We bounced back from our amazing tank-fest on Saturday. We lost something like 70 rating on Saturday and made about 80 back yesterday. WHEW. I can't tell you all how relieved I am about hitting 2k... it's like one of those hurdles that feels insurmountable until you get there, and then you can mock everyone else who can't do it. Just kidding, I wouldn't do that... except to Ret pallies... you deserve the mockery.

So, we went back to Disc+Feral and I changed up my build SLIGHTLY to help out in the burst department. This is the build, and as you can see, it has given up Predatory Instincts in favor of Protector of the Pack. The reason for this change is that when dealing with Ret pallies, I need to be able to turtle and burst effectively, and while 10% extra critical strike damage is very good, I need 12% less damage taken while in bear form a LITTLE more. This is also true when facing a good rogue+priest team, as I will almost ALWAYS be getting trained and I will need to survive in bear form without getting tons of heals, and reducing overall damage is paramount to that point. Other than these small changes, the mangle build is the same.

Another fact worth noting: Survival Instincts(glyphed) + Barkskin(glyph) is absolutely insane survival. I can literally pop these both with a Ret pally with Bloodlust and Wings up and sit in bear form letting him attack me and I won't die, even with Guntir CC'd. The Barkskin glyph is the best glyph for a feral right now... if you don't have one: go get one. Another thing is that we FINALLY faced one of those frostdk+protpally teams we have been hearing about lately (apparently 2k is where they live). We don't have anything to worry about from this team.

The ONLY marketable attack that the Frost DK brings to the table is Frost Strike (with Rune Strike being a VERY weak second), and it requires diseases to be up to do full damage. The problem with this (for the opposition) is that Guntir has Abolish Disease and a brain stem. Essentially, the DK sat on Guntir for a minute or two dealing damage while I sat on him dealing damage (quite a bit more, in fact) and then he pulled his ace in the hole. See, the Frost DK build relies on stack up diseases on everyone, popping Hungering Cold, and insta-gibbing the non-healer while the healer is CC'd (Hungering Cold is usually followed by HoJ or Repentance, depending on the spec of the pally). The problem that this team runs into is that Hungering Cold gives me enough time to get my Barkskin going, so when the DK turns to me, he has -25% chance to crit and -20% damage. After the Hungering Cold breaks, I pop bearform and soak his damage, which isn't going to be NEARLY enough to down me (unless Guntir had been slacking... which doesn't really happen). Also, since this is the staple of this team and the damage output is kind of meager against a disc priest, Guntir can set up the DK has his focus and get ready to counter it.

Here's how it works: Hungering Cold is a 1min CD and Death Grip is a 35 second cd (25 if talented... not many DKs forgo the extra damage in the blood tree to get 25 second CD on DG). So, after we survive the first Hungering Cold, Guntir can line up every other Death Grip with Shadow Word: Death. Essentially, I'm slowing the DK to the point where he's going to lose Guntir, and if Guntir gets around a corner, then the DK will USUALLY switch to me. As soon as Guntir pops his head back around the corner to shield me, the DK will be thinking "I've been dpsing this druid for a bit now, let's go for a gib" and he will use his only CC by Death Gripping Guntir and mashing Hungering Cold to CC us both... so Guntir is firing SW:D once he lands from DG in the hope that Hungering Cold will fire at the same time as SW:D, SW:D will either kill the DK (cool) or not and return damage to Guntir, knocking his Hungering Cold CC off... and the DK will either hit me or Guntir will dispel it.

It's pretty hard to time it appropriately, and we haven't played enough Frost DK teams this season to actually get it working EVERY time (like he does with Poly), but it's pretty much good enough in the couple matches we HAVE played against FDKs where I'd bank on it... and in either case, Barkskin is ALWAYS up during Hungering Cold because they're both 1min CDs (By the way, I usually save my trinket for Repentance or HoJ since those are usually used as a last-ditch effort to stop me from killing the DK/Warrior... and the CC either of those dps can bring are otherwise ignorable, imo).

Well, we have got a long way to go, but we're still looking at climbing higher and higher, so I'll report back with what I see. Hopefully, I can start recording matches soon and getting some footage up... I'm working on a video currently as well, but it's sort of at a hiatus because of all the changes that happened in S5 to S6... some of the footage would have a Shred spec and others would have Mangle spec, etc. I don't know, it'll be a while, but it's definitely something I'm working on.