WoW Pet Battle Review: Corefire Imp and Molten Hatchling 17

I’ve been throwing fire, stealing health, and cauterizing wounds for the last two weeks with the Life Leech team, and now it’s time to cast down my judgment on them. Will they ascend to cute critter heaven or roast in the flames of failed pet hell?

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Goal of the team

First, a reminder of what this team was supposed to do. The Life Leech team was introduced in episode 7, and is built on two pets doing one thing: harrass opponents with constant damage while healing at every possible turn.

The secondary goal of the team was to get 3 pets that were self-sufficient, so that we didn’t have to rely on constantly swapping pets for intricate combos easily avoided by the opponent. Those two pets are the Molten Hatchling and the Corefire Imp.

This unruly plant shall escape my web no longer!

This unruly plant shall escape my web no longer!

Your suggestions

  • The community was unusually quiet about this team, which maybe I should’ve taken as a sign. But Navimie jumped in with a solid vote of confidence, backing up my Molten Hatchling pick.
  • She said: “That’s a great tip Josh. I routinely use a spider, but I tend to use an amethyst or a crystal (probably because I don’t have a rare molten I think), but that double heal is going to be annoying as hell! I love spiders and their brittle webbing against multi attacks like swarms and I use it on that darn darkmoon monkey as well. Off to find a rare and level it!”

Changes I made to the lineup:

I felt really strong about having the Blighthawk in as the third pet, the undead bird that can eat an allied corpse to get a big heal and can lift off to avoid attacks for one turn. I leveled this team from 1-20 with Blighthawk, but eventually dropped it for a few reasons, almost all of which I have to assume are bugs.

  • His Consume Corpse ability (his big heal) can miss. It’s the only heal in the game that I know of that can, but it missed several times, usually when a “miss” effect like Darkness was on him. That just ruins his whole strategy for this team, and I can’t imagine is working as intended.
  • On top of that, the undead passive is still broken. If the Blighthawk is killed by a big attack–which let’s be honest, happens a LOT nowadays–the passive to ressurect it for one turn doesn’t activate. He just dies. Definitely a bug.
  • Now I’m entering conspiracy theory territory, so disclaimer: I may just be bitter and crazy. But Lift-off seems to miss an inordinate amount of the time. And not just Blighthawk or just my pets, I noticed a tons of misses against me as well. This ability is used by a lot of Dragons and Birds and it definitely misses more often than other attacks. I’d estimate it’s close to a 20% miss chance, but I haven’t done extensive testing. Has anyone else noticed this? Please let me know, so I don’t think I’m crazy.

One other major hurdle I needed to overcome with this team is that it didn’t have any burst attacks. Corefire Imp and Hatchling both hit in very small chunks. I noticed this right around the time that I saw my first Sandstorm weather effect, which reduces all damage by 77 at level 25.

So sand is apparently this team’s archnemesis, which doesn’t make a lot of sense. I know at least 3 types of spiders that live in the desert and apparently love sand. I can’t say the same for imps, though. I’m not really surprised to find out they hate the beach. They hate everything.

So I wanted to bring in an Elemental pet that had some burst damage and some synergy healing to basically be a burst damage assassin for this team. I ended up going with the Amethyst Shale Hatchling, it seemed like the perfect fit. It’s a spider (synergy x 1), it shoots webs to proc life leech more (synergy x2), it can lock a pet in place to ensure it kills it (synergy x3!), and it has Stone Rush, a heavy hitting ability that doesn’t synergize, but it does kill stuff, so BONUS NOT-SYNERGY SYNERGY!

Corefire Imp Frog

Burn, froggy, burn!

When it works:

  • I’d start with Corefire Imp and pop on the long-term DoT buff
  • They take a swing at me and my passive heals a portion of it back
  • I do one punch, and then heal the following turn to put me back at 100% health, while they’re closer to 2/3
  • At that point, the Corefire Imp becomes a gattling gun, just shooting fire every turn, only stopping to heal every 4 turns.
  • The Corefire Imp’s punch is as strong as almost any punch in the game, and with his DoT and heal, he can almost always win 1v1
  • I could win some matches with just the Imp, but I’d swap in the Hatchling if they bring in anything that attacks in rapid succession. It was frankly hilarious to watch rabbits kill themselves due to the Brittle Webbing that hits them every time they hit me.
  • And when they brough out something my two core pets couldn’t deal with, I bring out the shale spider, lock the enemy pet into position with Sticky Web and then Stone Rush it til it was dead, using Life Leech in between to keep it alive for a couple extra turns.

It was a solid lineup that felt very reliable as I was leveling up pre-25. And I was actually surprised how often Magma Wave, the Molten Hatchling’s ability that you have to use before you hit 20 and unlock Cauterize, came in handy. It was really useful at burning down mechanical pets on the bench and clearing turrets, blockers, bombs, and all sorts of stuff. It helped make this team even more versatile and responsive to threats.


Uh oh.

When it doesn’t work:

This team is many things, but it isn’t overpowered. And there are a lot of overpowered pets out there right now. After I hit level 25, I was getting absolutely crushed by teams that had a full roster of pets that could kill you in 2 or 3 turns. This Life Leech team is good, but it wins by stalling out the game and just winning by heal power, and the current metagame for pet battles kind of makes that impossible.

When Lil Ragnaros swaps in, you know his first move is a DoT and his followup move is the smash that does 900 damage in one turn. That means my Imp with 11k health has 2 turns to kill Ragnaros before it dies. Or I can swap out a pet that then has 1 turn to kill it or die. Most of the time, I sacrificed the Shale Spiderling to giant burst pets like Ragnaros or Fluxfire Feline or Chrominius or there’s just so many of them in vogue right now!

Losing the Blighthawk lost me that really important avoidance ability — this team had no way to dodge big hits, even if I could see them incoming. My only choice was which pet I wanted to die.

Those big-hitting pets were pretty much the only problem I faced with this team that I couldn’t overcome. The problem is just that big-hitting pets are so popular right now that I faced them in at least 75% of the games I played at level 25.

The other hard counter to this team is the Darkness weather effect. 50% reduction to healing is brutal for this team because it survives on self-heals. This one isn’t as hard to face as burst damage, as the team can usually stall out through 10 turns if it can kill the per that Calls Darkness. But it’s still pretty painful.

See it in action

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Final record

56 wins, 28 losses — a 66% win ratio

Do I still use the team?

Not right now. This is a great team that I will keep on my roster, but I’m storing it in the warehouse until the meta changes. After burst damage is no longer the cool thing to do, this team will be super fun to play when (should I say if?) pets are no longer getting one-shotted on a regular basis.

I think this is a great PvE team, and both the Molten Hatchling and Corefire Imp are great pets for fighting pet tamers. They were actually able to beat a Pandaria master before they were level 25, with the help of one 25 pet.


Suicide pets like the spider here take one for the team. Thanks, buddy.

Individual pet reviews

  • Corefire Imp: 10 — This is a great pet that is extremely close to perfect balance in the game. He decimates the family he counters (Mechanical), does reliably well against the majority of other pets, and is quickly countered by the pets that should (Undead attacks, burst damage, damage reducers). Everyone should get this pet and everyone should level it. It’s the best, non-overpowered pet we’ve talked about on this show so far.
  • Molten Hatchling: 8 — If the Corefire Imp is perfect, the Molten Hatchling is an affordable knock-off brand. It does all the same things (leech life, hit in small damages, big heal), but it’s a little less reliable than the Corefire Imp. It feels a little flimsy without the Humanoid passive and it’s damage is reliant on the enemy pet attacking you, which doesn’t always happen. It’s rotation is also a little less than ideal, forcing you to waste a turn every rotation re-casting the web while it’s already active. Still, it trades extremely well and has some great diversity in damage types it deals.
  • Blighthawk: 5 — It’s a cool lineup, and one of the few undead pets with a big escape like Lift Off, but it’s just so buggy right now. Even when Consume Corpse works properly, the 50% heal isn’t as big of a deal as I thought it’d be since you can usually only do it once, and it has a 5-round cooldown even if you have two corpses to eat. It’s a fun trick and I like the aesthetics, but don’t rush out to buy this one.
  • Amethyst Shale Hatchling: 5 — When batte pets first launched, I thought that Stone Rush was one of the hardest-hitting abilities in the game, so it made sense to me that it did ⅓ of the damage to itself as well. But now that we’ve had the change to explore all the crazy abilities available to us on the hundreds of pets out there, it turns out that Stone Rush’s damage really isn’t that special. It’s barely above average. And it’s tough to justify it nowadays.

Isn’t it weird that we’re talking about changes to pet battles like they’re some far off distance past already? Pet battle strategy moves so fast, it’s insane! There’s so much to theorycraft and test here, I think that’s why I love playing it, and love sharing this podcast with you all.

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  • GUESS what the mystery pet on this week’s podcast is in the comments below. This week’s winner is DeGei for guessing that the pet feature on the podcast this week was the Creepy Crate. Congratulations!

About Josh

I'm a game designer at Daybreak. In my free time, I enjoy talking about games I love on podcasts and websites. I like people, and hope to someday make things out of wood.

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17 thoughts on “WoW Pet Battle Review: Corefire Imp and Molten Hatchling

  • Navimie

    Crap! remind me not to alt tab away from your site because it kills my replies!

    I’m glad our opinions are the same on the Corefire Imp – I used the gregarious grell and it was in my first team to 25 so I know how great a pet it can be. Having the corefire imp come along was good for all those who couldn’t get the tcg version so I’m glad it’s a bit equal now.

    The Molten hatchilng I used after reading your last post, and though I like it because of its great survivability, it’s hopeless at killing anything except critters and really hard to win against healing pets like crabs, I find it difficult to use. However, I love brittle webbing.

    I’m sad your elemental choice didn’t work out, but my choice of elemental is the Water Waveling with the Frost Nova and Ice Lance, it’s a nice hard hitting target, but unfortunately has no heal like other elementals like the Venus so I’m not sure if you will enjoy it…

    Thanks again for the great read and podcast!

    • Josh Post author

      Yeah, I’m not sure what’s causing that with my comments field 🙁 It’s really obnoxious. Sorry about that!

      Oh yeah, I was always jealous of people with that Grell before the Imp came out 🙂 I hope they provide alternatives to all the TCG pets–some of them are expensive! The Imp has finally replaced the Clockwork Gnome as my power-leveling pet, though. He can 2-for-1 a lot of Legendary pets in tamer battles in Pandaria.

      Yeah, that lack of punch against pets that don’t attack was just so brutal. I think mine dueled with a crab for about 10 minutes before my Hatchling died, due to inevitably missing a couple life leeches. Totally agreed that Brittle Webbing is fun to play.

      I’ll have to try the Water Waveling. I think the third wheel for this team probably shouldn’t have a heal, and should just be pure DPS/CC like it sounds yours is. This team just needs a way to kill dangerous pets quickly.

      As always, it’s my pleasure! Thanks again for always commenting. It makes my day!

    • Josh Post author

      Thanks, Kiisu! You are my new favorite for making a guess 😀 I’ll definitely be giving you props in the next episode. I’m glad you’re enjoying the podcast!

    • Josh Post author

      Hey Andy 🙂 Nice to hear from you. I hope you’re doing well! To be honest, it’s probably going to be awhile, if it ever happens. Greg’s taken a new job and moved up to San Francisco and the end of development updates means there’s a limited amount of topics we can cover on a show like Rush Tactics, which is discouraging. I know JonRobTom’s still PvPing regularly, and I hope the community’s still thriving there. If I do end up doing more RT episodes, I’d want to do a post-mortem with Chris Taylor and a PvP episode with JonRobTom or another PvP star. It might actually be a little easier to cover now that nerfs/buffs won’t be happening–it’s all static so we know what works and what doesn’t.

  • Alex

    I’m not a WoW player so I have no idea of the actual pet in the quiz, but that won’t stop me from guessing!

    Is there a pet Dragon that fires axe-wielding monkeys out of a cannon?

    Also, I’ll agree with Navimie, the alt-tab comment eraser makes me sad. 🙁

    • Josh Post author

      There is not currently, Alex, but there ABSOLUTELY should be! Time to submit a bug report to customer service. This existence without such a pet clearly is not working as intended!

      Thanks for tossing a guess in, Alex <3

      I'll look into the comment wiping bug. I'm not sure if it's an issue with the theme or some plugin 🙁

  • Green Armadillo

    I don’t think you’re crazy when it comes to swoop attacks having a higher miss chance. I took the Onyxia Whelpling as one of my first pets to level 25 so I took a lot of swings – and seemingly a lot of misses – with that type of attack. I’m wondering if it isn’t a constant for burrowing/diving/etc in addition to flying. I guess it would be balanced for the attack to have a higher miss chance since the ability also all-but-guarantees you a successful dodge.

    I have no idea about the PVP meta since I’ve never played a single PVP match, but you might also want to try the Sprite Darter/Nether Faerie Drake as a third wheel. This guy gets you the moonlight effect, which boosts your heals but also has the advantage of clearing enemy weather effects (e.g. darkness). He absolutely demolishes all flying pets due to the combination of dragonkin with magic attacks. Oh, and if you want unorthodox healing, he has a life-swap attack. This won’t solve your burst DPS problem, but it could be a good synergy for your team – start with the imp and the dot, after he’s taken a few hits bench him and use the dragon to finish off your opponent’s first pet. When a fresh pet comes in off the bench with full health, you can immediately steal said health to patch up your dragon.

    Finally, I’m wondering if there is an undocumented damage limit to the undead and mechanical passives. I haven’t been able to measure this precisely, but when these things do fail to trigger, it’s almost always after being hit with a huge hit that massively exceeds your remaining health. I suppose it’s fair to say that someone who killed you to -500 hp deserves for you to stay dead, but if so this should be documented so that you know not to bank on it.

    • Josh Post author

      Swoop Attacks: Thanks for confirming that, dude. It’s a relief to hear that I’m not just totally insane about that. It does make sense since it is such a strong ability (dodge and a big hit), but I think if it’s intended then it should definitely be labeled properly. Otherwise people may not realize what they’re signing up for when using it.

      Sprite Darter: I hadn’t actually considered the value of running with a weather effect simply to overwrite other people’s weather effects. That’s another point in favor of running with a moonlight pet like Sprite Darter. I actually really like the Life Swap attack, especially if its a fast pet. You can toss him on your bench before dying and wait for a team death to swap it in and get the full value of it.

      Undead/Mechanical Passives: I think you’re absolutely right about this. I’ve only noticed it when facing huge burst hits. My guess would be it’s caused by someone putting a hard cap on it and thinking “Well I’ll just set it to 4k health buffer because no pet will ever hit that hard” or something. I don’t think this one should be allowed to stay as is. I think the undead passive especially should be a guaranteed one-turn life no matter what. Although the “Two-turn health bubble with a cap” might make for a cool ability for pets.

  • Andy Pierce

    Sorry to keep hijacking this thread. Good to see that you have continued to podcast. I have never played WoW but will be listening in anyway!

    A post mortem would be great. Perhaps if you are an old AoE2 player you could work in the new AoE2 HD steam rerelease (which they haven’t officially announced yet).


    • Josh Post author

      Oh wow, I hadn’t seen that before. That would be absolutely amazing! Even if all it does is update the resolution settings and make everything run smoothly, I’d be happy. If it does a full graphics overhaul, I may go insane with happiness.

      If that doesn’t convince Greg to jump in and record a couple shows with me, I don’t think anything will!

      Thanks for the heads up on that, dude 🙂

  • Green Armadillo

    Here’s a bonus Lift Off story for you:

    I’ve been leveling the Jade Owl, and they have adrenaline rush, a small attack which grants a 3 turn speed buff. This means you know exactly when that speed will wear off (unlike the flying passive, which could kick off at any time if you take damage). If you use Lift Off on the third turn of the speed buff, there is a good chance that you can go before your foe that turn (dodging their attack), have the buff expire and therefore have them go before you the next turn (dodging their attack again) and THEN get the decent-sized hit.

    It’s not quite the same as a stun because the enemy can use the turn you’re in the air to heal, buff, use the first turn of wind-up, or something else that does not require them to hit you that turn. However, it’s a heck of a nice bonus on something that’s also a decent sized hit – perhaps it’s no wonder that it needed a downside?

    • Josh Post author

      Nice! That’s a really good trick 🙂 I’ve been toying around with something similar too, just using Cenarion Hatchling’s Rush instead of the speed buff. It causes you to go first next turn (start flight) then, in theory, drop down to second attack the following turn to achieve the same effect.

      It’s a flying pet, though, so its passive screws it up from time to time. Yours is much more reliable 🙂 I may have to try that!