I'm not sure if this would be the right place for it, but the newest ptr mentioned that they have moved ability slots for the Darkmoon Zep and the Mech Dragonling. Namely, they've placed Decoy/Explode on the 3rd tier, which will make them much less useful for Jeremy Feasel/Mo'ruk. Time to work on some new combo's for those guys, which is a shame because the explode strategy was awesome for leveling pets with ease
: Zeppelin (Missile, Bombing Run, Decoy) works; best if carry pet can swap in and eat the Moth Dust attackFeasel
: Dragonling (Breath, Bombing Run, Explode) should be BETTER
than current setup
Explode currently gives us two benefits. The first is its high damage. However, since you have to get under the threshold to use it, some amount of it is usually wasted but probably no more than 100 points. The second is that compared to using the usual death swap, Explode spares you a round of taking damage swapping in after the leveling pet.Moruk
Zeppelin (Missile, Bombing Run, Decoy) and Chrominius will still be a solid team against Moruk; I've tried it out a few times this week and its worked. Heh, when I first suggested
using a Zeppelin on Moruk that swapped around Lightstalker, I wasn't even using Explode. I didn't know about how it gave the free swap. Using Explode, and replacing the Emerald Proto-Whelp with Chrominius, were improvements made later by Phraide.
One option is to have the leveling pet swap in after Woodcarver dies and eat the Moth Dust attack. You need that pet to have a decent amount of health, but it means you get back the round of damage that the Zep would take from Needleback hard swapping in after the leveling pet. Note also that hard swapping in the Zep that way could result in getting Headbutted before you could deploy your Decoy. I don't think that can happen when the Zep swaps immediately after Chrominius dies because, even if Headbutt is off CD, Needleback seems to want to Grasp first.
The Zep's Explode does 618 damage while Bombing Run averages 439. Tooltip math tells us we will need 4 Missile hits to push Needleback down into Explode execute range and that, on average, it would be at 446 health. So, while at first glance the difference between the abilities seems to be 179 damage, the difference in damage actually done to Needleback would on average only be 7. There will be some attempts where Bombing Run + Missiles will kill Needleback in the same number of rounds that Missiles + Decoy would have, but generally you'll need one more attack. That puts us a round down which is important more in terms of damage taken and not getting killed than the strategy's rounds to kill average. Note that if Needlebacks health is low enough that additional attack can be another Bombing Run which, unlike Missile, WON'T miss.
I often find with Woodcarver that after 3 missiles he'll still have around 100 health left and I need a 4th missile to finish him off. If even a single missile misses, and we hit round 6, he'll put another Goo on the Zep. With Bombing Run, you only need two missile hits to kill him; that means you have room for one missile to miss. The odds of hitting 4/4 missiles is 65.6%; the odds of hitting 2/3 missiles is 97.2%. Goo does more damage than either Needleback's Grasp or Powerball attacks.
So, maybe 30% of the time, we'll have already paid for the extra round we need to kill Needleback by *not
* getting hit with a second Goo during Woodcarver. RNG with Missiles missing can still wreck us, but this pet combination still seems fast and pretty reliable.Feasal
The Mechanical Pandaren Dragonling's Explode does 560 damage while its Bombing Run, against a beast like Fezwick, would average 666. So, swapping Explode for Bombing Run wouldn't reduce our damage; mainly we're losing the free swap in of the leveling pet.
I tried a run where I started with the carry pet and had it spend a round against Judgement as he does the least damage. But that meant the Infinite Whelpling didn't start damaging Judgement until round 3 which allowed Darkmoon Curse to come back off cooldown. That resulted in an undesireable reduction to the big Early Advantage attack on Honky-Tonk. So that's out.
The extra round when you hard swap after the leveling pet does the death swap could leave you eating a Shock and Awe or even a Lock-On. This is especially true if Failsafe hadn't already been triggered as it guarantees at least 2 rounds for Honky-Tonk to attack you.
The current strategy calls for Decoy on the first round of Fezwick. The one thing you gain from using Decoy then, instead of attacking, is whatever damage is blocked from the attack on round 2. It appears to be random as to whether Fezwick will cast Smash or Banana Barrage. If its Bananas, then you will only block one chunk of the damage which looks to be something like 130 on average. That's a very poor return from a long cooldown ability.
In fact, I think the strat in the current 5.3 guide should be updated with this optimization: if the Dragonling comes in versus Honky-Tonk and Failsafe has not yet been triggered, use Decoy first and then Breath. Normally in that situation you'd have to use Breath twice to kill Honky-Tonk and you'd be attacked once. The average gain from blocking that attack should be higher than the average of "single banana or Smash". Even better, if one of those attacks was Honky-Tonk building up the first charge of Lock-On, which is highly likely in my experience, then you will carry a charge of Decoy over to Fezwick and block his stun. That means you could attack twice during Fezwick's first two turns instead of only once (because you either cast Decoy or were stunned). So, same average damage mitigated and your own damage done increased. Pretty cool, huh?
But back to 5.4; the problem with Decoy is that you would have to use the Death Swap mechanic. That's an extra round of damage taken. Taking a 370-450 damage hit in exchange for blocking one 120 damage banana would be a lousy tradeoff.
Lets look instead at what we get by taking Bombing Run and Explode. Currently you need to hit Fezwick three times with Breath to put him in Explode execute range; you would also need three Breaths to complement a full Bombing Run. Breath has a 10% miss chance, but like the Zep's Missiles it feels higher. The nice thing about Bombing Run and Explode, besides the high damage, is that they can't miss. The kicker is that if you subtract their damage (666 and 560) from Fezwick's health (1570) you get 344 which means you likely only need to hit him with one Breath (355 average)!
So, compared to the current situation with Decoy+Explode we lose Decoy's mitagation of dubious value but need one less attack saving us a full round of damage. Factor in 3 of the 4 attacks required by Decoy+Explode having a 10% miss chance, versus 1 of 3 with Bombing Run + Explode and you will lose fewer turns (and take less damage) to missed Breath attacks. All in all, the Dragonling should be even better in this fight after those changes.
Note: If your leveling pet is low level then you will need to make sure you don't Explode if the Bombing Run debuff on Fezwik show more than 1 round remaining. For example, if the Whelpling made it to Fezwick and ate the stun, you could in three successive turns cast Bombing Run, Breath and Explode. Fezwick wouldn't die until the round after Explode when the bombs would land meaning you leveling pet would get attacked once.