So, about that.

I’m freaking out and super excited and about to outright BURST so I’m just going to blurt it out.

I’ve been hired on by Blizzard Watch.

My role over there is going to be pet-related, for sure, though I’m going to discuss other things as well. My first column is live, and covers the most recent Heroes of the Storm patch, for instance.

I will continue to write over here as I’m able, though my updates will likely be even more sporadic. I don’t want to repeat content, after all, so you may want to keep an eye out over there too. And of course, over there I have to comport myself far more professionally, and over here I’m all over the place & silly. For now, my plan is to also do a monthly roundup of pet stuff to cross-post over here, depending on what I’m talking about and how relevant it is to do so. I’ll also continue to do my monthly Warcraft Pets column until they decide to escort me from the building.

Thanks so much for reading, and hopefully continuing to do so. Now buckle up, because this ride is about to get even crazier.

Rockbiter, Stonechewer & Acidtooth

These Goren are getting to be more & more of a problem, seriously.


Rockbiter, Stonechewer & Acidtooth are another intrepid triad you’ll see in the rotation at your Menagerie. All 3 are humanoid, though Rockbiter likes to pretend he’s Elemental with an additional heal from Nature’s Ward. Here’s the team I used:


All 3 pets are relatively easy to get, though you’ll have a time of it leveling them to cap. You can obviously swap the Gilnean Raven for that Crow or Dread Hatchling since we’re using the moves common to all 3. The important abilities here are Darkness, the Flying family, and Nocturnal Strike burst. You may be able to pull it out with the new Bone Serpent that’s a bit sketchy. The Ghostly Skull’s moves are unique, with lots of frontloaded Undead dps, and there aren’t a ton of options there either because we want to use that Spectral Strike move for synergy. Your best bet, if you can’t get one, is to just pick some really big hitting Undead DPSers & cross your fingers. The Blighthawk has a lot of longevity as the anchor with Consume Corpse and Lift-Off, plus undead DPS. Big, single-hitting Undead DPS is the key here, though you may want to pick something like the Fossilized Hatchling with a heal.

So, as I said, the very first thing that happens here is the Rockbiter pretends he’s an elemental with Nature’s Ward. I’m not so much concerned with the Elemental of it all. Moreso, the fact that he now has 2 pretty big heals at the end of every round is concerning. Even though Rockbiter is ‘Elemental’ he still has his Humanoid heal. Cute. So the first thing I do is cast Call Darkness, then Nocturnal Strike. Rockbiter will burrow, but since you act first, you can always time your abilities properly. All Rockbiter’s offense is Beast, which is why having that Darkness on a Flying battle pet (which defends strongly against Beast attacks) is such a boon.

After Rockbiter leaves the fight, Stonechewer enters. I can usually get off a few high DPS moves from my now-ailing Crow, but we really want to make sure that Darkness is up so we can use the Blind synergy for the Skull’s Spectral Strike. You may want to just attack the first few rounds though, because Stonechewer has a very hefty shield, but keep an eye on those cooldowns & durations. This is also why we chose Peck over Alpha Strike for the Crow. At 250 damage absorbed per hit, Alpha Strike can’t hit Stonechewer. Neither will most Undead-style DoTs like Siphon Life or Curse Of Doom. Neither will the reflexive damage of his hugely damaging Body Slam, which is super cute. Another reason I like the skull in this slot is that I can use Unholy Ascension just to ease the suffering of the rest of the match, but that’s not necessary.

Acidtooth’s main ability to watch out for is Spiny Carapace, which deals 78 reflexive damage per hit dealt, with an increase to 234 per hit when it’s re-activated. He will reactivate it pretty frequently, and since Acidtooth’s 244 speed is faster than my Blighthawk’s paltry 230, Acidtooth effectively gets 2 turns with this. I counter this 2 ways. One is with the robust healing ability of Consume Corpse, and the other is using Lift-Off to just avoid attacking through one of those turns. I also Infected Claw, a single-hitting ability, so even when I do hit him I’m not taking too terribly much reflexive damage. Acidtooth also has a DoT with Acid Touch and the straightforward humanoid damaging Punch.

With luck, and time, you’ll be able to banish the goren back to your mines for Lantressor to deal with.


Thank You, WoW Insider

My first love wasn’t pet battling. It was literature.

My grandmother was a life-long English teacher, following in her mother’s footsteps. Her mother became one of a very few female English teachers at a prep school, because she had 2 tiny mouths to feed and her husband, my great-grandfather, walked out on them. Divorcees were both rare and reviled in the 1930s, but words gave her the ability to keep a roof over their heads.

When I was little, my grandmother would read anything to me, from classic poetry to The Monster At The End Of This Book. She would hate this blog, by the way, because I don’t follow the hardline rules of grammar in favor of a more colloquial (& hopefully therefore less intimidating) manner of writing. “I believe you spliced that comma,” she would say. “You should have indented a new line of dialogue,” she would correct, with a twinkle in her eye. Literature was her refuge after my grandfather died of colon cancer at 53, and for the 30 years she lived without him afterward.

I ended up getting a BA in English with a minor in creative writing and a bit of MA coursework, largely because of my grandmother’s influence. Literature has always felt like home to me. I could pick up a dog-eared favorite or start a new story and instantly feel grounded. I thought initially that I would teach, but found those courses boring. By contrast, I wrote page after page of poetry. Reams of it. After college I didn’t really have an outlet, so I gradually stopped writing. I tried the slam scene for a bit, but that didn’t really click. Self-motivation has always been hard for me, so daily writing exercises for no defined purpose fell by the wayside first. I wrote the first chapters of a couple novels, and an outline or two. I still read, but the creative process very slowly waned.

Before I knew it, it had been weeks since I had written.

Then months.

Then years.

By the time I realized it, it felt like it was too late. How can I even start, when I didn’t know it was gone, or what ‘it’ even was that I was missing?

I was heavily invested in WoW then, so random daily objectives sort of took that place. Not truly, of course, but in terms of just keeping busy, marking time. I started reading WoW Insider, and became pretty prolific commenter. When they had an open call for editors & columnists of course I had to apply. It was a natural fit. I had the credentials. I had the thousands of hours of writing practice behind me. The initial bit was easy. Name, where you live, experience, what do you like about the site. Then I had to write sample articles, and everything came crashing down.

How can I even start? That question again.

I submitted subpar articles with a cover letter full of vulnerable puffery and knew I had no chance before I hit ‘send’. Doubly so when they announced the people they’d chosen. I also knew as I submitted my crappy application that I had to start writing again. I was passionately into pet battles by that time, already answering plenty of questions about them in the comments because I knew them inside & out, so I knew what my focus would be. I took the name of the character I was playing most often then, and made a site that day. In hindsight, perhaps I should’ve thought on it a bit longer and picked something a bit shorter & easier to spell. I’m not sure that had I taken that time to think, I would’ve been jarred out of my stasis in the same way. I was resolved that the next time they put out the call for open application, that I would be ready.

Tamer Liopleurodon’s Battle Pet Roundup turns 2 years old exactly 1 month from today.

I owe WoW Insider so, so much for that call to arms. That first kick to get the ball rolling, the community support, and the inspiration to do better just by being there and publishing high quality content daily cannot be overestimated. They helped me reclaim the power I’ve known was in writing my whole life. Even with the additional practice I now have, I lack the words to thank them for that.

The pseudo-announcement from Joystiq that AOL is ‘shuttering’ that entire network of tech blogs (including WoW Insider) is heartbreaking. People are losing their jobs. People feel as though they’re losing their community, though people also seem to be banding together right now to keep it. That’s the one bright spot in all this. Selfishly, I’m disappointed that I’ll not likely have the chance to apply again and complete the circle that brought me here. Selfishly, I’m more than a little worried that without that carrot in front of me, I may stop again.

So I want to lend my voice to the plea: #SaveJoystiq #SaveWoWInsider

It’s the least I can do.

[edit] – I’m very excited to know that WoW Insider does live on in spirit on their new, crowdfunded site, Blizzard Watch.

Unearthed Magic

There are a lot of rumblings through the pet battlesphere about the new things coming in 6.1. The biggest, and loudest, is about the brand new quest, Unearthed Magic.


This quest is attainable at level 98. I’m assuming it requires a level 2 garrison, because the quest is given by either Lio The Lioness or Serrah, and they don’t show up until the level 2 upgrade. The quest involves–hold on to your hats–traipsing over to your Mine, looting an object, then going back to Lio or Serrah. Then you can just complete this quest, and then do it again on as many level 98+ characters as you have for this reward:


Yeah, it’s a bit of a catch-up. You also get 11000 player XP at level 98.

If this is going to be your very first level 25 battle pet and all you want to do is get that damned Menagerie open already, I’d suggest boosting your Terrible Turnip or your Molten Corgi. As a newbie, you’re going to need 3-4 high level pets to complete the Menagerie quest, and the taming power of the Turnip and Corgi with Weakening Blow and Superbark respectively, is indispensable. With some upcoming nerfs, you can definitely do the 3 Pests for the Menagerie opener quests with 3 freshly tamed pets without a ton of fuss.

If you have several of these Ultimate stones to burn, look for specific pets which will help you with the fights you have an eye on. If you just want to open the Menagerie and don’t care beyond that, look into the Gilnean Raven, the Aqua Strider, or any one of the myriad of traded frogs available, including the Wood Frog and Mojo. If you want to do more, like the Draenor tamers, my advice would be to consider the Turnip/Corgi first again, then a Sprite Darter or Nether Faerie Dragon, the Emerald Proto-Whelp, maybe Lil Bling. I love my Emperor Crab, but it makes a bit more sense to tame one, then use it on your taming team until it hits level 25. Try the Anubisath Idol if you’d like to backtrack through Pandaria as well, though you may have a few bumps getting past Northrend or Cataclysm content.

Also, having a level 25 means that you can buy many of the battle pets mentioned above at cap off the Auction House & learn them, or have a friend cage a couple for you. However, I would definitely caution you to do so now, as many people are going to have that same idea after they get their shiny new stone, and the pickins are guaranteed to be slim.

This accompanies a few new fights which award high XP for relatively simplistic fights, including a couple of cute themed teams helmed by Erris The Collector (here’s a video of one of them) and a really significant nerf to the Pets vs Pests teams.


If I may editorialize for a minute, I’m pretty excited about this development. Though I did have plans to create a new cascade video this PTR, I’m relieved I don’t have to (though I am a bit salty because I’d already shot & started editing it, ugh). I really hope this will let those who want to open their Menagerie a chance, without the bothersome grinding of it all. I do know some are worried that this makes things too easy, but new battlers will still have a lot of work to do in grinding up their stables. And heck, even that one dude with 100 level 100s would only be able to cap 1/6th of the current top pet collection achievement, leaving lots of space for continuing with pet battling if you’re interested once you can shoot past the grind for the fun puzzles of it all.

I will caution those of you going this route, however, that the battles against any pets in the Garrison do not count toward the garrison monument. It’s a minor thing in the face of those sick gainz, of course.

Blingtron 4999b & The Protectrons

I suppose it was natural that someone so thoughtful and so giving would snap, eventually. They tried to upgrade him! What choice did he have?! His 2 bodyguards will ensure that nothing stops his philanthropic mission.


Why, it’s the Blingtron 4999b, Protectron 022481 & Protectron 011803 pet battle! This couldn’t possibly end in far-reaching apocalyptic destruction.


The team starts with my Pandaren Water Spirit. This is backed up by the relatively easily tamed Electrified Razortooth (you’ll still have to do the very first Isle Of Thunder unlock scenario) and the Molten Corgi, which was automatically obtained for the very recent 10th anniversary but is now no longer obtainable.

The weirdest, most irritating thing about this fight is Roboflauge, which for some reason makes all these pets take damage as though they were critters. Critters take less damage from elemental moves, while Mechanicals usually take extra damage, so this is a serious wrench in the works. Since they still all deal Mechanical damage, this is doubly a problem, since Elementals still defend strongly against this, and Beasts still take additional damage from everything they’ll dish out. To build this team, I simply combed through my list of Elementals for some that deal Beast damage.


The Pet Journal Enhanced addon makes this sort of team building far, far easier, as you can use the enclosed ticky boxes to narrow down your selection to only elementals with beast abilities. If you don’t have very many of these, you can sub out for some elementals that deal off-family damage, like the Water Spirit with its Aquatic damage, but you don’t want to grab too many of those. The Sapphire Cub from Mists Of Pandaria Jewelcrafting is a good pick, and there are a couple Timeless Isle drops that’ll work well too.

The Blingtron leg of this fight comes first. He hits somewhat hard with Club and Batter, and his AoE Armageddon does a bit of damage, but with an all-elemental team it’s not a huge deal.

The one caveat to your selection process is that you need to select something that has either a full dodge or a good couple of heals. Both Protectrons have an identical moveset which includes Ion Cannon. The Molten Corgi’s Puppies Of The Flame or moves similar to it makes this extremely easy to dodge, but you do need to avoid these Ion Cannons if at all possible, because even with the family defenses of Dodge it will hit very, very hard. This is why Miss Gloria is in that anchor leg. She can all but solo the 2 protectrons.

The real insult here is that, even with Roboflauge, these fakey fake critters still use their Mechanical resurrected turns. How rude is that?

Molten Corgi – Warcraft Pets Pet Of The Month

This month, the pet Quintessence & I discussed in this monthly feature was the Molten Corgi.

Honest to god y’all, my first draft was pretty much, ‘wook at dat widdow faaaaaace.’


There are lots of other reasons to obtain this cutie, including a moveset full of bells & whistles. You have a very limited amount of time to get it before it’s gone forever, so you’d better get on it.

Check out the full post about the Molten Corgi. I also talked a bit about how to use your Molten Corgi on the Warcraft Pets forums. Chime in with your own ideas!

Quintessence Of Light


It’s yet another menagerie fight! This time, for either Scrappin or Battle Pet Roundup, you’re going to face Quintessence Of Light.

This is going to be a tough one. Quintessence is a moderator & site contributor over at Warcraft Pets, and also writes her own stand-alone pet blog at Perks And Peeves. She knows what’s what. So does this pet, but we’ve got the tools to get the job done.


The Creepy Crate is honestly, oddly, primarily a stall. You can fill this role with most battle pets. Mechanicals are right out, as all Quintessence’s offense is Elemental. The thing I particularly like about the Crate is that it has a lot of DoTs to lend a hand, and that Curse Of Doom is definitely a plus. I’ve used a Fel Flame, the Macabre Marionette, a Wild Golden Hatchling, a Nether Faerie Dragon, and a couple others. Your choices are pretty vast, but I’ll leave this filler up to you. Unfortunately, the latitude there is made up for with a rather specific next couple of pets. The Senjin Fetish can pretty much only be swapped with the Voodoo Figurine or Fetish Shaman, which are effectively the same pet. The Rabbit can be swapped for a handful of other critters, but this is one of a very few times I’m going to caution you on breed. Stampede or Swarm is crucial here, but your critter has to has over 315 speed.

Like I said, the first pet just kinda stalls, up until the point Quintessence Of Light casts Heat Up.


We need to have control over Heat Up to win this fight, because it’s a doozy.  Heat Up deals 270 damage to Quintessence’s opponent every time they deal direct damage, and persists for 3 turns as a buff on her. “Direct damage” is an important distinction. DoTs don’t really count. But we need to know when it’s coming to time everything else.

As soon as Quintessence casts Heat Up, swap on over to your Fetish. Cast your Wild Magic and Dragon Breath as needed. You’re slower than Quintessence, a Flying pet, so you should always use Rot on your ‘free’ undead Res turn.

After that, it’s bunny madness!


Stampede your fuzzy little heart out. Depending on prior RNG, Heat Up may come back up during that last turn of Stampede, which is why I go with the speedy rabbits. At that point, Quintessence will be below half health, so my rabbit will suddenly start going first. You don’t want to swap in your rabbit early to try & fudge using a slower rabbit, because Quintessence’s speed means you’re always a turn behind for swap purposes, so your Rabbit will get creamed before it does its job.

All else fails, you can always Howl Bomb this one. I won’t tell. #yolo

Scrags, Stings & Grubbles


This trio of battle pets is another group you may face in your garrison’s Menagerie as a part of Battle Pet Roundup, Scrappin or Mastering the Menagerie.

This is a fairly standard, no-frills fight. After all the Roboflauges and Iron Threads, it’s kind of a refreshing change of pace. Here’s the team:


In place of the spider, most strong beast offenses will do, though there are a lot of high-level tamed spiders to choose from. Crabs do pretty well too, & same deal. The mechanical needs to have either very strong offense, or lots of heals & dodges. I tend to like the pets with big single-hitting abilities, like the tonk’s Lock-On, Ion Cannon, etc. In the last slot that magic damaging Dragonkin battle pet family is at it again. I like the handful with heals, just as extra insurance, but it’s not really necessary. The Nether Faerie Dragon in particular works out really well to level the playing field.

The fight starts off relatively slow. Part of the reason there are so many available swaps is because Grubbles starts off with Sticky Goo, meaning that each pet’s abilities are relatively insular. There’s not a lot of synergy here, so just swap with wild abandon. Grubbles has the multi-hitting Flank as its main offense, which is why I like the Spider. Brittle Webbing means that each hit damages Grubbles too. Grubbles also has Adrenaline Rush, which he’ll use occasionally to get off an additional hit of Flank. This isn’t really an issue for my Spider, but if you’re making some swaps you may decide against, eg, using Pounce on a Cat here.


Scrags combines a stun with Takedown. Because of Grubbles’ Sticky Goo, unless your previous pet has a dodge ability there’s no saving it by swapping out after the stun. Scrags also has Ravage so we have to watch out for heals. The best way to counter this is to simply destroy it. I like the Tonk here, because I can time my Lock-On to ensure I finish Scrags before it can use Ravage. As an added bonus, the Tonk has the Minefield ability, which will significantly damage Stings when it’s his turn to come out. I just keep using my Missile ability in the meantime. I’ve had really good luck with the Tranquil Mechanical Yeti with Ion Cannon, or the Clockwork Gnome with Build/Launch Rocket too. Alternately, the Darkmoon Zeppelin with the Decoy ability can clinch a win fairly handily. I can occasionally pull off a 2-pet carry with the Zeppelin, too.


Stings can be very tricky, though so many of the teams in Draenor are Flying battle pets with Flying offense so you probably have the tools in your kit to prevail. Most Dragonkin battles pets with a Magic move or 2 can get the job done. I like the additional insurance of Life Exchange just in case Scrags manages to get off a Ravage & I have to finish the whole thing job with my 3rd pet, but it’s not really necessary. Stings uses Barbed Stinger, which means there is some degree of RNG involved, additionally so with Focus, so some heals may be in order if you’re getting smacked with the RNG stick.

Brutus & Rukus


This team of 2 troublesome piggies has a few unique twists in the Menagerie ring, but as long as those piggies are Beasts, we’ve got the Mechanical cure.


The only battle pet on the team which is crucial for this strat is Lil Bling. Lil Bling has unique moves and is the heavy lifter, so the other pets can be fudged a bit. If you don’t have one, other than urging you to visit your local Auction House because Lil Bling is really good, I’d suggest a flying pet with Flock like the Ancona Chicken as a possible stand-in. The Yeti is easily replaced by another pet with Call Lightning. A Wild Golden Hatchling or Skywisp Moth is far more obtainable. The Yeti does provide an extra bit of insurance with Ion Cannon, which is why that’s my top pick, but it’s pretty much a security blanket. The Clockwork Gnome’s turret is quite unique, but a DoT, especially one placed on the front pet like Swarm Of Flies or even a weaker one like Death & Decay will work pretty well too.


Rukus & Brutus have a self-heal at the end of every round, so when we kill them, we want to make sure there’s no getting back up. We’re going to do that with a combo play.

We’ll send in the Clockwork Gnome to build a turret. Then the Yeti swaps in to cast Call Lightning. At this point Brutus has some really nasty tricks up his sleeve with Winter Spirit dealing lots of damage to both, because as Mechanicals they’re really vulnerable to it. He’ll also likely use Pig Out (a mechanic similar to Feed) after you use your Call Lightning, because hey, why not. Enter Lil Bling.


Lil Bling is the key to this fight, because he has an extremely strong Mechanical DoT in Make It Rain, but moreso because of the havoc Inflation wreaks. By itself it’s pretty strong against these beast battle pets. Paired with Call Lightning, the turret from the gnome and that Shattered Defenses (which multiplies all of the above) it will render these piggies into bacon in a handful of turns.

Rukus can make things a little tricky, by using Bloodfang to heal itself. Rukus will also use your own medicine against you by using Hunting Party, which has a similar mechanic to Inflation. This will kill Lil Bling pretty quickly for the same reasons. However, even though Lil Bling has passed on, his Shattered Defenses debuff will remain. One last Call Lightning should finish the job.

Just FYI, I don’t think Serr’ah or Lio would be too pleased if you actually made Brutus & Rukus into bacon, so maybe don’t. Or at least go over near the fishing hut or whatever.

Squirt – Deebs, Puzzle & Tyri


This adorable little tamer hails all the way from Sanctuary, and has a full team of Diablo-themed pets for you to reap some souls from.

Here’s the team:


The Mechanical Pandaren Dragonling is the most obvious pick in the first slot, because Deebs is a Magic pet that deals Magic damage, and the Dragonling is a hard counter for both. I’d suggest a pet like the Emerald Proto-Whelp instead, with dragon abilities and lots of longevity instead, but it’s going to be an uphill climb. The Fel Flame provides a weather effect and a lot of burst DPS. Battle pets with Moonlight & Sunny Day should be down your list of effects to choose because the last 2 pets on the opposing team are Humanoid & their family heal will be buffed by this. Mr. Grubbs is on the team because of his reflexive heal and Burrow, which increases his longevity. Some other Undead pets will work, like the Restless Shadeling or the Fossilized Hatchling, but you need a pet with a lot of sustain to get the job done.

Deebs, the Lord of Terror begins the fight. He’ll use the offense-dampening move Weakness, which is another part of why the Dragonling is such a stellar choice.


It can just Decoy to avoid that debuff & get in some really good offense. Deebs also uses a move which roots your pet in place, making teams with excessive swapping less viable.

The trickiest part of the fight is going up against Tyri. Tyri will use Darkness to Blind you & then use Surge Of Light to do big damage & stun.


This is why we need that short-cooldown weather effect from that Fel Flame’s Scorched Earth. Surge of Light gets a huge buff from that Darkness, so it’s imperative we change the weather ASAP. The other benefit is that the Fel Flame will burst down Tyri before Tyri can destroy your back row with his other move, Omnislash, an AoE. The absolute best choice would probably be Frosty, the Wrath Of The Lich King CE battle pet, but that’s not exactly a fair suggestion. Any pet with a lot of burst damage and a weather effect will do. An alternate tactic, which I lack the timing to be terribly successful with, would be to use a pet which benefits from Darkness but is sturdy enough to withstand that stun turn.

Puzzle the Treasure Goblin is less tricky than he is annoying, with a myriad of dodges, so you’re going to need a pet with a lot of self-healing & its own dodges to finish the fight. As an added issue, Puzzle will also cast Greedy, making your pet take additional damage, but also deal additional damage, which is why I really like the Grub pets with Consume, which scales with that additional damage dealt.


You know, provided you can hit the slippery little jerk. Use your Burrow on those Dodge turns & you & your grub should come out on top.