This week, The Colosseum had the pleasure of interviewing Salinelol, shadow priest of Illidan. Salinelol is a member of the rank 1 3v3 team on his battlegroup (US Rampage) and one of the world's highest-rated shadow priests. Read on to find out what he has to say about priests, arena strategy and Cataclysm.
The Colosseum: Why do you play a shadow priest? What is it about the class's toolbox that appeals to you for competitive arena?
Salinelol: I mostly like it because I'm so good at it, I don't really like doing things that I don't excel at. It was between priest and one of the faceroll classes, so I chose this. I pretty much like shadow's ability to off-heal. The ability to off-heal and not run OOM (out of mana) if you're good with your mana is a huge tool.
Very interesting. You mentioned that priest isn't a faceroll class. What makes it more difficult to play than other classes?
Well, I think that it's harder than some classes because of the priest's need to decide between what to do in any given situation. The priest can do damage, focus on CC or damage reduction, or just out-heal the damage. Each of these come in handy for certain, specific situations.
Can you go into detail about your PvP spec?
Well, my spec is unique as far as I know, and I chose it for a mix of burst damage, burst opportunities and mana regeneration. With Mental Agility, most priests drop down to one point in Improved Mind Blast, but I chose to go 3/5 Shadow Power and 3/5 Improved Mind Blast so that although my burst wouldn't crit quite as hard, you'd have it up more often. There are many burst opportunities in my 3v3 comp, shatterplay (shadow priest, frost mage, restoration shaman).
What's the coolest thing you've ever done in arena? Don't be modest.
I got a Resurrection off in the middle of the arena while all five of my opponents were alive, and none of them noticed.
Wow! That must have been exciting. Did you win the game because of your clutch Resurrection?
I have a feeling we would've won anyway, but it definitely improved our odds.
Very impressive. Speaking of your teams, what team compositions do you play? Who are your teammates?
I run shatterplay in 3v3 with Dan and Chillbro (Fearmeh/Reflexz). In 5v5 I run shadow priest, holy paladin, rogue and elemental shaman, with the fifth member being a frost mage or boomkin. My 5v5 teammates are Dan, Chillbro (Fearmeh/Reflexz), Sarquissed, Calgran and Kameltotemz. Both Dan and Chillbro are probably the best players I've played with, and each have rank one titles to show for it.
You're rank 1 in 3v3 right now, are you planning on getting the title this season, or is it not a big deal?
We'll grab it if we can, but we're probably not going to stay up all night on the last day of the season making sure no one passes us.
Understandable. Why did you choose to play your 3v3 team makeup over other possible compositions?
Mostly because when I played [this composition] with my brother, I had a lot of fun with it. When he transferred his mage off of the server, Dan and I wanted to do something that we were familiar with and knew worked.
What are the strengths and weaknesses of your team?
One of our strengths is the ability to kill almost anyone in a global, because two casters in arena with Bloodlust are pretty fair [sarcasm]. The downside is teams with protection classes completely [dominate us] because of AoE Spell Reflects and control.
How do you work out target designation and swaps? Is one of you more vocal than the others?
We normally have a strategy in place, like when X does Y we do Z, but if we see a good opportunity to switch, all three of us will call it out. That said, I believe Chillbro to be the most vocal.
What are your favorite classes to kill on opposing teams? Why?
Hunters, warriors and paladins. They're all so squishy when you control them. It's just fun to watch them die so fast.
How has your team changed since you've started playing together?
We've gotten much more comfortable together -- other than that, we haven't changed much.
What's your favorite bracket? Why?
3v3. With shadow in its current state, there's just no going wrong with what you can run and how you can run it.
What do you think about Shadow Priests in arena right now? Are they overpowered, underpowered or balanced? Why?
Umm, overpowered, but compared to other classes right now -- most likely balanced. Right now damage is really just out of control, and shadow priests just aren't an exception to the rule.
That's actually very interesting, imo. Even with all the resilience changes and fixes, damage still seems to be high. Do you think burst will be more controlled in Cataclysm? Do you have high hopes?
Honestly, I have no hopes for Cataclysm. The fact that they're balancing around 10v10 means that nothing will ever die in arena, if they even balance [arena] at all.
A lot of gladiators "PvE to PvP" -- they raid in order to get best-in-slot gear for arena. What do you think about this? Do you think some the best PvP gear should come from raiding?
I'm one of them [a gladiator who does PvE to PvP], if anyone looked at my armory they'd say "holy crap, that guy abuses PvE gear like no other." I don't think that [the best PvP gear] should come from PvE. PvErs aren't forced to PvP for best-in-slot gear. Why should we be?
What do you think about priests in Cataclysm? Do the class changes fix some imbalances or make things worse? Why?
They make things worse. Life Grip is going to make them nerf everything but it, because they have no way of nerfing Life Grip except adding a longer cooldown to it. So all of the sudden you're going to see priests with terrible spells with an "oh crap" button every 45 seconds. Blizzard doesn't see it coming.
We all know the expression "everyone's gotta start somewhere." What was your starting point when you decided to pick up arena?
Season 2 was when I first got serious. I transferred to Doomhammer and got my first gladiator title with some of the best players I've ever played with. We ran shadow euro (shadow priest, frost mage, affliction warlock, shadowstep rogue and restoration druid). We played to rank 2, if I recall correctly.
If you had to narrow it down to only one thing, what would be the most important responsibility of a shadow priest in an arena match? Why?
Support, in any composition you play. It's your job to let everyone else do their damage while your DoTs are ticking and you're throwing in a little of your own.
What motivates you to keep playing?
Hatred for most of the players on the BG. I have the need to see them on the floor, and spam /sit on their faces at the end of an arena match. No but seriously, it's most likely because I have nothing better to do.
What are you trying to improve?
Right now I'm trying to improve my targeting. I do it mostly through assists, but recently I've been keybinding them to scroll wheels and trying that out.
What's the biggest thing that differentiates a good player from a great player?
I honestly couldn't say. Dan does something or another and just doesn't die, and I don't know what makes me better than other shadow priests. If I had to say something, I'd say knowing exactly what you have to do and saving just the right amount of cooldowns for it, and then doing that consistently.
What's your advice to players who want to start playing arenas for the first time?
Read up on ArenaJunkies.com and watch videos on Skill-Capped.com. It'll help a lot to know what you have to do versus certain teams, and always keybind [abilities] + mouse turn.
Thank you so much for the great interview, Salinelol. Is there anything else you'd like to say?
Not really good sir, just wanted to say thank you for the opportunity.
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!