Category Archives: Real PUGs of Power

Dealing with “Superstars” in Low Level LFG

We’re going to talk about some “Superstars” today in relation to low level random dungeons. Random dungeons are referred to in several different ways, including but not limited to: LFG (looking for group), LFD (looking for dungeon), PUG (pick up group), Randoms.

We’re not going to talk about specific individuals as I have in my Real Men of Failure posts, instead we’re talking about types of people and how to deal with them. In order to talk about these “Superstars” we first need to define what a “Superstar” actually is.

Superstar: [soo-per-stahr] –noun
1. a person, as a performer or athlete, who enjoys wide recognition, is esteemed for exceptional talent, and is eagerly sought after for his or her services.

Oh, my bad. That’s the definition of a Superstar. What we’re looking for is the definition of a “Superstar”.

“Superstar”: [uh-noi-ing puhngk] –noun
1. a player, as any class or role, who enjoys wide recognition, who believes themselves to be esteemed for exceptional talent, and who eagerly seeks to show off his or her (lack of) skills.

Roleless “Superstars”
The problem we see most often in the low level LFG is when one or more “Superstars” just throw their roles out the window and go crazy on everything expecting to live through it all.

They’re the level 15 Paladins who have no taunts, no AoE threat generation, and basically only a single ability to use in addition to their auto-attack and yet they still pull large groups of mobs and then wonder why the whole party wipes. They’re the Mages who think that they can go ahead and pull all of the mobs because they have Frostbolt and Frost Nova that will give the tank plenty of time to establish agro before anything bad happens. They’re the Hunters that leave Growl active on their pets and don’t bother calling their pet back when it chases a single mob through five other groups.

The most common offenders in this area are Hunters and Warriors, generally in that order. Hunters are a very strong class in lower levels because they deal high amounts of damage in a fairly short amount of time and their pets provide them with most of the security that they would otherwise need. It’s actually quite rare to end up in a pre-30’s LFG group where the hunter doesn’t try pulling the mobs at least once. (Un)Fortunately, Hunters are one of the few classes that can actually pull off soloing instances at level in the 15-25 bracket if they have some decent gear and know how to manage their pets. Because of that it’s often hard to get them to stop doing that and start working as a team.

Warriors are similar to Hunters in that they can do a lot of damage and spread it around nicely. The more damage they deal and the more damage they take, the more Rage they generate which allows them to be more active and more aggressive. For some odd reason a lot of Warriors take that to mean that if they have eight mobs bashing their face in, then they’ll be unstoppable. What they don’t seem to realize is that the damage they’re taking while doing that is usually way more than they can take without a solid healer who has the mana and the patience to put up with it. If the warrior is the tank, then the healer usually will put up with it, but if he’s DPS…

Where Hunter’s are classified as “Superstars” generally for pulling whenever and whatever they want to, Warriors are generally classified as “Superstars” for stealing threat from the tank or for using high threat generating abilities when they’re filling a DPS role instead of the tanking role.

GogoGoon “Superstars”
Another type of “Superstar” is one that feels that you’re going too slow or not doing good enough in your role and decide to take over. They’re the ones that are in a big rush to get through the dungeon and often try to talk the group into skipping bosses that aren’t required just to speed it up.

I’ve never seen the take-over happen to a DPS, and only twice have I seen it happen to a healer, but it happens to tanks a lot. This type of “Superstar” doesn’t have to be the one that actually takes your role, they can also be one that asks or tries to force another player to take over the role in question. Because of that they can also be of any class.

Sometimes the take-over is somewhat essential, like when I had a level 15 Paladin as my tank who was wearing a grey cloth robe with 45 Armor on it, was wielding a two handed grey kobold mining shovel, and had points in both the Prot and Ret trees. At that level the Paladin has no threat abilities, no taunts, nothing. The only thing he could do was auto-attack and Judgement. If the tank was simply doing it wrong, like pulling with his taunt or not using certain abilities or something, that’s one thing. But at his level he literally has no tanking abilities at all.

Another type of GogoGoon is one who has a completely wrong spec and/or wrong gear for the role that they signed up for, but insist that anyone and everyone but themselves are to blame for any problems that arise.

The single-most blatant offender in this area is the Ret Paladin. A lot of people don’t like leveling up as Prot, and they aren’t about to try leveling as Holy, so they’ll go with a Ret spec instead. But when it’s time to queue for random dungeons they’ll select the Tank role as well, hoping to get a faster queue time. To be fair, I have seen some Ret Pallies successfully tank lower level dungeons up through Scarlet Monastery: Library, but nothing beyond that. But just because something is possible, does not mean that it’s the way it should be done.

The Paladins aren’t the only ones doing this, they’re just the most common. You’ll see plenty of healers who actually have a DPS spec instead of healing, but they’re generally just fine doing that up through the mid-40’s or so. The most common class that does this and then fails at it is the Paladin, followed by the Shaman. Druids and Priests can both do pretty well as healers in the wrong spec because of how their heals work and how their class heals.

Dealing With “Superstars”
When you’re having to deal with people doing stupid crap, you only have so many options. You can try to help, you can insult them, you can hope they leave the group, you can try to vote kick them, you can leave the group yourself, you can /ignore them, you can just let them keep doing it, you can let them die (repeatedly), and maybe a few other things as well.

The best thing you can do is teach them, but teaching and learning is a two-way process. If they’re willing to listen and take some advice then you’ve found one of the rare few. More often than not, from my experience at least, you’ll end up either getting ignored or having them take offense. You’ll also frequently run into people that tell you not to worry about it, ignore it and go on, and so on. The two people that get frustrated with “Superstars” the most are the tanks and healers, but even they can be the ones telling you not to worry about the bad ones.

If they leave the group on their own or you kick them then maybe your run goes a bit better but the problem itself isn’t solved. If you take the time to tell them why you’re going to kick them out of the group, in a constructive manner rather than insulting, then they might learn and try to fix the problem on their own. If the guy’s a punk then he’s going to keep doing what he’s doing and there’s nothing you can do about it. Some people just can’t take a hint, and some have very thin skin and don’t take well to advice.

There’s another side to these “Superstars” though, so we’re going to keep on going.

Another type of “Superstar” is the Super-Duper-Star (SDS from here on), which is a “Superstar” that you come to find out is actually a real Superstar. They’re the ones that you initially get really frustrated with because they’re not doing what they’re supposed to do, but after watching them for just a minute you’re actually somewhat impressed and may even think it’s pretty cool that they’re doing that.

Your first impression is to get frustrated because you immediately see them as Roleless and just can’t wait to kick them out of the group. As I mentioned above though, sometimes they actually pull it off. A level 18 Rogue soloing Ragefire Chasm? Not a problem. Level 20 Mage soloing Deadmines? Not a problem. Level (anything) Hunter soloing (anything he can queue for)? Not a problem. So when a low level tank and healer are trying to go through and get into their roles and get used to working through dungeons with a group they find nothing but complete chaos.

With recent changes to the game like BoA gear being introduced and old world content being made easier after various patches, it’s not really that hard for some people and some classes to do things that they generally shouldn’t be able to do, like tanking instances as pure DPS classes or even soloing them at level. Most of these are twinks, whether they be simple BoA twinks with just a few pieces of “twink gear” or actual PvP twinks that have best-in-slot items in every slot.

There are two classes that particularly stand out as being SDS: Druids and Warriors. Druids are the single most versatile class in the game and even when they have the wrong spec and maybe even only a single gear set, they can still pull off a decent job by simply switching their form. A Resto Druid can easily switch to a DPS role and they can do a fair job of Bear tanking in a pinch. If they have a second set of gear that they’re carrying around then they can pull it off to great effect.

The Warrior is in a similar situation where they can simply switch their stance and step in to fill the role of tank/dps. If they switch to tanking then hopefully they have a shield and a one-hander in their bags that they can switch to, but the lower your level the less important that is. If your shield blocks are only stopping 4 damage per hit then it’s really not all that important that you have one.

Just because someone is using one spec but filling the role of another doesn’t mean they’re going to suck at it; especially at low level.

Sometimes you’re going to stumble across Super-Impostors. These guys are the ones that look like they’re being complete idiots, they aren’t following advice and they aren’t following their role. They frustrate the heck out of you, they steal your threat, they pull mobs when you’re not ready, and you want to just reach through the screen and choke the player on the other side. And yet – nobody is dying.

When you find yourself in this situation you need to step back for a second and think about the situation. You need to ask yourself if there is a real problem here or if you’re just frustrated. Take a second to really look at what all is going on.

The Bear tank is fighting five mobs with a Mage giving him some AoE backup, the Arms Warrior is fighting three mobs on the other side of the room, and the Hunter and his pet are fighting two other mobs on the path leading up to the next area. Meanwhile the Druid healer is /dancing in the center of the room with 85% mana and everyone is above 95% health.

You’ve got two DPS players being tanks while your actual tank has his hands full. In a level 80 heroic that means somebody’s about to die or you’re about to wipe, but in a level 18 RFC run that means that you need to calm down and realize that the situation is well under control. If the tank is alive, the healer has mana, and everyone is holding their own then it doesn’t matter whether the tank has threat on every mob or not. My level 17 Warrior who can two-shot everything in this instance except for the boss doesn’t really need the tank’s help with three mobs. Give me 5 seconds and the problem will be resolved; Trust me.

For most of us in the blogging community, whether we’re the authors or the readers, we have high level toons that are running heroics or raids or who have at least been there before. And since we tend to spend more time in those settings and we have to follow our roles in order to succeed, we take that mindset with us when we get on our low level alts as well. Level 18 is not level 80.

If you see somebody that you think is doing something stupid, then take a minute to inspect them. Gear is the first indication of whether or not a low level character is controlled by a high level player. Are they wearing trash gear or are they wearing BoA’s? Are they wearing quest rewards or crafted gear? Can you tell whether or not they have professions and are using them? Are they using their racial abilities?


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Weekend PUG Report: Three Stooges and a Dwarf

This weekend was one for leveling various alts. I didn’t want to bother farming or raiding on my mage, I wasn’t especially in the mood to kill people (PvP) either for some odd reason, so I just focused on the alts. First up on that list was my little druid, Hotstuffbaby who was initially created as a 19 Twink who I then decided to level as a 29 Twink, and then throwing that idea out the window as well, have decided to level to 80 as my healer on my main server.

Lucky for me there are a few other people in our guild right now that are leveling alts as well, so we had four people ready and willing to group for randoms with a 5th that we were sure would join us once she woke up (sorry Cat, had to mention that part too).

While in a group of four we were missing our tank. Luckily all four of us were able to “tank” in some form or fashion (Warrior, Warlock Pet, Hunter Pet, Druid) if the tank we got sucked, so we queued up anyway. My evaluation of low level dungeons in the new LFG is that generally speaking the healers are usually good though often the most impatient of the bunch, DPS are usually the most annoying with no knowledge of threat management or playing some odd spec that puts them at half the tank’s DPS, and tanks are either unbelievably good or suck about as much as humanly possible.

Tanks are the primary example here in this post, two tanks that absolutely failed followed by a third that had some great threat skills and allowed our DPS to go all out and still have no problem. I am going to list names and servers here because anytime I post someone that failed at something, I took the time to try to help them in game first. If they make some effort to improve, then they get left off of the blog. If they do nothing to correct the situation, then maybe they should have thought about that before being a moron in the presence of a blogger.

Example Time

Kremul, Madoran-US (A)
The first fail tank was a Warrior named “Kremul the Clothy”. I thought I got a screenshot from when I had moused over his chest piece, but I didn’t. So in case you can’t tell from the picture, he was wearing Shimmering Silk Robes. He was also wearing +Intellect rings, grey pants and grey shoulders, but those can be somewhat excused if we assume he just hasn’t had any good drops. The robe though? I can’t get passed that one. He got kicked from the group and then we just 4-manned the dungeon.

Arzoft, Bloodhoof-US (A)
Right after we were done with the fail warrior we got in a group with this druid whose idea of tanking was to cast Starfire on the mob and then attack him in caster form with his staff. After that first pull I said in party, “Arz, you did notice you’re the tank for this run, right?” He then shifted into Cat form, cast Dash, and ran down the hall to agro ever mob and then bring them back to us. I had already had enough fail tanking from Kremul so I told everyone in vent to just hold off and let the stupid cat die and then we finished off the pack. You can look at the chat log in the picture here to see the level of Arz’s intelligence. He typed to us about 20 times in that “language” of his before we managed to vote kick him after his timer was done. I tried to speak his language of random character strings, but I don’t think we made any progress.

Gingerdread, Stormrage-US (A)
We didn’t want to have our Fury Warrior tank SM for us though, so we requeued and found ourselves a Dwarf Warrior. When he joined I took a look at his spec to get an idea of what to expect and I saw a combination of Arms and Prot. My initial reaction was a facepalm, no lie, but I’m willing to give anybody a shot at anything at least once, so on we went. This guy was generating crazy amounts of aggro, allowing all of our DPS to go all out without any worries. If someone did steal threat from him, he used his taunts and got it back. Ginger is easily the best Warrior tank I’ve seen outside of Northrend.

Gotuhunter, Trollbane-US (A)
We’ll break away from tanking now and go back to another example of failure. I hate to leave you on a bad note, but this one is worthy of being mentioned as well. It’s a level 79 Hunter that decided he just had to roll need on a cloak that dropped. It’s a tanking cloak as you might notice from the Armor, Strength, Stamina, and Defense bonuses on it, or from the fact that both plate wearers in the group rolled Need on it (I got picked for DPS in this one, but I’m main spec Frost tank). His reason for rolling need on it was very impressive, “lot bette then the won i got and it still has strenght”.

The cloak wasn’t a huge upgrade, as you can see from my RatingsBuster addon, but did I mention that I’m 3 points away from being Defense capped? Screw you too, Gotuhunter.



Real PUGs of Power: Mr. I Had A Group Full Of Win’s Guys

Over the weekend I decided to go ahead and roll that Death Knight Tank I had mentioned last week. I have a post in progress to discuss the details of tanking with a Frost DK that should be coming out sometime this week, but if you want details on him right now then you can check out his armory link: Psynister. I bet you didn’t see that name coming, did you?

Today I want to tell you about an especially great group that I found myself in over the weekend. Generally when I queue for a random I run the dungeon and then regardless of how good/bad we did I go ahead and leave group and go find fresh group all together. That seems to be the norm from how quickly most people drop group after the final boss is down.

There was something different about this group though, so I went ahead and stuck with them. I think three of us asked at about the same time after the first run if everyone was up for another. With some amount of surprise from me everyone said yes. The second dungeon went down and we queued up as a group again. I think all together we did three dungeons, but there may have been a fourth in there as well.

I think as a group we functioned extremely well in the dungeons that we ran, and it was interesting to see that even though both the warrior and myself were queued for both Tank and DPS, the role of Tanking was mine every time we queued. I’ve seen the LFG tool swap people’s positions before so I know it can change, but every time it came up as mine.

Generally I like to keep my Real PUGs of Power posts to a single person, but this group worked so well together that I’m throwing them all in there together. Deciding on the title was a bit of a challenge this time since it’s about four people instead of only one, but it works for me even if it is a bit awkward. With four people deserving some praise, I initially was just going to write a regular post about it, but I think something like this shows a bit more sincerity when I say thank you.

Mr. I Had A Group Full Of Win’s Guys
Bethannie, Druid Heals
Nikedawg, Warrior DPS
Aldy, Mage DPS
Adolat, Priest DPS

Psynister’s Notebook presents: Real PUGs of Power

(Real PUGs of Poweeeer)

Today we salute you Mr. I Had A Group Full Of Win’s Guys.

(Mr. I Had A Group Full Of Wiiiinn’s Guys!)

You’ve shown us how a real group clears an instance.
With DoT’s, HoT’s, AoE’s, and Whirlwinds.

(I think we could one-shot Arthas!)

Taking down bosses and trash mobs with ease,
And acknowledging the strengths of every member.

(Great job with the heals!)

Pathing mobs get pulled, no problem.
Mage’s pet was set to aggressive, who cares?
The tank got mind controlled? Lets bring him down!

(Dang it, I wanted to kill him!)

So crack open an ice cold Frost Tank’s heart, you group full of epic win.
There’s no such thing as an unbeatable instance, when the five of you group together.

(Mr. I Had A Group Full of Wiiiinn’s Guys!)


In case you’re wondering, yes the warrior did really try to kill me when I got mind controlled just before the boss in that screen shot went down. We were both trying to fill that tank spot each time we queued, and he never got it. I planned to give him the chance regardless in the next run since I have yet to be chosen as DPS, but the group needed to split right after that boss, so I never got the chance. It was all in good fun (at least, I think it was…) and I think we all had a great time and enjoyed the group.

Hopefully luck will be on my side and I’ll find myself queued up with them another time in the future.


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A Death Knight Tank

After fourteen months of waiting, I have finally stumbled onto a Death Knight tank that doesn’t suck. Actually, we have a couple of DK tanks in my new guild that are actually very good as well, but this post isn’t about my guild, it’s about a Death Knight I found in a random heroic PuG. I’m not in much of a creative mood today with work going crazy, so I won’t be putting this successful PuG story into a Real PuG’s of Power format, but I want to share it anyway.

Where Does Psynister Stand On Death Knights?
In my experience, DK’s have always been strong on the DPS front, and I never minded having them fill that role. Doing stupid crap like Death Gripping the tank’s target off of him was sort of the norm, though exceptions to that were apparent enough that you just knew from that point that it was a Death Knoob. On the tanking front though, I found nothing but failure. I’ve said it before here on the blog, I’ve said it in game, I’ve said it on Twitter, and I’ve said it in comments on other people’s blogs as well – “Death Knights suck at tanking”.

People kept telling me of how many good DK tanks they knew, how they themselves were good at tanking, how their raiding guild’s lead tank was a DK and so on, but despite all of the stories I never saw them for myself. A lot of people agreed with me too, that DK’s sucked at tanking. There were several testimonies in favor of them, but those in opposition were just too many to ignore. And regardless of what other people told me, every single DK I saw sucked at tanking.

I stood by that statement for a long time, never seeing even the slightest indication that I needed to eat those words. But, after running with Khanus from the Elune-US server, I had to do just that. My mage, Belsynis, is currently running an Arcane spec and he packs a pretty decent punch for having reached level 80 just a few weeks ago. He’s got a high crit rate, a fair amount of DPS, and he’s been known to pull agro off of every tanking class he’s ran with up to this point.

What Changed Your Mind?
When I ported into the random, the first thing I noticed (from the loading screen) was that it was one of the new dungeons, which I enjoy quite a bit. The second thing I noticed was that the tank was a DK, and thirdly that his health was at 25k. Now, I’m not one to judge a tank based on their health, but it is a good indicator of what kind of gear the person has or how they gem/enchant it. As long as the tank has more health than me, then I don’t have a problem giving them a shot. I certainly don’t assume failure if the tank doesn’t have 40-50k health like other’s I’ve seen.

In my experience with DK tanks though, I knew I wanted to take it a bit easy starting out and get a feel for how he pulled and how well he generated threat. The first couple of groups went down just fine, so I decided to step it up a notch. Again we had no problems, so I kicked it up into normal mode for heroics and went ahead and just let the mobs have it. We got through the first boss and all the trash leading up to the second boss with no threat issues, so I decided to go all out on Ick.

I popped my cooldowns at the beginning of the fight and pulled out all the stops, intentionally trying to pull threat off of him, knowing that I could use Invisibility to immediately dump it if necessary and then I could back off and just fill my role. I unloaded some serious hate on Ick, but Khanus just kept right on trucking, and while I did steal agro for about half a second, he was immediately right back on the DK. From there I just nodded my head and went all out on everything. Each time I managed to steal agro, whether it was on single target dps or during AoE pulls, it took Khanus less than a second to pull the threat right back to himself.

It was truly an amazing display of tanking from a class that I have written off for a very long time as a fail tank.


What Else Is Going On?
I have been putting some thought into rolling my own DK tank for a while now for the sake of blogging about it and trying to express to people how it’s done similar to how I’ve handled the Paladin series here. After seeing failed tank after failed tank I felt it was sort of my duty to go out and find out how to do it so that I could tell other people how it was done as well, but I’ve always managed to talk myself out of it.

Right now I am focusing on leveling a Resto Druid and an Affliction Warlock. I have several other toons in the works of course (as always), but those are the two I’m focusing on lately. After seeing Khanus as well as a couple of the Death Knights in my new guild, I’m growing ever more tempted to go ahead and roll a Death Knight and actually get him leveled up all the way to 80. Our strongest DPS in the guild right now is a Death Knight that consistently pulls over 7,000 DPS (did I mention we’re a casual guild?), and one of our primary tanks is a Death Knight as well.

I have a leveling post near completion on the Warlock’s leveling, and one started on the Druid’s leveling, but don’t be too surprised if within the next month or so you see a post about leveling a Death Knight.

Helpful Links From Others
Since I have such large group of WoW friends that I communicate with online I asked them to share with me whatever online sources they felt were helpful in relation to Death Knight tanking. The following is a list of all the sites that I have been linked to: Frost Tank 3.3
Aurdon’s Death Knight Outland Gear guide
Kurandir’s Kompendium
Plagued Candles – DK Tanking and You
Chill of the Grave – Comprehensive Guide to DK Tanking


Posted by on February 3, 2010 in Death Knight, Real PUGs of Power


Real PUGs of Power: Mr. I Can Hold Their Agro For Days Guy

It’s sort of a fact of the life that it’s more easy and natural as human beings for us to remember and focus on the bad experiences while quickly setting aside and forgetting the good ones. The “bad” ones don’t have to be horrible, it can be any degree of bad from laughable to disgusting. If you look around the WoW blogs you’ll find a lot of focus put on bad PUGs, either where the entire group was full of failure or it was a single individual. Many simply talk about what’s wrong with the system or certain classes and ways to improve it, while others may take the bad and turn it into something fun to share with their readers as a few of us have with our off-shoots of Budweiser’s Real Men of Genius™ commercials.

A couple of days ago I sent my ex-19 Twink Druid into some random dungeons and found some really good groups. The first one was an RFK run with a great bear tank named Shakit from Magtheridon-US, and even an over-anxious hunter that loved to do the pulling, the bear managed to keep the majority of the agro on himself and kept up a very nice pace throughout the dungeon. He obviously wasn’t overly familiar with the dungeon since he started to skip a couple of bosses, but he took that news in stride and just got the job done. I wanted to capture a screenshot of it for blogging purposes, but just as I was getting ready to do so the hunter pulled another group what led to what became our biggest pull in the instance and I got so focused on the healing and such that blogging was forgotten. I remembered after the group split, but it was too late.

So I requeued for another random and shortly after found myself in Gnomeregan. Apparently the tank and healer had both bailed on the three dps that were already in there, and much to my excitement the tank slot was filled with that same bear tank from the RFK run, Shakit. I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to give this guy a shout out a second time, so I made sure I got a shot during the second instance which ended up being an even better run than RFK. The Frost Mage had no hesitation in using Blizzard early in a pull which had me slightly worried, but Shakit managed to maintain agro just fine. The Warlock was initially hesitant, I think because he wasn’t sure if I wanted him to use Life Tap, but once I gave him permission to use LT freely he joined into the AoE frenzy. He started out with Rain of Fire, and then moved on to Hellfire later in the run. Even with both of the caster dps throwing around almost constant AoE damage Shakit still held their agro in check.

Shakit (Bear Tank)
Clamisock (Frost Mage)
Sirtedbundy (Destruction Warlock)
Azanoyia (Combat Rogue)

And if you would care to read about some other great experiences that people have had, I direct you to the following:
I Don’t Do Pugs from R2UK at Permanently Lost
LFG Bonus Humanity from Nochecazador at Of Marks And Beast
CC Means Consecrate, Consecrate Right? from Dechion at Dechion’s Place

Moving on to the point of this post though, I present to you Real PUGs of Power:

Psynister’s Notebook presents: Real PUGs of Power.

(Real PUGs of Poweeeer)

Today we salute you Mr. I Can Hold Their Agro For Days Guy.

(Mr. All I Can Hold Their Agro For Daaaays Guy!)

You’ve shown us how a real tank pulls a room.
Growling, Mauling, and slashing faces with your claws.

(Maul your freaking face off!)

Holding agro on eight-to-twelve mobs at a time,
While the Mage and the Warlock rain down Ice and Fire.

(Still toppin’ threat meters!)

Pulling one group, you’re bored.
Pulling a second, and you’re yawning.
Add in a third, fourth, or fifth and then it’s time to play.

(Come on where’s the challenge!?)

So crack open an ice cold Bud Light, you Bear Tanking Badboy.
There’s no such thing as too many mobs, especially with a healer like me to keep your bear butt alive.

(Mr. I Can Hold Their Agro For Daaaays Guy!)



Posted by on January 21, 2010 in Real PUGs of Power


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