This Week’s Brawl: Warsong Scramble

Warsong Scramble may be the closest thing to Flag Runner Heaven

Warsong Gulch is the oldest and most traveled Battleground in the game, and for good reason: it was the very first to be released (alongside Alterac Valley), and it has largely remained the same for all the years it’s been around. Sure, they added a time limit and a flag debuff to shorten the games, but it’s always been the same 3 caps for the auto-win. A simple concept, but the frenetic pace and down-to-the-wire captures would keep you on the edge of your seat until the scoreboard was showing.

One of the basic rules of Warsong Gulch has always been that each side has one and only one flag, and in order to capture, your flag must be safely in your base when you return with it. If the enemy made off with your flag, you have to wait until your team returns it, all the while fending off the other team trying to do the same to you. This would lead to turtle strategies where a team might decide to run down the clock if they had the lead instead of splitting up their team to try for a return.

But this week’s Brawl changes that one golden rule. Instead of one flag per team, each has a total of three flags, and capturing an enemy flag no longer requires yours to be at home. Other, less impactful things have been changed as well, but this single difference drastically changes the game. Turtle-ing is a less viable strategy, and captures now emphasize speed over brawn. Finally, to keep up with the pace, 10 captures are required instead of the usual 3. Tiebreaker rules still apply (i.e. the last team to cap wins at the end of the timer), but I wouldn’t expect nearly as many of these games to run the clock down as compared to the normal version of WSG.

And, just to make things more interesting, a smattering of “buff cubes” have been added to the landscape. Running over one will give you a random new one-use ability. These range from kicking players away, pulling them to you, or calling in a favor from Ashran with Arcane Prison. Only one player can collect the cube when it spawns, but they recharge in regular intervals. These abilities will not drastically change the direction of most battles, but they are quite useful and clutch uses are certainly possible.

Below is a list of tips and tricks to help you scramble your way to victory in this twist on the most iconic Battleground.

  • As with the other Brawls, entering one will immediately start a quest. However, this quest has been changed to require victory in the Brawl, rather than mere participation. It also requires only one victory instead of three games finished, and the Artifact Power reward has been increased.
  • Like the previous Brawls, Warsong Scramble promotes a more aggressive mindset. Turtle-ing with the flag is now unnecessary, and multiple carriers can be present on the field at any one time.
    • You can still turtle inside your base to defend it, if you wish. Most enemy flag runners will come in by themselves or in very small groups, making them easy pickings. However, your absence on the field may rob your team of some much needed firepower, so weigh how well your side is doing before committing to defense.
    • The Opening Charge, however, is still mostly the same. Don’t bother trying to defend during this unless your entire team is with you. You will be overwhelmed otherwise.
  • The flag debuff is still here and works a little differently. When they appear, they stack much faster to keep with the accelerated pace of the game. Remember that reaching 6 stacks will prevent you from moving above 100% of your normal run speed.
  • Controlling midfield is now even more important than before. All flag carriers must cross the center to capture, and they will be most vulnerable at this time. Support your own carriers by creating a safety net to intercept enemy players. This naturally puts you in a very good position to intercept any enemy carriers trying to make it back across as well.
    • People are less likely to chase you if you make it into your base (unless they’re right on your heels). Making it inside is almost as good as an actual capture.
  • When going for the flag, speed is generally better than survivability. The other team cannot stop a cap in this mode by stealing your flag, so getting it back to your base with all haste is your top priority!
  • Grab the buff boxes scattered around the battlefield. As stated before you can’t rely on them, but proper use of these new abilities can be a game changer.
Warsong Scramble
Focusing on Flag Carrier kills can rack up a lot of points.
  • Always go for “lone wolf” carriers before attacking the one surrounded by the rest of their team. Their captures are worth just as much as the escorted one, and leaving them alone may mean multiple captures for the other side!
  • Defend your healers! They are no longer required to sit with the flag carrier on defense, so they will more than likely be midfield helping your team and giving you more staying power than normal. Their ability to save or top off friendly carriers is critical, so make sure they’re in a position to do so.
  • Returning your flags should be viewed as a way to slow down the enemy team. With three flags per side on the field, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to stop all of them. Rather, ensure that your team has a steady stream of captures. The best way to do this is, of course, to annihilate the enemy team. Barring that, buy as much time for your carriers as possible with slows, snares, or distractions.
  • If your team is doing well at grabbing flags, you can get a lot of flag returns by playing hunter-killer on the enemy carriers. If this is your goal, try to intercept them as soon as possible (even going into your base if you have to). The farther they get across midfield, the more chance their team will reach them before you will.
  • Above all else, always adapt to the situation. 10 captures may seem like a lot but it goes much quicker than you might think, and taking your eyes off things for even a second may have one or more carriers slipping by you. Focus on the objectives, and you’ll more than likely walk away with the victory for this week’s Brawl!
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