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The Colosseum: Ryzer, the Warlock


The Colosseum takes us inside the world of the Gladiator (Brutal, Vengeful, Merciless, and otherwise), to interview some of the top Arena fighters in the battlegroups. Our goal is to bring a better understanding of the strategy, makeup, and work that goes into dueling it out for fame, fortune, and Netherdrakes.

So far, your intrepid Colosseum has brought you a shaman multi-boxer, a rogue, a warrior, a druid, and a hunter. This week, we're looking at a Warlock player -- Ryzer of Shadow Council. The Warlock class itself used to be a great deal more dominant in Season 1 of the Arena. Now in Season 4, of course, it's not been faring so well. Armor penetration, increased tactics for dealing with Fear, and a few nerfs have come together to make the Warlock class a reasonable, but not dominant, Arena class.

This is what makes Ryzer's 3v3 team -- SUPER CUTIE FEAR SQUAD -- an interesting team for this week's Colosseum. Comprised of a Druid and two Warlocks, it's a team that definitely leans on its class makeup for some interesting fights. Check out what Ryzer had to say behind the cut.

WoW Insider: Who are your teammates right now? What's the general plan behind your composition? What challenges does your team have? How do you prefer to run your comp?

Ryzer: My current teammates are Moongle and Apox in 3v3, at a 2205 rating. My teammate for 2v2 is Vomel, and we're sitting at 2068 so he can purchase his weapons. I also have a 5v5 team running with Dibbler, Toliak, Vomel, and Wilshire at a 1971 rating.

Our plan for our 3v3 team is to generally keep everything DoTed up to keep constant damage output and eventually pick a kill target to win the game.

Our team has problems versus Healer/Healer/Warrior, depending on the healers, and mostly Rogue/Rogue/Healer. We have a hard time keeping the rogue off our druid, with all the Vanishing of Fears and Cloak of Shadows and all that.

I prefer to run our comp very aggressively. Since we're the only team at our ratings to run this comp, most teams are unsure what to do against us.

WoW Insider: What's your opening strategy? What do you like to do as soon as the gate opens?

Ryzer: We of course sacrifice Voidwalkers for the Absorb Damage buff and charge in as soon as we figure out what the other team is running. We both start DoTing the player that is out furthest with full DoTs. We then spread out the damage as the other players emerge from behind the pillar.

WoW Insider: Which mods do you use -- how have you customized your screen?

Ryzer: I use X-Perl UnitFrames, eCastingBar, Afflicted, and of course, Proximo.

I set my unit frames up under my character and the casting bars above the unit frames. Proximo goes to the left of my character's unit frame and then the Afflicted mod above the Target unit frame.

WoW Insider: How do you work out target designation? (Does someone call it out, or is everyone on their own to figure it out?)

Ryzer: We always say before we head out who we want to force pressure on first. We call out what targets need CC or to be switched onto over Ventrilo.

WoW Insider: How do you schedule your playtime? Do you try and work during "good times to queue?"

Ryzer: Well, we usually have been having a hard time queueing against other teams since most of the higher ranked teams aren't playing much right now. We try to play whenever everybody is on and isn't busy doing something else.

WoW Insider: What's been the biggest change in your strategy between each bracket of ratings? (1500s, 1600s)

Ryzer: I usually find the lower brackets very easy, but the higher we get, we see more damage being put on our druid instead of us warlocks (Apox and I). It forces us to play a bit more defensively to make sure Moongle doesn't get killed.

WoW Insider: What signals to you that you need to radically change strategy midmatch? (And how do you accomplish that change?)

Ryzer: If the other team changes what they're doing, like switching to another target quickly, we all have to react to that or we'll lose the match.

Since most people don't see this comp in high ratings, they try many different starting strategies in our games. Since we see so much variance in strategy, we have to change what we're doing about every game.

WoW Insider: What's the key for your composition's strategy? Are there multiple tactics you can use?

Ryzer: We need to keep constant DoTs applied and Fear spam as much as possible. We don't put out a bunch of pressure on a single target, but if we force a lot of healing on all the players, the other healer will go OOM quickly and also fall behind in healing between Fears and spamming heals.

We try different tactics about every game because the other team will try something different most of the time if they lose to us. We change our strats from playing really aggressive or really defensive, depending on what the other team tries to do.

WoW Insider: You hear a lot about clicking versus binding. Which skills do you still click, which do you tend to bind?

Ryzer: I still click my buffs and Create Healthstone, Ritual of Souls, and all that. Every other skill I keep keybound because it's very important to be watching the game instead of the buttons you're trying to click.

WoW Insider: What are you trying to improve?

Ryzer: There's always room for improvement and I'm mainly trying to improve on dispelling with my pet. I've always used my pet to dispel for defensive things, such as Polymorph, fears, etc. But I've been trying to dispel dots on myself or buffs on the other team a lot more than save the dispel for a needed time. So far I've noticed a huge improvement.

WoW Insider: What are you looking forward to in Wrath, for your class? What are you kind of dreading?

Ryzer: Destruction looks like a lot of fun to me, but so does Haunt/Soul Link. It's nice to see some pet scaling in the Demonology tree, but the points seem way too far down in the tree for something not-so-amazing.

The Colosseum is a new interview series by WoW Insider, meant to reveal 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).

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