Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Art of War(craft), covering battlegrounds and world PvP, and Blood Sport, with the inside line for arena enthusiasts. C. Christian Moore is filling in for Battlemaster Zach Yonzon this week, and does he have a treat for you -- rated battleground strategy!
Rated battlegrounds are a very fun subject to theorycraft strategies for; they're new and interesting. I recorded a rated Eye of the Storm that I originally intended to go with this article, but instead, I'll be bringing you the written strategy now and video later, complete with Ventrilo recording!
If you need a refresher on Eye of the Storm or you're new to battlegrounds in general, Zach wrote a great Eye of the Storm primer.
I've only played Eye of the Storm three times now in rated battlegrounds, although I've been a part of many different strategies from premades in The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King. As far as I know, there are
A strategy I expect to be employed commonly is what I'll call a 2v2 strategy. The basic idea is that it's best for your team to hold two bases and win via capping the flag multiple times. The substrategies are also very similar.
2v2 Dedicated Defense This strategy is named Dedicated Defense because you assign an equal number of your team to one objective and the same equal number of your team to the other objective. You evenly split your team between both points and have a third group to take the flag and return it to one of your capped bases. Once you gain control of your two points, no one on your team ever attacks the enemy bases.
I believe this to be the worst strategy in Eye of the Storm (other than some kind of strategy that will never work, like 1v3 with a focus on flag capping or something equally absurd).
2v2 False Attackers is basically the same thing as above (gain control of your two bases while trying to win via capturing the flag with a third team), but you send one or two people from your defended nodes to the opposing team's defending nodes as false attacks.
This strategy is much better than the Dedicated Defense strategy. If you are not attacking the enemy bases, they have little reason to keep more than one defender at the base. You'll end up with a very large battle over the flag that you weren't prepared for. By sending one or two members of your defending bases to the opposing bases, you keep multiple people there. You're essentially trading one member (or two) for three or four members of the opposing side. It's a false attack; you're winning because you sacrificed one person's position for far better overall position.
3v1 strategies are far better than 2v2 strategies. Three bases are much better than one base and the flag; if you can accomplish this, the upside is enormous. I expect nearly all high-rated rated battleground groups to employ a 3v1 strategy. There are many differences in 3v1 strategy, although I believe all 3v1 strategies can be put into four subcategories.
3v1 Dedicated Defense, No Flag This strategy involves controlling three bases and putting the majority of your forces at two points -- the two points closest to where the enemy team is spawning. If the opposing team attacks your weak point, they must do it by crossing your strong points or the center (flag). If they try to cross your strong points, you can simply intercept them. You can also reliably send reinforcements from both strong points to the weak point if they try to go through the flag (the distance they have to travel is longer than the distance your team has to travel).
3v1 Dedicated Defense, Flag Cap This is the same strategy as above, but with a focus on flag capping once a 3v1 advantage is obtained. I believe this strategy to be strictly inferior to the previous strategy. Spreading your team even thinner than it already is will not win you games. It will, however, make all three of your points easier to take. It's best to forfeit the immediate advantage of a large amount of points from the flag than it is to weaken the rest of your points. The only time capping a flag is correct in this scenario is if the opposing team has absolutely no presence on the flag -- it would be foolish to not go after the flag at that point.
3v1 Rotating Defense, No Flag I consider this strategy to be the best 3v1 strategy and the overall most effective Eye of the Storm strategy there is. To start, you gain control of a third point (usually by sending seven to one of the opposing bases, seven to your other intended strong point and a single defender at your weak point). After you successfully take control of all three points, you intentionally let the opponent take one of your points if they send more than seven people to any single point.
You then use your forces on the other side of the map to counterattack the base they just left from (the only base they still control) and trade bases with them. Sure, you gave up your base they just attacked, but you just gained the base they left from. You're out-zerging the zerg.
This almost always works because the opposing team in a losing 3v1 situation will almost always have at least one person at the flag. This gives you a one-person advantage (or more) and allows you to easily perform this strategy. If they don't have anyone at flag, they're most likely using the same strategy you are and they're also most likely losing (as you are currently winning using the exact same strategy they are, there is no reason to change).
A quick example of 3v1 Rotating You control Mage Tower, Draenei Ruins, and Fel Reaver Ruins. Your opponents control Blood Elf Tower. You have seven people at Draenei Ruins and seven people at Fel Reaver Ruins. You have a single defender at Mage Tower.
Your opponents decide to attack Draenei Ruins and Fel Reaver Ruins with fewer than seven people at each point. You will most likely win, because you have the advantage of defender (that is, a nearby graveyard) and an equal amount of people at each point.
Your opponents decide to attack Draenei Ruins with 10 people. Your team announces the enemy attack location and number of people attacking. All seven of your defenders at Fel Reaver Ruins move to Blood Elf Tower with the intent on capping it. The single defender at Mage Tower moves to Fel Reaver Ruins. A single person from Draenei Ruins moves to Mage Tower.
The battle now looks like 10v6 at Draenei Ruins and 7v5 (or 4, they might have one person getting the flag) at Blood Elf Tower. You will most likely trade Draenei Ruins for Blood Elf Tower. Everyone who died at Draenei Ruins will spawn at Mage Tower.
You're now back to square one -- you control three bases, the opposing team controls one; you are strong in two points and weak in one (with the correct formation). Nothing has changed.
If, instead of attacking a close point, the enemy decides to attack your weak point (in this case, originally Mage Tower) with lots of people, you can defend from both sides while simultaneously attacking and can actually get a four-cap.
3v1 Rotating Defense w/ Flag Cap This is an inferior version to the 3v1 Rotating strategy above. Spreading your team thin when you're trying to intentionally counterattack the enemy is a very poor idea.
It's worth mentioning you can also add a single false attacker to the mix in a 3v1 strategy. A false attacker can be extremely effective against overprotective opponents.
4v0 Is an early victory / early rush strategy wherein you leave zero to one person at your initial bases and quickly try to capture the enemy team's bases. The goal is to never have the enemy bases turn their color -- you will then have them spawn at their starting area and farm them for free honor with a quick win to boot!
Believe it or not, I actually highly recommend this strategy if you have a coordinated and skilled group. The strategy does spread your bases thin but puts enormous pressure on the enemy team early. This strategy can actually counter a 3v1 strategy by achieving a 3v1 on the opposing team and just using a 3v1 rotating strategy.
That being said, the strategy is very hard to pull off if your team is not coordinated. The enemy will assuredly attack a point that you control (unless they are playing a 2v2 strategy, which is absolutely perfect for you), so you will need to coordinate exactly the right number of defenders very quickly. In addition to calculating the exact number, you need to calculate which classes are best for defeating particular incoming attackers.
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