Team Spotlight: World First Mythic+ 20 Keystone Timed

With the next push week coming up tomorrow, we wanted to take a look back at the group that attained the first Mythic+ 20 key in time this season. Today, we sit down with seasoned key pushers Brainx, Eddie, Furo, Rads, and Seliathan to chat about their covenant choices, what they think the key level “cap” might look like this season, how they handle Prideful, and more.

VitaminP: What is your first name, main class, and how long have you been pushing Mythic+? Tell us a little more about yourselves.

Brainx: To everyone’s surprise my name is actually Mike and not Brian. I am 22 years old and I am from the Netherlands. I recently graduated from the Software Engineering Master’s programme. I play mage as my main (literally only mage) and am in the guild “Halikon”. I’ve basically been pushing Mythic+ since BFA came out and unfortunately hadn’t done much Mythic+ in Legion even though I have heard great stories about Legion Mythic+. In WoW, I want to do two things: have a lot of fun laughing with the boys since it is a video game, and doing PvE content competitively in both Mythic+ and raiding.

Eddie: My real name actually isn't Eddie. I’m Christopher and I’m 27 years old from Germany. My main class is Warlock. I have been pushing Mythic+ keys since early/mid Legion. I took a break from WoW after Uldir, so I didn't really push any season in BFA. I like to mostly play Mythic+ since it's the most fun content for me.

Furo: My name is Alex. I am 28 years old from The Netherlands. My main class currently is Restoration Shaman. I’ve been pushing Mythic+ as a healer since the end of Legion and played in the latest MDI tournament.

Rads: Hello, my name is Radostin (Rads for short), I’m 25 years old and I’m from Bulgaria. I currently main Vengeance Demon Hunter, although I have been enjoying the playstyle since early Season 1 of BFA, where I’d watch a lot of Shakib, which is where most of my knowledge on the spec comes from. I’ve been pushing high Mythic+ keys since then, and achieved Rank 1 Tank (Prot Warrior) in Season 2 of BFA, as well as Rank 1 overall player (Brewmaster Monk) in Season 3. However, I started practicing Shadowlands dungeons on beta during Season 4, which is when I stopped playing BFA altogether.

Seliathan: Hey, my name is Jörn. I’m from Germany, and I’ve been maining Rogue since the original WoW release over 15 years ago. I’ve been playing high keys since Legion and was known for playing Assassination throughout all of Legion and BfA despite other specs being considered better at the time. In Shadowlands I have mostly been playing Outlaw, and I doubt people will ever stop memeing about that :(

VitaminP: What are your thoughts on some of the new Shadowlands Mythic+ affixes? Are there any affixes you’re particularly wary of? If so, why?

Brainx: I’m a big fan of the seasonal affix Prideful, because it allows for more blast after you kill it and reminds me a bit of Reaping. Inspiring did not really seem that cool to me since it is basically just Tide Emissary from BFA season 3, however after playing some keys on live with Inspiring so far, it doesn’t appear to be that big of a problem because you can usually blast through it. I could imagine it being much more annoying combined with Fortified though where you probably have no other choice than to CC the Inspired mob in certain packs. I would like to see Spiteful not always spawning from killing mobs but more like a 50% chance to spawn, just because I feel bad for melee players. Blizzard should remove Bolstering and remove Tyrannical though, very lame affixes, not fun, we want to blast not sleep.

Eddie: I really like the new Seasonal Affix Prideful since it also rewards the group with a strong buff that you can use for a big pull or a boss. Everyone loved Reaping and this affix is basically a single-target Reaping making some classes with strong priority damage feel more useful. I think the worst additions are clearly Storming and Spiteful since they just punish melee players too much and are simply annoying to play with.

Furo: I think most people will agree with me in saying that most new affixes are mainly a problem for melee classes. Both Storming and Spiteful are so much worse for melee than they are for ranged classes. As for the changed affixes, from a healer’s perspective, Bursting’s flat damage profile compared to % health is a good change. I dislike that it can be dispelled because that puts classes like Priests so much ahead of anyone else during Bursting weeks. Prideful I like a lot because you can play around the damage buff and, for us healers, the mana regeneration you get from it. However, in combination with Grievous, Prideful becomes significantly harder, which is something I'm very wary of.

Rads: I love the new Prideful affix as it allows us to create routes based around the damage and healing increase buff, which feels amazing as Vengeance Demon Hunter as those pulls normally don’t last too long, but long enough for you to be able to utilize Metamorphosis very well. I don’t mind Storming at all and it kind of keeps you focused, although I dislike the other 2 new affixes (Spiteful and Inspiring). Spiteful is particularly slow as you have to deal with the Spiteful Shades after each pull, which takes 20-30 seconds and then you continue with the rest of the run. Inspiring feels a lot like the Tide Emissaries in Season 3, and those particular mobs might be placed in very dangerous packs, which could require a CC as not having any form of CC might result in a wipe. I believe that Monks, Hunters, and Rogues might be valuable choices for such weeks as their CC can be applied on any type of mob (Paralysis, Trap, Blind).

Seliathan: Prideful as a seasonal affix is great. It is everything Beguiling should have been, and poses some interesting routing challenges, as you want to maximize the benefits of the 60 second damage boost. It does however seem overly punishing with Grievous. As a melee, I am not particularly fond of Storming and Spiteful. Storming was quickly changed to deal much less damage which made it a manageable affix. Spiteful needs a similar treatment as it is too punishing for melee right now, especially since the spirits’ melee range is way too big.

VitaminP: Now that you’ve timed a Mythic+ 20 key already and based on your experience so far, what do you think the “cap” is looking like for key level this season given the max item level attainable for gear?

Brainx: I believe the rest of my group were not really that far into the Mythic raid, or haven’t Mythic raided at all yet, so they were a bit low ilevel. I think if people get more Mythic gear and reach around 225+ ilvl, we could perhaps be looking at a cap of like +22 / 23 depending on the affixes. I could be completely off as well.

Eddie: I’m not sure how high it's going to go, but there is still room for gear upgrades and with more Renown, our characters get stronger too. Key levels 24-25 are probably possible on a good push week and with a more meta comp.

Furo: With a rough guess, I think we’d end up around +24 keys, although this is very hard to say since we haven’t seen all affix week combinations yet.

Rads: I personally believe that people will be able to time some 22s-23s by the end of the season, as our item level is a lot lower than that of any Mythic raider, not to mention we’re still missing out on conduits as well as optimized gear. Doing 20s in the current state of our characters means we will probably be able to get to 23s in some dungeons later on, although I’m not sure how scaling will affect that. I’m almost willing to say that 24s will be possible too, however that sounds a bit too optimistic on my part.

Seliathan: It’s hard to judge right now, as people are still gearing up and improving their routes and cooldown management. However, getting all the way up to 24-25 keys seems doable—especially in some of the dungeons that have very lenient timers.

VitaminP: Building off of that last question, what level gap do you foresee happening between the easiest keys and the hardest keys?

Brainx: I feel like there will only be a noticeable gap (of like 1 or 2 levels) when you do not have a covenant in your group belonging to a certain dungeon. For example, if you do not have a Venthyr, you might notice a gap in key levels between Halls of Atonement/Sanguine Depths and the other dungeons, since covenants are very beneficial to have for the covenant-specific buffs or toys.

Furo: I think there will be at least a two level gap. Funnily enough, it will probably be between Mists and either Sanguine Depths or De Other Side.

Rads: I think we’re already seeing such a disparity between keys, in particular Sanguine Depths and, maybe, Spires of Ascension/De Other Sid. Those 3 keys, (especially Sanguine Depths), are incredibly rough both trash-wise and boss-wise, not to mention travel time (Spires, De Other Side) and inefficient, small pulls, that are hard to chain together, due to lack of interrupts/control.

Seliathan: The gap between the highest and lowest key possible will most likely remain very small, and I would not expect any major difference except for maybe 1 or 2 levels.

VitaminP: I noticed that you guys did not have a Venthyr for your +19 timed Halls of Atonement key. What covenants are each of you using for your class and why? Are you missing any of them in your comp and how detrimental do you think that is, if at all?

Brainx: I think we had every covenant apart from Venthyr. It was definitely not ideal for doing halls or sanguine depths, but a day or two later we noticed we can still time a +20 halls of atonement for sure this week even without a venthyr. As mentioned in the previous question, covenants are very important since the things you get by having them can speed up the key so much, such as controlling the stoneborns in halls and have them fight mobs along your side.

Eddie: I’m Nightfae on my warlock since its only slightly behind kyrian on singletarget but much better on any multi target situations. I also believe the signature ability soul shape is simply the best out of all covenants. Warlocks kinda lack movement speed and having a blink is a game changer. On top of that the nightfae soulbinds are really good, unlike the other covenants nightfae get 3 strong options.

I think the only one we didn’t have when we pushed keys was a Venthyr. Not having one is pretty big since the ventyr bonus in Halls and Sanguine Depths are really strong. Overall I really dislike the covenant bonus system for dungeons it just makes you feel bad when you play a dungeon without having a member of that covenant.

Furo: I used to play Necrolord mostly because it's by far the strongest in raiding at the moment. However, since we didn't have any Venthyr in our usual Mythic+ group, I decided to swap to Venthyr, which makes us able to use the covenant buffs in Sanguine Depts and Halls of Atonement.

Rads: I’m personally using Kyrian as my covenant due to the high damage of Elysian Decree, as well as the nice utility that Phial of Serenity provides by cleansing debuffs. I believe we have 2 Necrolords (Furo and Seliathan), as well as 2 Night Faes (Eddielock and Brainx). Venthyr is quite nice to have, however we don’t have a way of having one efficiently in the group and the biggest time loss would be in Halls of Atonement for us, as the Stoneborns do quite a lot of damage. The Venthyr buff in Sanguine Depths is really hard to get and mostly not worth it, aside from 2 pulls where it can get to high stacks easily (first and last lantern).

Seliathan: We used to run with 2 Night Fae, 1 Kyrian and 2 Necrolords. Not having a Venthyr definitely hurt our ability to get the best possible Halls of Atonement and Sanguine Depths run done, especially since both of the dungeon benefits there are very powerful. Sanguine Depths in particular is much easier with a Venthyr, as you can already gain the damage boost in Mythic 0 and carry it over into the first pull of the key.

Furo has since switched to Venthyr, so now we can finally benefit from these dungeon buffs as well. Thanks Furo <3

VitaminP: What are some of the most helpful addons/WeakAuras do you guys love for high Mythic+?

Brainx: I love the Details addon because my class seems to always be at the top and it kinda feels good.

Eddie: Mythic Dungeon Tools (MDT) is hands down the best addon for Mythic+. Being able to plan your routes and share them easily with your group so everyone is on the same page on how the dungeon is going to be pulled is great. Bigwigs/Littlewigs is very good to get timers for boss abilities. Dungeon Weakauras help a lot with important abilities of trash/bosses. An interrupt tracker WeakAura is probably the most important WeakAura to have in Mythic+.

Furo: Mythic Dungeon Tools is important because it helps plan things in advance so that everyone knows where we are going and can plan cooldowns properly. A second must is interrupt/stun WeakAura so we can stop all/most dangerous casts. For healers, there is a specific WeakAura that shows who in the group is being cast on by a mob, which makes dispelling super fast.

Rads: I absolutely love making WeakAuras and have made all of my dungeon ones and have customized them based on whatever I find important, however my favourite WeakAura has to be ZenTracker as I can track whatever I want and it allows me to call for control (Binding Shot, Frost Nova, Shadowfury, etc.). My favourite addon is Plater and I love how easy it is to customize, especially focus target nameplates and NPC colors. Almost forgot about Wild Spirits - having a WeakAura that tracks Wild Spirits is very important if you want to vibe with your Hunter.

Seliathan: Mythic Dungeon Tools is by far the most important one. Its usefulness is far beyond that of any other add-on, especially when it comes to optimizing where to spawn the Prideful. Other than that, I don’t use a whole lot of interface customizations besides WeakAuras and boss mods, as they allow me to focus more on mechanics instead of having to worry about rotational priorities.

VitaminP: Some affixes can be pretty rough on healer mana on Fortified weeks such as Grievous etc. Do you guys always try to line up Prideful with bosses regardless of whether it’s Fortified/Tyrannical? How do you manage DPS CD’s for Prides?

Brainx: Some bosses can be quite the DPS check on higher keys, so even on Fortified, you want to try and force Prideful on certain bosses that are hard. If a boss is not that much of a DPS check, I Combust the Prideful instead (granted that my cooldown is up), since my combust cooldown is only around 1 minute. Sometimes we have the Warlock use his cooldowns instead, and sometimes the Hunter; we kind of decided on the spot. On Fortified, you usually just kill trash with Prideful buff if there is no hard boss coming up soon or if there is no other way.

Eddie: For Tyrannical, we usually try to get the Pride buff on bosses. For Fortified, we usually go for having the buff for the trash pack after. We use some cooldowns on the Prides, usually Fire Mage’s Combust since it’s a short CD and just shreds the pride.

Furo: Normally, I’m not concerned with mana when it comes to Pride. But with affixes like Grievous, it becomes a completely different story. As a healer, I have to plan my cooldowns around it and our DPS have to commit CDs on it as well. It depends on fortified/pride whether we want the pride buff on a boss or somewhere else.

Rads: Most of the time, we don’t change Prideful timings. The only change we’ve made to our Pride timings is on the Shard of Halkias packs in Halls of Atonement. Those pulls are very straining on the healer/tank and lining up Pride for those is very important. Bloodlust timings, however, change a lot and we prioritize Bloodlusting trash packs on Fortified, where we pull really big around our big cooldowns (Metamorphosis, Combustion, Wild Spirits). We make sure we always have 1 DPS pop cooldowns on Prides (I mostly use my DPS potion on prides too), just so that we don’t fall behind too much. In extreme cases, we also Bloodlust Prides if we are finishing up a rough pull, followed by a Pride.

Seliathan: It can differ from week to week what we want to get our Pridefuls on, as well as the affixes and the routing. Sometimes, it is unavoidable to get Prideful at inopportune times, but that might just be due to us still figuring out routes and improving them regularly. Certain bosses do require Prideful though, and I dread having to fight some bosses without the damage boost. As the other DPS classes in my group have much better burst AoE capabilities, I usually use my CDs and DPS potion for Pridefuls and let the others do the heavy lifting on big AoE pulls. Due to my low target cap, I’m not much of a help on those anyway :D

VitaminP: We saw that your M+20 was done with a Warlock, which is a class we didn’t see as much in high Mythic+ in BFA, but they are showing up more frequently on the leaderboards so far in Shadowlands. Do you think there is more room for class variety than in previous expansions or do you think this is just because it’s still the beginning of the expansion?

Brainx: I think it’s kind of “yolo” so far since it is the beginning of Shadowlands. As time goes on and more gear will be achieved, we will most likely see a meta comp as usual for the highest keys, with perhaps some slight variation here and there.

Eddie: I think there pretty much already is a meta with DPS classes like Fire Mage, Marksmanship Hunter, Balance Druid, Windwalker Monk, and Rogue being the strong classes, but we currently aren't playing “meta” with this group. Warlock is in kind of a weird spot. It has pretty good single-target/priority target damage and good AoE, but in raw DPS numbers, it can’t compete with Fire Mage or Hunter. Warlock offers a nice set of utility that can be very useful to the group (Healthstones and Imp magic dispels being the biggest bonus points for warlock in my opinion). But overall, it’s nice to see ranged DPS classes back on the menu again. I hope that there being a warlock in the higher leaderboards (at least for now) helps other warlock players with getting into groups and that it changes the community perception of the class in a good way.

Furo: When you do the highest keys, it becomes clear that we are bottlenecked by DPS. I expect the meta groups to form pretty soon, which will have a Mage instead of a Warlock in our case.

Rads: Personally, I think there’s a lot more leeway this time around and there are a lot more specs that are viable to play in high-end content. However, I do believe there are frontrunners still (Fire Mages, Marksmanship Hunters), since both Combustion and Wild Spirits are incredibly strong, making them a very desired pick in most group compositions. Specs/classes such as Windwalker Monks, Affliction Warlocks, Balance Druids and Unholy Death Knights are strong, although they can’t compare with Fire Mages and Marksmanship Hunters in damage, utility, and survivability. In my opinion, group comps in the highest level of keys will look something along the lines of Vengeance Demon Hunter, Resto Shaman, Fire Mage, Marksmanship Hunter and, most likely, an Outlaw Rogue for the utility/control.

Seliathan: I think a lot of it has to do with there not being a meta yet. Many people are busy with progressing through Castle Nathria, which further limits the player pool of people that are interested in pushing keys this early into the season instead of just farming gear. There are also plenty of people that did not play BFA but were well known high key players in Legion, Eddie being one of them, and getting to play with old friends again is more important to me than having the best possible class line-up.

VitaminP: Do you guys have any plans to set up a Team page on RaiderIO to accrue some Team Score? If so, do you foresee using different classes (alts) in specific dungeons to try and take advantage of some faster times?

Brainx: I don’t think there are any plans for me at least, since I will probably not be able to play as much in the near future. However, it is still a bit uncertain and maybe I will be able to after all. Leading to our world-first M+20 kinda went like this: Seli and Furo were like “yo”, and then I was like “yo”, and then they were like “yo”, and then I was like sure I'll join for some keys and then we got a +20 Mists which they initially wanted to do on 19, but I told them to go 20 because I knew that it has a 100% chance of getting an extra item in the chest (I kind of wanted the trinket on ilvl 210). I didn’t get the trinket, but we timed it so that's kinda nutty I guess. Oh, and also Moet, my GM, said that I would get 1 million gold and a spot on Mythic Denathrius progression if I got the world-first +20 key timed. Coming back to the question, I would not play any alts regardless of what happens. I am a 1 character “andy”.

Eddie: No idea. We havent talked about that yet. I personally don't like to play alts. I love my Warlock way too much even if it means not being the “meta” at some point.

Furo: No plans yet.

Rads: We haven’t really discussed that, although it does sound cool! I personally enjoy multiclassing a lot and do plan on maintaining 2-3 more characters throughout the expansion and would gladly swap over to a different class if it helps push the limits a little bit further.

Seliathan: We haven’t really spoken about any of this yet. So far, we’ve taken in a variety of players based on availability as everyone has different holiday and raiding schedules. Personally, I do not have any intention of playing anything but my Rogue. I enjoy pushing my class to the limit and even if everyone might run a triple ranged DPS lineup, I will try my best to show people that bringing a rogue can still be valuable and better than the “meta”.

VitaminP: What are your thoughts on Horde vs. Alliance for min-maxing high Mythic+ later on in the xpac? Do you think that Alliance racials are inherently more valuable than Horde? If so, why?

Brainx: As of now I don't really see a reason to go Alliance I think, but anything can happen in the future so we’ll see.

Furo: I think the Alliance racials are way more valuable than Horde ones—mainly Shadowmeld and Stoneform. Being able to drop aggro gives you so many opportunities for skips or different pulls, and the Dwarf Stoneform that cleanses is just way too powerful in some weeks. However, most people raid in Horde guilds or just don’t want to change factions. It has been this way for a long time and we’ve not seen many people change, so I don’t think it will happen this expansion either.

Rads: It really depends on what remains meta. The biggest time gain would be Night Elf Shadowmeld as it allows for a lot of flexibility and creativity with pulls. Shadowmeld is insanely strong if all 5 members can use the ability. Night Elves cannot be Shamans, meaning if Resto Shamans remain the preferred healer, you would be missing out on a Shadowmeld. If that is the case, you would already be stuck in a position where it loses a lot of its value, and will most likely not gain enough time to make it worthwhile in the first place. Currently, we see a lot of Resto Druids. However, their itemization is rough, mostly because progression raiding is still happening for a large portion of the community, including myself, and Resto Druids are not particularly strong in a raid setting, while Shamans are very strong in both Mythic+ and raiding. Resto Druids might become a lot more common as we start raid farming Mythic Castle Nathria, meaning the Shadowmeld-on-all-5-members option becomes a more realistic possibility, in which case, Alliance would be one way to gain advantage later on. Personally, I don’t really see myself swapping over, but that would be a team decision and I’d be on-board with that even if so.

Seliathan: Shadowmeld has always played a big role in skipping trash and being able to avoid boss mechanics. As a Rogue I can avoid a lot of mechanics in a similar fashion, and so far almost all of them are immediately being re-cast, leading me to believe that Shadowmeld might mostly be used for trash skipping. The big Alliance racial that I expect to make a re-appearance in MDI settings will be the Dwarf Stoneform. The ability to remove any curse, disease, bleed or poison is hugely important and can make certain bosses a breeze. Looking at you, Margrave Stradama.

VitaminP: We recognize many of you as rank 1’s from previous Mythic+ seasons as well as former MDI competitors. In fact, we know that Eddie was a part of the world first +30 key in Legion too! What do you think the major differences are between strat-planning for Shadowlands dungeons and the dungeons of past expansions? As seasoned Mythic+ players, what advice or tips do you have to other aspiring M+ key pushers in Shadowlands?

Brainx: Because of the covenant items in dungeons, you might want to involve that in your strat planning for shadowlands dungeons, whereas in BFA these did not really exist. Furthermore, having decent priority damage in the group can be pretty beneficial for the Prideful affix. Another tip for people pushing Mythic+ is to remember that you are supposed to have fun playing the game. Obviously you do need to focus a lot, but a laugh or two won't hurt. Have fun with the people you play with, laugh with them and cherish the time being with the boys. This can all be done while pushing the highest keys. You do not want to be 100% serious mode and feel like you aren’t really enjoying the me when I say that. For example, I care about three things regarding Mythic+: Being able to push the highest keys, having laughs with the boys, and my individual performance. I don’t like messing up, so I try to reflect on my mistakes, but when other people mess up, I try to keep their chin up and just laugh it out as if nothing big happened and maybe suggest what they should've done instead if necessary.

Eddie: Just remember that it's just a game and try to have fun while you play. Make sure to add people you enjoy playing with and maybe you can form your own team after a while. Maybe ask your favorite streamer a thing or two about your class in Mythic+ and try to have a good time overall.

Furo: The main big difference in current dungeons as opposed to BFA dungeons is planning around Prideful spawns. Never before have we had an affix that gave us a DPS buff, which adds a layer of depth to planning the whole path. As for advice I could give: make a path for your dungeon and be aware where you want Prideful to spawn so that you can manage your mana properly as a healer and your big cooldowns for that matter if you need them.

Rads: I think Prideful timings are the first thing people should focus on when planning their routes. This is a lot of fun in my opinion, as the buff allows you to set up some really wild pulls and go crazy with big CDs, and that would net out a huge time gain if executed properly. I can only speak from a tank’s perspective really, so my biggest advice would be to know your limits in how much you can use on each individual pull, while still having resources for the next one. I like to remind myself there’s always a counterplay, so don’t hesitate to keep your thought-process going; be very “textbook” in how you set up each pull and always keep track of what you have available. That said, all this comes from information and knowledge and, in order to obtain that, you need to keep practicing.

Seliathan: It seems that healers have much stronger healing output early into the expansion already, leading me to believe that avoidance might resurface as a necessary tertiary stat to survive some of the harder bosses on Tyrannical.

In general, my advice would be to always remember that we are playing a game, and while we are trying to be competitive while playing it, having fun should still be a priority. Getting a higher Raider.IO score is not the only measurement of success or improvement, and while we all ultimately strive for the best keys, you need to be able to enjoy the journey. Mistakes happen, and while it is crucial to identify and fix these if you want to get better, you also need to remember that everyone makes mistakes. Getting mad at someone messing up isn’t helping anyone; they blame themselves enough already. Be understanding, be positive, look at the things that went well as much as the things that went wrong, and you will be able to do higher keys in no time ;)


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.