Lil’ Oondasta in 5 clicks

…or “How to Hustle a Hustler”

Patch 5.4 brings Little Tommy Newcomer to the pet battle scene. Around my house we call him “Little Tommy Hustler.” Here are some quotes to illustrate my meaning:

“I only have one pet! I hope that’s ok!”
“Go easy on me!”
“Your pet fell down!”

Little Tommy’s “only” pet is Lil’ Oondasta; a “boss” pet that is every bit as ridiculous as regular Oondasta. Just like regular Oondasta, attempting this with a team filled with a bunch of random yahoos is going to be somewhere between frustrating and futile. Before you keep reading, try Lil’ Oondasta a few times. If you can’t come up with a team that works, read on.

You’ll need a Clockwork Gnome with Build Turret. You’ll need either a Zandalari Anklerender or a Zandalari Kneebiter with Black Claw and Hunting Party. Your third pet can be anything at all as long as it has lower HP than the raptor. Make it something like a low level gray snake so Tommy will think you’re a total noob. The third pet is only here to manipulate Lil’ Oondasta’s force swap ability.

Click 1: Build Turret. Lil’ Oondasta will use Frill Blast, pushing your Clockwork Gnome out and pulling your raptor in. Now lull Tommy into a false sense of security: “Oh wow Little Tommy, I wasn’t expecting that neat trick. Whatever is my little raptor going to do against your giant augmented dinosaur?”

Click 2: Black Claw. Keep laying it on, for effect: “Oops, that one didn’t do any damage. This is sooooo hard.”

Click 3: Hunting Party. Your raptor will get through at least 1 round of hunting party before being killed. If you’re lucky, you’ll get 2 rounds. It doesn’t really matter though because Turret + Black Claw + Shattered Defenses = like totally a ton of damage. Little Tommy might start to realize what is happening at this point. This is where you look him straight in the eye and say something like “Hmmm…guess I got lucky with that one.”

Click 4: Select your Clockwork Gnome after your raptor dies. There is potential to swap in a leveler here as well, but I haven’t explored this to any depth. Depending on the status of your third pet, this click may not be necessary.

Click 5: Pass. Yup, unless your Clockwork Gnome has a Dance Mockingly button. Mine doesn’t, unfortunately. You can click Build Turret again if you want to. I sometimes do. Unless you were somehow very unlucky, putting up the second turret isn’t necessary. Lil’ Oondasta isn’t going to survive the first one.

Now rub it in a little: “Oh wait, was I allowed to use 3 pets in that fight, I didn’t even realize.” “Well, anyway, thanks for the coins kid.” “Maybe I’ll let you try again tomorrow.” Or something like that.

That’s how you hustle this hustler.

Level 1 Pet vs Mo’ruk

I’ve already written a few of these post on putting your level 1 pet up against various Pandaria tamers and this one is no different. As usual, winning the fight in this way while wearing your Safari Hat will boost your level 1 pet to level 11.

Mo’ruk can be a challenging fight. He has 3 hard-hitting pets that we need to beat with just 2. Oh, and there’s the minor detail of getting the level 1 pet in and out without dying. To win this, I choose my trusty Emperor Crab with Snap, Renewing Mists and Shell Shield and also my Celestial Dragon with Flamethrower, Ancient Blessing and Moonfire and, in addition, just to make this sentence longer and add 2 more commas.

So where to insert that level 1?

Start with your crab and cast Shell Shield to prepare. Mo’ruk’s first pet, Woodcarver, will hit you with Acidic Goo. Now is the time to swap in your level 1. Woodcarver will use Burrow and go underground. Now, without taking any other action with your level 1, swap your crab back in. It turns out that your pet doesn’t need to attack to get credit for winning the battle. Swapping in while the battle is in progress is sufficient. I’m not sure if this is intended, but it was true in 5.2 and is still true in 5.3. Your crab will take the damage from Burrow, but don’t worry, it’ll grow back. Now cast Renewing Mists. From this point, keep up Shell Shield and Renewing Mists and then Snap, Snap, Snap until Woodcarver is dead.

Next up is Lightstalker the moth. Your crab is likely still pretty healthy. He won’t stay healthy long if you let Lightstalker have his way so swap in your Celestial Dragon. Now I’m going to give you some advice that was passed on to me by my grandaddy. “Grandson,” he said, “nary was there a problem can’t be solved by mixin’ in some Moonfire and Ancient Blessing.” The man wasn’t wrong. You’re probably going to want to open with Ancient Blessing since you will take a hit when you swap in. In truth, you might need to open with “Pass” since the first attack might put your Celestial Dragon to sleep. In any case, Ancient Blessing and Moonfire on CD and Flamethrower the rest of the time. The Celestial Dragon should have no problem defeating Lightstalker.

Finally, you’ll have to face Needleback the turtle. Needleback will eventually kill your Celestial Dragon, maybe even with his first attack. Your mostly healthy crab should be able to finish the fight. If you are within 2 Snaps of winning, just Snap, Snap. Otherwise, Shell Shield and Renewing Mists are your friends.

I can’t remember the last time I lost using this strategy. I think it was some time in 1968. Probably.

A note on “keeping up” Shell Shield and Renewing Mists: Keeping Shell Shield up usually means casting it when your timer shows 1 round. This is because the other pet is probably faster than your crab. If you wait until Shell Shield ends to recast, you will end up taking an unshielded attack from the other guy (since they attack before you cast Shell Shield). With Renewing Mists, on the other hand, you can wait until the spell has expired since the healing effect is applied at the end of the round regardless of when you actually cast it.

A note on Grandaddy: The part about Grandaddy and the Celestial Dragon was a bit of a dramatization. First, I have never called him “Grandaddy” and he has never called me “Grandson” and also I don’t think he ever said “nary”. Secondly, to my knowledge, Grandpa has never used Moonfire or Ancient Blessing…and that’s because he prefers to go triple undead. Ok, that’s not true either. It would be cool if it was, though.

Enjoy your shiny new level 11.

Level 1 Pet vs Jeremy Feasel

Your level 1 pet + Safari Hat + winning against Jeremy Feasel = your level 11 pet.

Yup, I think that math is right.

I know what you’re thinking. Jeremy Feasel is hard even with 3 level 25 pets. It’s true, though. He is. The solution? Audacity!!

The tricky part (who am I kidding, the whole thing is tricky) is finding a spot to insert your level 1. None of Feasel’s pets hit softly. Judgement (the eye) doesn’t have anything that won’t kill a level 1. Honky-Tonk (the Tonk….because Honky-Tonk, see?) has a “lock on” ability that won’t do damage on the first use, but you can’t really predict when it will happen. It appears, though, that Fezwick (the cheating monkey) always opens with Clobber. Clobber is a stun with a 100% hit chance that does no damage. This is our only hope, Obi-Wan.

And now we lose over and over and over again trying to make this nonsense work.

Since I am lazy and not terribly creative, I chose to go with a Call Lightning/Build Turret combo using a Wild Jade Hatchling and a Clockwork Gnome. Call Lightning creates a Lightning Storm that causes all attacks to do a bit of extra damage. The Clockwork Gnome’s turret ability attacks 3 times each round and sometimes you’ll manage to get 2 turrets up at the same time. Each individual attack gets the extra damage from Lightning Storm, so it’s pretty good.

Note: If you don’t have access to a Wild Jade Hatchling or a Wild Golden Hatchling, Tranquil Mechanical Yeti is probably the easiest way to get Call Lightning for the Lightning Storm effect.

This fight is a bit annoyingly RNG-dependent. The last pet, the cheating monkey Fezwick, is predictable (predictably a cheater, though). Judgement and Honky-Tonk are wildly unpredictable. Sometimes they will hit you repeatedly with their weak attacks and sometimes with the stronger ones. I’ve been opening with Wild Jade Hatchling’s Breath to soften up Judement then Call Lightning followed by swapping in the Gnome. From here, you’ll have to rely on your experience as to the timing of turrets and Repair. I haven’t decided if Railgun (strong vs Honky-Tonk) or Metal Fist (strong vs Fezwick) is better. It’s probably Railgun to get through Honky-Tonk faster but I usually use Metal Fist because, you know, too lazy to change it. Your Clockwork Gnome should make it all the way to Fezwick. When Fezwick comes in you should make sure your level 1 pet is there to take that first hit and then swap it back out immediately. If you don’t have a lot of experience with this battle, you’ll have to practice to get some. Your main objective is to have at least 1 Turret up and a few rounds of Lightning Storm left when Fezwick comes in. All that mechanical damage will chew him up pretty quickly (because mechanical is strong against beast). When your gnome dies, hit Fezwick with Call Lightning (more mechanical damage) to seal the deal. Hopefully.

After some practice, I am able to make this work most of the time. Sometimes bad luck makes it impossible. If that happens, just heal up and try again.

I’m sure the more creative pet battlers out there can come up with an even better 2 pet team for this strategy. If you have one, I would love to hear about it.

Level 1 Pet vs Farmer Nishi

With a Safari Hat and the right strategy you can bring a pet from level 1 to level 11 by winning a single battle against Farmer Nishi.

Farmer Nishi’s first pet is Siren (a Singing Sunflower). In order to win this battle with a surviving level 1 pet, you must overcome Siren’s Sunlight power. Sunlight deals around 165 damage to your whole team each time it is cast and, depending on your strategy, may be cast 2 to 3 times before you defeat Siren.

Unfortunately few, if any, level 1 pets can take 165 damage in a single attack without dying. We’ll have to narrow the possibilities a little bit. The damage caused by Sunlight is elemental damage which means it will do reduced (about 105) damage to critters. Using a critter allows your level 1 to take the first hit. Sunlight also creates a weather effect that increases the health of all pets (except elemental because they are immune to weather effects) by 50%. This means your level 1 critter will have the health to take two more hits if necessary, as long as you heal it. So, put your level 1 critter in for the first round and then switch to your second pet after your level 1 takes that initial hit.

The next order of business is actually beating all of Nishi’s pets. Nishi’s first 2 pets are elemental, so choose a pet with aquatic attacks. A crab with Renewing Mists, Whirlpool and Surge can defeat Nishi’s whole team but you’ll be taking 1 to 2 more hits from Siren’s Sunlight. If you use this strategy you’ll have to heal your level 1 to take advantage of the health buff. This can be done by putting in a pet with a team heal in the second round and then swapping to your crab. Inspiring Song (crickets, singing sunflower, terrible turnip) or Cleansing Rain (frogs, fish, water striders) work for this.

The quickest way to defeat Nishi is with a pet that has both Cleansing Rain and Pump (Sea Pony, Mirror Strider, Tiny Goldfish, etc). Just cast Cleansing Rain to buff your aquatic abilities and to heal your level 1 (just in case) and then spam Pump until everybody is dead. It’s really not even fair. With this strategy your level 1 probably won’t even need to eat another hit from Sunlight. I throw in a mechanical pet (Clockwork Gnome or whatever) as my third just in case my aquatic pet somehow manages to die. I don’t think it’s happened.

Level 1 Pet vs Hyuna of the Shrines

With a Safari Hat and no luck at all, you can rocket a pet from level 1 to level 11 by winning a single battle against Hyuna of the Shrines. The trick, of course, is keeping your poor level 1 alive. The other trick is defeating all 3 of Hyuna’s pets with only 2 of your pets. And then the other trick is….actually, there aren’t any more tricks.

And now we talk about Dor the Wall. Dor is a turtle with a very turtley set of moves. If you aren’t paying attention, Dor can take out your whole team and be really frustrating. If you are paying attention you’ll know just where to insert your level 1 pet. Dor only has 1 attack ability, Headbutt, and it has a 3 round cooldown. Do I really need to spell it out? I will, just in case. Put your level 1 in right after Dor attacks you with Headbutt. You’ll have a few rounds of him (I can only assume Dor is the boy name for Dora) not attacking and you only need 1. You only need 1!! Then, return to your regularly scheduled program.

Now for the second trick: beating all of Hyuna’s pets with only 2 pets. We’ll work backwards on this, starting with Dor the Wall. Dor will literally take out your whole team if you do it wrong. If you do it right Dor will do no damage to your pets at all. Remember I said Dor only has that one attack and it has a 3 round cooldown? Yeah, so just block or dodge that one. Most of your blocking and dodging abilities have the same cooldown as Headbutt so if you time the first one right (which I’ll leave as an exercise for the reader) it’s really easy from there. The other slight complication is that Dor’s other 2 abilities are Shell Shield and Healing Wave which means he will survive all day long if you can’t put out enough damage. So to defeat Dor, use a flying pet (because flying does extra damage to aquatic) with a dodge or block. I prefer a Luyu Moth with Cocoon Strike.

Moving back through the battle, you face Fangor. Fangor is some kind of snake with I don’t even care what kind of abilities because it doesn’t even matter. Remember that if you are doing it right, you’ll be able to defeat Dor without taking any damage. So the snake can do whatever snaky stuff it wants to do as long as your pet doesn’t die.

Finally, the first pet is Skyshaper. Skyshaper is a wasp. Celestial Dragon annihilates Skyshaper without much trouble and in fact usually gets most (if not all) of the way through Fangor as well.

Done.

Level 1 Pet vs Aki the Chosen

If you have a Safari Hat, a single battle with Aki the Chosen can raise your lowly level 1 pet to a respectable level 11. Of course that’s just theoretical, you’re thinking. No level 1 pet can go toe-to-toe with a level 25 pet (and legendary no less) and expect to survive even 1 round. And plus that stupid Stormlash is a stupid fat CHEATER.

It is possible though.

The first pet, Chirrup, is kind of a pushover. He is only there to make Stormlash extra powerful with the Shattered Defenses debuff applied by Swarm. Swarm only very rarely does more than 150 damage in the first round. So, just throw your level 1 pet in there first thing and hope for the best. This usually works as long as your level 1 has more than about 160 HP (and isn’t undead, because critter beats undead). Sometimes you’ll get some bad luck and Chirrup will crit, but not usually in my experience. Now let the poor little guy limp to the back row and go to town. Since Aki’s team does no damage to your back row, your level 1 will be safe for the rest of the fight.

Now you just have to defeat the whole team with only 2 pets. Good luck with that.

Actually, I’m going to tell you how to do that too. I used to hate this fight because, as everyone knows, stupid Stormlash is a stupid cheater with his stupid cheating lightning all the time. But then Liopleurodon over at Tamer Liopleurodon’s Battle Pet Roundup explained, in a calm inside voice, all the subtleties I was clumsily ignoring. You should go read about that at Liopleurodon’s guide to Grand Master Tamer Aki.

Here are the main points:

  • Shattered Defenses applied by Chirrup’s Swarm ability makes Stormlash seem more powerful than he is. It can be completely avoided using some type of damage reduction ability like Shell Shield. The attack has to do actual damage to apply the debuff so if you have an ability that blocks more than about 50 damage from every attack, no Shattered Defenses. I prefer a crab with Shell Shield, Renewing Mists, and Snap (a beast attack vs Chirrup’s critterness)
  • Let your “damage reduced” pet without the Shattered Defenses debuff take the first hard (now not so hard) hit from Stormlash and then swap out.
  • Now exploit that Lightning Storm. During Lightning Storm, mechanical abilities do extra damage and each attack causes a lightning strike that deals even more damage. It seems like this was tailor made for the Clockwork Gnome’s Turret ability. If you don’t have a Clockwork Gnome, go get one right now…I’ll wait… If you like battle petting, it is worth leveling archaeology just to get this guy. Anyway, Turret is a mechanical ability, so extra damage. Also it attacks 3 times each round which means 3 lightning strikes which means….yes, it means extra damage, pay attention. I first drop a turret, then use Repair to heal (usually he dies during the repair but he’s mechanical so no problem), then drop another turret. Two turrets means 2 (or 6…9…I don’t know how many but a lot of) times the damage and Stormlash just melts away like the monsters under your bed when your mom shines the flashlight under there. It’s not scary at all, see?

At this point your 2 pets should have more than enough left to manage Whiskers.

So that’s it, collect your bag and your new level 11 and move on to the next one.

Our 2 Player Guild Reaches Level 25

My wife and I have most of our characters (and our “mains”) in a single guild. The entire guild membership is made up of characters from our 2 accounts. When I first created the guild I didn’t expect that we would ever level it all the way to 25. We can’t make a “guild group” for dungeon, raid or battleground challenges. Neither of us is particularly interested in 2v2 arena. Our only option to level the guild was through questing. Prior to the release of Mists of Pandaria only max-level questing really contributed much to guild leveling. The changes to guild XP brought by patch 5.0 have been a real boon to our guild progression. You can read more about this at Leveling Small Guilds in Mists of Pandaria.

When MoP launched, our guild was level 5.  We had 2 85s each plus assorted lower level characters.  Now, we have 3 90s and an 85 each and assorted lowbies.  The great thing is the lowbies have been contributing to the guild progression.  The table below shows the timeline of our guild progression based on achievement dates:

Milestone Date Days elapsed
Created 9/25/2011 0
Level 5 8/12/2012  322
Level 10 10/1/2012  50
Level 15 11/4/2012  34
Level 20 1/7/2013  64
Level 25 4/21/2013  104

Darkmoon Game Prize not BOP

As of patch 5.2 the Darkmoon Faire daily game quests award a Darkmoon Game Prize instead of a Darkmoon Prize Ticket. The Darkmoon Game Prize is a container that contains a Darkmoon Prize Ticket and has a chance to contain many other vanity items that are normally purchased with the tickets. A notable fact is that the Darkmoon Game Prize doesn’t bind to the character that wins it. It can be traded.

This might be old news to many by now, but I just noticed it tonight (haven’t done much DMF since 5.2). When I say “I noticed it” I mean “my wife pointed it out to me.” This is interesting because Darkmoon Game Prize always contains a Darkmoon Prize Ticket. Before 5.2 and the introduction of the Darkmoon Game Prize, there was no way to transfer Darkmoon Prize Tickets from one character to another. Now you can send your 5 daily game prizes, and consequently your 5 daily tickets, to anyone. This allows you much more flexibility when deciding how to save or spend your tickets. It also allows you to help a friend purchase Darkmoon Faire items and even heirlooms. Insanity!!

Keep in mind that if you want to transfer tickets you have to leave them in the Game Prize. The tickets go straight to your Currency tab when you pull them out of the box and can’t be traded at that point.

I’ve said before that Darmoon Faire is my favorite place to get heirlooms. The fact that the game prize has a chance to drop many of the other items purchasable with the Darkmoon Prize Tickets (pets for example) makes the decision to save your tickets for heirlooms that much easier.

The Fall of Enchanting Rods

This is my submission to Cold’s Gold Blogging Carnival for April 2013. The topic for this month is “Name one of your historically profitable markets that is now defunct and what can we learn from that old market.”

I got into the enchanting rod market because I wanted to level my blacksmithing without gathering and without transferring gold from other characters. I knew enchanting rods could be profitable because I had helped my wife get the rods for her enchanter. I ended up buying her Adamantite Rod on the Horde auction house and transferring it to Alliance side via the Neutral Auction house because I just couldn’t find one on the Alliance AH. The most profitable rods, by far, were the rods that used materials from Outland, specifically Fel Iron, Adamantite, and Eternium. The average player didn’t (and still doesn’t) spend a whole lot of time gathering in Outland and also the plans to make the rods were in out of the way places so your average power-leveling Blacksmith didn’t have any particular motivation to get them.

Enchanting rods were probably my first “real” gold making market in that I was buying all of my mats from the AH, flipping undervalued rods, and making some effort to maintain a consistent stock. I made more than enough to finish up blacksmithing and then plenty for everything else that toon would need. At one point, I saw a whole bunch of Etermium Rods on the AH for really cheap. Except for the quantity, this didn’t surprise me. Eternium Rods were routinely flippable so I, of course, bought them all up. Not too long after that (after a couple of inactive weeks IIRC) I logged in and found that my entire stock of enchanting rods were now gray vendor trash. This was, as you could likely guess by now, right after patch 5.0 hit. It wasn’t that big of a deal as the gold I lost by holding that stock was only a small fraction of the gold I had previously made selling rods.

Lessons Learned

I had been paying some attention to game changes coming in 5.0. I wasn’t into most professions at the time and there were so many other changes happening that I completely missed the bit about the enchanting rods. So, the lesson is: If you want to maximize your gold making you should read patch notes, share what strikes you, and pay attention to the gold making community. Regardless of how much we pay attention, there is a chance that somebody might find something you miss or that you might find something they miss.

Enchanting rods were an annoying bottleneck for a lot of leveling enchanters so it makes sense that Blizzard decided to do away with them. The rods were one of the few places where leveling one crafting profession relied on a product of a different crafting profession. It seems that Blizzard is planning on making more changes to streamline profession leveling that will end up changing the way we make gold with them. This gives us just that much more incentive to pay attention to upcoming changes.

TL;DR: Enchanting rods went gray, so use Twitter.

Still Farming Songbells on Sunsong Ranch

This is my submission to Cold’s Gold Blogging Carnival for March 2013. The topic for this month is “What Are You Currently Doing With Your Sunsong Ranch / Ranches?”

On my LW/Skinner, I am still planting Songbell Seeds for Mote of Harmony which I use to make leg armor kits. Most of the other LWs on my realm are selling the leg armors for 400-700g but I am still occasionally able to sell a few for 700-1000g. I like to keep a decent stock of Spirit of Harmony for when the AH supply of leg armors dwindles. Also, the motes are the only plantable item I can’t get with gold and they can be converted to many other things. Since the release of 5.2 I have been testing out the new work order system for reputation farming. I have been planting 8 plots for the work order and 8 with Songbells. I’m not sure I will stick with the work order system. I’ll try it for a week or 2 before I decide.

On my miner/BS I was planting Songbell Seeds as well, but I didn’t have a particular use for them. Eventually I stopped going regularly and now make it over there maybe once per week. I may start planting Snakeroot Seeds to augment my Ghost Iron/Trillium supply for Jewelcrafting research and Living Steel cooldowns. They modified the yield of the Snakeroot Seeds slightly with patch 5.2 so I will have to compare the results of planting versus actual mining to determine if it is worth the effort.

My third farm is still on the first 4 plots. This farmer is a Jewelcrafter/Engineer. When I get around to unlocking them, I will definitely plant some Songbell Seeds at the beginning since there are some things I want to make that require Spirits. After that, I probably won’t bother much with this third farm as it takes some time I would rather spend elsewhere in game.