Warsong Gulch Tips for Disc Priests – Part One
This weekend Warsong Gulch is the Call to Arms Battleground, so it seems like a good time to go over some basics of what you should be doing in WSG if you are a Disc Priest. For purposes of this discussion, I am going to assume that you are familiar with the basic strategy of the battleground.
There are a number of ways to approach this, but I am going to try to do it chronologically, as a typical WSG might play out. Part one of this series is going to look at the opening phase of the match, from accepting the invite to the first flag grab.
So let’s get to it shall we?
Queue pops! CLICK muthafucka!
After you have accepted the invitation to glorious battle against the Alliance scum that dare to threaten the Horde’s control of the Gulch, you should take a look around at the rest of your team. There are only 10 players on your squad in WSG, so it is actually important to get a feel for the class composition and gear levels of your group. Look for any major class imbalances (things like 5 paladins) or omissions (no mages) and adjust your overall strategy accordingly. Also take a quick look at the health pools of your teammates. If your dps teammates are sporting 25k plus health pools, you can probably play more offensively and/or do more dispelling during the match. Lower health pools, and you are going to need to spend more time keeping people alive via bubbles and direct heals.
Once you get a feel for your group, switch the BG information window to the Alliance screen and see what your opposition looks like. Same deal. The enemy’s class composition may give you some insights as to how the game is going to play out, and/or what types of cc and debuffs you will be facing.
After eyeballing the groups, I will often ask in BG chat if there are any dedicated flag carriers (“FCs”) in our group. Some people like running flags, and set up their gear and spec for it. If there is such a person on your team, you want everyone to know about it, so that the PVP Fire spec Mage doesn’t decide to grab the flag just because she was the first toon to get there. If an FC volunteers, make that player your focus target.
It can also be very helpful to ask if there are any other healers while you wait for the gates to open. If there are 2 or more healers, you can coordinate who will focus on the FC, and who will focus on the rest of the team. (If a FC volunteers, you can try to maximize FC / healer synergy as well.)
Next task is to buff up. I generally wait until there are 30 seconds left on the timer before tossing my buffs out. People sometimes take queues for other battlegrounds, or desert if they don’t like what they see during the 2 minute period, but by the 30 second mark, the roster should be pretty set. (I strive to be lazy as a general rule.) The one exception to the 30 second rule is Fear Ward. It has a 3 minute cooldown, and it is generally good to try and burn off as much of that cooldown while you are waiting for the doors to open as possible. (There is always a delay between the start of the match and engaging the opposition, so leave yourself some time. You don’t want Fear Ward to drop off right as a Warlock opens up on you at midfield.)
After you finish buffing (and have grabbed a cookie and 4 stacks of strudel ((if the damned Warlocks and Mages aren’t being lazy))), you should make sure that someone is going to head down the ramp at the start of the match to grab the boots in the hallway. It is important that the opposing team not be able to have the speed boost as they come for your flag, so one person, and only one person, should be running down the ramp to get them. (With the speed boost, there is ample time to get down the ramp, mount up, and reunite with your teammates below the Horde graveyard long before the Alliance can get anywhere near you.)
Gates open! Rawr! If you are the “I’ll get the boots” guy, get the boots and meet up with your teammates for the sprint across midfield. If you are not the boots guy, run out with the rest of your team, mount up, and head for midfield.
As a battleground healer, you are generally going to be most effective supporting your teammates wherever there is fighting. Although flag defense in WSG is a noble endeavor that provides some significant benefits when properly executed, a Disc Priest is not going to be very useful supporting the defenders. Flag defense depends on a lot of cc and burst damage, making the fights very fast paced. Your mitigation and healing just won’t make as much of a difference in those fights as it will elsewhere. So head for midfield when the gates drop, and skip the defense for the time being.
As you leave the safety of your own keep, you need to be mindful of your position in the pack. If you are way ahead of, or lag significantly behind the main group, you are inviting an opposing Hunter, Rogue or Shadow Priest to pick you off. (Being out front is less risky, since your team will be coming up on you if you get jumped, but you should avoid both situations.) Most WSG players will not be looking over their shoulders as they race across midfield if you are lagging behind, and you’ll be a fairly easy kill for an opponent with all his/her cooldowns if you get cc’d.
As you cross midfield (safely tucked away in the middle of your pack), you are likely to see one of two scenarios develop. Either the two teams will ignore each other as they pass (Alterac Valley style), or one or more teams will try to take out a target of opportunity.
If everyone goes AV style, just roll with your teammates to the other side of the map with no worries. While you are passing each other, try and take a quick count of how many opponents are headed the other way. If it is 10, then you know that there won’t be any opposition waiting in their flag room. (If there is no opposition, there is no need to spend mana on buffs like PW:S, PoM and Renews as people approach the flag room.) Less than 10 and you will want to have your assault team buffed as they head in.
If fighting breaks out at midfield, then you need to decide very quickly whether to stop and support your teammates at midfield, or to leave them to their fates. The biggest factor is normally the size of the groups fighting at midfield.
If it is 3 or more of them, and only one of your team, leave the poor schmuck to die. His/her death will at least consume some enemy cooldowns, and scatter their team a little bit across the map. There is little likelihood that you can save them from those odds without blowing a lot of your own resources, and there is almost no tactical advantage to doing so at that stage of the match.
If the numbers are pretty even, it’s a judgment call. Consider what you learned from looking at people in the starting area. If the Orc Warlock that just picked a fight at midfield was in 2/5 Wrathful or better, it probably would be worthwhile to back him up, as you stand a good chance of sending some (more like all) opponents back to the spirit healer. If it was the 18k health Ret Pally that wants to dance at midfield, you might want to just ride on.
Similarly, if it is 3 of you vs. one of them, then your team really doesn’t need your support at midfield, so don’t even bother.
If you didn’t stop at midfield, you should be following your teammates into the enemy flag room and preparing for the flag grab as appropriate.
If you stopped at midfield instead, your team will probably be grabbing the flag just as combat is ending. If things went well, heal up your teammates and immediately try to get some mana back. If you have the time, and aren’t overly vulnerable, eat one of those tasty strudels or sip on some honeymint tea. Else, pop Hymn of Hope and make due with as much mana as you can get.
While you are regenerating mana, keep an eye out for where your FC is headed, and watch for the enemy flag carrier (the “EFC”).
If things didn’t go well, finish chatting with the Spirit Healer about the weather, and then get back in the game.
Next installment, we will talk about what you should be doing after the trumpets sound, and each team has grabbed a flag.
Queue us up!