Tag Archives: strategy

The Curious Case of the Elemental Family Ability

Most battle pet family abilities and their implications in a fight are pretty easy to figure out by reading the mouseover tooltip in your pet journal. Most of them are relatively straightforward. Well, the Undead one is a little goofy in practice.

undeadfamily

Your undead battle pet will resurrect for its immortal turn immediately after being killed. If you’re using a slow pet killed in the first half of a round, your pet will resurrect and carry out the action you’d queued before this round. You then get a sort-of ‘extra’ round resurrected.

But, this elemental racial.

elementalfamily

It seems straightforward enough, but then you start figuring in all the different weather effects and exactly what the nature of ‘negative’ is, and it gets kind of complicated. The confusion I had with this ability was cleared up by WoW Dev Jonathan LeCraft on Twitter:

elementals

I guess. Mostly? Um.

So, with that arose this post. I’m going weather effect by weather effect and laying it all out on the table. This is as much for me as it is for you.

To be clear, the application ability of weather will still hit, barring accuracy issues or blocks, so eg, your elemental will take the ~450 damage from Call Darkness when Darkness is applied.

sunlight

Sunny Day

Elemental Pet: health greatly increased, and heals for more.
Opponent Pet: health greatly increased, and heals for more.

This matters for percentage-based attacks, and if you or your opponent can heal you can close that gap. You’ll all lose that additional health if the Sunlight lapses though. There really isn’t a negative effect here so elemental battle pets don’t gain an edge in Sunlight.

moonlight

Moonlight

Elemental: receives additional healing, magic abilities hit harder.
Opponent: receives additional healing, magic abilities hit harder.

Moonlight is a really good example to illustrate the concept. Although magic abilities hitting harder could be considered a ‘negative effect’ (the Sunflower takes additional damage), this isn’t applied on the elemental’s end. It adds a multiplier to the magic abilities of the elemental’s opponent, making this a case where the ‘negative effect’ still applies. In other words, it’s not that the magic hits the elemental harder, it’s that the non-elemental’s magic hits its target harder.

arcanewinds

Arcane Winds

Elemental: Cannot be stunned or rooted.
Opponent: Cannot be stunned or rooted.

Arcane Storm is pretty straightforward, as stuns and roots are (generally!) detrimental. This weather effect is an excellent counter to the spider PVP team comps I’ve been seeing pretty often recently.

sandstorm

Sandstorm

Elemental:
Opponent: Takes (X) less damage per hit, accuracy reduced by 10%.

{EDIT} – I was incorrect here, as pointed out by Skarn in the comments. The elemental does not currently gain the damage shield effect, which appears to be a bug (twitter link: https://twitter.com/TheCrafticus/status/419169945335775232). I will be updating this section to reflect this info after more thorough playtesting. I certainly take blame, but will deflect a bit of that blame into boxed wine.

This is another of those strange cases. You’d think that the elemental’s damage would blast right through the Sandstorm. The damage shield is considered as a personal effect like though, so instead the opponent just soaks up that positive effect for itself like the Stoneskin effect. The accuracy blast still makes this a decent bit of weather to use as an elemental, as long as your elemental isn’t trying to stack DoTs on another battle pet or whatever.

scorchedearth

Scorched Earth

Elemental:
Opponent: Takes (X) damage at the end of the round; Burning (for abilities like Conflagrate).

In this case, the weather effect is entirely nullified by the elemental. This makes for an excellent choice to avoid certain combos. You go, Sunflower.

cleansingrain

Cleansing Rain

Elemental: Aquatic abilities deal more damage, harmful DoTs last one round fewer.
Opponent: Aquatic abilities deal more damage, harmful DoTs last one round fewer.

This is another case where the positive effect is applied at the opponents’ level. Aquatic abilities don’t hit harder on the elemental, they hit harder from the opponent.

blizzard

Blizzard

Elemental:
Opponent: Chilled

This weather effect is used exclusively for synergy purposes. An Elemental is an excellent c-c-c-c-combo breaker here.

darkness2

Darkness

Elemental:
Opponent: Blinded, heals reduced, accuracy reduced.

Seriously, Sunflower, I could do with you being slightly less smug in this screenshot. It’s like you don’t even care that you’re completely screwing things up for everyone else.

mudslide

Mudslide

Elemental:
Opponent: Rooted for 3 rounds when swapped to the front row.

This one pops up only very infrequently, and never, thus far, in the PVE game, but it’s good to know that you can avoid it altogether by using your elemental.

lightningstorm2

Lightning Storm

Elemental: Deals 10% additional Mechanical damage, takes (X) additional damage per hit.
Opponent: Deals 10% additional Mechanical damage, takes (X) additional damage per hit.

This is the effect that I found the oddest. In light of that tweet at the top of the post, it makes a bit more sense, but I’d assume that an elemental wouldn’t take the extra damage on each hit from lightning. Unfortunately, it does. If mechanical pets didn’t measure up against elementals like undeads against a paladin, this would be an excellent use of weather to defeat an elemental. The DoTs and other strategies can still make good on it, but not so much with mechanicals.

sunflowerbad

Hopefully this post helped shed some additional light on the weirdness that is the Elemental family ability. Using a family’s ability to the utmost can really help your pet battling strategies be their absolute best. I started drinking around Moonlight so I don’t really know what’s going on but this was super fun so let’s do it again sometime.

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Tommy Newcomer

I thought all my walkthroughs on the Timeless Isle were complete. I kicked back with a well-earned chocolate chip cookie and waited for the patch. I was excited to get my mini Xuen, run around in the Shrine of Seven Stars for a while showing it off, and make a small fortune on new glyphs. Then, I see this jerk.

tommy newcomer wow world of warcraft pet battle

Look at that smug little face. I’m guessing that the trigger to seeing his daily is something along the lines of defeating Aki, but I’m really not sure. I’d heard occasional discussion about him during PTR, but never saw that he had anything for me, so I kind of ignored him. I’m kicking myself over this now, trust.

Tommy Newcomer only has one pet. So we should totally take pity on him, right?

WRONG.

lil oondasta wow world of warcraft pet battle celestial tournament

Lil Oondasta is the pet equivalent of, well, boss Oondasta. With a very strong AOE and a force swap, she is a brutal fight. Luckily, she’s only one mob, and you can heal and re-try as many times as you need to get her down. For 500 Timeless Coins and 20g. Ugh.

Here’s the team I ended up using:

lil oondasta team wow world of warcraft pet battles

Oondasta has 3 abilities, and her 2 most deadly are Magic: Frill Blast (force swap) and Spiritfire Beam (the AoE). She backs that up with Crush, which is a big hit in itself. Because of the humanoid nature of Crush, trying to use my Golden Hatchling in concert with the Clockwork Gnome was met with a hearty ‘lol u mad’ from Oondasta.

The reason I like the Zeppelin and the Mechanical Dragonling should be fairly obvious. Decoy is an amazing ability this fight, and I want to abuse it as much as possible. I definitely screwed up a bit on the Dragonling’s moveset though… Frill Blast will always swap in the Zeppelin for me, because of the higher health, so unless I manually swap for a Fly By, I’m not going to use it to buff others, and the Dragonling doesn’t really have other moves to buff itself. Though there’s not a ton of damage we have to do, the breath ability will probably make for a cleaner fight.

lil oondasta wow warcraft pet battle

The reason I go with the Tonk is that, because of the force swap if I use Ion Cannon off the bat, Oondasta will then immediately swap him to the back row for the recharge turn and the vast majority of the cooldown I have before I can cast it again. If I return to the front row on my pre-res turn, I can also get in a Shock and Awe for a hopeful-maybe stun. Oondasta is slower than all my pets and only has single hits, so once she kills my mechanicals the first time, they’re guaranteed at least one extra hit. As long as they don’t die in the back row, anyway.

I really liked using two Decoys. I don’t think that both are entirely necessary, especially given the relatively paltry firepower on the Dragonling. Explode as a mechanic is a really excellent tool for single fights, so I would definitely recommend using at least one of these pets.

The Tonk is a little more debatable. You can definitely try subbing in either the Menagerie Custodian or the Tranquil Mechanical Yeti, both of which use Ion Cannon. They’re a bit less sturdy, but it’s still an option. If you go with the Yeti, you may want to opt for Thunderstorm instead, and pair it with a Clockwork Gnome’s turret. In general, as long as you have a good amount of mechanical offense and aren’t caught off-guard by the force swap, you’re going to be in good shape.

A final note: I don’t like writing strategies with pets which are prohibitively expensive or difficult to get without at least offering a solid alternative (eg, Emerald Proto-Drake can be substituted for the Emerald Whelpling in most settings). With that in mind, the Son of Animus, specifically Interrupting Jolt, really shines this fight in place of the Tonk. I want to stress that this investment isn’t necessary, but I can generally keep that last pet alive entirely (well, minus an AoE or two) if I use Animus here.

Universal Team for Single Pet Fights

Straight off, I didn’t come up with this combo, but it is so useful to have in your back pocket that I absolutely have to cover it. I’ve heard it mentioned on Josh Augustine’s podcast a few times, and seen it referenced on Reddit and the official forums. The earliest mention I can find is in this thread on WarcraftPets from May. I’m making this post to discuss your options and the changes coming to this strategy in 5.4. There’s a fairly significant change (possibly a bug fix) and it seems to be undocumented.

The strategy starts with this team:

universal pet team wow world of warcraft pet battles celestial tournament

It’s probably not too obvious just by looking at the team exactly what’s going on if you’re not familiar with this strategy. Because my toddler really enjoys spaceships right now, here’s how I break it down for 5.4:

blastoff wow world of warcraft pet battles beasts of fable celestial tournament howl bomb

Before 5.3, when the Unborn Val’kyr casts Unholy Ascension before being killed the first time, she comes back for her last turn as a risen undead. On the 5.4 PTR that function has changed so when she dies from that, she’s dead permanently. So, I cast Curse of Doom first and then Unholy Ascension. You get more from the 25% buff and a weaker Curse of Doom than you from just the buff. Then, you cast Geyser, then Whirlpool, then the 100% damage booster Howl. All the debuffs (except Curse of Doom with 5.4) explode in one turn, but in multiple hits, so any healing ability or damage capper (eg, the Magic family racial) is pretty much negated. Even if not, the post-Blastoff turn from Surge of Power with Chrominius is ridiculously deadly, especially since you definitely just triggered the Dragonkin racial boost. On the Celestials you can run into the 35% per hit Boss Buff ceiling a bit, but still kill them with just the three hits.

With the Unholy Ascension nerf, the only pet you absolutely must have for this strategy to work is the Pandaren Water Spirit. That’s the only pet with both geyser and whirlpool, and there aren’t really any other pets with a one-off staggered delay nuke like those. You can try working in a Ghostly Skull for the Val’kyr. That’s the only other pet with Unholy Ascension, which is fairly necessary here.

Howl is a very good debuff for both PVE and PVP, so much so that it gives this strategy its alternate name: the Howl Bomb. There are other pets with Howl, but none of them have that next turn backend punch Chrominius can pack with Surge of Power. Tito or the Lil Bad Wolf are alright choices, but you can only expect to hit for a few hundred with their other abilities, because all the solo pets have additional damage absorbing buffs. Beyond Howl, there are a few other abilities that cast the Shattered Defenses 100% damage multiplier debuff, and all the rest are Swarm-type abilities. You might want to experiment with a Zandalari Kneebiter, for instance. However, if you do go this route, make sure you use your Hunting Party right off the bat. Don’t try to get cute and cast Black Claw first. The big nukes need to get that 100% debuff or you’re in trouble. The nature of Swarm abilities means if you’re going against a pet with a damage shield like Yu’la, or are making use of a Sandstorming Anubisath, you’re not going to apply the debuff so be careful of that, too. And, if you’re up against a healer like Dos Ryga, a swarm pet isn’t going to be able to burst him down for those last hits before he heals.

universal beasts of fable team wow world of warcraft pet battle celestial tournament

To be absolutely clear, if you’d like to use a Howl Bomb strategy I’d highly recommend getting all 3, yes even the Val’kyr, even though she’s a bit of a camp. With those 3, this is a very solid, easy strategy to use. Without, it can get a little dicey. I feel a little cheap using it, but I will certainly be using it during the Tournament myself.

For the Tournament, because of Yu’la and Chichi’s avoids, and Chichi’s heals, I wouldn’t recommend using this for those two. Because Zao’s heal is on a turn delay, this is a decent pick for him. Personally, because I typically only maintain one of each battle pet, my choice is likely going to be Xufu, especially on the week featuring Mari and Kiryn.

Celestial Tournament – Zao

Zao is the last encounter I’m writing about, and as a result my witty repartee is broken. Uh, yes, it totally WAS witty. Throw me a bone here!

zao wow world of warcraft pet battles

Zao has 2 old abilities and 1 new ability. The new ability is Charge, which is functionally similar to Deep Breath, where he charges up one round and then does huge damage the next. The old abilities are the typical beast damage ability Trample, and the pvp rage-inducing heal Wish.

zao ability wow world of warcraft pet battle

The breakdown on my strategy for Zao is a lot of bursty offensive firepower. If you have stuns this is a good place to use them. Call Lightning is fantastic here too. Any kind of avoidance is good, because as seen in the screenshot below his Charge does borderline one-shot damage. He takes that down turn to power up though, so you know it’s coming, making it relatively easy to counter.

zao charge wow world of warcraft celestials pet battle

However, when I say “bursty firepower”,  you need to be mindful of using abilities like Ion Cannon early on, because the “Boss” mechanic only allows you to do 35% of a boss’s health in a single hit. Those huge single hits frequently get partially absorbed, wasting that burst. I do like the Ion Cannon in my anchor slot as a last ditch Hail Mary, but not as primary offense. The Darkmoon Tonk or Menagerie Custodian are my choices for anchor, because they also have Shock and Awe, which gives a chance to stun. The boss buff is why I really like my trusty Clockwork Gnome with a Lightning Storm combo for this fight. It’s a good amount of DPS even halved, and there’s no way I’d hit that 35% per hit threshold because it’s all little hits.

zao wish wow world of warcraft pet battle celestial tournament

In general, you want to just unload on his face. While you unload though, you need to be mindful of Wish. I like to get all set up with thunderstorms and turrets and debuffs and stuff, and then blitz him down after his first Wish. It’s on a relatively long, 5-round cooldown so it’s better to just eat the first one while you set up your offense, and then use your big damage cooldowns right after he casts it. There aren’t a whole lot of other options for damage debuffs among pets with mechanical damage, and debuff stacking is my personal favorite strategy for nearly all the single-pet fights. One pet I didn’t have available on the PTR that I’m eager to experiment with on Live is the Cogblade Raptor, with Exposed Wounds and Batter.

As always, the trickiest part of the scenario is where you need to think ahead and triage. The Gnome and Tonk are both fairly key in other strategies for the triads, but are also good here. Do you really need that Tonk to beat a pet in the early triad, or should you save it for Zao? I don’t know your stable, so I can’t give you that answer.

zao burst wow world of warcraft pet battle celestial tournament

Here’s the video of me beating Zao on the PTR.

Celestial Tournament – Xufu

xufu xuen wow world of warcraft pet battle celestial

Xufu was the most difficult boss for me to figure out a solid strategy for, and yet has the simplest solution.

The strategy for Xufu revolves around his Spirit Claws ability. It does a whole lot of damage, but it has an 80% accuracy, which then becomes 100% if the weather is moonlight. Yes, he casts Moonfire.

xufu moonfire wow world of warcraft pet battle celestial

I mean, of course he does. Sigh. So you have to have a pet with some kind of weather effect to counter Moonlight. I like Call Lightning, because I always like Call Lightning. Call Darkness is also an effective choice, because in Darkness the accuracy of Spirit Claws plummets to 70%. I wouldn’t recommend Sandstorm, because with the Boss buff you’re not doing a ton of damage to begin with.

xufudarkness wow world of warcraft pet battles celestial

The other reason I’m a fan of Darkness is Xufu’s Feed ability. Darkness is one of the few ways to counter a heal, and Feed heals Xufu for the amount of damage he does, like Absorb or Consume. If you look at the difference between Absorb and Consume, Consume’s baseline hits a bit harder than Absorb, but Consume has a turn cooldown to compensate. Feed is such a big hit (with such a big heal) it’s on a 4-turn cooldown. But, because it is a 4-turn cooldown you can kind of plan around it. Generally, I did this with the Decoy ability on the Darkmoon Zeppelin or Mechanical Pandaren Dragonling. Decoy is really powerful here because each of Xufu’s attacks is a single hit, so you buy yourself several rounds of uninterrupted offense each time you use it. If Xufu should happen to miss with Spirit Claws on one of those attacks too, it’s super, super sweet.

xufu lightning wow world of warcraft pet battle celestial

You’ll note from the video I didn’t make good use of my typical Lightning Storm-style offense. This is almost entirely because of the new nature of Lightning Storm. It now lasts a mere 5 turns after being cast, and that first pet isn’t long for this world. With the mechanical resurrect turn, you have 2 or 3 turns of Lightning Storm at best for the 2nd pet on. Not much time to construct a solid damage over time offense, let alone stack damage debuffs and all that other nonsense. Don’t worry about the shorter duration though. Xufu won’t re-cast Moonfire until after the full duration of his first one would’ve passed, 10 turns later… unless you cast Nevermore on his Spirit Claws, and then he’ll use anything else at his disposal. Though, because we’re using mostly mechanicals, that’s an alright strategy too. The magic Moonfire doesn’t hurt nearly as much as it typically would. If you do cast Nevermore with your Raven though, make sure you take your Raven out before the next turn or he’s going to get creamed.

xufu wow world of warcraft pet battle celestial tournament

Ultimately, as long as I use a weather pet, and then something with Decoy, and back it up with another offensively strong mechanical in the middle, I win at least 75% of the time on PTR. That one fight when Spirit Claws never, ever misses is usually the percent where I end up crashing and burning.

I said there were two methods of doing this, and there are. But the second method is the Universal strategy, usable for nearly any single pet in World of Warcraft, so it’s getting its own post.

Celestial Tournament – Mari, Blingtron 4000 & Kiryn

Another week, another fun-filled triad. Yes I’m being droll.

Let’s get to it.

mari wow warcraft pet battle

Mari has the aquatic Carpe Diem (yukyuklulz), the magic Spirus and the elemental River.

There are 2 real keys to this fight. One is to have a pet with a weather ability and good offense to beat up Carpe Diem super fast, and the other is to beat up Spirus really quickly. Spirus heals and has Arcane Blast, so he’s basically a ticking timebomb you need to burst down before he gets out of control. River can be problematic because he likes to combine a whole lot of things into one big burst turn, but is easily countered for that exact reason.

Carpe Diem’s first move will always be Cleansing Rain, which then leads into Dreadful Breath, a several-turn AOE which hits twice as hard while the weather is rainy, meaning that he’ll try to destroy your entire team at once. I go with my Gilnean Raven (or the Crow if you’d prefer), both because I can change the weather with Darkness and because I can wreck the silly fish’s face in like 2 turns because he’s vulnerable to Flying. Just make sure that if you’re faster than the fish, you use your regular attack the first round. You don’t want to waste your weather. The carp’s third ability is Grasp, but if you go with the previously cited weather bird of doom, you’ll wreck his face before he casts it. And if you go with a different pet, it’s Grasp. Shrug.

The second pet Spirus uses primarily magic with Arcane Blast though, so your raven is going down. Make sure to cast Darkness again asap, as Spirus also has a fairly large heal. I ended up picking a Mechanical Dragonling for the second pet, because mechanicals defend strongly against magic damage, and the Mech Dragon has a dragon ability which is strong against the Magic pet. Also, Decoy helps a lot against the arcane blast onslaught. I’ve used regular dragons here too, and they’re alright, but the defense you get with the Mechanical Dragon really helps. You may want to avoid using big attacks though, both because of the Magic family damage per hit cap, and because Spirus also uses Soul Ward.

Now you’re probably saying, well then, if the last pet is elemental, the Mechanical Dragon’s gonna get wrecked too. Oddly, River has all aquatic abilities. I can usually get River down about halfway with the dragon. After that, because of River’s tendancy toward single-turn burst with Dive and Whirlpool, not to mention Pump, I like a mongoose or otter, something like that. I can dive to avoid and Survival if things get super dire. I’ve tried a snail here, but this is a little less reliable. If a snail’s Dive hits you’ll win and if not, you start over. A strider can work due to sheer burst, but I found it a lot more reliable to just use the mongoose.

blingtron wow warcraft pet battle

But, you may want to save your strider for Blingtron 4000! The first pet you go up against, Au, is an elemental, and I had great success beating him with a water skimmer. The other 2 pets are Banks, a critter, and Lil B, a mechanical.

Au is relatively easy once you figure out his pattern. He has a new ability called Goldskin, which he can use every other round, which hits you and makes it so the damage he takes is reduced by 100. So, because you’re likely going to be faster, using the water skimmer, I use a simple nuke the first round. Then he’ll have the Goldskin, buff up, so I cast Pump for the first time on the 2nd turn while he hits me with his Gilded Fist, which is a new simple humanoid attack. Then, after his Goldskin runs out, I cast Pump again. He should die. If Pump misses, I take the next turn to heal up, and then cast the regular nuke again. You’ll likely want to follow that pattern regardless, using your damage abilities and buff or healing abilities on alternating turns. His other ability is Gold Rush, which is a renamed Stone Rush.

The next pet, Banks, is a gold piggy. He has a mechanical DoT as pretty much his only offense, so you may want to be on the lookout for a pet that has beast attacks in a non-beast pet (eg, Lil Bad Wolf). Since the Panther Cub (or another cat) was key in last week’s triad, I decided to use him again here. The DoT does hurt, but this should be another 2-shot fight. His other 2 abilities are a heal, and Uncanny Luck. I also had good luck using a crab here, especially with Shell Shield, but because of the heals this leg of the fight took a super long time with the crab.

The Panther got completely wrecked by the next pet, Lil B. The crab or a crawdad isn’t a much better pick though, because Lil B also has Blingtron Gift Package, which heals him on a relatively long cooldown. He also has Extra Plating, and an ability called SMACKTHAT.EXE, which functions similarly to Batter, only has a very different animation associated with it. Lil B is faster than almost all rare pets at 358 speed so he’ll almost always get in that extra hit.

My pick here is the Pandaren Earth Spirit, because his stun helps to extend the time between Extra Platings, allowing you to pump out more DPS. Another valid strategy is a pet like Fel Flame, with Conflag, using the Conflag the first turn Extra Plating is off cooldown. Almost any elemental with good burst will probably be able to win here. The key is to manage that Extra Plating downtime. Remember too, that he’s a mechanical, so he’s coming back after you beat him at least once!

kiryn wow warcraft pet battle

Kiryn’s whole team is a nod to Game of Thrones. There’s the humanoid Nairn, the mechanical Stormoen, and Summer, the erstwhile direwolf.

Nairn’s 3 abilities are the slight damage AOE weather effect Call of Winter, Nairn!, which is a critter damage ability with a self-buff component, and Giant’s Blood, which damages you and heals him. Because of the critter bit in Nairn!, his main attack, I went with a Lesser Voidcaller here and just attacked him down. Once I got around that critter damage it wasn’t no thang. The Curse of Doom in particular helps, a lot.

Stormoen cracked me up, because this is the Thunderstorm PVP strat I used to really enjoy in one silly little mechanical cat. Her 3 abilities are Build Turret, Call Lightning and Batter. Because I used to play this, I know really well how to counter it. Any kind of shield and you’ll be absorbing just about all of the damage Stormoen can dish out. For PTR, the first elemental pet I saw in my list with some kind of damage shield was the Living Sandling, with Stoneskin but I believe there are others. Oddly, my elemental pets were taking the extra hits from the Lightning, so this isn’t just to make all Stormoen’s native offense moot. A self-only shield is preferable to just changing the weather, because Stormoen takes the extra damage from Lightning too, but a weather change would work too.

Summer is rather tricky. She uses Prowl, Dodge and Bite. I found a Darkmoon Zeppelin to be absolutely key here, just because it’s one of the few mechanical pets with a straightup avoid with Decoy. Otherwise, the Prowl/Bite combo can pretty much one-shot you. I’ve also noticed that she likes to use Dodge, then Prowl, so it’s difficult to even interrupt her. But, because of the way the Zeppelin’s barrier works, you can still dodge it no problem.

winmari wow warcraft pet battles

Leveling Worksheet (italics means they’re used in a different triad, updated as strategies progress): Gilnean Raven or Crow, Mechanical Pandaren Dragonling (or a rare dragon with avoidance), a mongoose or otter-type aquatic pet, Lesser Voidcaller, elemental with a damage shield, Darkmoon Zeppelin, water strider, a beast damage pet (preferably a Prowl or other combo pet), a pet with elemental burst.

Celestial Tournament – Chen, Wrathion and Taran Zhu

As discussed in my previous entry on the Celestial Tournament, you have to fight a varying set of 3 tamers in order to get to the 4 Celestial bosses. One set is Chen Stormstout, Wrathion and Taran Zhu. Here’s a bit of rough strategy for this triad.

Wrathion tickled my fancy, largely because of the names of his pets.

wrathion pet battle wow warcraft

He always starts off with Cindy, who is undead, followed by the dragonkins Alex and then Dah’da.

Generally speaking, I found Cindy the most difficult to figure out, largely because she is very fast. She starts off with 375 speed, meaning that the speed breed rabbits are on equal footing with all the other rabbits, ie not sucky, but not a total lock either. Her 3 abilities are Bite, Blistering Cold and Ice Tomb. Ironically, of the pets I had available (no bandicoons, which I think would theoretically be good) the best against Cindy were crickets. With a self-heal, cocoon (used mostly against Ice Tomb… the Blistering Cold DoTs didn’t trip it) and decent damage against Undead, the cricket usually made it well through to Alex without much issue.

Alex has Breath, Flamethrower and the healing Ancient Blessing. Dah’da has Shadowflame, Roll and the heavy damage, big stun Elemenium Bolt. The reason I’m discussing them at the same time is because both were rather summarily dispatched by my Anubisath. Deflect against Elementium Bolt was especially key. I opted for the shield rather than Sandstorm because I wanted to avoid the accuracy debuff, and the shield worked fairly well, especially against Flamethrower’s DoT. Dah’da’s Shadowflame hits fairly hard regardless, especially with the roll buff. I had to get in one last swing with a Grell once out of the three times I tried the Anubisath in the second slot, so this may be a candidate for a leveling slot. Bizarre.

chen wow warcraft pet battles

Chen’s beast Tonsa is rather formidible, but I was generally able to get the critter Chirps and elemental Brewly down using just a Panther Cub.

Tonsa has Bite, Headbutt and Chew. The best mechanical for the job here seemed to be a Clockwork Rocket Bot of whatever color variation, even though the one I had at hand was only Uncommon. I used Toxic Smoke and Launch Rocket in particular. The Darkmoon Zeppelin with Block worked really well too, but I like to save that one for later.

Chirps is very interesting. He has Flank, Lullaby, which puts your current pet to sleep for 2 turns, and Locust Swarm. Locust Swarm is also a completely new ability. It’s like a cross between Swarm and Deep Breath, where you charge up a round and then the next round he deals ~700 damage across 3 hits. It’s pretty brutal, but you can kinda dodge it. However, he’ll also use Lullaby then use that next turn to charge up Locust Swarm. Luckily he has 281 speed so when I fought him, I used a panther cub to wreck him in under 3 turns. Nearly any cat with a Prowl will work here. I was even sometimes able to finish out the last pet, Brewly, but that was fairly hit or miss.

No, I mean, literally hit or miss. Brewly has a new ability called Inebriate, which decreases your accuracy by 25%, so sometimes I could wreck her no problem and sometimes she just sat back and laughed while my panther ineffectively pawed at her. I kept a strider in my pocket, and was able to finish out the fight without too much limping toward the finish. She also has the rather gross Barrel Toss and Brew Bolt, which is a relatively straightforward aquatic nuke.

taranzhu wow warcraft pet battle

To be completely up front, I wasn’t able to nail down a precise strategy for Taran Zhu. I was able to beat him, and notice some patterns, but I wasn’t yet able to replicate a win every time with a particular setup.

As you can see from the screenshot, he’s playing the part of PVP troll with 3 humanoid pandaren monks. But, only one of the monks, Yen, uses an ability player monk pets even have. It’s the stun, Blackout Kick. Yen in particular is a total jerk, also getting the critter ability Comeback, which hits hard against the Humanoid countering Undead, and Feign Death, which pulls him out just as he’s getting hit hard (and dodges any DoTs you may have up on him at the time in addition to your turn that round). Li has Triple Snap, the new heal ability Bandage, and Spin Kick, which is new, but functions very similar to Backflip, just with higher baseline damage. Bolo uses Punch, Blinding Powder, which gives you 0% chance to hit for one round, and Rampage.

To counter, my best strategy was to use Undead pets with big DoTs, namely Curse of Agony and Curse of Doom, especially against Yen. I did try to time my Curse of Doom so that, for example, Yen wouldn’t dodge it, and it would hit Bolo on the rounds I didn’t have Blinding Powder in my face. I did alright with a Stitched Puppy and a Howl/Diseased Bite combo. The thing is, typically if Yen started off with his Critter ability, I was pretty much toast before I even got started… the Gusting Grimoire, Lofty Libram or Lesser Voidcaller might be the answer, but I didn’t have those to use.

[Update 8/29/13] – Rather than the above magic pets, I ended up making liberal use of Mr. Grubbs. His Acidic Goo plus the Scourged Whelpling’s very long DoTs and the healing on Consume made this another duo fight! You do have to be careful and count turns a bit… when I timed it properly to Burrow through stuns and debuffs he really shone. If you don’t have Mr. Grubbs, any maggot or larva will work. If you don’t have the Whelpling, try a Restless Shadeling, maybe. Death & Decay was really the workhorse in this fight, oddly enough.

defeat wow warcraft pet battle

The big, overarching theme to keep in mind with all these fights is that once you use a pet to fight a particular tamer, you’re pretty much not going to want to use it again until after the entire scenario is complete. There are certain pets which would do well as a family counter to say, Chen’s Tonsa, but because you’re going to want huge burst against Zao (and maybe even against Xufu, but that’s another post) you need to keep a few heavy-hitting mechanicals in your back pocket… like discussed briefly above, the Darkmoon Zep can be very useful later.

Leveling Worksheet (italics means this suggestion carries to another triad): Anubisath, an undead and a maggot, a cat with prowl, a critter with some avoids, and a mechanical (specifically a Rocket Bot if you have a stone available, or can find an upgraded one).

Okrut Dragonwaste

okrut wow warcraft pet battles tamer okrut

This guy is one of the hardest tamers you’ll come across as you level, for a variety of reasons. It seems kind of silly but I’m breaking him down before some of the later guys, because he’s such a big stumbling block for so many players.

Here’s the team:

okrutteam

I went with the Hopling because of the single-round stun. You may want to use something like a Flayer Youngling, the Anubisath, or another humanoid. I wouldn’t recommend the Kun-Lai Runt, because he’s at his best with stuns, and stuns are generally a bad idea in PVE (the NPC usually switches out a stunned pet, so you don’t get the benefit). For the second pet, I have my speedy rabbit Dill as usual. All these pets are fairly slow though, so even my H/B rabbit is faster than the second two pets. Almost any critter will work here, but the mitigation on the rabbits is really nice, as always. If this is your first time fighting him, go with a humanoid and 2 critters, hopefully with a dodge, burrow, a heal, etc. Some kind of avoidance and longevity, basically.

wow warcraft pet battles dragon

The first pet, Drogar, is a violet-reskinned green proto drake. He has a Flying mitigation move, Flamethrower, and a self-heal. I go with the humanoid here to kill him as quickly as possible, hopefully before he can heal too much.

This is the tricky part. The rest of the dragons on his team are undead, so a humanoid is not so helpful. However, the next pet uses elemental damage, so it’s not like he’s just going to flop over. I use the Hopling until he dies, then swap to the rabbit, which deals extra damage against undead.

warcraft rabbit wow

At first we’re going to just attack, until Sleet casts Ice Tomb. Then, we’ll wait a turn and use Dodge or Burrow, or whatever avoidance ability your critter has.

wow warcraft pet battles ice tomb stun

This is mostly because it’s a big hit and not so much because we have to avoid the stun, but if you want to use a pet without the critter family stunbreaker that’s a consideration too. Being undead he’ll resurrect for a turn, but you should be able to dispatch him fairly easily.

The last pet is Rot, a Scourged Whelpling, with a ground AOE attack, plagued blood for a small heal per hit dealt, and Shadowflame, which does middling damage. It’s a particle-effecty good time.

wow warcraft pet battles scourged whelpling

Just keep on hitting him and dodging where necessary. This is the easiest part of the fight, but don’t get too cocky. Use your avoids against Shadowflame when possible and burn him down. He’s also undead, so make sure you have enough health or pets to get past that one last round.

okrut wow warcraft pet battles dragonblight

This may take a few tries, but just take deep breaths and keep going.

For your Awfully Big Adventure with your Elekk Plushie, I’d recommend the Anubisath Idol & Rabbit combo.

Flowing Pandaren Spirit Tamer

Update for 6.0: This strategy still works really well as a two-pet leveling strategy. If you’re here for an Awfully Big Adventure with your Elekk Plushie, this works perfectly well for that, too.

It is about good freaking time I wrote this, but I’ve been putting it off.

flowing pandaren spirit tamer warcraft wow

This Spirit Tamer uses a gimmick I’ve seen parroted a few times in PVP. It combines huge damage with stuns, but it’s relatively quite easy to counter if you know what’s coming.

Here’s the lineup I use:

pet battle team warcraft wow

There are a few other ways you can go. The Tamer’s first pet is aquatic, so I use my dragonbone hatchling Legree to counter. I would definitely recommend something that does a lot of Flying damage with some kind of avoidance, namely Lift-Off. A moth with Cocoon also works, but not *quite* as well. My speedy rabbit Dill is there for the dodge/burrow combo. We’ll get into why in a bit, because I use it a little bit differently here. I’d recommend keeping with a critter, because the last guy is elemental, and you definitely want at least a Burrow or Dodge or something. A Core Hound Pup might be an alright choice if you have one. I initially did this fight with my Perky Pug, so just the one avoid can work, too. The pet to be leveled is fairly high level and not Mechanical because there is a lot of AoE flying around.

The first pet is an aquatic fish named Marley. He has Dive, Whirlpool, which pops up a lot on Emperor Crabs in PVP, plus Pump, which makes all those abilities hit harder when it’s active and then gets unleashed for big damage.

whirlpool

Whirlpool is particularly devastating in PVP, because it restricts swapping, but here it’s just a lot of damage. He’ll also pair this with Dive, so that if you don’t avoid it somehow, it’s a huge amount of damage all at once. We’ll use Liftoff the turn before it blows up to avoid it, easy peasy. I prefer a bird with Lift Off to Cocoon, because Cocoon will only avoid one hit so you’ll take lots of damage from Whirlpool or Dive (because as a flyer you’re going to be faster), but my experience is that a moth can rip through here fairly easily regardless.

Next up is the critter Tiptoe. He has an AoE with Tidal Wave, a straightforward nuke, and a heal. You want to kill him ASAP because of the AoE. I just keep attacking/avoiding with my Flying pet until it dies, and then swap to my rabbit. Tiptoe doesn’t have a lot of burst damage, but if he heals a lot you’ll find yourself with a dead back row.

(NOTE –  As of 5.4, Tiptoe the strider is now properly classed as an Aquatic battle pet. However, I still use the strategy as performed, and really, we’re a bit better off because the Flying pet we used for Marley continues to have strong attacks.)

tidalwave

Kill him ASAP. I use Burrow to try to get big damage, but other than that, don’t worry about defense with your main pet. You’d just be wasting the turns you have until his heal comes off cooldown.

And now, Ladies and Gents, the gimmick.

geyser pet battle ability warcraft

The Flowing Pandaren Spirit casts whirlpool like the fish, but pairs it with Geyser for enormous damage, at the end of a round no less. Luckily, with your rabbit, you can just use your Dodge or Burrow abilities to avoid it.

I don’t use the typical rabbit ‘pattern’, because after the first set where both Whirlpool and Geyser hits at once, the two abilities are out of sync. I use Dodge to counter one and Burrow to counter the other. If the pet you chose is working off just one avoidance ability, avoid the geyser. You should make it past the first one no problem as they’re sort of synced up, and you’ll likely make it past the second series at the very least.

warcraft battle pet pvp rabbit

I’ve been seeing the geyser/whirlpool combo in PVP a few times recently. The only pet with this combo is the mini Flowing Pandaren Spirit, so if you see that coming, you know what you’re in for, but you can try using whirlpool or geyser with Dive for another decent combo.

In the end, you’ll be able to beat this spirit rather handily, even if he doesn’t make for a good choice to level lowbie pets.

The reason I was waiting on giving him his own walkthrough is because of the central conflict of Mists of Pandaria. It makes me deeply sad to think of this Spirit Tamer, being here for time immemorial, training his pets and enjoying the natural beauty of southern Krasarang Wilds. Long before Garrosh took to destroying the beauty of the Vale, he also ruined the serenity and beauty of this Tamer’s far-flung locale.

flowing pandaren spirit tamer krasarang wilds garrosh warcraft wow

We’ll get him little guy, though it’s cold comfort now.

I also made a quick & dirty video of this fight if you’d like to watch for more help.

Mo’ruk

Update for 6.0: This strategy still works. However, due to a few other changes, in the interest of a strategy that’s not prohibitively rare, I definitely recommend the crab over the crawdad. If you’re here with your Elekk Plushie on your Awfully Big Adventure, this strategy will work swimmingly.

—–

moruk

This guy was one of my toughest opponents as I was working my way through the tamers in Pandaria. However, he’s one of the more conveniently located tamers, right next to the Anglers Village in Krasarang if you’re into that kind of thing, so I try to stomp on him on a regular basis.

This fight is very gimmicky and your success or failure depends really heavily on how often you get stunned, or slept, or whatever else. Both Mo’ruk’s final 2 pets use these abilities. This strategy gives you a very high chance of success, but I’d say once a week or so I have to heal everybody and try again.

morukteam

The crawdad is particularly healing-motivated, and the emerald whelpling is particularly geared toward magic DPS and a bit of healing. This fight is quite RNG dependent, but these 2 pets mitigate the R in RNG quite a lot. I’d suggest trying a Spawn of Onyxia or another high dps dragon in Emilia’s slot. I’ve used an Infinite Whelpling with decent success too. I frequently have decent luck with my Emperor Crab tank in the Crawdad slot. Your leveling pet has to be able to take roughly 400 damage at minimum.

The leveling pet goes in first, as a soak. Moruk’s Woodcarver is a Beast and the first ability, Acidic Goo, is a DoT which increases your damage taken.

acidicgoo

Since Woodcarver’s 2nd ability is always the hard-hitting Burrow, it’s a good idea for your first pet to grab that buff before you swap in your Crawdad. This is a fairly straightforward fight. He’ll use Burrow, and Acidic Goo when he can. He also uses the Consume ability to occasionally heal himself.

consume

If at all possible, try to make it so that you’re at high health and have your Renewing Mists rolling when you kill Woodcarver. When he dies, you have to IMMEDIATELY swap to your dragon. Don’t even try to get cute and cast Wish. This is where the RNG battle begins.

lightstalker

Lightstalker‘s first hit is fairly hard, even with the Dragon’s strong defense against Flying abilities. It also has a 25% chance to sleep you. This is why we swapped out the Crawdad ASAP… he’s aquatic, so he takes so much damage just from that first hit, plus the fact that you’re going to be slower, so you may just get stunned for the effort. Lightstalker also has the Moth Balls ability, which will slow you, and he combines that with Alpha Strike, which does more damage if he’s faster than you. He’s a bit of a glass cannon, is what I’m saying.

The goal here is to burn the moth down as quickly as you possibly, possibly can. This is why I went with the Emerald Whelpling with that specific moveset. Magic damage ahoy. If the moth manages to kill your Dragonkin with RNG, you’re quite likely screwed.

stunned

The last pet, Needleback, has a few interesting moves. He has the speed increasing small nuke Powerball, which means after a turn or two you aren’t going first anymore. He also has Grasp, which does minimal damage but prevents swaps. And then there’s Headbutt, which does a lot of damage and has a chance to stun you. Yeeeah.

This is why my #1 choice to finish it out is the crawdad. Needleback inevitably uses the Headbutt ability when it’s off cooldown, so the turn before it comes up I can use Wish if I need to, to make sure I don’t die if I get stunned. The crab is a solid choice too, but he doesn’t have that extra failsafe the (expensive, hard to get) Crawdad does.

crawdad2

Most of the time with this team and strategy, I win. Every so often the RNG stars align to hand me a loss. If this is your first time going after this tamer, try sticking the crawdad or a crab in the first slot to soak that first Acidic Goo, then swap in a mechanical to kill the beast.

I’d feel worse about calling Mo’ruk a fight-cheesing jerk, but it’s hard to feel bad for someone who lives on a freaking beach, okay?

morukbeach