Good Times and Survival PvP

I can't really explain how much fun I'm having playing Survival in arenas right now.  I suppose it starts with the last two seasons of pretty much just Marksmanship in PvP, and then before that in MoP playing pretty much just Beast Mastery, so it's nice to complete the circle with something that hasn't been great for PvP in a couple years.  But there's definitely a lot more to it, a synergy with the new talents and abilities, as well as the other changes in Warlords.

So Much for Reduced CC

Wasn't there supposed to be reduced CC in Warlords?  I feel like that was on of the big changes for PvP.  Anyhow, I'm definitely spending just as much time in unavoidable stuns as I used to, but I can make up for it with some greatly improved CC of my own, in the form of 12 sec CDs on traps. Match that with the 2 piece set bonus, that's 50 additional focus every 12 seconds.  Couple it with Glyph of Explosive Trap for knockback, and we essentially have an interrupt every 12 seconds (or just a really awesome tool for kiting).

Sure, we did lose out on Scatter Shot, but I'm really not missing it.  Instead of scatter trapping, I've just been focusing on better communication with my healer.  Since there nearly always seems to be a Melee on my healer (and let's face it, Ret Pallies, Frost or Unholy DKs and Feral Druids are all looking great), I can just throw a Freezing Trap somewhere easy to run through, and with that extended engagement radius, freeing up my healer is getting even easier.  As for casters, while scatter-trapping was nice and simple, the threat of a trap is often enough to at least act as a great interrupt. They have the choice of interrupting themselves, or eating a trap.

And that's just two traps, I've still got good ol' reliable Binding Shot or Wyvern Sting (though I have to admit, I'm not enjoying the cast time on Wyvern).

I love DoTs

One of the nice little comforts of Hunters before now, is all specs had a baseline DoT in Serpent Sting. After playing a good bit of MM in arenas over the first couple weeks of the season, with no DoTs (other than perhaps Crows), it's so nice to play a DoT spec again. Many times over the last week or two, I've thought to myself something like: "Damn, I thought I was gonna be able to get the kill, but he line-of-sited me" only to be pleasantly surprised when I see DoTs continue to tick them down, securing the kill. Several times I've actually made that comment out-loud, leading to plenty of grief from my healer in vent. :-P

And we're not just talking about one or two DoTs anymore. We've got Serpent Sting (recently buffed), Black Arrow, a Murder of Crows, Poisoned Ammo (or Frozen), a substantial (even if only 4 seconds) Explosive Shot, and the option of Explosive Trap (if it's not glyphed).  I don't care how good they are at hiding around pillars, if I get up all my DoTs, you're not gonna hide for long.

That's really the biggest contribution to my enjoyment of Survival PvP right now. I've never been the best at playing the pillars, so being able to switch my focus from "get somewhere where I can pump out damage" to "get up your DoTs before they hide again" has been a fun switch.

Survival in Ashran

Overall, I feel like Ashran is a pretty embarrassing failure for blizzard.  Set aside the 2-4 hour queue for a "world PvP zone"; the mixture of lack of explanations of the zone and incredibly over-powered zone buffs makes it unplayable for the unsuspecting, and basically god-mode for everyone who knows how to get the buffs.

Of course, as someone who spends as much time studying as I do playing the game, once I pick up all my buffs in Ashran, I am a PvP god. I picked up the Sharpshooting Guide, and paired that with the Disengage Guide (with post-haste), and I can easily hang back 40-60 yards from anyone while doing full DPS to them.  Yesterday while in Ashran I, through sheer luck apparently, came across a half dozen Song Flowers too, which just made things all the easier.  Then, and I actually still don't know where these buffs came from, but I had a 20 minute buff that gave me random procs of huge jumps. As a survival hunter I spend a great deal of my time jumping anyway, but with this, I was untouchable.  I also managed to pick up a ton of those random scrolls, but haven't had a need for them yet.  

If I was facing people without the buffs, I could easily 1v3, probably could handle 1v4 unless there was a good healer in the group (bad healers couldn't keep up with the damage buffs and the heavy movement).  If I ran into a group that all had similar OP buffs, then we'd just move on to other groups, since it took way too long to kill each other.   Anyhow, not how I want my PvP to generally be, but once every few months or so, it's nice to be insanely OP.

A Couple Complaints

As much as I'm enjoying the play-style of SV in general right now.  It still really hurts to not have a baseline CD or execute.  The way it's set up currently, SV would be really overpowered if we got back Kill Shot, but unfortunately, that means a lot of the time we're going to be playing a sort of support roll in Arenas.  We basically seem to be resorting to keeping up pressure with DoTs and focusing on CC, then waiting for the other DD to finish them off.  

Last week I was able to run 3s as SV/Ret Pally/Healer, and SV/Frost DK/Healer. both seem fairly viable (though the Frost DK wasn't quite geared up enough to tell).  I'm looking forward to trying some runs with a Feral Druid and an Unholy DK.  

Unfortunately, there aren't many hunters very high up on the 3v3 PvP Ladder.  As of me writing this, there are 4 in the top 50 (compared to 12 Druids, or 8 Pallies),  2 Beast Master closest two the top, and 2 SV, rounding out the bottom of the top 50.  I'm not the biggest fan of BM PvP, though I might give it a try after I finish my SV set, and can focus more on a different build for BM.  

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