Here’s some essential tips on how to counter the God classes- Mages and Warriors. In PVP, they are by far the most popular and high performing specs on the arena ladder.
1:38 WHEN TO INTERRUPT MAGES
There’s a lot of confusion as to what needs to be interrupted against Fire Mages. There is one spell in particular that many players forget to interrupt and it is losing them games. What is the maximum number of spell schools a Fire Mage can have in arena? Fire Mages can have up to 4 spell schools they can be interrupted on- Fire, Arcane, Frost and Nature.
Let’s focus on Shifting Power for a second because it is one of the most overlooked abilities to interrupt against Fire Mages. Most people know by now that it reduces cooldowns during its channel but for many players the 10 second cooldown reduction does not seem like much. What people don’t know about is the conduit called Discipline of the Grove. It increases the recovery rate even further. On top of that many Mages are starting to play with the talent called Kindling over Meteor. Kindling reduces the cooldown of combustion every time Fire Blast is used. Considering that Shifting Power resets the cooldown on both combustion and Fire Blast, Mages double dip on combustion cooldown reduction every time Shifting Power is used. It means you should start using interrupts on Shifting Power. It’s one of the most broken coveted abilities and many players including rank 1 teams completely ignore it. Not only does it reduce the cooldown of combustion but also other important Mage like Counterspell, Ice Block and Altertime.
3:08 PLAYING AROUND COMBUSTION
We can’t talk about Fire Mages without talking about Combustion. Playing around combustion is one of the most important parts of countering Fire Mages. This might seem basic and that’s because it is but it is also one part of gameplay that people struggle with the most.
Combustion isn’t just one cooldown, it’s two. With most Mages playing Rune of Power, not only does combustion boost crit chance and mastery, but also automatically casts Rune of Power and procs Infernal Cascade. The best way to counter combustion is with a dispel. If you cannot immediately dispel it, you need to trade a defensive cooldown or CC the enemy Mage. Fire Mage burst happens really quickly so you have to be quick in reacting with a defensive. If nothing is available, a really good option is to line of sight during combustion.
Why is line of sighting so effective versus Combustion even if the damage is instant? It’s because of the Rune of Power. By line of sighting, you usually force the Mage to leave their Rune of Power which dramatically decreases their damage. You should look out for Rune of Power in arena and force the enemy Mage to leave it as often as possible.
5:27 OFFENSIVE DISPELLING
One thing that players often overlook is how much you can punish Fire Mages with offensive spells. Have you ever focused on dispelling their shields and alter time? Despite wearing cloth, many people consider Mage one of the tankiest classes in the game and a lot of that has to deal with Triune Ward and Alter Time. The truth is outside their barriers in Alter Time, they are incredibly vulnerable. On top of that, a significant portion of their damage is also dispellable. The Hot Streak buff that gives Fire Mages instant cast pyroblast is dispellable. Meaning you can shut down a huge part of their defense and damage by slamming dispel.
7:46 HEALER POSITIONING
Here are healer specific positioning that you should use against Fire Mages. One of the difficulties when playing against Mages is the Shimmer talent. This talent allows the Mages to use polymorph during their blink. This can make positioning really difficult especially combined with the threat of Dragon’s Breath. One simple work around for this problem is to be as far from the Fire Mage as possible, especially against comps like RMP. This will force the enemy team to waste time moving across the map to CC, delaying some of their set up. On top of that you should respect the threat of blink DB whenever Dragon Breath is available. If you are forced to be at pillar, the best position is on the corner of the pillar. Ducking in and out of line of sight of your partners allowing you to quickly line the Mage if they blink in for a sheep.
If you are playing as a healer against a Fire Mage, try positioning at the corners of pillars staying out of the line of sight of your Mage and ducking in and out to heal your partners. Playing like this will allow you to avoid blink CC from the enemy Mage while allowing you to heal your teammates.
9:22 OTHER MAGE TIPS
General tips on Fire Mages that many players ignore. First is to track the cooldown of Kleptomania. Especially if you are also a Mage or pretty much any class with important buffs. Tracking the cooldown of Kleptomania allows you to play around it more effectively and prevent your important spells from being countered. This includes things like demons, soul for Warlocks, power infusion for Priest or overgrowth for Resto Druid. By tracking the cooldown of Kleptomania, you can see when it’s safe to use these spells in arena without dealing with a quick dispel.
Finally, although it isn’t played in every match up, you should also learn to play around Meteor. The damage from this ability is split among all targets that it hits. Meaning you can soak damage on your partners by standing in its AOE circle before Meteor lands. On top of that if you are the only target in the circle, move out of it immediately. PVE isn’t the only place where you need to move out of the fire.
10:11 DON’T LET WARRIORS HIT YOU
Time to stance dance into the Warrior class, first by showing you how to abuse their mobility. One of the biggest mistakes players make against Warriors is getting hit by them. This is a fundamental concept that so many players mess up. They don’t respect the Warrior’s mobility and damage forcing them to use defensives at unnecessary times. Not getting hit involves 2 core gameplay adjustments.
The first is to play around Charge and Heroic Leap. If you’re a Monk or a Warlock you might want to avoid using your port or gateway until after the Warrior has used the mobility spells. Specifically Heroic Leap since it can be used to connect targets on a different z-axis or targets that are out of LOS. With the right tools you can really abuse the limited mobility of Arms Warriors. You should look to play around their charge and heroic leap using your gap creators after they use their gap closers. This will give you better positioning overall and will dramatically reduce the damage you take. Of course not every class has tools like a portal or gateway but in any case focusing on keeping the Warrior away from you will dramatically reduce their pressure.
Another mistake players specifically make in 2v2 against Warriors is to stay in and attack them. Warriors are really tanky and do more raw pressure than most melee classes. By attacking them for too long, you’re playing into their strengths instead you should hit them during stuns or when they’re in battle stance and then pull away and kite when your pressure is gone. Don’t stay in against warriors, avoid their damage when you don’t have pressure to apply.
There’s one advanced mobility trick against Venthyr Warriors and that is to stay below 80% while kiting them. This is because of Condemn and Death Sentence. Most Venthyr Warriors play Death Sentence allowing them to use Condemn as a gap closer against targets above 80%. If you really want to outplay Venthyr Warriors, try to stay below 80% while you’re kiting, this will prevent them from using Condemn to reconnect.
14:02 FORCING DEFENSIVE STANCE
One of the things you need to be focusing on against the Warriors is forcing them into defensive stance. Warrior pressure is high even in defensive stance and if you consider that their damage is 10% lower in defensive stance you can see why it’s important that they are never able to do damage while in battle. The best way to force them into a defensive stance is to constantly threaten them even if they are not the primary kill target. Most Warriors will instinctively press defensive stance the moment they start taking significant damage. And if they refuse to switch stances then they become a really good target without the passive damage reduction in defensive stance. You should look to punish Warriors who sit battle stance by pressuring them enough to force CDs or enough to force the swap into defensive stance.
14:40 TRADING INTO WARBREAKER
Warriors also have Vendetta except it’s AOE and on a 45 second cooldown. Most players are aware of Warbreaker or Colossus Smash but only the best players know they need to play around it. Just think about it for a second, if you saw as Assassination Rogue press Vendetta you would probably react with the defensive cooldown. So why aren’t you doing the same with Warbreaker? They’re both 30% damage increases except unlike Vendetta, Warbreaker can hit multiple targets. You should first make sure that you are able to track Warbreaker with an add-on like Weakauras or OmniBar. That way you can easily see when it’s pressed. When a Warrior uses Warbreaker you should try and mitigate damage ideally by CCing the Warrior or by using a defensive cooldown.
16:23 PLAYING AROUND INTERVENE
In order to fully counter Warriors, you need to respect Intervene. This spell is arguably the strongest team defensives in the game and is capable of completely shutting down kills. Not only does it mitigate melee damage but it also reduces damage taken by the target with the Safeguard conduit. What this means is that you should never pop cooldowns into a target with intervene, unless you are 100% certain you will score the kill. Ideally you should wait until intervene is on a cooldown before doing a set up or make sure you have the Warrior in CC before your kill attempt. Assuming that the Warrior has intervene available.
17:53 OTHER WARRIOR TIPS
The first is just avoiding stacking for Intimidating Shout. Sometimes it’s inevitable and you can’t avoid getting AOE feared with your teammates but you should try and play around Intimidating Shout as much as possible. The best way to do this is to simply keep track of its cooldown and spread apart as a team whenever it’s available. If you get AOE feared with your teammates you’re giving the Warriors team a 3v1 set up which can be very punishing. Additionally you should also be aware of Sharpen Blade, especially as a Healer. Many players overlook this ability wasting valuable healing cooldowns into targets that have a 50% healing reduction. In order to play around Sharpen Blade, be sure to track its cooldown and be sure not to waste spells like Nature’s Swiftness, Exhilaration or Health Stone while a Sharpen Blade mortal strike is active.
Make sure you’re playing around Spell Reflection. In Shadowlands not only can Warriors spell reflect themselves but they can also spell reflect their teammates. Either with the Overwatch PVP talent or the Misshapen Mirror legendary. Some Warriors will play with a combination of both these and it can be really frustrating to deal with. Regardless if the Warrior is playing Overwatch or has the Misshapen Mirror legendary, the counter play is the same. Intervene requires the Warrior to be within 25 yards of the target and the Misshapen Mirror only affects the closest ally to the Warrior. What this means is that you can use the positioning of the Warrior to determine whether or not it is safe to use a spell on the enemy target. If the Warrior is within 25 yards of his partner and has intervene up, you probably should juke your spell cast on their partner to avoid spell reflection. On top of that you should be very selective as to what spells you should use to get rid of spell reflection. Ideally you want to use an instant cast spell that would have no negative effect on you if it gets reflected.
What spells should you use to get rid of Spell Reflection? Conflagrate, Curse of Exhaustion or Curse of Weakness? Using Conflagrate would waste an important damaging spell and using Cursive Exhaustion would put a slow on the Warlock. The best choice would be Curse of Weakness which only reduces physical damage attack speeds. This has no negative effect on the Warlock so it is the best choice for removing Spell Reflection.