Okay, yeah, yeah, more like “CC Essay.”
I’m a warlock. I’m going to talk about warlock CC. But I’m pretty sure it could apply to any form of CC.
Epeen Points | I’ve gotten a whisper thanking me for my CC, that I “healed” as much just by doing my CC stuff. I told the bear tank guildy I’ll go anywhere with him since he’s a great tank, and he said ditto back. So, /flex, I’m good at what I do in instances. Maybe not topping the charts in DPS (it’s a dungeon, who the flip cares about your DPS number so long as you get it done with the least pain possible), but I help out well enough.
Once, the tank mentioned he loved Fear because it never broke. I was a bit sad to tell him I was just refreshing it before the duration expired. Then it’s amusing when melee dps try to hit a Banished target and it just sits there immune to everything. It’s highly annoying when I pull out my succubus to seduce something only to have someone run over and break it immediately.
So let’s talk about complete CC: the beginning casts, the refreshes, and breaking CC. By “complete CC” I mean something that prevents the mob from telling off your party members for wearing such horribly clashing outfits.
Textwall Crits for 9001 Damage | I’m going over four warlock CCs in detail (jump to: Seduction, Enslave Demon, Fear, and Banish), for either non-warlocks or warlocks who want to refamiliarize themselves with the spells. If you want to skip to the part about executing warlock CC in party, you can. Yeah, okay, it’s maybe two articles together, but I felt like going into the specific spell mechanics was still important.
I’m going to start off with the pet one. As 4.0.1 hit, the succubus became the prized pet of affliction because the felhunter’s talent got moved and her glyph made her awesomer than the felpup. However, now that 85 locks have Demon Soul, the felhunter is back in the game for affliction.
So yeah, I don’t like to pull the succubus out unless the group needs her. And if you waste my Seduction by breaking it immediately and repeatedly, I won’t pull her back out.
Yep, I’m a bit of a bitch like that.
So how does Seduction work?
Seduces the target, preventing all actions for up to 30 sec. Any damage caused will remove the effect. Only works against Humanoids.
I bolded & colored the important parts. Expect similar formatting later on.
Seduction is cast by the succubus. That’s the sexy devil chick demon. She can cast it at my command, and pet abilities are off my GCD. That means I can be casting something or even incapacitated (just not dead ‘s all), and still get Seduction to go off. My succubus has to channel the spell, which means she’s not doing any DPS for me. It is a 1.7 second cast, but asking her to cast it again means she stops channeling it. So give me a few ticks to get it back on.
If you hit the target while Seduction is being channeled, you will break the effect.
Don’t hit a seduced target. Please.
There is a major glyph for the warlock that removes all DoTs from a target upon casting Seduction, but there aren’t many PvE builds that include it.
Enslaves the target demon, forcing it to do your bidding. While enslaved, the time between the demon’s attacks is increased by 30% and its casting speed is slowed by 20%. Lasts up to 5 min.
Another pet one, though indirectly, I guess. It’s like a Mind Control, except you yourself don’t stand around incapacitated.
Only demons can be enslaved.
When a warlock enslaves a demon, our summoned demon disappears, and the enslaved one replaces it. The demon becomes friendly / blue-named, and it’ll say [Warlock Name]’s Minion in brackets like the usual ones do. So don’t ask for both an Enslave and a Seduce. It’s not possible, unless you have multiple warlocks.
The new enslaved demon comes with the standard pet stances — aggressive, defensive, and passive — and the standard pet directions — attack, follow, and move to. The demon may also come with its own special abilities (the four buttons in the middle of the pet bar) and these special abilities are set on autocast. Sometimes, the special abilities will change mid-fight, so keep an eye on the pet bar, because the new special abilities will also appear on autocast.
As a safety precaution, I set my enslaved demons to follow + passive and turn all abilities off autocast (right-click).
For example, the Void Seekers before Setesh in Halls of Origination can be enslaved. (As well as the ones during his encounter, but they’re better left DPS’d down.) I typically enslave one and banish the other (the Void Lord is immune to both CCs). The Void Seeker first comes up with one special ability: the Anti-Magic Shield. If you leave it on autocast, it will put the shield on whatever mob your party is attacking. Which means you can’t hit that mob with magic. This is bad. If you cast it on a player, it makes them immune to magic effects, like, I don’t know, healing. This is bad.
Turn this ability off and don’t use it.
At some point during the fight — I’m not yet sure why — it might change the bar again to something that looks like Dispersion (but it’s not) and Shadow Bolt Volley. I turn both off autocast and reset the Seeker to passive, then intentionally click SBV when I want to.
It has a 3 second cast time, but lasts for 5 minutes. In a PvE dungeon, if you have to recast Enslave Demon on the same target, you either done fucked up or I guess you really like that demon. If you do recast Enslave Demon, there are no diminishing returns on it anymore (as of Patch 3.1); that is, it’s no longer more difficult to reenslave it.
What to do with an enslaved demon | I turn off all its autocasts, and then I tell it to attack whatever target I’m supposed to hit. Unlike the summoned demons, the enslaved demon isn’t terribly saved from things like AoEs. It’s also a bit of an idiot, more so than our normal demons, and will attack things from the front sometimes. Best case scenario: the active mobs will kill the enslaved demon for you.
What if it’s still alive when the rest of the mobs are dead? Well, you can keep it (for whatever’s left of the five minutes), if you want to. If you’d rather kill it, then you need to free it to attack it again. Target the demon, right-click on the portrait or unit frame, and Dismiss it. The mob will become hostile and you’ll be able to kill it like you normally do.
Strikes fear in the enemy, causing it to run in fear for up to 20 sec. Damage caused may interrupt the effect. Only 1 target can be feared at a time.
Glyph of Fear: Your Fear causes the target to tremble in place instead of fleeing in fear, but now causes Fear to have a 5 sec cooldown.
N.B.: For Fear to be popularly viable in an instance, make sure the warlock is glyphed for it. Otherwise the mob will run off screaming like a murloc, and, like a murloc, probably aggro another mob pack. (Unless, of course, the warlock knows how to yo-yo Fear properly.)
Assuming you don’t immediately break the Fear effect like a dumbass, or that you don’t have to juggle two targets with a bouncing Fear, the 5 second cooldown is really nothing in PvE.
What the tooltip forgets to say is what can be Feared. Or rather what can’t. Undead targets are not fearable. (Players of Forsaken toons are not considered undead, but humanoid, FYI. They just happen to have a racial which breaks Fear.)
Notoriously, Fear suffers diminishing returns in PvP. That is, subsequent applications of Fear have a decreasing effectiveness, all the way down to no effect.
In PvE, there are no diminishing returns on Fear, with the exception of select encounters like Faction Champions that are designed to be PvP-like. In PvE, you can Fear a mob forever if you like.
But, you can Fear only one target at a time.
Unlike Seduction, damage caused to a Fear target might break the effect…or it might not. I’ve had an accidental DoT go up or the tank Swiped it by mistake, but the Fear stayed up.
Repeated hits on the Feared mob, however, are sure to break it.
Fear has a 1.7s cast time; of course, adjusted by haste. You can overlap recasts on a Feared mob. That is, if a Feared mob has 5 seconds left on the Fear duration, and you recast Fear on the mob, the duration will reset to 20 seconds without breaking the Fear effect.
Banishes the enemy target, preventing all action but making it invulnerable for up to 30 sec. Only one target can be banished at a time. Casting Banish on a banished target will cancel the spell. Only works on Demons and Elementals.
There’s a lot in that tooltip. Let’s break it down.
Possible targets: Demons & Elementals. You’ll use it most on Elementals, especially in Cataclysm. In PvP, it was fun to Banish Tree Druids (they’re Elemental!), before the Tree of Life went away to a cooldown.
Banished mob are immune to everything. I mean, everything.
Example? When weapon skills were still levelable, I would go to Nagrand, banish an elemental, and whack it with my staff or knuckles. For an hour or so. Just sitting there rebanishing the same elemental and skilling up my Unarmed.
If the tank hits it, I don’t care. If the idiot melee guy wants to smack it a few times, I don’t care. If you want to waste your DoT casts on it, I don’t care, because they wouldn’t do anything even if they’d apply. Did you DoT it up before the leader called for another Banish on it? I don’t care, because my Banish will immune out your DoT damage.
Banished mobs are immune to everything. I mean, everything. Well…except…
Another Banish cast.
Recasting Banish “frees” the mob from Banish, aka cancels the CC.
In order to refresh the Banish, you have to time your subsequent Banish carefully.
Banish has a 1.5 base cast time. Personally, mine is 1.33 seconds, it says. If the Banish duration on the target mob is at 1.4 seconds, then, theoretically, starting the cast now will cancel the Banish at 0.1s left. I should wait until the timer tells me 1.3s or less (thank you, Satrina Buff Frames for giving me tenths of a second on timers) to begin casting. Theoretically, the previous Banish will just barely fall off and then my second Banish applies onto the target, effectively re-CCing the target.
Fellow warlocks who play with the talented Improved Soul Fire haste buff might notice a parallel to Banish reapplication. The only difference is that Soul Fire has a travel time versus Banish’s instant application. Which, in my opinion, actually makes the ISF reapplication error margin laxer.
Of course, factor in lag, and I can actually start around 1.3-1.4 seconds left; but just to be safe about it, I start around 1.2-1.3 seconds left.
The actual spells are only half the work in crowd control. A big factor is communication between the CCer and the party, both ways. Your fellow DPSers appreciate the notice that it’s okay to hit that mob now just as much as your tank and healer would appreciate the notice that the mob is about to be loosed upon the party.
Confirm Your Mark
Maybe the marks for each CC vary from server to server or just group to group. Typically the tank will set the order and CC-to-mark pairings, but not always. Skull and X are generally reserved for kill orders. Once, a tank was using X for hex, and I told him once I got frustrated from accidentally breaking the shaman’s CC with DoTs that maybe that wasn’t a good idea.
Typically the marks used for CC — that I’ve seen — are moon, star, diamond, triangle, and circle. (Square I’ve seen rarely; most often it’s the 3rd kill order, at least in my years of play.) I’ve claimed diamond for myself in guild groups, particularly for Fear. I mean, diamond is purple, warlocks are purple, it makes sense, right? Moon’s typically sheep in my groups, and Star can mean either Banish or Hex, depending one who’s there and what we’re doing. Triangle and Circle get used if we’re CCing a big pack and either have a diverse lot of CC or maybe multiple warlocks CCing multiple mobs.
Confirm your marks before every pull, if necessary. It might not be necessary if the tank popped into the LFD with a macro saying that Diamond will always be Fear. Hopefully, the same marks will get used for the same things throughout the entire run, but especially if your group members aren’t close-knit, go ahead and confirm your CC mark. “Fearing diamond,” or “Banish on star, yes?” and the like should suffice.
Pulling with CC
Some tanks would prefer you, the warlock, make the pull with your cast of CC. This happens most often with the breakable CCs like Fear and Seduction. The theory goes that you will initiate the pull by incapacitating a mob, then the tank will taunt everything still loose off you (and off other CCers like Sheepers or Froggers or Shacklers), and in the process, pulling everything attackable away from the breakable CCs.
As with most breakable CCs, make sure your pet is on passive, else it will go tearing off to hit the CC’d target. A Feared target can take a bite or two, and I haven’t tried a succubus channeling Seduction while on defensive yet, but I don’t really feel like risking her breaking off early either. But pets nomming on targets tend to send the signal that it’s okay to hit the mob now.
Just like it’s cool when the tank says, “Pulling in 3,” you, the warlock, may want to type out or say on Vent, “Casting,” or the like as you begin the spell. Cast times are 1.5-3 seconds, which is generally enough warning for anyone. If someone immediately signals they’re not ready, you can easily twitch (move forward, backward, strafe, jump, /stopcast, whatever) and cancel the spell before it goes off.
Once you’ve CC’d your mob, I advise backing off hitting anything until the tank’s had a few ticks to hit things. By pulling with CC, you essentially facepull everything else, and you might not be positioned where the tank would prefer the mobs go. Sometimes your pull is paired with a Line Of Sight (LOS) pull, which means you need to get out of line of sight (around a corner, down some stairs, wherever) as soon as you get your CC off. Let the tank both establish threat and get the mobs where she wants them before you open up with your DPS on Skull.
Breaking & Reapplying CC: the Cliff Notes
A good tank will either remark a CC’d target with a Skull or say something like “Kill Diamond next,” to indicate whether you can let your CC fall off (if your target was chosen) or you need to reapply it (your target wasn’t called for killing).
Breaking CC: If your target gets called for killing, it’s cake. Let the effect be broken, fall off, or break it yourself if necessary.
Seduction | You can set your succy to passive (even if she already is), cancelling her channel or hit the mob until the Seduction effect breaks.
Enslave Demon | Dismiss it.
Fear | Hit the mob until the Fear effect breaks.
Banish | Let Banish fall off (if only a few seconds left) or cast another Banish (cancels the current Banish).
I like to recommunicate every time I break or purposely do not reapply CC, even in a guild group. It helps as an extra warning to everybody, “Hey, this mob’s about to nom somebody’s face,” whether that’s your own (you generate aggro on every CC cast) or not. It gives the tank confirmation you know which target to hit next. It gives the healer a heads up that the special mob with the nasty cleave is about to be loosed upon the tank. It lets fellow DPS know it’s cool to hit this mob now.
Reapplying CC: If your target isn’t called for killing or for some reason broke, you should reapply your CC to keep your target out of the game until notified further. Sometimes you might even want to keep a target Banished or Feared for the healer’s mana to regen.
Seduction | When it falls off, command your succy to recast the spell. You can do this by targeting the mob and clicking Seduction, or through a macro.
Enslave Demon | Pshhh really? Okay, it falls off, you recast Enslave Demon. Duh.
Fear | You can recast at any time; the new cast will reset the duration to 20 seconds.
Banish | Be careful not to cancel the effect by casting too early. Wait until your cast time or less is left on the duration before starting to recast.
I’m often a silent reapplier of my CC. When I do say, “Fearing Diamond,” it’s often because the CC either broke or I’m late reapplying it. I might say, “Refearing Diamond until Jess’s mana regens a bit,” if it was a tough or unexpected pull and the healer is a bit too close to OOM for comfort. If it’s not my usual marked target (“Fearing star!”), it’s probably an on-the-fly CC because the original CCer either died or is disabled (stunned, etc.) or the mob is just loose and causing havoc. I’m telling you now so you don’t break it once I get the CC off.
However, I do admit, I’m mostly if not always silent on my Banishing. Why? Well, it can’t be broken unless I want it to, and it’s easy to break if I do want it to.
Juggling Multiple CC Targets
A single warlock can potentially take three targets out of action at a time.
Yeah, you heard me. Three. At a time.
A Fear, a Banish, and either a Seduction or an Enslave Demon. So far in the Cataclysm dungeons, I’ve had a guild tank test me with all three, and I’m quite fine with regularly doing two (Fear & Banish or Banish & Enslave or Fear & Seduce).
Of course, the more targets you ask your warlock to CC, the greater a chance of the warlock’s DPS decreasing for the fight, since it requires extra attention to keep the multiple CCs up. Practiced warlocks can keep decent or great DPS going, so just be patient if your warlock is a bit rusty.
I highly suggest a DoT Timer (like DoTimer, Ellipsis, or ForteXorcist) for this purpose. I can sort of do it through Tidy Plates: Threat Plates, which has a module to display your debuffs above the nameplates, but I’ve found they’re a) not always accurate and b) don’t always appear, especially if there are a bunch of nameplates in the same general area.
Sometimes, you’ll face a mob who immunes out to your CC cast, despite appearances. A good example is Vortex Pinnacle. Those Wild Vortexes (the little-ish ones) are Banishable; the Cloud Princes (the really big ones that summon Whipping Winds) are not. They’re both labeled as “Elemental,” however, so upon my first visit with guildies, we didn’t know if they even were Banishable at all.
Best Case Scenario: you try to Banish something and it works.
Worst Case Scenario: you try to Banish something, it fails, and you don’t say anything, so the rest of the group is all “WTF is beating on me?” or “OMG noob DPS Banish the Elemental!”
Not Awesome But Certainly Not Too Horrible Scenario: you try to Banish something, it fails, but you say, “Aww snap, immune to Banish, watch out for the Cloud Prince.”
Not Awesome But Certainly Not Too Horrible And Wait It Gets Better Scenario: you try to cast Banish, it fails, you say, “Cloud Prince immune to Banish, but I can try the Wild Vortex,” you get the okay to proceed, you try to Banish the Wild Vortex, and it takes. You beat the Cloud Prince to a pulp and collect some pieces of gold. Then you take down the Wild Vortex and save the day.
Immune doesn’t “give up,” mmkay? It just means “try again, differently.”
My Target Is Being Deaded / Dead
Congrats! You don’t have to put up with keeping an eye on DoTimer for the rest of the fight (hopefully). Depending on the number of mobs left, I might put my felpup back on defensive (instead of sitting there and clicking attack more times than I care to).
Still keep an eye out for others’ CC that breaks or falls off and helpfully apply some of your own if it’s needed. Of course, remember to tell your party that you are Fearing star because the shaman is dead or stunned or whatever and can’t reHex the mob. Otherwise you might be met with a Feared-for-two-seconds mob because the ret pally decided to off-tank it instead. Make sure your pet or DoTs aren’t the cause of breaking anyone else’s CC; that is, pay attention to and follow your party’s kill order.
By which I mean, don’t be an A(ssh)o(l)E.
Alright, champ, did I miss anything?