Friday, March 7, 2008

Pulling With . . . Cat Form??

Usually, when a druid talks about making a pull, they either talk about using Feral Faerie Fire to do it from bear, or they fire off some balance spells and then quickly shift to bear. Details of such pulls have already been covered in a previous post, but there's one more type of pull that I find myself using, in specialized situations mind you, to great effect. . . the Cat Form Pull!

The cat form pull is, at its most basic, simply another form of Line of Sight pull. Pulling using line of sight refers to aggroing a group, and then ducking behind some form of solid object in order to force those mobs (mainly the casters and ranged mobs) to follow you. In most situations, this can be done simply by pulling from next to a doorway, corner, or other solid construction, then taking a few steps to one side or another. However, in some situations, such as the four ghost pulls immediately before and after the Shade of Aran in Karazhan, there may not be convenient obstructing materials near your pull site. This is where the cat pull comes in.

The key difference for pulling in cat form is that you need to move a significant distance, for whatever reason, between the place you aggro the mobs, and the place you use to move out of LoS from them. As you may have guessed by now, the reason for using catform is Dash, also known as the "I can recover from wipes faster than you schmucks", or the "Oh shit, I didn't notice Malchezaar's enfeeble!" button. Bearform has the armor to take a hit, but catform has the speed to avoid taking any hits in the first place, and as we all know, the only thing better than taking a hit for the team is that hit never happening in the first place!

Now, since not everybody who reads this blog is necessarily in Karazhan, I'd like to first discuss this pull in a context most of you should be familiar with: Shattered Halls. One of, if not my favorite instance to run. So, lets assume you have gone through the first hall, done the slime gauntlet (or picked the lock on the door), killed the first boss, run the orc gauntlet, and killed Porung to end the event.

Now you're staring at the training hall, with gladiator groups sparring in the alcoves to the sides, some single-pull orcs beating on training dummies in the hall, and most importantly, two big groups of orcs in the middle of the rooms. Now, if you're here with a decent group on nonheroic mode, you may very well just kill off everything in here.

But lets assume that you're going to leave those groups be, either because your group cant handle them (they're not the easiest trash pulls in the world), you dont want to bother with them, or you dont have the time to deal with them (you're on heroic mode and want the badge/potions/primals from the Executioner). You pull the patrol, pull the first big group into Porung's room using the doorway to LoS pull, and clear the orcs sparring with training dummies. And now you're faced with a second large pull, deep into the hallway. You dont want to fight them where they stand, because the third and fourth group of gladiators are right nearby and likely to get pulled (either accidentally or via someone getting feared by the Darkcaster). You cant pull back to where the first group is via LoS because gladiator groups 1 and 2 are still there. Your options are to fight them where the training dummies are, leaving it up to the ranged DPS to take out any casters ASAP (which wont be for a while, due to the urgency of killing the Legionnaire) or pull all the way back to Porung's room.

Obviously, we're going to pull back. First off, mark the pull. The Legionnaire needs to die first, and the casters should either be next, or should be sheeped/trapped/seduced. Once the group is marked, and the rest of your party is patiently waiting in the previous room, its time for the magic. Target the Legionnaire, and drop a Hurricane on the group (remember to use proper hurricane positioning). After a couple of ticks, quickly do a 180 degree turn while shifting into catform, running down the hall toward your companions, and hit your dash. As long as you didn't cast hurricane for too long, and have good mobility, you should at most get hit by a single shadowbolt while running. once you get to your group, take a hard left (or right, but left takes you to a more open area to kill in), shift to bearform, and prepare to mangle that Legionnaire the moment he sticks his head around the corner! Congratulations, you just used 3/4 of your class on a single pull, more or less (Balance spells, catform, and bear form).

There is one other place where this pulling technique is highly recommended, and that is the four-ghost pulls in Karazhan on either side of Aran's room, specifically the first two and the last one, all of which are found just after an upward ramp. Here, the issue is not the potential for adds, but instead the not-so-ideal terrain itself. Your options with these groups are to fight them where they stand (which can lead to some nasty line of sight issues on the initial pull), fight them on the ramp (a fairly cramped area), or pull the group down the ramp to the previous room. Obviously, I prefer pulling down the ramp, and its not that long of a pull, but there's a catch: The LoS issues at the top of the ramp means you have to pull at close range.

Because of the range issue, I pull the ghosts a bit differently. Instead of pulling with a couple ticks of hurricane, prowl to the top of the ramp in catform, face back down the ramp, and when the time is right, pop dash, pull with a feral faerie fire on your tanking target (or one of, if you have multiples) and run like hell. Once the ghosts arrive at the bottom of the ramp, pick up yours as normal. Assuming the other tank and crowd control pick up their targets in a timely fashion, you should only ever get hit by your own tanking target.

Now, while the dash pull is extremely situational, it does illustrate an important point. Always be on the lookout for ways to use your skills that may not be obvious. A healing spell may be the perfect way to grab aggro on mobs (Tidewalker's Murlocs). Rebirth may be usable while main tanking, even when it may not seem like it (Gruul, before shatter). Sometimes tanking a mob means rooting them to the ground (Scouts on the way to Dragonhawk Boss). Sometimes bear form can be used to increase the time you spend doing damage (Feral charge after Aran's AE). Figuring out the little tricks is how a good druid becomes a great druid.

Or so I hear. . .


Karthis said...

Oh nice one - I'd forgotten about that. The only times I've ever kitty-pulled was clearing the anomalies on the way to Curator. Our raid liked dragging them back a room, and that was a loooong run to be beat on by things.

SuraBear said...

Indeed, I use it there, too. That one calls for a Wrath pull, though.

Kleobis said...

Very nice post on yet another puling technique in our arsenal. Thanks for getting this out there for those who may not know about it.

Karellen said...

Extremely useful for pulling Capacitus (sp?) in Mechanar back to the staircase if you don't have a Hunter along. Of course the Hunter pull is preferable, but I can easily rocket pull, hit cat, dash, and get to the stairs fast enough that he walks right up to the side of the stairs (instead of at the bottom- if he's at the bottom you run the risk of stray bombs getting up the stairs). It's tricky, but with practice you can nail it every time.

SuraBear said...

Ah, very true. I generally just tank him on the little slope he patrols around, but have seen the stairway pull done too (unfortunately, of the two times I've done it, both times the melee couldn't figure out they were supposed to stay ON the stairs, not down below!)

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