Taming Northrend #5: Icecrown Showdown

Welcome to the Argent Tournament! Home of the One-Room Raid (TM) and lots of cool vanity stuff!

Welcome to the Argent Tournament!
Home of the One-Room Raid™ and lots of cool vanity stuff!

Just one more Tamer and then you’ll have finished Taming Northrend. This next guy is a major pain but before we talk about him, let’s take a moment and talk about the Argent Renaissance Faire. Those people who were around in WoTLK, should already be familiar with Blizzard’s stop-gap content-filler gone crazy, especially the One Room Raid™. And hopefully, you’ve already got all of the goodies you want from here.

The Argent Crusader's Tabard, which teleports you directly to the tournament, is one of many rewards you can get.

The Argent Crusader’s Tabard,
which teleports you directly to the tournament, is one of many rewards you can get.

But if you haven’t done it yet, you should definitely make room in your regularly scheduled leveling or daily plan for this unique event. I could say more good things about it, since the rewards are awesome, but getting those rewards can become a very tiresome grind that you will never ever really finish. This guide has the basics of how to get started by becoming an Argent Champion.

Argent Tournament Rewards:

  • Lots of pets and more mounts than you can imagine
  • Some very cool looking weapons for transmogging
  • An squire pet that will let you visit the bank from anywhere
  • A way to completely level your Faction rep
  • And Heirloom items that don’t take honor or justice points

But let’s talk about the tamer shall we?


Meet the Tamer

Major Payne. Oh I get it Blizzard. It's just not so funny once you're actually fighting him!

Major Payne. Ell. Oh. Ell.
No really, I get it Blizzard. It’s just not so funny after the first few dozen times you fight him.

Major Payne is, well, a major pain. His pets are stupidly hard compared to the other tamers and this gives him one of the most arrogant attitudes you’ll see outside of Pandaria. He’s like the Role Player who role plays being a goody-goody because that’s how he is IRL. You can’t really hate Major Payne (because that makes you a bad person, maybe even a rebel ) but you still totally want to smack him.

And now I’ll show you how to do so!


The Abilities

Meet Grizzle. He's the Baby Blizzard Bear, only all grown up.

Meet Grizzle. He’s the Baby Blizzard Bear, only all grown up.

Most of the time (unless you lead with a Mechanical), Payne’s first pet is Grizzle. He’s a big bad bear that has some hard hitting abilities. If you’re lucky, he opens with Rampage. This lasts three rounds and hits most pets very hard. After that Grizzle is tired and decides to Hibernate for three rounds. This is gives him large amounts of health back each turn with the largest amount coming on the third round.

Well he would be tired after all that.

Well he would be tired after all that.

At that point, he’s back to nearly 100% health and ready to finish beating the crap out of your pet. In between the two abilities, he uses Bash which stuns your pet for one round. Sometimes he opens with Bash, which is extra annoying.

Obviously, you should avoid using Critter pets against this guy. Or pets that do Humanoid damage. Normally, you would start with a Mechanical pet, but most of the time, when you lead with a Mechanical, he leads with another pet. You can either lead with a different pet and then swap in the Mechanical, or you can just pick another high damage pet and lead with that instead. I have had a great deal of success with a Fel Flame, with Immolate, Flame Breath, and Conflagrate, or a Water Waveling with Water Jet, Frost Nova (important to prevent switching) and Geyser (which stuns him during his heal).

I’m sure there are other pets that work, but the main goal is to have Grizzle dead before the second round of his hibernate which means you need a really bursty pet. If he opens with his Bash that can disrupt your rotation enough to sometimes make you lose. If you miss or he dodges too many times, that can make you lose too. Really, it’s easy to lose the fight on Grizzle because he’s just that painful.

A strong DPS pet is still the best way I’ve found to finish him, unless you have a Darkmoon Tonk leveled up. Then just use that and enjoy the EZ Mode version of the fight.

They call it the Beakmaster...

They call it the Beakmaster…

Beakmaster X-225 is almost as annoying as Grizzle. It generally opens with Shock and Awe which hits very hard and has a 25% chance to stun your pet. Fortunately, it has a three round cooldown.

northrend pet tamer 5 - wind-up

It then likes to Wind-Up which gives it a 10% damage buff, and also allows it to hit you with another very hard hit. It usually only triggers that when your health is low enough for Wind-Up to kill you. Batter is its last ability and that is a typical Mechanical attack which hits an extra time if your pet is slower than Beakmaster.

Ideally, you’ll have used a Fel Flame on Grizzle and it should have enough health left to do some serious damage to Beakmaster. A second Elemental pet with decent damage should absolutely destroy Beakmaster. Which is good, because it hits hard enough that you have to kill it quickly. I have had some success using the Water Waveling against Beakmaster. It may not hit quite as hard as other Elementals, but it still takes reduced damage and it will do very well as an opener against the last pet.

Meet Bloom. Annoyance Rating: Moderate

Meet Bloom.
Annoyance Rating: Moderate

Compared to the other two pets, Bloom is a cakewalk. However, it has decent damage abilities (Lash and Entangling Roots) and a strong enough heal (Soothing Mists) that you need a pet with a fair amount of health to finish her off. If things are going well, your Water Waveling should still be alive and able to drop a Geyser on her before it dies. It may even be able to finish her off, but if not, just pick a good Aquatic damage pet and it’s EZ Mode.

In summary, you need to pick strong damage pets that match up well in order to finish this fight. If you can’t burn down Grizzle and Beakmaster quickly they will finish off your team before you can even see Bloom. But if you can kill them fast, especially the first pet, it’s doable.

Congratulations, you've just finished Taming Northrend!

Congratulations, you’ve just finished Taming Northrend!

And the reward is: you get the chance to fight these guys everyday! Fun… Also a Bag of Pet Supplies with a chance to get an upgrade stone. I can see why half of you probably won’t ever do these quests again!


Take Two

To start off with, yes this is doable for leveling purposes. But it isn’t very easy without access to pets from Cataclysm or more likely Pandaria. Or maybe just a few really expensive ones from raids and the like. In any case, it used to be that you could use the exact same Fel Flame + Waveling strategy and carry any pet, but changes to the way Conflagrate work make this much less likely to work and you will only be able to use a pet in the 21-24 range for leveling with the old strategy.

I have since tried many different ideas to make this work while carrying a low level pet, including many different (pre Cata) Elementals, using the Crow from Darkmoon Island, and even just the ordinary Westfall Chicken to try and get the Shattered Defenses debuff up so you can kill the first pet and still have most of your health left. In the end, I tossed it all and went back to my go-to pet: a Spawn of Onyxia.

Oddly enough, even though it doesn’t have any strong attacks against these pets, a Spawn of Onyxia + a Fel Flame did the trick and I was able to down the Tamer while using a level 10 pet.

Your Spawn of Onyxia needs to have Tail Sweep, Healing Flame and Lift-Off selected and must be slower than Grizzle. You will need to use Healing Flame pretty much every cooldown. This is because you not only need to kill Grizzle, you need to have an almost full health bar so you can take down Bloom.

I found I was able to last through the first round of Rampage and Hibernate and be back to full health while Grizzle was down to around 65-75%. I was then able to kill him after the second round and still have a full or nearly full health bar. Sometimes, Grizzle likes to throw in a stun. With the old strategy, this used to completely mess up your rotation, but as long as you use Healing Flame as soon as you recover from the stun, you can get back into the fight and still have a good chance to win.

Sometimes, you do enough damage that Grizzle is able to be killed during his first Hibernate, but your Healing Flame is also on cooldown. It’s your choice, but you have to hope you can get the heal off immediately after without taking much damage, or maybe swap and heal later, because you want your Fel Flame, and not your Dragonkin to attack Beakmaster.

On the other hand, when I’ve gone ahead and healed first, I ended up killing him but only having 35% of my health left. Fortunately, you can swap and your heal should be off cooldown when you need it.

Your Fel Flame should do well against Beakmaster, but if your Conflagrate misses, you could still lose. After killing Beakmaster, I decided to swap and let my level 10 pet take one hit from Bloom. This triggered Bloom’s Entangling Roots which was enough to kill the low level pet on its own. So I then let the Fel Flame take the damage from that (and die) and then brought in my Spawn of Onyxia to finish the Bloom off.

The last pet is not an easy fight because your pet puts out alot of damage due to tail swipe, but Bloom does extra damage as well. Again you need to use your Healing Flame on every cooldown and you should save your Lift-Off to allow you to avoid damage from Entangling Roots. What usually happens, is the tamer decides to try and burn you down, rather than use the roots, so you can try and use Lift-Off when Bloom’s health is very low to finish her off.

Update: I also went back and tried it again leading with a Darkmoon Tonk and a Lil’ Ragnaros instead. The tonk managed to clear out the first pet and have the second down to 40%. Ragnaros managed to finish off the Mechanical easily and I was tempted to try it again with a wavering instead as Bloom was more of a problem and I had to use the level 14 pet to get the last 160 or so health.

Update Two: So I came across this cheat sheet which is mostly helpful. The strat they used calls for a Tonk and a Fast Rabbit pet with Burrow and Dodge. This works very well and you can finish the Bloom without taking much damage. So my basic plan is to not use any mines and just beat up the bear and the mechanical with the tonk and use the rabbit to work on the mechanical and the lashling. It’s more reliable but requires you to use pets you may not have leveled up yet.

The bottom line is, this fight is alot harder than it used to be for leveling purposes. If you get some bad RNG, you will lose the fight. Fortunately, the Stable Master is very close. The good news is, if your pet is in its 20s, and can help finish off Bloom, then you should be able to finish the fight without much trouble.

Moonbell is your friend for this fight.

Moonbell is your friend for this fight!

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