The art of Kiting & using the dead zone
What does kiting mean?
Kiting a target simply means maintaining distance between you and a target (or several). It can be a way to reduce damage taken, whether by making distance from melee abilities or to buy time for any reason (waiting for CDs or resources to come back, or for DRs to fall off). For that purpose, one can make use of map elements (kiting around pillars or objects that break the line of sight) or abilities that slow down your target.
In arenas, classes that lack kiting abilities (eg. Priests) will often look for a partner class that can “Peel” them instead such as:
– Warriors with intercept/hamstring (and mace stuns, hehe),
– Rogues with Crippling poison,
– Mages with Blizzard, and other frost abilities.
Peeling is the act of using controls (stuns, incapacitating effects) and impairing effects (roots/ snares) to buy time and keep enemies away from your partner, in order to help them recover or get out of the enemy’s line of sight.
What is the “dead zone”?
The dead zone is an area, between 5 and 8 yards, in which a warrior can not hit his target (melee range – over 5 yards) nor use his charge/intercept abilities (less than 8 yards). The dead zone is often used by classes with slow abilities (mostly rogues with crippling poison and mages with frost debuffs). Mastering dead zone kiting, also called 5-8 kiting, is key against warriors. (we could also mention hunters, but they’ve got a nice kiting toolkit that will mostly lead a rogue to play in melee range rather than desperately looking for a proper dead zone and taking ranged damage).
How to use kiting?
Abilities that help to kite
The rogue class has one of the best toolkits to control enemies and all these abilities can be used offensively or defensively depending on the situation. Cheap Shot / Kidney are mostly seen and used as a way to lock an enemy and burst him down to score the kill (for example as Mage/Rogue), but in defensive phases, a Cheap Shot + Kidney Shot is a way to control your opponent for 10 sec as well (for example as Priest/Rogue) without necessarily dealing damage.
– Stuns: Cheap Shot, Kidney Shot
– Incapacitate: Gouge
– Slows: Crippling Poison, Deadly Throw (requires 1 combo point or more)
On the top of that, Blind can situationally also be used as a way to create distance with the enemy.
How to kite your enemy?
Most of the time, in a defensive phase, a rogue will be using Crippling poison in order to slow the enemy and thus create distance.
Then depending on the opposing class abilities/positioning, your debuffs, and hypothetical movement impairing effects, another action on your side might become necessary if the enemy is keeping you snared:
– Using Shadowstep+KS against a rogue,
– Using Cloak of Shadows against a mage or a rogue.
– Using Gouge against all types of enemies. (Gouge generates one combo point which can be used for a deadly throw right at the end of Gouge)
– Using Vanish to remove (removes all impairing effects)
– Using a Shadowstep to go back up on the bridge when the enemy jumps
– Using a racial trait (Escape Artist, Stone Form)
– Using Medallion (PVP trinket)
– Using several options of the above list (aka PVP trinket + step KS into runaway)
The environment also helps a lot with kiting/peeling.
Usually, pillars will help to get out of enemies’ line of sight to take cover from incoming damage, prevent your enemy from using Charge or Shadowstep, get out of combat for re-stealth, eat food, use first aid or receive healing.
When and Why to use kiting?
As explained above, kiting an enemy is mostly used against melee classes during a defensive phase. As a rogue, you’ll be kiting a lot in order to:
– Stop enemy’s damage when low life, or under a big pressure (cheat death, partner controlled, or simply Mortal Strike and similar debuffs)
– Pool energy
– Wait for cooldowns (Kidney Shot, Blind, etc.)
Kiting to stop the enemy’s pressure
In a common PVP environment, pressure is coming from direct damage. A bursty melee class like Enha Shaman, Feral Druid, or Warrior can be insanely brutal. Basically, you’ll be doing your best to get out of melee range using Crippling Poison, or using Gouge into Deadly Throw, etc.
In higher ratings, you might find yourself in situations that look good on your side (e.g you’re full HP or have your cooldowns), but your partner could be running out of mana, and kiting might become part of your strategy to make sure your partners doesn’t suffer too much from that pressure.
A good example would be creating distance with a rogue for 5 seconds, into shadowstep+KS for another 6 seconds of control allowing you to drop the wound poison stacks you have on you. On top of that, you could use the last second of the kidney to recreate distance, again, or even get out of the line of sight. Your healer will appreciate that A LOT. Kiting to play around with the “healing reduction effects” (wound poison and mortal strike) refresh is often making a difference as well. For beginners, this is less obvious, but it puts your healer under a lot of pressure, as his abilities will heal you for half of what they should… they will get OOM quickly (or expose themselves to controls and interrupts).
Warriors and Dead zone
Against warriors, unless Intercept is on cooldown, you cannot simply kite away for 30 yards. You’ll have to manage the Deadzone. This means that you’ll be looking for positioning yourself between 5 and 8 yards from your target. To track your distance from an enemy, you can use addons like:
or a Weak Auras like:
Snaring the enemy to stop taking unnecessary damage that will put your team in a bad position (health or mana wise) will become mandatory, and the opposite team will be looking to close every gap you try creating, so be prepared to use more abilities than a simple Crippling poison to manage this and this is where your team play and cooldown management will make difference.
Kiting to pool energy or wait for cooldowns
As mentioned above, kiting is sometimes used to wait for resources (energy) or cooldowns.
While making sure that you do not take unnecessary damage (defensive phase), you’ll be waiting for your energy to come back, in order to land for example a good Shadowstep-Kidney Shot with full energy to deal big damage. This is something that might happen often against other rogues, but eventually against warriors, and druids as well.
The same type of kiting will be useful to wait for some important cooldowns to come back, such as Shadowstep, Kidney Shot, Blind, or event Cloak of Shadows.
Kiting to get out of combat (OOC)
Leaving combat to use Stealth is one of the most obvious reasons to kite as well. When you can use your environment, for example in arenas with pillars or with the bridge, you will be doing that a lot to get a “reset”. (this allows, for example, Sap into First aid, or simply wait for the enemy to reach the other side of the map, allowing you to use first aid, food, or cannibalism, or simply wait for cooldowns)
Kiting to keep the enemy exposed (map)
In certain matchups, kiting will also become a way to drag the enemy somewhere on the map, and eventually force his partner (healer) to show up, and leave his safe position (pillars) for a cast. Usually, this is a way to set up a control chain, or an interrupt, or even a swap.
Learn not to be kited
Some classes, such as mages or druids, have their strategy revolving around kiting their enemies. This is why you need to learn how to counter them by making proper use of your abilities to keep them snared (Shadowstep, Shiv with Crippling poison), preventing them from getting away or connecting when they get away. Mages are insane at getting away with blink (removing stuns) and all sorts of roots and snares. Druids are the best kiting class in the game, it is very hard to stick on a good druid with good movement (this is the reason why druids are the best flag carrier class in Warsong Gulch!). Finally, in rogue versus rogue, after a stun and burst phase, a rogue will usually try to kite the other one with bleeds, and get out of the line of sight if possible, you can learn how to play around these things.
Overall, at a high level, almost every class be kiting one way or another (whether it’s with proper slows or simply situational CCs, using the map layout), and experience with proper cooldown management as a rogue (cloak, shadowstep, vanish, trinket) will allow you to prevent being kited.
As you can see, kiting is a huge part of the rogue gameplay, and oftentimes, a rogue is asked to peel for his teammates because of the huge toolkit available, with at least a spammable Shiv to apply Crippling Poison. Proper kiting is required to win most arena games, so rather than being completely focused on dealing brutal damage, make sure that you also control your enemies smallest movements, while avoiding being kited yourself