Freezing Traps may be the bread-and-butter of the raiding hunter, but we've got other toys with which we can also be useful. Frost Trap is spiffy when you want to help your casters do tons of AoE damage. Explosive Trap can be used in conjunction with Misdirection to pull patrol mobs. But the most fun a hunter can have without Misdirecting a Fel Reaver onto a priest is with Snake Trap. Snake Trap is new with Burning Crusade and if you haven't played with it, we understand why.
The Snake Trap tooltip is one of the worst things we've ever seen in terms of explaining just what the bejeezus a spell does. But Snake Trap is so useful, so clever, so bloody brilliant and spiffy that you can use it just about anywhere, on almost every pull, and we're positive that you'll wonder why it hasn't been nerfed already; it's that good.
Now quit reading out loud. If Blizzard hears how much we love Snake Trap they'll be sure to downgrade it. Keep reading to yourself and when you realize how often you're going to use Snake Trap on your next raid, just chortle quietly.
Just look at that tooltip. Pathetic, isn't it. "It drops snakes." Whoopty-doo, right? What's so special about snakes, beside the Harry Potter and Voldemort connection? Plenty, but one actually has to use a Snake Trap and watch what happens to see how special this trap is. Well, you can just read the next few paragraphs, too, we suppose.
Our snakes are small, legless rogues with very little health and their own aggro radii. Yes, each snake has a spot on a mob's threat list, thus they don't contribute to our own threat. This is very important and we'll talk about it in-depth later. But let's talk about our slithery little roguish buddies and just what they bring to a fight.
Has everybody been slapped with this in PvP or a duel? Of course you have, it's a mainstay of the whole rogue class. It slows the movement of the affected mob by 50%. Each snake can strike with this attack, so if a mob resists one snake he still has to take his chances with the others.
Could this be handy in PvP? You bet it can. We love using it in defensive positions so that enemies have to charge through it to get to us. It makes kiting much more efficient as you can save a Concussive Shot right from the start.
Can you think of how much help this could be to your tank in an instance or raid? Drop the Snake Trap at his feet and when he begins his tanking the mob gets slowed. When Captain Crit Fire Mage lands his 6000-damage fireball, shoots to the top of the threat list and pulls the mob away, your tank should have a much easier time chasing the thing down and getting aggro again.
Did you just hear the groans and squeals of hatred from the casting classes? This spiffy debuff reduces enemy casting speed by 50%. No matter what type of mob you're fighting, Snake Trap has a handy-dandy attack that makes it worth its mana. For PvP, casting speed is crucial for healers and magic-DPS classes. Of course getting in range of the caster can be tricky. The ideal solution is to get them to chase you down and trip it, but placing it under their feet, while problematic, is also possible.
In party or raid, if you aren't required to trap, if you're not being asked to provide crowd-control, dropping a Snake Trap away from where mobs are being Polymorphed is a nice thing you can do to ease the damage your group takes from casters.
A word of caution: Don't let your snakes near a crowd-controlled mob as their poisons will prevent Polymorphing and Shackling. When employing Snake Traps, positioning is crucial.
Last week we told you to stop using Serpent Sting in instances as it's a waste of mana and there is a better sting to use. Well here's how you can get some of that nature-damage back. Our snakes' poison will do 15 nature damage every two seconds, but it stacks up to five times for 75 damage every two seconds. Over 15 seconds that's 562 damage, which is pretty close to what you were getting with your Serpent Sting. But wait, it gets even better!
Snakes apply their poisons from range, not in melee combat. In a situation where there are multiple mobs, our snakes will "spit" Deadly Poison on everything in spit-range, which is about eight yards. Remember those two massive packs of flowers before Warp Splinter in Botanica? If you drop a Snake Trap right on the end of the bridge before the pull -- and the subsequent AoE your party is sure to employ -- your snakes will become Spitting Machine Guns, dropping 75 nature damage every two seconds on every flower that comes a-running. 75 damage every two seconds is 37.5 DPS. If you have ten flowers being slapped silly with Deadly Poison, that's 375 DPS and 5625 total damage your widdle trappy-poo is bringing to the table. That's nothing to sneeze at.
Now if you've really got skills, put your Frost Trap down before the pull, let the flowers hit it, then drop your Snake Trap. Slowed to a crawl, poisoned like they ate BRK's sister's cooking, and basically a big mess, they'll be much easier for your AoE caster to burn down. Your squishies are going to love you.
Yup, these little guys have tiny teeth and the sink them into our enemies for 10-35 damage per attack for fifteen seconds. With six to ten snakes all snapping at once, this damage does add up. It is a load of fun to watch their damage fly by on our screen with the Scrolling Combat Text – Damage addon. And if you've got 2/2 in Clever Traps, you even get 30% more snakes!
Snakes Are People
But here's what separates the snakes from just about everything else and makes them so boggle-worthy. You guessed it; snakes are people. As we stated earlier, they each have their own aggro radius and the game basically treats them as uncontrollable hunter pets. A snake will never grab aggro from anybody -- they just don't do enough damage -- but if you're fighting a mob that either totally resets its aggro list, like Blackheart the Inciter in Shadow Labyrinth, or randomly attacks targets regardless of his aggro list, like Thorngrin the Tender in The Botanica, your snakes can actually become a member of your party or raid.
One of Tender's special attacks is to 'sacrifice' a member of the party who is in his line-of-sight and teleport him to Tender's altar where that person gets hit with a mean shadow damage DoT. The usual trick groups employ here is to keep the healer in sight of the tank but out of sight of Tender so the healer doesn't get sacrificed.
What you can try is to drop a Snake Trap before he does the sacrifice and, if you're lucky -- and we've seen it happen -- Tender will 'sacrifice' a snake! No, the snake doesn't last long on the altar but that's not the point. He takes the 'sacrifice' so a member of your party doesn't have to! WooT for the snake, short though his life may have been.
Back in Shadow Lab, when Blackheart finishes his Incite Chaos mass-mind-control and his aggro list is clean, if you can get a Snake Trap down at his feet and are lucky enough to get a snake to hit him while everybody else stands still and generates zero threat, he'll stand there bashing snakes while the party bandages or pots does whatever else they need to do. As with much of the Blackheart fight, this tactic depends on favorable luck. But when it works it's pretty darn cool to seem him smashing snakes that have less than 100-health while the rest of the party gets ready to take him down.
Recapping, our Snake Traps cause 50% speed reduction, 50% casting speed reduction, nature damage - both to a single target and as an AoE -- physical damage and they can occasionally be employed to make boss fights easier. And to top the whole thing off, you get to make your Snakes on a Plane macro:
/y Enough is enough! I have had it with these bleeping snakes in this bleeping game!
/cast Snake Trap
Daniel Howell continues his quest to convince Blizzard to add a mana-draining component to the Snake Trap as the hunter-pet duo extraordinaire known to lore as BigRedKitty. More of his theorycrafting and slanderous belittling of the lesser classes can be found at bigredkitty.blogspot.com.