getting into pvp pet battles has been on my list of things to do pretty much since the beginning, but i've never managed to bring myself to do more than dabble. "i'll get serious about it after i finish leveling" i tell myself. well, last week i replied "dude, you've got all the leveling achievements. doesn't that kinda qualify?" to which i did not have a good answer.
a little digging around on the official pet battle forums suggested that a "triple conflagration team" was a good team. the idea is, every pet has at least one attack that causes your enemy to burn - flame breath, scorched earth, flamethrower - and conflagrate, which hits hard, and then hits hard a second time if your opponent is burning. two fire elementals up front: lil' ragnaros and either a searing scorchling (which i don't have - farming for one by doing more molten front dailies currently has zero appeal), a pandaren fire spirit, a spirit of summer, or a fel flame (this is what i went with). backing them up, ready to pounce should your opponent pull out an a aquatic (which do bonus damage against elementals), is a silver dragonhawk hatchling with frog-killing quills active. why silver, as opposed to any of the other colors? because of reasons which i'll talk about later.
so here they are - the pet battle equivalent of a fire mage. no defense, no healing, just lots and lots of kill him before he can kill you.
so how'd they do? pretty damn well, i thought. over the weekend i picked up eighteen wins, and lost maybe ten or so. couple of the losses came because i derped - hitting conflagrate when the target wasn't already burning, for example - so hopefully that will get better with time. it's not perfect (no team can be) and it's weak against teams sporting undead and critters. teams with multiple aquatics or weather changing abilities can also be problematic. but those teams of triple fff's that are so op that blizz is nerfing them in 5.2? yeah, we ran into one of them. it was delicious.
all-in-all, a successful run. i do think i need to put together some more teams, and rotate them, even if the others aren't as good. the pool of people you battle against tends to be very small, and i'm pretty sure that after winning five in a row, at least one of my opponents figured out what i was up to and put up a team specially designed to beat triple-conflag and ended my streak. (if you hadn't noticed, the game gives the illusion of more opponents by replacing your opponent's avatar with a random one. if you watch the pet names though, you can figure out when it repeats.) so, more teams, different strategies, and hopefully more victories.
that's the plan.
why a silver dragonhawk? speed. most pets have different "breeds" - combinations of power, health, and speed. one breed of silver dragonhawk puts all its eggs in the speed basket and gets whopping 357 speed, pretty much guaranteeing that it'll go first against anything other than a flying pet (which have a 50% speed bonus). since quills get an extra attack if you go first, i wanted to guarantee that i'd have an edge. i had to buy about a dozen dragonhawks from the vendor before i got one with the right breed (and then level it and find a dragonkin battle-stone). worth the sacrifice in power and health? i think so, but i can't be sure that it isn't simply confirmation bias diddling with my brain. next dragonkin stone i get, maybe i'll put it on a slower, harder-hitting dragonhawk and see how it performs.