Team Spotlight: World First Mythic+ Keystone Masters

Amidst all the excitement surrounding the Race to World First of Castle Nathria, the opening of the new raid tier also marked the beginning of Season 1 for Mythic+ and Rated PvP. Recently, it was announced on Wowhead that the first Mythic+ team of Season 1, Should be Okay, received their Shadowlands Keystone Master achievement for timing M+15s in all of the new dungeons. The team was comprised of North American players Frosty, Hydro, Kmoney, Vashy, and Greg, who filled in for Stardusk. Today, we dive a bit deeper into their experiences with the expansion’s latest dungeons.

“We used to be very average players, but we stuck together and improved. Don’t hop from team to team looking to artificially jump up in score. Find people you like playing with and improve with them.” —Frosty

VitaminP: Hi! Thanks for chatting today. Can you please tell us a little more about yourself?

Frosty: My name is Frosty/Thomas. I started playing WoW at the start of Season 2 and I am a Vengeance Demon Hunter Main. I started tanking in the Middle Of BFA Season 4. I’m from the Dallas, Texas area and I’m 17 years old.

Hydro: I’m Hydroo/Alan. We started doing Mythic+ as a group around the middle/later part of BFA.

Kmoney: My name is Kevin, I am 24 years old, and I am from New York. I graduated with a Finance degree and currently work in that field. I started off BFA playing a Warlock, but I switched to Hunter towards the end of patch 8.2 Rise of Azshara. I’ve always enjoyed Mythic+, but I started pushing seriously when I met our current group towards the middle of Season 4 in BFA.

Vashy: My name is Bruce and I’m native to Brazil. I main Rogue, and I’ve been pushing Mythic+ since the end of BFA Season 3. I like to spend my time outside of WoW either playing or watching fighting games/shooters. Frosty and I have been known to play CS:GO together. I have the best cat on Twitch; her name is Chef.

VitaminP: In your recent article with Wowhead, you stated that the hardest keys on +15 were De Other Side, Theater of Pain, and Sanguine Depths. What aspects of these dungeons were the most challenging to deal with and why? What did you do to counter this with your comp and strats?

Kmoney: I think one thing that is universally challenging across all keys on 15s at the moment, is that amount of tank damage that goes out. With Frosty playing Vengeance Demon Hunter, he very often stays in melee while he is in Meta, and then has to kite using our group’s utility such as Binding Shot, Vortex, and Frost Nova. I think Theater of Pain is difficult because there are some very challenging bosses (mainly Kul’tharok and the last half of Mordretha) so making a mistake and losing lust or prideful going into one makes it that much more challenging. For Sanguine Depths, there were a lot of hard parts, including Kryxis and Executor Tarvold, but I think the hardest part is fighting General Kaal in the hallway. There is no chance for your healer to get any mana as you are stuck in combat the whole time, and there is a ton of damage that goes out to the group. Lastly, De Other Side is challenging for a few reasons, but it requires a ton of coordination from your group in terms of kicks and stuns/stops on some mobs. There is no room for error in there as well because you end up running around the dungeon for so long.

Hydro: Doing the keys in time with low item level is insanely hard. All the groups timing multiple +15-16s have to play very consistently in every key. All of the keys listed above require the most coordination during trash and bosses.

De Other Side: This key is very tight and hard on the timer. We played very well and only timed it by around a minute. The bosses are hard and the travel time doesn't help either.
Theater of Pain: This dungeon was hard because each boss is challenging and all the trash requires perfect kicks and stops while having a tight timer.
Sanguine Depths: This key has very very hard bosses, trash that has large AoE damage throughout the dungeon, and the last boss gauntlet is tough.

De Other Side: This key has a really tight timer, I can’t think of too much in there that’s exceptionally mechanically-challenging otherwise. It’s more so that, if one thing goes wrong at a high level, it’s essentially depleted.
Theater of Pain: This dungeon has a lot of difficult trash pulls and the bosses like Xav have pretty tight checks on killing adds. It’s mostly things like Shacked Soul and sketchy pulls before Gorechop. Jagged Quarrel on Arbalests are also very taxing on the healer.
Sanguine Depths: This one a pretty free timer, but the bosses can be a bit of a challenge and the trash pulls can go wrong really quickly. The main challenge here is surviving the gauntlet leading up to the final boss, since the healer can’t really get mana for the gauntlet’s duration. If you can get through that steadily though, you’re fine.

VitaminP: How did you prepare for the new dungeons? For example, did you do keys on beta prior to Shadowlands? If so, how much beta prep did you invest and how helpful was it?

Frosty: We did play on beta for a few weeks right before launch. It was extremely helpful having an idea of what is good to pull and knowing how to line up Prideful timings with particularly difficult bosses.

Kmoney: Our group was definitely more prepared than most for the dungeons in Shadowlands. We finished season 4 of BFA around 6100 io, and we all kind of agreed that we thought that we could do better in Shadowlands. We played a decent amount of the Shadowlands beta, coming up with our own routes and Prideful timings and such, which is probably why we were able to bang out KSM the first night that we sat down and played as a group on Friday lol (aside from incredibly good key luck as well).

Vashy: Greg didn’t have access to the beta, but aside from him, I definitely played Beta the least of everyone on our team. I was taking a bit of a break before SL to avoid burnout, but I eventually hopped on and played a few dozen keys to learn the fundamentals and get comfortable. I think the others put in a lot of time on beta and I think it’s 100% the reason we’ve done so well already in the expansion. We play limited hours, so all of the prep work made a very strong difference.

VitaminP: What covenants did you pick and why? How important do you think it is to have each covenant covered given all the covenant-specific buffs and items in the dungeons?

Frosty: I picked Kyrian because it performs the best for my class and the Phial of Serenity is also very useful. I think having every covenant represented in a key group is important. For example, our comp doesn’t have a Venthyr or a Necrolord, so we miss out on things like being able to mind-control the Loyal Stoneborns in Halls of Atonement and the 10% Vers buff banners in Theater of Pain which would have helped us a lot.

Hydro: Having all the covenants is not as big of a deal in doing 15s as it may be later in the season for the highest keys timed. For us, it wasn't that big of a deal to not have all four. As a Mage, I picked Night Fae since it’s by far the best covenant for Mages in keys.

Kmoney: We had two Kyrian and three Night Fae in our group. In my opinion, the best covenant specific dungeon buffs are Night Fae. It gives you the skip in Mists of Tirna Scythe and allows you to stun mobs (mainly the big red guy that casts rage) with urns in De Other Side. The other covenants are definitely good too in their respective dungeons, and may be required as we see higher and higher keys later in the season. We have talked about possibly switching some of our covenants around after we all finish our raid progression, but time will tell how “mandatory” they are for their respective dungeons.

Vashy: I chose Night Fae for my Rogue, mostly because its a solid all-around pick and very versatile. Korayn later in the renown system does great damage in keys, niya offers solid ST damage and Dreamweaver has a cheat death and early double potency. It’s also good for Outlaw, the only real drawback is a bit of early patch damage and kyrian being very strong in PVP.

VitaminP: What is/are your favorite dungeon(s) so far?

Kmoney: My personal favorite dungeon is Halls of Atonement. Revendreth is my favorite zone in Shadowlands, and I probably would have picked Venthyr if it was more competitive numerically when compared to Night Fae or Kyrian for my class. Halls of Atonement reminds me a bit of Freehold in BFA where it is pretty open and you have some decision making in what you can pull to get your count. The two other dungeons that stand out to me are Mists of Tirna Scythe and Spires. Mists is a pretty straightforward and chill dungeon, and I enjoy the aesthetic of Spires, even though that dungeon is definitely on the harder side of the spectrum.

Vashy: My favorites are probably Mists, Spires, Halls and De Other Side. It’s nothing particular about their bosses or pulls, but more so about how the mechanics play out. I feel like there’s almost nothing that’s particularly unfair or RNG-heavy in them; you’re completely in control of whether you live or die on any pull, so it’s all about how well you’re playing.

Frosty: My favorites are Mists/Halls/Spires.

VitaminP: What were some of the most high-pressure moments in your grind to world-first Keystone Masters? Were there any keys you thought you weren’t going to be able to time?

Frosty: The Last 2 dungeons we did were very stressful. We knew we had to play perfect to time De Other Side +15, and our last run of Necrotic Wake was very stressful since we knew this was our only shot at world first.

Hydro: The trash before the third boss of Necrotic Wake was the hardest part of all imo. The trash in that room hits extremely hard and has several mechanics/kicks going off at the same time.

Kmoney: Two moments stand out to me. The first moment was our Sanguine Depths run where the last hallway with General Kaal got very hectic. We didn’t go into it with full mana for our healer, so he ran out of mana very quickly. This made for some very tense moments, and ultimately, we ended up timing the key by only two or three seconds. The other instance was when we were doing The Necrotic Wake. It was the last key that we needed for KSM, and we were running it around 5-6 AM EST, which is much later than we normally stay up. We did a dry run of the key on +16 just to see everything once before and it went horribly. I definitely had some nerves when we put the +15 keystone in. Credit to everyone in the group, because we played really well and timed the key on +15 with a few minutes to spare.

Vashy: The entire Necrotic Wake run. It was 5am and I knew it was kind of a do-or-die moment, since there was no way we were going to run it back and grind out another necrotic wake (much less being too fatigued to chest it if we depleted it prior). I think we also only chested Sanguine Depths by a few seconds—it was really tight in our run.

VitaminP: What were some of your coolest or funniest moments from this experience?

Frosty: One of the best moments was finishing our +15 De Other Side and seeing that it turned into The Necrotic Wake, which was the last key we needed to time for the KSM achievement. Also, on the second boss of that key, we almost wiped, but I saved us by using my Anima Exhaust item to nuke the add casting from ranged.

Kmoney: My personal favorite moment was when we finished our +15 De Other Side run and got a +16 Necrotic Wake. De Other Side was the second to last dungeon that we needed, and it was very late into the night at that point. I don’t think that any of us were really going to keep playing in the hopes that we would roll some key into a Necrotic Wake, but luckily, the key gods were looking down upon us and gifted us exactly what we needed to get our KSM :)

I think it’s safe to say that we were all holding our breath for the last stretch of The Necrotic Wake. It didn’t really feel like it was real. I think the gravity of the situation hadn’t hit us yet, but knowing we could get world-first KSM was the only reason I managed to stay composed throughout that last key. I’m really proud of how I played in that one. As far as funny moments go, I can’t think of a specific one - We’re all good friends, they happen all the time. The VODs are littered with them, I really wouldn’t want to play with anyone else.

VitaminP: With the new Raider.IO Team Score feature announced recently, have you guys put much thought into playing different classes for certain keys later in this xpac? How do you think team score may affect your strategies later on?

Frosty: I think having alts will be very strong for certain covenant bonuses. I’m planning to have a Necrolord Brewmaster later into the season for high Theater of Pain keys, since the Monk dispel is also very useful in certain scenarios.

Hydro: The new Team Score is a cool aspect and great idea. As most of the top groups do, we switch classes around if something becomes very strong or almost required to do certain keys.

Kmoney: At the moment, I don't think I have much of a plan to move off Hunter, although if Marksmanship and/or Beast Mastery get nerfed, I would probably just end up rerolling to whatever class and covenant that would work best.

Vashy: I think it’ll make us a lot more flexible, though I haven’t really been known to play other classes too often. After my raid progression is over, I’ll most likely be making an alt for the keys where Rogue isn’t too necessary and bring something that does a bit more relevant damage and utility. Whatever class that ends up being isn’t clear to me yet.

VitaminP: With the new seasonal affix, Prideful, how important is to plan your Bursting with Pride buff for bosses vs. trash (e.g. Tyrannical vs. Fortified, over-tuned bosses, etc.)? Have you encountered any particular challenges in lining up ideal timings so far?

Frosty: A Lot of bosses on Fortified require Prideful the same way as Tyrannical. It’s very important to plan routes to have Prideful for some of the hard bosses and even trash packs. We had a lot of trouble with Plaguefall’s Prideful timings as well as Theater of Pain timings until we figured out solid strats.

Hydro: Prideful is a really fun and enjoyable affix. However, the buff is required for certain pulls/bosses. Ideally you just work out your route to give Prideful before hard bosses, or big pulls. I’m sure as the season goes on, there will be a lot of new ways to discover how to use Prides most efficiently. The WoW community is pretty smart when it comes to innovation.

Kmoney: Prideful is an extremely fun affix and really leads to a lot of creativity to where you get them and how you do so. Frosty did a lot of the theory-crafting for these, and his routes are insane. It does however create many cases where, if you spawn one in a bad place or wipe under the effects of one, the whole key goes right out the window. There are a few instances where this comes to mind. There are a few break points where you need certain % before you go on to another section for each dungeon. A few examples are in De Other Side where we pull more intentionally to line up a Prideful with the first boss, and then in Sanguine Depths, we line up our trash pulls in order to get our 80% trash before the third boss to spawn the Manifestation of Pride. In the third boss room of Nectoric Wake, we line up our pulls so that we don't get Pride during some of the RP that happens when mobs spawn.

Vashy: In my opinion, it’s extremely important to make sure that your Prideful buff goes into something worthwhile. Having it appear at a random interval just to go into a trivial pull makes the rest of the dungeon so much harder, whereas with a good route, a +10 honestly feels easier than a +9. In Theater of Pain and De Other Side, we do extra trash and then backtrack to bosses just to align Prideful with difficult pulls.

VitaminP: If you could request a reasonable change to one of the new dungeons, what would it be and why?

Frosty: Heading up to the last boss room of Sanguine Depths, you’re permanently in combat and the group damage is very high over that span which means healers almost certainly run out of mana. I would change it to where the bears did not spawn, or make it to where you could have opportunities to drop combat at some point.

Kmoney: I think Spires of Ascension has a couple mobs that require some tuning—most notably the first boss’s frontal, which quite literally one-shot Frosty from 100-0 on a +16 key. Additionally, I’d probably do something about the three adds before the last boss. I am sure that those are supposed to be hard, but if you don't have a Kyrian spear and all your DPS cooldowns with lust, it is very likely that you will just wipe. Also, please make better checkpoints for all of the dungeons!

Vashy: The final stretch of Sanguine Depths seems really hard on healers. The Gargons keeping your group in combat for upwards of several minutes is very taxing on mana for some healers. I’d like it if there were more consistent intermissions during this or some form of mana buff for the healer during that gauntlet.

VitaminP: What advice do you have for people looking to get into more competitive Mythic+ this expansion? What aspects of BFA and/or Legion Mythic+ life have you taken with you into the new xpac that you think might be valuable to aspiring key pushers?

Frosty: I would say it’s important to always be prepared when doing dungeons. Have a route, proper consumables, and dictate the run before it even starts. This is what we’ve done for a while which helps us a lot. Also, we used to be very average players, but we stuck together and improved. Don’t hop from team to team looking to artificially jump up in score. Find people you like playing with and improve with them.

Hydro: I would say the most important part about it is having a group you enjoy playing with. There are a lot of high stress moments in keys and things happen you don't always plan for, stay relaxed and adapt to whatever happens during the key.

Kmoney: The biggest piece of advice I would give, is just do your research. Learn the mechanics of each boss and trash pack, watch what routes the best groups do, make some friends along the way, and just enjoy yourself. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone rips keys. Don't beat yourself up over it and just have some fun.

Vashy: The most important thing is to find a group that you enjoy playing with. I don’t think I would be as invested in playing keys competitively if I didn’t genuinely enjoy playing with this group as much as I do. Keep playing, keep learning, make friends, and avoid drama with other players. The higher you go, the less options of players you have to choose from, so you want to keep them all open without conflicts of interest.


About the Author

Vitaminpee mains Guardian Druid/Brewmaster and loves doing competitive Mythic+. She is the Editor and Assistant Producer of Raider.IO and is currently pursuing her Masters of Business Administration. She is a partnered Twitch streamer and Discord Partner specializing in tanking classes in WoW and other MMORPGs. Feel free to message her via Twitter for any business-related inquiries.