Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Faction Champions Tips and Tricks (10 Man)

The much hated Faction Champions encounter has finally fallen to my shadowy onslaught.  It sort of came as a surprise to all of us, since many of us had yet to even get one of our foes to die.  For whatever reason, on our third attempt, everything just clicked into place and one after another fell.  By the end of the encounter, we had the hunter's pet against all ten of us.  That's right, no one even died.  Holy Tauren it was awesome.

So what was our strategy?  The six enemies were thus: Paladin and Druid healers, then a Shaman, Hunter, Death Knight, and Shadow Priest.  We had three healers (Priest, Shammy, Druid), two pally tanks, and a good mix of melee and ranged DPS.  I'd put the team together with two of my fellow bloggers with the goal in mind of learning the higher end 10-man content.  Thus, we had the smart, quick learners with us.  People who weren't afraid to wipe a lot for imperceptable amounts of progress.  The "A" team.  Like the show, not like your local High School basketball team.

Being the "A" team, most of us had read at least a metric crap ton about the encounter, so the recently publicized threat mechanics of the fight were not news to us.  To summarize, if you haven't read it, there are basically a few things to keep in mind:
  1. Enemy healers will priotize the lowest effective health - Thus, save your "lock down" abilities for the last 30%.  Also, you can confuse the AI by DPS'ing other things like the Hunter's pet.  We didn't take that route this time, but it's something that's been talked about.  Mostly, we just tried to backload our abilities.
  2. Enemy attackers will aggro based roughly on three things: armor, effective health, and proximity.  - Hence we put our tanks all in their DPS gear to lower their armor and assist them in keeping attention. They kept their same spec so they wouldn't lose their tanking abilities.  Clothies spread out and kept their health topped while doing what they could to increase armor (PvP gear and the like), but, again, same spec. (Except for me, more on warlock specifics in a moment).
That's the simple version.  If you know how the healers will react, you can backload abilities like I mentioned.  Also, if you know that lower armor = higher aggro, you can take steps to normalize your amor across the group as best you can, sowing seeds of confusion among the enemy AI.  Similarly, pots and cookies can work as aggro drops, same as things that get you more distance like slows, blink, lock portals, hunter disengage, etc.  Knowing is half the battle, right?

With all this in mind, we marked all the bosses in a strategic kill order.  We chose the Paladin healer first, since the Druid is easier for a lock like myself to control.  Any way you slice it, you need to burn a healer first to cut down their regenerative output.  The Paladin's bubble can be mass dispelled by a priest (and should be!).  After the Pally we went for the Shaman who can be troublesome.  Next came the Hunter, then the DK, then the Shadow Priest.  Finally, we took out the Druid (and the hunter's pet when we realized it hadn't despawned).

Now, especially on 10-man you really need everyone to bring their best and do their part, but one of the keys to this strategy is the warlockery.  Any good warlock should be able to harass a tree enough to get some nuts to fall.  In this case, the nuts are the other enemies and the harassment needs to be focused during the last portions of their lives in order to bust them.  Keeping that druid busy is priority number two for a warlock; number one being to stay alive.  DPS is a distant third.

We had our tanks harassing the hunter and DK to keep them out of our hair, while I focused on the Druid and everyone else focused on the target.  It worked like a charm.  There was much chaos and running around, but in the end, ten of us were standing to none of them.  As a warlock, here are some tips and tricks for the encounter that really worked out for me:
  • Use Demon Armor instead of Fel Armor.  Sure you lose SP, but the added armor will keep the baddies at bay. 
  • I actually went with my Demonology spec and pulled out my Felhunter.  Sort of an odd combo, but the felpup eats spells and the demo spec has really high surviveability.  Soul link FTW.  It's really tough to stay Affliction as the bad guys will be all over your squishy arse.
  • Try very hard NOT to life tap.  Only do it when absolutely necessary or you're going to get lit up.
  • Make use of your warlock portal.  This is like your soul shatter for this fight.  Don't stand right next to it either, remember, distance is key.
  • Cookies are great for everyone.  Use 'em.  Pots too.
  • Curse of Tongues really pisses a pally healer off... just sayin'.
  • If something is on you, keep moving and hope it gets tired.  If you have a hunter, like we did, have them lay some traps down so you can lose him in the frost.  Be smart about fleeing and don't panic.
  • If the hunter's pet gets on you, let it slide.  In 10-man he sort of itches.
  • DoT, DoT, DoT.  You can do this on the move and even spread it out to sow even more confusion.
  • Keep your banish target focused.  I have a great macro for this (also works with fear), so you can be dotting the main target and still keeping an eye on the druid without ever having to switch targets.
That's all I've got off the top of my head.  Feel free to pass more advice along in the comments if there's any you guys find me lacking.  Also, I realized I've never published the banish macro I'm using.  Look for that to come tomorrow and then I'll link it back to here.  It's definitely noteworthy and useful in this fight.


  1. Ok, learned something new... You can banish a tree?? Cool! Don't do much pvp, so I usually don't ever get the option to try.

    Wintergrasp, watch out! This lock's gonna banish the trees.

  2. Ha, yep. They count as elementals. Totally fun and waaay better than fear.

  3. So you DO have another 10 man group you are holding out on me eh? I knew it!

  4. It's not a secret, you just haven't been on lately early in the week. I've only been WoWing early in the week... catch me Sun, Mon, or Tues and I can give you the DL.