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Celestial Tournament Strategies
#1
Hi everyone,

I've done the Celestial Tournament three times now, so I have now seen all of the initial trainers. The Celestial Tournament is a weekly "scenario" in which you are faced with three trainers which change every week (three teams of three for a total of nine trainers) and then face the four Celestial pet battles -- Xu-Fu the Tiger, Chi-Chi the Crane, Zao the Ox, and Yula the Dragon -- which are the same every week. You cannot use your heal button or rez any pets during the entire scenario.

Here is the information I've gathered to help me beat these battles. I'm writing it up here so that it might be useful to others, and also so that I can find it easily in the future!


Zlinka's Pet Battle Strategies

Tip #1: Take one tamer at a time at first. When facing a set of tamers for the first time, I found it helpful to take on just one tamer at a time with a variety of test teams. I'd figure out the best team and strategy for that tamer, then I'd leave the scenario, heal and rez my pets, then go try another tamer. Once I had figured out all three tamers for that week I would go in at full health and take them all down one after the other easily. Doing a set of test runs and then resetting the scenario helped me go in very strong for my serious attempt.

Tip #2: The pet-healing strategy. You can't use your heal button, but you CAN heal your pets during the battle by using a trick. Two of the Celestials, Chi-Chi the Crane and Yu-la the Dragon, do not attack on their first turn. So it is possible to heal your pets up before attempting the Celestial battles. Simply choose one pet that has a group heal, like a cricket, and two pets that need healing. Put the Cricket in the lead position, engage Chi-Chi, cast the group heal, and forfeit. Repeat until the two backline pets are fully healed. There is no forfeit penalty in the Celestial battles so it is possible to get them to full health. There are also tamers who do not attack during the first turn, so it is possible to heal up on those as well (I think Wise Mari is one of these).

Now, on to the battles. I lean toward conservative, reliable strategies that work every time rather than flashier strategies that depend on lucky RNG.

I have placed Alternative Teams and Further Suggestions behind Spoiler buttons to reduce clutter.


Trainer Team #1: Chen Stormstout, Wrathion, and Taran Zhu

I find Chen and Wrathion to be the hardest tamers in this set. Chen starts out with a possible stun, so I do Chen first and re-start the scenario until avoid the stun on that first turn. Then I do Wrathion.

Chen Stormstout

a) Darkmoon Zeppelin
b) Kun-lai Runt
c) Legs.

Open with the zeppelin and build a decoy. If the zep gets stunned re-start the fight. Missile until the beast dies. Explode against the cricket pet. Bring in the Runt, Mangle then Rampage. Put Mangle on the elemental if you can. Bring out Legs, use Pump and Whirlpool.

Note: Cho's first pet always starts with a possible stun. This is not so bad on the gnome, which is fast, so he gets a turret built before the stun lands. With a slower pet, however, I found that my success in the fight depended on whether that first stun landed.

Alternate teams:
a) Clockwork Gnome (Metal Fist and Build Turret); Emerald Turtle (Emerald Bite, Shell Shield, Head Butt); Aqua Strider or other water bug (Water Jet, Healing Wave, Pump). Start with the Gnome and build a turret, then Fist, until I could build a second turret. Try not to get the Gnome killed as it's needed against Xu-Fu later on. Killed the beast pet and maybe get a few hits in on the critter pet. Swap in the turtle and start with Shell Shield to reduce damage, then Head Butt on cooldown and Emerald Bite otherwise. Shell Shield was very nice against the critter's multiple small attacks. Kill the critter and get a few hits on the elemental. Bring in the Aqua Strider. Pump twice, heal, water jet etc. This is a powerful pet and it should finish off the elemental, BUT the elemental's hit-reduction debuff makes this a bit of an RNG gamble. If too many Pumps miss that could be a problem.
b) Darkmoon Zeppelin, Wolvar Pup, Chuck (or Snarly). Open with the Zeppelin and put down a decoy which will shield the Zep from two attacks. Then hit Missile a couple times. This was enough to kill the first pet. I wanted to use Explode before the Zep died but the second pet slept the Zep then killed it. Even without explode, though, this team worked. Bring in the Wolvar Pup. Use Maul, then Bite a couple times. This was enough to kill the second pet. The Wolvar got several hits on the third pet (the brew elemental) and got it down to about 40% and was then killed. I used Rip and Surge on the elemental to kill it. I wanted to use Blood in the Water but was nervous about the low hit due to the elemental's hit-reducing attack (even with the bleed effect up). I may try it next time. This is a good team.
c) Darkmoon Tonk (Missile, Shock and Awe, Ion Cannon). Open with Shock and Awe, then Missile. If the tonk doesn't get stunned the first round, this fight will go more smoothly. It may have enough life left to hit the second pet a bit before it dies.
d) Kun-lai Runt (Thrash, Mangle, Rampage) as pet #2. Open with Mangle (damage buff), then Rampage and Thrash. The Runt is very powerful against the cricket here. If it has enough life left, hit the elemental with it -- it's nice to get a little damage in before the elemental uses its ground effect that reduces hit change.
e) Aqua Strider or other water bug (Water Jet, Healing Wave, Pump). Pump twice, heal, water jet etc. Hope for hits!


Wrathion

a) A fast rabbit really shines against Cindy. Use Burrow to avoid the Ice Tomb, and Dodge right after that to minimize other damage. The rabbit takes little damage from Blistering Cold.
b) Scourged Whelpling (Call Darkness, Dreadful Breath). Swap in the Whelpling when Alex comes out. Use Call Darkness and Dreadful Breath against Alex. The Whelpling may die to Alex, but Dreadful Breath will have done damage to Dah'da too.
c) Kun-Lai Runt (Takedown, Mangle, Rampage). Bring in the Runt against Alex and Dah'da. May need to mop up with the rabbit.


Alternative teams:
a) A Frog (Tongue Lash, Healing Wave, Swarm). I use a Yellow-bellied bullfrog, but any frog with those abilities will work fine here.
b) Flayer Youngling (Blitz, Deflection, Kick) (must be the fast S/S breed)
c) Anubisath Idol (Crush, Stoneskin, Deflection)

I start with the Frog and open with Swarm (a nice DoT) against Cindy, and then use Tongue Lash and hit Healing Wave as needed. It is possible to finish Cindy off with some life left. Swap the frog out when Alex enters the battle, and bring the Flayer in.

Alex will heal on cooldown and follow it with a Flamethrower, then Breath. So use Deflection after Flamethrower to block the Breath. Use Blitz otherwise. I have heard that if you Kick a breath, Alex will only use one. Also note that the kick and its one-round stun is very nice for minimizing damage, even if it doesn't interrupt a Breath.

(Note: This strategy only works with a fast, S/S flayer. My slow flayer did not shine during this fight -- he'd be stunned and killed in just a few turns.)

After the Flayer dies bring the Anubisath Idol in. Keep Stoneskin up and cast Deflection to protect from the Breath on Alex, and after Alex is dead, use Deflection to protect against the impact of Dah'da's Elementium Bolt (the Bolt has a 5 turn cooldown and strikes after 3 rounds, so you can see it coming).

If the Idol dies, bring the Frog back in to finish Dah'da -- use Tongue Lash and Healing Wave as needed.

a) Turtle (Shell Shield and Powerball). I use a Softshell Snapling. Start with Shell Shield then continue with Powerball. Retire the turtle when Cindy dies.
b) Scourged Whelpling (Call Darkness and Dreadful Breath). Worked only okay. Died. Had to finish Alex off with the third pet:
c) Ghostly Skull (Death Coil, Ghostly Bite). Unfortunately Ghostly Bite stuns the SKULL, not the opponent. Whoops. Skull died and I had to finish Dah'da off with very damaged turtle.

a) Frog (Tongue Lash, Cleansing Rain, Swarm of Flies). Open with Tongue Lash and Swarm of Flies, then Cleansing Rain. Killed Cindy and got a few hits onto Alex and refreshed Cleansing Rain before the frog died.
b) Feral Vermling (or Hopling). Use Dreadful Breath, which gets a boost from Cleansing Rain. This worked okay. The Vermling has no mitigation so it went down fast, and Alex healed himself, so the Vermling ended up getting Alex down only to 80% which wasn't great, BUT he got Dah'da in the back line down to 50%, which was great.
c) Anubisath Idol. Got Stoneskin up, attacked with Crush, and used Deflection against Alex's Breath and Dah'da's Elementium Bolt. With his mitigation was able to kill Alex and Dah'da even though he was very injured.

a) Any turtle (Shell Shield and Powerball). Get Shell Shield up. It will protect the turtle from numerous small DoTs. Spam Powerball.
b) Scourged Whelpling (Call Darkness and Dreadful Breath). Call Darkness is very strong against Alex. Then hit Dreadful Breath. This is a less damaging attack but it will hit Dah'da, too.
c) Lil' Bad Wolf (Counterstrike, Dodge, and Howl). This pet, and the abilities here, are debatable. I got Howl up, then hit Counterstrike, which did massive damage against Dah'da. But Counterstrike has a 2-turn cooldown, which is very lame. I was able to hit it again and kill Dah'da before he healed himself, but then the Elementium Bolt killed the wolf (I had planned to use Dodge against the Bolt but went for the kill instead). Unfortunately, with both teams dead on the final turn, this is deemed a defeat. So this team may have potential but it needs some work.

Other suggestions:
* Against Cindy, the undead dragon:
--> A fast rabbit really shines against Cindy. Use Burrow to avoid the Ice Tomb, and Dodge right after that to minimize other damage. The rabbit takes little damage from Blistering Cold.
--> A cricket with a self-heal, cocoon to be used against Cindy's Ice Tomb (which has a 5 turn cooldown) and decent damage against Undead.
-- A bandicoon
* Use an Anubisath in the second position against Alex and Dah'da, then Peddlefeet, or a Flayer, or a Kun'lai Runt, to clean up.


Taran Zhu

Three grubs, all with Consume, Acidic Goo (which I didn't use), and Leap. The hardest opponent was the one that stuns -- might want to find a way to burrow to avoid that stun. But this strategy works even without burrow. The next-hardest one is the one that self-heals.

I used 3 H/H maggots (two devouring maggots and one maggot, which have H/H breeds with a health of 1887). I recommend H/H here because a) this is an endurance fight, in which both you and at least one of the opponents the opponent have self-heals; and b) it's possible to recover from very low health with Consume, so having a little more health means that you get several more turns out of each grub; and c) Leap makes the base speed of the grub irrelevant -- with Leap on, your grub will go first with any base speed. With that in mind, the highest-health grubs are the best here.

Use Leap to increase speed, the follow it with Consume, which has a 1-turn cooldown (so the pattern is Leap-Consume-Leap-Consume with all three grubs until all three panda opponents are dead). The fight takes a while but it eventually wears all the opponents down.

Other suggestions:
* Three grubs of any breed. This was my standard team before getting 3 H/H grubs. This is a viable team -- I won several times with non-H/H grubs. I lost once with this team, which led me to construct an all-H/H grub team. H/H gives you a little more cushion.
* Fossilized Hatchling with Bone Bite, Ancient Blessing, and Bonestorm, followed by two grubs with Consume, Acidic Goo (unused), and Leap. Open with Bonestorm, which damages the entire team. Then swap in a Grub, and alternate Leap and Consume (which has a 1 turn cooldown). I have used this team successfully but the Fossilized Hatchling is pretty fragile. Ultimately I found it better to use three grubs rather than a hatchling + 2 grubs.
* I also tried moths and flies but that was a bad team here. I tried Curious Wolvar Pup, a Clouded Hedgehog, and a Fox Kit but the Hedgehog was too weak. The Wolvar did okay and the Fox Kit did a lot of damage but was very fragile.

In the end, the team that worked best was to level up three grubs for this fight.


Trainer Team #2: Blingtron 4000, Wise Mari, Shademaster Kiryn

Edit: I found Blingtron to be the hardest of these three, so I started with him and kept fighting him until I won, restarting the instance each time. Then Shademaster, then Wise Mari, who were both easier in comparison (one-shots). Wise Mari in particular has been straightforward the two times I've fought him -- I've yet to use my third pet on him.

Blingtron 4000

a) Legs (Pump, Surge of Power, Whirlpool) -- Legs is good in this position as it is a Magic pet and so cannot take more than 50% of its health at once (which helps him survive Au's charge), but it also has aquatic attacks which are strong against elementals.
b) Corehound Pup (Thrash, Howl, Burrow)
c) Fel Flame (Burn, Immolate, Conflagrate)

Start with Legs, cast Whirlpool, then Pump twice. The Pump plus the Whirlpool should kill Au.

Next comes Banks, the pig.

Cast what you can against Banks, as you'll only have 1-2 hits before Legs dies. Cast Whirlpool if you can, or Ion Cannon if Whirlpool isn't up yet. If you think you have two turns left in Legs, try Pump + Pump. Then Legs dies to Banks.

Bring out the Corehound Pup. Immediately burrow to minimize damage, then Howl (damage increaser) then Thrash, Thrash. Repeat until Banks dies. Then Howl and swap out.

Bring in the Fel Flame, open with Conflagrate to take advantage of the damage buff from Howl. Then Immolate. Cast Conflagrate on Cooldown. Spam Burn as filler.

Edit: A key factor to winning with this lineup is to get the Corehound's Howl up before your Fel Flame enters the fight, because the Howl massively buffs the Fel Flame's Conflagrate (to 1500 or so, which will nearly kill the Blingtron's Lil'B). Without Howl the first Conflagrate is much smaller, and the final fight becomes more of a slugfest instead of an almost-oneshot. To get that Howl in, your Strider needs to kill, or almost kill, the first pet, and the Corehound needs to kill, or almost kill, Banks.

Other suggestions:
* Use and Aqua Strider in the first slot (Water Jet, Healing Wave, Pump). I've had trouble getting my Aqua Strider to survive against Au, though, so I eventually replaced him with Legs.
* Use a Kun-lai Runt as the second pet, against Banks the pig (critter). Open with Mangle, then use Rampage, and Thrash until the pig dies.

Wise Mari

a) Crow (Alpha Strike, Call Darkness, Nocturnal Strike)
b) Onyxian Whelpling (Tail Sweep, Healing Flame, Deep Breath -- could also use Lift-off instead of Deep Breath to avoid the whirlpool/dive combo)
c) Strider (unused) (Water Jet, Healing Wave, Pump) (or Legs with Pump, Surge of Power, Whirlpool)

Start with the Crow and open with Alpha Strike, Call Darkness, Nocturnal Strike, then Alpha Strike again. The crow finishes off the carp and most of the magic pet. Then bring in the Onyxian Whelpling. Use Tail Sweep, and healing on cooldown, until it dies. My whelpling never died, but finished off the magic pet and killed the elemental pet. I used Deep Breath once to good effect. Could also choose Lift-off instead of Deep Breath to avoid the otter's whirlpool/dive combo. If needed, use the aquatic pet to finish him off.

Alternate Teams:
* Lil Bling and Zandalari Anklerender or Kneebiter. I have won with this team (after the Crow-Whelpling-Strider team died). Start with Lil Bling's Make it Rain, followed by Inflation. Use Blingtron Gift Package on cooldown. Refresh Make it rain when there's still a debuff from Inflation. Repeat this sequence on the first and second of Wise Mari's pets. If the Bling needs a heal (he only gets a heal if the Gift Package is dodged) you can wait for the opponent to cast Ward to force a miss which will make the package heal you. The Blingtron should kill the second pet too. On the third pet, bring out a Zandalari Anklerender and cast Black Claw, then Hunting Party. I found that this team worked beautifully, and that I didn't need a third pet.

Further Suggestions:
* Legs (Pump, Surge of Power, Whirlpool) is a very useful third pet here as it's a magic pet so will take less damage than an aquatic pet. But a regular aquatic will work fine.
* Can also open with a Brilliant Kalliri (Quills, Shriek, Predatory strike) or other pets with the same moves, like an owl.
* A non-dragon with a dragon-damage ability, like the Mechanical Pandaren Dragonling, would work well in this line-up.
* Kalliri (Quills, Shriek, Predatory Strike), Onyxian Whelpling (Tail Sweep, Healing Flame), and Legs (Pump, Surge of Power, Whirlpool). Tainted Souls has a good description of the how this team works.
* Amber Moth (Slicing Wind, Cocoon Strike, Moth Dust), Clockwork Gnome (Metal Fist, Blitz, Turret), and Oily Slimeling (Absorb, Corrosion, Acidic Goo). Depends on some lucky RNG with the moth.
* Anubisath Idol (Demolish, Sandstorm, Deflection), Wild Jade Hatchling (Tail Sweep, Roar, Lift-off), Eternal Strider (Water Jet, Cleansing Rain, Pump). Lead with the Idol, Sandstorm on Cooldown to counter the Cleansing Rain / Dreadful Breath combo, otherwise hit Demolish. Keep the Idol in until it dies. When Spiris comes out spam Demolish on cooldown. RNG permitting, you'll kill him or get him low enough for the Hatchling to finish him off. Span Tail Sweep on the Hatchling. Keep Hatchling in for River, if it didn't die. Roar on Turn 1, Lift-off on Turn 2 (to avoid the Whirlpool / Dive combo) then spam Tail Sweep. If the Hatchling dies, switch to the Eternal Strider. Pump twice then spam Water Jet.
* Three Zandalari Anklerenders / Kneebiters, all P/P breed with Hunting Party and Black Claw.
* Ashwing Moth or Brilliant Kalliri to beat the carp. Clockwork Gnome for Spirus (must have turret to break his block. He'll die once and revive). Spirebound Crab with Whirlpool and Rush to kill the elemental pet.
* Any flier for the first pet.

Shademaster Kiryn

a) Zandalari Kneebiter or Anklerender (Hunting Party, Black Claw, Bloodfang)
b) Terrible Turnip (Tidal Wave, Leech Seed, Sons of the Root)
c) Anubisath Idol (Demolish, Stoneskin, Deflection)

Start with the raptor. Cast Black Claw, then Hunting Party. This is enough to bring the first pet to low health. Finish him with Bloodfang. Cast Black Claw to help the Turnip, then retire the Kneebiter and bring in the Turnip.*

On the Turnip, start with Sons of the Root. The Cat will Call Lightning then build a turret. Kiryn's Cat's own Lightning Storm + your raptor's ongoing Black Claw will do significant damage to the Cat, and your Turnip's Son's of the Root will both protect the Turnip and damage the Cat (with buffs from Black Claw and Lightning Storm). Cast Tidal Wave to remove the Turrets once the burrow is over. Leech Seed for Health. This is enough to kill the cat. Retire the turnip, bring out the Idol.

A very helpful add-on here is Pet Battle Tactician, which tells you the opponent's abilities and cooldowns. I had trouble using the Idol in this slot until I got this add-on, which let me predict the wolf's dodge.

With the idol, apply Stoneskin when the wolf has Dodge up to avoid wasting a hit that would be dodged anyway. After the wolf has buffed himself with Pounce, hit Deflect to avoid the incoming buffed hit. Otherwise, hit Demolish.

* You can also retire the Kneebiter WITHOUT casting Black Claw -- he'll retire at much higher health as he'll avoid the cat's nasty lightning storm. The turnip can kill the cat on its own, but will get more damaged in the process. The longer duration of the fight means that the cat has time to cast Lightning Storm a second time, but this can be used to your advantage against the Wolf. When the Wolf comes out, immediately submerge, and all the little attacks + the cat's second lightning storm will bring the Wolf down by a lot.


Trainer Team #3: Dr. Ion Goldbloom, Lorewalker Cho, Sully the Pickle

Edit: Of the three teams, I find this one to be the easiest. I have been able to beat this set of trainers three times now with the teams listed below with no losses (though there were some close calls!).

Lorewalker Cho

a) Nether Faerie Dragon (Arcane Blast, Life exhcange, Moonfire)
b) A Spider (Strike, Brittle Webbing, Leach Life)
c) Scourged Whelpling (Tail Sweep, Call Darkness, Plagued Blood)

Open with Moonfire against Cho's Wisdom Pet, and then Arcane Blasted until Wisdom was dead. He'll bring out his second pet, Patience the Broom. The Faerie Dragon will be damaged but that's actually good here: hit Life Exchange, then swap in the Spider. With the Spider keep Brittle Webbing up, then Leech Life when it needs a heal, then hit Strike. When the Spider dies, bring in the Scourged Whelpling. Hit Tail Sweep to finish off Patience the Broom, then he'll bring out his last pet. Hit Call Darkness, then Plagued Blood, then Tail Sweep. When I tried this the Whelpling went down alarmingly fast and ended up being killed, so I had to bring out the very damaged Fairie Dragon back in and managed to finish him off. I've won twice with this team, and a similar thing happened the second time. I needed the Undead's rez on the Whelpling, and had to finish his last pet off with the very injured Faerie Dragon. It was very close -- I only won because my Faerie Dragon went first. May need to research this team more for a cleaner win.


Sully the Pickle

a) Frog (Tongue Lash, Swarm of Flies, Bubble). I used a Swamp Croaker
b) Kun-lai Runt (Thrash, Mangle, Rampage)
c) Yellow Moth (P/P) (Alpha Strike, Cocoon Strike, Moth Dust)

Start with the Frog. Get Swarm of Flies up, then Tongue Lash. Cast Bubble to avoid two attacks' worth of damage. The Frog should take Socks (undead racoon) out easily.

He will then bring in Monte, a rabbit. Get Swarm of Flies up, then Tongue Lash until the Frog dies.

Bring in the Kun-Lai Runt. Get Mangle up, then Rampage. This, plus a Thrash perhaps, should be enough to kill Monte.

He will bring Socks out (undead Racoon). Get a hit in against Socks, but the Runt will die pretty fast.

Bring out the Yellow Moth. Moth Dust and Alpha Strike, can use a Cocoon Strike in there if you want.

Other suggestions:
* Pterrodax Hatchling in the third slot. I have used the Pterrodax Hatchling against Rikki several times, but this is something of a slugfest. I much prefer the moth.
* Any moth, or any flyer really, in the third slot.


Dr. Ion Goldbloom

a) Emerald Proto-whelp (Emerald Bite, Ancient Blessing, Proto-Strike)
b) Darkmoon Tonk (Missile, Ion Cannon, Shock and Awe)
c) Mechanical Pandaren Dragonling (with Breath). Breath is a strong anti-magic attack, and Mechanicals have bonus defense against magic.
Alternate for c): Onyxian Whelpling (Tail Sweep, Healing Flame, Lift-Off)

Start with Proto-strike as his pet will start with a lift-off so you lift-off as well. They'll hurt each other in the air. The whelp will hurt the first pet, Screamer. Screamer will be swapped out for Trike, a beast. Hit Beast with the Tonk.

The last pet, Chaos, was a little trickeier. My Onyxian Whelpling's Tail Sweep and one self-heal worked well. Chaos has a strong anti-dragon attack which is bad for the whelpling -- a better would be a non-dragon pet with a magic attack, like the Mechanical Pandaren Dragonling, which is also resistant to magic attacks, but the Onyxian Whelpling did work. I will try the Mechanical Pandaren Dragonling next time.


CELESTIALS

Before starting on these guys use the heal trick on Chi-Chi or Yu-la to heal up the pets you need to full.


Chi Chi

a) Pandaren Water Spirit (Water Jet, Whirlpool, Geyser)
b) Chrominius (Bite, Howl, Surge of Power)
c) Rapana Whelk (Absorb, Acidic Goo, Dive) (unused, but useful as backup as it's a critter so it takes less damage from Fire Quills).

Start with the Water Spirit. Open with Geyser, then Whirlpool, then swap him out for Chrominius. On Chrominius, cast Howl, then Surge of Power. The massive combined nuke of Geyser, Whirlpool buffed with Howl, followed by Surge of Power, is enough to one-shot Chi Chi. No need to bring out a third pet. I've always won with this combo.

Other suggestions:
* Senjin Fetish (2/2/1), Disgusting Oozeling (1/1/2) and Enchanted Lantern (1/2/2). Debuff and DoT Chi Chi, and reapply the debuff on the Senjin Fetish's rez round. All the Dots ticking with 25% extra damage is enough to take him down.
* More detail on Fetish, Disgusting Oozeling, and Enchanted Lantern (by Kendrah of Warcraftpets.) Start with the Fetish. Put WM on Chi-chi to start, then Flame Breath until the Fetish dies. When it comes back, put WM back on. When the Fetish dies for the second time, Chi will generally have a shield up so just hit him with whatever. Then bring in the Oozeling. Put Corrosion and Acidic Goo on. By this point Chi-chi is usually dead, but if he survives for the Lantern, hit him with the Lantern's flash (but don't waste it if Chi has his shield up -- wait.) Note: Chi almost always kills the Oozeling, then the DoTs kill Chi-Chi before the lantern comes up. Also, ANY Oozeling and any Lantern will work here. You can also use any Undead instead of the Fetish if it has those same two attacks.
* Unborn Val'kyr, Arcane Eye, Living Fluid or other Oozeling. Start with the Valk. Use Curse of Doom. Shock until there's one round until Doom goes off, then use Unholy Ascension. On the Arcane Eye, use Mana Surge, should be able to get 1 or 2 hits before dying. Bring in the Living Fluid or oozeling. Use Corrosion. Then Expunge if Chi-Chi won't use a dodge. Ooze Touch until dead.


Zao

a) Pandaren Water Spirit (Water Jet, Whirlpool, Geyser)
b) Chrominius (Bite, Howl, Surge of Power)
c) Third pet to clean up. Darkmoon Tonk perhaps.

The Water Spirit and Chrominius should be healthy enough to hit Zao after Chi Chi. If they're very damaged you can heal them on Yu-La before hitting Zao.

Start with the Water Spirit. Open with Geyser, then Whirlpool, then swap him out for Chrominius. On Chrominius, cast Howl, then Bite (this Bite in second position is very important. When I forgot it, Zao would survive the nuke with 100 points left and heal himself -- very bad), then Surge of Power. The massive combined nuke of Geyser, Whirlpool buffed with Howl, followed by Surge of Power, is enough to one-shot Zao. No need to bring out a third pet.

Alternative Teams:
* Jade Hatchling, Lil Bad Wolf, Lil Bling. I won once with this team. I cast Call Lightning on the Hatchling, then swapped him out for the Wolf. Cast Howl, then Claw. Then brought out Lil Bling with Inflation and Make it Rain. Zao healed once but I still got him down.

Other suggestions:
* Fox-spider burn strategy: Fast breed fox, cast Dazzling Dance, then Bite, then Howl (which adds a 100% damage debuff). Then switch to Crystal Spider. Cast Brittle Webbing, then Spiderling Swarm, then Crystal Prison. Then bring in Amethyst Spider with Brittle Webbing and Spiderling Swarm. I tried this once, got him to 100 hp, and he healed.
* Call Lightning + attacker + tonk. Sunreaver Micro-Sentry, cast Extra Plating then Call lightning. Switch to Cogblade Raptor and use Exposed Wounds followed by Batter until Zao goes down. Can have a second Cogblade Raptor in reserve just in case, but should not be needed. Can use any Call Lightning Storm pet in the first slot (Wild Golden Hatchling, Wild Jade Hatchling, Tranquil Mechanical Yeti). I tried this strategy with a Wild Golden Hatchling instead of the Micro-Sentry (which I don't have). Got Zao to 100 hp and he healed.
* Lil Bad Wolf, Wild Jade Hatchling, Clockwork Gnome. Lil Bad Wolf, cast Mangle. Swap to Wild Jade Hatchling who soaks the charge. Cast Lightning Storm. Swap to Clockwork Ghome, build a turret. Swap back to Lil Bad Wolf, Howl.
* Pandaren Water Spirit, Lil Bad Wolf (S/S breed), Chormoinius. Start with the Spirit. Cast Geyser then Whirlpool. Switch to the Wolf. Use Howl then Claw twice. Zao is usually dead by now. Have Chrominius as backup, with Growl then Surge of Power.
* Tranquil Mechanical Yeti, Clockwork Gnome, Chorminius. Cast Call Lightning on the first round. Swap to Clockwork Gnome, absorb the charge, then drop a turret. Get killed, revive. Swap the gnome for Chrominius. Absorb a Tramble. Howl. Zao will cast Wish. Cast Surge of Power, and he'll die from the massive hit + the 500 points of damage from the turret. Yeti doesn't take any damage, can use him on Xu-Fu if needed.
* Darkmoon Zeppelin, Lil Bad Wolf, Lil Bling. Start with the Zep. Cast Decoy. Swap to the wolf. Cast Mangle, Swap to Bling. Cast Make it Rain and Inflation.
* Turkey (just need flock -- can use any pet with Flock or Stampede), Darkmoon Tonk (Missile, Shock and Awe, Ion Cannon), Darkmoon Zeppelin (Missile, Explode, Decoy). Start with the turkey, and spam Flock until it dies. Probably will last for two casts but will die on the second one. This does a lot of damage. Now you can choose: Bring in the Zep, use missile twice take take advantage of Flock's double damage buff, then use Decoy, and spam Missile until he's in kill range or you're about to die. Then cast Explode. OR bring in the Darkmoon Tonk instead of the Zep. Use Shock and Awe, Spam Missile until he's in kill range, then use Ion Cannon to finish him off or you're about to die. In all likelihood the remaining pet won't have much to mop up and won't take much damage.


Xu Fu

a) Clockwork Gnome (Metal Fist, Repair, Build Turret)
b) Zandalari Kneebiter or Anklerender (Hunting Party, Black Claw, Leap)
c) Darkmoon Zeppelin (Missile, Explode, Decoy) (unused) or another Zandalari raptor.

Start with the Gnome and build a turret, then swap him out. Bring in the raptor. Open with Black Claw, then Hunting Party. Return to the Gnome and build one more turret. The two turrets buffed with Black Claw and Hunting Party are usually enough to finish him off.

If you have a raptor in the third slot, you can swap him in after the second turret and hit Hunting Party to take advantage of the ongoing Black Claw buff.

If you have a Zeppelin, you can swap it in after the second turret, build a decoy to buy yourself some time, then missile or explode.

Most of the damage comes from the Turret buffed by Black Claw, so you can use any speedy pet with a stampede type attack as the third pet. Can also used a Cogblade Raptor with Exposed Wounds to boost the turrets.

Other suggestions:
* Fjord Worg Pup (1/2/2), Darkmoon Tonk (1/1/2), Menagerie Custodian (2/1/2). Start with the Worg Pup. Open with Dazzle Dance, then Howl, then Bite until it dies. Bring in the Tonk, cast Shock and Awe, Missile, and Ion Cannon.
* Jade Serpent Hatchling (Call Lightning), Firefly (Slicing Wind, Cocoon Strike, Stampede), Moth (Slicing Wind, Cocoon Strike, Mothballs. Start with the Jade Hatchling, one that is a little slower than Xu Fu. Xu Fu will open with Moonfire. You cast Call Lightning. Bring in the Firefly (or any multi-hit flyer, as flyers take less damage from the beast attacks, but any multi-hit pet is a possibility here, like a any non-critter with a stampede attack e.g. a Summit Kid, as a beast with a Stampede). Cast Flock/Stampede. Use Slicing Wind twice to take advantage of the double damage buff from Flock. Repeat until this pet dies, you win, or you need to refresh Call Lightning. If you can figure out when he's going to use Feed, a properly-timed Cocoon Strike can negate it, but it's not necessary. Another pet with Call Lightning that'll take less damage from Moonfire, like the Tranquil Mechanical Yeti, would also work.
* Sunreaver Micro-Sentry, Menagerie Custodian, Darkmoon Tonk. Sunreaver Micro-Sentry first. Cast Fel Immolate and Lightning Storm. Switch to Menagerie Custodian. Use Shock and Awe then Ion Cannon. Switch to the Tonk (or another Custodian). Use Shock and Awe, then Ion Cannon. If neither gets a stun in they'll probably die, but at that point Xu-Fu should be almost dead. Bring back the Micro-Sentry, cast Lightning Storm.
* Mechanical Yeti, Mechanical Pandaren Dragonling, Darkmoon Tonk. (by Rendigar of Warcraftpets) Start out with the Yeti, cast Call Lightning then Ion Cannon, then wait until the Yeti dies. Bring in the Dragonling. Explode (you could throw in a Bombing Run first, but this is not necessary). Then bring in the Darkmoon Tonk. Cast Shock and Awe (if Shock and Awe misses, cast Missile), then Ion Cannon. This team is pretty reliable and only loses if both Shock and Awe AND Missile both miss, but this is very rare.


Yu-La

a) Mr. Bigglesworth (Claw, Ice Tomb, Barrier)

Mr. Bigglesworth can solo this fight. Cast Claw, Ice Tomb, Ice Barrier, PASS TURN (to avoid hitting your own Ice Barrier), Claw, Claw, Repeat. If Mr. Bigglesworth dies, swap in a backup: Peddlefeet and a Kun-lai Runt.

Other suggestions:
* Bonkers. I've also heard that Bonkers can solo Yu-la in the same way that Mr. Bigglesworth does. This must be a fast (289+) Bonkers or this strategy does not work (I tried a slow one before learning this and died horribly). Use Jab, Dodge (against the lift-off) and Tornado Punch.
* Gregarious Grell can also solo this. Keep using Punch. Phase Shift when Yu-la lifts. Cauterize if you get below half health. Have a hopling or a flayer as backup.
* Unborn Val'kyr, Pandaren Water Spirit, Chrominius. Instead of Unholy Ascension, use Haunt. Cast Curse of Doom, then Haunt, then switch to Pandaren Water Spirit, cast Geyser, Whirlpool, then swap to Chrominius, cast Howl, then Surge of Power.
* Pet with Curse of Doom, Cast Curse, then swap out with Pandaren Water Spirit. Cast Geyser, then Whirlpool, then he dies or swap him out for Chrominius. Cast Howl, then Bite, then Surge of Power.
* Ghostly Skull, Bonkers, Pandaren Monk


Sources

I've learned a lot from other experienced pet battlers, especially Androctonus and Nganga. Thank you guys!

I've also gathered a lot of information on pet battle strategies that is available from various sources online. Some of my biggest sources are:

* The Pet Battle forums on Warcraftpets.com. They also have a good basic pet battling guide.

* The Celestial Tournament guide on Wowhead.com

* Pet battle guides on the Cathedral of Tainted Souls blog. There is no index on this site, so it needs to be searched through Google (name of the blog + name of the opponent you plan to face is sufficient), but he has clear, detailed descriptions of the opponents' abilities, and the detailed descriptions of what your moves should be.

* Pet Battle forum on Elitist Jerks

* El Fuego's pet battle guides. Contains helpful videos.
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#2
Holy cow, Z, this is awesome! What I love about the tournament is that there are many ways to approach each problem, and you don't have to have every rare, expensive pet on board to complete it.

If I can toss in a few coppers worth of tidbits:

For pet healing, yes, Wise Mari works; so does Dr Ion, as Screamer does Lift-Off first thing. Not as big a deal in the first rounds since it's easy to just start over, but can be helpful. Not sure about anyone in the Chen/Zhu/Wrathion week yet.

My teams. I was sometimes using less-optimal pets because I wasn't sure what I would have to use later, but it all worked. I'll likely change this up a bit now that I have a few more pets leveled:

Taran Zhu (who destroyed my Fossilized Hatchling so I'm going to try the maggots), have you tried using Sticky Goo to root them so they can't keep swapping out? I haven't yet, but heard it's handy to lock them down and melt them into a puddle of ooze. Nether Ray Fry also can do good damage here with Shadow Shock.

Edit: Ok, TZ was a real meanie this week. I ended up finally getting him with Murkablo (Bone Prison, Agony, BoH) and two maggots with Consume, Acidic Goo, and Burrow. Highly recommend keeping the AG debuff up all the time.

Wrathion, yes, you need a S/S Flayer Youngling. If you use a S/S rabbit (scratch/dodge/burrow) of any type as your first pet, plus a speedy Flayer, you can reliably two-pet it. He ate my L22 carry pet, so probably not worth it unless you have a L24 or something. I see you have that in your alternative teams.

Haven't done Chen yet, but you might try Mechanical Pandaren Dragonling or Darkmoon Zep with Decoy if you want to preserve your Gnome. I've seen folks using Snarly Bucket (which always makes me think of Charlie & the Chocolate Factory) to good effect as the final aquatic pet, though the striders are also insanely powerful.

Edit: Got him using Zep/Wolvar/Snarly. Little bit of RNG here, because if you get stunned in the first round, that sucks. I was able to keep the zep up long enough to get slept and swarmed by the Cricket, giving other pets some breathing room. Synergy between Snarly's rip and Wolvar's Maul made extremely short work of the Cricket. Wolvar lived long enough to hurt the elemental a fair bit, then Rip/BitW and a Surge from Snarly finished the job.

Blingtron: I used an Electrified Razortooth (Rip, BitW, Devour) in place of Core Hound. Worked pretty well, plus I just think those are really cool pets. Electric crocodiles. Come on, now.

Wise Mari has a lot of winnable strats, as you note. I used Amber Moth/Mechanical Dragonling/Garden Frog.

Shademaster: For some reason I used Lesser Voidcaller (SS, PB, CoD)/Turnip/Pierre (Frying Pan, Stench, Food Coma). It actually worked just fine, but I'll have to do it again to see why. I also see I had Sunlight instead of Suns of the Root. Hm.

Cho: Nether Faerie Dragon and two Spiders. Worked pretty well. Same moveset as yours.

Sully: Garden Frog (TL, HW, SoF)/ Sandy Petrel (Thrash, Cyclone, Lift-Off)/Amber Moth (SW, CS, MD) Try to coordinate Monte's Bloodfang with Lift-Off so he doesn't heal.

Dr Ion: Clockwork Rocket Bot (Missile, Minefield, LR)/Nexus Whelpling (TS, MS, AS)/Untamed Hatchling (TS, SS, HF) Bot for mines, then swap in Whelp. AS, MS, MS, Trike swaps in & gets Mined. Whelp dies. Bot: LR/LR if Trike is over 25% hp, otherwise Missile if you can kill him fast. Trike dies, Screamer returns. Mines, LR, LR. Chaos comes out, hits Mines. Missile until Bot dies. Untamed Hatchling cleans up with TS and Heal as needed. Don't recall if I used the shield or not.

Chi-Chi: Love your strat. I'm using 3x Snails (Ooze Touch, Acidic Goo, Dive) because I was preserving my Water Spirit and Chrominius in case they were needed elsewhere. Must keep AG on him. He usually kills two snails and the third eats him for lunch.
For your strat, you could even use a Valkyr to bomb with CoD and Unholy Ascension but looks like you don't need to bother.

Zao: Sunreaver Micro Sentry + 2 Zandalari Raptors (any except the Toenibbler). Fel Immolate, Call Lightning, Fel Immolate--> Raptor Black Claw, Hunting Party, Dead Zao. Don't need the 2nd Raptor unless bad things happen.

Xu-Fu: Wild Jade Hatchling, Szechuan Chicken, Darkmoon Zep. Any Pet with Call Lightning that is slower than 296 speed so you can change the weather, then swap this guy out. Any Flying pet with a Swarm that is at least 305 speed (Wildhammer Gryphon is great here if you have a fast one). Zep for missiles and explode. Your strat sounds like it may work better, or maybe a combo of the two would be cool.

Yu-La: Mr Bigglesworth ftw. Big Grin If you don't have him, Lil Bad Wolf (CS, Dodge, Howl) & Feral Vermling (Crush & Backflip). I used the Skull, Bonkers, Monk team to good effect as well. You'd need at least 289 speed to solo with Bonkers.

In general, if a listed strategy is not working properly, you may need to optimize the breed of your pet. This is really only important in a few cases, but in those few it is a deal-breaker. Usually you need something faster than what you have. WarcraftPets.com has a dealie on each pet where you can move the slider until it matches your current pet's level and stats; this will give you the breed. I use the addon Battle Pet BreedID (clever name, that) to tell me in-game what my pets are.

PetBattleTeams is a very handy addon for both the tourney and for doing the trainer/beasts of fable rounds. Saves having to write down every team.
Nganga Nyeusi
He is fast and is the danger.
What's a dazzling urbanite like you doing in a rustic setting like this?
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