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What is Strand of the Ancients?
With the release of Wrath of the Lich King, Blizzard introduced new Player Versus Player content. Along with the new designated PVP content, a new 'subplot' battleground was incorporated into the endless World of Warcraft story line. To keep game play fresh, vehicles (known formally as Siege Vehicles) have been introduced. The concept between Strand of the Ancients is to knock down a series of walls with your vehicle, and to finally reach the Relic. Each team will have 10 minutes to do this, and the fasted faction to capture the Relic will be branded the winner. If no team captures the Relic in time, the game will be deemed a draw.
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Tactics for Offensive Team
Alliance, for unimportant reasons, always attempts to breach the Relic first. This means that Horde spawns in the city itself and Alliance makes their dramatic entrance on two boats. This unique starting position proposes problems for buffs, sharing food and any other pre-game advantages (such as heatlhstones) due to players only being able to access half their team. Therefore, when both boats dock, it is vital that they rejoin forces. A player will soon discover that even though not a huge amount of PVP takes place within this battleground, sticking together as a team is important. The first wall that is to be breached has two gates. Only one needs to be knocked down (blue or green), so your team should pick one and assault it with available vehicles.
Despite the defense, this tactic will ensure the first wall is breached in good time. If the first gate (or any gates for that matter) don't seem to be falling, then it would be recommended to pick up a seaforium charge. These as explosives that players can carry which, if detonated at the correct spot, will do great damage to the gate. These are vital in times when vehicles are in short supply.
Graveyards are also important to the success of the attacking team. Capturing the correct ones at the right time can result in resurrecting teammates being placed in battle faster, and also ensures that there is a sufficient amount of Workshops creating vehicles. The correct tactic for capturing Graveyards is to take control of the Eastern and Western ones as soon as possible. This lengthens the time it takes for the defensive team to get back into position and shortens your own time. The Southern Graveyard is to also be captured, but not until your team reaches the Relic door.
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Tactics for Defensive Team
Defensive turrets are important when it comes to fending off the onslaught of vehicles. There are two at either side of each gate, which can be accessed from the back stairs leading to them. If shooting a moving vehicle, it is recommend that the shooter aims a little ahead of the vehicle, to account for movement time. If aimed correctly, these can do a huge amount of damage and can destroy vehicles before they get uncomfortably close to the gate.
Equally important is the ability to fall back in time. It will be rare to be up against a team who does not break through a single gate. Therefore, it is vital that when a gate is broken you and you teammates fall back onto the next gate. If you arrive there before the Offensive team, then you stand a much better chance of fighting them off. This ability also needs to work when the yellow gate has been broken. This means that the Relic is next on their attack list, so there is no point in protecting anything else.
As mentioned above, capturing Graveyards is important to the Offensive team. Preventing them from capturing the Graveyards can slow down an onslaught. However, this will by no means prevent the onslaught, so only take time out from the main battle when you see fit.
The last step in ensuring that the Relic is kept intact is to disable any seaforium charges placed at gates. They take 10 seconds to detonate, however if you are able to defuse them in time, you will be saving 25% of your walls health. Just because there are no vehicles around, it does not mean that the Offensive team cannot breach the Relic!
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Due to the introduction of Siege Vehicles, player on player combat has been reduced significantly within this fantastic battleground. However, teamwork and perseverance are still required, whether you are battling to protect or fighting to capture. Attacking teams should always be moving together, with players both on the ground and also operating vehicles. Unlike Wintergrasp, the Defensive team does not have the ability to create vehicles, so the Offensive team's main priority is to knock down walls. Similarly, the Defensive team will also need to work together, both attacking vehicles and defusing charges. A whole team working together can easily take down an onslaught of 4 or 5 vehicles at once. However, to do this teamwork is required, and only when players are not working as a team does the Offensive team capture the Relic.