Last week, we kicked off the PvP like a Pro series, where we talk to some of the best Arena players in the world and gain their insights. In case you missed our interview with Alec of team ABC, you can go and check it out in Part 1 here:
Part 2 - Team Composition
It doesn’t take a BlizzCon Champion to know that the strongest 3v3 Arena comps usually feature one Healer and two DPS. However, there's more to the fight than your team's lineup. Luckily, we’ve enlisted FabsS—the only three-time Arena World Champion—from team Method: Triforce to help us!
What to Look for when Building a Composition
If you find a new comp, and a new way of playing that comp, you cause people problems.
When building a composition, the first thing to do is look at what the pros play and check the current meta. If you want to make a new team comp yourself, it's important to have a good knowledge of all these classes—to know their strengths and weaknesses. In FabsS' own words, “Making a new comp that no one plays is all about looking at what’s good in the meta right now and trying to find something that counters it.”
Once you’ve thought about which compositions are currently popular, you can start to use that knowledge to build your counter. For example, at the time of this interview, Holy Priests were strong in the meta. Their strengths include mana efficiency and healing AoE damage. They're weaker when it comes to single target healing, healing reduction effects (such as Mortal Strike), and crowd control. To counter them, FabsS and his team played Warrior, Death Knight, and Restoration Shaman and went on to win European Cup #4. FabsS sums it up by saying “If you find a new comp, and a new way of playing that comp, you cause people problems.” This is the essence of high level Arena—being ahead of the meta by countering the current top team comps or best represented classes.
Composition Strengths and Weaknesses
If I can shut you down and do more damage than you, I win.
The main defining factor in a matchup is your team’s ability to deal damage versus your ability to avoid it. Simply put, FabsS says, “If I can shut you down and do more damage than you, I win.” Take the example of a Frost Mage versus two melee classes: while the two melee classes might have a higher potential damage output, the mage can use slows to keep the enemy at a distance, reducing damage taken and gaining the upper hand.
A few factors that you should consider when deciding whether you have the edge over another comp are damage uptime, interrupts, and crowd control.
Cooldowns and Win Conditions
Unlike previous expansions, FabsS feels that cooldowns are less impactful on Arena matches in Legion. It's still important to make equal trades—such as a Death Knight using Anti-Magic Zone against a Frost Mage with Icy Veins—but overall, your ability to pressure a team and beat their win condition is more important.
Most teams think ‘how do we win?’ But they don’t think about the other team and figure out what they'll be trying to do.
For this reason, FabsS highlights the importance of understanding your enemies' win conditions. It’s very easy to get caught up in your strategy and forget that your opponent has their own plan as well. As the former champion says, “The first thing that comes to mind when building a comp is understanding the win conditions of the enemy. Most teams think ‘how do we win?’ But they don’t think about the other team and figure out what they'll be trying to do.”
Following his victory at BlizzCon last year, Fabs tweeted an image of his team’s preparation for the Grand Finals match-up, showing that hard work really does pay off. He says that team work is more important than ever in Legion, and it’s crucial to make sure you get along with your squad. You can catch him and his team Method: Triforce live at gamescom on August 23-26 on our official Warcraft Twitch channel.
Stay tuned next week when we'll be hearing from Minpojke of team Northern Blue Gaming for the third and final installation of this series, PvP like a Pro: Practicing Effectively.