Today's interviewee is Relentless Gladiator Abni, an arcane mage from Mal'Ganis. Abni is currently on the world's #1 rogue-mage-priest composition. In addition to holding the #1 3v3 spot down on the Stormstrike battlegroup, Abni is also #1 in 2v2. In this week's column, we asked him about rogue-mage-priest, his particular character choices, and the state of arena in general. Read on to see what the Relentless Gladiator mage had to say.
WoW.com: In YOUR opinion, which classes are lagging behind right now?
Abni: I see every class having the potential to do extremely well. I can't really point any out that are not doing so great.
WoW.com: So would you say arena is fairly balanced right now?
Abni: No, there aren't any classes that are really lagging behind, but there are several which are pretty over the top doing better than they should.
WoW.com: Which few are you referencing? Can you explain why you think they're over the top?
Abni: Hunters -- every spec (but mainly marksmanship), holy paladins, and arms warriors (even after the Bladestorm change). Both warriors and hunters do way too much damage for a Mortal Strike class. The warrior/pally/x and hunter/pally/x comps are just too strong.
WoW.com: Why do you play mage? What is it about the class's toolbox that appeals to you for competitive arena?
Abni: Mainly Spell Steal, spammable CC, and spammable slows. It's also the first and only character I have made.
WoW.com: What spec do you play? What advantages does that spec provide you that others do not?
Abni: Arcane, because it has instant Invisibility (works just like a Vanish if not better), spammable instant Slow, Presence of Mind (which i often use for instant Polymorph) and the on-demand mobile burst.
WoW.com: So you use Arcane when you play rogue-mage-priest in 3v3? I see a lot of mages playing Frost, why do you feel Arcane is superior for your team?
Abni: Yes I use arcane when i play RMP. POM (Presence of Mind) sheep is amazing for the comp, and arcane brings great burst to the table.
WoW.com: Why do you gem/enchant your character the way you do? Why not gem or enchant for different stats?
Abni: Haste is one of my favorite stats, and I try to get as much of it as I can without using too much PvE gear; arcane needs all the resilience it can get. Haste helps me get faster sheeps, faster globals, etc. The spellpower is obviously a great stat, and the other stat is spell penetration which is needed so my spells don't get resisted. I just need to reach the cap, which is why I have a small amount.
WoW.com: Why did you choose to play your 3v3 team makeup over other possible compositions? It seems rogue-mage-priest is not anywhere close to as popular as it once was.
Abni: It just works for us. A composition that I would actually love to run is double healer mage, but my healers don't want to run that with me at the moment. I feel that arcane RMP has great burst potential and if played correctly can be very strong in that comp.
WoW.com: What are the strengths and weaknesses of your team?
Abni: Strengths are POM sheeps and insane burst. Weaknesses are lack of peels for heavy melee teams where several Frost Novas and Deep Freeze helps a lot.
WoW.com: What's your opening strategy?
Abni: Depends entirely on the team we are fighting against, but always involves crowd controlling (CCing) at least one opponent.
WoW.com: How do you play against double healer teams differently than you do against, say, a double melee "cleave" team?
Abni: We switch A LOT against double healer on targets that are stripped of buffs, against melee cleave we generally stick to one target.
WoW.com: How do you work out target designation and swaps?
Abni: It depends on trinket status (if the cooldown is available or not), sheep diminishing returns, and if they are cleaned of buffs.
WoW.com: How has your team changed since you've started playing together?
Abni: We have adapted to each other's play styles and know what to expect of each other. We actually know exactly what each of us are thinking during games.
WoW.com: Do you think rogue-mage-priest has gotten weaker as a result of the season eight resilience and healing changes?
Abni: I actually think it has gotten stronger with the new changes, but I do not think it is a top tier comp.
WoW.com: Can you go a little more in-depth about why you think it has been made stronger?
Abni: It gives us more time to set up kills with CC chains, because when we get a kill it is usually way overkill because of the CC. With the resilience changes, it gives us more time to get all that setup, without us dying as fast.
WoW.com: Do you think having a good reputation is important?
Abni: Not really, but it's definitely something that you don't not want -- if that makes sense.
WoW.com: What's the coolest thing you've ever done in arena? Don't be modest.
Abni: There are several cool things I've done in arena and out of it -- but I'd have to say 1v2ing priest/mage and druid/rogue.
WoW.com: Do you PvE? Why or why not?
Abni: I used to, but it got repetitive and boring. The gear didn't seem like an accomplishment anymore.
WoW.com: We all know the expression "everyone's gotta start somewhere." What was your starting point when you decided to pick up arena?
Abni: I just liked the whole idea of players vs. players in a closed environment. When I took arena seriously, I bound everything I could think of, set up my user interface, basically forced myself into doing the things required for competing. I played arcane since level 60 and when it finally got buffed, I had a blast and did extremely well.
WoW.com: What's the biggest thing that differentiates a good player from a great player?
Abni: A great player will read not only their opponents moves before they happen, but their partners -- they can see everything happen and what needs to be done for something to happen.
WoW.com: What are you trying to improve?
Abni: My awareness in 3v3 and mastering the bracket like I have done in 2v2 (like knowing EXACTLY how to beat every possible comp).
WoW.com: What's your advice to players who want to start playing arenas for the first time?
Abni: Bind your abilities, practice a lot, and go from there.
The Colosseum is WoW.com's interview series spotlighting strategies, compositions, and tactics from the Arena fighters who use them. For more PvP information, be sure to hit up Blood Sport and the Art of War(craft). If you'd like to be interviewed for The Colosseum, please feel free to contact us -- be sure to include your armory as a link!