Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Arena-ing as a Tankadin: Futile but Fun

(Crossposted from http://myworld.creativegamingevents.com/blogs_view.php?id=583 )

Once again, I'm going to take a moment to apologize for my lengthy absence. I've already given the reasons, so I'll just go ahead and plow on to today's topic.

Anytime you log on to do your Arena-ing for the week, it's rare that you'll run into a Tankadin during your battles. We simply aren't built for handling Arenas; all the defense rating we built up is going to be next to useless, and if we don't have resilience gear, we'll be as easy to push over as a clothie against the more serious teams. However, this doesn't mean you can't do it, and even more importantly, that you can't have fun doing it.

First off, if you're going to do it at all, know now that you CANNOT take it seriously. Do not expect to get a high rating, and if you breach 1500 points after the first couple weeks of a season, consider yourself lucky. Being a Tankadin in Arena is a serious detriment to your team, so make sure the people who have invited you (or that you have invited) know beforehand your intentions. It's not going to be easy.

Personally, I do it for good old "S&G's." I think it's kind of hilarious when the warriors or rogues charge me from across the map and end up killing themselves on all my defensive abilities because they thought I was a Holy paladin. I also have a hell of a lot more survivability than my rogue counterpart does in my 2v2, or even than the feral druid in my 3v3. Mostly due to sheer hit points, dodge, parry, and block rating. (Ardent Defender is really aggravating for an opponent too.)

Now for the actual advice part. Let's break this down into equipment advice, abilities, other class compliments, and tactics.

Equipment Advice:

-Stam, stam, and more stam. This is what you have going for you. Stack stam and resilience gems in any slots you might have if you're going to be taking this "seriously."

-Arena gear: Get the "prot" set. I haven't done this myself yet (what can I say, I'm lazy and don't PvP often), but with the availability now of Season 1 gear, you might as well go grind out the honor and stack yourself up. The resilience will only increase your survivability, and that's the game you're playing in Arenas. The extra spell damage will be nice too, since you'll actually be able to dole out some damage on those foolish enough to actually come after you.

-Prioritize a little more Int: This won't be hard with the arena sets, since they provide Int, but remember that it's unlikely someone's going to be healing you in arena (and if anything, you'll be the back-up healer), so your mana regeneration is going to suck (or be non-existent). Given that you can say "screw it" to defense and a lot more of the mitigation abilities, this will be relatively easy to do.

Key Abilities:

Blessing of Sanctuary - This, in my honest opinion, will be your strongest blessing for Arenas. What you want to do is draw people TO you. A good 90% of teams will not realize that you are, in fact, protection-specced unless they take a real good look at your buffs and are familiar with protection paladins themselves. (Though they likely will notice something is up when they see how small your mana pool is, and may deem you Retribution instead.) The trick of the game is to get them to hit you and for you to survive it, so stacking all your passive damage effects is a must.

Retribution Aura - Again, stacking passive damage. Use it; all your other auras will be relatively useless unless you're in a 5v5 with a group of casters (Then go ahead and use Concentration Aura). Devotion won't give you enough damage reduction to be worth it, and the resistance auras generally don't seem to help much. Crusader Aura is kind of fun to toss up if you manage to get mounted; I've had a lot of infuriated opponents chase me around the arena trying to get a lock on me.

Righteous Fury - If you're prot specc'd and understand the spec, you know why you should have this up. Obviously it's not for threat generation, but the 6% less damage against EVERYTHING will be your best friend, especially against those spell casters who you have so little defense against. Costly to put back up in battle, though, so I'd only cast it at the beginning, or later if you have a lot of mana or are getting a lot of heals. It's also nice to have as a dispell buffer so your opponents wipe that out first rather than your blessings or any other buffs your team might have given you.

Avenger's Shield - This is mighty useful in Arena, especially when your enemy decides you (or your other teammates) are a force to be reckoned with and try to run away. Again, the element of surprise is key; not only does it look like a heal spell while you're casting it (for the whole 1.5 seconds), but no one's really going to expect to be hit with a flying shield in an Arena match, so they probably won't have anymore cooldowns to blow when running away, leaving your daze in effect. If you have a lot of spell damage stacked, this can also be one hell of a hard hitter, especially if you can manage to bounce it off multiple opponents. Very nice.

Consecration - The Stealth finder. Down-rank this and have fun walking around finding the stealthers before they find you. You stop caring about the damage when it's only costing you about 100 mana per cast.

Seals: Generally, I'll judge Crusader and go to town with Seal of Blood (as a Blood Elf) or Seal of Righteousness. Judging Seal of Light can be fun, especially if you have some quick melee hitters on your team (like rogues, feral druids, or fury warriors). Usually, though, you're not worried about doing anything else but providing support. Holding up Seal of Justice and judging it can be good times too; slow down their movement and stun casters. Seal of Wisdom I've only used in one fight ever, and I'll explain that one later.

Hammer of Justice: Your one and only stun (barring Seal of Justice, but it's so unreliable it doesn't really count). Know it, love it, use it for interrupts. Seriously, the best thing you can do to support your team is keep casters busy. They'll likely be after you anyway once they figure out you're not what you appear to be, and shutting down the healer is the most important part of any Arena match. Doing it when they're about to get a big heal off is just a little self-satisfaction icing on the cake.

Hammer of Wrath: Too much fun, really. Try to spam this as much as possible if your opponent gets under 20%. It's one of the few ways for you to do a lot of damage really quickly.

Avenging Wrath: This is for going all out on someone, but it's not something I use all that much since it instigates the Forbearance cooldown. I'd avoid usage, especially early on, as you'll likely need to bubble later once they figure out you're spell vulnerable.

Racial Abilities: As I'm a Blood Elf and I've never played a paladin of another class, I'll be sorely lacking in this information. Arcane Torrent is, by far, the most useful racial you could have as a paladin in PvP. It gives you another interrupt, and against all-caster arena teams, you will be the bane of their existence (Well, every 2 minutes anyway). The Drenai's Gift of the Naaru ability is really nice to toss up, though I'd always expend healing on your teammates before yourself (you should have the hit points to deal with it anyway, and it's likely anyone else on your team will be squishier than you). A Dwarf's Stoneform is amazing for cleansing yourself of those nasty bleed effects you normally can't get rid of otherwise, so save it for the Rogue/Warrior/Druid abilities that stack up. Lastly, there's the Human Perception ability; yet another way for you to catch stealthers, and let you place perhaps a full-rank consecration on top of the unsuspecting ones.

Class Compliments:

In all reality, since you're likely not taking this seriously anyway, play with whomever you want. The point is, after all, to have fun with it. One way or the other, you're going to end up with silly stories and a lot of interesting memories. But, for those of you wanting to maybe accomplish a little more, I'll tell you what's worked for me.

2v2

My 2v2 partner is a rogue, and this works out quite well. He's hemo-specc'd, and everyone assumes I'm Holy and charges after me. During the confusion and frustration where they discover I am not a healer, he'll have already toasted a clothie or at least stun-locked their healer. If I can keep the melee busy, he'll sneak up and kill the ranged, and that works out rather lovely.

I would therefore then assume that a feral-specc'd druid in this role would function equally well. If you're playing the decoy game like I do, you want a stealther in your group.

I haven't tried out much else (there's no one else in our 2v2, and I can't blame them; our rating was terrible last season XD); if you have an obvious healer, they'll go kill them first. The theory could work with a warrior. They'll probably still assume you're Holy and go after you. If you have any ranged, though, it's probably likely they'll try to kill the ranged guy first; even if you WERE a healer, the ranged person is a helluva a lot squishier and likely to get burst-down. At this point, blow what mana you have on keeping them alive (or Blessing of Protection them). You want them coming after you; end of story.

3v3

Again, I keep stealthers about me. We're a Feral druid/Hemo rogue/Prot pally combination, and boy does it work out nicely. With both of them in stealth, everyone comes after me and they have the opportunity to sneak up and just utterly tear apart one of their team. Once we get them down to 2 opponents, the win is pretty inevitable.

If you're not going this option, then I'd take people who can disable others; a mage and a warlock with a prot pally would be interesting, with Polymorph on one guy and a Fel Hunter on a caster. But again; you're likely to be a detriment. You don't do a lot of damage, and if your casters are the ones doing everything, the other team's going to catch on pretty quickly.

5v5

I have the least experience here. I've only done a few, and I respecc'd Holy for a couple of the matches. There honestly isn't a whole lot of room for a Prot pally in 5v5. The chaos is ultimate, though you may benefit your team by taking a lot of the crowd control from the other side, or being single targetted first (earning your team a little head start on killing someone), forcing them to burn through your massive amount of hit points.

5v5's are so varied that I can't honestly offer much support advice; after all, you *are* the support. I'd say start out as a healer in 5v5 (even in Prot gear; just spam Flash of Light), and with two healers on whoever is being single-targetted, or you being forced into crowd control over your true healer, you'll have done a lot right there.

Tactics

I've offered a lot of my tactics already, but here's a quick run-down again, as well as advice on what classes will screw you up and who to look out for.

-Be the Decoy. This is going to be your best bet; your job in Arena is to soak up the damage that could otherwise be directed onto your teammates. It's like tanking in that regard; except your enemy has a wild aggro bar that you can't hold. Play the healer for a while, get them on you, and let the passive damage do the rest of the work.

-Stack spell damage. If you want to be dealing damage, stack spell damage over everything else. Your passive damage abilities will be dealing the most when you're in the ideal situation, and there's nothing quite like throwing 800+ Avenger's Shields on a regular basis. (I keep hoping I'll crit for 2k someday. =O )

-Toast Warlock Pets. ESPECIALLY succubus pets. Most others will tell you to leave them be, but this is what'll kill you in Arenas as a paladin. Succubi in particular have a lot less health than other Warlock pets, and your Exorcism will make quick work of them. And if you happen to have a Fel Hunter against you, drag it away from the rest of your casters in the group and take it out yourself. It's better to have you spell-locked than your healer or your major burst damage mage spell-locked.

-Leave Hunter pets alone. If there's a pet to leave alone, it would be the hunter's. The damage they do in the long run is negligible and a the hunter himself is a lot more dangerous (especially if he has Silencing Shot).

-Buff your party members. A no brainer, but hey, I guess it couldn't hurt to mention. Don't bother with greater blessings; Arena matches shouldn't last longer than 10 minutes, and if they do, rebuffing in combat isn't hard if you have the Pally Power add-on (WHICH EVERY PALADIN SHOULD, RAWR, ).

-Have fun. Don't get frustrated if you don't win; you shouldn't be expecting to win! Prot is entirely inferior in arenas, and my advice is only going to help you aggravate the other side and maybe win every once in a while a little more often. Prot paladins are a PvE spec, and you should never expect them to excel in anything other than what they are good at; tanking.

I'd like to leave everyone with a hilarious little treat; sometime last week before Thanksgiving, I popped on to do my 2v2 with my good buddy Kaitou. I'm still wondering if I set a record or something, because one of our matches lasted an hour and six minutes.

Best 7 point win EVER

There's the screenshot. It was basically about an hour of me and a feral druid running around in circles, disabling the other so we could heal, then running around in circles some more. Finally, the druid thought he might be able to burst me down by exiting combat, stealthing, and pouncing me. So I worked my way over to Kaitou, bubbled, and rezzed him. We won shortly thereafter.

Remember, Prot paladins aren't GOOD in arena. But... they aren't always bad either. ;)

3 comments:

Orion Antares said...

So what do you think about just picking up the heal set instead of the spell damage set? Gives you some extra boost when you need to cast those heals and with the 1/3 spell damage from healing it might be worth it?

soul said...

the hunter pet thing by the way, best thing to do is used your ranged taunt to get it off whatever the hunter sets it on, better for it to beat itself to death against you than interrupt healers / casters, doesnt last all that long but long enough for a cast to get out unharrased

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