Yet Another Warlock Nerf

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l2pvp: Fakecasting

This is the final guide in the l2pvp series, which try to provide some answers to the reasons behind your 1500 arena rating.

We can talk forever about the perfect arena setups, the right amount of resilience or the right gear and dozens of other things. But it boils down to this: most of the time, it’s your skill that will determine the outcome of your fights. Regardless of what most players will tell you, having skill does not mean downing Illidan or beating scrubs in Warsong Gulch: it means having the knowledge about every single class mechanic in the game, and on top of all knowing the ins and outs of your own class. Managing cooldowns, using proper addons, using line of sight to your advantage, overcoming tunnel vision, binding your spells, and a number of other things all affect your performance. Most of them you can learn by yourself, which means my guides are next to useless. But sometimes, you just need that final push when someone tells you to do this and that because it works.

I think it’s about time I say a thing or two about fakecasting. Zach over at WI (by the way did you notice how an awesome job he’s doing lately at covering all things PvP?) touched on the topic recently, so go ahead and read his view as well. Although he calls it juking, I kinda prefer fakecasting. Force of habit, I guess. In my last guide, I mentioned fakecasting is possibly the most valuable lesson I learned about PvP so far. It’s not a secret or anything uncommon, and is actually quite easy once you get the hang of it. Like everything in this game, it just requires a bit of practice.


What is fakecasting

Fakecasting or juking is when you start casting a spell, but cancel the cast before it finishes in order to bait your opponent into wasting one of his/her interrupts, such as Kick, Counterspell, Pummel and several others.


Why do it

Because if you get Counterspelled while casting a spell, you will not be able to cast any spell from that school for eight seconds. If the mage casts Counterspell while you’re not casting any spell, he just wasted one of his most important cooldowns and you’re able to freely cast whatever you like for the next 24 seconds. Even if the mage invested a couple of points into Improved Counterspell, he will silence you for four seconds - those extra seconds you get can often be game breaking. More on various silences and interrupts a bit later.


Do I really need to learn this?

Absolutely. It’s not just for healers, it’s also imperative for all casters. A mage with his frost school silenced is not doing nearly as much damage as possible. Getting your shadow school silenced as a warlock means you have to either stand still and do nothing, or resort to casting Searing Pain, Immolate, or a handful of other nearly useless spells. For healers it’s obvious: if your healing spell school (Nature or Holy) is interrupted, you’re not doing your job.

As a warlock, you are often the prime target of melee DPS, mostly rogues and warriors. With their interrupts on a mere 10-second cooldown you will spend nearly half the time with your shadow spell school locked unless you fake your spells. If you do not fake your casts, you will loose each and every match no matter how bad your opponents are, simple as that. If you’re having trouble fearing rogues as a warlock, this is the number one thing you need to learn. Spamming rogue class forums is second, and that’s only if you’re evil enough.


Ok, so how do I do this?

If all of this so far sounds too complicated for you, read it again and go practice it in battlegrounds or duels. If you still don’t get it, you’re playing the wrong game.

First of all, you need to be aware of all the silences and interrupts, so here’s a breakdown for you:

Kick

  • Cooldown: 10 seconds, although it sometimes feels like no cooldown at all
  • Interrupt: 5 seconds
  • Silence: a rogue who invested talent points into Improved Kick will be able to silence you for two seconds regardless if you cast or not. It requires 17 points in combat tree so you will rarely see a rogue with Improved Kick nowadays.
  • Thoughts: your worst nightmare. It requires 25 energy to use, and you might not need to fake your cast if you watch the rogue’s energy bar closely. Mind you, most skilled rogues will always keep enough energy to interrupt you.

Pummel

  • Cooldown: 10 seconds
  • Interrupt: 4 seconds
  • Silence: none
  • Thoughts: will be much easier to fake in Wrath since warriors will not be able to Mace Stun you 99% after each missed Pummel. Although many warlocks seem to believe warriors can’t be feared, if you spam it often enough they will blow their cooldowns soon enough.

Counterspell

  • Cooldown: 24 seconds
  • Interrupt: 8 seconds
  • Silence: with Improved Counterspell, 4 seconds. Expect most mages to have it.
  • Thoughts: eight seconds is an eternity in arena. Do your best to bait the mage successfully into wasting his CS, otherwise you’ll be standing like a rag doll for eight second, plus you’ll probably get Sheeped afterwards. Quick tip: you can dispel the silence effect.

Spell Lock

  • Cooldown: 24 seconds
  • Interrupt: 6 seconds
  • Silence: 3 seconds
  • Thoughts: this is a Felhunter ability, so if you see a warlock running with another pet you’re safe. If he’s dumb enough (and most warlocks are) to have it on autocast, simply cast a spell from another spell school to get it interrupted and continue as usual. Free tip: you’ll notice if it’s on autocast because you get counterspelled nearly the same moment you start casting. I’m not sure if the Felhunter is smart enough not to interrupt a Hearthstone, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s not (*hint hint*).

Earth Shock

  • Cooldown: 6 seconds (possibly five with talents in elemental tree)
  • Interrupt: 2 seconds
  • Silence: none
  • Thoughts: whether it’s worth faking versus a shaman or not is often debatable, since it’s “only” a two second interrupt. Notice the next spell in line.

Wind Shock

  • Cooldown: 6 seconds
  • Interrupt: 2 seconds
  • Silence: none
  • Thoughts: a new spell in shaman arsenal added in Wrath. Since the downranking nerf affected shaman a lot, Wind Shock was added as yet another interrupt with a lower mana cost. If you pair these two spells with the Grounding Totem, it’s nearly impossible to get off a damaging spell on a shaman. Hell, there’s even Tremor Totem if you thought about using Fear. If you need a quick & easy way to dispose of shaman totems as a lock, check the warlock macros post.

Feral Charge

  • Cooldown: 15 seconds
  • Interrupt: 4 seconds
  • Silence: none
  • Thoughts: it’s moving down in the feral tree so it’s unlikely non-feral druids will have it.

Mind Freeze

  • Cooldown: 10 seconds
  • Interrupt: 4 seconds
  • Silence: none
  • Thoughts: death knight ability.

Silences: essentially, it does not matter if you’re casting or not since the following spells lock out all of your spell schools (however, learn to Devour it off of you, preferably with macros).

Now that we have the spells in question covered, there are a few ways you can stop casting your spells. First, you can simply press the ESC key while casting. Second, you can move, although I don’t really recommend that one. And finally, you can make the following macro and keybind it as you please:

/stopcasting

Yeah, dead simple. I do believe there is an option somewhere in the interface where you can set your spells to break if you recast it while it’s still casting, but mashing buttons is much more fun and makes you look like a pro.


How do I know if someone used an interrupt?

Aaaaaaaflicted! Next to Proximo, Afflicted is definitely my favorite addon. It will show when your enemies use their interrupts or silences so you can be sure you’re safe to cast. Although the spells usually have distinct sounds and animations, it’s impossible to notice it every time in the heat of the battle, not to mention count down the cooldown. Nobody’s that good. There are other similar addons which can track interrupts, Natur Enemy Cast Bar for example. I’m not sure if Quartz has it since I only use it for swing timers and cast bar, but I’m pretty sure it can also track some sort of debuffs. If you have any recommendations, don’t bother posting a comment cause nobody reads my boring l2pvp posts like this one anyway.


Anything else I should know?

Yeah. Smatter hates when people comment how bad his gem choices are, so be sure to check his armory and mail him about it. Other than that, there are a few things you should know:

  • Don’t stop casts immediately. If you look at it from the… say rogue’s perspective, you would wait for the target’s spell to nearly finish casting, wouldn’t you? Why interrupt Shadowbolt withing the first 0,5 second when you can wait two more seconds and interrupt it just as it’s about to finish, Basically, you bought yourself two seconds, plus you might do a pushback or two or ten. Now snap back to you the shadowbolt spamming lock: it would be best to break the spell after 1,5 - 2 seconds of casting. Not that you’ll be casting Shadowbolt anyway but you get the point.
  • Then again, not all rogues are smart most rogues aren’t smart enough and will do all kinds of things, panic, Kick immediately, not use Kick at all, Vanish, Kidney Shot, you name it they have it. Interesting creatures.
  • You also need to put the latency into the equation. If you use this latency trick it should be below 100 at all times and you shouldn’t have any problems. However, your opponents latency might be far higher. It’s not uncommon to fake a cast, start casting again and then get Kicked because the guy is either a clicker, PvEer, has high latency or is plain bad.
  • Global cooldown can often be used to your own advantage when casting “fast” casting spells, like a 1,3 second Fear. GCD is 1,5 seconds, so if you time it right it’s nearly impossible to get interrupted. However, do note interrupts will be off the GCD in the expansion so there it goes, right out the bloody window.
  • I do consider myself experienced in PvP (smoooooth Horns, smooth!), yet still have problems with this: watch your opponent’s energy or rage bar. If the opponent doesn’t have enough energy or rage to use his interrupt, you can get away with a quick cast. Might be easier to spot versus rogues with the upcoming changed energy regeneration rate.
  • Sometimes it takes trial and error to figure it out in arenas. Some players presume you will fake the cast, others go on their merry way and wonder why their interrupts don’t work. But when you have the same rogue on you for fifteen minutes in one arena match, you’ll probably figure out how he expects you to fake casts.

This pretty much concludes my l2pvp series. I thought I’m writing the obvious, but it seems these posts attracted a lot of attention so far and many people liked it. Go figure. Things I take for granted might actually help someone and I sincerely hope you’re one of them! I have no plans to continue this series, but if you think there’s a topic which would fit or any other topic for that matter, knock yourself out in the comments below.


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Horns
This post was written by Horns, who contributed 151 posts on Yet Another Warlock Nerf.
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14 responses to “l2pvp: Fakecasting”


  1. Malfean says:

    There is a third silence coming in WotLK, on Death Knights, called Strangulate.

  2. Horns says:

    Thanks, added it to the list

  3. Bernard says:

    You forgot another warrior interrupt w/ a silence effect in Shield Bash and with the changes to protection you will see more warriors with shields in pvp now.

  4. Mace says:

    Any particular reason why you don’t like to move to stop casting?

  5. Horns says:

    @Bernard
    I indeed did miss that one, but I doubt we’ll ever have to fake anything versus protection warrs. If I ever get killed by one, I’m deleting the lock

    @Mace
    Takes a bit more time (yeah fractions of seconds but still), can be unreliable (roots). If it works better for you by moving, go right ahead.

  6. Bernard says:

    Trust me my protection warrior on the beta servers is not as easy to kill as you would think. I can charge in combat and in defensive stance, spell reflect is actually what I would use over an interrupt, shield slam has a dispel effect and we have a new interrupt as well in heroic throw when combined with the talent gag order. Don’t count them out so easily, Blizzard is going towards less and less of a rock,paper,scissors from what I can tell.

  7. Smatter says:

    Haha Horns, I transferred servers! You can’t link my armory now. Har har har!

    Anyway, it is important to note that you can bait enemies into locking your fire school. This is particularly effective if you’re SL/SL or some other Affliction variant. as Horns said, a locked shadow school spells death for a Warlock. However, if you start casting Immolate, one of two things will happen: 1) Your Immolate hits the target, increasing your DPS or 2) Your Immolate is interrupted and your fire school is silences; you can now Fear.

  8. Smatter says:

    *And besides. I regemmed anyway. Why? Because I actually did some arenas; figured it was a logical choice.

  9. Mace says:

    http://www.wowarmory.com/chara.....;n=Smatter

    Your new gem choices are still way off. Here’s why:

    1) You are above 12.5k hp, which is all you need to be bursted down too quickly. This makes all that stam you are gaining from your gems pretty much pointless.

    2) You are below 450 resil, which is considered by many to be the minimal “ideal” number for warlocks.

    Drop all your gems and regem for resil.

    (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself)

  10. Mace says:

    That last post should have read “all you need to not be bursted down too quickly”.

  11. Smatter says:

    Well, this close to Wrath and with honor not resetting, I won’t bother.

    I’m not getting into this again…

  12. Mace says:

    *Extends hand*

    Eventually you will come to the dark side of gemming properly!

  13. Yggdrasil says:

    You might want to start preparing to type delete in all caps then. Protection has had some major changes, and it is only a matter of time before someone manages to put together how to use the new abilities effectively in competitive PvP. The only thing that makes Arms the more desired build at this point is Mortal Strike, and I’m wagering that that will become somewhat obselete at level 80.

    Besides, Shield Bash is an interrupt and it is available to all Warriors. A Shield Bash from Berserker Stance with a 2hander equipped is a complicated little macro to write, I’m guessing, but I’m certain someone will figure it out, or already has. The problem is would it be worth possibly dumping a boat load of rage to do it, not to mention switching back afterwords.

  14. Magsharku says:

    Yes, but shieldbash and pummel share the same cooldown, and anyone with a 2h is either in battle stance (meaning they would need to go berserker for pummel) or yes, use the macro shield bash.

    Now that equipping weapons requires a GCD that’s alot more complicated, and they are more likely to just use pummel.