Friday, May 28, 2010

[Paladin] How I've Missed Arena

Ever since my Season 6 3v3 team broke up, I've haven't been able to hit my arena stride again. My S8 3v3 team was doing so-so, but it wasn't a good comp and communication between our two dps was lacking. Target switches weren't being called out in time, CCs weren't being coordinated, and the team lead doing the callouts wasn't always that aware whether or not it was possible for his orders to be carried out.

That's not to say he was a horrible player, I think he would have been fine as someone on my S6 5s team, but I don't think he was the right personality fit for the hunter I normally play with, especially as the lead dps making the call-outs. And then he decided to transfer to another server, which ended our 3s run.

So last night my long-time hunter teammate and I resuscitated our 2s team. We've spent portions of Seasons 4, 6, and 7 playing 2v2 together, so it's safe to say that even if we're not the best duo around, we at least have a good idea of what we're capable of.

For instance, if I'm the focus and I can reasonably take the hits, I don't try to LoS any melee on me. I do stay in motion, but I keep them right where my hunter can hit them. If they catch me while I'm hiding I'll kite them over and around obstacles to bring them in view of my hunter, because the less he has to move the more damage he can do.

Similar he always lets me know where he drops a trap so I can get opponents off of me.

I'm not sure what the plan usually is for a hunter/holy paladin duo, but we seem to work well as an endurance team. We don't burst anyone down unless they're undergeared, but the longer the match goes on, the more likely we're going to win. If we're fighting another dps/healer combo I usually gauge our progress by the other healer's mana bar. It might not feel like we're winning when our focus target keeps getting healed to full, but if my bar's at 90% and they're a third from empty I know we're going to make it.

We didn't run into any decent resto druids last night, which pretty much meant that none of our matches ended up being a half hour long, but we did run into a bunch of double dps and a horrible ret pally/holy pally duo. We only had a couple fights where we just got worked, and they seemed to follow the pattern of: "If we can survive the initial burst, we're probably going to win."

I think our most memorable matches were against an unholy DK/holy pally duo and a feral druid/ret pally combo. The DK/holy pally match was fun for me. It didn't end very quickly, and had a couple scary moments, but I got to kite the DK all over the Dalaran arena until his healer ran out of mana. I pretty much kept mashing my Cleanse button to keep diseases and Chains of Ice off me, maybe a Hand of Freedom every now and then, maybe stun the DK to give myself a little breathing room to heal if Holy Shock every five seconds wasn't enough.

I admit I like the feeling I get when I imagine my opponent seething "I just can't kill this holy pally!"

The match with the feral druid/ret pally combo was memorable because we had so many close calls. Though we ultimately won, it felt very much by the skin of our teeth. The feral druid wasn't shy about using his interrupts. I was Cycloned a lot, and he knew enough to go to bear and hit me with a Feral Charge after the second or third Cyclone wore off so he could lock me up for a longer than he would have gotten with diminishing returns.

The truly annoying thing about Cyclone as a paladin is that you can't bubble out of it. Trinket is the only way.

But communication was good between us. I liked that I was able to call out the Feral Charges before they happened, I was never surprised by them, and my partner managed to Deterrence or Disengage out of the worst scrapes, since he was their focus fire target. I don't know how, but he always managed to have something come off cooldown just when we needed it the most.

It was a long fight considering our opponents were double dps, but we managed to whittle down the druid before he could get a heal off (because he was good about healing himself) and then from there it was just recovery mode. We both had less than half health, my partner nearing the 25% danger zone, but I managed to heal him just enough to stave off any immediate chance of death, and then as the fight continued and his health bar rose it became apparent our remaining opponent wasn't going to have a chance.

I could relax.

I also have to say that my Divine Favor + Holy Shock macro saved our butts so many times. If I only had a split second between CCs, it would still be enough to heal over half my hunter's health bar and then I'd have an instant FoL the next time I got out of CC. I have it bound to the tilde key so it's very close by for those emergency moments.

I'm not sure we'll play again this week, but it felt good stepping into the arena again.

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