Hax Shield and You: Abusing the Best Spell in the Game

by Andy/Betancore

Srsly if you're a DK and you don't use AMS, you're doing it wrong.

People often ask me what the difference between a bad DK and a mythical “good” DK is.  I tell those people that “good” Death Knights don’t suck, and that our much-maligned class really doesn’t deserve the stigma it has.  It’s the players that suck, not the class.  “But Andy,” you might be saying, “You still haven’t told me the difference between a good and bad DK!  Why do some players suck and others not?”  Well, dear reader, there could be multiple  reasons a particular player sucks, ranging from immaturity to bad reaction times to a crippling addiction to those delicious little mini-eclairs.  There are, however, a few indicators to help you separate the undead wheat from the facerolling chaffe.  Topping that list: great DK’s abuse the hell out of Anti-Magic Shell.

Defensive Cooldowns: Not Just For Tanks

It’s a brand new world out there, if you didn’t notice the big evil dragon flying around rocking Azeroth’s collective shit.  Ammo is gone, leveling through Azeroth no longer sucks, our rune regeneration is actually interesting, and, most importantly, healers no longer have bottomless mana pools.  Every point of mana spent healing you is less time later on in the fight that your healers will be able to heal at all.  This means that it is now the DPS’s job to mitigate as much damage as possible without significantly impacting their DPS.  I’m looking at you, Faceroll Knights.  See that shiny green button lying alone and unloved at the bottom of an unused bar?  Keybind it.  Now.

But Death Knights aren’t the only class that must now worry about mitigating damage, nor is AMS the only cooldown DPS DK’s should be using.  Icebound Fortitude comes in handy, too.  Pallies have their bubbles, Mages have Ice Block,  Durids (yes that is spelled right) have Barkskin, and so on, and so forth.  Everything that lowers damage or removes debuffs must now be used intelligently to help your healers conserve mana.  Your raid depends on it.

However, I believe that AMS is by far the superior defensive cooldown.  One reason for my undying love of AMS is it’s relatively short cooldown.  Another is the fact that:

It Stops Everything!

I’d like to talk specifically to my fellow Death Knights for a moment.  The next time you’re in the middle of a fight, try paying a bit more attention than usual to your debuffs.  Specifically, pay attention to the colored borders that denote whether the effect is physical, a disease, a curse, or magic.  Anything that doesn’t have a red border for a physical debuff, you could have prevented.  I’m not just talking about preventing the damage from it, either.  If you had AMS up while it was being cast on you, the debuff would have never taken effect. If you ever know that you’re about to be affected by a non-physical debuff, you can pop AMS and not even worry about it.  Think about that for a moment.

Need an example? Asphyxiate. Yes, that thing Baron Ashbury in H SFK uses that scares the hell out of your healer.  Pop AMS at the right time, and you could be beating on Ashbury with a full health bar while your comrades are having nearly all the HP drained out of them.  You’re one less person that your healer has to worry about, at least for that phase.  If you spend a moment thinking of other spells that might be completely nullified by using AMS, I’m sure you’ll come up with a few.  Try it!  The worst that can happen is you having to wait 45 seconds for AMS (henceforth known as “Hax Shield” because of it’s near-exploit potency and my fondness for shields) to cool down.  And even if you can’t time it right, if you aren’t stunned, Hax Shield can still help!

75% is a Lot

Valiona’s Blackout.

You can eat it.

All of it.

Don’t believe me?  Next time you get Blackout, run away from everyone else, pop Hax Shield and Icebound Fortitude, and tell your healer to dispel you.  You might actually want to tell him a couple seconds beforehand so that he can stop being dumbfounded and actually dispel you before Hax Shield expires.  If he can pick his jaw up off the floor long enough to take the debuff off, you’ll find yourself around a quarter health, your pretty green bubble will have disappeared, and your healers will have fallen to their knees in worship of you.  Well, that third part might not happen, but it should with the amount of mana you just saved them.

Hax Shield’s description says it blocks “75% of magic damage up to 50% of your maximum health.”  This essentially means that the moment you would have taken more than 50% of your maximum health in magic damage before Hax Shield’s absorption, the effect is removed.  Fortunately, this moment comes after Blackout hits you for around 350k damage.  Thus, you take around 82k damage before Icebound Fortitude.  This may be dangerous to try if you’re below full health, but if you can get away with it, it’ll save your healers quite a bit of mana and worry.

Survivability is About Being Creative

I’d like to wrap up by saying that DK’s and their Hax Shield aren’t the only ones who could benefit from experimenting with survival cooldowns.  Try a couple on the next boss you see, and you might just find that you’ve made your healer’s life a bit easier.  Although the effect may seem trivial, every little bit helps, and it’s the little bits that separate the good players from the great players.  -Andy/Betancore


~ by Andy/Betancore on March 20, 2011.

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