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Crowd Control (abbreviated CC) refers to spells and abilities which limit an opponent's ability to fight. CC abilities are used to reduce the number of mobs that the group fight at once. Due to the fact that most groups cannot tank more than a certain number of elite mobs at a time, crowd control is often essential to prevent a group from being overwhelmed. For a guide on how to effectively use CC in instances, see the Instance grouping guide for a crowd controller.
All instance bosses are immune to crowd control. Assuming a target is not completely immune, Elite mobs may or may not have high resistance to specific CC that would normally work quite well on their non-elite counterparts.
Types of CC include Charm, Daze, Fear, Root, Sleep, Slow, Snare, Incapacitate, Disorient and Stun. The following Primary Crowd Control Abilities can be re-applied an unlimited number of times, and take a mob effectively out of combat as long as the CCer wants to:
- Mage - (beasts, critters and humanoids only)
- Hunter - (most types of mob, requires good skill to chain trap), (Survival talent ability)
- Warlock - (with Glyph of Fear), (demons/elementals), (demons only), (Succubus minion ability, humanoids only)
- Priest - (undead), (Humanoids)
- Druid - (beasts and dragonkin only), , , , (usable indoor since Patch 3.0.2)
- Paladin - (humanoids, undead, dragonkin, giants and demons only)
- Shaman - (humanoids and beasts only), (elementals only)
- Death Knight -
Secondary CC abilities
These secondary abilities can control a mob for some time, but either break easily, need frequent reapplication or have other restrictions which make their continued use impractical, and therefore cannot be generally used to take a mob out of combat indefinitely:
- Death Knight -
- Druid - , , and some stuns
- Hunter - Pet's stun and various root/slow/stun shots
- Mage - and other frost spells
- Paladin - (undead and demons only), some stuns
- Priest - , (dragonkin and humanoids)
- Rogue - (humanoids only at rank 1-3; beasts, demons, dragonkin, and humanoids at rank 4, cannot be applied in combat), , and various stuns and stun-lock tactics
- Warlock -
- Warrior - various stuns
Detailed by class
The following is a detailed breakdown of crowd control abilities by class:
- Chains of Ice reduces movement speed by 60% for 8 seconds.
- Death Grip pulls mobs directly to the Death Knight and forces it to attack the Death Knight for 3 seconds.
- Unholy Death Knights also have the ability to spec into Desecration its gives Plague Strike and Scourge Strike the ability to slow enemies by 25/50% 7 yards around the primary target.
- Unholy Death Knights also have a pet stun Gnaw but this has a 1 minute cooldown.
- Cyclone enables the druid to "banish" one target for up to 6 seconds with diminishing returns. The target is unable to take any action, even Iceblock or Divine Shield do not remove Cyclone. Cyclone victims are also immune to all damage and healing for the duration of the effect.
- Hibernate is used to put beasts or dragonkin to sleep. If anyone causes damage to the mob, it'll wake up. Alongside the Hunter's Freezing Trap and the Paladin's Repentance this is the only Crowd Control spell that can affect dragonkin, which makes them invaluable in certain instances.
- Entangling Roots can be used to keep any mob rooted in place for up to 30 seconds. External damage sources (excluding the inherent DoT from Entangling Roots) will break the spell. This spell can be resisted.
- Feral Charge is a Bear Form talent that has the potential to root a target in place for several seconds, and can be used as a ranged interrupt. It is also commonly used as a means of (very) swift transportation. A common problem with using this ability as any kind of CC or Oh-gawd-stop-the-runner ability is that once the druid reaches the target there may well be more mobs that are instantly proximity-pulled into the fight.
- Druids in Bear Form can Stun via the Bash ability, which serves more of a means to cancel enemy spell casts, where applicable.
- Freezing Trap - A trap that freezes the first enemy to walk over it, preventing all action for up to 60 seconds, and can be extended by up to 18 seconds with the Trap Mastery talent. This is effective on virtually every type of mob, even most minor bosses, e.g. Highlord Omokk and Shadow Hunter Vosh'gajin. Pulling a specific mob to his trap is a basic skill that every hunter must acquire. A skillful hunter can chain-trap at least 4 to 5 times no matter what spec or gear he has, assuming the mob does not resist. The survival tree talent Trap Mastery lessens this resist chance by up to 10% and makes the freezing trap a nearly always successful CC option except against mobs immune to the effect.
- Wyvern Sting is a ranged ability that puts a mob to sleep for 30 seconds. When the mob awakens, it will get a DoT that does Nature damage over the next 6 seconds. This skill is only obtainable with a minimum of 20 points spent in the Survival Talent Tree. Take note that the subsequent DoT caused by Wyvern Sting breaks most CCs.
- Ice Traps trigger an area of effect snare that slows movement of all enemies in the radius of the trap. Additionally, with the Survival talent Entrapment, Ice and Snake Traps will entrap all afflicted targets, preventing movement for up to 4 seconds.
- Concussive Shot dazes the target for 4 seconds.
- Concussive Barrage is a Marksmanship Talent that causes both Multi-Shot and Chimera Shot to daze the target.
- Wing Clip is a melee attack that slows a target for 10 seconds. With talent points placed into Improved Wing Clip, Wing Clip has a Proc to immobilize the target for 5 seconds.
- Scatter Shot - short-ranged attack that disorients the target for 4 seconds. The effect is nearly identical to that of a Rogue's Blind ability. Requires 20 points in Marksmanship.
- Scare Beast fears a beast for up to 20 seconds. This is to be used with extreme caution, lest a wayward mob draw the attention of others at the most inopportune time.
- Pets can essentially act as an off-tank, keeping a mob busy for as long as the pet can stay alive and/or retain aggro. Pets with a large amount of health (e.g. bear, boar) or armor (e.g. turtle) are better at this job.
- Intimidation - A Beast Mastery specialization talent. Command your pet to intimidate the target on the next successful melee attack, causing a high amount of threat and stunning the target for 3 sec.
- Polymorph - turns humanoid or beast enemies (and Critters), into sheep, pigs or turtles for up to 50 seconds. Any damage afflicted upon the target will break the polymorph. While polymorphed, enemies regenerate health quickly, at a rate of 20% HP per tick. Only one enemy can be polymorphed by a single mage at a time.
- Frost Nova roots nearby enemies in place for up to 8 seconds, and deals a small amount of damage. This spell is commonly used before using Arcane Explosion and other AoE attacks to maximize the number of targets hit, or to dramatically increase their critical hit chances with the Shatter talent.
- Improved Cone of Cold - a Frost Talent the causes targets affected by Cone of Cold to Freeze for up to 4 seconds. Without the talent, Cone of Cold still slows affected targets by 60%.
- Shattered Barrier - a high-tier Frost Talent that freezes all enemies within 10 yards of the caster the moment Ice Barrier is destroyed.
- Turn Evil - a medium-duration Fear Effect only castable on Undead and Demons. The fear lasts for 20 seconds, with no cooldown. As with other fears, there is a chance that it will break on damage or before the timer runs out.
- Hammer of Justice - a ranged stun ability with a 1 minute cooldown. The cooldown can be reduced to 40 seconds with max rank Improved Hammer of Justice. WIth the Vidication talent, Hammer of Justice will Interrupt enemies immune to Stun.
- Repentance - a talent from the Retribution tree. It is a 1 minute incapacitate, has a 20 yard range and a 1 minute cooldown. Only works on Demons, Dragonkin, Giants, Humanoids and Undead.
- Seal of Justice - causes each melee attack to limit the target's maximum run speed for 5 seconds (up to 6 seconds with Judgement of the Just talent), preventing the use of abilities such as the Rogue's Sprint.
- Rebuke - a Retribution tree talent that interrupts a spell and prevents casting of spells of the same school for 4 seconds.
- Shackle Undead, which is effectively a sleep only usable on an undead mob (does not work on undead players).
- Psychic Scream - an instant-cast AoE fear affecting 5 targets within 8 yards of the Priest, causing them to run in fear for 8 seconds. With a 30 second cooldown, it's the only escape spell available to priests in PvP combat. However, it is rarely, if ever, practical within an instance, because the feared monster will probably aggro more monsters. Glyphed, however, it will make effected foes tremble in place, freeing the priest of the fear of added aggro from running monsters, at the risk of instant return to battle after the duration ends.
- Mind Control (MC) is a channeled spell which transfers control of an enemy humanoid to the caster. During this time, the caster stands in place cannot use their own spells, and will lose channeling time if struck in combat. When the MC target is a mob, the caster gains access to select abilities that the mob may have. These can include standard attacks, buffs, or special abilities. Mind controlling an enemy player does not give access to any abilities other than auto-attack. MC on players is more commonly used to plunge enemies into lava in Blackrock Mountain, off of the cliff in the Arathi Basin Lumber Mill or Naxxramas.
- Psychic Horror will make a targeted enemy tremble in horror (similar to a stun) for 3 seconds. It will also disarm the enemy's ranged and main-hand weapons for 10 seconds. This spell is found in the Shadow talents.
- Sap - a bread-and-butter spell that incapacitates a Humanoid, Beast, Demon or Dragonkin target for up to 60 seconds. The Rogue has to be Stealthed to use this ability. The target will awaken if it receives any damage.
- Cheap Shot (which requires stealth), and Kidney Shot. are both short-term abilities may be used to eliminate the opponent's ability to move or attack.
- Gouge is a short term (4-5.5s) single-target incapacitate that is broken by damage.
- Kick - interrupts a spell and prevents the casting of any spell from the same school for 5 seconds. This is typically used on mob spellcasters to force them into melee range of the tank.
- Smoke Bomb - enemies are unable to target into or out of the smoke cloud.
- Stunlock refers to successive use of the abilities mentioned above (except sap) to keep a mob at stunned/disorientated state. A good rogue can keep a mob stunned/disorientated for a long time until it is picked up by the tank or killed by the group. Stunlocking generally requires the full attention of the rogue, as combo points must be built up for Kidney Shot.
- Hex transforms the enemy into a frog. While hexed, the target cannot attack or cast spells. Damage caused may interrupt the effect. Lasts 30 sec. Only one target can be hexed at a time. Only works on Humanoids and Beasts.
- Stoneclaw Totem summons a Stoneclaw Totem with a set amount of health that increases with higher ranks at the feet of the caster for 15 seconds that taunts creatures within 8 yards to attack it. Enemies attacking the Stoneclaw Totem have a 50% chance to be stunned for 3 seconds. Note: in PvP, taunt only works on pets but not players. Therefore, it becomes quite useless against players (unless someone hits it).
- Bind Elemental While bound, the target cannot attack or cast spells. Damage caused may interrupt the effect. Lasts up to 50 sec. Only one target can be bound at a time. Only works on Elementals.
- Seduction is used by the succubus pet. Seduction only affects Humanoids, and the succubus must channel this spell, meaning that the ability will break early if the succubus takes damage. This can be recast before the duration is over and the mob will be out of control for only a very short time.
- Banish can remove a Demon or Elemental from a fight for 30 seconds. The demon will be immune to damage and other effects while banished so it can not be broken and it can not be re-banished. However, there is a chance that the banish breaks by itself. A warlock can only banish one demon or elemental target at a time.
- Enslave Demon can be used to charm one demon for up to five minutes, although doing so will cause any summoned pet the warlock has out to be dismissed.
- Fear only works on one target at a time. It can be used as form of primary crowd control (making the lock one of the only non-tanking classes to be able to effectively CC two mobs at once, using both this fear and seduce) however it carries significant risk in instances given that the feared mob will run randomly, potentially aggroing new groups of enemies. Generally when warlocks are asked to use this ability as a form of CC, parties will pull mobs back into sections of the instance that have already been cleared so as to avoid this problem.
It is possible for a warlock to control a feared mob by placing Curse of Recklessness on a mob when it flees towards another un-aggroed group. This will neutralize the fear effect (but not remove the fear debuff) and force it to come running back to the party. By switching Curse of Recklessness with another curse, such as Curse of Weakness, it is possible to "ping-pong" a feared enemy, as they enemy will start fleeing again once the curse of recklessness is removed by the other curse. Be advised that doing this will almost certainly take all of the warlock's attention, so their dps on other targets will be lowered. Also remember to reapply the fear debuff as necessary.
- Death Coil is similar to a very short Fear, but it is an instantaneous spell and not subject to Fear immunities such as Death Wish and Will of the Forsaken. Deathcoil will also deal a small amount of damage and heal an amount of the Warlock's health equal to the damage caused.
- Intimidating Shout, which is an AoE fear in which the warrior's main target does not run in fear but rather is briefly immobilized (however, any damage done will break the effect, meaning that the warrior must stop auto attacking or move out of range to avoid almost instantly breaking the effect on the targeted mob). The enemies that were sent running only have a chance to be unfeared on damage, while the initial target always is unfeared on damage taken (like druid sleep).
- Hamstring can reduce an enemies movement speed significantly, often preventing it from easily moving to attack other party members or run away. With Improved Hamstring, there is a chance that the target will be briefly rooted in place. Neither ability actually prevents the enemy from attacking.
- Piercing Howl is a talent-based AoE daze effect which reduces their movement speed by 50%. This is an effective AoE alternative to Hamstring as it can affect many enemies at once without directly targeting them.
- Also available are the short term Charge and Intercept stuns, as well as the talent-based Concussion Blow and Improved Revenge stuns, all of which are of fairly short duration.
Often forgotten as a crowd control ability is to kite a mob, that is: to force it to chase a player while he/she outruns it. Hunters and mages are the best at this job, though it is also possible for other classes with movement-slowing abilities to do it. While this generally means that the dedicated kiting player cannot deliver DPS to the main tank's target, it is often a very effective way of keeping a powerful melee mob away from the party until the full party is ready to deal with it.
Goblin Rocket Helm, Various Bombs. Also they can control mechanical mobs by Gnomish Universal Remote device. Engineers can also build net guns and trinkets with a polymorph effect, but both have a chance to backfire (Gnomish Engineering at its finest!).
Tailors of at least skill 300 can make and use Netherweave Nets. This acts as an immobilization effect, but only for three seconds, and suffers diminished effects versus targets above level 72.
- Patch 6.0.2 (14-October-2014): Amount of crowd-control in the game (primarily PvP) has been drastically reduced. Many crowd-control abilities have been removed, and many diminishing returns categories have been merged together.