World of Warcraft Guide to 3v3 Arena Esports

wow 3v3 arena

The Arena system was put into World of Warcraft during the expansion “Burning Crusade” and allowed players to queue into an arena like gladiatorial environment to fight each other. Since that time, the system has undergone many different changes until it has met its current form of 3v3. This is where players are able to queue up and converge in battle against one another to claim PvP dominance.

3v3 Arenas are the primary PvP esport of World of Warcraft where two teams fight against one another until one team vanquishes the other. Players then gain a personal rating score in their 3v3 ratings, which correlates to the rewards they will have access to throughout and at the end of the season. The top .05% and .01% of the server receive the glorious honors of Gladiator and those who are the very top that season receive a special rank of that season’s title as Gladiator, for example, Dominant Gladiator.

How it works is players get together a group of 3 and then they will queue for “Rated 3v3 Arenas,” which will put them into a gladiator style stadium. Each of the maps has their own special advantages and disadvantages about them for players to utilize. There are still 2v2 and skirmish modes available in the PvP system, however, 3v3 is the only way for players to achieve gladiator and rank 1 status on their server – as well as the only division that’s an esport.


  • Ring of Trials Location: Nagrand – Added in Burning Crusade – improved during patch 7.0.3 of Legion
  • Circle of Blood Location: Blade’s Edge Mountains – Added in Burning Crusade – improved during patch 7.1.5 of Legion
  • Ruins of Lordaeron Location – Tirisfal Glades – Added in Burning Crusade
  • Dalaran Arena Location: Underbelly of Dalaran – Added in Wrath of the Lich King
  • Tol’Viron Arena Location: Uldum – Added in Mists of Pandaria
  • Tiger’s Peak Location: Kun-Lai Summit – Added in Mists of Pandaria
  • Ashamane’s Fall Location:Val’Sharah – Added in Legion
  • Black Rook Hold Arena Location: Val’Sharah – Added in Legion
  • Shado-Pan Showdown Location: Kun-Lai Summit – Added in Legion
  • Hook Point Location: Boralus – Added in Battle for Azeroth
  • Mugambala Location: Zuldazar – Added in Battle for Azeroth

Assemble a Team

Assemble A Team

The first thing that must be done is to get a team of two other players to join you in the arena. Most of the time, the teams will consist of 2 DPS and a healer style character to keep them alive. However, players can make whatever team combos they want, such as a 3 dps, 3 heals, 3 tanks, and so on. The goal is to defeat the other team by any means necessary, so the team make up is up to the players.

Typically, a “well-balanced and strong” 2 DPS – 1 Healer team – should beat any team that isn’t that same combo though since it is overall better balanced. Of course, there are always exceptions that could occur since players can get pretty tricky. These trickier teams are seen more so throughout the lower rankings because the “meta” style teams will most likely have tactics to dominate them. Once players assemble a tea of 3, they can then queue for ranked 3v3 matches.

Now, when trying to find people to play with, the important thing isn’t just looking for those who “present” themselves as good or have all the PvP achievements, but rather those you meld with. This is a long-term thing and finding people you get along with is the best in the long run because World of Warcraft is a game that constantly changes, so what may be good today won’t be tomorrow. Having quality people you can get along with to grow is better long run then a jerk you clash with who is talented.

Once the team is assembled, from there, it is time to queue up and play, play, and play some more!

Team Compositions

Notable Standard Team Comps

There are many different types of team combos and names associated with the 3v3 World of Warcraft Arenas – and are mainly just nonsense to be unique. However, like all things that get labeled, 3v3 arena comps are in that same boat. Although it is most likely easier just to specify the type of classes you would want to play with, the team names specify a type of play style that will be used. Here is a list of some of the “top comps” of the teams and the classes involved.

  • TWD – The Walking Dead Death Knight – Wind Walker Monk – Healer
  • Owlplay Shadow Priest – Balance Druid – Restoration Shaman
  • TSG Death Knight – Warrior – Holy Paladin
  • Dancing with the Stars Balance Druid – Rogue – Restoration Shaman
  • Zoo/Jungle Cleave Feral Druid – Hunter – Any Healer
  • PHP Retribution Paladin – Hunter – Priest
  • DHcleave Demon Hunter – Warrior – Restoration Shaman
  • RMP Rogue – Mage – Priest
  • Hero Class Cleave Demon Hunter – Death Knight – Restoration Shaman or Druid
  • Shadowplay Shadow Priest – Destro or Afflic Warlock– Restoration Shaman
  • Additional Team Comps

    In addition to the top comp mixtures, there are plenty of others that have fun names and more keep developing. Rule of thumb, based on your class, it is ideal to look up some of the potential compositions that would work well with your personal character and go from there. Some team names make sense while others are joke names, but have stuck for some time and therefore are considered the comp names at this point.

  • Ebola Cleave Feral Druid – Unholy Death Knight – Any Healer
  • TurboCleave Enhancement Shaman – Deahknight or Warrior – Restoration Druid
  • KittyCleave Feral Druid – Warrior – Holy Paladin
  • African Turtle Cleave Protection Warrior – Hunter – Restoration Druid
  • PHD Death Knight – Hunter – Holy Paladin
  • TreeSG Death Knight – Warrior – Restoration Druid
  • TreeHD Death Knight – Hunter – Restoration Druid
  • Vanguards Cleave Death Knight – Retribution Paladin – Any Healer
  • Smokebomb Cleave Death Knight – Rogue – Any Healer
  • KFC (Kung Fu Cleave) Warrior – Hunter – Any Healer
  • Lumberjack CleaveWarrior – Warrior – Holy Paladin
  • Man Cleave Arms Warrior – Protection Warrior – Holy Paladin
  • Thug Cleave Rogue – Hunter – Any Healer
  • Kanye Cleave Rogue – Rogue or DK – Resto Shaman
  • Scooby Doo Cleave Retribution Paladin – Rogue – Druid or Shaman
  • Shatterplay Shadow Priest – Frost Mage – Restoration Shaman

Stepping in to the Arena

Stepping in to the Arena

After you get your team ready – got your spec situated – got your talents ready – and queue for the rated 3v3 arenas – it’s time to step on into the arena.

How the arena works: Once inside – Two teams start in a gated “ready” area and will have a minute to prepare themselves for the upcoming battle. This gives them the opportunity to switch talents, ensure they have the right ones for their comp, get whatever buffs out, get players conjured food or health stones – and so on. In addition, players cooldowns are reset upon entering the arena, however, once used now they will have a normal cooldown duration.

Aside just a staging area, it also provides an opportunity for stragglers who didn’t take the queue right away to still get into the game before it starts. Players may be unable to take the queue for a number of reasons and the extra time lets them get in. After the count-down finishes – the gates open and the two teams can clash with one another until one team is eliminated. During the match, there is a debuff called dampening that continues to go up as time progresses which impacts the amount of healing received for everyone. This is to ensure the game doesn’t go on indefinitely and somewhat forces teams to pick up the pace.

At the end of the match, the results will be posted for each team so that players can identify how much damage they did, killing blows, healing done, damage taken, and most importantly, the rating change. The winning tea will gain in rating while the losing team goes down in rating. If the rating is to big apart, the losing team may not take any rating loss at all while the winning team may only slightly gain points. Not all team members will gain or lose the same amount of points since they have their own “personal rating” for 3v3.

After the process of literally stepping foot into the arena – now is the time to refine that skill to try and achieve the rankings of gladiator – rank 1 – and hopefully the BlizzCon stage one day. There are a lot of steps to go from novice to master when it comes to the arena. The “real” 3v3 arenas do not begin until after players cross the 2000 rating threshold – however – that does not mean that getting there will be easy.

There is only one door to 2000+ ratings, and a whole bunch of teams are trying to get through it. Hence when you go into the arena, be prepared. More then likely, there will be a mixture of success and victory as you fine-tune your strategy methods. At this point in the game, it is just about practice, practice, practice, so that players can learn the basics of the arena and how they should start playing their character in there.

Basic Rating Push

The standard ratings will more or less be the place to test our different tactics

Target Marking – Putting targets on your team as well as your opponents is very important because it helps coordination. You will know where your targets are and where your partners are on the map – without pillars or anything blocking the visuals. This is essential when you want to make quick swaps

Juking/Fake casting – This will be a huge tool for healers to master because it can be the difference between death and saving yourself or an ally. It’s a technique used in a manner to trick your opponent into making a mistake.

Fake casting is literally what it sounds like, you cast a spell and interrupt your own spellcasting by moving or something – and get the opponent to waste an interrupt move. This will allow the player to now freely cast their spell – maybe a life-saving heal – which can be imperative to winning.

Line of Sight Line of sight is one of the most important parts of 3v3 that players need to understand if they want to grow in ranks. Line of sight means whether you can be targeted by spells by both your teammates or opponents.

Know the Classes It is important to know what other classes have at their disposal so that you can appropriately handle whatever they throw at you. In addition, knowing what your teammates have at their disposal will help in determining the best strategies for your team to use.

Focus interrupts/CC Focus targeting is simply just right clicking on the portrait and hitting “Set Focus” – which then allows you to quickly target that enemy or make “focus macros” – which will automatically target the focus target without having to deselect your current opponent.

Utilizing the focus interrupts/CCs is an essential part of climbing the ladder and the cleaner the rotations – the more successful the CC chain can be and keep a player tied up while a kill is executed. The goal is to ensure that you are not

Target SwappingTarget swapping is a standard part of arenas where players will jump onto different targets since you don’t want to just tunnel vision and get caught up in what you’re doing. If you aren’t killing that target, it may be ideal to pop onto another so that the healer needs to spread the amount of heals they are putting out among their team and potentially make them go out of mana quicker.

Hard swapping is choosing the ideal time to swap to a target and blast all your cooldowns on that target– and with luck – and a quality CC chain – you’ll have a great chance to obliterate a target. If the target still doesn’t die – they probably used their main life-saving defenses – and another set of quick target swapping again can be ideal. The swap is like the jab in boxing while the hard swap is the power punch.

Pro Rating Push

When saying “Pro Rating Push” it means beyond the 2600+ spectrum – since to be part of the competitive esports scene – you will most likely need to hang out around the 3000-mark with the other elite players to get into qualifying tournaments and the such. Within the MMORPG world, the “end game” is typically the most important goal for players because that includes raiding and the top tier stuff. For PvP – getting beyond 2200 is the end game for those players.

2200 seems to be the cut-off point where things begin to change from, “fun and semi-serious” to high-end professional levels where people are fighting for their chance at making it to the big time. The reason that 2200 is the cut-off point if you will is because the main “blocks” of progress are 2000 – 2200 – 2400 – 2600 – Pro. Most people never even see the 2000 -mark because in all honesty, it’s hard and many players are capable of making these high end pushes.

There are plenty of different tactics to get you up in the ranks and figuring out what works best for you and your teammates is key. What works for one team may not work for yours, and vice versa. It is about growing together and figuring out what works best for your squad. With that in mind – here is a list of important factors to consider when making the push to get up to that “Pro Rating”:

Understand the Meta This may be the most important thing to consider that so many players often overlook when getting into the arenas, the meta. This is literally just the best comps at the time that are pretty much the “best teams.” Players need to understand why they are the best teams and plan accordingly with that in mind. If they are choosing to run a team that is far weaker or countered by the meta, then clearly the potential rating push may not be able to climb as high as they want.

Know the best comps – know why they are the best – know what makes them best – figure out what this information means to you and use it in deciding your tactics. The “meta” teams will be your opponents, so know what you intend to go against. This also lets you understand the strategies to use against them quickly, since there should be a standard “how to defeat the meta” strategy that you employ at this point.

Team Cohesion Team Cohesion is essential talents that complement each other – proper CC chains – not overlapping cooldowns – not wasting cooldowns – proper defenses – understanding when to swap – and all the other tiny nuances that make a team truly great. It isn’t necessarily finding the best players in the world to make your team but rather those who you can truly grow with. Skill is a very necessary part of the high-end game, but it is essential that players can feel comfortable with each other – so they can grow and learn together.

Breaking the Weak LinkThis is a hard one for many players to do and what could hold teams back from glory. Team cohesion is essential, as stated, however it is important to understand if one player is truly holding the team back from success. Maybe they overlap CC chains, don’t switch properly, use CDs at wrong times, or whatever. The point is, you know they are not at the same level as 2/3 of the team. Might need to just cut that player and find someone more capable of filling in that role.

Expanding Your Strategy Knowledge This is where experience comes into play because you need to know every potential thing that your opponent may do or try to defeat you. It becomes a chess game at that point where teams must think multiple steps ahead to claim victory if they are both knowledgeable. This is where knowledge comes into play and figuring out how to exploit the fact that your enemy knows the same thing as you is key. It isn’t just knowing more, it’s using your opponent’s knowledge against them.

Adapting If there is anything a player should focus on to increase their skills is their ability to adapt. This is the most important part of going from the low rankings to the professionals, and that is adapting. Learning from your mistakes to figure out what went wrong so that you as a team can make some tweaks to the strategy. No team is perfect and mistakes do happen, but figuring out how to adapt to those mistakes is the difference between a champion and runner-up.