March 8, 2013
Patch 5.2 launched this week, and I’m celebrating a little oddly: playing the nerfed burst damage pet strategy!
Now hear me out before you toss this podcast in the trash. A lot of pet tamers have spent a lot of time leveling up their burst damage pets—trust me, I’ve been killed by enough of them over the past month to know. So this week I want to figure out if a burst damage team is still viable after the big nerfs in 5.2 or if you and I are going to have to bench all our burst damage pets for the time being, and lose the time spent leveling them up.
So hopefully this team can leave nothing but little splatters of pet body parts in its wake.
UPDATE: The verdict has been passed on this team after two weeks of leveling and PvP fighting! Read my full review here.
Role: Burst DPS
Almost all of the burst damage pets got some heavy nerfs—but the key word is “almost.” Fluxfire Feline is probably the most notable one nerfed and is pretty dead at this point (good riddance). But there were some exceptions and my goal this week is to cherry pick all the things that didn’t get nerfed and use them.
One key aspect of burst damage that made it through the great nerf hurricane of 5.2 unscathed is double damage debuffs. And that’s what our team is going to target this week. Our goal is to find pets that can launch delayed damage attacks, and then swap in a pet that can apply a double damage debuff to make it really hurt.
I started by looking up pets that can apply a double damage debuff, and there are only a few. So the question was what I wanted to come with that debuff: a big hit or a dodge mechanic. With Chrominius, the little magical puppy, I netted one of the only heavy-burst damage spells that was not nerfed this patch, Surge of Power. So that seemed like the obvious choice for an all-out aggression team.
But the key to really milking that double damage debuff for all its worth is having a delayed bomb attack, so you can double blast the pet while that double damage debuff is up.
There are a lot of options for delayed bomb attacks, but all of them got nerfed in 5.2—except for one: Sticky Grenade. So I grabbed my Mini Thor and tossed him in the lineup, although any Clockwork Rocket Bot will do because they have identical skills.
I like that the Mini Thor has another heavy-damage spell, his Mines. And with the burst damage this team’ll be laying out, the enemy will definitely need to swap out a pet to trigger them. The other exciting thing about the Mini Thor is that he’s a Mechanical pet with Mechanical attacks. Almost all the other bombs in the game are Elemental damage, which I’ll probably have with another pet, so this lets me diversify a bit.
I was using the Frigid Frostling in place of the Mini Thor before the patch 5.2 hit live servers. I liked that he could apply a 20% accuracy debuff to the enemy while launching bombs, but his Ice Tomb bomb took a 25% damage nerf, which is absolutely brutal.
1. Start with Mini Thor, lay out the minefield, then throw on Sticky Bomb
2. Then Swap in Chrominius and cast Howl to apply the double-damage debuff right before the bomb falls.
3. If the pet isn’t dead, have Chrominius finish them off with a punch or two.
4. When the next pet comes in, Swap in Mini Thor for the minefield and bomb
5. Then Back to Chrominius for the Howl double damage debuff, then Surge of Power to drop it low
6. The Third pet should bring a reliable burst damage combo that doesn’t need Chrominius’ debuff to be effective, just in case he gets dropped.
Besides the obvious concerns of a lot of these pets getting nerfed last patch, I’m worried about two things in particular:
1. These two pets, and most of the 3rd wheels I’m considering, don’t get their big burst damage hits until level 15 or 20, so leveling the up could be really rough
2. A well-coordinated dodge team could probably tear this team to shreds. I’m hoping these dodge teams will be less popular now that burst damage has been nerfed a bit.
Like I said earlier, I want a third wheel that can deal burst damage reliably, by itself. Before the patch, I would’ve said Lil Ragnaros’ Conflagrate is the obvious choice. It could almost two-shot any pet in the game.
I’m probably going to try Conflagrate still to see how bad the nerf hurts (the ability had it’s initial damage increased by 20%, but had the bonus damage drop from “100%” to “40%”. According to my quick math, that’s only about a 16% damage nerf, which doesn’t seem like a deal-breaker, considering how OP it was before. But we’ll see.
I’ve broken up the the pet options into three categories to help you build your own team within this meta. I’ll run through them real fast and just list some names and quick thoughts, but the full list, with links to their full ability lists and how to capture all of them will be on the blog. GameDiplomat.com
Double Damage Buff:
Alpine Foxling Kit (Speed buff), Chrominius (has burst), Corehound Pup (has dodge)
Lil Deathwing (Darkness, Bolt), Mini Thor (Sticky Bomb, Mines), Azure Whelping (Bomb), Frigid Frostling (Bomb, Accuracy Debuff, ELE), Frosty (Bomb, damage reduction, UND), Winter’s Little Healper (Bomb, Chilled), Lofty Libram (Bomb, UND)
Eternal Strider (Pump), Dark Whelping (Darkness, one wait then burst), Darkmoon Zeppelin (Bomb, Flyby), Lil Ragnaros (Fire, ELE), Fire Spirit (Fire, ELE), Harbinger of Flame (fire, Human), Panther Cub (Pounce, attack red, Beast), Black Tabby Cat, Feline Familiar (Pounce, Darkness, Prowl), Kun-Lai Runt (Frosty), Legs
For those of you who weren’t raiding back in vanilla, Blackwing Lair was one of the toughest level 60 dungeons. Back then, of course, you needed a team of 39 other players to help you kill the giant magical double-headed dog Chromaggus. Now, you can solo it pretty easily, especially if you have a dispel.
The only way to die during this fight as a level 90 is to let all 5 debuffs stack on you (one for each color dragonflight). You’ll have an item to dispel the bronze debuff because it drops in the raid, so spam it as much as you can. The real trick is going to be getting past the first 2 bosses in BWL to even get to Chromaggus.
Read up on the Wowhead comments for the first two bosses if you’re having trouble.
Or just be lazy and buy it off the auction house.
Bring a level 85+ character, or a chunk of gold for the auction house.
Mini Thor can only be acquired by purchasing a Starcraft II Collector’s Edition. So, if you have one of those already, good news!
If you don’t have one, I have more good news: there are carbon copies of this pet in-game already! Any of the rocket robots will have the exact same skill set. You may need to boost up their rare quality with a stone, but that’s not too difficult nowadays.
You can buy it from the little toy vendors that wander Orgrimmar and Stormwind, or Engineers can craft their own version of it (which looks pretty cool).
50 of whichever currency you choose: dollars or gold.
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