I have decided that the name of my comp (HPal+Disc+Feral) is forevermore Dispelclaw. I know I said I would try and post something the other day, but work has been absolutely insane. Anyway, here is my run-down on the comp:

1) Our sustained damage output is strong so we can pressure one of the dps, particularly if the DPS is a caster.
2) Our burst damage is INSANE if we can peel everyone off (read: a full-team Psychic Scream usually results in Guntir dropping 30k damage before the healer gets out of it).
3) We simply do not feel pressure when we understand our opponents.
4) If our Pally could keep from having his computer freezing, we would have gone 13-1.

The first two (and the fourth) notes are pretty self-explanatory, I think - Keeping up Rip, Rake, Mangle, and SR is pretty easy against most teams because I am getting dispelled so often that up-time really is not a problem and Guntir's nukes are amazing supplemental damage. Additionally, even with two melees with insane burst just training Guntir non-stop, we do not feel huge pressure because of the double-heals, PW:S up-time, and the peels I can provide. All the while, because we have two healers spamming all the time, they do not really have to use their hyper-expensive heals and instead focus on the long-game.

For instance, we played against a 2300-rated Ret+Fury+RDruid team, which is going to be the "TSG" of this season, I believe. Their burst is really rather insane with Templar's Verdicts critting Guntir for 15-20k while the Fury Warrior can easily drop 40-50k with his 2-3m CDs. Most teams would have a lot of trouble with this kind of damage output along with Cyclones flying around, but in practice we were training the Warrior and had the Druid healing almost none-stop because of the pressure I was putting out. Now, because RDruids never run out of mana, and we were getting no-where rather slowly, I tried swapping to the Ret Pally... and things got MUCH better. Ret Pallies have to decide between healing themselves or using Templar's Verdict... so he kept trying to DPS Guntir instead of self-healing, and we started making huge progress. Eventually, Guntir landed a Psychic Scream on all three (I opened with Cyclone for 6s on the Druid, Guntir hit PW:S on himself and ran at 100% speed to him, followed with Psychic Scream) and started helping me nuke the Ret while Lev (our pally) followed the Psychic Scream with a full duration Hand of Justice. The Ret went down like the Hindenburg and Guntir didn't drop below 50% with the Fury still training him because our Pally kept him up.

I was playing a spec that was more on the conservative side (2/3 Thick Hide, 2/2 Natural Reaction) because with Guntir's Shammy healing, I was getting trained for the most part. However, with Guntir playing his priest on the team, I am almost always ignored outside of swaps and the like. Therefore, I decided that the next time we played, I would try a new spec out. Essentially, it is all the same minus the defensive-minded talents and adding in a couple of dps-talents.

Here is my conservative spec.

It is pretty standard; like I said, it picks up the defensive talents (for the most part) and does not give up any mandatory dps talents. Additionally, I took Glyph of Mangle because I found that when I am getting trained, I end up landing more Mangles than Shreds simply because of positioning, and dealing more damage is the name of the game.

Here is my more offense-oriented spec.

In reality, nothing much has changed except that I have dropped my defensive talents, Thick Hide and Natural Reaction, and picked up supplemental and sometimes situational dps talents. Most notably showing up in this spec that I think most will be caught off guard because of is Blood in the Water. I have spent a lot of time talking about how this talent is so useless in a majority of situations, and I know that most people do not pick it up, but after playing a few matches as Dispelclaw, I have to say that I found myself on more than a few occasions saying "man, if I had Blood in the Water right now, our pressure would be INSANE." There were at least a few times in almost every match where I would get a target to 15% hp with 5CPs and 4-5 seconds left on Rip while the healer was CC'd. The problem here is that if you use FB and you do not have BitW AND you do not land the kill, your pressure is destroyed for the next 10-15 seconds, which is more than enough time for a healer to top off the target after he finally gets out of the CC-chain.

The main thing is that this spec is less about burst and more about pressure and control. If you have good pressure, and I feel like Blood in the Water will really improve our pressure in a lot of situations, then the opposing healer is forced to heal and use tons of mana. If you get into the situation I described above and you do not have BitW, you usually wait until Rip ends and reapply Rip... which means your pressure went way down because you could not get the target basically any lower and the healer does not really have to spend much time or effort filling up the HP-pool again. Rip, Rake, and SR'd white swings make up the majority of our constant pressure. Shred/Mangle are what we use when we need to burst someone down, and in this comp we end up usually doing that with CCs on the healer. However, a lot of the time you end up applying Rip and needing to use that instant-Cyclone on the healer to get ahead to set up the CC-chain, and by the time you are in the kill-zone, you are energy-starved and/or CP-starved. Essentially, this is why BitW will work, when we land our CC-chains properly, it is (without trinket) going to be 20 seconds of CC while we try and dps. That is more than enough time to try and get a guy into the red zone with Rip up, and to keep the pressure going I need to land an FB AND refresh Rip.

Another aspect of this spec that should be apparent is the addition of 2/3 Fury Swipes. I have gone on and on about how I think this is a bad talent and needs to be redesigned, and I definitely still feel this way, but I have to admit that having a free ~3k hit (6-8k crit depending on armor value) every ~4-5 seconds is decent supplemental damage. I think it would be better if it gave my bleed ticks a chance to proc an additional bleed tick instead, but whatever. Free damage is free damage, and really - what other dps talents are there to take? Primal Madness... ha.

The last bit to notice about this more aggressive build is that I dropped Glyph of Mangle for Glyph of Shred. This really should be instinctive with the idea of using a Disc priest instead of a Resto Shammy: they are training Guntir more and more, which means that I have to go toe-to-toe less and less. Therefore, I end up getting more Shreds in reliably, and since we are working to get more pressure, having more Rip duration for "free" is basically a no-brainer. This one is really the game-changer, in my mind.

Take the situation from earlier in which I suggested I was dps'ing a target, hit him with a 5pt Rip and was going to use the Cyclone on the healer to initiate some pressure. Instead, I can use the Cyclone on the off-dps to reduce some incoming pressure and Guntir can potentially start dropping nukes while getting trained by a single dps. If he is nuking, the healer is working harder to keep up with the damage and thinking less about CC and positioning and what have you. Additionally, if there is only one DPS training Guntir because I peeled the other, then Lev will be able to single-heal Guntir while he's acting as a DPS for a moment. All the while, I am still landing Shreds on this dps target and increasing Rip's duration by as much as 6 seconds (a 22 second duration Rip is absolutely insane).

NOW, when I get 5 CPs, the target is at anywhere from 60-90% hp with likely 10-16 more seconds left on Rip's duration. I can actually use Maim here to stop the DPS, instant-cyclone the healer, and if the target is low enough I MIGHT be able to get an FB in the red zone during this CC chain, thus refreshing my Rip to 16 seconds, resetting my Glyph of Shred (meaning I can extend Rip again by as much as 6 seconds), and NOW I am energy and CP-starved but the target has a full duration Rip up again and just took a rather large FB hit, or more likely - crit.

We will just have to see how it plays out, but again I feel like the name of the game on Dispelclaw will be constant pressure and additional burst. Glyph of Shred and Blood in the Water will give me situational burst improvements and definite sustained damage improvements. I will post back when I have played it more, but I am looking forward to running it again soon.


Just as a note: I am trying to get back into releasing a youtube video every week or so of arena matches (2s or 3s... we'll see how 3s goes before I start recording it all the time like 2s), so be looking for that next week (probably Sunday, but who knows; it's Valentine's Day on Monday, so I might be busy).

We ruined some poor 1950-rated SPriest+Rogue team's night yesterday. We went 9-1 and 5 of those matches were against the same SPriest+Rogue team... and we won every match rather handily. They were not the best team in the world, and they simply did not know how to sit the Feral and CC the healer. I might do this week's video on us rolling them. We shall see...