Guest Post – Hiemalis – Quality Over Quantity Part 1

For the first time ever, I’m going to let someone have some face time on my blog to do a short series of guest posts. After featuring her on my blog a week ago, I asked her to write whatever she would like to share about  her experience in the Celestial Tournament, and defeating it with only 25 pets at max level in her entire pet journal.

She took me up on it, and I think as you read it you’ll see why I’ve gone ahead and posted it without edits. On this blog, we don’t cherish brevity. It’s Bearwall or bust!

So that’s enough of me. I present to you Hiemalis and her first guest post, Quality Over Quantity (part 1).


Hey guys! I am Hiemalis (known in certain quarters as the Talky Shaman) and I beat the Celestial Tournament with 25 pets.

A little obligatory background. I’ve been playing World of Warcraft for 8 years and I have always loved collecting pets. My little mini-Restoration druid, the Teldrassil Sapling, plodded patiently behind my bear tank Laia during most of Wrath and Cataclysm. Sleet the Azure Whelpling has flown behind Eyowyn, my mage (and internet handle) ever since I farmed for her back during the last days of Burning Crusade. And, I fondly remember the Dark Whelpling my dad got on his hunter, Idoneus, while we were questing through the Badlands in Vanilla. I was (and am) a gleeful Pokémon player, which trained me well for the fateful Tuesday I decided to bash my head against the Celestial Tournament.


I would not recommend doing the Tournament without at least 21 pets. That lets you lose all 3 of the pets you field against each of your enemies—and that’s what usually happens. The trick with limited pets is to get creative. Your pets have more abilities than the three that might seem to work the best together. You want to get super-effective damage on your enemy, so make sure you read all the abilities your pets have. Sometimes they will surprise you.

I probably had to reset the Tournament 6 or 10 times before I beat it the first time. It only took me two tries the second time. Just keep trying—and most importantly, believe in your pets.

Refer to this link, for it is your best guide.


Without further ado, my strategy for the first week’s tamers is…


Lorewalker Cho

His Team: Wisdom (Flying), Patience (Magic), and Knowledge

Wisdom is a typical bird with a Wild Magic/Rip combo that makes her dots hit pretty hard. But we can take care of her fairly easily. Patience is a broom with a humanoid attack that keeps you from abusing dragonkin moves to take him down easily. Knowledge is a dragon who will burst the heck out of you with Amplify Magic followed by Solar Beam.

My Logic:

I can’t use my really heavy hitting magic damage people, because I need them for Chi-Chi and Dr. Ion. I can’t use my heavy hitting humanoid damage people, because I need them for Yu’la.  The broom will kill my dragonkin.

Therefore, it’s time to get creative.

My Team:

Groudon (Pandaren Earth Spirit) with Stone Shot, Rock Barrage, and Crystal Prison.

Aliphos (Lost of Lordaeron) with Shadow Slash, Arcane Explosion, and Curse of Doom.

Hopling (Hopling) who is almost never used, but has Crush and Backflip to clean up.

The Fight:

Wisdom comes out first. I send out Aliphos. Wisdom does whatever she does, it doesn’t really matter. She doesn’t do a huge amount of damage, and Aliphos has a lot of health. Aliphos throws out Curse of Doom and then spams Arcane Explosion until he dies. The Curse of Doom goes off right as Wisdom kills him for the first time, and then he finishes her off with one last Arcane Explosion. Then Aliphos dies.

Patience comes out next, and I send out Groudon. Use Earthquake, Groudon!

Wait, wrong game.

Anyways, the trick here is with how NPC’s ALWAYS switch their pets if they get stunned. So Groudon throws up a Rock Barrage, a Stone Shot or two, and then BOOM! Crystal Prison! Patience smacks Groudon about a bit before this. While he’s switching, refresh Rock Barrage. Then the dragon comes out. Stone Shot him, he charges up with Amplify Magic, and hit him with Crystal Prison the second it comes off cooldown. Cho will switch back to Patience, and Groudon gets a free Rock Barrage on him. A Stone Shot should finish him off, and Cho switches back to the dragon. Just stun him as soon as you can and Stone Shot and Rock Barrage will finish him off easily. Groudon rarely if ever dies to this, but if he does then Hopling can easily kill everyone left alive. Remember that Aliphos has already weakened everyone with his Arcane Explosion. That lets Groudon clean up easily.


Dr. Ion Goldbloom

His Team: Screamer (Flying), Trike (Beast), and Chaos (Magic).

Screamer is an annoying little pteroperson who will Lift Off, hit you with Lift Off, Alpha Strike, and then Feign Death when you first see him. But there’s no surprises here. Trike is a Direhorn, god help us all, and is just as annoying as you would expect. Chaos has a humanoid ability, but it really doesn’t do all that much damage. The damage comes from his huge-hitting dragonkin ability.

My Logic:

Once again, I can’t use my really good magic people. I need someone who can block Lift Off, because it hits hard. I’ve got to use one of my Mechanicals on Trike…oh, god, I only have 3 and I need all 3 for Xu’fu (I came back the next day after I powerleveled the Darkmoon Tony) ok, I’ve got one to spare. And I’m going to use my weakest one, to save the strong ones for Xu’fu. I want to save my strong dragonkin, and I need a tanky one because they might take a LOT of damage from Chaos.

My Team:

Whisper (Nordrassil Wisp) with Light, Flash, and Soul Ward.

Titan (Personal World Destroyer) with Metal Fist, Supercharge, and Quake.

Gaia (Emerald Whelpling) with Breath, Emerald Presence, and Emerald Dream.

The Fight:

I know Screamer is going to Lift Off so Whisper uses Soul Ward right off the bat. He’s faster than Whisper so she prepares to (hah) Flash him, he comes down and gets blocked and blinded. Light smacks him about a bit, and then she runs out of abilities. So, I pass, and coincidentally he always Feigns Death. So Trike comes out. Soul Ward comes off cooldown, and Whisper blocks the damage of Adrenaline Rush. Now it’s a challenge to see how many times she can avoid being stunned. Flash then Light then Soul Ward until she dies, then out comes Titan. Trike should be at medium health at this point, less if Whisper got lucky. Titan can curbstomp Trike with a handful of Metal Fists, or a Supercharge then a Metal Fist if you are willing to risk getting stunned and losing your buff. If you can arrange it so a quake will kill Trike, do so and get a little more damage on Chaos and Screamer. Screamer will get sent out, Feign Death, and send in Chaos, who will kill Titan eventually. Hopefully Titan gets off a few Metal Fists first. Then, I send in Gaia. If you get a good moment to use Emerald Presence, use it, otherwise Breath Chaos to death so Screamer gets sent out. Gaia may be at low health at this point. The second Screamer comes out, use Emerald Dream. You can good healing in if he Feigns Death, then Lifts Off, and Gaia should be able to finish him off fairly easily. Sometimes I lose in this strategy, though—darn RNG!


Sully “The Pickle” McLeary

His Team: Socks (Undead), Monte (Critter), and Rikki (Aquatic).

Socks is a fairly standard undead. Unholy Acension makes your whole team take more damage, which is icky. Monte has a bleed and a dodge in burrow. Rikki heals when he kills your people, which is annoying, and has an ability that makes your stuff miss him a lot.

My Logic:

I don’t have a single critter at level 25, crap! (forgetting that I actually did have one, but that it wasn’t favorited). Wait…Hopling has a critter attack? Ok, I’ll use that. Sweet, he’s faster than Socks! My girl Trish can crush Monte with her beast attacks, and I want to save Swain the hard-hitter…so let’s use Shimmerwing.

My Team:

Hopling (Hopling) with Tongue Lash, Sticky Goo, and Backflip

Trish (Direhorn Runt) with Trihorn Charge, Horn Attack, and Primal Cry

Shimmerwing (Silky Moth) with Alpha Strike, Cocoon Strike, and Moth Dust

The Fight:

Hopling comes out first versus Socks.

Did you know, I thought Hopling was entirely useless after I first got him to 25? I thought he was just as cute as anything, though. But he has actually  been a huge help both times I did the Tournament.

Anyways, Backflip first. You want to use this every time it’s off cooldown, as Hopling is super quick so you get the free stun every time. Then, Tongue Lash Socks to death. He will probably rake you with Infected Claw once, which will knock Hopling down to half health, but should be easily managed. Try and time it so you can Backflip on him during the round he resurrects, so you can interrupt Unholy Ascension, but if you don’t, it’s fine. Hopling, squeaking gleefully in triumph, then squares off against Monte. Knock Monte down as low as you can with Backflips and Tongue Lashes. You might even be able to kill him, but usually he takes out opling. That’s fine. Trish will annihilate him easily. I might not have even used Trish the first time I killed this guy, but she is certainly a good pick. Then, if Rikki gives you any trouble, any flying type can clean up easily as all of his attacks are weak to flying. Shimmering can Alpha Strike him to death in a couple of turns. I try not to use Moth Dust while he has his evasion buff up, however.


It’s really not so bad (at least for the trainers). Get creative. Hopling is a humanoid pet with a critter ability. Whisper does magic type damage and have a block, unlike Nasus (my Anubisath Idol) who wouldn’t do as much damage but has a block, or Talisma (my Feline Familiar) who does magic damage but doesn’t have a block.

Remember, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight. It’s the size of the fight in the dog.

And I never would have been able to do anything of this without the generosity of a stranger. Can you see baby Nasus in this?


The Celestial Tournament – It’s Skill, Not Size

Hiemalis, Shaman of Korgath US
As a follow up to my most recent blog post about the Celestial Tournament, I wanted to show another side to the challenge.

I related my own experience with it, because that’s what I know. I described my two weeks of tournies, and how with my stable of 95 pets at max level I felt the need to go out and level four more for better synergy.

All that is true, but the implication I left was that in order to enjoy success at the tournament, you must level and then level some more.

Nope. Nope, nope, nope.


There once was a Shaman named Hiemalis
who healed and chattily charmed us.
The Tournament she won
with skill second to none
and twenty-five pets in her toolbox.

That’s right.

One of the friends I made over the course of the old IceCrown Citadel cross-realm heroic achievement runs was Hiemalis, who at the time was tanking for us on her Bear.

We were chatting earlier in the week, and she was lamenting the way her schedule was going to prevent her from raiding with her guild. That whole real life thing in the outdoors and all, you know how it is.

I mentioned that Team WANDA and the Band of Misfits were going to do our weekly Flex Raid on Thursday, and she’d be very welcome to join us.

She said she’d bring her heals and her charm, and I have to admit, she was true to her word and brought an abundant measure of both. She also brought a few of her friends along with, and they were quite fun to have as well.

As the night progressed, and we normally taciturn Misfits dubbed her ‘the talky shaman’, I learned that she has defeated the Celestial Tournament each week herself, just like I had.

Except, of course, in her case she did it while only having 25 pets leveled to 25.

Let me say that again. It bears repeating.

Hiemalis-Kargath (US) defeated the first week of the Celestial Tournament with only 25 pets at max level.

The Tournament doesn’t sound so all-fired impossible and grindy now, does it?

I asked her the secret to her success, and she told me it was fun to match up lots of different abilities that worked great together.

In other words, she prefers synergy teams and smart play to brute force. And clearly, she can pull it off.

She ran down every pet she used for every fight off the top of her head, and why they worked. I asked why she didn’t use one pet over another, like a Darkmoon Zeppelin instead of a Personal World Destroyer, and of course the answer was because she didn’t have one.

Some of the pets she used against tamers I used as well, like Gnarly/Chuck when facing Chen Stormstout. But for the most part, I was sitting there looking at the list of pets she matched against tamers and the mini-Celestials, thinking “Wow, don’t I feel like a dumbass for not being able to get it done with 95. Talk about an abundance of riches.”

Because it’s the truth. Where I looked for brute force solutions first, and fell back on synergy when all else failed, she looked for fun combinations to work together as the first choice.

I won’t list the pets she used or her strategies here. If she wants to share them, then I think it’s only right she share them herself and get the appropriate measure of respect and admiration she’s earned.

At the time of my writing this, while we are still in the midst of the second week of the Celestial Tournament, a glance at her WoW Armory account shows she still only has a grand total of 30 pets at max level, including all the ones she told me she used in the Tournament…

And also Xu-Fu, the Cub of Xuen, currently at 10th level, the perfect proof that she has done what she said and in the way that she said she did it.

I wanted to share this story not to make you or me feel bad, but to show you that it is possible for someone with skill, talent and an abundance of creative thinking to win the Celestial Tournament with 25 pets. And that’s not even with the ‘perfect’ set of pets, but the ones she had that she made the best use of.

I think a heartfelt ‘well done’ is in order, don’t you?

You know what else I like?

I like seeing that she has taken the trouble to name all of her max level pets. As if she formed an attachment to them and thinks of them as her actual pets when she takes them out to play.

It shows that you CAN mix playful fun with a determination to win, the best of both worlds…. of Warcraft.

Oh God, what a cheesy sign off sentence.

I love it so much, I’m leaving it there.