By popular request, the Colosseum tracked down one of the top Hunters in today's Arena. Erratic, a member of the guild LiveToPug on the Thunderlord server, was happy to share his thoughts about the Arena today.
Erratic is a team member of Mostly Duelists. At the time of this writing, Mostly Duelists is the #1 ranked 5v5 team on the Vindication battlegroup. Erratic is also a member of the 3v3 Tardaphant, who has a 2000 rating.
Check out behind the cut to see what Erratic had to say.
WoW Insider: Who are your teammates right now? What's the general plan behind your composition? What challenges does your team have? How do you prefer to run your comp?
In 3v3, Ashîe, Reac/Sklin, and me. The team composition is BM Hunter, Frost Mage, and Discipline Priest. Our general strategy is to Silence or Fear a healer, and kill a target within the duration of that fear.
I personally love this composition just because I've never seen anyone else running it seriously. The biggest weakness, I think, is the lack of crowd control, combined with the fact that there's no way to lock down a target so that we can kill it reliably.
We like to play the comp really defensively until we can get a target out in the open, and then blow cooldowns and rock them before they can think to run.
In 5v5, I play with Drulethen, Iltareh, Mooper/Moops, Phatfart, and me. (Editor's Note: this is the Mostly Duelists team.) It's a four-DPS composition.
Our general strategy in our 5v5 is to lock down healers and kill someone extremely fast. The biggest challenge for this team is coordinating our positioning and our CC, focused on the opposing team's healers.
This is where I think my spec really shines, since it drops Mortal Shots to pick up 3/3 Entrapment. Entrapment helps keep our burst target from going anywhere fast, and it has been amazing. We like to run the comp as aggressively as possible, short of charging into the other team's starting area.
WoW Insider: What's your opening strategy? What do you like to do as soon as the gate opens?
Typically, in our 5v5, we run to the middle and drop a trap. Then, we just hang out until they decide to come to us. Sometimes we'll opt to run in and drop a Fear-bomb, and then move back to our side. The hope is that someone will follow us into the open.
I don't like to call out a specific target to be killing until combat starts, because with 4 DPS we can pretty much kill anyone. Our success mainly depends on positioning and intelligent cooldown use.
WoW Insider: Which mods do you use -- how have you customized your screen?
I use a ton of mods, but most of them are for looks. Here are the core mods which I couldn't live without:
WoW Insider: How do you work out target designation? (Does someone call it out, or is everyone on their own to figure it out?)
Generally, I call targets for our team. I don't have to worry about CCing any healers or performing any healing. Also, I have the only Mortal Strike on the team. The key, I think, to 4-DPS teams is to keep pressure on your opponent at all times. So, we switch targets a lot. I like to try to give a 3-2-1 countdown but most of the time it consists of me yelling something like "OMG druid in the open, rock him!"
WoW Insider: How do you schedule your playtime? Do you try and work during "good times to queue?"
With school starting back up, and very little teams playing after 10:00pm on Vindication (when we can all play), we have resorted to doing most of our games on Fridays and Saturdays.
WoW Insider: What's been the biggest change in your strategy between each bracket of ratings? (1500s, 1600s)
Switching targets. When we first made the team, we played with the Shadow Priest/UA Warlock lineup. In that case, we would just DoT up two targets and switch between them. Now we run Warlock/Mage for the majority of the time. The new composition allows us a much wider spectrum of targets because we don't have to rely on DoTs.
WoW Insider: What signals to you that you need to radically change strategy midmatch? (And how do you accomplish that change?)
The key signal is probably when the other team uses Line of Sighting very effectively. Typically, when this happens, we will move away from the LoS obstacle that they are using and try to force their DPSers to move out of range of the healers. When they're visible, we CC the healers and blowup the kited player. (Most of the time this actually fails horribly and we end up losing 60 points in 3 games, like we did today.)
WoW Insider: What's the key for your composition's strategy? Are there multiple tactics you can use?
Communication and pressure would be the two biggest ingredients. If we somehow let them reset the fight after our cooldowns are gone, we can easily lose even 5v4
WoW Insider: You hear a lot about clicking versus binding. Which skills do you still click, which do you tend to bind?
I've bound everything aside from my mount, because I feel it allows for much quicker reactions. It allows you to use your mouse to turn instead of being a dreaded keyboard turner.
WoW Insider: What are you trying to improve?
My target switch calls. Plain and simple, they are realllly sloppy 50% of the time, and it lets the other team see who exactly we're switching against. It gives the team time to start spam-healing the new target.
WoW Insider: You hear a lot about Hunters, and how they're lacking in the Arena. (Due to LOS, or their troubles with Melee, for example). How do you feel to those complaints?
Man, I could talk about this subject all day. To keep it short, I feel the that resilience being added to the game -- along with readily available LoS obstacles in all the arenas -- hurt hunters the most.
Hunters were designed in vanilla WoW to kill an enemy before they could land any significant blows on the hunter. Or, even kill the enemy before they got into melee range. Now, the introduction of Resilience allows people many more chances to get into melee with a hunter.
Once the hunter has used his few tricks to get away (Trinket/TBW/stoneform, if you're a Dwarf), he's pretty much forced to sit and take damage.There's not much you can do to perform any significant counter damage until those two minute timers come back up.
Also, I feel LoS obstacles hurt Hunters the most because of the fact that to catch someone around a pole, you have to be running closer to the pole. That brings you into melee and makes you rather useless.
WoW Insider: What are you looking forward to in Wrath, for your class? What are you kind of dreading?
I'm looking forward to: the new Disengage, new pets, and new gear.
I'm dreading having to keybind all the new junk - I'm gonna need a 2nd keyboard. I have a feeling that moving the dispel property from Arcane Shot to Tranq Shot is going to suck. I'm dreading Steady Shot's cast time being increased.