Jun 8, 2011

Gap Closers

As a melee class, getting and staying close to your enemy is a must.
The following post contains general and non-general informations and tips about (mostly feral) gap closer abilities and tactics.

First things you have to be aware of is target range and ability range.
Most chargelike effects can be used on targets for 25 yards away. Most of the time there a minimum range too (8y) but player-target movement and server lag can affect this.

These abilities can be used offensively and defensively. Charging out from being pressured or stopping a fleeing target are basic usage of these.

The 3 major gap closing abilities:
Bear Charge
Cat Step
Skull Bash

I say major because there many other means of getting to your target, I will talk about them a bit later.

Bearcharge is a 8-25 yard range, 4 sec immobilizing ability, which is on a 15 (14 sec glyphed) cooldown.
It shares CD with Catstep, but while catstep triggers a 30 sec cd (28s glyphed) on itself, it only triggers the original cd on bearcharge. So bearcharge is almost always up for use, but you have to waste a global cd to enable bear form and charge. If you have HOTW from resto talent tree, you will have sufficient rage to use it.
Bearcharge requires (mostly) valid pathing to the target, though it can still charge up on cliffs (not on walls, or onto balconies). It needs point A and pont B to be connected by somehow, as the charging bear is always connected to land.
A_______B   works
A___   ___B doesnt work

Catstep (or Feral Charge - Cat) is more like a Shadowstep copy (but not that good), it uses a leap mechanic, you can jump over cliffs, obstacles, even through some objects (not walls, but mounds of dirt for example). It does not need land underfoot to be castable, can be used on targets while mid-air. It has an interesting pathing, it can jump onto balconies (onto balcony targets to be exact) and to jump in pretty wicked vertical angles.
     B__             __B       first example works, second doesnt

A                  A

The third ability is Skull Bash, which is a 13 yard ability, has no minimum range, functions like a mixture of the previous two gap closers. It can be used mid-air to negate fall damage, also it gets you to the target. Coupled with charges it can be used as a double charge, a bit similar to old style warrior charges. Often I force hunter disengage using SB, then Catstep onto them to unleash Ravage! damage and to keep up with their kiting. Of course the real power in SB is the kick effect, but there are so many other uses to it.

And now onto the non-general gap closers.

One of the best indirect charge effects is priest, Leap of Faith. If you watched some high rated priest arena movies on WCM, you could see the real potential of this, originally defensive spell. Priest can run up to enemies, fear maybe, also turning the camera toward the party member to cast Life Grip on him to get him into the fight. It can also be used to pull targets onto ledges, or forward in a wsg flag capping situation. Another use, is to Mind Control a target, wait, spam Life Grip onto Target, while dropping MC then fear. Life Grip can be used on Iceblocked mages as well.

Paladins and hunters can use root immune spells, like Hand of Freedom and Master's Call. Lasts 4-8 seconds (talent, glyph), ensures movement. Best to use with Sprint and other movement speed increasing effects. Can be dispelled, or spellstolen.

Sprint or feral Dash is on a glyphed, 2.4 min cd, increases speed by 70%. Can be used in stealth, breaks snares/roots on player. It can get you to your target very fast, but be aware if you do not have cancelaura macro, a well timed enemy fear can trick you, and make you run far away.


Stampeding Roar another snare/root breaker, but for all affected friendly targets in a 10 yard radius. Excellent to clear mage nova/freeze, hunter entrapment/spider pet root(which has a separate root DR, tricky) on party. Also gives a +60% speed buff for 8 secs. Affects SOTA vehicles.

Charge, catstep is awesome to use enviromental land spots, like cliffs. As we already mentioned you can run up a cliff onto targets within valid range, you can even charge up a cliff as a defensive move. Let's say you spot a critter on top of a cliff while a ench.shaman is beating you to death. Catstep onto critter, you have your breather.

Important to spot enemy movement styles. For example hunters need to keep their enemies in front of them while kiting. They usually kite to one side,  making a little circle around enemy targets. If you can cut ahead of them, you win range, or you force them to change directions.

You can use charge, catstep and skull bash too while in mid-air. This can be used to negate fall damage also to activate a second "jump". Imagine jumpoing down from Lumber Mill - AB onto a passing target down. You will fly quite a few yards, getting into valid charge range in mid-air. Charge, voilá you jumped another 8-25 yards forward.

Cliff jump also can be used defensively. If you have you parachute ready, you can soar in air for quite some time. I often jump-parachute from dangerous situations to pop into caster, hot stack while flying. Good spots to do this are gilneas mine-lh cliff, LM cliff, mine cliff ~.

Mounting can be a gap closer. Most of enemy cc's last for more than 5 seconds. If your enemy decides to run away, or anyway stops attacking you, you can mount up to surprise them.

Rooted enemy pets, rooted enemies make good targets to charge out on. Just like totems. Most people do not realize how useful are they around the map, making feral able to cross huge distances in a few seconds.