In 3v3 matches, Rogue, Mage, Priest (RMP) teams have proven to be the ones to beat. Six of the top twenty Arena teams on live servers sport this composition. This team combines outstanding crowd control with abilities to survive until the end of combat. The team is not unbeatable, if caught without cooldowns available, this low-armor team falls prey to burst damage, especially if the Priest is dead or otherwise occupied.
The Priest's primary function in the group is dispelling both offensive and defensive abilities. It may also Mana Burn if there is no need for healing or dispelling. In practice, since the priest is often the first target, it spends a lot of time and mana staying alive with the Rogue and Mage work their magic (and stab things). The Priest is often the primary target in the composition because they are usually the only ones visible at the start of the fight and are the lone healer partnered with two pure DPSers. Pain Suppression is your friend and my enemy.
The Rogue's strength comes from an ability to DPS and CC at the same time. Because Blind is a physical ability, it can only be removed by a trinket. This is quite possibly the most powerful CC ability in the arenas, but the three-minute cooldown means that it must be used very judiciously. A good Rogue is always prepared.
The RMP Mage is often Frost specced, allowing access to Cold Snap and the pesky Water Elemental. Obviously the Mage's first job is to judiciously Polymorph healers and opponents doing heavy damage. The Mage is able to thwart attackers by casting Ice Blcok, which protects them from physical attacks for up to 10 seconds. Theoretically the Priest will have a chance to heal the Mage to full during this time.
Factionz of Stormstrike offered this advice on Arena Junkies on how to run a RMP team, followed by a list of more specific strategies for particular match ups:
- Pick a target. This is generally the hardest part about winning games as Mage/Rogue/Priest. Do you kill this guy or that guy? If you do pick the right guy you'll probably end up winning!
- Attack the target (Don't forget, it's a good idea to cast Polymorph and frost nova on the DPS you aren't attacking. Sometimes you should also Polymorph healers!)
- Mage Counterspells the healer
- Priest dispels the target (A LOT!!)
- First kill target dies! Good Job!
- Try your hardest not to lose 2v3. You can do this using the strategy described in 1-4
This combo is deadly because of its ability to lock up one or two opponents while beating the daylights out of the third. The team must stay in constant communication to ensure that an assist train continues. At some point the target will likely use their trinket, so the team must be ready to step in with the next ability.
So how do you beat RMP? The first trick to success is to know your enemy. Those running RMP don't really need to read the above paragraphs, but it might do the rest of us some good. In many cases it's best to fight this composition close together as the Mage runs the risk of breaking their own CCs by using Ice Nova to escape. Be judicious with your trinket use. Once you've used your trinket you are more or less completely at the mercy of RMP, and they will toss you around like an unwanted rag doll. From there, the strategies depend based on your own composition.
For most teams the best option is to kill the priest, with extreme prejudice. If you can maintain the number advantage on this team until the healer is out of the way, you should have the match in the bag. Remember to Dispel and Purge buffs as quickly as possible. This is not a team to split DPS against, though you will want to use your abilities to CC the rogue.
Dropping the Rogue like a sac of potatoes infested with rabid marmosets is another option. By attacking the defenses biggest offender you put the RMP team into a defensive mode. This focused fire requires the Priest to work on healing rather than dispelling or burning mana.
Yet another option is to roll RMP yourself. The tournament realm is an excellent opportunity to flex your muscles and learn how well you fit with other classes. In the past I've leveled characters because they look like fun along the way, now I've been focused on what works best in the Arena. This has caused me, the hardcore Horde fanatic, to roll a Human Mage (for Perception)... on a PvE server. We'll see how far I make it.