We hit 1700 in our 3s team, and even though we're once again making progress by 50 points a week, the comps we're fighting are getting deadlier and deadlier. For one thing, we're running into RMP (rogue/mage/priest) fairly frequently now and that team drives us nuts.
Generally the rogue will gib the hunter, the mage will poly me, and leave our DK madly trying to pull the rogue off the hunter or trying to solo-finish a burn that had begun on the mage or priest.
Such a team can be beaten, but requires substantially more effort than any other comp due to their amazing ability to CC and dish out the damage when it counts. It's really no surprise that this comp has endured for as long as it has.
We've found we fair best when we run into the same RMP team multiple times because we can learn who's the squishiest. Every time we lose we discuss how we'll beat them the next time we meet them.
The other night we'd lost to a 2000+ rated RMP team two times in a row. Given their rating in comparision to ours it was the sort of thing we could've blown off as "Well, they're just better than us." It was the usual the mage kept me CCed, the rogue started gibbing the hunter, and the DK couldn't finish off the burn before the hunter died.
But even though we lost our first match to them pretty fast, we actually held out for a long time during our second match before we were killed. By our third match, we had a pretty good feel for how we'd approach them.
Match three opened in the Ruins of Lordaeron arena. We stayed behind the tomb in the middle of the arena floor, but pretty much expected that someone would get sapped and then the mage and the priest would run in.
Someone did. Unsurprisingly it was me. And then the mage and priest ran in.
Now everyone was more or less on the same side of the tomb in the middle, except the priest who was slightly to one side, but still in view of us and his teammates.
For those first few seconds no one really took any damage. With no ability for any of us to break line of sight, our DK dropped an Anti-Magic Zone to absorb the worst the mage could dish out. The hunter kept CCing the priest at every opportunity (Wyvern Sting/Scatter Shot), and between the hunter and the DK they managed to burn the rogue down.
Me? I was able to wait out the sap without endangering my teammates, and made a run for the AMZ in an attempt to get there before the mage might develop a taste for paladin BBQ. I got poly-ed instead. (But you never know... being able to switch burn targets in PvP is the sign of a good team.) I eventually blew trinket and bubble trying to get out of LOS from the mage's polys while still keeping my teammates alive and even then spent too much time running around as a pig.
The mage and the priest still put up a good fight after their teammate went down. Oddly enough I feel like I did just as much healing after the rogue died as before. It might have been I was so excited at the possibility that we were doing to win that I didn't want to screw up in the slightest.
We've noticed that RMP puts together a lot of momentum right at the start. Because of the rogue and the mage poly the fight nearly always starts on their terms. Even if we charge them first, they can quickly isolate and burn someone down. But if we can all live through the initial 30 seconds of the fight our chances are much better that we're going to win.
We suspect that the reason we lasted so long during our second match (during which our hunter was dead the majority of the time) is because they have a tough time burning through my heals once they can no longer CC me (Blind was used up, poly on diminishing returns, and I'd used Aura Mastery to prevent interrupts).
For our efforts in that final match of the night we got a sweet 20 points, which pushed us over the hump to 1707 for the week. We decided to call it there and not risk being pushed below it before getting our weekly allotment of points on Tuesday.
Furious Gladiator gear is so expensive I'm going to need another three weeks before I'll be able to buy the legs or chest. There's also the matter of getting to 1750 to get the chest in the first place, but I'm feeling good about our progress. It may take more than our ten matches in a week to get there, but I think we can do it.