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#5031622 Oct 03, 2011 at 06:41 PM
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The Faction Champions is the collective term used by Blizzard to represent the third encounter in the Trial of the Crusader raid dungeon. Players encounter members of the opposite faction in PvP Arena-styled combat.

Most of the champions have 2,400,000 health in the 25-man version; some have only 1,900,000. In the 10-man version most have 403,200 health and some have 322,600.

Heroic Mode

On the heroic version of Faction Champions, they have 2.6M or 3.2M health each. Every champion also hits for more damage, is untauntable, and has a PvP trinket at their disposal (with a cooldown of 5 minutes). Crowd control and being alert about being targeted is very crucial to survival.

The Opponents

This encounter is much like an arena match vs. 10 (or 6 at 10-man) quasi-player NPCs. The opponents act very much like a good arena team, and some (but not all) PvP mechanics are applied to the NPCs. For example:

The NPC healers switch to spam healing DPS target(s).
The NPC damage dealers gang up on a single raid member, especially raid members with low health.
All NPCs, including healers, use crowd control abilities like Polymorph, Fear, Hex, and even Banish.
Crowd control behaves as if fighting other players (eg. Sap only lasts ten seconds instead of one minute), and are subject to Diminishing Returns. After 3 casts, the NPC becomes immune to that Crowd Control effect for 15 seconds. Because of this, you cannot rely on crowd control abilities to win this fight.
However, they are still considered non-player characters for resilience, meaning resilience does not reduce damage taken. Resilience is still effective against critical attacks.
Faction champions do more damage than typical players, have drastically more health (2.4 million on 25 man), and cast enormous heals, e.g. the druids rejuvenation ticks for over 50,000
The NPCs are immune to mind control. All other forms of crowd control work.
The NPC's AI uses Proximity, Health and Damage to decide who to attack. Try to never be in the center of a group of NPCs or they are likely to all turn and one-shot you (Rogues beware!). If you Aoe, be prepared to get aggro. If something is attacking you or even heading your way, run.


Prior to the encounter, everybody should switch to PvP mode. Everyone should plan on taking hits, so stamina/resilience gear helps. As always, it is a balancing act between how much pvp and pve gear you should use.

As with any arena match, picking a damage target and focusing it down is critical. While one target is picked to be killed, all other enemy combatants should be controlled by whatever mechanics are available, including CC and focused distractions (e.g., keeping a warrior on the rogue NPC to disarm, hamstring, intercept, stun etc.). The NPCs reset their aggro tables every 9 seconds. This frequently leads to the damage dealers ganging up on a single raid member; fortunately, healers do not get disproportionately frequently targeted. The NPCs are generally very difficult to tank.

The resulting very chaotic nature of this fight (especially early on when all 10 NPCs are alive), requires fast and smart decision by every single raid member. When one or more of the melee champions targets a soft target, that target needs to run, fear, snare, escape, anything to stay alive. To facilitate these maneuvers, it is best not to clump together. Every second that a champion is traveling to its target is a second that it is not doing damage.

PvP trinkets are recommended in case you are targeted with blind or have to eat an entire fear. A few seconds of not dispelling/interrupting is all it takes to undo a minute's worth of dps. Tremor totem and fear ward are a must. Hunters should use frost trap to slow the NPCs. Hunter pets should attack the enemy pets - The NPC healers treat pets and summoned pets (Treants and the like) as players, so do not kill those. Merely keep attacking them and the healers will waste heals on them. If you are fortunate enough to have several NPC's pets to attack, the fight will be much easier.

Another aspect of this encounter at odds with an arena match is that all opponents and their classes are known ahead of time, so it is possible to create a variety of control macros that target specific roles by name. This is strongly recommended. It is often very difficult to pick a control target from within the crowd while at the same time healing or dealing damage, and evading. Every class with a control ability should be using it as often as possible, including healers. Because of diminishing returns, it's a good idea to regularly switch the control target.

The fight becomes exponentially easier as each champion is killed, so getting the first one down quickly greatly increases the odds of winning. All cooldowns, including Bloodlust/Heroism, should be used immediately. The priority of targets is dependent on raid makeup, but usually the most effective strategy is to kill the healers first. The healers and their abilities are:

Restoration druid: Rejuvenation, Lifebloom, Nourish, and Regrowth. Two can be interrupted, three must be dispelled.
Restoration shaman: Healing Wave, Lesser Healing Wave, Earth Shield, and Chain Heal. Three can be interrupted, one must be dispelled.
Holy paladin: Flash of Light, Holy Light, Hand of Freedom, Divine Shield, and Hand of Protection. Divine Shield is cast at around 25% health and should be broken swiftly (by Shattering Throw or Mass Dispel) so the Holy Light which she immediately starts casting afterwards can be interrupted. Similarily she casts Hand of Protection(which can be broken by Shaman Purge) on other low-health NPCs, often the first dps target.
Discipline priest: Greater Heal, Flash Heal, Renew, and Power Word: Shield. Two can be interrupted, two must be dispelled.

The most effective healer is the restoration druid, mainly because most of his casts are instant and not interruptable. A common strategy is to put interrupters on the other healers and burn the druid down first. If there are competent warlocks dispellers in the raid which can keep the druid banished, and dispel the Hots on the kill target, you can something else first (usually the rogue or warrior). Remember that the banishes are subject to diminishing returns, so this approach should only be chosen if the other focus target dies before the druid becomes immune to banish.

After the restoration druid is dead, one of the other healers is usually chosen next. The shaman uses a powerful earth shield which makes him slightly more dangerous than the priest; in addition, he casts Hex and powerful totems. Fortunately, he has no self-rez.

After all the healers are dead or locked down by rogues/warriors, the next highest priority should be the melee DPS. The rogue is the most dangerous followed by the warrior, the retribution paladin, and the death knight.

The rogue can shadowstep anywhere in the arena and kill someone almost instantly. Fan of knives hits everyone for huge damage. He also has evasion and vanish, making him difficult to kill. Until you decide to kill the rogue, he should be locked down by a tank who can charge when he shadowsteps and disarm when he is attacking someone. If you can kill the rogue within twenty seconds, it is worth killing him first and use your CC on the NPC healers.
The warrior also hits very hard and casts bladestorm. The death knight will pull people to him and chain others. Your tanks are a good choice to kite these two for the fight.
The warlock is deadly only because of Hellfire. Merely have an interrupter keep him on focus and interrupt him as soon as he casts Hellfire.
The Enhancement shaman is dangerous only through his totems, such as earthbind and windfury. A ranged class should be in charge of killing totems when they appear.
The hunter is also capable of doing some huge burst damage with explosive shot and aimed shot, but your healers should be able to heal through it.
The shadow priest, mage, and balance druid are usually only annoyances due to their CC (fear, freeze, cyclone).

Once the first couple are dead the fight becomes several orders of magnitude simpler and boils down to a burn phase. Keep the DPS champions chasing and the raid healers alive. Players assigned to distraction on various enemies should continue distracting until their target is picked for the kill. Distraction players must watch their target's target and call out who they're pursuing.

Two of the most important abilities in this encounter are offensive dispelling and spell interrupts. All of the champions are susceptible to spell interrupts, and offensive dispel is critical to cut through the healers' effects. Another strong ability to remember is mass dispel, which can remove Divine Shields and Ice Blocks, both of which are used by enemy champions. Mortal Strike and Wound Poison also help a lot. The death knight and rogue use disease and poison effects so Cleansing Totems should be down.

Class roles

Tanking classes can use taunt, but it only lasts until the NPC's drop aggro (which is all the time), and is susceptible to diminishing returns. Fixate taunts like Hunter's Distracting Shot do not work. It is better to use your tanks as kiters/interrupters.
Death Knights are very good at pinning down melee with Chains of Ice, Dark Command, and Death Grip.
Warriors can spam Hamstring, Shockwave, and Charge stun the warrior and the rogue to prevent them from moving.
Rogues are able to keep casters, healers especially, locked down with constant stuns and interrupts. A cycle of Kick, Kidney shot and Gouge, along with mind-numbing poison should guarantee nothing gets cast. Vanish, Cloak of Shadows, Improved Sprint, and Killing Spree dispel Shattered Barrier and Frost Nova.
A combination of warlock and balance druid is able to chain Cyclone and Banish on the restoration druid, switching whenever the CC chain cannot continue due to DR.
Use a Fear bomb if enough champions reach their target.
A Death Knight with Hungering Cold is able to use theirs right at the start to control anyone who is not currently taken care of. Doing this at the beginning of the heroic encounter is very useful for burning all the champion's PvP trinkets early.
Priests and any dispellers must keep all buffs and Hots off of the kill target at all times.

If a raid finds that they're having trouble surviving, it might be best to save all forms of crowd control for self defense. The first two minutes or so of the encounter are usually the most critical. Once the first healer is down (usually the Resto Druid) the fight becomes significantly easier.

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