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Polymorph is a mage spell that transforms the enemy into a critter, removing it from combat. It is the mage's primary crowd control spell, allowing them or their party to focus their efforts elsewhere while the polymorphed target wanders harmlessly for a period of time. Any damage taken by the target will cancel the effect, and as a magical debuff it can be dispelled.
- This spell works on target types given above, and does NOT work on elementals, demons, undead, dragons, giants or uncategorized ("typeless") targets. It works just fine against Forsaken players, as they are considered humanoid.
- A polymorphed target is often referred to as a "sheeped" target. Furthermore, "sheep" is often used as a verb; to sheep a target is to polymorph it. Even when using any of the Polymorph variations, the word sheep is still often used.
- While sheeped, the target cannot do anything, but heals at a rapid pace. Mana does not regenerate. Any damage caused to the target causes it to revert to its normal state. The target will also wander across the area randomly in this state.
- There are various glyphs and items that can be used to change the form that the transformed player takes. See Polymorph spell list.
- A mage can only have one target polymorphed at a time, regardless of the particular spell used. If cast on a second target, the first Polymorph breaks. For instance, casting Polymorph: Pig while having a different mob under the effects of Polymorph: Sheep will break the spell.
Tips and tactics
The careful use of Polymorph can be tremendously effective in combat against elites. Typically, a mage will use Polymorph before combat, allowing the group to focus on the remaining targets. Because Polymorph heals the target, it is much more effective to use it targets that has not yet taken damage.
Polymorph can be reapplied, refreshing the duration, at any time in combat, so it is helpful to always re-sheep before the effect expires; it is more difficult to re-sheep a mob that is running loose (and likely beating on you) than one that is already under control.
In group situations, the party leader can use a Raid Target Icon to designate which target to polymorph. This can allow the mage to keep track of where the sheep is during the fight, and can easily tell if the Polymorph effect is broken. The most common marker for sheep is the Moon. It is also possible for higher-level groups with more that one mage to further coordinate by assigning a specific Polymorph style to a specific mage.
Wandering sheep can aggro nearby groups when it breaks near them. Using to pull and slow the movement speed of the target to a more favorable location before sheeping will help minimize the chances of this happening. It is also helpful to use to freeze an enemy in place to prevent it from hitting you, then Polymorph it.
By using a simple macro you can stop casting a spell before it is finished and re-sheep as needed. This allows the mage to be much more responsive if a target breaks early.
Focus target & Polymorph macro
Use the Focus target to keep track of your sheep while killing other targets. In the default Blizzard UI, the focus target shows as a separate frame. The focus target can be set and regained with macros as well, which helps when it is necessary to re-sheep a target.
This macro combined with the Focus target will make your polymorph hotkey more responsive by allowing you to stop casting your current spell and sheep your focus target without switching your current target.
/cast [@focus] Polymorph
A more complex focus macro will focus and polymorph your target until it dies, with additional clicks re-sheeping the target. When your polymorphed focus is dead, select a new target and click again to focus and polymorph it. Hold shift and click to change polymorph targets mid fight. (via spicytuna)
#showtooltip Polymorph /clearfocus [modifier:shift] /focus [@focus,noexists]; [target=focus,dead] /clearfocus [@focus,help] /stopcasting /cast [@focus,exists,harm] Polymorph; Polymorph
Polymorph can be a very useful tool in PvP, though it does have some limitations over PvE use. Specifically, the following limitations apply when Polymorphing a hostile player:
- Polymorph will never last longer than 8 seconds.
- Polymorph is subject to diminishing returns. Duration displayed on the debuff is capped at 8 seconds on the first cast, then 4 and 2 after subsequent casts. After the 4th cast, the target is immune. After 15 seconds of freedom from Polymorph, diminishing returns reset back to 8 seconds. Polymorph is not known to share its diminishing returns with any other crowd control ability.
- Polymorph has a chance of a heartbeat resist.
- Players flying on flying mounts are immune to polymorph.
- Druids in shapeshifted forms are immune to polymorph completely, and druids in caster form can shapeshift to break the spell instantly.
While Polymorph does regenerate the target's health quickly, it doesn't affect mana in any way. In PvP situations mages can Polymorph then bandage and/or use , effectively restarting a fight.
Polymorphing a warrior using a shield and can also be extremely useful if timed correctly. Rather than have a damaging spell reflected back, you can essentially sheep yourself and benefit from the healing effect. This tactic should however not be used in arenas.
It is not particularly effective against druids, due to their immunity in shapeshifted forms and ability to shapeshift and break the spell instantly. The best it can do against a druid is interrupt his heal in progress or force him to spend mana to break it.
Polymorph spell list
With the right additions, Polymorph can be used to transform targets into a variety of animals. However, the difference is purely cosmetic, and does not change the spell's effects in any way.
Many of these alternate forms are achieved by modifying the Polymorph spell using minor glyphs, with the alternate forms thus granted replacing the standard sheep for as long as that glyph is active. However, others are gained through more unusual means, and provide the mage with an additional, separate Polymorph spell. The mage can then choose which Polymorph spell to cast on a target. However, as noted above, these spells are, for the purposes of all game mechanics, one and the same; the mage can have only one target polymorphed at a time, regardless of the variant of the spell used.
|Spell Name||Polymorph effect||Source||Notes|
|Polymorph||Sheep||Learned at level 14.|
|Polymorph: Bear Cub||Bear cub||Replaces standard sheep Polymorph while this glyph is in place.|
|Polymorph: Black Cat||Black Cat||2500 from in Dalaran at neutral Kirin Tor reputation.|
|Polymorph: Monkey||Monkey||Replaces standard sheep Polymorph while this glyph is in place.|
|Polymorph: Penguin||Penguin||Replaces standard sheep Polymorph while this glyph is in place.|
|Polymorph: Pig||Pig||Learned from The Amazing Zanzo in Dalaran.||Was a reward from  before Patch 4.0.3a.|
|Polymorph: Porcupine||Porcupine||Replaces standard sheep Polymorph while this glyph is in place.|
|Polymorph: Rabbit||Rabbit||from the Noblegarden event.|
|Polymorph: Turtle||Turtle||Rare drop from Fishing.||dropped from in Zul'Gurub before Patch 4.0.3a.|
- Patch 5.0.4 (2012-08-28): Range reduced from 35 to 30 yd.
- Patch 4.3.0 (2011-11-29): Mages who apply both Glyph of the Monkey and Glyph of the Penguin at the same time will cause the polymorphed target to be randomly transformed into one of the two forms.
- Patch 4.0.6 (2011-02-08): Now has a PvP duration of 8 seconds.
- Patch 2.2.0 (2007-09-25): Duration against PvP targets has been reduced to 10 seconds.
- Patch 2.0.1 (2006-12-05):
- In PvP, Crowd Control effects will last no longer than 12 seconds instead of the full duration, with a chance of a heartbeat resist.
- Casting a lower rank polymorph on a target that is already under the effect of a higher rank will cause an error message and not consume mana.
- Patch 1.4.0 (2005-05-05): Charm and Polymorph mechanics can now be reactively countered by spells and abilities (e.g. Druid Shapeshifting will now cancel Polymorph effects).
- Patch 1.1.0 (2004-11-07):
- Facing requirement removed.
- Now dismounts the enemy target, increased the chance of breaking early.