Here are some of the Druid changes being made in 4.1 (so far):

* Lifebloom now costs 11% of base mana, up from 7%. Base healing reduced by 20%, from 2306 to 1847.
* Cyclone now lasts 5 sec, down from 6 sec.
* Stampeding Roar (Cat) now increases movement speed by 60% for 8 sec, up from 40% for 6 sec.

Before we go any further, there was a post from Nethaera suggesting that they decided to revert the mana cost change on Lifebloom, but leave the bloom effect in nerfedville. Personally, I do not see a nerf to base healing hurting anyone but Feral, but since we do not really use Lifebloom at all in the arenas except in extremely rare circumstances, I do not really care. If nothing else, this will reduce Resto's healing a little bit, and I am always up for that.

Cyclone getting nerfed hurts; I will not deny it. It hurts particularly for Ferals because we end up spending half of our 6s Cyclones locked to GCDs, so in practice they only play like a 3s CC effect as-is. Reducing the duration to 5s means that Feral will spend 3/5 of that time locked out of dealing damage, which is just too much in most cases to land a kill. To me, this means that Feral either needs some special treatment in this context or I will need to start using Regrowths on my Predator's Swiftness procs and hard-casting Cyclones on healers when trying to land a kill. The main problem with this is that under normal circumstances, I will end up chasing healers to try and throw out the instant-Cyclones as they round a pillar; good healers are hard to insta-Cyclone. The other problem with this is one that we have suffered with for a long time: Feral has no knockback protection, so hard-casting a Cyclone with a dps on us (let alone two) is extremely difficult and prone to getting kicked.

Personally, I would favor a revamped Predator's Swiftness by way of reimplementing it to allow us to use one instant-cast free nature spell in Cat Form. This would free up a GCD from shifting and make our 5s Cyclone play like 3.5s, which would actually be a buff for us (sort of). Another option would be Feral having a perk that took shapeshifting off the GCD (or made it an extremely short GCD like 0.5s or something).

Lastly, I wanted to talk about Stampeding Roar. This change is a buff, to be sure, but it is still an ability which I will not be training... yet. The cooldown is longer than Dash's, it costs 1/3 of our resources, and will never be useful on a teammate in practice simply because it requires melee range and our teammates are going to be at max-distance from us more times than not. This is definitely something that will be loved by the dragonfighters (PvE'rs), but in terms of utility in PvP, it is still severely lacking. It ends up being an 11% stronger movement speed than our normal and only lasts 8 seconds while leaving us energy starved... it has no place on an arena-Feral's action bar. Blizzard simply is not listening to Feral PvP'ers at the moment, or they disagree with the belief that they should be viable dps.

Switching gears for a moment, we usually do 3v3s on Tuesdays, but our Holy Pally friend was strangely absent last night. He logged onto Skype, but would not respond to my private messages and never logged into WoW (that we could tell), so we ended up running 2v2s instead. A comp we faced (and beat every time) a lot last night was ShadowPriest+RetPally, and this team's burst was kind of scary. I think Guntir summarized them best with "they can reset 2-3 times and keep each other up through CD defenses, then they pop all their offense and kill something." This is definitely the strategy they tried against us, but being the 2s gods that we are, we managed to pressure the Ret enough (while CC'ing the Priest) to keep them from ever lining up good CC and damage at the same time. Another reason this comp is powerful is because of the double-dispel that Shadow has until 4.1. Being able to dispel-train his Ret Pally against teams with Mages (or any magic CC'er, really) is pretty powerful, and is largely the reason that Shadow Priests are on a lot of the top teams at the moment (heroic Shadowcleave is a mean one - DK brings insane pressure and damage while the SPriest brings strong damage and dispels for the healer).

We also played against two different variants of DK+Healer: DK+Pally and DK+Priest. After watching a video that Miirkat put up, I was curious about his tactic of "train the healer till he dead." In truth, I have never had much luck with this because of Feral's lack of offensive pressure against Plate-wearers. So, the first team we got was DK+Pally on Blade's Edge, and I sat the Pally while CC'ing the DK. Essentially, we would put out tons of pressure, make the Pally use a cooldown to survive, he would top himself off, and we would reset the fight. At the end of the match, the Pally was basically at 10% mana while Guntir was at 35% or so, and we ended up killing the Pally inside a Berserk+Maim combo (I know... and me complaining about Maim all the time). The second time we played them it was even easier. It was on Sewers (and I still have no idea why people hate this map; I actually really enjoy it and it has some really neat positioning facets to take advantage of) and we employed the same strategy of "sit the pally". Again, after he would come close to death and use a defensive cooldown, we would reset and continue CC'ing the DK. It was actually easier to CC the DK this time because he decided that his Pally was eating too much pressure from me, so he needed to sit me.

The problem with sitting a Feral, as a DK, when you are running with a healer who is scared to death of said Feral is that the Pally is trying to get away from the Feral and by proxy - you. So, we would catch up to the Pally at the boxes, lay some damage into him, and he would make the mistake of dropping down and start gunning for the stairs, presumably to break line of sight on Guntir for a moment so he could not land damage abilities (but almost certainly the Pally thought Guntir would be mana burning). This is a problem because, as I said, the DK was training me now to keep me off his pally, so the Pally and I would get to the stairs, the DK would grip me back to the corner, and I would be mashing Nature's Grasp while in the Deathgrip. So, the DK and his pet would hit me and get rooted while I shifted out of the single Desecration laying there and got back on his Pally. Once, Guntir (who stayed up top) followed my Entangling Roots with a Mind Control of all things and just left the DK sitting down there in the corner, then brought him over and hit him with Psychic Scream to follow. All told, the DK must have eaten something like 20 seconds of CC while I was beating on his Pally.

So, we ended up going 5-0 running Feral+Disc and our Pally friend was still no one to be seen. So, we figured "meh... let's keep it rolling" and Guntir hopped onto his Shammy. We basically got the same comps: Shadow+Ret, DK+Healer, and two double-dps comps. The DK+Disc team was on Lordaeron, and we said "let's try the same tactic and see how it goes". Aside from one or two scary moments, we basically were winning that fight from beginning to end. The Priest could not keep me off of him and his DK could not pressure anyone, and because it was Lordaeron, the Priest never got more than a second or two to himself without me keeping him using mana, so eventually he went OOM and we killed him.

We fought a FrostMage+Ret team that gave us some trouble (more than the Shadow team, interestingly) because our defacto disposition against Frost Mages is usually "train them till they dead", but the Ret was extremely good about using Word of Glory on him whenever trouble was brewing. Additionally, their CC is more effective against a Shammy than a ShadowPriest (Tremor does nothing to Poly, and Shammy does not have SW:D to break first Poly). We got into a very tight position where I hit something like 2k HP in Bear Form with Survival Instincts only having about 3-4 seconds remaining, so I hit my Frenzied Regeneration (which I have glyphed because... why not, right?) and Guntir landed about a 60k heal on me to shift all the pressure in the fight to our advantage. 30% bonus healing received with Earth Shield and a Frost Shock primer for extra healing just means TONS of burst healing.

The last comp we played against was a Feral+Arms double-dps comp. I have no idea what these guys were doing at 2100 MMR, because they were absolutely atrocious. I obviously sat the Warrior the entire match long because the Feral is so god-awfully-cc'able. So, I landed a 5pt Rip on the Warrior and the Druid hits me with Cyclone, which I trinket and follow up by going Bear Form. I hit the Druid with Bash and both him and Warrior with Demoralizing Shout before the Druid trinkets, but I still have 2-3 seconds left on my Predator's Swiftness proc. Had I been thinking clearly, I would have hit him with Hibernate, but I was a little distracted by the damage the Warrior was pumping into Guntir's shammy, so I hit him with a full DR Cyclone. I had every intention of following that with a Hibernate, but he left form, and once again I looked back saying "why did I not simply use Entangling Roots for the guaranteed CC?" So, I hit the Warrior with Rake, he hits Retaliation, so I back off and start casting Entangling Roots on the Feral. He breaks line because Guntir's Shammy broke line... doh. The Feral comes back into line and I start hard-casting Entangling Roots again and he Skull Bashes me (lawl). Fine... I will just get back on the Warrior. The warrior, at this point, was at 5% hp from Rake/Rip and he just now decided to use Shield Wall. So, I hit Berserk and just DPS through Shield Wall and he dies. It was the easiest match I have had in a long while, and I played it pretty badly.

Guntir is going out of town for a few days on Thursday, so I might have some bonus time to actually get the video up. Booyah. I will keep posting as 4.1 changes keep emerging.