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Pictured: sadly not an actual shaman ability
Pictured: sadly not an actual shaman ability

Yesterday I went from rank 3 to rank 7 of the Brawler’s Guild. It was a lazy Sunday. While I’m currently banging my head against GG Engineering (best attempt: 40%; it’s a horribly unforgiving fight but I’m getting there), I had time to watch a lot of fights. Specifically a lot of deaths. Thought I’d pass along some words of observational wisdom.

You need a DPS spec that you don’t suck at

Believe me, I’m as thrilled about this as anyone. I’d love to tell you that you can go into Brawler’s Guild as a tank or a healing spec and do just fine. But I’d be lying to you. Brawler’s Guild is a celebration of two things: surviving against the odds, and massive damage numbers. See, what they don’t tell you when you walk in the door (although DBM will - it has a Brawler’s Guild module) is that the fights all have approximately a 2 minute berserk timer. There are a few fights that are forgiving due to some sort of mechanic, or bosses with a lower health pool because the focus is on surviving, but there are a great number of fights where you simply need to DPS as hard and as fast as possible. You need a DPS spec, and you need to know how to play it well.

I watched a holy smite priest start rank 1 yesterday. The full holy monty, too - Chakra: Chastise, faster-than-a-GCD Smites, good uptime on Holy Fire and Shadow Word: Pain. I watched this holy smite priest barely make the enrage timer on the rank 1 fights, which are extremely forgiving. Perhaps sensing what the audience was thinking - to my knowledge no one actually said anything - she told us, “all I have is holy/disc and I usually out DPS shadow priests.” I didn’t have the heart to tell her she was barely beating enrage timers by 2-3 seconds, which against certain bosses means you are already dead.

Tanks, similarly - you’re going to have a decent time at the beginning of the matches, but you don’t get massive stacks of Vengeance like you’re used to - you will encounter problems DPSing your way through Brawler’s Guild. It’s just a matter of when.

Get a DPS spec. Learn to play it. Learn to love it - or at least tolerate it enough to whip some matches.

Put your interrupt on your bars

I cannot tell you how many senseless deaths I’ve seen due to people not having their interrupt on their bars, or not speccing into it, or what have you. There’s really no excuse for this - Brawler’s Guild has a lot of casters, and almost all of them have some ability you should interrupt.

And yes, you have interrupts. You do. I promise.

  • Death Knight: Mind Freeze and Asphyxiate, available in all specs.
  • Druid: Solar Beam for Balance, Skull Bash for Feral.
  • Hunter: Silencing Shot, a talent, or a Nether Ray, Gorilla, or Moth pet. Word has it Crane AI will also use Lullaby during casts, but I haven’t tested that.
  • Mage: Counterspell, available to all specs (albeit on a terribly long cooldown), and Frostjaw, a talent.
  • Monk: Spear Hand Strike, available to all specs.
  • Paladin: Rebuke, available to all specs.
  • Priest: Silence, available to shadow priests.
  • Rogue: Kick, available to all specs, and Deadly Throw, available as a talent (if you can spare the DPS loss to use it, anyway).
  • Shaman: Wind Shear, available to all specs.
  • Warlock: Spell Lock, available either on your felhunter or by sacrificing it, or Optical Blast on the observer. (The observer scores bonus points because there are some enemies who have dispellable buffs for it to steal.)
  • Warrior: Pummel, available to all specs, and Disrupting Shout, a talent.

That doesn’t even cover using stuns or disorients as pseudo-interrupts. You have interrupts. Use them.

Group up

A common practice in Brawler’s Guild is to group up - to offer advice, cheer each other on, and perhaps just as importantly to share buffs. When you get in, ask the people present if there’s a buff group to get invited to. You never know - it could make a difference. (Plus usually there’s someone there willing to rez you. The run back to Brawl’gar Arena is pretty convenient, but I’m not sure about Bizmo’s Brawlpub.)

Don’t go AFK unless you’re standing by where people exit the match

No, seriously.

The first hazard is getting warped into your own match while you’re still waiting. That orc might have just told you you’re third in line, but if #1 and #2 leave the arena, tag - you’re it. No one wants to lose their match while AFK.

The second hazard is the angry spectators. These are spectating NPCs who will occasionally get mad that someone won (or lost) and go from being normal green NPCs to aggressive ones. If you wander by them, they’ll start attacking you - and they do a pretty serious amount of damage, all things considered. They’re also around every part of the ring except where people exit. So if you’ve got to go AFK and you’re not queued up, go stand by where the live winners/dead losers are ported out.

(Bonus: these guys are the targets of Bottle Service. Find the NPC selling Expired Blackout Brew - Lidiya Peyton blueside, Esme Sunshadow redside - and throw it at the angry NPCs to get them to simmer down.)

The third hazard is a bug that popped up for me yesterday - unfortunately for my opponent - and is apparently commonplace enough that other people there knew about it. Occasionally you will get ported into the arena during a match still in progress and your own match will begin. Rumor has it that if either competitor wins, both of them win, but since my opponent was losing badly against Blat and I was fighting Ixx, it was pretty much game over. Ixx won.

And last but not least…

Brawler’s Guild is much harder for melee than ranged

Simply a fact of life. But that’s nothing new, now is it? :)


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