This is the first in a series of posts where I cover each Grand Master, which pets to watch out for, and how I handle their team.
First up is Major Payne in Icecrown. He was the first Grand Master that I struggled with in the very beginning.
Pet team: Beakmaster X-225 (mechanical), Grizzle (beast), and Bloom (elemental)The trick here is to find pets that are strong against each of Major Payne's companions. Instead of trying to outlast his team, defeating it quickly is a more efficient plan of action.
Team quality and level: Rare (blue), level 25
Notable pets and attacks: Beakmaster's Wind-Up and Bloom's Entangling Roots
Elemental to combat mechanical, mechanical to combat beast, and aquatic to combat elemental. This isn't mandatory, but for the hard-hitters, it does help defeat them faster.
For Beakmaster, my pet of choice is the Fel Flame, but any similar elemental pet with dots will work (Searing Scorchling and Spirit of Summer share the same abilities). The key here is to defeat his mechanical pet as quickly as possible. It's attacks are so strong that it's generally unlikely that you'll be able to outlast it, so might as well beat it asap!
I prefer dots for this pet because mechanical companions have a family passive that allows it to come back to life (once) after it dies. With dots continuing to tick on Beakmaster even after revival, it means less time spent getting its health down further.
Instead of using an aquatic pet for Bloom, I normally use the Flayer Youngling. As soon as Bloom steps onto the field, I switch to my youngling and prepare for the Entangling Roots attack by using Reflect. It not only blocks the incoming damage, prevents my youngling from being snared, but it also duplicates any other incoming attack and reflects it back onto Bloom (it's usually the Lash ability).
Reflect won't always be up to prevent the damage and snare from Entangling Roots, but my goal isn't to outlast Bloom. By the second root (which does hit), Major Payne's flowery friend should be nearly dead.
I don't really consider Grizzle as one of the pets you should watch out for since it spends most of its time sleeping (ie: regenerating health). Its stun is somewhat annoying, but manageable.
Since this beast has the potential to outlast most pets because it can heal itself for quite a bit, I go with a mechanical pet that's strong against it. My favorite is definitely the Darkmoon Zeppelin.
I normally try to get out the Decoy ability first, so it can absorb some of the incoming damage while I "ramp up". By that I mean using Bombing Run which takes 3 rounds to hit.
During this time, though, Grizzle will usually go into his sleeping phase. This is a great opportunity to bombard it with any main attack, even if he's regenerating health at a very fast pace.
Normally by the end of his hibernation ability, Bombing Run will be up and do a significant amount of burst. The rest of the rounds are spent setting up another Decoy and finishing him off using the zeppelin's main attack.
If by chance, Grizzle gets the upper hand and my zeppelin has a string of terrible luck, at the very least it can come back to life should it die. That's the awesomeness of mechanical pets!
If you decide to use pets that are strong against Major Payne's team, you can increase your chance of winning by pairing up your strong companion against the corresponding weaker one.
To do this you'll have to utilize the forfeit ability. Enter battle and see which pet he sends out first. If your pet is not strong against that one, forfeit the match and try again. Keep doing this until you're up against a weak opponent. I find that swapping the pets on my team around in the journal sometimes affects which pet the Grand Master sends out first. Other times it seems random.
As I mentioned earlier, the pets and tactics mentioned above aren't mandatory. This is just what I've found to be most effective for me. You can definitely beat Major Payne's team with an assortment of other pets and methods; find what works best for you!