It peels good to win doesn’t it?
In both PvE and PvP winning usually involves defeating an opponent and/or gaining an objective.
Sometimes to kill one opponent, we have to deal with several.
In PvE, we deal with this in one of two ways:
- AoE FTW!
AoE becomes the norm after a certain gear level has been reached – normally where tank and healer are both up to the job.
- CC and focus.
CC is often used haphazardly until this iLevel point, or because the party prefers control and is used to control.
In PvP, whether BGs, Arenas or World PvP, AoE doesn’t work so well. Some of us are intelligent enough to know when we are standing in the bad, and without the computer generated concept of threat, we can move away. Of course some people will play by human generated threat, and just stand and slug it out, ignoring the negligible incoming damage.
CC and snares, even with their reduced duration and diminishing returns in PVP, are still the best way to deal with masses of opponents.
Your 1st reactions when entering mass combat should be:
- Who is the focus target?, and
You want to know the focus target 1st… no point in CC’ing a target that is about to be destroyed – especially with cyclone which just makes that target immune to it’s imminent death (giving their healers time to top off their health).
- Who do I CC?, and
Next you want to identify and CC – repeatedly if possible – additional targets. Healers are often the 1st choice, although sometimes you may be better off CC’ing another target (say the flag carrier) and destroying the healer that is keeping your opponents alive. Whatever the case, pick one – CC them, make sure they stay that way. Worst case is they blow their trinket to get out of your CC… now they wont be doing that for a couple more minutes, so CC them again!
- Is this the fight I need to win?
- Do you need to win this fight?
Are you fighting for the survival of your flag carrier, or to return your flag to the base to enable a cap? If so, this is a noble cause worth fighting for, now is the time to use all the tricks in your spellbook, CC and snares included.
- Is this a distraction from the primary goal?
Does the player you are fighting bear no relationship to the state and position of your flag carriers (or team mates in need)? If so, you are wasting, or maybe they are wasting, your time, energy and health bar. You are better served putting your resources where they are needed.Yes there are times where it is a worthwhile cause to fight without any objectives in play.
- Maintaining a clean midfield – when no flag carriers are at risk, or running right by you.
- Holding 5 players away from a node so it can tick over.
Of course, once again these are tactical fights. They are performing a service to the team, not just putting the team a player down.
Picking your fights and peeling FTW!
So let’s talk about peeling, probably only a term known, in context, by PvPers even though it has fundamentally the same intent as CC’ing or kiting adds in PvE.
The objective is to peel additional opponents off your primary target. Your primary target may be the enemy flag carrier, the friendly flag carrier, your focus kill target, your healers or just a team mate in need.
When the primary target is the enemy.
Just as in PvE, when you want to kill one of many targets – fast, with little health loss. Your objective is to shutdown any other enemies that may heal or inflict damage, with healers always the priority.
I can’t tell you how many arena battles have our opponents doing double the damage we have done – twice the work for less results, purely because we have the heals and therefore the time, to finish on top. if we didn’t have the heals (say, maybe they focused, or CC’d our healer 1st), then the fight would have gone their way.
When you are fighting in PvP, you want the numerical advantage just as you do in PvE. You don’t have the luxury of a threat table to ensure that everyone is focused on one strong target, so you need to employ CC, snares, stuns etc to reach the numeric advantage. You want to peel the opponents off, so there are less in the fight and you can concentrate on the one high value target.
Imagine 5 players streaming downfield in WSG, one of these is the enemy flag carrier (efc), two of them are healers and 2 are dps/peel support).
You can’t kill the flag carrier with 2 healers keeping him up, so they need to be stopped (err… yeah euphemism).
However, stopping to kill them will allow the flag carrier to get away.
The answer is to not stop chasing the efc, but to ensure that the efc and their supporters are separated.
Isolate the EFC!
CC the support team, stun them, snare them. Every second they are CC’d, is a second that the efc is further from support.
Assuming you continue moving with the efc while peeling their support team, very soon it will be them solo, against you (and hopefully your team mates).
If they stand and fight… awesome, continue to peel/CC and take them down one by one, leave no survivors, especially the flag carrier.
The primary target doesn’t have to be the flag carrier. If they stand and fight, kill the healer while peeling the others.
Maybe it’s a dps/support player (someone like me) that is just constantly keeping you away from the efc and they need to be stopped… so stop them, but don’t forget the efc.
A perfect example of not forgetting the efc occurred today.
I was chasing the efc, but one of his support, a Warlock no less, stopped to take care of me. It was a golden opportunity to take down that Warlock one-on-one, and for a moment my instinct was for dps rather than CC… but I saw the efc disappear past our graveyard, the Warlock was doing his job well, peeling me from my target.
A moment later the Warlock was CC’d, I had caught the efc and with a little bit more CC, the flag was once again safe at the base.
I peeled off the efc, then chased down the unsupported, isolated, spellstolen, Paladin efc FTW!
When the primary target is an ally
It’s a similar situation when you are peeling to help a team mate, just, well kind of reversed.
Rather than trying to maximise the focus on an enemy, you are trying to reduce the focus on an ally.
Many BGs can be won this way, without piles of stress and bloodshed.
Your flag carrier may not have a clear path up midfield, but a few CC’s and snares can cause your enemy to lose interest in your flag carrier (they may turn it on you, or they may realise they don’t have a hope in hell and head the other direction), ultimately providing the clear path where one didn’t previously exist.
When the primary target is a friendly healer
Your healers have a simple priority when it comes to healing (I know, because I have been a BG healer).
- Heal themselves
- Heal others if necessary
When the healer is being attacked, they will fall back to 1) Heal themselves. Which of course means, you are going to have to help yourself and the best, long term, method for that is to help them.
You probably have a common objective and your current focus target is possibly the correct one, but you still need to peel off your healer to give them space to heal you. Until you peel for them, they probably wont heal for you.
Remember to choose.. stay and fight or flight and kite.
One of the biggest decisions is whether you stay or go.
The simple rule is:
Follow your primary target, peeling as you go.
Born to peel
Mages are excellent for mobile peeling… look at what we have at our disposal.
Applying the peel:
- 1 -3 frost novas (Frost mages take this to 3 with their pet and Cone of Cold (CoC) and can double this with a Cold Snap).
- CoC/Frostbolt snare
- Deep Freeze
- Ring of Frost
- Dragon’s Breath (Fire FTW!)
- Blast Wave (Fire FTW!)
Removing the peel:
- Blazing Speed (if spec’d that way)
- Escape Artist (what, you aren’t a Gnome? Shame…)
Depending on how much support an efc has, we can apply all of that to them, or share it out to peel them like a ripe mandarin, leaving only the soft fleshy bits for you to consume.
Likewise, you can shadow your flag carrier all the way back to base, escaping the peels applied to you and always being in a position to peel off your flag carrier.
Polymorph as a peel
You may be in the habit of applying a polymorph and leaving it till it’s duration.
When you are using polymorph to peel, duration is less important and with diminishing returns it will become short lived anyway.
You are better off rapidly casting it on multiple targets.. peel one… your primary target gets a bit further away, cast in on another – now peels a second opponent and your primary target gets a bit further away. Rinse and Repeat. You are also allowing the diminishing return to count down on the 1st target.
Use it to interrupt casts.. just use it in new and inventive and preferably peeling ways. Use it anyway you want, as long as it’s smart.
The final peel.
There is one more peel of note, although to be honest I don’t think I have heard anyone refer to this as a peel… it is ultimately the same concept.
I consider this to be the equivalent of peel definition 6…
I bet you thought I left that one there because I was being silly…
Let’s assume you have peeled all the efc’s support, it’s just you and them.
In my mind, the odds are still way too balanced, so you need to tip them to your advantage.
Where previously the efc’s outer skin was their support crew, now it’s their buffs.
If you can (dispel, purge, spellsteal etc.), peel the final layer from your opponent before bursting them down.
If you are a Mage, you have the added bonus of not just peeling layers of buffs from your opponent, but adding them to you… and let’s face it, every Mage loves a set of wings and a blessing of freedom to go with it… go on, stun me now you mongrel!
Where’s my peeler?
We all have them, you probably know what they are already.
Next post I will cover some of them, although with a slightly different focus, the reality is they are all peels, it’s just how and when you use them
Gnomer and Out!
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