Pet family basics: Critter types

Critter type pets tend to be, frankly, vermin. You’ll find rats, roaches, rabbits, squirrels and all manner of other small pests in this category. There are also a number of herbivorous, usually non-aggressive creatures that make their way under the critter banner.

Critters are exceedingly common in the wild. And in cities, for that matter.

Basic information
  • Vulnerable to Beast attacks
  • Strong against Elemental attacks
  • Strong offense against Undead types
  • Weak offense against Humanoid types
  • Family ability: Escape artist. Crowd control effects – stuns, roots, and even the dreaded Frog Kiss last for one less round. Since most non-root effects only last one round, this effectively makes critters immune to CC.
  • Signature ability: Swarm. This ability comes by many names – notably Stampede – and most critters have a variant on it. The swarm runs for three rounds, hitting with multiple low-damage scratches each round, and doubling all damage taken by the target for two rounds.
Levelling a Critter

Critters aren’t easy to level. Their natural enemy is the exceedingly common Beast type, and the two families that they’re strong against – elementals and undead – are exotic types that aren’t often seen in the wild, particularly undead.

Luckily, the best levelling critter is also one of the most useful at max level. Any type of rabbit will do, but try for a fast one. Alliance players can find Arctic Hares in Dun Morogh, while Horde players can easily trap a Hare in Durotar.

Rabbits have two evasive abilities – Dodge and Burrow. You’ll preferably want to find a fast bunny in order to make the most of Dodge – like similar evasion-type moves, it’ll take effect for the round in which it was cast and the round following, meaning that if your pet is faster than the opponent you’ll get an extra auto-dodge for free. Burrow’s attack hits very hard and is effective against other critters, but due to its above average chance to miss, I consider it to be more of an evasion ability than anything else. Keep in mind when using that a burrowed pet can hit another burrowed pet.

Timing matters more than anything else when playing a bunny. You can almost lock out an opponent from doing any damage for a number of rounds, and judging by how repeat matches will instantly forfeit after seeing what a bunny can do in PvP, they’re hellishly annoying to fight in PvP as well. In point of fact, given how unpopular Beast types are in PvP and how much more popular the exotic types weak against Critters are, combined with a bunny’s ability to avoid the flashy multi-round burst attacks that are the mainstay of PvP, levelling a critter through PvP is quite viable.

Many of the Northrend tamers use Undead pets, and the Eastern Kingdoms grand master uses a team composed exclusively of types vulnerable to critters.

Critters at level cap

Unsurprisingly, critters aren’t the best choice for backing up a powerlevelling team. Some, like the crickets or sheep, will have useful group heals – if you can pull them out safely. But no, where critters really shine is in taking on the pandaren tamers.

Many of the tamers in Pandaria will have an elemental type – guaranteed in the case of the spirit tamers, though their damage types can vary. Undead types don’t seem to be represented at all, but a good bunny or a Rapana Whelk is invaluable for taking on these elementals.

Critter PvP

As mentioned in my post on aquatic types, Elemental pets are common in PvP due to their wide variety of interesting and sometimes devastating attacks. Critters aren’t as effective against them as aquatics, since it’s easier to use a different damage type than to mask a defensive vulnerability. Still, critters have their place in PvP.

Roaches see good representation, and critters with group heals can be good for strategic play. Undead types fear and loathe critters.

Beating a critter

Simple enough; use a Beast damage attack. Unfortunately, this is what makes levelling critters such a nuisance – nearly everything has at least the option to use an attack with Beast-type damage.

Don’t bother with trying to CC a critter – stuns are effectively useless, and roots are pointless in PvE. Watch for the defensive moves – Dodge, Burrow, Evasion – and save big damage abilities for when those are no longer on the table. Most critter types have an ability like Adrenaline Rush or Leap, so you can often count on being a little slower. Wild critters will use multi-attacks like Flurry and Stampede, so Shell Shield-like defenses are very effective.

The Kun-lai Runt excels at murdering critters horribly.

Notable Critters
  • Bunnies make good all-rounders.
  • Black Lambs can be found in Elwynn forest, and use the Chew > Stampede combo that made Courageous Yon infamous in the early days of Mists.
  • Snails can be found in any number of zones, and have an interesting mix of attack types. They notably use the Dive attack rather than Burrow, which gives them an (unreliable) aquatic damage source for even greater strength against elementals.
  • Roaches feature the ability to call down an apocalypse, killing both frontline pets – but not harming roaches. It’s pretty impressive.
  • The Wolpertinger, a reward from the Brewfest event, has a remarkable mix of all sorts of attacks. It can be marvellously unpredictable.
Critters I’d like to see

I’d like to see far fewer of them.

This is where I admit a bit of personal bias – I hate fighting against critters. They’re everywhere, and they’re all so… bland, with abilities designed to irritate. There’s very little interesting about the family, and getting a Flawless Critter Battle-stone almost feels like a booby prize, even given the handful of critters which can only be acquired at uncommon quality and thus benefit from such a stone.

If pressed, perhaps a Rhino beetle would be nice – but only if it actually looks like a rhino beetle, and not the disappointing generic AQ beetle model that every other bug uses.

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