This week, The Colosseum had the pleasure of interviewing Bandler, priest of Blackrock. Bandler is on one of the highest rated 5v5s in the world, as well as having exceptionally good "high scores" for arena statistics. Read on to find out what he has to say about priests, arena strategy, and practical advice.
The Colosseum: Why do you play priest? What is it about the class's toolbox that appeals to you for competitive arena?
Bandler: For me, priests are one of the most versatile classes. We're able to do steady healing, yet we can put out a lot of damage at the same time.
What's the coolest thing you've ever done in arena? Don't be modest.
I guess Shadow: Word Deathing a Blind is cool.
That takes a lot of skill to know when a Blind is coming. I don't know a lot of priests who can do that. What team compositions do you play? Who are your teammates?
I play 2v2 as priest-rogue with Phoelol. I don't have a 3v3 at the moment, but I play a lot of priest-lock-rogue. As for 5v5, I'm on the rank 1 team -- hopefully I get my personal rating up soon. It would be cool.
What's your general game plan? Do you try to play offensively or defensively?
It depends on the team, but mostly I play offensively and know when to be defensive.
When should you play defensively?
When there's not a good kill situation. We mostly just try to control the game until we can capitalize on trinkets being down, etc.
How do your teams work out target designation and swaps? Do you have one person calling everything out, or is it more of a team effort when it comes to switching?
It's not one person calling everything out. When we play 3v3, it's mostly whoever feels that a swap is necessary and if it's a good kill situation.
What signals to you that you need to radically change strategy mid-match? (And how do you accomplish that change?)
If the team we're facing realizes what we are doing and starts overhealing the target. We usually switch to whoever is not being healed.
Makes sense, I bet you get a lot of kills by catching the opposing team off-guard. How do you schedule your playtime? Do you try to play at times when lots of high rated teams are queueing up?
For the most part, yes. But I'll play whenever people are available.
How often do you play arena in a week's time?
Maybe like three times a week.
A few hours each time?
Yeah like maybe two to three hours.
What's your favorite bracket? Why?
I'm a 2v2 person. It's a terrible bracket, but I've always liked playing 2s.
Why is it so enjoyable for you?
I love playing priest-rogue. It's an enjoyable offensive composition.
What do you think about priests in arena right now? Are they overpowered, underpowered or balanced? Why?
Priests are the worst healers in the game. I believe this because of all the "cleave" based teams.
What would make priests better healers?
Better survivability; not being able to die in 3 seconds, haha.
What do you think about Cataclysm's emphasis on rated battlegrounds?
I think it's cool. It's something new for the game. There will be more than just arena for people that don't PvE.
Is arena balanced right now? Why or why not?
I think arena is balanced at the moment -- just because everyone can basically do ridiculous damage.
According to your armory, your highest 3v3 and 5v5 ratings exceed 2600+. How long did it take you to be skilled at arena? How did you get there?
It didn't really take me long to get the feeling of the arena part of the game. I've had a lot of help from past players like Toes (when he played a priest).
What motivates you to keep playing?
Just striving to be the top priest in the game.
What are you trying to improve?
My game overall, being faster at dispelling, etc.
If you had to narrow it down to only one thing, what would be the most important responsibility of a priest in an arena match? Why?
Positioning. For a priest, it's everything. You don't want to be out in the opener for a switch -- you try to line-of-sight [the enemy team] as much as possible.
What's the biggest thing that differentiates a good player from a great player?
A great player controls the game better than a good player. A good player is just someone who runs in and blows everything for a kill, haha.
What's your advice to players who want to start playing arenas for the first time?
Get gear. LOL Just keep playing arena -- the more you play, the better you'll get. Practice.
Thank you so much for the great interview. Is there anything else you'd like to say?
Taylor gang or die. :P
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!