Posts Tagged ‘Guide’

M&M: Us Versus Us?

Ahh, mages. Arguably the squishiest class in the game, and yet capable of terrifying power, solid crowd control, and the most powerful burst capability of any class in the arenas.

Enter maniacal laughter here.

Enter maniacal laughter here.


– Almost all arena mages are specced deep frost (either a 17/044 or 0/0/61 build) due to that specs superior survivability and control to the other specs. This appears to be changing, but for now, frost is still the go-to tree for arena mages.

– Similar to hunters, a mage left without pressure can deal a massive amount of damage very, very quickly, to any class.

– Decent mana longevity, due to Evocate and mana gems.

– Has the longest spell school lockout ability in the game, which just so happens to be off the GCD, instant cast, and ranged. Counterspell is devastating.

– Very strong crowd control, via polymorph and multiple snares/roots. Even a few seconds of successful mage CC can completely turn the tide of a battle.

– Invisibility, as much controversy has surrounded it, is still a very effective tool.

– One of only two classes that can render themselves completely immune to focus fire. (more…)

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M&M; Us Versus Them, Hunter Edition

Ahh, hunters. Terror of the battlegrounds, it’s impossible to count the number of mages that have been torn to pieces by hunters over the years. Ranged physical damage, a pet, a mana drain; a class practically begging to go head to head with a caster.


– The vast majority of arena hunters are specced Marksman. It has superior burst to the other two builds, two specialty shots that are invaluable in PvP (Silencing Shot and Scatter Shot) as well as much improved Stings.

– Left alone, hunters can deal terrifying damage, very quickly, to a cloth wearing class.

– They are much more vulnerable to close in fighting than other ranged classes. A hunter cannot use his strongest ranged attacks in melee range.

– Very susceptible to pillars, more so than any other class.

– Relatively shallow mana pools.

– Freezing Trap, the hunter’s lengthy CC ability, is one of the worst in the game for PvP.

– Pets are relatively easy to kill.

– Viper Sting is a deadly mana drain ability, especially since most Hunters are specced to improve it. (more…)

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M&M; Us Versus Them, Druid Edition

Ahh, druids. Instant cast heals and near immunity to every form of control a mage provides. What’s not to love?


  • – Typically specced either deep restoration, or a balance/restoration hybrid. Most druids also place 11 points into the feral true for Bear Counterspell.
  • – Invented the dreaded “pillar hump”.
  • – Able to shape shift out of any crowd control a mage has. Roots, slows, polymorph…
  • – Most heals are instant cast, i.e. Lifebloom, and thus cannot be counterspelled.
  • – Immune to polymorph while shape shifted.
  • – Nature’s Swiftness (3 minute cooldown) = Presence of Mind for druids. Usually used for an instant Healing Touch.
  • – Cyclone, a powerful crowd control ability that renders the target immune to everything, including heals (any over time abilities continue to count down, but without effect). Cyclone cannot be dispelled or removed by anything except a PvP trinket. Not even Ice Block works.
  • – Seemingly have extremely deep mana pools. Impossible to run completely OOM, even worse for dreamstate druids. (more…)
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    M&M; The Pain Train

    “The Pain Train” is a slang phrase that, roughly translated, means “everybody dies”.

    Ever been in one of those Warsong Gulch games where the opposing team simply storm up the field, kill everybody, grab the flag, and storm back the way they came?

    That’s a pain train.

    Pain Train Jermaine, as photographed by Brandon Voges.

    The idea of the pain train in an arena setting is a simplistic one: pick a dude on the other team, and then kill him. And then kill his friends!

    The execution of this is, understandably, slightly more complicated.

    When the gates open, your team and whatever team you’re going up against are immediately figuring out which guy on the other team you should attempt to kill first. At least you should be. Which target you decide will be your kill target will be completely on a situational basis. (more…)

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    M&M; Shatter


    Don’t hesitate! Call in now, and for just $15.99 a month, killing innocent animals in strange places can be THIS FUN for you too!

    *WARNING: May cause death and diarrhea. (more…)

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    M&M; Frozen Meats

    For the good people over at M&M Meat Shops, I swear that this was a huge coincidence. I’M NON PROFIT, YOU CAN’T SUE ME!


    So let’s cover the remaining facet of magely crowd control, our frost spells. Downranking will be heavily abused here.

    Frost Nova

    Everyone’s favorite AoE root. It deals a tiny amount of damage, and roots everything close by to you to the ground for 8 seconds, barring any DR. This is one of your strongest weapons in any PvP situation, being one of the four effects that allows you to pull of a Shatter combo (the other three being the Frostbite proc, the water elementals ranged nova, and a hunter’s freezing trap).

    Use Rank 1 Frost Nova. There is nothing to be gained from higher ranks of this spell. The higher ranks do slightly more damage for much more mana. Don’t even bother training the higher ranks, it’s just a waste of gold.

    The use of Frost Nova is two-fold: to get away from melee style characters and for use in destroying other ranged classes.

    When used on a melee class, the idea is to hit them with Frost Nova, walk away from them (use a swagger, trust me), then whirl around and drop a Shatter combo on their face. Melee classes, as a general rule, will tear you to pieces if you let them. This is exactly what Frost Nova prevents.

    Note: Never ever ever ever ever Frost Nova somebody and then Blink away from them, unless they stun you (i.e. Hammer of Justice). Spending two cooldowns for the exact same purpose is, at best, wasteful, and at worse, idiotic.

    Frost Nova is so good, that if you PvP with any other class, this will be the number one spell that you will miss. I can guarantee it.

    Against most ranged classes, frost nova is used as a setup for Shatter, or a way to trap them where a teammate can freely attack them. It is especially deadly against hunters, as they only have one reliable class ability to help them escape, and they need to put 41 points into Beast Master to get it. Not to mention the fact that they rely on range to be effective, and when they can’t move… they’re probably not at range.

    Frost Nova is least effective against druids, who can simply shapeshift out of the effect. Still, that forces them to use a GCD and spend mana to shift.


    Here is another mage spell that is ruthlessly effective at Rank 1. With Improved Frostbolt (you did take Improved Frostbolt, right?) Rank 1 of this spell has a measly 1 second cast time, assuming you have zero spell haste. It provides a ridiculously cheap and fast snare, something that you will definitely need to use often.

    It can help slow ranged classes, giving the melee members of your team an easier time. It can be spammed… err, used against rogues in order to kite them. Modern rogues, these shadowstep nightmares, are incredibly hard to kite. You may find some use against warriors, but generally, warriors are a very easy kill and you usually don’t need to expend much effort to kill them.

    It’s also a great spell to use on druids, as most of them are allergic to being snared by ANYTHING, and will almost always shapeshift to get rid of this debuff.

    Oh yes, and it also stacks Winter’s Chill and has a chance to proc Frostbite.

    With all this in mind, it is most effective against melee oriented classes. Snares have always been the bane of melee types, and Rank 1 Frostbolt is probably the worst of them. Almost free in it’s mana cost, absurdly fast cast time, same amount of snare as the full rank spell… I’m sure you can see why this is an awesome ability.

    Cone of Cold

    Yes, that’s right. Rank 1 Cone of Cold. It acts like Rank 1 Frostbolt, except it is instant cast, and it’s snare is 10% more powerful.

    Note: the base slowing effect of frostbolt is 40%; the base slowing effect of Cone of Cold is 50%

    Using Rank 1 Cone of Cold does cost 210 mana (base mana cost), and does use up the cooldown for Cone of Cold. Nevertheless, it is a very effective weapon in kiting, when you simply do not have time to stop moving to get off a frostbolt, but still need the snare. Once again, most effective against melee classes.

    Bear in mind that in quite a few cases, it would be best to use full rank Cone of Cold, as you would require the damage it provides, in addition to the snare. You want to use Rank 1 Cone of Cold when the target you’re hitting it with is not the target your team is aiming to down first.

    This is especially true if the target you need the snare to go on is scheduled to be polymorphed in the very near future. In this case, if you plan on sheeping whatever you’re kiting, using the full rank spell would almost be a total waste of mana.

    Ice Armor

    There is much debate over what armor type to use in arenas, whether to use Ice Armor or Molten Armor. As a rule of thumb, use Ice Armor if the majority of the other teams damage will come from melee attackers, Molten Armor in all other situations.

    Ice Armor provides a boost to your armor values, and every time you are struck by a melee attack, the attacker has a (rather high) chance to slow their own movement speed by 30%, and have time between their attacks increased by 25%.

    In other words, absolutely perfect for use against melee attackers.

    Any and all ranks of Frost Armor and Ice Armor carry the same slowing percents, higher ranks merely increased the value of the armor boost. There is almost no tangible difference between using the highest rank of Ice Armor and using Rank 1 Frost Armor. The armor boost itself, at max rank, will reduce physical damage taken by approximately 4%, depending on how much armor the rest of your gear has.

    Low armor gear will give a higher damage reduction, high armor gear will give a lower damage reduction. This is due to the fact that the more armor you have, the less each further point of armor decreases the damage you take. Just ask a tank, I’m sure they can explain it better than I.

    Start each arena battle with Molten Armor ready to go. The 5% critical strike reduction is worth far, far too much in a PvP environment to give up, and the bonus 3% critical strike rating is tasty too.

    Note: It may be worth starting 2v2 arenas with Ice Armor active, as quite a few teams in this bracket utilize a melee class.

    If the opposing team is heavy on the melee and they come gunning for you, switch over to Rank 1 Frost Armor (the cheapest, mana wise) for some self regulating kiting. Otherwise, keep Molten Armor running.

    Again, if you have any suggestions / additional strategies, leave a comment. The more complete these things are, the better.

    All images from Stock.Xchng, except for the frostbolt symbol, which is from battle.net.

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    M&M; Counterspell and You!

    Counterspell is an amazing spell interrupt ability. Relatively, it does have a long cooldown, but it also has a very long lockout, a significant silence if specced for it, works independent of the GCD, and has a very long range relative to other interrupts.

    Long Cooldown

    Remember that you have 24 seconds between counterspells. That may not seem like a lot, but trust me. When you’re in the arena, this is a bloody long time. Make it count! Never, ever waste your counterspell, it will hurt you far too much.

    The key here is wisdom. More often than not, you will be presented with an opportunity to use counterspell, and more often than not, it will be something like a frost mage casting Scorch, or a Shaman using his hearthstone. These are collectively known as “fake casts”, wherein your opponent casts a spell in an effort to make you counter something utterly pointless. Or start casting spell, then immediately cancel it so that you counterspell… nothing.

    If you counter a rShaman’s Hearthstone… congrats! Here’s a dunce cap.

    This is easy to avoid. You must have whatever UI you have, or some other addon, enabled to show what your target is casting, preferably a painfully obvious cast bar. I have one located almost right next to my own cast bar, that says in huge letters “HOLY LIGHT” whenever a paladin casts… well, Holy Light. It’s big, it’s obvious, you can’t miss it, which is exactly the point.

    Note: Shields that absorb damage, such as Ice Barrier and Power Word: Shield, will not stop Counterspell. Shields that provide immunity, such as a Paladin’s Divine Protection, will.

    Unless the Paladin is bubbled. In which case you wasted Counterspell again. Yes, put that dunce cap back on.

    Healers casting Heals are ALWAYS your number one priority. Locking them out of their healing ability for eight(ish) seconds is terrifyingly powerful, and allowing them to get a heal off when it could have been prevented is often fatal.

    I say “ish” because Counterspell won’t always do quite as advertised, thanks to some downright sneaky talents that exist in certain healers talent trees. Namely, Paladins and Shaman. Paladins have this Improved Concentration Aura which decreases Silence/Interrupt mechanics by 30%, and Shaman can for 20%.

    So Counterspell won’t quite do precisely what you expect it to, but it will still work just fine against priests and druids. And Paladins that aren’t running Concentration Aura, I suppose.


    Whenever you successfully counter someone, they will be unable to cast that school of spells for some time. Most of the time, they will be locked out of the school for 8 seconds. Shaman and Paladins will be locked out around the 6 second area. It’s still a long time, and you, as an individual and a team, need to make good use of this time.

    Obviously, this is where communication comes in. Again, due to Counterspell’s long cooldown, you will have few chances to use it. When it does come along, abuse it. A priest who is unable to cast any holy spells for 8 seconds is a priest who is terrified beyond belief. Make that terror real.

    Note: All of a Shaman’s spells count as the exact same “school”. If you interrupt Lightning Bolt, that locks out their heals too.


    Depending on your team, you may have Improved Counterspell for the Silence effects. It is not needed, of course, to have it for all teams in all brackets. Regular counterspell can work just fine.

    Where Silence really shines, however, is against targets that cannot be crowd controlled in ways that you, as a mage, can easily perform. Such as druids. You cannot polymorph them, and you cannot root them. (Ok, that’s kinda an exaggeration, you can do both of those things, but only for as long as it takes the druid to hit the shapeshift button.) You also cannot root them for any length of time.

    For a druid, there is no escape from silence. They are well and truly screwed. For other classes, it’s simply a kick in the shins. “Gee thanks. I already have to stand here and twiddle my thumbs, but now I can’t whistle while doing it!”

    Note: Paladins CAN bubble out of Silences.

    Global Cooldown Independence

    It’s true. If you are currently in the GCD, you do not have to wait to cast Counterspell. So long as you are not currently involved in another action (such as Frostbolt) you are free to cast Counterspell at whomever you like.

    Allow me to put it this way: as a Mage, you must be able to Counterspell someone who is not your current target as soon as you are aware of the need to Counterspell, if not sooner. You have approximately 1 second of leeway time, as the fastest heals have a base cast time of 1.5 seconds. Accounting for lag, spell haste, your own reaction time… you need to be fast. Real fast.

    Bind Counterspell on a key which you can get to, if need be, almost instantly. Let’s say you use the WASD movement configuration. Counterspell should be no further than your “F” button, or the Caps Lock button. That close. I’m talking close enough that it could go off accidentally if you yawn.

    Also, you need a macro. You just do. Ok?


    #showtooltip Counterspell


    /cast Counterspell

    A solid macro, it’s utility is simple. It Counterspells your target. If you are currently casting something, you’ll stop and immediately Counterspell.

    With a Counterspell macro, the /stopcasting part is the most important part of it. You need to be able to drop whatever you’re doing and get that Counter off.

    Feel free to add a /focus line to your Counterspell macro as well.

    /cast [modifier: shift, target=focus] Counterspell

    /cast [nomodifier: shift] Counterspell

    You can also use a mouseover clause in your macro, so that you can Counterspell whatever you are hovering your cursor over without changing targets whatsoever.

    #showtooltip Counterspell


    /cast [target=mouseover,harm] Counterspell, Counterspell

    These are just suggestions. If you have a macro you are particularly fond of or find some horrible syntax error in the ones I have here, leave a comment! It’d be great to have, you know, functional macros in a macro section.

    All pictures from Stock Exchange.

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    M&M; Ol’ McMagey Had A Farm


    Chaining Crowd Control

    When you chain crowd control, you use multiple forms of crowd control, one right after another, to keep a single target locked down as much as possible. Blinding a target for ten seconds, then polymorphing them for another ten, then fearing them for another ten, then hitting them with Deathcoil, following up with kidney shot from the rogue, then spell locking via the warlock’s pet… that is chain crowd control.

    The idea behind it is to negate a potential threat, allowing your team to concentrate on other individuals. A priest can’t heal when he’s a harmless sheep; a hunter can’t damage your team when he’s running around afraid; a mage can’t drop shatter combos when he’s cycloned. (more…)

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