Gilnean Raven Scorpion pet battle

WoW Pet Battle Team: Pandaren Monk and Gilnean Raven

January 21, 2013

I’m looking for vengeance with this week’s pet battle team. My first team, the Mechanical Monsters, reached a bittersweet ending in my review. They were fun but way too unreliable to be a true success. So my goal for this week’s team is simple: pick pets that can stick with an aggressive strategy, and pull it off no matter who they’re facing.

My distress call has assembled a daunting team of killers I’ve dubbed the Night Assassins.

UPDATE: The verdict has been passed on this team after two weeks of leveling and PvP fighting! Read my full review here.

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Pandaren Monk pet WoW Gilnean Raven pet WoW

Pandaren Monk

Role: DPS, CC
Type: Humanoid (Rare)
Source: Blizzard Store
Defining Ability: Fury of 1,000 Fists

Gilnean Raven

Role: DPS, Weather
Type: Flying (Uncommon)
Source: Battle Tamers, sold to Worgen only
Defining Ability: Call Darkness

Why The Combo Works

The Pandaren Monk is a solid one-on-one duelist, but the real trick is the neat perk in his big ability: it stuns the target if it’s blinded. The problem is that the Monk can’t blind anyone, so I went looking for a pet that could blind opponents for multiple rounds, and hit a gold mine. Darkness is a weather effect that not only blinds everyone, but also reduces healing by 50%.

It’s pretty easy to find a pet that can Call Darkness, but that’s not enough to build top-tier teams. I tracked down the Gilnean Raven, who can Call Darkness, and also has a big-hitting ability that takes advantage of blinded opponents. That’s the kind of synergy that moves teams from good to great.

Gilnean Raven Otter pet battle

How To Execute It

The Gilnean Raven starts the fight with Call Darkness, and immediately swoops in for a Nocturnal Strike—which now can’t miss against anyone but Elementals, who ignore weather effects. Nocturnal Strike is so strong that I can’t imagine a situation where it’s not a good trade vs any other damaging attack in the game, but it’s always possible to swap out the Raven right after Call Darkness if it’s too dangerous.

Then I can either choose to leave the Raven in for awhile for some pecks if it’s faster then the opponent, or immediately swap in the Pandaren Monk if the matchup is poor or I need some CC. Ideally, I’d want to spend my first turn with the Monk doing the Focus Chi attack damage boost before pummeling them with Fury of 1,000 Fists the heavy-hitter that also stuns them.

That’s a very strong combo up front that should either blow up one pet or drag two really low.

Concerns

I have to admit that I am a bit nervous about this team relying on a weather effect, which is a big part of the Mechanical Monsters‘ weakness. But I think this team can do more when the weather effect is negated, and I like that there are two different types of abilities on this team already—Flying and Humanoid.

The Humanoid could be problematic because there are a lot of Undead pets out there, but none of them seem to be super popular at the moment so maybe I’ll get by unscathed. Flying’s weakness is Magic attacks, and those are almost non-existant so I’m feeling pretty safe on that front.

Pandaren Monk Dragon pet battle

Suggested Third Wheels

There are a couple really strong options for this team that I’m going to test. The first option is to grab another pet that can Call Darkness, which will provide some additional insurance that the weather effect will always be up. Lil’ Deathwing seems like the perfect fit because he also has Elementium Bolt, a massive attack that stuns the opponent 2 rounds later, to help Pandaren Monk take advantage of his Takedown attack that deals bonus damage to stunned targets.

But Lil’ Deathwing is a collector’s edition pet, so most players won’t have access to it. Ghostly Skull is a much more universal option, bringing more diversity to the team with Undead and Magic attacks, including another big hitter that benefits from Blinded opponents, Spectral Strike. He’s also a great sacrifical lamb because it can make opponents pay for killing it, spending the invulnerable turn it gets for being Undead to either apply a 25% damage debuff (Unholy Ascension) on the entire enemy team, or hit one of them for huge damage (Ghostly Bite).

I’m sure there are other pets out there that can benefit from Blinded opponents, but I just haven’t taken the time to dig through the master list of all the pets in the game. If you know of any, please let me know!

Ghostly Skull Dragon pet battle

How To Get The Pets

Pandaren Monk:
I wish there was a better solution to offer you other than paying $10 to buy it from the Blizzard store, but there’s not. It’s not one of the fancy new tradable cash shop pets, so paying down real money is your only option at the moment. If you subscribed to the official WoW magazine, the Pandaren Monk was a part of the gift Blizzard offered to subscribers when it shut down, so you might have gotten lucky like I did and picked it up without paying money.

Gilnean Raven:
Gilnean Raven is sold by any Alliance Battle Tamer (the quest-givers in capital cities), but can only be purchased by a Worgen character. Once it’s purchased, however, you can use the raven on any character on any server. It only took me about two hours to play through the starting area of the Worgen on a new character to the point where you leave the phased Gilneas and can travel to Stormwind to purchase the raven. It’s a pretty fun story too, making it a fun weekend diversion.

Ghostly Skull:
I’m starting to notice an inadvertant trend with this team: Ghostly Skull is purchased too! Thankfully, you can pick up this little bundle of death for just 40 gold from a vendor in Dalaran’s sewers. It will always be collected as an uncommon quality, though.

Lil’ Deathwing:
Only available by attaching a collector’s edition of the Cataclysm expansion to your account. They’re going for about $60 on Amazon and eBay at the moment, so if you don’t already have it, ignore everything I say about it and keep your money in your pocket.

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12 Comments

  1. DeGei says:

    My guess for the mystery pet is going to be the Creepy Crate.

    I am currently leveling a Ghostly Skull to see how it’s move set works out, as a lot of the Undead pets seem to have unique sets. One of my first 25s was a lil Deathwing, and he has consistently been a strong addition to any team that couldn’t be type matched to the tamer I was fighting against in Pandaria, I’ve since leveled more pets, but lil Deathwing is still the backbone of my squad.

  2. Josh says:

    I hope you like the Ghostly Skull :) I’ve been having a blast with him. I’m still toying between his first two abilities, but the combo of doing ~1200 damage in two turns with Spectral Strike and Ghostly Bite is just way too much fun.

    Totally agree on Lil Deathwing so far. He’s been incredibly strong, with rare exception of playing against a team with blockers/dodgers that can negate his Bolt spell entirely.

  3. “I’m sure there are other pets out there that can benefit from Blinded opponents, but I just haven’t taken the time to dig through the master list of all the pets in the game.”

    And you don’t have to! Go to Warcraft Pets and select the “filter abilities” item from the abilities tab. The list of filters includes things like “causes blindness”, and when you go to that list you will find two abilities – the Call Darkness ability you already know about and Flash – a 2 round blind ability found on several types of Lanterns (who are magic family and therefore add diversity to your current lineup).

    More generally, I’m very hesitant over any combo that takes as long to set up as you’re talking. Between the Raven’s big damage attack, a turn to swap in the monk, a turn to use the build-up ability, and possibly an additional turn if your opponent acts faster than the Monk, your big payoff comes four whole turns after you cast Call Darkness. Your opponent can see that combo coming, and has various counters including:
    – Swapping in an elemental, who will be immune to the weather effect
    – Changing the weather themselves, which might only be incidental to their overall strategy
    – Swapping in a pet who has good defenses (dodge, burrow, flight) with which to negate your big attack or heal afterwards (e.g. dragon heals for a fixed amount plus half of the last hit you took).

    I prefer my combo’s to be short, which is where the Lantern thing might help you – blind, swap in either of your other two pets, and exploit the blindness the next turn.

  4. Josh says:

    @Green Armadillo: Thanks for the well thought-out reply :)

    I had no idea that Wowhead did filtering to that granular of a level. That’s awesome! I’ll definitely be using that.

    I share your wariness over relying on weather effects, but the combo doesn’t need to be slow—it can be just as fast as the lantern combo (Call Darkness, swap, Monk Punch).

    The difference is that the Call Darkness strategy has the option to go slower for a bigger bang if it’s the better alternative.
    I do like how Flash works well in this team, but I’d view it more as a complement to the roster, for swapping out when you need a blocking pet, rather than a replacement for Call Darkness.

    The main reasons why I’m not a fan of all-out replacing Call Darkness with Flash are:
    1. It lasts 2 turns, instead of 10, which actually makes it significantly easier for your opponent to avoid. With Flash, your opponent knows you have to exploit it in your next turn or lose it, so they know exactly when to pop their evasion ability. With Call of Darkness, I can afford to bait their evasion and then hit them with the special ability after their evasion is gone.

    2. It’s tied to a single enemey pet, and has a 3 round cooldown. If they can swap pets after Flash (which they will if they have any viable alternative because of that 50% accuracy penalty), you then have to decide whether you’re going to tank with your lantern for one more Flash (and by then it’s likely to be near death), or bring in a different pet with no hopes of Blindness for awhile.

    3. Call Darkness is a big-hitting ability, dealing 3x the damage of Flash. When the blindness is negated, I feel like Call Darkness still contributed. Flash did not, except for forcing a specific pet onto their bench for a couple turns—which is still strong, but not really feeding into the strengths of this team, which is forcing blinded targets to fight you.

    I think that the Lantern is a great third wheel for this team, though, because it gives it a reliable way of dealing with Elementals, and weather-changing pets, and a much-needed 1-turn dodge move, which I’ve found to be more and more valuable lately.

  5. The pet ability filter I use is at:
    http://www.warcraftpets.com/abilities/filter/

    To clarify, I was proposing a pet with Flash as a third wheel, not a replacement for the weather mechanic. If you are big on having the one-round dodge ability, the Nordrassil Wisp might be worth taking over the lanterns. The lanterns have to pick between the dodge and the “Light” attack, which deals double damage against blinded foes (similar to the damage from the big hits off your raven and the skull). The Wisp can have both abilities at once if you’re willing to risk having a pet with all three of its abilities on a 3-round cooldown. In a perfect world, you swap in the wisp with Call Darkness still up, hit them with Light, dodge/tank for a turn, then Flash and swap back to one of your other pets to continue the abuse.
    Green Armadillo recently posted: January Round-up and February OutlookMy Profile

    • Josh says:

      Ooo, I like that a lot :) Thanks for the suggestion! I’m not sure if I’ve captured the wisp yet, but it seems like a really great choice for standard combos, and an even better fail-safe against teams that’ve been giving me trouble so far: the one with mad-burst pets like Fluxfire and Bigglesworth.

      (On a side note, I’m glad to see both of those get nerfed into the ground next patch :P)

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