March 22, 2013
Confession time: I’ve exploded so many cuddly critters into spouts of gore this week that it’s not even funny. Okay, it is a little funny. And awesome.
Land mines, sticky grenades, sonic booms, and waves of fire — I’ve used them all to throw out insane burst damage with my Double Damage team over the past few weeks, and now it’s time to give them an official rating.
I built the Double Damage team because I wanted to see if patch 5.2 had completely nerfed burst damage pets, which had dominated for the past few months before the patch, into oblivion. My goal was to find the few burst damage pets that made it through the nerf wave unscathed, and that led me to the double damage debuff that is as strong and crazy powerful as ever.
Our plan was to set up the bomb, then apply a double-damage debuff on a pet, and just shred into it for two turns with insane damage. Our secondary goal was to find a Mechanical pet that didn’t make me hate my life because of the hard Elemental counter.
I think I’m flying solo this time. No one else wanted to risk jumping into the recently-nerfed waters of burst damage. And I can’t really blame them. There are some really cool new pets out there on the Thunder King Island of Lightning and Thunder and Ominous Dinosaurs Covered in Voodoo Houses, or whatever it’s called.
Early on, I was pretty sure that I wanted Frigid Frostling or the Lofty Libram as the third wheel on this team. They both had delayed bombs and were strong families (Elemental and Undead). But after a few games, I realized that I didn’t really need an extra bomb, I needed someone who could duel effectively and knock out an opponent by itself.
So I went with the Harbinger of Flame. Lil Ragnaros has the same ability lineup that I use with Harbinger, but he costs real money and having to spend real money on pets is kind of lame.
I liked that Harbinger of Flame had a self-contained combo that worked effectively on its own. Light someone on fire, and then blast them for huge damage. Even better, that combo was in a totally different damage type than my other burst hits.
Once he was in the lineup, I was pretty quickly convinced that he was the best pet to compliment these two.
When the lineup worked, I felt guilty. The opponent didn’t stand a chance and I felt like I was just abusing them and then mocking them for being bruised.
At this point, Chrominius will almost definitely die while recharging if you used Surge of Power. But that’s okay, that means they swapped in pets that ate the Minefield damage. If Chrominius is dead or you’re facing a hard counter you need to burn fast, bring in Harbinger of Flame. Otherwise, bring out the Mini Thor because it’s time for you restart the combo.
At level 25, Minefield deals 624 damage to an incoming pet when they swap in. Against a Beast, it deals almost 1 thousand damage, which is at least two-thirds a beast’s health!
On a team that can force team swaps, this is amazing. And this burst damage team forces swaps. When I cast Howl on a pet while Minefield is out, I put the other player in a horrible position: they can either leave their current pet in front and take double damage, or swap it out and submit a pet to 600 free damage from the Minefield.
My favorite part is that Minefield is always a reliable early move. There’s almost no situation where Minefield is not a positive trade for you (1 turn, 624 damage). The only exception is a team with all Elemental pets (you deal 300 damage, they deal 400-500 damage). Curse you, hard counters!
I’m less certain about Sticky Grenade, though. I picked it for this team’s big bomb because it’s the only bomb that didn’t get nerfed in patch 5.2, but there are a lot of oddities with it.
BOO – it takes 3 turns after application to explode, instead of every other bomb which only takes 2, even though their tooltips are the exact same. I’m not sure which is bugged, but it’s very disappointing.
YAY – Its hit/miss roll is checked on application, not detonation, unlike all other bombs. This means that once the debuff is on the enemy, it will do damage no matter what. It’s unavoidable. Most players don’t know this and will waste their dodge ability trying to avoid the explosion.
BOO – It deals less damage than the other bombs and doesn’t stun like the others do.
YAY – The tradeoff for that is that it has no cooldown, but that only helps if the enemy swaps out pets a lot.
Conflagrate is the third big damage boost on this team that I like. It’s actually still really strong, and still very useful against Magic pets since it breaks it’s damage up
When this team fails, it’s fairly infuriating. Because this team relies on condensing it’s damage into a small number of huge hits, it just takes one ill-timed miss to screw up the best laid plans.
I actually had one game where I missed the Minefield explosion, then Missed Surge of Power, and then Missed the large part of Conflagrate right afterward. The pet should’ve died 3 times over, but instead it killed my entire team. It was painful.
And if the enemy team has a skunk or penguin to apply the 20% accuracy debuff to your whole team, I guarantee that you will cry—or rage, depending on your personality.
And even when Surge of Power does work, it often comes at a hefty price. Because you have to recover for 2 turns after using it, Chrominius will take 3 turns’ worth of damage while recovering (4 if the enemy pet is fast).
In my experience, Chrominius will almost ALWAYS be dead after using it. That means it’s usually a one-for-one ability. That can still be very useful, because you can trade with the enemy’s most powerful pet, but it’s not as good as I originally was hoping.
High dodge pets were also super obnoxious to fight against, but they can usually be planned against if you know the cooldowns of their dodge abilities.
The biggest downside for people considering this team is that it’s extremely hard to level because all of these pets get their core burst damage abilities at level 20. Before that, it’s kind of a weird, oddball team. Like all of us, it has that awkward middle school phase. If you can get through that phase without being thoroughly demoralized, you’ll blossom into a death star of fire, technology, and magical beams of power by the time you hit 20.
Pre-20: 15-10 (60% win ratio)
Post-20: 51-14 (79% win ratio)
Yes. I’m happy with a 78% win ratio. That’s about as good as you can hope for without using an overpowered flavor-of-the-month pet.
I think I can safely make it official: BURST DAMAGE PETS ARE NOT DEAD!
They’re just reasonable now. They can be countered and they don’t feel hopeless to play against. But I’m happy to report that they’re still plenty of fun to play.
I will continue to play this team in PvP, and I’m going to be bringing some of them into PvE as well to help take out those super dangerous pets quickly.
Chrominius: 8 — This magical puppy is strong. He’s not going to win you games by itself, but he will kill at least one pet, and usually one and a half if you play him right. His Howl debuff is still fairly unique and his Surge of Power works with it wonderfully.
Harbinger of Flame: 9 — This guy is solid. I love the combination of Lil Ragnaros’ abilities with the option for Humanoid damage and the Humanoid passive. His Impale ability is also incredibly useful in PVE, especially against the new Epic Pets. It instantly kills any pet that it knocks below 25% health, which can make it a huge hit in certain circumstances.
Mini Thor: 7 — Mini Thor is fun, fun fun. I had an absolute blast laughing as pets were forced to swap into the Land Mines. But his Sticky Grenade is pretty weak compared to the other bombs avaiable on others pets. And I have that nagging feeling that Land Mines is going to get nerfed — and when it does, this pet’ll be pretty darn worthless without a buff to Sticky Grenade.
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