VOLUME I – CROWD CONTROL
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.
Note that with Diminishing Returns (DR), you cannot endlessly control a single player with one type of crowd control. You cannot polymorph a single target over and over again indefinitely. The first polymorph you set off will last 10 seconds, the next will be 5, the next 2.5, and then the opposing player will be immune to the ability.
DR resets at 15 seconds from when the ability was last used on them. Say we used up our polymorph completely on an enemy player. They have been sheeped now for 17.5 seconds. They have been sheeped that last time for 2.5 seconds, meaning they are immune to polymorph for the next 12.5 seconds. Once the DR counter has reset, you may polymorph them for the full 10 seconds again.
This is why stacking the same (crowd control) class is usually a bad idea. Polymorph and polymorph isn’t a good idea, you can’t crowd control nearly as long as, say, polymorph and fear.
How you and your team handles your crowd control depends greatly on your makeup and the team you are facing.
Let’s take a bare bones example. One one team, we have a rogue and a druid. On the other, we have a rogue and a mage. All these classes have various crowd control abilities available to them. Both teams are able to Sap, both are able to use the rogue stuns, both are able to blind, the druid can cyclone/root, the mage can polymorph/root.
Look at how the rogue/mage team handles this. Assuming everyone is in combat now, the rogue can blind the rogue on the opposing team. The rogue trinkets out of it, and is immediately polymorphed. Now the rogue is out of the question for the next ten seconds. The rogue and mage switch to the druid, the rogue kidney shots the druid, allowing the mage to get a full fledged shatter combo off. As soon as kidney shot wears off, the mage uses counterspell to silence the druid. The druid is done for. Then they swap back over to the rogue, and finish him off.
Let’s say we have a warlock, a druid, and a mage on one team, going against a warrior, a rogue, and a resto shaman. The warlock fears the warrior, he trinkets out. As soon as he uses the trinket, he gets hit with polymorph, and is effectively trapped. The warlock spell locks the resto shaman; as soon as that wears off, the mage then counterspells, giving another 2 seconds of silence, if not a school lockout if the shaman was trying to cast something.
You get the idea.
Note: You cannot polymorph a druid while he is shapeshifted. You can polymorph while he is in “caster” (normal) form. However, he can shapeshift straight out of that
Despite the endless tears on the mage forums on how bad this spell is (omg polymohr heals? wtf blizz, y u hate mages so much) Polymorph is still an excellent form of crowd control, so long as you don’t go “healing” people with it. Like any other crowd control, it will last for 10 seconds, unless the target in question takes damage. With proper communication with your teammates, that will never happen.
At best, the target will be crowd controlled for ten seconds, and you can sheep them right after for a further 5 seconds, and again for 2.5 if you must. After that, they’ll be immune to it for 12.5 seconds, so make sure not to try it again until the diminishing returns have reset.
At worst, a priest or paladin teammate of theres will remove the polymorph (magical effect, remember?). This is why polymorphing priests/paladins is an excellent idea; they can’t dispel themselves. Except Paladins, I suppose. Don’t worry about multiple priests/paladins. Any arena team with two priests or two paladins is probably horribly gibbled anyways.
At mediocre, whoever you sheeped will trinket out of it, or use some other effect to escape being a farm animal, i.e. ice block. This leaves that player vulnerable for a different type of crowd control, such as Blind from a rogue.
Note: If you attempt to polymorph someone who is affected by Grounding Totem, you will get the message “Immune”
You’ll see me say this again and again. Use rank 1! Healers downrank their heals for efficiency’s sake, we mages do the same thing. Except we downrank all the way to 1.
Para PvP purposes, polymorph (wasn’t that fun?) rank 1 costs 60 mana, and sheeps a target for 10 seconds. Polymorph rank 5 (or Turtle/Pig) costs 150 mana, and sheeps a target for 10 seconds.
Why spend more mana for the same effect?
As mentioned before, priests and paladins can dispel polymorph. You want to avoid having this happen. The easiest way to avoid having it dispelled is to sheep the priest/paladin in question. Sometimes, though, this will not be an option for you and your team. That’s when we turn to other methods…
A simple way is to have the priest/paladin controlled by something else. If the priest is running around feared, he can’t go around dispelling now, can he? Communication between you and your teammates will be crucial for this.
You can also keep a sheep sheeped by adding other debuffs to dispel on the target. That way, when someone attempts to dispel the sheep, they might just get something else instead. As a mage, your options are extremely limited. Winter’s Chill, via talents, is your best bet for dispel fodder. This is why many mages take at least 3 points in Winter’s Chill in their frost builds, regardless of whether they’re on a target needing control. Each stack of Winter’s Chill counts as it’s own separate effect.
The smaller team you participate in, the heavier you should weigh Winter’s Chill. If you’re on a 5v5 team with a shadow priest and a warlock already, you will not have much need for Winter’s Chill. Conversely, if you’re on a 2v2 team, your need for Winter’s Chill is very great.
The ability to protect more important debuffs (such as polymorph) with somewhat less important debuffs (such as Winter’s Chill) may seem completely foreign to you, but trust me. This is incredibly important for arenas, where even one misplaced GDC can mean the difference between victory and bitter defeat.
Take this simple example. You have a warlock, and you need to sheep it. Keep in mind the Felhunter has an ability called “Devour Magic”, that “eats” a magical buff/debuff. Before sheeping the warlock, cast an ice lance once or twice at him, then polymorph. That way, when he tries to use Devour Magic, he gets the Winter’s Chill, not polymorph.
Well, hopefully, anyways.
Similar to using polymorph as a spell interrupt, you can start casting Polymorph in anticipation of your opponents actions. For example, if a warlock on your team just feared the opposing teams warrior, almost guaranteed the warrior will trinket out of it. Start casting polymorph before your warlock’s fear has gone off, so that as soon as he trinkets the fear, he’s already controlled again, this time with no way out.
Use the same idea with other abilities, such as Blind. Your rogue just blinded someone, early in the fight, assume their going to try and trinket out of it. Cast polymorph at them, timed so that it would hit shortly after the blind does. No more than a second.
Be ready to stop your cast! If the target does not trinket, you do not want to needlessly contribute to DR. Have a stop casting macro set up, be ready to push the “S” button, the escape key, whatever works.
It will be incredibly beneficial to have macros set up for your sheeping needs. I highly recommend that a target you plan on polymorphing more than once, you /focus for easy access. This frees you from having to constantly retarget in order to apply sheep or anything else you may need to do.
Note: You do not need to be facing your target/focus to sheep them. As long as you have LOS, you will hit them. Yes, even if they are 30 yards directly behind you
Here’s a quick and dirty macro to get you started:
#showtooltip Polymorph(Rank 1)
/cast [modifier: shift, target=focus] Polymorph(Rank 1)
/cast [nomodifier: shift] Polymorph(Rank 1)
A simple macro, it gets the job done. Press it, your target gets polymorphed. Hold shift and press it, your focus gets polymorphed. Simple, eh? Of course, you’re going to need a separate macro for the whole focus/clearfocus thing.
/cast [target=focus] Polymorph(Rank 1)
If you have a focus, it will polymorph it, unless of course your focus is dead or otherwise doesn’t exist. In which case, it will clear it. If you have no focus, it will set your target as the focus, and polymorph it.
There is also a mouse over macro, that Evertras uses.
#showtooltip Polymorph(Rank 1)
/cast [target=mouseover,harm] Polymorph; Polymorph
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! I’d love to have, you know, functional macros in a macro section.