Ah, the strafe... those wonderful default key-bound Q & E motions... why do we need to keep these, again?
- Strafing is much faster than backing away
- With the correct angle to the mob applied first, it allows us to avoid those nasty "You must be facing your target" error messages
- Keep maximum distance from your mob while spell-casting
- Maintain distance while firing off instant-casts
- Combined with Vampiric Embrace, healing + damage avoidance = being able to drop PW:S and self-Renew from your spell rotation - saving you 1050 mana per pull at level 70.
You can start using the strafe early on, but it becomes essential at level 30 with the addition of VE. Here's how you do it: Select your target mob. Turn your character to an almost-90 degree angle from it. Make sure that you have a safe area to strafe into - nothing is worse than running smack into another group of mobs in a futile attempt to avoid the first one.
Wind up a high-damage spell with a cast-time - I prefer Mind Blast. As soon as it fires, begin strafing away from your mob. Simultaneously drop SW:P; continue strafing while watching the GCD and then drop VE. Again, continue strafing while the GCD ticks. As soon as another cast becomes available, stop moving and begin to Mind Flay. The beauty of this spell is that it's also slowing the mob's progress towards you. As soon as your 3 seconds are up - or the mob reaches you and interrupts it - check the mob's health. If it's under 30%, go ahead and finish it off by wanding. Your SW:P will continue to tick, supplying a little health back to you via VE. You've started your 5-second waiting period a little early, which means you'll have a head start on that mana regen.
You'll develop a pattern as you clear your way into an area, pulling mobs back substantially before moving forward a bit to select the next one.
At level 62, Shadow Word: Death becomes available to you. Acquiring this little number effectively makes your wand obsolete. Granted, the penalty for not timing it correctly kind of sucks, but keep in mind that a portion of that damage caused - both to you and the mob - is being returned to you via VE. It's not all bad. The fact that SW:D can crit (yummy) makes it even more attractive, and you absolutely MUST learn to work this spell into your damage rotation. I use it as a finisher most of the time.
Using the strafe well requires practice and a commitment to being a clicker. You need to be able to fire off instant-cast spells while strafing, and using the Q & E keys for movement while clicking spells is the best way I've found to accomplish that. Of course, I'm always open to hearing about the methods that others use - got an improvement for this system? Think I'm completely off in the head? Leave me a comment! Share your opinion with the world!