WoW Pet Battle Review: Pandaren Monk and Gilnean Raven 14

I was extremely excited when I built the Batman pet battle team to vanquish my foes. But, two weeks later, did these darkness-mongers live up to the hype or fall flat? Here’s my review.

Download WoW Pet Battle Crew #6 — Review: Pandaren Monk and Gilnean Raven

Subscribe to The WoW Pet Battle Crew on iTunes or via RSS!

Your suggestions

  • @DeGeiDragon said: “It’s an interesting combo, I use the same one in my first group, but with Lil Deathwing & Brilliant Kaliri. Biggest issue comes again with Elementals ignoring the effects of weather & therefore the blindness aspect… It’s not a super stand out by any stretch, but solid for it’s role.”
  • For reference: Brilliant Kaliri it is a rare, and has predatory strike, which is a cool ability that instantly kills an opponent below 25% health, but it’s other two ability slots are uninspiring to me personally
  • Eric prefers to use Gilnean Raven over Lil Deathwing for bringing out the Call Darkness, partially because Nevermore is just a funny troll ability — it removes one of your opponents’ abilities for 5 turns
  • DeGei prefered Deathwing for his high attack power, saying it was in the top 5 he’d ever seen
  • Green Armadillo had some great and timely advice. He recommends using the lantern earned from the in-game Lunar Festival happening right now. He has a 2-round blind ability that can’t be avoided by Elementals, and he’s generally a decent tank pet with a 1-round dodge and the Magic passive perk of not being able to lose more than 40% of its health in a single hit.

Changes I made to the lineup:

I tried a lot of different combos with this team, starting with Lil Deathwing, Gilnean Raven and the Pandaren Monk. Deathwing made the cut because its one of the only pets that can Call Darkness before level 15. After I hit 15, I swapped out Deathwing for Ghostly Skull, and ran with that combo for 15-25 and didn’t look back. I wish I’d been able to level up my lantern and tried him on the team before this review, but it looks very promising. I think this team could be at its best with the lineup: Lil Deathwing, Panderan Monk, Lantern.

lantern lizard

When it works:

When this team works, it’s absolutely brutal for the opponent.

If I got in big trouble, I could always just swap in Ghostly Skull and have him take bites until he died, when he’d come back invulnerable for one turn and use his huge hit (that also stuns himself, but who cares since he’s dead). That one hit takes about 60% of an opponent’s health without critting. It’s such a good way to balance a losing fight.

Having that burst damage to pressure out troublesome pets saved me countless times. He really was a great counterbalance to the team, still able to be effective when the main strategy wasn’t working.

gilnean raven burning

Problems I encountered:

I’m not going to lie to you guys — this team didn’t fail very often.

But when it did fail, it was to teams that could do one of two things:
1. Chain stuns and power-up a huge hit with the Fluxfire Feline that would instantly kill one of my pets every 3 turns.
2. Have on-demand avoidance and Elemental healers that can tank while healing their whole team.

The Pandaren Earth Spirit was the most annoying stun machine, because he can lock you down for 4 turns while doing his damage to you if he’s faster than your pet. By the time I got out of stunlock, my first pet was almost already dead. It’s a tough way to start a match.

Fluxfire Feline was the hardest pet to counter that I ran into frequently. We all know it’s OP, but it still hurts. On turn 3, she will kill your active pet. There’s nothing this team could do about it. This is where I think Green Armadillo’s suggestion for the Lantern would be perfect — not only can it only lose 40% of its health in one hit, it can blind the fluxfire feline on it’s big attack turn for a 40% accuracy penalty, or slip into a 100% evasion for 2 turns to slow it down.

There were only a couple games where this team got shut out. The majority of the games I lost were still extremely close and I never really felt frustrated like I did with the last team we reviewed on the podcast.

I usually felt like I lost because of the insane power on the other team, instead of a lack of power on my own. I was a B-level superhero fighting Superman. He beat me as expected, but against any other opponent the games were mine to lose.

And the good news is that both of those two problem cases are getting removed in the next patch, so this team will get even better. They’re adding resilience, which will prevent your pet from being CCed for a few turns after it gets CCed, and they’re removing all of the supercharge abilities from pets like Fluxfire Feline to stop their insane burst damage.

See it in action

Watch more pet battle videos

Final record

73 wins, 14 losses (84% win record)

Do I still use the team?

YES. That is an amazing win-loss ratio. And if you removed the losses to the pets that are getting nerfed next patch, it’s close to a 95% win ratio. That’s, frankly, insane.

But the real question is, will I continue playing this team?

HECK. YES. This team is super fun to play (I love the feeling of “dunking” on an enemy pet with the giant burst from Ghostly Skull. My wife kept looking over when I’d cheered and threw my hands up as it chomped for the kill), and it’s super strong.

I’ll put this team on hold the next time Elemental pets are the craze, but other than that, this is going to be my main go-to PvP lineup for the foreseeable future. It’s just so reliable, and I love that.

I really want to experiment with working the Lantern into the team as well, but I’m not sure if it’ll be as necessary after the nerf to burst pets next patch. It might still be fun.

Pandaren Monk Porcupine

For the individual pets:

  • I love the Pandaren Monk. His damage is reliable, even without the blindness. I just see the stun as an added perk. And he’s usually the faster pet, meaning that stun goes for 2 rounds. Having the option to spend a turn powering up his next attack when an opponent goes unattackable for a turn helps him keep the momentum going. I’ll be using him for sure.
  • Deathwing is fun. I don’t know if I’ll keep playing him, because his big Elementium Bolt is so easy for the enemy team to avoid if they have any dodge skills. But if they don’t, it’s absolutely brutal, setting up another stun for the Monk’s attacks to exploit. Honestly, I probably won’t use him in the lineup often.
  • Ghostly Skull is hilarious. I wish his Spectral Strike wasn’t so reliant on Blindness, but his Ghostly Bite is so strong and just fun to play with. I was often frustrated when his undead passive didn’t work as advertised — about 30% of the time, he would simply die without getting his free, invulnerable round. I’m not sure if that’s a bug with this pet in particular or the passive in general, but it seemed to occur when he got hit with a lot more damage than his remaining health had. It was a big annoyance that wrecked my strategy, because I’d save his biggest hitting ability for that invulnerable turn, and then never get to use it. I’ll use him in the future a lot, but I want to see a patch note that the bug’s been fixed and I want to get a battle stone to upgrade it to rare before I do.
  • Gilnean Raven was definitely the weakest link in the team. He’s uncommon and his abilities simply don’t hit as hard as other pets. After Call Darkness and Nocturnal Strike, he’s pretty darn weak, and can rarely trade with a good pet. He reminded me of the Yeti from the last team — I needed him there for the weather effect, but he isn’t strong enough to stand on its own.

Join The Podcast

  • SUBSCRIBE to the WoW Battle Pet Crew podcast on iTunes or this RSS feed.
  • FOLLOW me on Twitter or Google+
  • MEET fellow battle pet tamers and discuss team strategies and the latest pet battle news in our Google+ Community.
  • 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.

Leave a Reply

14 thoughts on “WoW Pet Battle Review: Pandaren Monk and Gilnean Raven

  • Green Armadillo

    Thanks for the kind words!

    Sadly, the Night Assassins are due for a nerf as well – call darkness is being cut to five turns, and some of the other abilities are getting higher cooldowns.
    (Long post, search for call darkness to find the note.)

    It hurts, but I could see why they’re doing this – as you say, it’s frustrating to be locked down by CC. I’ve been messing with a battle-stone-upgraded enchanted broom for sandstorm (which combines miss chance and damage reduction as a weather effect) and sometimes that combination annoys me as the player who used it!

    One extra tidbit – Magic pets are super easy to level because of their passive damage limit. Just go somewhere where your other two level 25 pets can beat the wild pets (e.g. the Vale, where most of your wild foes are aquatic and a single flyer can clean up), start the magic pet and have it take a single action – knowing that it can’t be killed, even at level 1 vs a level 25 pet – and then swap in your 25’s to send all the exp to your magic critter. Your new guy will get multiple levels for the first few battles, and you can do this for a while if you’ve got a few level 25’s to rotate into your lineup as they take damage.

  • Josh Post author

    Oh man, that’s a rough nerf. It’s weird that they’d only change that one weather effect, when all the rest last for 10 rounds. In my opinion, Call Darkness is one of the least annoying ones to play against because it penalizes both teams equally with a 10% miss chance.

    I do like that Sandstorm one. I haven’t really found a great use for it, but it works well against pets that split up their attacks into small hits. I mostly used it because i love the idea of fighitng with a broom pet 🙂

    Those nerfs to Ghostly Skull are absolutely brutal, though. I think that’s enough to make me pull him from this lineup. 4-round cd on his middle of the road move, and 7 rounds on his strong move is just ridiculous.

    Good point about leveling the magic pets! They can stand in there for at least 2 turns without dying. That is super useful 🙂 Now I just gotta get some magic pets worth leveling.

  • Green Armadillo

    I think the issue with Call Darkness may be the other half of the effect, which penalizes healing. Most weather effects either are bonuses or affect everyone (DOT, damage reduction, accuracy, etc). Healing is something you can (and incidentally have) build to avoid on your own team but that could really mess with the other guy. (Also, you have abilities that are guaranteed hits in the dark, which partially negates the accuracy penalty for you.)

    The magic pet doesn’t need to survive two turns against a level 25 (or actually contribute anything useful to your team), but it needs to take one action and live in order to get exp for the fight. Your 25’s don’t “steal” exp from your leveling pets anymore, but only pets that took an action qualify to get a share. (One possible exception – I think if the only pet that contributed to the fight dies while killing the last mob, your back benchers will get to share the exp – I did this by once accidentally by using self destruct on the Darkmoon Zeppelin.)

    • Josh Post author

      That sort of makes sense about the healing portion, but almost every weather effect can have teams built around it to negate or amplify their effects. Cleansing Rain gives 25% damage boost to all Aquatic attacks, which is even bigger than a healing penalty imo. I think the better balance choice would be to reduce the healing penalty to 30% and leave the duration in line with the other weather effects.

      I like that change to the “XP stealing” that they did so we don’t have to gimmick deaths to maximize leveling XP. I’m more excited for the Magic passive for top-end PvP survival than leveling. Fluxfire Feline and other burst pets won’t be able to kill it in less than 3 rounds, which really stalls out their plan.

      Haha, I love the self-destruct ability 🙂 I’m not sure if it’s good yet, but it’s funny.

  • xXJayeDuBXx

    I know I scoffed at the idea of pet battles in WoW, but after doing a bit of reading it doesn’t seem all that bad. I loved Creature Handler in SWG so I get the feeling I would probably enjoy this too.

    • Josh Post author

      Haha, yeah, I was actually surprised at how fun the pet battles actually are. I never got into Pokemon or pet battle games like that and was a bit skeptic of WoW’s too. The collection element isn’t nearly as interesting or intricate as SWG’s Creature Handling (which is pretty elaborate and unique, like most of that game’s features :P), but the combat is really addictive. So many different combos to try to figure out between pets.

      I definitely recommend giving it a shot if you’re playing WoW atm. It’s really easy to do casually, which I like.

  • Navimie

    Damn it, I use call darkness all the time on my dark whelpling! That sucks!
    Green armadillo is correct – I forgot to bring my levelling pet out, but my active pet killed the last one on the team, and then died to a dot, so my leveller, being the only one left, got all the XP, thank goodness.

    • Josh Post author

      Yeah, that nerf is a bummer for sure 🙁 Time to find replacements!

      Haha, very convenient timing on that death to get your leveling pet in for the XP!

      • Josh Post author

        Haha, they nerfed it even more! There must’ve been something else going on with the Ghostly Skull that I totally missed out on. They swapped positions of Siphon Life and Ghostly Bite, which means you can only have Spectral Strike or a 7-round cd Ghostly Bite and you’re forced to take Siphon Life (terrible) or Unholy Ascension (meh).

        I’m benching this guy for sure.