Hearthstone: Post Naxx Face Hunter

Hearthstone: Post Naxx Face Hunter

I’ve been piloting the hunter deck throughout the month of August and peaked at rank 3. With a little more time, I think the deck would’ve been able to reach legend but I ran out of gas at the end. Here’s the deck list:

Face Hunter by Matticus
Class: Hunter

Hunter (20)

Neutral (10)

Here’s the win rates and percentages by class.

winrate-facehunter

As you can tell, the weakest matchups are against Rogues, Warriors, and Shamans. I’ve only won 2 out of 6 games against Rogues. Warriors are slightly better but expect to lose those matches 2 out of 3 times. But it doesn’t matter because all this deck needs to do is reliably win against the decks most often seen on the ladder: Hunters (55%) and Warlocks (67%).

I won 55% of my games without a coin and 66% of my games with coin. So it’s a little more advantageous for you to go second.

Hunter percentages are slightly over a coin flip depending on the variations.

Against warlocks, I managed to hold a consistent 60% which isn’t too bad considering how strong they can be.

Mages are a slight coin toss and it depends on the traps that they manage to draw into. If they hold you off long enough, their spells will make short work of you.

Druids, Paladins, and Priests are all matchups that should go heavily in your favor.

Strategy

Your basic strategy is to lay out your cheap early minions as quick as you can. Feed your turn 1 Undertaker as much as possible with your Leper Gnome, Haunted Creeper, and Mad Scientist. Given an option between Creepers or Scientists, play the Scientist first. If it dies, your Explosive Traps will appear in play and it will help thin out your deck so you draw into additional threats later.

Use that Hero Power. Don’t be afraid to not play a card and Hero Power instead. Often times on turn 3 or 4, I have the option to play a spell or a minion using up all my mana instead of using the Hero Power. It’s okay not to cast a spell and hold it for later. An example is if you’re on turn 3 with an Explosive Trap and a Flare, you can play the Flare and use your Hero Power. On turn 4, you can drop the Explosive Trap and Hero Power efficiently using up all your mana crystals.

Your finisher is Leeroy and Kill Commands. Hold on to those until your opponent’s life is sufficiently low enough. Hunter’s Mark and Ironbeak Owl are used to either clear out any taunts or remove your opponent’s threats that could shut down your strategy. Make sure you actually have a beast in play before casting Kill Commands. I’ve made the stupid mistake of casting Kill Command with no beast out effectively stealing defeat out of the jaws of victory.

The Matchups

vs Druid

Keep: 1 mana minion, Mad Scientist, Haunted Creeper

Hold your Hunter’s Marks and Ironbeak Owl if you can for mid game. There’s two main druid deck variants here.

The ramp druid relies on accelerating early on into big powerhouse threats like Druid of the Claw (bear form), Ironbark Protectors, Ancient of War, and so forth. You’re going to have to win this game via early game and direct damage or else you’ll be shut out by the great wall of taunters. Recent variations now include Sludge Belchers, Deathlord, and Sunwalkers while Ragnaros simply pounds you to death. Luckily, if they burn their early mana ramp spells like Innervate and Wild Growth into Druid of the Claws or other an Ancient of Lore, a Hunter’s Mark with a minion will make short work of it. With luck, their hand will be depleted meaning less options for them to deal with your horde. Keep applying pressure. If you can draw both Kill Commands or an unchecked Leeroy Jenkins, you should take this game easily.

The token druid is a bit of an easier matchup. Don’t be fooled though as this is also a race. You’re on essentially a 7 turn clock before they can execute their Force of Nature + Savage Roar combo. Violet Teachers will be in play but the more tokens they generate, the more you can counter-engage with your Unleash the Hounds + Starving Buzzard. Stick to the plan and send your minions right at the druid to begin with. Ancient of Lore and Swipe may slow you down but it shouldn’t stop you entirely.

vs Hunter

Keep: Flare, 1 mana minion, Mad Scientist

There are often two variants of hunters and we’ll go over them quickly here.

The Midrange Hunter is slightly slower then the face hunter counterpart. It’ll feature uses of Savannah Highmanes and Houndmasters. They’ll try to control the board more with potential Freezing Traps, Misdirections, and some variants include a Deadly Shot. Lucky for you, you’ll be able to outrace them in a head to head matchup.

The Face Hunter is the mirror deck which relies heavily on attacking the opponent directly. In other words, same strategy as yours! It’s going to be a race no matter what.

When you Unleash the Hounds, make sure you actually clear out their side of the board before going for the face unless you have lethal. The worse thing that can happen is if they counter Unleash the Hounds against you and drop a Timber Wolf or a well-timed Leokk which doubles the damage done. If they have a Mad Scientist on the board and you’re holding a Flare, wait until the Scientist dies before casting the Flare. When you Track later in the game, you’re looking for Kill Commands and Leeroy Jenkins to close it out fast.

vs Paladin

Keep: Flare, any minion

Brace yourself, this is going to be a bit of a grind. Whatever you do, save the Ironbeak Owl for Tirion. Expect to see your board wipe around turn 4 from the Consecrate, but that’s okay. Hopefully you’ve been able to generate some offense and apply early game pressure. There’s a chance this matchup can go the distance because they have to run cards like Defender of Argus and Sen’jin Shieldmasta to slow you down. Expect to be set back further with Lay on Hands or Guardian of Kings. The trick is to hit early and hit fast so that those cards aren’t even a factor to begin with.

If you run into the aggro variant that has cards like Bluegill Warrior, Blessing of Might, Leper Gnomes, then this is going to be a race. You can do more burst damage. If they Consecrate you, not problem. If there’s enough minions out, your Buzzard + Unleash the Hounds can either neutralize their army or it can go straight to the Paladin.

vs Priest

Keep: Hunter’s Mark, Ironbeak Owl

If you get a chance to eliminate their Northshire Clerics, do it as early as you can. Even if it means burning a Hunter’s Mark against their Power Word: Shield buffed Cleric and suiciding your Webspinner, you do it. Otherwise, this should be a fairly straightforward win. I haven’t played enough against the aggro Priest variants to really say what to do against them. Against the standard Priest deck, hold on to your Hunter’s Mark and Owls to bypass any nasty surprises. You might have to dig in here for a bit. The Priest deck does take a few turns to get going. Holy Nova will ruin your day along with Sludge Belcher so save the Owl against that if you can and just rush them. The Priest is going to spend a lot of time deciding between self preservation or board control and it’s going to be a little difficult doing that with your constant pressure. 

vs Rogues

Keep: Explosive Trap, Flare

Ugh, I hate playing against Rogues. It’s like watching someone play solitaire against you.

Save a Flare against any concealed Gadgetzan Auctioneers or Van Cleefs. This is not a fun matchup against you. In almost 200 games, I’ve only played against 6 rogues so we at least have that much going for us. The odds of you running into them aren’t that high. They’re going to clear the board with Deadly Poison + Blade Flurry. Their center piece here is the Auctioneer. You silence it or neutralize it, then the deck won’t be able to go off and you completely stall out their engine. You can either cast Explosive Trap early to hold off against their early minions and hope you have enough follow up pressure or hold it for later in the game when you anticipate a Leeroy coming in your direction (I don’t recommend this since it’s difficult to time). This matchup is also going to be a race.

vs Shaman

Keep: Ironbeak Owl, minions, no more than one Hunter’s Mark, Explosive Trap

This is another tough matchup. Lightning Storm can swiftly remove your side of the board. Hex can slow down your buffed Undertaker. Their Ghost Wolves will often trade favorably against your minions and outlive them an extra turn. Save Hunter’s Mark for Fire Elementals or Earth Elementals (if you run across any). Ironbeak Owl should be saved for taunters or Nerubian Eggs. If Al’Akir gets deployed, the game is well beyond your reach unless you can last minute Kill Command them and deal sufficient direct damage. Shamans rely on controlling the board and making smart trades. Let them generate totems as it’ll feed nicely into your Unleash the Hounds. In your case, you don’t really care about that. Send everything you have against the Shaman. Get their health low enough so you send out Leeroy or use your Kill Commands.

vs Warlock

Keep: Explosive Trap, Ironbeak Owl, 1 mana minions, Mad Scientist

For Warlocks, you’ll play against two main types.

Against Handlock, you need to pile on damage and fast. Hold on to Hunter’s Marks and Ironbeak Owl. The Marks will be used to knock out any huge taunters in your way like Molten Giants. Ironbeak Owl lets you completely bypass taunt so the rest of your forces can punch through. Any chance you get to attack with your Eaglehorn Bow, you do it. Don’t skip attacking it hoping for your trap to proc because you might end up walking into a wall of giants.

That happened to me one game. During one turn, I had an Explosive Trap and an Eaglehorn with one charge while my opponent was at 10 health. I didn’t attack because I was greedy and wanted the extra charge. Then he dropped a pair of giants with a Shieldbearer. In my next turn, I drew a Kill Command. With a Starving Buzzard in play, I would’ve had lethal had I attacked him the turn prior (3 damage from Eagle Horn, the 2 damage from the Hero Power, and the 5 damage from Kill Command). Instead, I only took him down to 3 health before his giants made short work of me afterwards.

The second Warlock deck you’ll square off against is the Zoo deck. Their win philosophy is similar to yours. Attempt to swarm the board and establish control. Between Explosive Trap and your other cheap minions, you should be able to hold them off. You should be able to outrace them. The big threats is their Doomguard which you can mitigate with a Hunter’s Mark. Save your Owl for their Nerubian Eggs. It’ll set them back in a huge way if you can even silence one. Keep hammering away with your Hero Power and make smart trades with your minions (or just go for the face).

vs Warriors

Keep:

This is literally the worst matchup for hunters. Thankfully, there aren’t that many on the ladder in the grand scheme of things. Their hero power to armor up negates your hero power. Cleaves, will pound away and neutralize your early board minions. You might not have enough direct damage to get to them. Their win lies on holding out and surviving long enough until they can whip out an Alexstrasza or a Grom Hellscream and execute you in one stroke.

Final thoughts

On a budget? No problem. You can sub in Arcane Golems for Leeroy. Just remember that the Golem is used as a finisher. Don’t drop him early on in the game and give your opponent an extra mana crystal. Later on in the game is fine because it won’t be as relevant. All the other cards are either commons, rares, or unlockable from Naxxramas.

Win fast, win early, win hard.

Hearthstone: Hunter Beast Mastery

Hearthstone: Hunter Beast Mastery

Looking for a decent yet affordable deck to start with? I’ve been piloting the Hunter deck mostly to start with as I start climbing my way back up to Masters and on. It’s a straightforward deck and easy to play. It relies heavily on minions to deliver the finishing blow and you have to be able to time your attacks as well as your targets or else it will cost you. Of course, a little luck never hurts either. The great thing about this though is that you’re either going to win fast or lose fast. The only majorly expensive thing is King Krush, but he’s more of a luxury. Scroll down to the bottom to see a narrated video of this in action!

Overview

You’ve got a hunter deck that’s full of mostly beasts. They’re all midrange costing beasts and they all have some utility. Your Ironbeak Owls can help control and ability threats. Your Buzzards help you draw cards. Animal Companions and Ironfur Grizzlies have their own thing going. Your spells consist of ways to either control the board or accelerate into draws you need.

Deck list

The Cards

Flare and Tracking: Tracking is pretty straight forward. Cast it and you can use it to help cycle and fish for options. There a taunt minion in the way? Hope you draw into a Hunter’s Mark or a Kill Command. Low on minions yourself? Fish the next three possible cards for some beasts to help power your offense.

Hunter’s Mark: Such a good card. For one, it’s free. Second, it allows any of your minions to trade with any of your opponent’s creatures. How pissed off are they going to be when their 4/7 Twilight Drake just got brought down to size and taken down with your 1/1 Snake?

Timber Wolf and Unleash the Hounds: Ideally, you don’t want to see Unleash the Hounds in your opening hand. Timber Wolf is a toss up. You can drop it turn 1, but I find it usually gets blown up early game. The +1 buff does come in handy mid to late game as it strengthens the rest of your minions. However, if you have a Buzzard in your hand, you can use it as a way to feed your hand size.

Snake Trap: I’ll almost always play this turn 2. If I can pair it with a Buzzard in play, even better. This deck needs cards to really keep going.

Ironbeak Owl: Do not play these willy nilly. Sit on these until there’s an actual threat on the board or if it can secure you a win. If your opponent’s big tree druid thing is in the way, silence it and let your army through.

Scavenging Hyena: This is insurance. If your opponents take out other minions, your Hyena gets larger. It’ll definitely attract removal because your opponent won’t want this to get large. What do they do if there’s a Buzzard and a Hyena and play with enough mana for only kill?

Starving Buzzard: I’ll almost always play these around turns 4 – 6. I make sure I have at least 1 beast to follow up with it (ideally 2). If possible, you want to try to protect it or make it really hard for your opponent to kill it (like forcing them to decide between that or a Timber Wolf or a Hyena).

Animal Companion: AC is a random card which can give you either Misha, Leokk, or Huffer. They’re all beneficial in their own ways and you’ll find your plays will

Kill Command and Multi-Shot: These are your direct removal spells. Kill Command has the benefit of being used directly against the player. So when calculating the amount of damage output your beasts have, keep this in mind.

Ironfur Grizzly: The Grizzly is like your best friend. Dependable and will usually take a shot for you (or two if you’re lucky). Don’t expect much more out of it then that since it’s mainly supposed to be a meat shield.

Houndmaster: Turns any of your beasts into meat shields. Great well to help defend your Buzzards.

Savannah Highmane: Throw these away from your opening hand if you see them. It’s a dead card until mid to late game anyway. But it plays right into the theme of your deck and provides durability against any board clears.

King Krush: Your finishing blow. Your upper cut. Your People’s Elbow. Your coup de grace. Need I say more?

Playing the deck

Opening draws: Throw away Unleash the Hounds, King Krush, Savannah Highmanes. You should definitely keep Tracking, Buzzards, Snake Traps, and almost every other minion. Keep Flare against mages, paladins, and other hunters. Keep Kill Command and Multi-Shot against hunters, warriors, and priests.

Everything you do should be used to either go straight to the opponent’s face, clear a path to your opponent’s face, or eliminate any threats that are bigger then you. Certain classes will give you a harder time than others. Know what other class capabilities are and identify what spells they have which can be used against you and play accordingly. Priests have Mind Control. Bait out your 4/3 Starving Hyena so they won’t steal your Highmane when you drop it next turn.

Know when to hold your beasts. If you already have board supremacy (like 3+ creatures) and are in good position, don’t overplay your hand! Your opponent might have a mass removal spell. Suddenly, those extra hyenas and owls you played are dead for no reason because you didn’t have to play them. If all your minions are dead, you have no other offense and you’re in top deck mode. Playing against a mage? Watch out for Blizzard. Against Warlocks? Hold them against Hellfire.

Your hero power is straight forward. 2 mana, 2 damage to the other player. Use it if you have nothing else to do. You should be able to get a few early ones in during the early and late game stage.

Learn how to maximize your minions abilities. For example, the Grizzly’s taunt is great at attracting attention. Your opponent must go through it. So if your opponent has a 4/3 on board without a taunt staring down your Grizzly, and it’s your turn, what should you do? You can attack into the 4/3 and suicide it. Or you can attack your opponent directly and let them attack into your Grizzly. In both scenarios, the opponent’s minion and your Grizzly are both dead. But in the second case, both are dead and you dealt 3 damage to your opponent resulting in steps closer to a win.

If you’re playing from behind, there is some hope but it depends on what your disadvantage is. If you’re behind on cards (as in your opponent has more cards in your hand then you) and a neutral board, it’s not going to look good. Don’t worry about your life total as much so long as it’s above zero, you’re okay. The strength of Hunter decks is based on their ability to burst opponents down in a turn or two. Well timed minion drops with an Unleash the Hounds can help tremendously even the score and even bring it back in your favor. Buzzards are the key to digging yourself out of a hole.

Good luck and good hunting!

How Our Guild is Handling Primordial Saronite

3-3-spills

Primordial Saronite is the item that’s required for the next level of crafting gear out of Icecrown. There’s all sorts of methods of picking up this stuff and our leadership’s been hard at work figuring out what our approach should be. There’s a few things that are high on the priority list.

Shadowmourne, for one, requires over 20 of these. While going for another Legendary isn’t required, it makes a statement about the guild (not one but TWO Legendaries after all).

Our tanks can get an early boost to their gear and not have to rely on random drops from the different bosses. The better those guys get, the easier time we’ll have moving forward.

As we’re packing a number of sharpshooters in the raid (4 hunters), they’re also going to need some heavy artillery. The recipes for bullets and arrows will cost one Primordial Saronite to learn.

There’s lots of different ways we can go about spending Primordial Saronite to maximize raider utility.

Our approach

In a recent thread on the WoW forums, Ghostcrawler was clarifying a question regarding Shadowmourne. At the same time, he wanted to know this:

We’re also interested to see how various groups handle the Primordial Saronite issue. We designed it so there isn’t necessarily a right way to handle the material and we don’t want to over-prescribe your social dynamics anyway.

I found out over the weekend that Blizzard devs do read this blog. Wyn and Lodur kept bugging me and insisting that they did, but I remained a disbeliever until one of their guys pinged me on Twitter about it. That was too cool!

So here’s our answer:

Prioritizing Saronite to the tanks – Our tanks will get first crack at the Primordial Saronite that they need. The better their gear gets earlier on, the easier time we’ll have heading into Icecrown. I think they’re shooting for the boots first, but I can’t be sure of that yet. I’ve created a queue list on the forums where the tanks put down what they need (not necessarily what they want). I’m not sure how the legs are. If they beat the tier legs, then I’ll devote more Saronite to it. Until then, the queue list is just for the tanks and once they have all that is requied, the list will be opened up to the rest of the guild.

Ammo recipes – This is another one for us but it won’t happen until later on. Not only do you need the Saronite, the engineers need the reputation to purchase the recipe. It’s Goblin and Gnomish right? One crafts bullets and the other does arrows? Once our engineers have the requisite reputation, we’ll send one their way as well.

Shadowmourne – The Shadowmourne quest line is fairly extensive. The last step involves taking down Sindragosa which isn’t going to be anytime soon. Not only that, you have to perform a variety of tasks at different bosses (like standing in fires while surviving for a prolonged period of time). This step can wait a little longer before we invest.

On the other hand, there is some speculation that you need to be on the opening quests before you get the Shadowfrost Shards from the bosses. We don’t know how often the drops are and there is no confirmation.

Getting saronite

To that end, we’ve decided to increase the chances we have of obtaining Saronite. Sundays have been opened up for a new alt raid. We’ve been doing this for a while now, but we’ve decided to lay down some ground rules for it.

Why an alt raid?

For one, there’s many players with nothing to do on Sunday nights. We could either jump on our alts and join a pug with a 50-50 shot of succeeding, or organize our own with a higher chance of it working out. We like having multiple geared characters!

Our alts are almost as geared as our mains and it gives us a nice “break” from our normal duties that we have to do on our main characters. It’s nice for me to randomly destroy stuff on my Ret Paladin or my Elemental Shaman.

As I said earlier, extra Primordial Saronite is a plus. We can channel the results of those into the main raid. Not only that, since they’re alts, the players that are comfortable with it can spend their Emblems of Frost that they have to purchase Saronite for their mains if they need to.

Our main raids are overstaffed. We do this in order to ensure that we have enough players to raid. This inevitably means that some players are going to sit out during the week.  I don’t want them to fall too far behind us in gear. So any main raiders that don’t get to come in during the week are able to come in on Sunday in order to use up their lockout period. At the very least, they’ll get some Emblems.

We’re still working out loot systems for the time being. Last Sunday, when we walked into ToC 25, we had 23 alts in total. The other 2 were friends of the guild. The one thing that we’re lacking is another tank for our alt runs. If we can field a full crew for 25, then I can definitely apply loot council rules and prioritize main readers who need loot and balance it with the alts.

If you’re a tank out there with nothing to do on a Sunday night, come and check us out. Of course, anyone who feels that they are exceptional healers and DPS are welcome to apply regardless.

Let’s take down Arthas and move on to Deathwing already!

Symbiotic Altoholism

This is a guest post by Saunder, a Holy Paladin from Non-squishy Heals.

Before I start I guess I should say a bit about myself. I have 2 level 80 Holy/Ret dual-specced Pallys (instance as holy, solo as ret), a 73 hunter and a 58 druid. Well I have lots more, but they are the important ones.

Most of you will be familiar with the idea of Symbiotic relationships. One definition of such relationships is that it occurs where both organisms benefit. I see alts as exactly this sort of relationship.

The hunter was my original toon. I leveled him in the blissful ignorance that comes from not reading about game mechanics, and running instances in the totally blithe knowledge that the tank will *always* have aggro, and the healer will *always* keep you alive. After all, a hunter is DPS so all that matters is how much damage he or she can do, yes?

I then rolled a Pally, and enjoyed it. I liked healing and now my Pallys are unquestionably my mains … Can you have multiple ‘main’s? Anyway … And I found out some rather nasty truths. The first one was that Hunters who don’t manage their own aggro, even at the expense of their DPS are very very unpleasant group mates to have for healers at times. I have come to realise that my play as the hunter has been immeasurably improved by playing a healer. You may ask why – well, now I know that DPS isn’t everything. You need to find ways to put out the best DPS *without* pulling more threat than the tank and, if that isn’t enough, sometimes there is no better thing for the group and the run as a whole than for the DPS to fall on their sword and protect the healer, even at the expense of their own life and repair bill. It’s not what you signed up for, but it *is* the hard reality. Not only have these observations led to much improved play as the hunter, I hope that the number of pug members swearing at me behind my back has decreased markedly. I firmly believe that to be a really effective DPS, you need to play a healer, most likely to a high enough level to run some reasonable instances with pugs and learn some of the mistakes that will keep you on your main, and your group mates, alive and happy longer.

The second truth I found was that of healing priorities. In an instance, your first and foremost role as a healer is to stay alive. That may be a very selfish view, but seriously, how much healing can you do dead? The best tank and group in the world will need heals at some point (ok, with a couple of Blood DK’s or a hybrid class that can step in that may not be an absolute, but you know what I mean) and that means you the healer need to be alive and kicking so that you can provide those heals. (It’s also a pain in the behind to have to keep running back from a graveyard if you are the only one who can res but that is secondary). The next priority is the tank. Obviously anyone who is going to keep the attention of the instance denizens away from you and the rest of the group is a good person to look after. And, in case you hadn’t noticed, healers tend to be high up there on the threat table. Second on a threat table is a bad place to be if the first on the table dies, usually leading to the situation above where you can’t heal the rest of the group as you are dead!

So there it is, Healing Priorities in a nutshell. Now, now, now, before I hear all you DPS baying at the moon for my blood (do feral Druids in kitty form still bay? *grin*), I don’t mean that I don’t heal the DPS, far from it. I will heal anyone in a party or raid, players, pets, mind controlled mobs or whoever but I will heal them after I heal myself and the tank. In a perfect world no-one will die in an instance run, but, with the exceptions of DPS-races where the boss enrage-wipes, the death of a DPS is merely an inconvenience. The death of a tank or healer is often disastrous. DPS need to understand that there are times, and that is particularly true if they do something crazy, that death is inevitable. Live with it, and know that we your healers try to keep it to a minimum.

Then there is the very uncomfortable truth that there are players out there who just don’t seem to ‘get’ it. You can tell them that unloading the full barrage of their uber talents and abilities before the tank has established threat is a bad idea until you are blue in the face and they will not change their ways. Surprising how fast they learn when you let them die as a result of their actions. Explain to them the pain they are causing, then if they don’t learn, just practice tough love. They will, and the group as a whole will thank you for it in the long term.

So on the one hand, playing a healer alt really is a good thing for the DPS classes out there, and as a side effect, obviously, some percentage of you will find that you like healing, thus helping with the perpetual healer shortage. Excellent. I can live with that! :D On the other hand, it is just as valuable for a healing class to play the DPS role. Why you ask? As a healer, you need to know as much as possible that will make your runs more successful. After all, rightly or wrongly, the finger of blame is often pointed at the healer when there are problems. That means knowing the mistakes the other classes are likely to make. It can be a general knowledge such as the hunter example above, or it could be something much more specific. When that particular glow comes from the mage’s hands, for example, a LOT of AOE damage is about to happen, and that, in turn, leads to a LOT of threat. So have the big heal part way throughcasting so that if the mage *does* get aggro you might save them from being one-shotted. For those classes where you have emergency buttons, bubbling a mage in those sort of circumstance is not a bad idea. How cool is it to hear the anguished sounds that the clothies make on vent when they get aggro only to find they are still alive! You get to sit back and bask in the adulation of your peers. Ok, they mostly just grunt at you and expect it, but that’s the life of a healer

Really look at the benefits of the different instance roles. Playing a different role is a big way to get fresh enjoyment and experiences. It will keep it interesting at the very least, and you never know, you might actually learn something and make life easier for everyone around you.

For more great rants (and commentary), do visit Non-Squishy Heals and be sure to subscribe!

Tier 7 Bonuses: A Guide to What’s Hot and What’s Not

Tier 7 Bonuses: A Guide to What’s Hot and What’s Not

tierpiece

Updates:: This is another classic example of me not fact checking my stuff. This post sat in my draft queue since early January. Other things came up and I set it aside for the time being. Patches 3.0.8 and 3.0.9 were released and I forgot that some changes were made. Resto Druids 2 piece, Feral Druid 2 piece notes have been changed. Stop’s opinions have been revised. I split the tanking and DPS feral druids accordingly instead of lumping them together. Added another Enhancement Shaman perspective. Sorry! :(

Tier pieces have a history of granting bonuses. Blizzard has an even more illustrious history of giving set bonuses that are really good and some that are really bad. I don’t know everything about every class. Yet, as a member of loot council, I should be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the various set pieces. Like it or not, set bonuses do tend to have an impact on decisions. One of the Resto Shamans in my guild was the first to get the 4 piece (because Archavon was kind and dropped 2 Resto pieces).

To help you understand and decide on your set pieces, I’ve consulted my guild and several other prominent bloggers and players in the community. I don’t know as much as I would like about other classes and it wouldn’t be fair for me to make any assumptions (without asking others about it first).

This post will be broken down into 4 different roles: Tanking, melee DPS, ranged DPS, and healers.

Tanking

Warriors

2 piece: Increases the damage of your Shield Slam by 10%. Rating: Good

4 piece: Increases the duration of your Shield Wall by 3 seconds. Rating: Moderate

Several of the tanking Warriors I consulted weren’t impressed with the Warrior 4 piece. Prot Warrior blogger Veneretio only had this to say:

"It’s a great bonus if the 4 pieces fall into your lap, but the current non-set itemization is so strong that you’ll be hard pressed to even get the 2 piece. Basically, it’s go for the 7.5 gloves and another set piece (like shoulders or chest).”

Druid

2 piece: Your Rip lasts for an additional 4 seconds, and your Lacerate deals an additional 5% damage. Rating: Good (for both)

4 piece: Increases the duration of Barkskin by 3 seconds. Tiger’s Fury cooldown reduced by 3 seconds. Rating: Good for tanks

I had to consult Feral Druid Karthis about this one.

His thoughts on the 2 piece:

“While extra damage is always nice, Lacerate doesn’t form a crucial part of a bear tank’s output – Maul and Mangle generally outperform it (although Mangle is close).  Since threat is a non-issue in the existing content, this set bonus is even further trivialized.”

On the 4 piece:

“This unassuming-sounding set bonus is actually fairly significant.  Barkskin reduces damage taken by 20% and usually lasts for 12s.  It is a spell that every tank should be re-casting as soon as it is off cooldown.  Boosting the uptime to 15s only improves an already must-use skill, and further reduces the total incoming damage that must be healed through.”

Paladin

2 piece: Increases the damage dealt by your Hammer of the Righteous by 10%. Rating: Good

4 piece: Increases the duration of your Divine Shield and Divine Protection by 3 seconds. Rating: Moderate

HoR is good AoE threat. 4 piece is irrelevant to raiding. (Thanks Myze!)

From what I’ve been told, the 2 piece is good. The 4 piece appears to be just average. The situation seems to be similar to the Warrior 4 piece. Divine Protection is probably going to get used more often in the same was Shield Wall would be. Thanks Anna!

Death Knight

2 piece: Increases the critical strike chance of your Plague Strike by 10%. Rating: Moderate

4 piece: Increases the duration of your Icebound Fortitude by 3 seconds. Rating: Good

When Stop speaks, I listen:

2 piece: It’s still not fantastic… at all. Plague Strike is one of our lowest-hitting abilities, and improving its crit chance is not as useful as if they’d increased its crit damage. Basically, the 2-piece bonus is not worth going for.

4 piece: About the tanking gear 4-piece bonus: If you have to have a set bonus, this would be the one to go for. However, I don’t know if I’d pass up other gear just to get it, depending on your playstyle. Icebound Fortitude is basically Barkskin, and with some specs being squishier than others, some use it constantly while some use it like a moderately less effective Shield Wall. If you use IBF every time it’s up, go for this bonus. Otherwise, consider it a nice perk for getting this already-nicely-statted tank gear.

Melee DPS

Warriors

2 piece: Increases the damage of your Slam by 10%. Rating: Good.

4 piece: Your Bleed periodic effects have a chance to make your next ability cost 5 less rage. Rating: Moderate

Not that hot. Most DPS Warriors don’t have as much rage issues from what I’m told. But the Slam bonus is very nice.

Rogues

2 piece: Increases the damage dealt by your Rupture by 10%. Rating: Good

4 piece: Reduces the Energy cost of your Combo moves by 5%. Rating: Ugh

“The two-piece bonus seems pretty useful but I’m unconvinced about the four-piece.” Seri, Snarkcraft

“Just that the two piece is a huge bonus for rogues while the four piece is lackluster considering the amount of energy used to perform the combo moves.” – Cassio

Druids

2 piece: Your Rip lasts for an additional 4 seconds, and your Lacerate deals an additional 5% damage. Rating: Good

4 piece: Increases the duration of Barkskin by 3 seconds. Tiger’s Fury cooldown reduced by 3 seconds. Rating: Not great for DPS kitties

2 piece notes: “This is an important set bonus for a feral cat’s long term sanity.  Kitty DPS is stressful – there are four separate buffs/debuffs that need to be monitored.  By increasing the duration of Rip, a Druid is allowed more wiggle room to keep the other three (Rake, Mangle, Savage Roar) all active, which leads to consistently higher DPS.  “

4 piece notes: “It reduces the Tiger’s Fury cooldown by 3s. While TF is used every 30s, the top theorycrafters say that this new bonus is almost meaningless, clocking in at an extra 0.7% dps. There are much better gear choices that provide a bigger DPS boost than that.” (Karthis’ notes in the comments)

Shamans

2 piece: Your Lightning Shield damage is increased by 10%. Rating: Not so good.

4 piece: Your Flurry effect provides an additional 5% melee haste. Rating: Good

Not the greatest. Most Shamans don’t appear to pick up the Static Shock talent. Water shield is primarily used since they go through mana quickly. The 4 piece is decent as it results in overall faster hits.

On the other hand:

It is actually fairly good, static shock is a must take ability for an enh shammy. When I look at my WWS, lightning shield represents about 6% of my total damage output. Since I am at about 4k DPS right now that means my lightning shield is doing about 240 DPS.

Paladins

2 piece: Increases the damage dealt by your Divine Storm by 10%. Rating: Good

4 piece: Reduces the cooldown of your Judgment of Light, Judgment of Wisdom and Judgment of Justice by 1 second. Rating: Good

An overall net increase in DPS. Your Ret Paladins will love it. From what I’ve been told, Ret Paladins have this in their rotation anyway.

Death Knight

2 piece: Increases the critical strike chance of your Obliterate and Scourge Strike abilities by 5%. Rating: Good.

4 piece: Your Obliterate and Scourge Strike generate an additional 10 Runic Power when used. Rating: Moderate

DPS 2 piece: The only people who won’t benefit from this are dual-wielders. Every two-handed build in common usage uses either Obliterate or Scourge Strike, so for much the same reason as how Heigan’s sigil is great for pretty much every two-hander-using DK, this set piece bonus is fantastic for them. I’m still trying to get a set piece just for this bonus, in fact!

DPS 4 piece: I have no idea what they were thinking with this. I think they would’ve done better to try to rip off another class’s bonus, like, say, warriors? No DK should be having problems generating runic power, two-handed or dual-wield, period. Plus, again, this is useless for dual-wielders – both of the DPS plate set bonuses are geared exclusively towards two-handed weapon users. All that aside – I would never gear for this set bonus specifically.

– Stoppable force.

Ranged DPS

Priests

2 piece: The mana cost of your Mind Blast is reduced by 10%. Rating: Good

4 piece: Your Shadow Word: Death has an additional 10% chance to critically strike. Rating: Not so good

From my Shadow Priests:

The 2 piece is nice but is purely for mana efficiency on Mind Blast and doesn’t really matter much if you have stacked Spirit and Crit like most Shadow Priests do. The 4 piece isn’t worth it because with itemization there are many pieces that add more DPS than the 10% critical chance to Shadow Word: Death.

Druid

2 piece: Your Insect Swarm deals an additional 10% damage. Rating: Good

4 piece: Your Wrath and Starfire spells gain an additional 5% critical strike chance. Rating: Good

Boomkin ones are awesome all the way around. Insect swarm should always be up and 5% extra crit on our two major nukes is flat out gibbering insane. – Llanion, Moooonfire

Shaman

2 piece: Your Lightning Bolt costs 5% less mana. Rating: Moderate

4 piece: The bonus critical strike damage of your Lava Burst is increased by 10%. Rating: Good

I play an Elemental Shaman in my off nights and I absolutely love it. I don’t have a ton of mana problems in the beginning. Fights are short enough that I won’t be taxing my mana pool. The 4 piece set bonus is great for me. Flame Shock guarantees that my next Lava Burst will crit. This means Lava Burst will get an increase of 10% damage no matter what. Normally I’ll do around 8000 damage per Lava Burst. This shoots it up to a little under 9000. Fights like Thaddius or Malygos where your damage gets increased will have Shamans see an extremely noticeable amount (18000 with Sparks)!

Mages

2 piece: You gain 40% more mana when you use a mana gem. In addition, using a mana gem grants you 225 spell power for 15 sec. Rating: Moderate

4 piece: Your offensive spells gain an additional 5% increased critical strike bonus damage. Rating: Good

I consulted one of my Mages on this and he tells me that the 2 piece is nice for the extra mana boost. The 4 piece could potentially equal a 1%-2% overall DPS increase.

Hunters

2 piece: Your pet deals an additional 5% damage. Rating: Good

4 piece: Your ranged attack speed is increased by 20% while Aspect of the Viper is active. Rating: Good

2 piece bonus is nice for any spec, but it’s particularly good for MM or SV looking to close the gap in pet damage. The 4 piece bonus is kind of a nice boost to DPS while in regen mode, but nothing earth shattering, looks like. – Lassirra, The Hunters Mark

Warlocks

2 piece: Your Corruption and Immolate periodic effects have a chance to increase the next critical strike chance of your next Shadow Bolt or Incinerate by 10%. Rating: Good

4 piece: Casting Life Tap grants you an additional 300 spirit for 10 seconds. Rating: Good

“2 piece bonus is really good. 4 piece bonus is- OMG WHY DON’T I ALREADY HAVE THIS?”  – nibuca

Note: Nib immediately dashed off and could not be reached for further comment.

Healers

Priests

2 piece: Your Prayer of Mending will jump an additional time. Rating: Good

4 piece: The cost of your Greater Heal is reduced by 5%. Rating: No, not really

Personally, I’d say go consult your WWS on this. Try to get a feel for how often you use Greater Heal and see if you can justify it. I don’t use Greater Heal as often. When you think about it, 5% off of Greater Heal is about 50 mana or so. I don’t use this spell enough to warrant the free payback. But if you do, then it is something for you to consider. Otherwise, go for 2 sets then defer the rest to the other classes (like Warlocks or Paladins). Obviously if the 7.5’s drop and you have nothing else better in the slots (like heroic gear), go ahead and take a stab at it.

Shaman

2 piece: Your Water Shield is 10% stronger (each tick restores 10% more mana). Rating: Good

4 piece: Increases the healing done by your Chain Heal and Healing Wave by 5%. Rating: Good

Earthshatter set bonuses for Resto Shaman are awesome! Because they buff Water Shield as well as Chain Heal and Healing Wave, they manage to suit most of the various healing styles that Resto Shaman can perform (Anna, Too Many Annas)

Druid

2 piece: The cost of your Rejuvenation Lifebloom is reduced by 5%. Rating: Good

4 piece: Your Nourish heals an additional 5% for each of your heal over time effects present on the target. Rating: Good

2 piece is solid. Rejuvenation Lifebloom gets used frequently. With the 4 piece, Nourish becomes even stronger for Resto Druids. At least, this is what Syd tells me. Can’t go wrong here!

Paladin

2 piece: Your Holy Shock gains an additional 10% chance to critically strike. Rating: Good

4 piece: The cost of your Holy Light is reduced by 5%. Rating: Good

"Neither bonus is play-changing in the way that old set bonuses have been (4pcT5, anyone?) but both 2pc and 4pc bonuses are nice boosts to our mana-intensive spells." – Siha, Banana Shoulders

Hopefully this summary will help you in your loot decisions! For the DKP players, maybe it’ll even save you some points for other items instead!

Image courtesy of riyono

Five Reasons You Want To Heal My Pet

Five Reasons You Want To Heal My Pet

In this post, Amava of Amava Knows Aggro looks at the often underhealed Hunter pet and why they should be extended heals.

Hello, my name is Amava. I’m a raiding Hunter who transferred to the Ner’Zhul server to join Conquest shortly after WotLK was released. As a damage-dealing player, I’ve been a long time reader of World of Matticus because knowledge of the whole spectrum of specialties and roles helps build the foundation for a successful raid. When Matt put out his Guidelines for Guest Posters, and specifically called out a Hunter post as "lets not go there", I just had to plead my case to the healing community.

top5pet

Awareness of your fellow raiders’ strengths, weaknesses, needs, and desires helps make you a better member of your team. Over the next few minutes, I’ll hopefully convince you that any mana and GCD’s that you can spare for a Hunter’s pet directly helps the raid succeed. Let’s explore five reasons you want to keep an eye on those critters…

Say it with me: D. P. S.

If you raid, I’m willing to bet you enjoy dead bosses. There’s a million and one factors that go into killing a boss, and one that stands out very visibly is the need for enough damage per second to bring the mobs health to zero before the Enrage Timer dings. The pet of a Hunter of any spec brings a solid chunk of DPS to the raid. If the Hunter is a Beast Master, even more so. WWS reports show BM pets doing 45-50% of the Hunter’s total damage. Take for example a recent Conquest raid on Patchwerk in Heroic Naxxramas. Two BM Hunters. Two kitties. Two Thousand DPS. Each. Actually, closer to 2.2k each, but that didn’t fit nicely with my Two-Two-Two structure. Bottom line: Hunter pets bring massive DPS to your raid. Please help keep them alive.

Buffs and Debuffs

One of the most important parts of raiding is having a solid Raid Composition. There is a plethora of raid buffs and boss debuffs that all work together to boost the performance of your raid of 25 unbuffed toons to the equivalent of 28-29 toons. Ghostcrawler says, "Bring the player, not the toon." Blizzard has given a variety of options for fulfilling each of the buff/debuff categories which is outstanding from the perspective of a Raid Leader trying to get a team together, and Hunter pets only serve to increase the flexibility. I’d like to modify GC’s statement, "Bring the player [and the pet], not the toon." Since patch 3.0.2, there are a number of options for a Hunter to bring if your raid is lacking a particular capability. Some examples are a boost to the Attack Power of nearby players, a reduction in the armor level of the boss, or make the boss miss its next attack (tanks and healers should love this one). Dead pets bring no buffs or debuffs, so please help keep our pets alive. Communication is the key to a successful team, so I encourage you to discuss with your Hunters to see what special abilities their pets are bringing to the raid.

Cuddly

Everybody loves animals. Even animal haters, deep down inside, love animals. The haters are probably just harboring spite from a single bad encounter, and are irrationally prejudiced against the whole Animal Kingdom. I mean, even the Grinch has a dog. But I digress. It’s something primal; something instinctual from our roots. We love animals. There’s a subtle and subconscious benefit to your raid. It boosts morale seeing those fuzzy wuzzy pets charging off to battle, or just yawning and fidgeting while they patiently wait for everybody to stop going /afk. They’re also cute as hell when they accidentally go off and aggro the next pack of mobs or two. Blame the Hunter, not the pet.

Off-Tanking

Ever since patch 3.0.2, some Hunter pets make outstanding tanks. There are a whole slew of options, but most notable ones are Gorillas, Bears, and Rhinos. Before WotLK’s release, at level 70 there were reports of pets main tanking Gruul. At level 80, I’ve used my Gorilla to solo Utgarde Keep and nearly all of The Nexus. They are quite sturdy, can be spec’ed to resist lots of magical damage, and generate a respectable level of threat. In a raid environment, if you need to occupy the attention of a mob or two, a Hunter’s tanking pet brings some fantastic flexibility to your team. Just like the official tanks, our pets are going to need some love from the Healers. Do keep in mind that a tanking pet won’t deliver as much DPS as a ferocity pet, and I’m unaware of any reasonable way to make my pet uncrittable, but they do provide more options to your Raid Leader, which can be priceless in a pinch.

Spirit Bond

Here’s one that should really hit home for a Healer who wants to boost her numbers and top the healing meters. Mid-way through the Beast Master talent tree is a talent called Spirit Bond. Putting 1/2 points in this talent boost all healing that both the Hunter and the Pet receive by 5/10%. On the surface, it does not really look like a raiding talent, because it doesn’t directly boost DPS at all. However, the BM tree is a little messed up, and Hunters often find themselves with one or two points that really have no nice home, but need to go somewhere to allow access to the sweet and juicy talents deeper in the tree. Any mana you invest into a Hunter’s Pet will boost your individual return by 10% if that Hunter goes 2/2 in Spirit Bond. Communication is the key to a successful team, so I encourage you to discuss with your Hunters to see where they put their points.

Wrap Up

This is my top five reasons you want to heal my pet. Whether its raw numbers-based action or the softer side of a cuddly belly to pet between wipes, we all win when you keep our pets alive. What other reasons are there for keeping our furry friends alive? Or are you one of the haters who’d rather sit outside the FSR for just one more cooldown than lift a finger to help a kitty out?

Image courtesy of clix

Matt’s Mailbag: Aldor or Scryer? Hunter for Priest?

love reading you blog, thank you very much for such insight into the World of Priests. I’m an Alliance 63 Shadow Priest and leveling as quickly as possible. At 70 I want to go the Holy route though. I don’t want to take a mass of your time, but should I go Aldor or Scryer?

Many thanks for you time,
Anonymous

Thanks or the kind words. I won’t tell you which faction to go but I will tell you what faction I chose and my thought process behind it. Check out WoW Wiki’s Aldor or Scryer Comparison page. Its a detailed list of the rewards and items each side offers.

Let’s examine the items first. You get a great healing staff that you can go into dungeons with if you choose Scryer. But if you end up Exalted with the Aldor and you’re not packing anything but a blue neck piece, take a good hard look at the neck offered by the indigo skinned ones.

Shoulder enchants will continue to go a long way. You have a choice between 33 healing and 4 mp5 or 22 healing and 6 mp5. I took the extra 11 healing. I didn’t think the 2 mp5 was going to make that big of an impact. I’d like my heals to have a bit more “oomph” to them, so to speak.

Lastly, I am also a tailor. Scryer tailors can create spell damage leg patches and Aldor tailors can make healing leg patches. By picking out Aldor, I did not have to shell out copious amounts of gold for a Golden Spellthread. I can simply grab the mats and create them myself at my leisure.

I tend to be a “big picture” thinker. I like to think about where my character will be 3 months for now and how much replacement my gear and such will need. In the long run, Aldor was the route to go for me.

I was wondering if I should trade my main, 70 Nelf Hunt, for a 70 full merc shadow priest. I have just really gotten bored with my hunter as it turns into the same tactics with raiding and PvP so I would like to try something new. If I did do this would it be fair I would be trading my WHOLE account which is a 64 pally 70 Nelf hunter and various alts 20-. My hunter is decently geared has 2 peices of glad, 3 vindicators, and veng war axe, rest misc. blues from instances and T4 gloves. I am just really confused about this and did not know anyone else to ask but a priest. I will not get jipped off or anything since I know this person in IRL. I would just like to know your opinion on this matter and if it will be worth it in the long run.

P.S. I am only 14 so my grammer and writing sucks really bad I know.

– Anonymous

First off, I want to point out that your grammar and writing are a lot better than many people I know my age.

Second, you should know that I am a holy priest not a shadow priest. I have never played my priest as shadow so I cannot offer any thing close to advice about this.

Third, I believe you are asking the wrong question. You have just told me the reason why you feel like trading your account. You are bored of playing your hunter. I think the real question you need to ask yourself is why you are bored of playing your hunter. I’ve played WoW for almost 3 years and a majority of my time is spent healing. But it’s what I do that keeps me busy and interested. If you pick up the shadow priest, I suspect you will get bored of that eventually because you’re acting as a mana battery for the other casters (VE, VT, mind flay, etc). If you think trading accounts will help ignite your interest in the game again, then by all means go for it. But it sounds to be like a short term solution to a potentially long term problem. A lot of players I know have a case of altitis. Perhaps you should see them and get infected?

Readers, feel free to chime in on either of the questions. Have I forgotten to mention something? Am I clearly deluded?

20 Questions with Nightravyn

Every week, Matt gets a chance to sit down with a WoW Blogger chosen by a rare Manna Biscuit found in Alterac Valley. Find out a little more about your favourite bloggers as he tries to get to know them a little more!

This week, Nightravyn of NE Hunter LF4Mobs was awesome enough to stop mending her pet for a few minutes to answer a few questions.

I know I keep mistaking you as Nightrayne but that’s because I used to play BloodRayne when I was younger. Now I just think of you as a vampiric, dual wielding hunter. What influenced the name Nightravyn?

Nightravyn is a long-standing internet usename for me. I adore ravens, and at the time I created the name, I was spending a lot of time up in the wee hours of the morning. When I went to create a name, I tried "Nightraven" but it was taken, so "Nightravyn" it became. Cheesy, yeah, but it fits me still.

What is your real life alt?

Real Life Alt? But, but, but Nightravyn isn’t my character’s name! Hmm, well there’s my main character in WoW, Siana, who’s my hunter and the one that I write mostly about. And then there’s my real name, Amy. I can’t really consider any of those alts, though. Hmm, I guess if I could pick, I’d have to go with whichever alt of me that exists that has cabana boys waving palm fronds over my head while the IT crew finishes setting up the online gaming facility for me to lounge in. You know, the rich one. ::sighdream::

I’m absolutely hopeless when it comes to dealing damage. A hunter would be the last class I would play because I’d have to manage a pet as well. What three things about Hunters could you tell me about in order to lessen the intimidation of playing them?

I’d never been a "pet class" person before starting WoW but found it horribly easy to handle.

1. Pets make lovely meat shields, increasing your survivability. 

2. Pets increase your DPS letting you plow through mobs even faster.

3. There’s just something heartwarming about seeing a giant animal you’ve named and trained going after a mob, killing it, then coming back to you with this "Moremoremore?!" attitude. Well, heartwarming until you have to feed the twerps every two seconds cos they’re bottomless pits of starvation, or they go pathing off in the wrong direction when the raid’s still buffing. Oh and let’s not forget the… oh, um, ::cough:: "petz r gud."

 

Just for the heck of it, what’s your Hunter’s spec and why is it specced in that way?

1. Right now, Siana’s spec’d Marksman. Yes, I said it. Marks. I’ve been playing with her specs, trying MM/BM and mostly MM, with MM/Survival up next for the testing. I appreciate the DPS that a BM-centric spec has, but it’s just not my play style. I’ve tried, and it doesn’t fit me as well as the MM spec does. I’m thankful that I belong to a guild that doesn’t frown on any spec, as long as you do the job you’re there for.

What did you find most appealing about rolling a hunter instead of another class?

The last game I’d played by Blizzard was Diablo 2. I’d loved playing a Bow-spec’d Amazon, and knew that I would love any class similar to that. Also at that time I was closing out my career as a cleric in EQ and was tired of healing, so "Hunter" was a good fit for me to try out. I promptly fell in love with the class and haven’t looked back.

Which particular class do you find yourself having trouble with killing?

I’m going to have to say the infamous "25-man raid" class. Although "Paladin Guild/Raid Leader" comes close, too (danged bubbles). In all due seriousness, since I don’t PvP or Arena, this is kind of a hard question for me. I haven’t the faintest idea! ^^

What are you going to look forward to the most in 2.4?

New 5 and 10 man instances. Oh and new dailies. Although, I still have a cooking recipe to get and need to finish out my Netherwing rep and… hmm, maybe I don’t want more dailies/rep grinds.

There are hunters in this game that can’t seem to hit the broad side of the barn. Do you think implementing tracers and laser sights would solve that?

Some of them, sure. They just need a little training. Others? Mmm not so much. Although now that you’ve mentioned tracer rounds, that would be kinda cool to see.

Any top secret and classified plans that your readers might be interested in knowing about?

Oh boy! Oh yes, yes I am! It’s going to be this… hey wait a second here. C’mere. I’ll whisper it in your ear. Don’t mind the knife in the hand behind my back. No reason to be worried…

As a Sci Fi person, would I like watching Farscape?

I’d think so! I loved Farscape. Amazing effects, fantastic plots, the Henson Creature Shop behind it which meant the aliens looked alien! It had this wonderful mix of drama, with bits of comedy thrown in at prefect times. The storyline was compelling, and you grew to really care about the characters. And then there was the eyecandy: for the girls, there were guys in leather pants. For the guys, there were girls in leather pants. It was a win/win!

Speed questions

Best pet in the game:

Cat! (but I’m biased – go kitties!)

First thing you do when you see Horde:

Tauren – Wave/hug. Everyone else – ignore.

Favourite raid encounter in the game thus far:

Old School – ZG. TBC – Karazhan.

Most creative use for feign death:

Creative? Don’t know about creative, but /kissing Mojo, turning into a toad, then feigning death sends me into giggles each and every time.

Effective way to deal with troublesome domestic animals:

Swear a lot, Feign death and apologize. Oh, you said "effective". Pets to passive, don’t target the tank’s mob til it really is pull time, and lock your real life cats in another room.

When you’re not playing WoW you are _____:

Reading, playing on the Playstation/PSP, annoying the cats, or at (gag) work. Soon to be adding "harrassing The Boyfriend to help me paint rooms in the house" to that list.

DPSing is like ___ :

Pewpew! Pewpewpewpew! ::boom:: ::giggle:: Pewpew! LEWTZ!

Dual Wielding Guns (yes or no):

Only with silencers attached to both. -.-

Favourite Sci Fi Captain:

Hmm. Captain? Brains: Captain Picard. Guts: Captain Kirk. Insanity: Captain Crais. All other ranks, including Captain and above: Honor Harrington. (David Weber ftw!)

3 things that annoy you most about other hunters:

1. Not feigning death and complaining when "the tank lets you die".

2. Not knowing how to turn the "Growl" button off on your pet.

3. Giving people any chance at all to paint all hunters with the "Huntard" brush.

Special thanks to:

To Kestral for noticing I’d snuck into existence. To Phaelia and Valenna for creating Blog Azeroth. To the Hunter bloggers for proving there are good Hunters out there and helping educate the populace. To my guildmates who are an amazing and determined crew of insane, fun people. To Aerye and Uber Pally, friends and guildmates that said "Sure!" when I poked them and asked if I post some of their tales and information. To The Boyfriend for putting up with this, and to the real life kitties who wait (mostly) patiently while I do "one more thing" on the computer before giving them their pettinz. A shoutout to all the all the people in the Blog Azeroth chat room (there’s a lot of us in there now!), with nods to Big Bear Butt, Anna, Bellwether, Siha, Matticus, Jon, Maerdred and Leafshine (and I know I left someone out! /cry)

Nightravyn’s blog: One hunter, a "teal" cat (looks blue to me) and infinite ammo cheat enabled! While you’re visiting, don’t forget to subscribe to Nightravyn’s blog!

Guest Post: Synergies Between a Priest and a Hunter

This is a guest post from Trackhoof. Check out his blog at Survival Hunters Anonymous.

Well, Matticus wanted a nice little guest post, so’s he’s gonna get one!

I felt it’d be appropriate, as he plays a priest, and I play a hunter, and I used to play a priest, to talk about the awesome, ass-kicking synergy the two classes have for each other.

We’re talking Tango and Cash, Mick and Keef, Jay and Silent Bob, Glenn Tipton and K.K Downing, Jet Li’s left foot and Jet Li’s right foot; some seriously awesome kind of teamwork that creates things that are truly awesome.

First off, you have Hunter + Healy-Priest. This is still a solid combination, but more Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston than Kurt Russell and Sylvester Stallone. The priest does their job, keeps everybody in good health, and makes sure they’ve all got plenty of team spirit.

The Duty of a Hunter

The Hunter, on the other hand, is the wrangler. If possible, assign a hunter to protect a priest, or any other healer, all the time; they’re amazing DPS, but even better at peeling loose mobs off healers and sending them back to the tank. While boss strategies may require a different approach than most trash pulls, if possible, have a hunter protect each healer.

Hunters have lots of high-threat abilities, but even more importantly, the ability to re-direct threat to where it needs to go; so that rogue add who’s about to smack down your priest will get popsicle’d and sent back to your sword-and-boardsman in the space of ten seconds. Priests do have Fade, and while that DOES help with aggro, it won’t help as much as a good hunter will.

By the time you have them in raids, Hunters should understand the basics of their class, but also understand their dual role as an assist; they are the kings of emergency crowd control.

If they have pets, even better. If they’re Beastmastery, you have something even better than regular crowd control; crowd control with teeth. Intimidation, Growl, and threat-building abilities will make a mob’s head spin faster than a merry-go-round with a jet engine.

Marksmen should be masters of the Scatter-trap, and Survivalists have the almighty trapping skills. Wyvern sting is not something I’d recommend for this if you need more time to bring the tank over, but if you slap a Misdirect and unload on the sucker immediately, it’ll more than do the job.

Discipline Priests

Now, second, we have Discipline priests. They have great survivability, but above rules apply. Hunter = bodyguard. But it’s like giving a bodyguard to somebody that can fend pretty well on their own, but still needs the help anyway. Like assigning Chuck Lidell to be Jean-Claude Van Damme’s bodyguard.

Shadow Priests

Finally, we have the most synergistic of the combinations: Shadow Priests and Hunters.

This is what I’m talkin’ about!

First off, Shadow Priests take less physical damage, and can still use Power Word: Shield. Score! That makes life easier for any Hunter providing emergency CC.

Secondly, they have Mind Flay. It slows the target down, and makes them easier to intercept. Psychic Scream is another good one.

Thirdly, and most crucially, they have Vampiric Touch, on top of massive amounts of pew pew. I havent done any straight-up number crunching on the subject, but trust me, the proportion of Hunters who want Shadow Priests in their raid groups for this very reason is staggering.

We, as Hunters, are mana hogs. We are the SUV’s of mana conservation. Pairing us with Shadow Priests is like driving along and having somebody fill up our tank while we’re driving. If we happen to be Survival Hunters, then that SUV just became a Hybrid.

So, in summation – Holy Priests, come with us if you want to live. Discipline Priests, we respect your crazy asses, we’re here to help. Shadow Priests, don’t waste mana. Raid with a Hunter today.

-Track

Gearing Your Fresh 70 Hunter

[Matticus Note: The Importance of Being Ernest. A 1500 word paper describing high British society and moral values that I need to do. Which is also due tonight at midnight. There is also a Canucks/Oilers game which I must watch. I doubt I get a lot of Hunters reading my blog, but in the event you have a Hunter alt, this might be the thing for you. This is another gear list which can be examined and use for Pre-Karazhan purposes.]

Gearing your Huntard… er… Hunter

By Doc Holiday

I am tired of seeing god awful hunters running around in god awful gear because they don’t know what gear and stats are useful for us. Lets start with the basics

Stats

Agility – It improves our Critical chance and Attack power. These are both good things
Critical strike – Improves Critical strike chance
Hit rating – Very important but pretty much ignored by hunters who don’t know what they are doing. 136 is our Hit rating cap. Having more then this wont help us out. So if your at this or close to hit you can stop looking for more hit. 89 hit rating for you surefooted hunters
Attack power – Increase your base damage

That’s the big four when it comes to stats we should look for

Intellect, Stamina and Mana per 5 are also good stats to have but not AS important as the ones noted above

Head

Malefactor’s Eyepatch
Easy to obtain via a series of Quests while your leveling in Blade’s Edge mountains. Huge amount of Agility, Stamina and Attack power as well as some nice mana per 5.

Stalker’s Helm of Second Sight

Longer and somewhat more difficult quest chain in Shadow moon will get you the best pre Kara Helm. I recommend 4 hit and 4 agility gems as it is hard to find some +hit early in the game

Neck

Choker of Bloodied Feathers
I got this in an early quest from Terrokar. I never found a replacement until Karazhan because quite frankly it is that good an item especially Alliance side

Insignia of the Mag’hari Hero
Horde side only quest. Great neck with a little bit of everything including some precious hit

Shoulders

Beast Lord Mantle
Quite frankly there is no other shoulder that is better or equal to Beast Lord. Run Steamvaults as many times as you can to get this. Socket it with a 4 hit 4 agility and 8 agility and you will be set for quite awhile

Back

Perfectly balanced Cape
You get this quite early on from a Blood furnace quest. Add 12 agility to this cape and you really won’t need anything else for quite awhile.

Delicate Green Poncho
Another great choice early on as well. Nice stats and that all important hit as well.

Chest

Felstalker Breastplate
Easy to make this makes a great started chest piece. Add two 8 agility and one 4 agility and 5 stamina gem and you got a large amount of agility on this chest piece.

Salvager’s Hauberk
Obtained from the lower city at revered. I like this chest a lot. Large amount of stamina and huge critical strike bonus make this a nice and really easy chest to get. Considering most hunters will have obtained this rep quite easily

Wrist

Felstalker Bracers
Easy to make and if your already wearing the other two pieces you get a nice set bonus

Auchenai Bracers
Nice reward from a simple Shadow Lab quest.

Gloves

Ar’tor’s Mainstay
No reason not to have these gloves a 70 hunter. Very easy to get

Belt

Felstalker Belt
Easy to make and a super nice set bonus makes an easier choice

Rune Engraved Belt
Alliance side quest only. Nice option if you are not a leatherworking or do not want to get the mats together for felstalkers. Large amount of hit is always good

Legs

Scaled Greaves of Patience
Probably the best pre 70 dungeon legs you can get. These come form Old Hillsbrad and will be easily obtainable at 70

Feet

Sky Hunter Swift Boots
Really nice boots from a fairly short and easy sub 70 dungeon Sethekk Halls. The only boots to get pre raiding in my opinion

Rings

Slayers Mark of the Redemption
Hit, agility and attack power in one easy quest makes this a must have.

Band Of Anguish
Hit, agility and attack power in one easy quest makes this a must have. Hey did I hear an echo?

Longstrider’s Loop
If you are lucky enough to get one of these in Mana tomb’s then hold on to it for awhile. It might be the best hunter ring pre raiding.

Trinkets

Hour Glass of the Unraveller
I know its in Black Morass and you hate that place but I can tell you will not find a better blue trinket in the game. To give you an example of its usefulness I use this on my hunter today and I just started doing Hyjal and the Black temple. Get it.

Abacus of Violent odds
Oh no another trinket at a tough end boss in a 70 dungeon. Great trinket with a great use. Haste will be your friend in the future

Weapon

Sonic Spear
The ONLY weapon a hunter should have pre raiding. Slap a 35 agility enchant on this baby and you set for a long long time. Trust me this thing is that good and while sucks you have to slog through shadow lab its worth it.

Ranged Weapon

Logn’goron Bow of the Torn Heart
Easy weapon to get via a quest in Shadow moon. Nice starter bow with all the right stats and it looks cool to boot!

Quiver

Worg Hide Quiver
Assuming you don’t have your epic one from the old quest you can get this exact replica by getting Honored with the Kurenai. Which is easy to do as you will get honored simply by doing quests in Nagrand anyways.

If you put it all together here is what you get

As a BM hunter (I am currently BM and I recommend this to all new hunters but more on that later) you will end up with

1800 Attack power self Buffed
20.9 Ranged Crit
57 hit rating

Now I added the following for socketing. Any red sockets I used 8 agility. Any Yellow sockets I used +4hit +4agility. Any blue sockets I used +4agility +6stamina. I enchanted the head with Glyph of ferocity, Shoulders with inscription of Vengeance, chest with +6 to stats, wrist with +24 to attack power, legs with cobrahide leg armour and put 35 Agility on the Sonic Spear. I left the gloves, boots and ranged weapon unenchanted. I felt the cost of enchanting those to be expensive for the time and use of the items.

Basically you are more then ready for Heroics or Karazhan at this point. You should also be able to out DPS everyone in 5 man dungeons quite easily.