A Guide for the Student on the Ways and Means of the Warg and the Stalking of Prey

Minstrels, Or How To Give The Finger To Meaningful Trade-Offs

I haven’t posted a Minstrel1vs1 guide yet 9although one will be posted eventually). Nevertheless I want to spend a little time talking about the current state of this class as it pertains to us wargs. For those who don’t know the Minstrel class received an almost complete overhaul when Rise of Isengard was launched. Without going through every skill and trait let me summarise the present situation vis-a-vis Minstrels: they can deal massive amounts of damage AND heal themselves at the same time.

Why Is This A Problem?

Good question! Other classes can dish out damage and use self-heals can’t they?Why single out the Minstrel? Well it’s not that Minstrels can do either of those things that is the problem, or even both together. No, the real problem is the magnitude of both the damage and the healing.

The Minstrel is ostensibly a healing class, but they can trait for damage if they choose and can in fact output a tremendous amount of burst damage. It isn’t sustainable over the long term, but whilst it’s flowing it can hit extremely hard. The same is true of the Minstrel’s healing abilities. Anyone who has faced a Minstrel recently will be able to tell you that they can still keep themselves healed for appreciable amounts (as well as using a morale bubble)  whilst blasting the shit out of you.

The Trade-Off, Or Lack Thereof

Most classes in the game face some sort of trade-off when choosing one role over another. Sometimes this is inherent to the class, as with the Hunter, which can deal huge amounts of ranged damage, but which is relatively weak up close. Other classes face these trade-offs through choices they make, such as Rune-keepers choosing to either heal very effectively or to deal damage very effectively.

These sort of trade-offs means that those classes have weaknesses. Appreciable weaknesses. The problem with the Minstrel as it is currently is that it has largely side-stepped this concept of there being a meaningful trade-off. If a class can spec for super damage or super survivability that’s fine, but should they have access to both of those at the same time? Imagine a Warden being able to have all of their survivability AND the damage output of a Champion? Or a Lore-master with all of their damage output AND the survivability of a Guardian? Do either of those scenarios sound fair? Of course they don’t, they sound patently ridiculous.

Yet this isn’t far from what we see with the Minstrel right now.

It Gets Worse

One might think to look for other weaknesses in the class. For example, using Rabid Bite to increase the Minstrel’s power costs. You could try that, but assuming the debuff isn’t cured with a disease pot, many Minstrels are sporting 6k+ power pools these days. Frankly your Rabid Bite debuff is little more than a token gesture. You will likely be dead before it has any meaningful impact. Oh did I mention Minstrels can regen their power pools?

Silencing a Minstrel is usually a good idea. Silences work wonders on Minstrels in terms of preventing them from using some of their skills. Fortunately wargs we have two silences in the form of Throat Rip and Dire Howl. Unfortunately Minstrels can make themselves immune to silences.

What’s To Be Done?

This is the question! On the one hand I hate to see any class nerfed. It’s never fun when a much loved ability is taken away or reduced in potency so that it becomes next to useless e.g. Rabid Bite. On the other hand the current state of the Minstrel means that the class has no real limiting factor to it for PvP. In essence Minstrels are getting the best of both worlds.

Now whether to initiate some sort of meaningful trade-off or not for Minstrels is up to the devs of course, but in the here and now what can wargs do?

Well my own recent experiences have thrown up a couple of things that prove to be a little more than useless against Minstrels and I have seen some success with these strategies. They may or may not work for you, but it’s really all we have at the moment.

 Silences – Even though the Minstrel can make himself immune to silences the skill to do so is on a 5 min cooldown. This skill actually cures silences too so the Minstrel will likely save it for when you use your first silence. That first silence might buy you a precious couple of seconds though and it does at least interrupt their flow a little.

 Howl of the Unnerving – Our fear. It’s a 25% shot in the dark, but even so it is still worth trying. If the fear hits it can be a great disruptive tool, again breaking up their rotation and generally causing a little bit of confusion.

 Snap – This will reduce the amount of tactical damage the Minstrel does by 10%. Not much, but it’s better than nothing and might just give you the edge to see the fight through to the end.

 Stuns – This is one of the only tools we have that the Minstrel has no real defence against. Every time the Minstrel is stunned you essentially get a free ride. Don’t waste it. Do as much damage as you possibly can whilst the Minstrel is stunned and make sure you get behind them!

 Crippling Bite – Another great tool for us is our slow. You really don’t want to let the Minstrel gain any range on you because you won’t be able to hit them whilst they can keep blasting away at you.

 Disappear – Don’t be afraid to blow this cooldown to gain another stun.

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