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The Colosseum: Loinclothz, Hunter of Sargeras

The Colosseum takes us inside the world of the gladiator to interview some of the top Arena fighters on the battlegroups. Our goal is to bring a better understanding of the strategy, makeup and work that goes into dueling it out for fame, fortune and Frostwyrms. We're especially focused on the people who play these games, to further shed light on the world of the PvP player. If you'd like to be interviewed for The Colosseum, please feel free to contact us -- be sure to include your Armory as a link!

WoW.com had the pleasure of interviewing Relentless Gladiator Loinclothz, hunter of US Sargeras-A. Loinclothz is currently holding down top-five positions in every bracket on his battlegroup. His fourth-ranked 2v2, fourth-ranked 3v3 and first-ranked 5v5 make Loinclothz one of the top-rated players in the world. His 5v5 is also ranked #2 on U.S. realms.

The Colosseum: Why do you play a hunter? What is it about the class's toolbox that appeals to you for competitive arena?

Loinclothz: I suppose the reason why I decided to play a hunter in the beginning is because when all my friends picked up WoW for the first time, we all chose different classes, and because I was the last to pick, I got the hunter. Nobody else wanted to play it.

I fell in love with the class almost immediately -- I think the reason is because a hunter brings to the arena (and the game in general) a playstyle completely unlike any other class. You can make comparisons between, say, a rogue and a warrior being in melee range and using energy/rage, or a warlock and a mage being spellcaster types. Hunter has its own distinct playstyle which combines an awesome physical DPS but from a ranged perspective. Also, because of the dead zone, the way a hunter moves in arena is completely unique and extremely enjoyable.

Do you still play with any of those friends?

I don't. This was actually back in vanilla. Out of the group of us that started, only a couple made it to level 60 and raided seriously, and eventually all of them (including myself) quit when The Burning Crusade came out. I started playing again about two months after the release of WotLK, and the only reason was to test out this exciting new thing called "arena."

You're on a lot of high-rated teams -- you're fourth on your battlegroup in 2v2, fourth in 3v3 and your 5v5 is number 1! What's your favorite bracket? Why?

Haha, it's funny because we have actually held rank 1 in 3v3 for most of the season. We experimented heavily this past week with our paladin/hunter/death knight composition (we also run prot/hunter/holy), and we tanked the team trying different things.

My favorite bracket, as I think most of the competitive community would agree with, is 3v3. Though arguments can be made that the current dynamics of the game make every bracket skewed towards certain "imba" classes or comps, I think 3v3 gives the greatest variety for different compositions and playstyles and has a awesome mesh between stressing the importance of a player working in a cohesive unit and giving every individual player a chance to make plays to really shine.

That's interesting, because I had figured you would say 5v5. You're #2 in the U.S., and it seems a lot of players enjoy the bracket they find the most success in. Have you guys hit world #1 yet? Is it important to you at all?

I was going to voice my opinion on this in the previous question, but I did not want to be too long-winded. Yes, my 5v5 team is successful, but I have actually never been a big fan of the bracket. In fact, my first experience playing on a serious 5v5 ever was near the end of last season.

My opinion on the bracket is that it suffers from a few fundamental flaws that reduce the competitiveness and importance of on-point skill required to succeed:

  1. The bracket requires five people to play (duh), and because of the difficulty of getting five people together every week to play at all (much less five skilled players who are dedicated to grinding a team), the bracket is very stagnant. I think you can see this on almost every battlegroup, where the race for rank #1 5v5 always comes down to one or two teams, whereas in 3v3 and previously in 2v2 it was a wide open and highly contested race.
  2. The setup of the bracket tends to funnel teams to certain comps due to huge advantages that some classes bring to the table. Every team needs an MS (Mortal Strike) debuff to reduce healing on the main target -- so a warrior, hunter or rogue is required. Every team receives a huge benefit from Heroism, so a shaman (restoration or elemental or enhancement) is required. Stable compositions require two healers, and at least one of them needs to have a defensive dispel (and preferably two) so priest/paladin healer combos are the norm. If you combine these and other necessities and then examine class synergies, you end up with three or four cookie-cutter comps that are successful every season, and every competitive team gravitates towards them.
  3. The burst element of the game, especially in WotLK, caters the bracket to becoming just a gigantic zerg. Instead of every class unleashing every skill in its repertoire to win at the chess game, teams can find equal levels of success just spamming big damage or big heals as much as possible (with some coordination ... or not, in certain teams' cases LOL). Not to say that every team who plays 5v5 just facerolls, but the fact that it's possible to not have very much playmaking ability but be a completely serviceable and r1 capable 5v5 player really diminishes the legitimacy of the bracket.

As far as trying to achieve rank #1 in the world of whatever, I honestly believe its more of a matter of just grinding lower-rated teams and achieving a certain number doing so. It really has nothing to do with the rank #1 5v5 team in the world being composed of the five best players or whatever. This is something that you could argue is different. With the competitiveness and variety of challenges that a 3v3 team will face, you can bet that all the top 3v3 teams in the world know what they are doing, as indicated by the consistent appearance of some of the world's most well known teams and players in the 3v3 rankings.

Most of the time when we queue, we just use whichever five players we have online (we play with druid/pally healer combinations and have done a lot of protection warrior/marksman hunter/elemental shaman lately; don't try this at home, because it's awful), and we just grind out 10 1-point teams for points for the week. Sometimes we run into another top-five team and squeeze some 3-4 point games out of them. But if we were to sit in long queues for, say, 10 hours this week and grind out 40 1-2 point teams, does that mean we are great? I think not.

You have two marksman specs. What's different about them, and why do you spec differently?

I wish I could give you an elaborate answer like "My specific and poetically precise placement of these five swing points gives a succinct advantage against this composition!", but those are just my PvE and PvP specs. LOL

Why do you gem for agility and not attack power or another stat? What do you think about hunters who gem for attack power or armor penetration?

Agility is point for point the best DPS gemming stat for marksman and survival hunters. Gemming AP has been discussed in prior seasons and I believe was even a wash during early season 6, but the combination of crit/AP that you get from agility really caters towards a good balance in stats (which is what every hunter should be looking to do). You want to hit hard without critting, but you also want to crit a lot. Too much of either would be overkill and you would get diminishing returns, considering the AP or crit you lose from focusing on a specific stat.

As far as stacking ARP and AP goes -- I believe this is only effective for certain beast mastery (BM) hunters who choose to wear a certain amount of PvE gear to reach ARP soft caps and will experience better overall damage from their pet if they gem that way. However, BM hunters are like the retarded cousins of the hunter community, and I do not wish to address the scum directly, for fear of them spilling over their drool cups over their keyboard in outrage and electrocuting themselves. I would not want that burden of guilt on my heart.

Congratulations on the Relentless Gladiator title. What composition did you use to get the title? How did it feel when you realized you were going to be a rank #1 gladiator?

I achieved the title in 5s. The reason I transferred to Sargeras/Shadowburn in the first place was to get a solid 5s team going to try and take rank 1. Korgath on bg6 (Vengeance) was a PvP mecca in season 6, but that changed abruptly and myself and my shaman friend (Bobsauce) found it difficult to even find partners, even though we were some of the higher profile and well known players on the server; there was simply no one left after the bg9 migration.

I also played 3s and achieved rank 2 during the season playing HLD (hunter/warlock/druid) with my 5s partners Chaimer and Threefaced. They then switched the comp to spellcleave (elemental shaman/restoration druid/affliction warlock) and took our team to rank #1 for double Relentless Gladiator (Rglad) titles.

Even though I bash on 5s, I will say though that we had some fantastic end-of-season games against the team we were battling for first place. Their team was called Americomp and they ran a comp that was much stronger head to head than the comp we ran (they ran 2345 and we ran hunter/ele/lock/priest/druid). The core of their team had been together for a long time and had gotten rank #1 in two previous seasons on the battlegroup. We had some very tough games and they were some of the most exciting I had ever played, just because of what was on the line.

Now that I have a Rglad title, I wont just be satisfied with getting another one this season in 5s and farming the battleground for titles every season. I think everyone who competes, whether it be in a video game, at school or at your job, has to have a desire to constantly improve and take it to the next level, otherwise there's really no joy and excitement.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Interviews, The Colosseum

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