July 24, 2009

WoW Cunning PvP Pets

This is our last installment in our series exploring the different pet families. In the first post we explored raiding with a Ferocity pet. We identified the current recommended raid pet for each raid build. The next post in the series discussed why Tenacity pets have become the pets of choice for while grinding and farming.

This week I'm going to talk about Cunning pets. I like to think of them as the "Fun Pets."

I think of Cunning pets as fun because of the different abilities they have. If you're lacking a particular ability or need an extra debuff, stun, even snare, the Cunning pets are there to help fill in the gaps.

Because of this utility Cunning Pets have often found it difficult to secure a regular place in the PvE world of raids. However, some of the more popular ones are starting to see some success in PvP. So let's take a closer look at these unique pets.

Cunning Pets

The Birds of Prey are a great example of how a pet can help supplement your own abilities. They can disarm your opponent for 6 seconds using Snatch. That might not sound like a lot but if you happen to be in a battleground or 1 on 1 in an Arena battle, 6 seconds can see like an eternity when all you can do is run and take damage. And thanks to your pet, that's about all that pesky Rogue can do as we fire shot after shot.

How about keeping that Blink happy Mage in place for once. Well you got a couple of choices. You could go with a Bat that can emit a Sonic Blast. This little nasty inflicts Nature damage and stuns the target for 2 seconds to boot!

Maybe you don't like the flapping noise of the bat. Well another good option is the Spider. Spiders use their sticky Web to prevent the target for moving for 4 seconds. Both of these are almost like having an extra trap.

You could almost look at Nether Rays as our own version of having a pet Shaman. Okay, maybe not really! But their Nether Shock is a good way to inflict a similar effect like Shaman's Earth Shock. But more frustrating to any caster will be its ability to interrupt spell casting and preventing the target from casting a similar spell back at you 2 sec. Take that you shifty Shaman!

Plate wearing classes are a pain. They have a ton of Armor and Resilience reducing the damage our shots can do to them. And add to that, one Warrior can ruin our whole day by using Sunder Armor and weakening our defenses as they charge into our (yes smaller than before) kill zone.

The Spore Bat, a funny looking creature that can give those Warriors a small taste of their own medicine for once. By casting a Spore Cloud and dusting the nearby enemy. The Spore Bat causes Nature damage but also reduces their armor by 3%. That may not be a lot, but enough to make our shots sting a little more that's for sure.

With all this talk about normal pets available to everyone don't think I've forgotten about the Beast Master Hunter and their ability to tame Exotic Pets. Beast Master's have a couple of options available to them in Chimaeras and Silithids.

I'll grant you that having this monstrous flapping pet with you might seem intimidating, but really it's just painting a huge target on your back saying, "Here I am!" That aside, I do think Chimaera's have a pretty neat ability called Froststorm Breath. Basically they can lay a combination Frost and Nature damage attack slowing your target. Sounds pretty good, but I'm not entirely sure if it makes up for painting a bulls-eye on my back as I try to navigate battlegrounds.

My personal favorite of Exotic is the Silithid. This one is just too creepy not to be fun. First, who doesn't want to have their very own Starship Trooper bug? Besides that the Silithid can spray Venom Web Spray at your enemy. It'll superglue them into one spot preventing movement while also causing Nature damage. The Silithid is as Moomkin at Arena Junkies put it, "...a crab with remote pin." Definitely worth considering if you're going to PvP as a BM Hunter.

It seems that Cunning pets are extremely situational. Even over on Arena Junkies and Elitist Jerks the overwhelming school of thought seems to be to just use a Ferocity pet. That being the case, here's my crack at what seems to make sense for a either a 16 point or 20 point Cunning Pet talent build.

Tier One

Great Stamina (Recommend 3 points/2 points Optional) adding 12% more stamina is always nice. The only trade-off that I can see on this would be if you decided to put 1 point into Cobra Reflexes. Having a faster attack speed even with the reduction might be worth it. But I'll stick with the extra stamina for now.

Tier Two

Boar's Speed (1 Point) Here is where I increase my pet's movement speed. Boar's Speed is more beneficial by giving a consistent 30% speed increase trumping the individual 18% from Dash or Dive given up in Tier 1.

Spiked Collar (3 Points) Adding 9% additional damage with all attacks is a nice little bump.

Tier Three

Avoidance (3 Points) Being able to reduce the damage your pet takes by 75% on AOE's is a pretty nice bonus. Some might think this is a waste of a talent point, but you need to put 3 in here in order to eventually unlock Wild Hunt.

Lion Hearted (1 point) One of the most annoying things I run into is when someone smacks a stun on your pet and then charges into you. Using Lion Hearted will help reduce this by 15%.

Tier 4

Feeding Frenzy (2 points) There is nothing like the joy of seeing a target panic because your pet is taking huge chunks out of its hide with each attack. Feeding Frenzy does just that. With each attack doing 16% additional damage they'll stop worrying about you and try to get the little bugger off their back.

Cornered or Great Resistance (BM Only 1 point) I like Cornered. In PvP Pets seem to run out of Health faster than normal anyways. So why not take advantage of that last gasp and do 25% more damage, while at the same time reducing their chance of suffering a Crit by 30%.

Cornered is purely a manifestation of my offensive, "Gotta eat some Warlock faces" side sneaking out. The more defensive and careful side says take the point into Great Resistance and reduce the damage from those pesky casters by 5%. But this is PvP right? So I'll stick with Cornered.

Tier 5

Wolverine Bite (1 point) This attack brings back the days where Bestial Wrath couldn't be stopped. By doing, at level 80, 405 points of damage (Pet's level * 5 + 5) from a single attack that cannot be dodged, blocked or parried has to be enough to make anyone a bit weak in the knees. The only caveat I see is the target must dodge the initial attack. Which one would think in PvP really shouldn't be that difficult.

Roar of Recovery (1 point) One of the historical problems for Hunters in PvP has been Mana. Our only hope to survive for any length of time was to play the drain game. Now we have a way to help combat that. Maybe not the most efficient, but Roar of Recovery will restore 30% of your Mana over 9 seconds. This can be the difference from shooting blanks or firing of that ever fulfilling Kill Shot.

Grace of the Mantis (BM Only 2 Points) The 2% reduction on critical hits to your pet is not really that great. The main reason for speccing here is to open up Roar of Sacrifice.

Tier 6

Wild Hunt (1 point) This is just a pure pet buff. The one point will get your pet an additional 20% of your Stamina contribution, as well as a 10% Attack Power increase.

Roar of Sacrifice (BM Only 1 point) This is purely a selfish point for the BM Hunters. It's your pet's way of taking one for the team. By swooping in and absorbing 30% of damage for 12 seconds it can give you a second chance to get your revenge.

That brings us to the end of our review of Cunning Pets. I'd like to hear what you have to say. Have you used a Cunning pet in PvP? Maybe you have a suggestion on the proposed 16 point or 20 point specs? Maybe you can shed light on how Silithids compares to Crabs for pining down the enemy? Let's find out more about these unique and curious cunning pets and leave a comment below.

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