Two weeks ago, we discussed the basics of the incredibly powerful priest ability Mind Control. It's crowd control taken to the next level -- you get to turn the bad guys friendly, dish out giant gobs of damage, blow the bad guys' cooldowns, and start out every pull with an effortless enemy death. In a world of cruelly difficult heroics, Mind Control is nothing short of a game-changer.
Once you get past the basics, though, Mind Control can be a challenging ability to master. With most spells, once you press a button, you're done. With Mind Control, casting the initial spell is just the beginning. Knowing your own abilities is no longer enough -- you need to know your enemies' abilities as well. Some enemies aren't worth mind-controlling. Some have unbelievably powerful abilities. With a little bit of knowledge, you'll be able to exploit every last one of those 30 seconds Mind Control gives you.
What follows is what I hope you'll find to be the ultimate Mind Control resource: a list of all the mind-controllable enemies in Cataclysm heroics, complete with their special abilities you can exploit for your own personal gain. It's our own version of a Monstrous Compendium. Turn your foes into crabs! Summon a meteor! Triple your tank's health and reduce the damage he takes by 90%! And that, as they say, is just the beginning.
Of the nine heroics currently available to level 85 players in Cataclysm, eight of them have mobs vulnerable to Mind Control. (The ninth, Shadowfang Keep, is almost exclusively filled with undead.) Some mobs are worth crowd-controlling just for their buffs. Others have nothing but useless crap on their cast bar. Hopefully, the list below will help you get an idea of what's worth your time and what isn't.
All the abilities listed below are from the heroic versions of the given instances. Almost all of these abilities are available in the non-heroic versions as well, though the attacks will do far less damage. And remember, if you're not interested in any of a mind-controlled character's abilities, you can still choose to melee attack by getting in range and pressing the "1" button. Even casters have some pretty powerful physical attacks (at least compared to yours), so don't just stand there doing nothing!
Before you start casting, though, ask your tank if Mind Control is right for you. Do not use Mind Control if you plan on operating heavy machinery, as the spell only works on humanoids. Users of Mind Control may experience some disorientation. If Mind Control lasts for more than 30 seconds, this could be a sign of a serious connection issue -- contact your ISP immediately.
Blackrock Caverns isn't known for its difficult trash pulls. (Read: None of the mobs here have healers.) Still, that doesn't mean that Mind Control can't add value to a heroic party, especially when trash pulls go bad and additional groups get aggroed.
Note that a number of these abilities, like Chain Lightning and Frostbomb, can hit multiple enemies. If your group is utilizing other crowd control methods, these abilities can break them.
The Throne of Tides
Unlike Blackrock Caverns, the Throne of Tides does have some very difficult pulls where Mind Control comes in quite handy. I find myself often being called upon to MC Naz'jar Spiritmenders and Gilgoblins. The Spiritmenders are often mind-controlled to prevent them from casting their irritating heal spam; Gilgoblins are MCed to force their allies to blow their Poisoned Spear and Tsunami cooldowns. Note that if you start a pull by grabbing a Gilgoblin, your target will be killed almost instantaneously. Many tanks have trouble picking up the rest of the Gilgoblin pack without a lot of rage built up, so have your Fade and glyphed Psychic Scream handy.
And if you need extra crowd control, those Naz'jar Spiritmenders have a Hex ability. Instead of turning the target into a frog, though, you turn them into a crab. Effing awesome. And kind of cute.
The heroic Lady Naz'jar encounter involves numerous adds that can be mind-controlled, but due to the number of waterspouts sent out during the add phase, it's an incredibly dangerous tactic. If the party keeps an add alive after the waterspout phase has finished, though, you can safely maneuver it via Mind Control into one of Lady Naz'jar's geysers. It's a highly effective way to score your group a quick and easy achievement. (Thanks to Quinnia who suggested that strategy two weeks ago -- it's a great one!)
The Stonecore, my hands-down least favorite instance, is a dangerous place to use Mind Control. There are plenty of randomly spawning pats; Stonecore Earthshapers have a brutal AoE; and those damn Stonecore Sentries are all too ready to run off and aggro every mob they can. That doesn't mean you can't Mind Control here, of course -- it just means you need to be smart about doing it.
Just keep in mind that Stonecore Bruisers, like most unusually high-health mobs, are immune to MC. Like we discussed last week, it's all part of Fox's Rule of a Million -- if a mob has more than 1,000,000 health, it's almost guaranteed to be immune to Mind Control (if not all crowd control abilities).
There are only a select few mobs in Vortex Pinnacle vulnerable to Mind Control, but because of the mobs' healing abilities, it's one of the places you'll be called on to MC the most often -- specifically, the Temple Adept mob with the unfairly hasty heal. Be careful to note the mechanics of the "electric pyramids" that these mobs path with: Any cast directed at a mob under a pyramid will miss. When the electric pyramids are not present, you'll add the most value to the group by mind-controlling the Temple Adept to start the pull -- let the bad guys nuke it into oblivion before it can cast a single heal.
Executor of the Caliph
The Lost City is a pretty dangerous place. There are a number of challenging pulls and a number of pathing mobs ... which means there are plenty of opportunities for your party to get swarmed with more mobs than it can handle. Mind Control works well here as a pull, but it works just as well as a tool for preventing a wipe. If your group accidentally aggros more mobs than you can handle, let your MCed pawn serve as the off tank until your group gets its wits back.
There's no shortage of mobs vulnerable to Mind Control in the Lost City -- almost everything serves as a potential target. Don't waste your time trying to MC the Oathsworn Captain, though. He's immune to your casts.
Halls of Origination
The Halls of Origination seems to take forever to finish. It's not necessarily the trash pulls that eat up your time so much as it's the slew of bosses. It's great if you're trying to score extra justice points; it's miserable if you're trying to rush so you can catch a rebroadcast of Chelsea Lately. (They only re-air each episode about nine times in a given week, so if you miss one of those, you've only got eight other chances to watch it. You know, before you have to lower yourself to watching it "on demand." Or on Hulu.)
With so few enemies vulnerable to Mind Control here, one has to wonder if it's even worth the effort. That's up to you and your tank, of course, but personally, I find shadow priests offer a lot more value in dispelling the Temple Fireshaper's ugly Molten Barrier buff. (Unfortunately, he's immune to Mind Control.) If you do wind up mind-controlling an enemy, your most likely target is the difficult-to-tank Temple Swiftstalker.
Stone Trogg Brute
My favorite aspect of Grim Batol is the drake bombing run. If your party has skill and decent planning, you can wind up taking out most trash mobs before the instance even begins in earnest. For the time-starved shadow priest, that's a blessing (I've got lots of Chuy to watch, you understand), but it does severely reduce the need for crowd control. Who needs to Hex a mob that's already been whittled down to 40,000 health?
If you do wind up using Mind Control in Grim Batol, be careful. An awful lot of mobs here look humanoid but are actually dragonkin or elementals. Starting out a pull by casting Mind Control on an immune mob is a great way to wind up as a smear on the ground.
Of all the Cataclysm heroics, The Deadmines is my absolute favorite place to practice mind-controlling. Virtually every mob in it is a humanoid, giving a great variety of abilities to play with. But better yet, the abilities the mobs here have are a blast to play around with.
There are three distinct buffs you can grab via Mind Control. The first, Bloodwash, is a 30% haste buff (lasts 6 seconds) you can grab by mind-controlling Defias Blood Wizards. The second, also available from Blood Wizards, is called Ragezone -- it's a large red dome that increases the DPS of anyone who stands in it by 50%. The third, Renegade Strength, triples a target's health and reduces damage taken by 90%. Defias Envokers are capable of casting that ridiculously powerful ability, but you'll have to dispel their Envoker's Shield ability first.
And while you're mind-controlling left and right, take a moment to appreciate the flavor text on the kobolds' Candle Blast ability. It's something that, for the most part, only shadow priests will ever see.
Defias Blood Wizard
Are you more interested in watching health bars go down than watching them bounce back up? Think it's neat to dissolve into a ball of pure shadow every few minutes? Hunger for the tangy flesh of gnomes? The darker, shadowy side of Spiritual Guidance has you covered (occasionally through the use of puppets).