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The Colosseum: Ickmon of Executus


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.

Ickmon from Executus is a 2200+ ranked Priest, working in both the 2v2 and 3v3 brackets. The changes to Arena rating requirements, Resilience, and balance in patch 3.2, however, could mean a lot of big changes for Arena players like Ickmon. Despite the uncertainty of change, though, this Priest isn't particularly worried about the changes -- he thinks that things will be fine, and the new Resilience benefit might be a good thing.

We were able to spend some time talking with Ickmon about his team, playstyle, and those 3.2 changes. Check out what he had to say behind the cut. Why did you choose to play a Priest?

Ickmon: It was the first class that I leveled to 60. I've played many different classes. I've played a Rogue, Warrior, and Druid. Priest is the most fun though. What about the Priest makes it the most fun? What does a Priest bring to the table in the Arena?

Ickmon: I like the versatility of the class. Priests have pretty moderate healing, damage, and crowd control. This all makes it a class where you really need to prioritize what is most important at any given time. Also the fact that Priests are the only class with offensive as well as defensive Dispel always makes it a viable class in arena. What kind of partners work best for you? Is there any class that would be a lost-cause paired with a Priest?

Ickmon: Rogues naturally work well with Priests, since they provide a lot of crowd control as well as a "Mortal Strike" effect. Mage is another class that has great synergy, with good Crowd Control and a lot of burst damage. There are few classes that I would consider a "Lost Cause" teaming up with a Priest, but the classes with good Crowd Control are definitely optimal. What's your team's strategy? Are you aggressive or defensive/? Do you use crowd control to setup a kill or interrupts? What's a general game like for you?

Ickmon: I wouldn't really say I have a set-in-stone strategy walking into an Arena match. It all varies on what composition you are playing against and on what map. I'm normally using CC to set up for kills, though there are certain situations where you would want to Fear the opposing DPS given they don't have a Dispel.

As soon as a match starts, I'm looking for good positioning. I want to avoid as much crowd control on me and my team as possible, I'm also looking to take off enemy buffs and set up kills. How long did it take you and your team to get this good? Was it a long practice run, or did it seem to come naturally? What do you guys do to improve?

Ickmon: This season we started up a Death Knight/Rogue/Priest composition on a fresh team with a 2500 Matchmaking Rating from previous teams. We started from there. We had played together on a 5v5 last season with Rhox on his Warrior, so we knew each other from that. None of us had played the comp but we were aware of what it was supposed to do. After each game, we normally take a look at what happened and we throw around some ideas to what we could do different to up our game. What are the examples of things you do to improve, do differently? I think that's one of the things people are really hungry for -- an idea of what to do better.

Ickmon: A lot of the ideas we throw around are about strategy. It's important to hear all of your teamates out because they provide perspective on things that you yourself might not be aware of. I assume we are already playing at our best, so the most important thing for us to do is coordinate and communicate with each other.

In the moment of battle, even in the time for someone to say something over Ventrilo and the time for another to hear it and process the information, might be too late. Given that information, we make sure to talk about what can happen before the match starts so we already have an idea of the outcome if certain said instances occur.

Also, I can't stress enough that it is important that your team gets along with one another! It's easy for a team to fail if the players don't like each other on a personal basis. That's something that we hear a lot -- that it's important a team like one another. Have you ever tried to play with someone who you didn't enjoy so much?

Ickmon: Definitely. It can be one of the worst experiences in-game. It's important to remember that WoW is a game, and you play games to have fun. I try to refrain from individuals I don't see eye to eye with. On a slightly different subject, what's your opinion on the removal of ratings qualifications for 2v2?

Ickmon: Though 2v2s is one of my favorite brackets, I recall Blizzard saying that they never intend or intended to balance the game around that bracket. I think the change is fine. It's certainly going to be a boon to the amount of attention 3v3 gets. Do you think people will care more about 5v5?

Ickmon: I certainly hope so, there are so few teams playing 5v5 that only a few teams per battle group are up for Gladiator. I hope that some changes can be made to make the bracket more enjoyable though. What do you think needs to change to improve it? Are the Resilience changes for 3.2 part of that?

Ickmon: Anyone who has played a 5v5 team since Wrath of the Lich King will know what I'm talking about when I say it is too "bursty". The fact that someone can go from 100% to 0% health within a couple global cooldowns is a little ridiculous. I think the resilience change you referenced is a good starting point to help out the bracket.

The Colosseum is an 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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