shiny! We kept playing, losing to a few holy paladin/SL-SL warlock teams. After teetering between 1680something and 1698 or so a few times, I finally broke 1700. Hello, hotness! 4/5 Brutal! [Brutal Gladiator's Scaled Helm]

Now, so that this doesn't turn into a gush-fest about how I'm so happy and maybe I won't quit arenas and yadda yadda yadda, here's some tips on pairing up with a shadowstep rogue in 2v2.

  • Stay put in the starting area on Blade's Edge or Lordaeron while the rogue scouts ahead and finds what you're up against. On Nagrand, hide behind one of the near pillars while the rogue takes a look around. Keeping the other team guessing until you come charging out and one of their guys gets Sapped is key.
  • If you or the rogue get Cheap Shot by an enemy rogue, bubble the affected target out of it immediately. It'll stop the incoming Kidney Shot and mess up the enemy strategy.
  • If you are up against a druid team, kill the druid first, either by finding him Prowling and opening up on him, or by drawing him out by beating his partner down a bit. The rogue should Cheap Shot - Kidney Shot the druid, in which the druid will most likely trinket the Kidney, shift to cheetah and start running. If you're doing it right, you'll be on top of the druid when this happens and you can Hammer of Justice him, (re-)apply Judgement of Justice, pop a trinket and/or your Avenging Wrath, and zerg him down. Many a-druid have been blown up this way. If he goes bear, keep working his health down and try to stun him when he shifts into caster form to heal, and then clobber him.
  • Use your Blessing of Freedom on the rogue if he's getting snared. Shadowstep has a 30 second cooldown, and it's important for the rogue to be on the target building combo points, throwing stuns and kicks, and being a general nuisance for as much of the match as possible. 95% of the time, you're not going to solo that healer, no matter how awesome you think you are.
  • Repentance is your friend. If you and your partner are concentrating on killing the DPS of a DPS/healer team, put the healer on focus and Repent him when you get the DPS'er low and he starts a heal with a cast time. He'll either eat the full duration, giving you 4 seconds of alone time with the DPS'er, or trinket it and open himself up to a Blind from your rogue. Yea, they share the same "incapacitate" diminishing returns, but it still works so very well.
  • In contrast, if you're going after the healer of a DPS/healer team, use Repentance to stall the DPS and keep him off your rogue. Preventing damage before it happens is awesome.
  • When facing a priest, trinket his first Psychic Scream and Cleanse the fear off your rogue. It'll save your partner's trinket for more important things.
  • If a target has any possibility of kiting around the arena, put Judgement of Justice on it. The only targets I neglect to put it on are ret paladins and ms warriors, everyone else tastes sweet Justice.

Now all's I gotta do is find a sucker partner or two and push a team up toward 2k...

No comments: