How To: The Faction Champions

21 09 2009

The third fight in ToC, this is a PvP-style encounter, similar to the fight in the 5-man version, where you fight three Champions of the opposing faction. This, however, will have you killing six Champions, with two healers, and four DPS. This is the fight that people will love or hate. In my experience, it’s mostly hate, with what seems like a cool concept devolving into a chaotic battle.

Short version: Pop cooldowns to kill the healers quickly, CC DPS while burning healers, pray.

Long version: If you just read the above, this fight seems pretty simple. It’s not. This ends up being a tough fight, because your enemies will change on a week-to-week basis. It also necessitates the use of CCs (crowd controls), and a cross between PvE and PvP mentalities. With a lot of PvE guilds having members that have never set foot into an arena, or even a battleground… well, this becomes a problem. The first, and most important thing to note, is that you should not wear PvP gear for this fight. This includes trinkets. Remember, even though it’s styled after a PvP fight, you’re still fighting computer-controlled enemies at the end of the day, and the fight should be treated as such. The entire fight will probably be won or lost in the first thirty seconds; you’ll need to CC (crowd control) most of the Champions, using spells like Cyclone, Hex, Polymorph, and Fear. Concentrate on one healer, and try to kill him as quickly as possible. This is really the only constant in this fight; afterward, you may find it better to move on to a DPS if your healers are getting smashed, or you can try to switch to the other healer, typically at the expense of CCs on the DPS that will be attacking part of the raid. Keep in mind that, while all of this is going on, you’ll be getting CC’d as well. Yes, just like an actual player, they can use CCs, and they’ll use them frequently. Because you’ll face different opposition each week, you should also keep in mind you’ll be facing different CCs as well. For all of the weekly changes, though, there are a few things I’ve picked up about the fight:

  • Mark and plan before the fight. Sit down, and figure out who you’ll be killing first, second, and third; if you can get three down, the fight should be in the bag as long as your healers don’t die, and you can figure out the next target on the fly. Mark every Champion, so that it’s easy to keep track of each of the Champions, since this fight can and will get chaotic.
  • The first 30 seconds are make-or-break. Seriously. That first healer needs to die, and yours need to live; if you start taking deaths early in the fight, it’ll just make everything that much harder. I don’t recommend saving Bloodlust until the second champion; you want as much as DPS as possible, and you should be popping Blust right along with every trinket or cooldown you have.
  • Lock down the Champions you aren’t fighting. Use druids with cyclone, warlocks with banish, rogues with any one of their stuns, and more. Have these players assigned to just CC’ing certain Champions, while your other DPS focuses on taking down others one at a time.
  • Interrupt heals. Seriously, this is a big one. If their healers are allowed to heal themselves, it makes killing them a much lengthier affair. For the druid, if you miss the interrupt, try to dispel the heal immediately. For the priest or Shaman, you’re out of luck. Keep in mind that, if fighting the Shaman, you might also have to deal with a Healing Stream totem as well, and that the Earth Shields he’ll cast on himself are dispellable.
  • CC as much as necesssary; not as much as possible. If you aren’t assigned to lock down a specific champion, then don’t worry about them. You need to focus on keeping the raid alive if you’re a healer, or on killing the assigned NPC if you’re a DPS. You might be uncomfortable with not CC’ing, but just try not to be. You’ll need to rely on your raid-mates if you want to succeed here.
  • Your healers need to live. While it’s more simple in a typical boss fight (don’t stand in fire, don’t pull aggro, etc), with this fight it’s an entirely different ballgame. This means keeping them away from the healers as much as possible. If the Warrior is able to get in among your casters and use Bladestorm, then it’s almost a guaranteed wipe. As an Shaman (assuming you’re Elemental), Thunderstorm is a great ability to get the melee DPS off of the heals; the few seconds it buys can make all of the difference.
  • Communicate. In most fights, there’s little need to talk; everyone knows what to do, and outside of a few reminders, or chatter between tanks and healers, there won’t be too much talking.  For this fight, change that. All players need to call out if they’re being targeted by melee DPS, when they use CC’s, and if they’re the target of CCs. There’s a lot going on in this fight, and if no one notices you get polymorphed, then no one will dispel it. You need to know what’s happening as it’s happening, and you won’t if no one says a word. This goes doubly for healers; if there’s a melee DPS killing the casters, then they need to be taken care of, ASAP.

With any luck (and trust me, you’ll need a lot of luck for this fight), you’ll get these guys down without too much trouble. Just be prepared for several wipes, and don’t be afraid to change around your strategy if it isn’t working. An important thing to remember is that everyone, essentially, has one task in this fight, and there’s minimal movement unless you’re going from Champion to the next. Focus on your task, be it DPS, CC’ing, or healing, and get it done. Once you’ve finished with the Champions, you’ll be over the hump, and done with what’s arguably the most annoying fight in ToC.

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