A bit of PVP learning

I’d like to discuss a couple of spells I’d used pretty close to never in PVE, but in PVP they’ve become… not primary, but definitely high on my keeper list. I’m speaking of Mana Burn and Mass Dispel.

I’ve come to really enjoy mana burn in PVP – but it has to be used wisely.

Now it’s worth remembering what Mana Burn does. Every 3 seconds – 2 if you’ve talented for it – you burn (at highest level) a bit over a thousand mana off your target (who can be up to 30 yards away), and it does half that as damage. It’ s not improved by talents or gear. It’s a situational spell, but I’ve found it immensely useful in BGs (remember, I BG, not yet Arena.) The situations, however, are frequent.

There are two classes against whom I’ll use it even if they’ve a full mana bar. Paladins and Hunters. ESPECIALLY hunters. Regardless of spec, they’ve got a (relatively) tiny mana pool which can be killed with two or three burns. And a hunter without mana is a hunter who can’t sting or trap or… well, pretty much anything but autoshot. It doesn’t kill them, but I’m not a killer – I’m a priest. I heal, and I add utility. And cutting a major DPS’s damage by half AND eliminating HIS utility is, well, pretty darn useful.

The other full class is the Paladin. While not as bad off as the hunter, the paladin tends to suffer from a still rather low mana pool, and is typically not blessed with massive means to restore the pool. (Typically, folks. If you prepare, and sacrifice OTHER abilities, you can overcome it.) Again, it won’t kill the paladin. What it does is weaken them enough that they’re meat for the killers on your side.

For pretty much everyone else, I tend to only use it when they’re below half. All the big casters have some mana tricks to recover losses given even a ghost of a chance – and the 6-12 casts (at 2 seconds each) necessary to drop the whole thing are going to grant more than a ghost of a chance. Still, the opportunity does arise.

But the hunter/paladin issue alone, in BGs, has been surprisingly useful often enough that I’ll probably include it in every build possible.

My other spell is Mass Dispel (MD). Now, every arena-bound priest takes it, and many try to take the talents to push it to half a second cast time. They do it for one reason – to break the Pally bubble. Unfortunately, there are a pair of really annoying counters. First, stack a bunch of buffs — even (or especially) “useless” ones. Second, warlocks can toss an Unstable Affliction in there. Remember that UA (before talents and gear enhancements) will do about a thousand damage to its target, but if you dispel it you take about 1500. And it can crit – 2250, pre-bonus. So you always have to watch out – a spelldamage UA on two or three of your party, buffed with spelldamage and other bonuses, with one crit — Hero to Corpse in one easy Kaboom.

Now, the nice thing about MD in this case is its weakness becomes a strength. It removes one debuff and one buff from up to five friends and foes (respectively) in its area of effect. AND, while it selects a random debuff there is a modifier. It always selects something to remove that cannot be removed by normal dispel first.

All this contributes to why it’s useful in a BG snarl – big mass fight. Now as DaPriesta noted, people don’t tend to slap a lot of buffs onto each other after they’ve died. Which means… they’re only tossing the ones they consider critical. And every class has one or two critical buffs.

Do you still have to beware of UA? Yep. Fortunately the sheer fluidity of the BG helps you here. In Arena it’s almost EXPECTED the priest will use it. In BG? ummm, not so much. And even when there is a warlock, it’s rare that UA will be the only dot.

So what happens – provided I don’t overuse it and so give a warlock REASON to set up a mousetrap – is that it doesn’t have to gamble with “useless” buffs. It gets… let’s call them “priority” buffs and debuffs. The ones that when pared to the bone the player uses anyway. And even when the warlock tosses UA, it’s a gamble, not a trap.

It’s not a game-winning spell. But it’s got enough utility often enough – and fast enough – that it’s worth keeping. Me, I tend to toss it once, no more than twice, after about 5 seconds into a furball. I’ll catch a couple of dots and three or four buffs. And to me, that’s enough. It’s a game of increments, and this is a pretty big one IMO.

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~ by Kirk on February 15, 2008.

6 Responses to “A bit of PVP learning”

  1. Comedy is zapping a mage ice block. :)
    And the time I nailed two bubbled pally’s. Quite enjoyable :)

  2. Referring to your PvP build post (and my comment there) – if you feel this strongly about Mass Dispel, you should *definitely* look into pointing a point or two in Absolution. It sounds like you cast it enough over the course of a BG to really appreciate the mana savings, even if it’s only 5%.

  3. Played with a bit of MD, throwing it every now and again on defence in AV. Seemed worthwhile, even without talents, and that’s a smart argument about critical buffs. I am fairly certain the priest on the other side of the AV thought it a sufficiently good idea to copy. Nice one. :)

  4. *AV alliance _bridge_, that is

  5. I must have bad luck cause I seem to run into pallys with 300mp5 gear on. I burn them to zero and suddenly 105 mana ticks, that seems to be enough mana to heal to full. Curse them we hates them!

    Mana burn is also very useful against shaman. Another idea against shaman and hunters is to rank1 sw:p them, to trick them into cleansing over and over, using up their mana. Sometimes that works. Because for me, fighting pallys and shaman is a war of attrition. I just have to keep alive and use my massive mana regen to stay at near full mana while they burn theirs all away trying to kill me. Then I burn em down and they are easy pickings even for a holy priest.

    I am no expert of course that’s from maybe 100 killing blows out of tens of thousands of deaths :)

    However, in groups, I just start targetting and burning. As long as no one notices me I can get a few in before getting focus fired to death. But that ping is pretty noticeable, especially hunters Will immediately target me after one burn. If they’re an MM hunter then I’m dead in a few seconds :) Priests as well are hard because we know the sound and if I try it the priest immediately comes after me.

    Oh one more note that I found out: warlocks can lifedrain even if they have 0 mana. Maybe they just have to start the drain first but it will keep going. So don’t rely on that to stop a lifedrain. :P

  6. i meant pallys cleanse not hunters :)

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