Okay, let's talk a little bit about the patch. YES, the patch dropped today, and yes, as my previous post suggests - I do not believe Feral is dead in PvP. I think that we will definitely be at a disadvantage as compared to how we used to play against Frost Mage teams, but in the long run everyone really got some bad nerfs and Ferals got just a few. That being said, Guntir and I were on last night and trying to find something to do. I tried hitting up the Frost Mage we had been doing 3s with, but he was not online. So, I put this is trade:

LF Holy Pally for 3v3s team; must have 2k exp; pst

Almost immediately I got a response from a Holy Pally who fit the bill. He asked me what comp I was planning on running and I said "HPal+Disc+Feral". He said "Disc is pretty bad, it would be better with a RShammy", and I replied with "The Disc also has a gear RShammy; let's do dis!" So, on complete impulse we joined his 3v3s team at around 1900 team rating or so and started playing double-healer Feral. It became obvious after the first match or two that this was a definite contender as far as 3v3s comps go. We ended up going 11-3 (most of those losses was against a 2150-rated Aff+Unholy+RDruid team that just ended up bursting down Guntir's Shammy inside of Strangulate+Gnaw combos; we feel we will do better after the patch and with a Disc Priest) and got the team rating above 2k (and grinding up our personal ratings from 1000 to around 1950).

Tonight, we are going to try Disc+HPal+Feral. I completely believe that this comp will be insane. Reports (I am at work; I haven't had time to test) coming out of Live right now are suggesting that Shred is hitting mages with 3500 resilience for around 12-14k and critting as high as 28-30k with only Mark of the Wild. Dear sweet limey jebus... if Mages were QQ'ing about Ferals before this patch, I cannot wait to see some of the QQ that comes about because of the direct damage buff. While it is true that most classes damage was brought down (Rogues, Warriors, and DKs most notably), Ferals was left basically the same except against classes with Shields. However, the double-healer comp for Feral essentially NEVER has the Feral attacking a high-armor target, so this is actually a somewhat damage buff for Ferals. Obviously, dealing with Frost Mages is going to be huge, but with dispel-cleave (Disc+Hpal) behind me, I can see popping Barkskin (undispellable) and just getting chain-dispelled while trying to eat the Mage to force a block.

Last night was a "last hurrah" of the golden age of Ferals. We went against a bunch of Mage teams, but one in particular stood above the rest. It was a Shatterplay (Frost+Shadow+RDruid) on Dalaran Sewers and I was just sitting the Mage. I ended up getting a pretty clutch Cyclone on the Druid as he appeared before he could put up HoTs on the Mage, which was immediately trinketed, followed by a full duration Hammer of Justice into a full duration Hex. However, the funny bit was when I got Psychic Horror'd off of the Frost who got about 20 yards away and started winding up a Frostbolt on me. I had 5 combo points and had JUST hit Tiger's Fury in an attempt to apply a really mean Rip, but the Mage was at around 50% HP and I did not want to lose that momentum to Iceblock, so as soon as the Psychic Horror got dispelled, I Feral Charged him, hit him with a 33k FB crit and followed it with a 24k Ravage crit for the kill before Hex ended on the Druid.

The funny bit is that this does not really change today. That is, Ferocious Bite and Ravage are still going to do tons of damage against Mages with Barrier down, but Shred is going to do WAY more damage than yesterday against Mages (and low-armor targets in general). Forcing these opportunities to land HUGE burst is actually going to be better because of our limited up-time from root-breaking being removed from Shapeshifting.

Think about it, because we cannot guarantee 100% up-time via shapeshifting, it means our positioning will have to be more conservative, which means that we will not be able to simply change into the fray and try to sit on a Mage, which means that when we actually DO get on a Mage, we will ALWAYS have energy to spend. I can envision something like opening with Pounce, hitting FFF, the Mage Blinking, me using FCC, landing a Ravage followed by a Mangle followed by a Rake. Okay, he's got me rooted now and I'm eating some dispels to try and stay up, so I land a Shred (huge damage potentially) and follow with Rip. Now, I'm basically energy-starved at this point, and I have been rooted 2-3 times at this point, so DR is coming into play. Most teams will be trying to peel me right now and/or dropping Deep Freezes on me to do damage. I can play line pretty hard because I have 16 seconds of Rip to use.

Here's where it gets interesting: I'm thinking of dropping the Glyph of Tiger's Fury for the Glyph of Shred, which means that once my healers have topped me off, I can get back on the mage who should still have Rip, Mangle, and possibly Rake up, land a Shred or two (having regenerated energy while not dps'ing), which will add 2-4 more seconds to Rip, and maybe even land a 5p FB to try and keep pressure up via insta-Cyclones.

The other thing that I like better about Disc+HPal+Feral is that the CC is better now that Tremor Totem got nerfed in the face. There will be a point in the match where Psychic Scream lands on a healer and will last full duration. This point is when Guntir will yell on skype "NUKE NUKE NUKE" and we will all drop trucks on the kill target. Mind Spike has ALWAYS been good damage, but it is hard to land as a Priest until today because of how weak you were as a healer. Today, Disc is much more self-sufficient, and with another healer, you can always turn-n-burn a kill target without much worry of getting pressured in the mean time. Additionally, PW:S is actually quite good now and can be used on the Priest himself to try and stave off damage while he's dropping Mind Spikes into the kill target. The Pally should be spamming Exorcisms as well while I am Shredding. The last bit that is just the cherry on top is that Mind Blast will be a guaranteed crit with 3x Mind Spike debuffs up and will do 18% more damage than Mind Spike normally. During these CC windows, we might very well just turn into a triple-dps team and nuke someone down before the healer comes back into the match (and we'll follow Psychic Scream with Cyclone and HoJ for good measure).