In a world obsessed with zombies, pet battlers cried out for a hero–a team that could rise up and defend the world against the undead threat in the way that only chlorophyll-powered turrets can.
The people demanded a plants pet battle team, and we built one for them. But did it actually hold up its end of the bargain? Did it save the world or watch it burn? Let’s find out in this week’s review episode.
Goal of the team
We’ve had plenty of time to play around with this team, which we introduced two months ago (sorry about that!). The team had to consist of all plant, or at least plant-like pets. The core duo was the Terrible Turnip and the Singing Sunflower.
Our goal was simple: try to use, and maybe even abuse, the power of Sunlight, the weather effect that both of these pets make that increases healing and max health of all pets.
- Zero: “I can see Withers being a great choice to go up against Sandstorm team come 5.4. Get the damage reduce and none of the chance to miss, and using Ironbark it should stack with the Sandstorm’s effect which would be around 145 damage negated per hit, but a trade-off of not having a third Sunlight? Time will tell! Off to level!”
- HolyBee: “Jade Tentacle, the reward for 400 pet battle achievement points, is also a plant pet option, and looks pretty cool. And there is also the Sporeling Sprout, which could be considered plant like. Wowhead lists the Sporeggar as “mushroom-men.” Just depends how picky you want to be. But the Sporeggar could make a nice gardener for our plant team.”
- Qaajn agrees on the Jade Tentacle pick and even named his team after the plants in the Plants vs. Zombies-style mission in WoW.
Thoughts on the team
- Zero: “I Got the team leveled today with the Jade Tentacle as the 3rd string. I am about 15 games in and some observations are: If the other team has 1 Aquatic pet it can take out almost 2 pets by itself, and just becomes a losing battle. If the team has more than 1 pet that can cast weather like a Call Darkness team, they can out-dps the heals easy. Every other team, the plant team is pretty solid against.”
- Qaajn: “So far all three pets seem to have solid uses, and Venus can be a very strong with Leech Seed and Plant at times. I’m considering changing away from anything Sunlight-dependent, due to the slight weakness of having to rely on it and only having one pet using it. I could get it on Venus but I just love Plant… It might be worth skipping Sunlight this patch, but seriously doubting it next patch, assuming Elementals will be able to use the positive effects of it too.”
- Qaajn also adds that the DoTs from Poison Lash and Poisoned Branch don’t stack, which seems like a bug.
- Aquoavo, the Mage: “I then played 15 matches with a Sporeling Sprout that resulted in 5 wins and 10 losses. Of note: Scourged Whelpling‘s Blood Plauge my Sprout and Call Darkness my Singing Sunflower. The Sprout sends the Anubisath crying home to mummy. The Spectral Tiger Cub nearly one-shots my entire team. Aquatics make me cry an ocean. Mechanicals just fail, even with failsafe. The Direhorns are still OP. Moths are generally pretty good, but this team just eats them up. After these 15 matches I had a few successful matches with the Crimson Lasher. The Poison Lash and it’s super speed makes a good synergy with the Sunflower’s heavy-hitting beam. Even with just a 1/3 win ratio, I’ve been having fun with this team.”
- Green Armadillo: “I’ll be very impressed if you get far with the Terrible Turnip in PvP. He’d be very cool if he could use all six abilities, but the cooldowns just kill him. As it is, he can stall your foe for a few turns but he can’t really finish off any enemy pets while waiting for his defenses to come back up. If you are riding Sunlight synergy and are willing to broaden the scope a bit from just plants to general nature, you might look at any of the various Deer and others who have Photosynthesis. This can give you some extra damage types while playing off of the healing synergy you’re already building for yourself. Just hope you don’t get hit with anyone running Call Darkness.”
Changes I made to the lineup:
I tried a fair number of third wheels in this lineup.
I never had much success with Venus, but I really believe that’s just bad luck with matchups. Venus’ core ability lineup is solid. If she can land the Stun Seed on her opponent (curse you, rabbits!) it’s very powerful. I think her biggest downside is not having Photosynthesis to keep herself in the fight, like some of the other third wheels do. I think she’d do better as a replacement for the Terrible Turnip, though, since they serve similar roles: deal damage and stall while your two other pets heal up on the backline.
Next I tried Fungal Abomination, who didn’t do nearly as well as I’d hoped. Again, this could be unlucky matchups, but his inability to deal damage outside of small-hitting DoTs was a big liability, as teams would often have something to mitigate or completely negate them, like Sandstorm or personal shields. He does decent damage, but like Venus, he felt like a replacement for Terrible Turnip, not a supplement.
Withers, I love you. He’s a spooky tree with fun abilities, and the super-important Photosynthesis ability (the heal that doubles in Sunlight). He suffered a bit from the same weakness as Fungal Abomination: dealing damage in DoTs, but his Critter-type attack came in handy several times.
Ammen Vale Lashling and the other flower/vine slitherers were a bust. I really want Plant to be a viable ability. The concept is awesome: you spend one turn rooting yourself, and then you can activate it again any time in the future to heal yourself, based on how many turns it’s been. The trouble is that you’re spending 2 turns for 1 heal, and the game is so fast-paced that you’re likely dead in 4 turns, so that’s half your turns. That’d be okay if the heal was worth it. But instead, you heal for about 1/3 of your health, barely a stall and a bad trade for 2 of your turns.
I ended up sticking with Jade Tentacle for most of the time, like much of the community recommended. The ability lineup is solid: you can get the Photosynthesis heal, a critter punch, and a mini-nuke in Entangling Roots.
When it works:
When this lineup worked, it was because of the awesome healing you get from Photosynthesis, which lets you outduel teams that can’t burst you down. You have to put a fair amount of time into the set up, but once the heals gets going, if they can’t change the weather, you should be able to outlast them.
With the double-bonus from the Sunlight weather effect, Photosynthesis heals from a little over 200 health every turn. That’s 1000 healing over 5 turns! I usually started with Singing Sunflower. If they don’t have a weather effect, immediately do Sunlight, then Photosynthesis to start healing up that massive health bar your pets have now, then a big Solar Beam nuke.
That should get them down to around half health. Which is great, but the ability also forces you to do nothing for two turns afterwards. If you’re lucky, the heals will keep you alive long enough to cast Photosynthesis again after you finish recovering and then hop onto the back lines.
Then you bring out the third wheel to deal some damage to finish off enemy #1 while it heals itself with Photosynthesis. The best matches start this point with the following results:
Your Sining Sunflower is on the bench with it’s starting HP.
Your 3rd string is on the front lines with more than it’s starting HP.
Terrible Turnip is on the bench with it’s starting HP.
And they’re already down a pet! Now just cycle through and do it again, using the Turnip to stall out when both your attackers need to heal!
Photosynthesis is an awesome healing ability. I think it’s a solid heal to rely on, because it’s so niche that it’s hard to call it OP. It relies on a lot of factors, but when you can get them all to fall into place, it feels great. It’s a fun ability that strikes a fun balance between risk and reward.
Solar Beam is surprisingly effective. It deals 850 damage if Sunlight is the active weather, but costs you 3 turns. That’s less than 300 damage per turn, which doesn’t look good on paper, compared to most other pets, but for whatever reason, it just feels great. The burst damage is really unexpected and it can close out a stalled fight super well.
When it doesn’t work:
Problem: Enemies with big heals
If the enemy team can take advantage of the healing and HP benefits of the Sunlight weather effect, it rarely ended well for me. This team is built to outlast opponents, so running into another outlast team that relies on heals wasn’t just annoying because the fight lasted forever, but also because I usually lost them, due to the other team also running at least one ringer pet like Magical Crawdad or Anubisath Idol.
Magical Crawdad single-handedly beat my entire team one game. Wish, their ability that heals for 50% of it’s maximum HP next turn is insane with Sunlight. It not only boosts the heal by 25%, but it also increases the maximum HP of the pets by 50%, making it heal for almost 100% of it’s original maximum health. Hint, that’s between 1k and 1.5k. No pet in the game can out DPS that.
So there’s a good third string pet for this team if you’re willing to break out of the plant mold!
Problem: Humanoid passive ability
The second condition that sent me to the loser’s pit, I have to admit, I didn’t see coming at all. But maybe I should have. Humanoid’s passive ability, which heals them, scales off of their maximum HP. So when Sunlight boosts their maximum HP by 50%, it’s boosting their free, every-turn heal by that much too.
If the Humanoid pet can stun or reduce damage, they were extremely hard to take down when they’re healing for 150-170 health every turn. This is a key part of why I like Aquoavo’s suggestion of adding the Sporeling Sprout (the little mushroom man) to this team. He can heal up almost as much as Photosynthesis without having to set up anything on his own.
As you might expect, I’m still in a bit of a love-hate relationship with Sunlight. It’s not as potent as Sandstorm or Call Darkness, both of which felt like they could win the game for you single-handedly. You have to go into it recognizing the ways that it could benefit your opponent and decide if it’s really worth using–cool for a game design perspective, not so cool for our team’s win record.
The Terrible Turnips abilities were very underwhelming for me in this team. All of the pets with Photosynthesis are plagued by small, hitting attacks, so the last thing I needed on this roster were more small-hitting attacks, which is all the Terrible Turnip has.
Tidal Wave, the aquatic AOE was the most reliable ability, usually dishing out some good back line damage. Leech Seed is just horribly undertuned — the damage is negated by any sort of shield and the heal is barely noticeable. The 4-round cooldown on this is just inexplicable, and makes it completely unplayable. Sons of the Root is still one of the coolest abilities — that’s the one where he dives underground for 3 rounds and pokes at the enemy each turn. But it has a hard time finding a place on this team.
(24-30) – 44% win ratio.
I never really found a third wheel pet that reliably spiked up the win-loss rate. My success seemed much more dependent on what the enemy was running. If they had a strong counter, my team is so signgularly-focused that no third wheel would save me, but if they didn’t have a counter, my team did respectably, even if it didn’t always win.
Do I still use the team?
Yes. With tweaks. I think the idea of this team is very strong for PVE. I’m going to use this team, but with the Magical Crawdad or Zao (the ox pet from the Celestial Tournament) instead of the Terrible Turnip, unless I want to capture the pet. Wish combined with Sunlight should be able to keep a pet alive versus anything below Legendary pets.
Individual pet reviews
Terrible Turnip: 5 — It’s hard to give this guy too low of a score, just because I think I forced him onto the wrong team. He’s a solid pet with a niche to fill, but it just doesn’t gel with the self-healing strategy of this team. That said, he was the most reliable pet on this roster. His simple AOE spam will always dish out a respectable amount of damage.
Singing Sunflower: 9 — Pure fun. This happy little fella has some of the best 3-ability synergy I’ve seen in a pet. And the cool part is that even though the synergy is through the roof, the overall power level isn’t. He feels balanced, and I don’t expect a nerf from Blizzard. This is the gold standard I think pets are aiming for: fun without overpowered. Play him!
Jade Tentacle: 7 — Jade Tentacle is only a decent pet — he just looked great on this team because his competition were pushovers. He doesn’t have any real interesting synergies or combos inside his own abilities, but I think he’ll play well with others because of his diversity. Two attack types, a DoT, a heal, a damage reflector, a root, and a nuke. He’s steady, if unexciting.
It’s less of a question this week, as community hero Zero writes in to share his most recent strategy.
I just found your Podcast and am loving it. I pet battle often and only had 3 Pet Battle Achievements left to accomplish, before the 5.4 Patch. I have been listening to many Pet Battle Podcasts, as well as reading forums. One consistent topic is how difficult the Lil’ Oondasta fight is. I think I lucked out, because I had the right Team to handle the fight and it only took me a couple fights the opening night.
Here is how the fight usually goes:
First, lay out a Turret. It is important to do this, as it will be constant damage on Lil’ Oondasta.
Lil’ Oondasta will do an attack that will swap you pet to Menagerie Custodian.
Next, use Shock and Awe, the spam Zap. Lil’ Oondasta will continue to do a lot of damage to your pet. You may only get an attack or two in.
When your Menagerie Custodian dies and revives, use Ion Cannon. This is the big burst you need to win the fight. Lil’ Oondasta will kill your pet.
Swap to Clockwork Gnome and use Build Turret again. Lil’ Oondasta should kill your pet. If he is still alive, just keep attacking with Metal Fist until he dies.
Once Clockwork Gnome dies, swap to Pocket Reaver. Pocket Reaver should not have died yet, so he should still have his revive ability left.
Start with Supercharge, Lil’ Oondasta should kill the Pocket Reaver.
Your next attack of Metal Fist should win the fight.
I use this technique everyday. Occasionally, I will lose due to miss chance, but it is rare. I hope this helps!
Haluunka: “Thank you so much for all this fantastic information!!! I just started doing pvp pet battles and was getting totally crushed and had no idea why laugh!! Now I understand am learning so much from your show ( still have not won a pvp battle but its closer now and not a total wipe lol)!!! Thank you!!! Tygranne NE DK Aerie Peak Server”
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