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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 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.
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.
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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