War College - Flag Defense

Community Manager
This week, the topic of discussion is:

Flag Defense - What tactics do you employ to ensure that critical battleground locations don’t fall to the opposition? What works to stop your opponents from capturing a location’s flag… and what doesn’t?

The battlefields of World of Warcraft are littered with the bones of those who have become casualties in the ongoing conflict between the Horde and the Alliance. You do not need to become one of them. One of the keys to victory is knowledge, and that is where the World of Warcraft War College enters the picture. In these discussions between players, you can learn and share strategies with other players to improve your tactics and improve your odds of emerging victorious from the field of battle.

Are you a veteran Gladiator with countless victories tallied? Are you new to World of Warcraft and striving to improve your PvP skills? In this weekly feature, we invite players of all skill levels to ask questions, share tips and tactics, and join a conversation dedicated to surviving and thriving in World of Warcraft PvP.

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97 Dwarf Hunter
17370
First

Double edit: scratch all that, I saw flag and tunnel visioned.

Best players to one man guard flags, hunters, warlocks, anyone with a pet class. Especially hunters or demo locks with monkey blind and felguard stun.

Ninja capping if successful almost always wins the bg if you are in BfG, don't try it to often though or you will get people spamming AoEs all the time. This also means that you should be spamming aoes on the flag when you control it and enemies are trying to cap, like at all times, assign a dedicated AoEr that does nothing but AoE if you have to.

In randoms, use items like world enlarger and noggenfogger elixir to reduce your size, making it much easier to ninja cap unnoticed.

If you are trying to cap, also place aoes on the flag like ice trap, D&D, consecration, anything, as they will make it not only harder for targeted AoErs to get you, but also harder for them to see you trying to cap it.

Alternate attempting to cap a flag at a very close distance and a very far away distance, another tip is to face away from the flag when capping. This will throw people off, especially in random bgs.

CC chains can be deadly, they require a calm attitude though going to cap in order to maintain one, especially by yourself, they will have their trinket so you want to try to get them to waste it and have another CC ready. Note that CC chains almost never work against paladins and mages. The best way to avoid CC chains is to have more than 1 player protecting a flag.

If you are futilely defending a flag, don't try to kill the opponent, try to delay them, use defensive cooldowns, try to run away and then back and hit them with a ranged attack, anything to delay them more, if there are more than one or two players there you will die pretty quickly, but your main goal should be to keep them from capping for as long as you can.
Edited by Spinnerdh on 4/13/2012 1:11 PM PDT
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100 Night Elf Warrior
17690
I usually do flag defense battlegrounds in Arms because of the powerful AOE and berserker rage. I stand right on the flag so I'm never out of position, and if I get sapped or feared I quickly break it and bust out a thunderclap, followed by some sweeping strikes. I target the healers, but not if it gets me out of position to break a cap. Bladestorm if things are getting really crazy. My warrior fear is great to relieve pressure at the flag as well.

The biggest thing you can do is not let yourself be kited out of position. Someone 30 yards away can't cap the flag and thus is not a threat. The feral stealthing beside the flag waiting for you to chase down his hunter buddy is who you need to worry about. Breaking caps is always your highest priority, followed by CC'ing or killing any healers in the attacking group. Using AOE or fears like psychic scream are really helpful for defending a flag.

I also use BG defender so I'm not trying to type while I should be defending. It's a great little add-on I discovered in another of these war college threads.
Edited by Melaroi on 4/13/2012 1:14 PM PDT
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85 Draenei Shaman
5945
What bugs me the most is when I'm in AB or one of the other flag capping BGs, is when people cap a flag and then run on to the next without leaving anyone to guard it. Then of course someone throws a fit when that base is lost.

Or they leave me standing there...a healer that cannot kill anything if it comes after me. I usually like to guard a flag with 2 other dps. LM in AB is my favorite to defend.
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100 Troll Druid
16330
The biggest key to a flag defense BG is to keep at least 2 people at captured locations.

A rogue can sap someone and have enough time to capture a point and then stealth away. Even if the end result is you just capture it back that is still a significant reduction in the points that will be gained.

Edit* So many useless troll comments.
Edited by Reveries on 4/13/2012 1:07 PM PDT
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92 Night Elf Death Knight
5855
Often, a class with a stealth is amazing for flag defense, my apologies for stating the obvious. And it works simply because no one really looks for a stealthy when they see an open flag, they just go for the flag and try to cap it. As a NE, I use this to my advantage by using Shadowmeld, the Night Elf racial stealth. It works wonders, as last time I checked, no one looks for a stealthed Death Knight. If you don't have a stealth, then you're probably better off trying to take flags, although you can defend as well.
If you need to defend, remember to call out incoming enemy players, and giving any other information on them, such as their classes and how many of them there are, is a great idea so the people coming to your rescue (we hope) know what they're going up against. And if you are the sole defender of a flag, call out to your team, and let them know that, and ask if you can get another player to help you defend. One player defending is often not enough, and you can quickly get overwhelmed. Other than that, it comes down to luck, skill, and the help of your allies. Good luck, and I hope my advice helped. If not, ah well, I apologize in advance.
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As a healer, I typically want others to carry the flag. If the opposite team is pretty bad, ill carry it.

But if the team is good ill follow my FC and try to hide myself as good as possible. Cause as a dwarf its really unique and cool to blend in better (transmog gear aside) I still hide pretty well. most players I face dont turn on show nameplates so I heal for minutes on end in the bushes healing FC while the FC kills the attacking team
Edited by Popeward on 4/13/2012 1:19 PM PDT
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85 Worgen Warrior
3050
As Alirus said, characters with stealth are some of the best flag defense. As a result, you should always have at least one other person with you when you try to cap a flag, (even if there appears to be no one there). The reason for this is so if there is a sneeky little rogue or other stealthed character, you have a another person to help you fight them off. When someone is capping the flag when "no ones there", the other player should be using AOEs at random locations around the flag to limit the likelihood of a surprise attack.

Obviously this was aimed toward newer players, and hopefully it helped. :)
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85 Night Elf Hunter
3430
I hear ya on that one! As a hunter, many times I have been left alone to defend a flag and then I get Rogues and DK's on me right away. There should always be two or more to defend and call out inc's.
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As a Mage I find that Ring of Frost is the perfect skill for Flag defense.
Keeps the horde off the flag for a precious ten-twelve seconds.

After that I'll use any variety of my crowd control spells to keep attackers at bay.
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85 Undead Priest
1700
Being my Discipline priest, I try battlegrounds and oftentimes am confused on what I should do. I can't even really defend myself, so I generally stick with one other player and heal/buff them constantly. Is there anything else I could do?
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There are a couple of things that will greatly enhance your ability to defend the flag.

1. ALWAYS AOE. ALWAYS.
When someone is trying to cap your flag, you had better be aoeing. ALWAYS AOE. Whenever there are people trying to get your flag AOE.

2. Stay NEAR the flag.
If you are the only person defending a node and you get smokebombed and ring of frosted together and you aren't inside the ring, you are done for.

3. Call things out. COMMUNICATE.
Make sure you are calling whatever you see. Call out how many people are at your node, and what class/spec they are. If you see enemies leave your node in the middle of a battle, make sure to call that out. If you see people on the road a ways away going for a different node, call that out.

4. Make sure to use your CCs.
You should be CCing every healer in sight, but make sure to be calling it out on vent if you are in a group. If you aren't in a group try to make sure you don't have diminished returns and don't overlap CC.

5. Know your class.
Know what kind of class you are. If you are a Hunter, Warlock, or tank you should be defending flags. Know what abilities you have to take you out of CC.

6. Know other's class'
Know what classes have the stuns and CCs. Know what to expect and know how to call it out for the rest of your battleground.Defending flags doesn't have to be hard, and it shouldn't necessarily be hard, as long as you play it smart.
Edited by Butchdaheals on 4/13/2012 2:04 PM PDT
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90 Human Mage
3740
All though someone already mentioned it I will again because to me this is one of the most important factors to holding a base. CALL OUT INCOMINGS! You may still be killed by the enemy but if you call out "incs" right away there is a much greater chance some help will get there in time to stop them from capping flag and stealing the base.
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85 Tauren Druid
9380
Some classes are meant to be more of a support role. That's the way I see myself when I do BG's (I do it as feral in a "tanky" build) on this toon.

The key for flag defense (as mentioned multiple times) is not to "kill" your opponent, but to "stop" them from capping a flag. To that end, the worst thing you can do is to "tunnel vision" that rogue that "got you" earlier in the BG... but to keep an eye on the flag at all times and keep anyone else from clicking on it. I have developed a good niche of being able to solo defend a flag against 3-5 other players for up to 30 seconds or more while taking heavy fire... until reinforcements arrive (hopefully).

ALWAYS call incomings - but don't be a Chicken little about it. If there are 2 of you defending a flag and only 2 are incoming - try not to panic. But definitely be vocal if you have a larger contingent heading to a flag.

On offense, being sneaky can pay off. In regular BG's I suspect the general player base has a stronger tendency to be less aware of the overall environment. To that end, I may head into a flag with 3 other attackers, but stay stealthed while my buddies keep the defenders "occupied"... meanwhile, I am sometimes able to sneak up to a flag not being watched and ninja it during the fight. Of course, this can backfire too... so I've found it to have only moderate success (but it's worth trying if you're stealthed).
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85 Tauren Druid
9380
Also.... NEVER stand at the edge of the cliff at Lumbermill in AB or on the road to the flag in EoTS! NEVER! ;)
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85 Gnome Rogue
2300
Leave 2 Vïpers at each captured node and you've secured it for the rest of the game.

Serious now, as Yuronfire has said, call incs as soon as possible, and let a good AoE'r with a healer guarding it. FoKing rogues are great!
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90 Troll Shaman
11585
In the case of Isle of Conquest, Arathi Basin and Battle of Gilneas, I always try to make sure the people nearest the flags are attacked with spells that are AoE and multi-target (I've held enough people off the flag for minutes (5-10+ minutes) just by doing this.

In the case of Warsong Gulch and Twin Peaks, I normally play offensively... so usually it's healers and others keeping the enemy off the flag carrier.

In the case of Alterac Valley, because it's better for horde to play defensively, I usually play defensively on horde characters, and both on alliance characters, defending flags similar to IoC, AB, and BfG, but usually defensively when enough others also are playing defensively.

In Eye of the Storm, I prefer to try to get 3 bases and then the flag, keeping the enemy away from the flag carrier.
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90 Human Warlock
13860
Gladiator/Grand Marshal Simplexity’s guide to warlock defensive BG play:
How to defend a node solo – Warlocks, hunters, unholy DKs and frost mages (pet classes) are the best node defenders in a solo situation. Often in tight battles you can’t always have the luxury of multiple people defending a node. One person defending the node though makes it attractive for a ninja or stealth cap. Rogues are generally the most common classes to go for these ninja cap because along with stealth, they have a lot of single-target CC like sap, blind and stuns and can also reset very efficiently. What makes pet classes good for node defense is that their pet can attack the person while capping even if they are CCd. For example, it’s very easy for a rogue to sap a priest solo defending the node, and then cap the node while they are sapped. If they trinket the sap, they sit a blind and the rogue will still cap. The way this can be avoided is by standing far away from the node (around like 20-30 yds) so the rogue has to waste travel time to get to the node before starting capping, usually allowing you to sit the sap (Smoke Bomb makes this tricky), saving trinket for any potential blind.

Generally what I do is set up my portal behind some sort of LoS for better kiting/survival, and use the Move To pet command to have my pet stay right on top of the flag while I stand about 20-30 yds away and use Rain of Fire on the flag. You can use either Felhunter or Succubus to defend. I prefer Succubus generally (whiplash can interrupt too from long range and goes through Smoke Bomb!) but will opt for Felhunter if I think I won’t be defending for that long. From there it’s pretty basic and easy to defend and survive for a while. Remember to use healthstones, Demon Armor and even Soulstone yourself if available. This makes it so your teammates have plenty of time to react and help you. Generally you should be able to live for about 45 seconds against a solo DPS, which is pretty good.

The other major tip I have is to be proactive in keeping track of their possible stealthers. This is very important and essential to be a good defender in an RBG. A lot of people use the mod BattlegroundTargets, which acts as a Gladius (arena targeting mod) for BGs. You can target an enemy on the other team with ease with this mod, regardless of where they are. When you are unable to target an enemy, that means they are either dead or in stealth. Another way to quickly check is to check for buffs on other players of the enemy team. Most importantly are Honor Among Thieves (subtlety rogue buff) and Leader of the Pack (feral druid buff) that has around a 100 yard range to any person in their vicinity. So for example, if I’m scouting for my team telling them what is at what’s node, say I can see a visible priest from Lumber Mill defending Farm. If they have the Honor Among Thieves buff, I know there is a rogue around Farm as well.

Here’s another good example. Say I’m responsible for defending lighthouse in BoG (assume Alliance) and my other nine teammates are going to waterworks. I notice that a hunter on the other team capped Mine (through the message on the screen), so I know he’s going to defend Mine. Now the other team is mirroring my team’s strategy by sending a big force to waterworks, and they have one rogue and one feral on their team. I target anyone going to waterworks, and I notice there is no Honor Amont Thieves or Leader of the Pack buff on them, so I immediately call for a healer to drop back to lighthouse to help me out, because a warlock does not survive very long against a rogue/feral. Without me using the buff recognition, we lose Lighthouse and against a competent team, it’s impossible to come back from losing an early node.
Edited by Simplexity on 4/13/2012 2:39 PM PDT
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