The Colosseum takes us inside the world of the Gladiator (Brutal, Vengeful, Merciless, and otherwise), to interview some of the top Arena fighters in the battlegroups. Our goal is to bring a better understanding of the strategy, makeup, and work that goes into dueling it out for fame, fortune, and Netherdrakes.
If you've been following Arena since its inception, you're probably already aware of Megatf. A leading Hunter in the Arena, Megatf has written several guides for how to get by in 2v2. Megatf has a dedicated following in the official Hunter boards, and you can always rely on his advice being seasoned and experienced. He certainly cleaned up in the final days of Season 4, and continues to dominate the "skirmish Season" before Wrath of the Lich King.
The Colosseum caught up with him to ask about how a Hunter has done so well. Check out his answers behind the cut. 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?
Megatf: Zuna in 2v2 and 3v3, and Kaotic in 3v3. 5v5 for fun randomly, the last composition we ran was Triple BM hunter (Me/Jekuto/Pichii), Rogue (Kaotic), Druid (ZNA).
Wow Insider: What's your opening strategy? What do you like to do as soon as the gate opens?
Megatf: Depends on the makeup. Against Rogue teams, we Flare and Trap. Against Warrior teams, we try to get the Warrior in combat without being Charged. Against anything else, we start our Crowd Control chain on one person to kill their partner or drain the healer.
WoW Insider: Which mods do you use -- how have you customized your screen?
Megatf: I use Bartender 3, Proximo, Spell Alerter, Zhunter, xperl unit frames, CC Watcher and a few other unimportant mods.
WoW Insider: How do you work out target designation? (Does someone call it out, or is everyone on their own to figure it out?)
Megatf: ZNA and I have played so much on various teams that we rarely even speak on Vent anymore mid-game, unless it's to yell "JALEEP" (Ha-LEEP) when one of us gets low and we got a clutch NS or Scatter Shot or something of the sort to save the other person. "IM SRS BOUT DAT KOOLAID" after we beat someone, or if a team we know gets us and they hate playing us we yell "NOT AGAIN!" We talk more in between queues and just hanging out than in actual Arena matches.
WoW Insider: How do you schedule your playtime? Do you try and work during "good times to queue?"
Megatf: It's so random. Of course we try to queue at the best times possible, but to be on top teams you have to randomly queue at any given time. There was a 2410 rated 2v2 on Stormstrike that me and ZNA could never get a queue against, so we started queuing at off-peak hours. We got them at 11am on a Friday morning and took 60 points from them on our Alt team.
WoW Insider: What's been the biggest change in your strategy between each bracket of ratings? (1500s, 1600s)
Megatf: Ummm, we just charge in every time and try to end the game as soon as possible.
WoW Insider: What signals to you that you need to radically change strategy midmatch? (And how do you accomplish that change?)
Megatf: It all depends on the Druid. ZNA and I have evolved my Season 3 strategies to be ten times more aggressive in all brackets of Arena. We do this by coordinating CCs, Bursts, and Specs to kill an opponent while their partner is unable to do anything.
Occasionally, we get a team that will turtle so hard that the partner uses a lot more mana than ZNA. When that happens, we switch to drain. It usually catches them off guard, giving me time for a few Vipers and we're able to switch to the healer while CCing the DPS.
Against double DPS teams, we occasionally get a team who tries to split us apart. Instead of chasing, I just switch to his partner until the other comes back.
WoW Insider: What's the key for your composition's strategy? Are there multiple tactics you can use?
Megatf: Of course, our primary is being burst, our secondary is drain (But ONLY if we have too, ugh.)
WoW Insider: You hear a lot about clicking versus binding. Which skills do you still click, which do you tend to bind?
Megatf: I click Aspects (except Viper), Tracking, Volley, all pet skills except Mend Pet and Serpent Sting. I have roughly 35-40 keybinds I can't remember anymore.
WoW Insider: What are you trying to improve?
Remembering to use my mouseover macros more often, not missing traps, LOSing Warlock Fears more often. Remembering I have stoneform against Hunter/Druid teams.
Megatf says: "Okay ZNA I'm going to stoneform the first Viper"
ZNA says: "Okay mang."
XXXX casts Viper Sting on Megatf
Megatf says: "ZNA ABOLISH ME"
ZNA says: "Dude JALEEP, WTF HAPPENED TO STONEFORM??!??"
Megatf says: "Doh!"
WoW Insider: What are you looking forward to in Wrath, for your class? What are you kind of dreading?
Megatf: Looking forward to in Wrath? Not much. There are certain aspects of the class that they have broken, while fixed others, but the class will never be whole until those issues are addressed. These issues are things like Mana Regeneration, Burst, Freeze Arrow, Survivability, Pet Survivability, and most importantly GCDs.
With the introduction of tons of new spells, reworking of aspects, and buffs to older spells, we have more abilities to use than any other class. While you may consider this a great thing, we're considered a "caster" without any of the benefits and all of the negatives. (IE: Haste not affecting GCDs while having lower Dodge than a Mage). Hunters will not enjoy seeing red on their screen.
Deterrence should not have lost the 60% spell protection, Disengage should drop a hunter back at least 20 yards, pets shouldn't die in 3 seconds. I should have more than 1.75% dodge at level 80. Active Mana Regeneration instead of Passive is just dumb, especially in Arenas where Hunters are their weakest. Those are a few of the things I'm worried about.
WoW Insider: What are your thoughts about the end of Season 4? Do you think the short season makes a difference in the final rankings?
Megatf: It ended, and I'm really happy that I didn't lose Brutal Gladiator to double Retribution teams in 2v2. I'm sure it makes a slight difference in the top 20 here and there, but the primary difference in having a short season versus a long season is the ratings are lower.
Instead of me ending with 2500, I would've ended with 2600. (If they didn't release 3.0 in the middle of S4, then I dunno.)
Teams who ended 2350 would've ended 2450. My experience with the top 20 the majority stays stationary: team names may change due to reforming, but those players will make their way back up to their standard ratings.
WoW Insider: Do you think Wrath's going to look any better for Hunters in the Arena, or are we about as good as we're going to get (as a class, obviously)?
Megatf: From my experience, it looks worse. I'll be playing, though with my title it'll be more casual. ZNA and I will enjoy finishing the last month of TBC with WoTLK talents demolishing our 2500 rating by running BOOMKIN Druid and BM Hunter. We've become good friends, and just enjoy playing around so we'll still play together and go back to just having fun when we step into Arena.