Fire’s Raging Inferno
Hey guys, it’s Mismagically back with another 4v4 team play school spotlight! Fire is probably the most famous for their “lovable” smokescreen spell, these guys bring a lot to the table when they step inside of that ring. Let’s take a look at their toolbox.
Toolbox tip #1: Fire schools are masters at “deceptive damage.”
Aside from Meteor Strike, the other fire attacks I see a lot of in team play are Rain of Fire and Fire Dragon. Now unless you PVP with a calculator next to you, odds are you aren’t going to be able to predict how much damage you’re going to take and how that affects your current/future round plans for dealing with your opposition.
I like to call this “deceptive damage.” Since it deals damage in DOT form, you may or may not live before you get to use your move for that turn. Scald, a purely DOT spell, also operates under this same principle. However, these kinds of spells come with a fairly major drawback in team play, but more on that later. What are some ways to combat this?
- If you are ice or life, use Mass Triage/Cooldown: Easiest solution to the problem. If you are life and low on pips or wish to save, then I’d say Triage your hitter. Cooldown works wonders, especially if you combine it with Legion Shield to fully neuter the damage done by the DOT spell. If you aren’t one of these 2 schools, there are other ways to deal with this.
- Pile weaknesses on the fire wizard(s): Like we talked about with stopping Tempest in the storm article, weaknesses are even more potent where DOTs are concerned since the class of spell tends to care very little for shielding unless it’s constant. Also if you’re shielding a DOT every round, that means you aren’t doing much else, letting your opponents have their way and setup for another hit. Choke the power at the source by securing some weaknesses on opposing pyromancers, and you won’t have to worry much about your shield count. Also highly instrumental when facing Myth paired with Fire, since the former will likely eradicate your shields before the latter hits.
Toolbox tip #2: Don’t “Choke” – that stun is more popular than you think
Fire is home to one of 2 AOE 2-pip stuns in the game (the other being myth). Lots of times, I’ve seen that stun come out on round 1, followed by a meteor (assuming you’re using the new +1 pip deck to guarantee 4 pips in the next round), to really get that early tempo swing. Also in a team with multiple fire wizards, Choke might be followed up with multiple smokescreens to set up a number of “pseudo-stuns” over several rounds. This is almost imperative if you have a slow setup hitter, like Ice (in non Hades/crit gear). What can be done about this?
- Carry Stun Shields in sideboard: On almost all of my offensive characters (but Fire/Storm especially) I always cary at least 4 Stun blocks in my TC. That way, if our team is going first, I can dig one out and put it on myself to avoid a potential first round stun. Why, you might ask, do I not put it on my tank in case of damage? Simply put, usually the tank will have their own set of stun blocks/conviction at the ready, but even so, I’d rather cloak myself so that from first turn, I can either Stun back, and neutralize the advantage, or so I can potentially do some great damage which sets opponents on the defensive to regain momentum for my team.
- Carry Conviction TC in sideboard: This is a bit trickier to find sometimes, but Couch Potatoes drop plenty of these, so they’ll be in bazaar more often than not. This is not a full proof method as there is still a 10% chance of the stun hitting through the aura, but Conviction has more long term uses than a single Stun Block. It also gives you added block, which I’m sure as a hitter, you’ll probably love any extra block you can take. It also lasts 4 rounds, so it can help resist stuns from not only Choke, but also the (rare but seen) King Artorius. The downside is, you’ll be Supernova bait, so weigh that when considering your options. Not to mention a more offensive aura like Infallible actually really helps when dealing with repeated smokescreen usage by the opposition.
Toolbox tip #3: Beware the Djinn – even in 4v4!
Don’t underestimate Efreet (our favorite 8 pip magical djinn) even in a team setting. If you’re bladestacking to rack up your damage, while a bad juju would be highly more pip efficient for the sole purpose of neutralizing your hit, a fire wizard may let loose Efreet on you to do just that AND rack up some damage in the process. We talked about carrying single hits in 4v4 to avoid beguile; I can’t think of a better single hit to carry that has such a potent side effect, especially combined in conjunction with other negative charms to prevent easy cleansing. Best ways around that, you ask?
- Watch pips of opposing pyromancers: Ideally, if you are even a beginner at PVP, you should train yourself in the art of watching your opponents pips. Obviously some opponents will identify as more of a threat than others, but in the case of this article, watch for Fire wizards nearing or having in excess of 8 pips (which is needed for Efreet). 8 pips is a pretty large number though, so odds are, you’ll be alert to it before it happens.
- Carry cleanse/empower in sideboard: The other method I suggest is the same way you’d deal with removing any weakness charm: cleanse/empower. I’ll go into depth on dealing with weakness removal when I publish the death school article in this series, but for this article, I recommend carrying cleanse or empower to rid that weakness and continue your attack. The damage you endure from Efreet might complicate things a bit, so if you are finding that you need to heal and cleanse, if you don’t rely on death/universal blades, I’d use Sacrifice.
Here’s a few tips to combat fire in the arena. As Smokey the Bear always said: “Only you can protect your PVP record from losing to fires.” (okay so I improvised a little…)
Strategy #1: Turn their tactics against them with smokescreen of your own!
Most fire wizards might not have the best accuracy (seeing as the new crafted robe while it gives a ton of accuracy, many fires opt for their Hades robe), so a smokescreen will probably mess them up as much it would mess you up, so you’ll both be on even footing. Smokescreen from TC is -45% so that’s, for one pip, a decent way to slow them down if they’re getting to hot to handle! Mind you, a lot of people cannot stand the “spam” of smokescreen, but that is a matter for another article entirely. Do what works for you. I also wouldn’t advise “spamming” smokescreen anyway as there are a myriad of pet talents that could trigger in response to that spell and you’d be wasting pips on essentially nothing.
Strategy #2: Use your shields accordingly
Fire Dragon, Meteor Strike, Rain of Fire, and even (rarely seen) Sun Serpent all have something in common: They hurt the most on the first hit. Meteor Strike isn’t a multi-hit spell or a DOT, but it is still relevant to my point here of using your shields well. If you can shield against the first part of ANY of the above listed attacks, you’re in good shape. A well timed Volcanic or Thermic shield works wonders for this task. I wouldn’t recommend stacking them, as you’ll probably need the spare shields for future hits. Also, if a Fire sees you stacking shields against him, he might opt for a straight DOT like scald which is basically going to eat those pretty shields and discourage you from adding anymore for a few rounds.
Bonus Fun Fact: DOT spells trigger pet heals more often
Remember that fairly large drawback that I mentioned earlier? This is it. This drawback doesn’t mean that using a DOT spell will alter the programmed probability of a pet casting a heal. It does mean that since all pet heals can be triggered when the caster takes damage, the DOTs are more likely to trigger these heals since they are a consistent source of damage for the target for at least 3 rounds. The DOTs simply give pets more opportunities to trigger a heal. Since we all know how a well timed pet heal can easily sway the tempo in a match, be wary, and on guard watching this little secret play out in a match!
That’s all I have on the fire school!