Wednesday, August 20

Warriors! Grab a Sword . . . and Fight!!!

K, enough with QQ. I'm more a solutions type, anyhoo. :)

Whether you're fighting mobs or the other faction, you have to have a good strategy. If you're in a group, it's even more important, of course. But at some point, you have to be able to fight. You have to hit the right target, at the right time, with the right ability, in the right sequence. Just running around smacking crap won't get the job done, doesn't matter how well geared you are. Unless you're a Warlock, but we won't go there...

My military father calls this "tactics" but I call it "knowing your s... stuff." :)

For The Team

Sometimes you have to take one for the team. You have to do the right thing, even if you're going to eat it in the process. Yes, even if you're going to lose. For Warriors, this is how a lot of your time is spent in most fights. You're best when you use your abilities to get the job done. It IS part of teamwork, but just as important for the individual to react correctly to the situation.

So, in a dungeon, you might be DPSing your ass off. But at some point, Intercept or Intervene on that mob running at your healer, or popping your shouts to boost the Hunter's pet, or Thunderclap to help out the Tank, is just the right thing to do. Your personal DPS may drop, but the over all effect for the party is a win. I can't tell you how many dungeons I've run where I've heard something like "Yeah, we wiped but my DPS rocked... you suxor noobs lol" Sigh. Yah, well, if you hadn't pulled the boss' aggro three times the healer wouldn't have run out of mana and... well...

Example: I often play with a couple of mages. One recently switched to Frost, the other is Fire. These two pump out enough DPS to drop just about any mob in seconds. Assuming they have time to cast, of course. So I spend a lot of time letting them pull. Then I Charge the mob, Mortal Strike, Hamstring, and then dance to Zerker. If the mob is still moving after the frost and fire barrage that comes next, he's not moving very fast and I can Intercept, if needed. Very few mobs get the opportunity to strike or cast on my mages. That's NOT a proper Warrior DPS rotation. On the DPS meter, I'm not going to come out looking too sweet. But it's the correct sequence for a DPS Warrior when fighting with a Glass Cannon. Let them do the heavy work, you just keep everything away from them.

Yeah, that's working well within' a group. But it's also knowing HOW to fight as an individual. In a purely solo example, let's say I'm facing three mobs. I'm not going to be in Zerker and take massive damage from three sources at once. When the one I'm smacking bolts, I'm not gonna let him run. I'm gonna Hamstring his butt, or if that's not up, dance and Intercept ASAP. I'm certainly not going to let him go get help. If I have to reposition the mobs for some reason, I'm gonna switch to Defensive Stance first, Shield Block, move them where I want them, and then switch back to smasheminnaface mode. Again, my personal DPS isn't going to be stellar, but I'll live through the fight.

Experience VS Gear

Gear, schmear. Think it makes a difference? In the right hands, of course. But many times, it doesn't make one darn bit. In fact, it doesn't make a difference often enough that, if you fight properly, you can do a lot against a better geared opponent.

Most of the time, when you're facing an opponent with better gear, you're not going to win a 1-on-1 fight. But that doesn't mean you can't make it count. I was up against an S3 MS Warrior one time in WSG. Our first encounter was just embarrassing. I popped into Zerker Stance and started to wail on him. He popped to Battle Stance and calmly ripped me to pieces. Second round? He popped to Defensive Stance and a shield and took me, a Fury Warrior and a Mage. Solo. Ouch. Third round, I charged him and then immediately switched to Defensive Stance and shield. Then I just Shield Blocked him repeatedly. We both got help about the same time. He got a Warlock and I got a Druid. Because I was able to get a HoT, even with the DoTs on me, I was able to take him to 20%. We both Executed at the same time and both died. Some of my teammates were then able to take down the Lock. I didn't win... but I did better and, most important, was able to hang on. I learned the I-look-like-a-noob way.

Any time you loose a fight, you have to step back and look at it without taking it personally. Even if that Undead Rogue tea-bagged you... again. Figure out something else to try. And keep at it until you find something that works.

About a week ago I faced off against an S2/S3 MS Warrior. This guy could have pounded me to mush. We both Charge and, when it wears off, he switches to Zerker. As soon as he does, I run behind him and unload on him. He finally gets turned around, lands Mortal Strike and Whirlwind. Then he turns and tries to open distance so he can get Intercept off. I just Hamstring him and pound him from behind again. Down he goes. We did this like three times with the same result. Yah, friend, that massive amount of extra damage you're taking makes a HUGE difference. He should have stayed in Battle Stance. He also shouldn't have tried to put distance between us. He has the advantage up close. I was seriously ready to switch to Defensive Stance and just hang on as long as I could. Another thing . . . Why would he try to put distance between us to get an Intercept off? Does he think I don't have that ability as well? :)

My problem and this guy's problem was that we were trying to fight another MS Warrior, who already knows those tricks, like we would fight a clothie. My guess? Like me, he hadn't spent a lot of time fighting another Warrior. In Arena, the Warriors may exchange MS hits but then they're off again pounding the healer or Overpowering a Rogue. In BGs, you fight the biggest threat, or whoever is between you and your goal. You don't get to pick your fights very often.

Another example of experience over gear: I got into an exceptionally lame EotS a couple of nights ago. It was against PvE pre-made and they basically ran over us, three-capping very quickly and punishing our flag group into non-existence. It was obviously a Raid group slumming in the BGs for their Spirit of Competition dragons. (Cute little guys. Love 'em!) Most of my "teammates" eventually just stood at MT and waited for it to end. I hate that. I can see that FR is wide open, so head on over there. Might as well have a little fun, right?

Turns out there's one T5 geared Druid guarding. Ah well. So I lay into him. He starts that little heal trick Druids do and it turns into a "how fast cast I drain out your mana" fight. Then his buddy the Shammy (similar level gear) shows up. Now I'm fighting both of them, alternating between them quickly, slapping MS and Hamstring on them as fast as my rage will allow me. The Druid gets that Moonfire thingie off on me, but that's about all the damage I take. And I'm thinking "Why isn't the Shammy popping Totems and bashing the hell out of me??? And why isn't the Druid going all Kitty or Bear on me???"

Because they were PvErs, that's why. They were use to "stand in one place and heal/fight as mobs dictate" kind of battles. And once I realized this, I knew that they didn't know what to do about an MS Warrior that isn't going to die short of taking massive amounts of damage. They have to bleed off my health before I bleed their mana. Simple fight, they should win. Instead, they stood within 10 yards of each other, healing away even when they were only down to 80%. They were determined to stay topped off, just like in a PvE boss fight. Losing ANY health was a major concern for these guys. That made my job simple.

I got the Druid down to about 10% mana. While I worked on the Shaman, the Druid broke combat and tried to drink, sitting down less than 10 yards away in the middle of the road. :) After I Intercepted him and popped MS on him, he tried to run. Then one of their Warriors showed up and it got interesting. Unfortunately, the game ended a few seconds later. (Okay, okay... I was dead meat. :P)

What these guys should have done was put me in the middle. By going in opposite directions and getting me as close to max range as possible, one of them can heal and the other can damage and I'd be toast. If I'm on one of them, the other should be damaging me. As soon as I switch, they switch roles. This is pretty standard BG fare, and I've gotten my butt handed to me so many times, in this exact situation from players with a LOT less gear, that I know they should have destroyed me. Instead, their inexperience kept both of them tied up with me for 3 or 4 minutes! And the Druid was going down fast. If we had been ahead, that could have been a disaster for the opposing team.

Gear makes a difference. But being able to fight right makes an even bigger difference.

[Aside: Not poking fun at PvErs here. Honest. One of the best things you can do with a heavily geared PvEr in a BG fight is set 'em to guard duty and make them call out incoming. At the very least, their gear is going to let them slow down any enemy that comes near the node. An extremely important job. Also, I should note that PvPers are not necessarily very good at PvE. They have a tendency to jump in first thing and start smacking anything in thier way. That might work on mobs in the wild, but against Elites in a Heroic??? Disaster!]

I'm not tooting my own horn. Personal experience is the best example. I died a lot trying out that get-range-and-Intercept trick against Paladins (not good), Rogues (you won't get two steps), Frost Mages (they just Frost Nova and Blink), and other Warriors (they'll just Hamstring you or Intercept you first). I generally avoid MS Warriors, particularly those with better gear, because those fights turn into a slug fest that's pretty much going to go to whoever crits first. I've tried to toe-to-toe with other Warriors and it's about a 50/50. Most of the time there's something better I can be doing.

If I'm getting pounded on by an MS Warrior that significantly out gears me, there's two things I can do. First, I'm going to switch to Defensive Stance and a shield and Shield Block my ass off. All I'm doing is tying up that Warrior. One of us is going to get help, eventually. If it's him, I'm going to shout and hamstring everyone and everything I can get my sword on to delay them. Because there's DEFINITELY better things they can be doing than killing me. But if they're busy killing me, or trinketing my Intimidating Shout, that's less they'll be doing to win. If help doesn't arrive, I'm achieving the same result but keeping one of their heavy hitters occupied. If he's good and he out gears me, he's much more valuable to their team than I am to mine. My best option is to keep him out of play for as long as possible.

If it's a group fight, and he's gunning for me, I'm going to ignore him. I'm going to Intercept and disrupt his healer, mage, rogue, warlock, or anyone else I can get my hands on... while he chases me around trying to kill me. A good MS Warrior would break off and go after MY teammates. A bad one will follow. I always hope for the bad ones. :)

This situation often turns into a mini-Arena match! When that happens, you do exactly what you're suppose to do and bleed mana from healers and take hits and soak up cc. Then you unload on anyone silly enough to let you.

Do the Right Thing

It's tempting to give a list of what to do against any opponent or mob-type. I think some general tips would be more useful for most Warriors, though. So, in general, with a few specific examples, here's a top 10 things to do to fight better (there's plenty more, these are just the ones that come to mind while I write this...):

#1 Stance dancing is your friend. You have to know when to take damage and when to mitigate. Switching stances is the Warrior way to do this. Just like all martial fighting styles we have to know what stance to take against a particular opponent or in a specific situation. Certain abilities are only available in particular stances, as well. You need to have what's available in what stance memorized, and your little fingers should push those buttons automatically. For example, an MS Warrior has no slow down debuff in Defensive Stance. You have to switch to Battle or Zerker stance. Given that you're already in Defensive Stance for some reason (mitigating damage), chances are that Zerker is NOT the right choice. ;)

#2 Use Battle Stance against high avoidance targets like Rogues and Druids. This will pop Overpower, which negates a lot of their avoidance ability. (I'm not sure why Druids pop Overpower so much, but they do. Shrug.)

#3 Use Berserker Stance against soft targets. With your resilience, crits from your opponent will be few and far between. Max damage and the ability to slow them down and Intercept is more important when in close range with a clothie. The exception is when focused. See #6 below.

#4 Use Defensive Stance when you are being seriously out matched or against a caster at range. You should have a shield equipped when doing this. You need to be able to Spell Reflect and Shield Block in these situations.

#5 Use Berserker Stance or Defensive Stance against healers and other casters. Sundering down a healer is pretty much standard practice. Battle Stance does not have a proper interrupt unless you have a shield equipped. Most of the time, you'll have your macros set up to have a shield only in Defensive Stance. If you find yourself needing a shield frequently in Battle Stance, make a macro for that. Interrupting a caster takes practice, but is an absolutely essential skill. In PvP it can take a healer out of action at just the right time. In PvE it can save a lot of damage, mana and pain and suffering.

#6 When you're focused (most mobs, or enemy team members, have you targeted), you need to be in Battle Stance or Defensive Stance. The latter is better, if you can get away with it. Zerker Stance is literally a Death Wish in this situation. And your healers will hate you. :P

#7 After awhile you'll know when you're going to be cc'd in PvP. Sure you'll still get caught in a Frost Nova unaware, sheeped, or some sneaky chicken Rogue will Sap you, but generally you'll get a feel for when it's coming. You should be in Defensive Stance when this happens as much as possible.

#8 Knowing when to trinket is exceedingly important. You wouldn't trinket a Rogue's Sap, for example, unless he was sapping you to go after your healer. Otherwise, just sit there. He can't touch you without breaking the sap. And if you're an MS Warrior, you've got Second Wind and he's just giving you free health. Who says all Rogues are slimy bastards? :) Remember that a Rogue can't do much to you while he's got you in stun lock. The damage is minimal. Once he's build up enough points, then he can hurt you. But at that point, he can either keep stunning you OR do damage. The moment he starts to damage, you trinket and unload on him. He'll go down quick. It's just understanding the chain he's using against you. Same for fighting Frost Mages. It's Battle Stance, Charge, Hamstring, Frost Nova, Trinket, Blink, Zerker, Intercept, wait for cast, Pummel, unload on him. Rinse and repeat the last five steps until one of you is dead. It's a lot of work for the Warrior, but it'll tie up that annoying Frost Mage for quite a tick. If he gets ahead of you in this cycle, he wins. If you stay on top of him, you win. Tricky, but easy enough with practice.

#9 Spamstring is your friend. This works with Piercing Howl, as well. This is the practice of the Warrior spamming Hamstring over and over on the same target to keep them in range. Works nicely against Hunters. Works against Locks, but in general, they just suck. Go ahead and trinket the first Fear and start spamstring on them. Each fear afterward is less and less effective. But once he starts dotting you up, you have very little time to take him down. :( It's tricky but you have to get the Intercept in and a spell interrupt or you're a gonner.

#10 Keep your head. No matter what, stay calm and do what needs to be done. If you're fighting mobs, just hang in there. Think about how many times you've been down to almost nothing in health, you get one more swing off and the mob runs for it. If you'd have run, you'd be dead. :) Staying in there, it's amazing how things work out sometimes. One more example...

I'm in EotS and I'm assigned to the flag team. I hate being on the flag team. But ya do what ya gotta do, right? So we're doing great controlling the middle and we're keeping our two towers. We're ahead but it's close and can switch at any moment. We cap the flag and there's me and a Druid standing at the spawn point waiting for it. And more than half the Horde team comes running right at us.

Not much we can do and their FC grabs the flag right off. I get right on him, even though I'm focused by at least four people. (Might have been more, there was a lot of AoE dropping as well.) I'm spamstringing their FC and slapping Mortal Strike on him to keep the heals to a minimum. The Druid is obviously Feral, but he kept HoT on me the whole time. Bad move on their part. They should have taken the Druid first.

Instead they kept focus on me and I nailed their FC before he got to the crossroad. I grab the flag, switch to Def Stance and turn around to run the other way. Now a couple of our players are showing up. The other team is focusing me even harder and the Druid is just keeping HoTs on me and a light heal every now and then. I'm cc'd repeatedly, but this is the point of an MS Warrior. Yeah, we can dish it out, but with a little healing, we're almost impossible to take down. cc only keeps us from hitting stuff and, in this case, they were just giving me free heals courtesy of Second Wind. You have to take out an MS Warrior's healer first. They didn't.

This just kept going -- me getting cc'd, focused, healed, run forward a little, repeat. All the way back to MT with most of their team in tow. I capped and then we all went to work. We'd pulled them right into our main spawn point and they wiped rapidly.

This wasn't anything I did. I didn't have better gear and I didn't necessarily play smart. They had overwhelming firepower. One cc on the Druid would have done the job. I was able to cap, not because we did everything right, but because of a lack of experience by the other team. And because I didn't panic and try to fight, or fake 'em out, or something equally silly. Without heals, my only option would have been to get the flag back toward my team as far as possible (Shield Block) and keep them busy (Intimidating Shout). They just didn't realize the capabilities of an MS Warrior/Druid combo. Once that became apparent, all I had to do was put my head down and keep walking.

Fight! Fight! Win!

It's all about fighting. For a Warrior, fighting is about understanding what's going on around you and using your abilities to make the situation come out in your favor. Yah, sometimes that means you have to die to accomplish the goal. We're not called cannon fodder for nothin'. ;) Or you're not going to have the top DPS, or the highest damage or HKs on the chart, or whatever. Most of the time, though, if you fight properly, you'll make a huge difference in the outcome. It takes practice. But it's worth it.

Got any other examples? Share 'em in the comments below. Do you find dueling useful? Where are some good places to practice? I got better at slowing down opponents and dealing with healers by soloing SM over and over for cash for my Epic Mount. :) Know any other good gyms to work out in?



  1. I know now what my mage is going to do with the other teams FC in WSG I used to Frost Nova then help trying to take down the Flag now I will look for the healers and take em out they are watching their FC Sheep and then look for other healer to hit. Thanks for the info.

  2. Absolutely! Tis a great plan. If you run into the enemy flag carrier, that's exactly whacha gotta do.

    Frost mage, however, is better at protecting your flag carrier. Because you're very effective at creating range. This is one of the few times you won't have to worry too much about being focused. You run along the flank of the fight. You can Frost Nova those melee fighters trying to chop up the FC. Frost bolt on the fast runners. Sheep their Lock or SP who are trying to dot up the FC. If you see they don't have a healer and their attacking team is low on health, Arcane Explosion is wonderfully effective.

    When I'm carrying, I'll take a Frost Mage and Druid as backup anytime!