Chains of Ice in Warsong Gulch

6th March 2009 – 4.26 pm

Chains of Ice is an excellent death knight spell in PvP combat. It is a ranged spell that roots the target and although any damage to the target breaks the rooting Chains of Ice has a secondary slowing effect once broken, preventing rapid escape of the target. In my adventures in Wintergrasp it is the secondary effect of Chains of Ice that has proved useful. The initial root is broken quickly enough, normally by myself, but slowing down an opposing player is an enormous boost in PvP.

Enjoying Wintergrasp so much gives me the PvP itch to enter other battlegrounds too, as Wintergrasp only occurs every few hours unlike the constant queues of battlegrounds. It is in Warsong Gulch where I realise the full potential of Chains of Ice.

My memories of Warsong Gulch take me back several years to my warlock, when I had little to do between raids and the only choice of battlegrounds was queueing for eight hours for Alterac Valley, only to suffer ping death on loading the instance, or being ganked by rogues in the gulch. I chose Warsong Gulch if only because it gave me something to do, even if that something happened to be watching my warlock get stun-locked and then waiting to be rezzed. The Horde were always more organised and competent, steamrolling their way over almost every Alliance PuG. A few visits since those days have relived the experience of massive losses, with some Alliance players still perpetuating the idea of an inevitable Horde victory and pathetically deciding not even to try.

After a chaotic and excellent Wintergrasp battle I am close to an achievement milestone with Gnomesblight, my death knight, so I take her in to a battleground or two to reach it. An attempt to gather resources in Arathi Basin is disastrous, although joining the match at 1,800 points to 900 doesn't help, so afterwards I join the queue for Warsong Gulch as well as Arathi Basin. If I am going to lose I may as well take the opportunity to get the few honour kills I am after.

The Warsong Gulch instance opens first and it is a fresh game. I stay in unholy presence, with the quick GCD and increased running speed, and get ready for the combat. As soon as the gates open everyone rushes out. I mount up and head towards picking up the enemy flag. I am still only 75th level and probably easy fodder for 80th level players wanting to recover the flag, but I still like the idea of capturing it one day. All my previous experience means that I know the battleground like the back of my hand and I know a few sneaky ways around the zone, which gets me in and out of the Horde compound with the unguarded flag. To my delight I even make it back to the Alliance compound with a small entourage protecting me. I tentatively hide and wait for the Alliance flag to be recovered from the Horde before I try to capture the flag I am bearing, but in my excitement of hearing the flag return I drop down in to a party of Horde ready to pick the Alliance flag back up and I am defeated in the ruckus, the Horde flag returned.

I make a couple more attempts at picking up the flag but it is guarded both times. It is during these attempts that Chains of Ice really shows its value. My chances of defeating an 80th level PvP Horde character toe-to-toe are slim but getting away from them is made much easier with a ranged rooting spell that doesn't require the target to be in front of me. The cost of Chains of Ice is only one frost rune, so no runic power needs to be built up first either. Escaping from someone is the perfect use for the spell, as the full rooting effect occurs when you don't damage the opponent and the slowing effect just makes it more difficult for them to catch up. Even if they try, I simply keep them targeted and watch my action bar to see when they come in range, casting the spell again with a newly refreshed frost rune as soon as they are within twenty yards of me. Chains of Ice was made for running with the flag.

The Horde remain powerful and coordinated so I don't manage to return the flag successfully, but the battle for Warsong Gulch is still going well. After all, just getting the Horde flag back to base is a positive effort and recovering our own flag is an achievement in itself. Our efforts are concentrated in the right areas and we are able to repel the opposition, with some measure of competence. I may not be able to capture the flag personally but our combined force lets the Alliance team capture the flag twice without losing our own. For once in a long while the Alliance are putting up a decent fight in Warsong Gulch and I am thrilled to be contributing. I even get the achivement I was after, 1,000 honourable kills.

With the score at two-nil I once again head to the Horde compound and find the flag unguarded. I pick it up quickly and head out a side-route that takes me away from the ghostly eyes of the Horde graveyard and run as obscured as I can back to the Alliance compound, again with a couple of players in tow to deflect Horde attention. I manage to avoid the bulk of the Horde forces and my entourage performs wonderfully in protecting me from the few Horde that try to stop me, and I find myself running smartly up the tunnel to the Alliance flag room. A call comes up that a lone Horde is after the Alliance flag and as I get in to the room he has just picked it up.

There are a couple more Alliance in the flag room and they quickly try to recover our flag. I join in with the fight but am careful to keep my distance, not wanting to drop the flag needlessly, instead working from range and using Chains of Ice to slow the Horde player's escape. When it looks like the situation is under control I take position on the flag base, waiting for the Alliance flag to be returned. A few seconds later I get the final flag capture of that battleground and earn three simultaneous achivements! It was a tremendously exciting battle.

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