The magic of interrupting casters

April 8, 2010 § 3 Comments

Because at one time I played a tank, my healing style is a little unique.  I am hyper aware of what the tank is doing, where she is placing her mobs, and how she is grabbing them together.  I will admit that from time to time I get a little bit critical of the way they choose to pull their mobs but I always keep it to myself.  Nobody needs to have some opinionated shaman telling the tank how to do their job in the middle of a run.  That’s what blogs are for.

Anyway, because I know what goes through the mind of a tank during a pull, I try to do what I can to help them.  Sometimes pulls can get a little bit messy–and quite often this is because of the caster mobs.  Occasionally we’ll come across a pack of five or six mobs, very spread out and most of them are casters.  Even the best of tanks can struggle with packs like this.  No matter how they pull or who they choose to attack first, there’s always at least one caster mob that refuses to budge.  You know the ones I mean–those really annoying casters that don’t ever seem to want to go after the tank?  The one’s that stand defiantly in place, carrying picket signs, locking arms and singing ‘we shall not be moved’?  Yeah, those ones.

With these packs the way I try to help is by gently encouraging those casters to stop tossing glowey balls of death and that it’s totally a good idea to move into melee range and slap the tank around with their fists.  As a shaman, my preferred method of interrupting is [Wind Shear].  I have it bound to one of my mouse clicks so it’s ready to go at a moments notice.  Wind Shear is awesome for three reasons.  1) It interrupt spells. 2) It causes a two second silence. 3) It lowers my threat.  Oh! Four reasons. 4) It’s off the global cool down so it can be used at any time.

Take the 5-mob pull in Pit of Saron right after Krick and Ick.  I wait until the tank charges in (usually going after the big lady in the middle) and gathers up some aggro and then target one of the other caster mobs.  In between tossing around chain heals I will interrupt their casting with a well timed [Wind Shear].  What this does, for those of you not quite with us, is causes said caster to move towards the tank’s melee range.  This makes it a bazillion times easier for said tank to get and keep aggro on the mob.

How am I able to do this you ask?  A combination of situational awareness, clever key bindings, and Healbot.  Because Healbot is set up so that I interact with it via my mouse (by hovering over the targets’ name and clicking), I am free to tab-target the enemies that want to get a piece of the tank like a tween at a Jonas Brother’s concert.  And because I have my key bindings set up so that [Wind Shear] is easily accessible at all times, I can cast it on a moments notice.  True, I may have to temporarily stop healing for a brief moment, but if everyone is above 50% health with no huge incoming damage it makes much more sense to convince the caster that really they want to go after the tank instead of me.  Then, while the tank and his new fan are having some quality time together, I am free to heal, and the dps are free to unload their ‘phat deeps’ without fear of reprisal.

Although that brings me to another point.  I know, because I checked, that many other classes have some sort of spell interrupt.  Granted some are more powerful than others (silences), and some are more useful (stuns), but everyone that has an interrupt is capable of doing it.  I know this is a frustratingly foreign concept for some dps to grasp, but taking the time to stop damaging and toss out an interrupt can actually be more useful than continuing your dps.  If you notice a caster, off by his little lonesome, trying to get the tanks undivided attention the only way they know how (by spewing firey, glowey, balls of death), maybe you could, oh, I don’t know, do something about it?  Yes, you will have to briefly interrupt your rotation.  Yes that means you might dip slightly in the total amount of dps that you are putting out.  But if you bring the caster to the tank with a clever interrupt, you help everyone.

Think of it this way.  Tank charges in, grabs everyone’s attention except that poor caster off by his own.  For whatever reason the tank is unable to get him to move (don’t bother speculating why, just go with me that he can’t).  You start unloading your super-mega-death-kill-maim abilities, steadily climbing the aggro chart.  Suddenly that caster that was so interested in the tank is now interested in you.  And while the tank is able to absorb the 10k hits like a windshield might absorb bugs on the freeway, you are not built that way.  You’re total health may only be 20k and if that caster hits you twice in a row, you’re going to drop like the price of heart shaped chocolate on February 13th.  It behooves you then, to briefly pause and interrupt the caster, so that he starts moving towards the tank.  Even if you aggro him, if he runs past the tank, then the tank will actually be able to pick him up and save you from death.

Because your ‘phat deeps’ don’t count for squat if your dead.

“[Insert clever sign off phrase here]”

~Fizz (and Zula)

§ 3 Responses to The magic of interrupting casters

  • Tink says:

    This may be my second favorite post of yours ever. Well put and hysterical.

  • zelmaru says:

    This is what I call the “STFU” pull to get the caster to come over. From back in the day when I had silence in shadow spec.

  • Shintar says:

    So true, it makes me cry when I’m healing Forge of Souls on my shaman with a warrior, a rogue and a dps shaman in the party, and yet I’m the only one to EVER interrupt the Devourer of Souls’s phantom blast.

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