Pet Battles 101 – Team Building for PVP

In the previous post we discussed the general ideas for building a team. In this post, I’m going to build a brand new team for PVP step by step.

xufu yay wow world of warcraft pet battle celestial tournament

Of course, at first we’ll begin with a little gloat about how super awesome my brand new Xufu is. So cute and bitey, awww. Xufu is a unique–well, more prestigious than unique–pet, so I really want to experiment with him in PVP. Using what we learned about synergy in the previous posts, we’ll look closely at Xufu.

Xufu‘s 6 abilities are Spirit Claws, Feed, Vengeance, Bite, Moonfire, and Prowl.

xufu stats wow world of warcraft pet battle

There are 2 different builds we can use for Xufu, generally speaking. We can either take Feed (middle slot, top), or we can take Moonfire (middle slot, bottom) and Spirit Claws. Vengeance (last slot, top) could be fun, but is a bit dependent on your opponent. If you go up against, say, a Call Lightning team it would be a wasted ability, but if you go up against another Xufu with a prowled spirit claws it would be a really big hitter. So, it makes more sense to just go for the prowled spirit claws, I think.

As discussed in the previous post, synergy is a huge player in PVP. So here, I’m going to be a little bit daring, and rather than keeping Moonfire on Xufu, I’m going with the ultra deadly self-heal Feed, and find another pet that applies Moonlight.

The first tool I go to  to build my teams is typically Wowhead.

wowhead wow world of warcraft pet battle

With their filters, I can look up things that cause weather effects for starters. As of now, there are 3 abilities which cause Moonlight. Moon Tears is one option. The only thing is, Xufu is a Beast, and so is Moon Moon, making this team especially vulnerable to mechanicals, a very popular family in PVP. That Howl synergy though, man. Hmmm. Starfall is kinda cool in the tooltip but in my experience doesn’t really do a ton of damage or healing in practice. At a much shorter cooldown that might be an option, but at this point it’s not really worth it. So, Moonfire it is.

I’m going to be sending this pet out first in nearly every situation, so I want it to be kind of hearty, to test the waters. As a result I’m going to nix the nether faerie dragon and sprite darter for now. Their dodge mitigation could be excellent, but other than that they’re made of paper. Harmonious Porcupette and both the Moonkin Hatchlings are excessively rare right now, so my getting rid of them for consideration is totally for your benefit and not at all because I don’t have any of those pets. Nope, not at all. Between the Celestial Dragon and Emerald Whelpling, I’m going to go with the Whelpling. Celestial’s Breath offense is kind of lame, and its heal is self-only. The Whelp will give us a magic Bite, which will be boosted by moonfire, too.

For the 3rd pet, we have a few options. We can use a supplemental buff pet, a defensive pet, or an offensive debuff pet. Many of the trickier debuff pets (eg, my pvp BFF, the Zandalari Raptors with Black Claw) won’t really work here, because both our chosen pets have single-move abilities, not DoTs. Since both the Whelpling and Xufu have a move buffed by Moonlight, I figure I may as well go with a 3rd.

The only non-Spirit Claws, non-Magic ability buffed by Moonlight as far as I can see is Creeping Fungus. So, now we go to the game to figure out which we’d like to use. Among the pets with that ability, I think I’ll go with the humanoid Sporeling Sprout.

pvp team wow world of warcraft pet battle

The Fungal Abomination might be a better pick here, because it has an offensive self-heal, but another important part of team building is looking at your own roster and improvising. My Sprout is way higher level than the Abomination. I’m pretty sure you don’t want to sit through yet another Eye Of The Tiger montage. Also, I get that per-round Humanoid heal when the Sprout is in the back row, which can be good for a damage over time strategy.

So let’s try it!

Well. I’m not sure I’d call that entirely viable. Maybe with the higher health Abom and a bit more practice figuring out where to set which pet in rotation it would go a bit better. A big flaw here is that, while the dragon can kind of hold its own, and Xufu can definitely hold its own, the sprout is really offensively weak. I’m thinking we can make a swap and really make this combo deadly.

My first thought is going back Moon Moon for Howl. But, those initial family vulnerabilities exist and to make this combo really work I’d have to use Moon Moon’s Magic abilities. If we went up against a single mechanical (attacks strong against Beast, defends against Magic) it would probably wreck my entire team. Back to WoWhead!

wowhead wow world of warcraft pet battle

There are 3 different types of abilities to consider. The Shattered Defenses buff caused by Swarm-style abilities is generally a huge liability in PVP, because you have several ‘down’ turns where you don’t deal a ton of damage, but your opponent can swap around and nuke you however they’d like during that time. It has its place (another post for another time!) but we’ll ignore those this time around. Then there are 2-round, 100% extra damage taken Howl-style debuffs and 3-round 25% extra damage taken Acidic Goo-style debuffs. In looking at Acidic Goo, I also notice Unholy Ascension. Unholy Ascension is probably the best move here because it debuffs your opponent’s entire team for 9 turns, but it bugs me to have a key point of strategy that only applies after you lose a pet entirely. But even before that, the Val’kyr is really strong offensively.

Alright, let’s try it.

At this point I’ll continue to woodshed this team, but it’s just about there, I think. It may need some additional tweaks in terms of makeup, but it’s definitely possible that I just need more practice with it.

And yes, I would call that matchup successful and the previous one less so, even though I won the first bout and had a pet left to beat with nearly full health. If my opponent hadn’t randomly passed in the first match I most certainly would’ve lost. In the second match I had a stall pet, which wasted much of my Valk’s buff, and 2 other pets that attacked strongly against my frontline offense. This is something you’ll get a better feel for as you develop more teams.

And now it’s your turn. Try taking that one pet and build a team around it. If you share your results here, I can help you work on it, too.

3 thoughts on “Pet Battles 101 – Team Building for PVP

  1. Tuatha

    Hi Liopleurodon, I just found your blog from a comment you made on the warcraftpets website and have enjoyed reading some of these past entries. I’d like to offer a little unsolicited critique of both your teams and your play in this one. To start with, your gut was probably right in that the Fungal Abomination may have been a better choice than the Sporeling Sprout, but I don’t think it’s a game-breaker. I’ve had some great success with Xu Fu / Fungal Abomination / Nether Fairie Dragon, but there have been situations where a Sporeling Sprout may have been better. Overall, though, I think I’ve seen more humanoids than dragonkin, making the Abomination edge out over the Sporeling for that first slot attack. Of course, that’s just my experience in my battle group. Ymmv.

    I think that team seemed weaker in your match than it really is for a couple reasons. First, when the moth came out against Xu Fu, your best option would be to swap back in the dragon immediately. Notice how your opponent swapped out the moth for the their dragon as soon as you brought out your dragon. Taking that big hit, or hitting for less in the case of Xu Fu vs the moth, makes swapping at the right time a necessary component to pvp pet battles. I know, hindsight makes this seem like an easy criticism, but when that situation occurs (a hard or a soft counter is swapped in), 9 out of 10 times swapping your own pet for a better match up will be the best move. Your opponent should have swapped out the beetle as soon as you brought out Xu Fu, and when they didn’t, the match should have been yours right there.

    Additionally, and this may be simply a lack of experience with apocalypse teams, but hitting the beetle with a dot was ill-advised on the apocalypse round. If the pet that cast apocalypse is dead, apocalypse automatically misses. He only had 175 health left, and a solid smack would have killed it, causing the miss. More than that, I would argue that swapping in your nearly-full health Sporeling Sprout while Xu Fu was on your bench at 25% health was a mistake. Xu Fu is too slow to expect him to get more than one hit off, if that, whereas your Sporeling Sprout could have caused much more damage after Xu Fu died in the apocalypse. I know Xu Fu was the cornerstone of the team, but with the moth out there and two faster pets, even his healing bite wouldn’t make up for the health difference and therefore potential damage difference between him and the Sporeling.

    But in the end, a win is a win, so well played :)

    Your second team, with the Val’kyr, is also strong, and you were right to not dismiss it simply because you went against two hard counters with the mech and the KLR. But Val’kyr are a strong addition to any team right now. I have no substantial criticism of your play in that match (other than Haunt > Unholy Ascension, imo), and think you did quite well given the unfavorable match-up.

    I do hope you gave that first team another shot, though, before dropping it from your lineup. Aside from the fact that mechs have been heavily played since Direhorns came out, it’s a very fun team.

    Thanks for the interesting reads, and I hope to see more pvp team building and videos :)

    1. Liopleurodon Post author

      I didn’t know that about Apocalypse, but it’s definitely a good tip to keep in mind, thanks! It only very rarely shows up in my battlegroups, so I’m not completely familiar with the mechanics.

      The point about battlegroups is one worth making, though. One of the ones I play on, when they’re not tri-teaming Direhorns, is completely enamoured with turtle teams (shell shields and the like), so the 1st team in particular would be fairly ineffective on that battlegroup. The other tends to counter with mostly dodge moves, making the 1st team oddly effective (though xufu less so). That’s also why I went with UA over Haunt, though I’ve been thinking of sticking a Haunt in my Black Claw team. That team cleans up so hard on the shielding battlegroup, heh.

      And yeah, you’re totally right that I need lots better swap determination. Something about a new team always makes my brain break and I’m all, ‘DARGON SAY WUT?’ and get stomped on silly mistakes. I think the first team may be viable, or borderline so, but it seems like it’ll require far more tight play than the 2nd, regardless.

      Thanks so much for reading, and thanks for the comment!

  2. Pingback: Pet Battles 101 – The Roundup | Tamer Liopleurodon's Battle Pet Roundup

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