Welcome Warlocks! Once weekly, Nick Whelan delves into the despicable underbelly of Dalaran to consort with cabalist casters, who help him channel Beelzebub into a fresh Blood Pact.
When I first took over this column, I remember discussing with several people my worries about the content I wouldn't be able to provide. At my best I'm a casual raider, and my PVP experience is limited to that time I did With a Little Helper from My Friends. Certainly I'm passionate about the class, can write better than a few other people I've seen published, and usually play enough to have some Warlock-specific ramble prepared every week. Still, I wanted to find some way of providing content for PVP oriented locks that they would at least find entertaining--even if it was simply footage of me getting one-shot by a level 75 tree Druid.
Then last week one of my readers left a comment suggesting I find a kickass PVP Warlock and interview them. The next few hours are kind of a blur. I remember banging my head against the wall a couple times, and waking up in a hospital, but that's not important.Interviewing a Warlock skilled in PVP could make for some interesting column content. So, I went to the armory to do some hunting.
Being as I know very little about PVP, I didn't quite know where to start. But as a player in the Bloodlust battlegroup, I've long heard that it's one of the more 'hardcore' battlegroups, so I figured looking at the most highly rated teams who played on Bloodlust servers would be an excellent start. Predictably, none of the top teams had Warlocks in them--which left even a PvE player like myself feeling a little resentful towards Blizzard--but there were certainly some very skilled players to peruse. I looked over the profiles and achievements of several Warlocks who were more than qualified, but one in particular caught my eye.
Whiteshadowz of Tichondrius has a staggering list of accomplishments. Not only had he mastered several difficult achievements in multiple battlegrounds, but both his 3v3 and his 5v5 teams were in the top ten for the battlegroup that week, and his 2v2 was in the top 50. I quickly rolled an alt on Tichondrius, farmed up some cash with a helpful friend, and sent him a letter. A few days later, he was able to spare some time to have a chat with me.
Nick: First, you've been successful in a large range of PVP if your armory is any indication. You're in the top 10 for both 3v3s and 5v5s in your battle group, and you've got difficult achievements for each of the battlegrounds.What is it about PVP that drives you?
Whiteshadowz: The competition, and the little details that add up to a win.
N: I'm a pretty huge scrub in PVP myself, so tell me about the little details. Maybe I can learn a thing or two!
W: There's a lot of things. Such as positioning properly to limit your opponents options, well timed interrupts, and crowd control chains / swaps just to name a few.
N: Now, your biggest success is clearly in arenas--tell me a little bit about that. What's the first thing you do when the gates open and the arena match has started?
W: I analyze the composition and specs that we are facing to determine what the best strategy would be.
N: Is there a group composition that you find particularly difficult to deal with, and how do you react when you're faced with it?
W: Warrior / Druid or just Warrior / healer teams in general are extremely difficult to deal with. I briefly discuss whatever strats we've had limited success with in the past, and hope our opponents make several errors.
N: So how did you got about becoming so skilled in PVP? Is it primarily due to having a lot of experience, or do you spend a lot of time reading websites to learn different strategies?
W: I started off by reading websites, such as Arenajunkies, watching a lot of PVP videos, and talking to other highly rated players. But it took a lot of experience to start putting things into practice.
N: Very cool.
N: How do you feel about the current state of Warlocks in PVP? I don't pay much attention to the stuff, but it would be hard not to hear people complaining about how bad our class is in that area right now. Are the complaints justified, or is it just a lot of QQ?
W: Warlocks are currently in a poor state for PVP, particularly with our vulnerability to melee classes, and our squishy pets.
N: So what would be your advice to a scrub like me, or to any Warlock without much PVP experience who wants to start melting faces in arena right now?
W: To Succeed, or are you asking me for viable comps to run?
N: Whatever you think is most important.
W: I'd ask the Warlock to gear up with a decent amount of resilience (800+) and pair up with a good priest healer for 2v2. Try to go with Rogue / Warlock / Shaman for 3v3, and the standard 2346 comp for 5v5s. I found PVP videos very helpful when I first started arena, they're an excellent tool that will help a new Warlock to learn a lot.
N: Awesome dude, thanks for all the information! Anyway, I've kept you quite a bit longer than you said you had time for, so I'll let you go now. Thanks again for taking the time to talk to me.
W: No Problem.
I have to admit, I'm tempted to take Whiteshadowz up on some of his advice and try my hand at PVP now. I know a holy pally who might be interested in doing 2v2s if I can manage to get my hands on some resilience gear and some skill. Probably won't be able to get my hands on any of the latter, but hey--a 'lock can try.