MDI Team Comp Predictions!

The Mythic Dungeon International is about to get underway, with the first games starting on January 22nd!. In addition to all the new Shadowlands dungeons and the Prideful affix, this season of the MDI will feature a combined global region, and a rule that prevents teams from using more than one of any class in a given dungeon. Check out our interview with Healingstat, MDI Product Manager for more on those changes!

In this article, we’ll examine the state of Season 1 Shadowlands Mythic Plus and make some predictions about which specs teams might choose to field.

The Rules Matter [back to top]

Before we get started, it’s worth mentioning that there are several specifics that we don’t yet know which will impact the compositions teams might choose to field. It’s safe to assume that every Shadowlands dungeon will be included in the competition, and several combinations of affixes, both ones that do and ones that don’t occur on the live servers, will be cycled through over the different weekends. It also appears that Renown on the Tournament Realm will mirror the live servers, which means that some covenant or soulbind decisions may change as the season progresses.

In addition to the impact of all the new game systems like Renown, Soulbinds, and Covenants, the biggest actual Rules change relative to previous MDI seasons will be the rule against class stacking, which notably applies across roles, so a group with a tank of one class can’t also have a DPS player using that class, for example.

Tanks [back to top]

Vengeance Demon Hunters have been the dominant tank on the live servers and there’s no indication that will be any different on the tournament realm. They bring solid damage, and are extremely tanky within their defensive cooldowns and have a great kit for kiting when those expire. Their utility suite is also unmatched - it’s the same suite that led to their usage during BFA in dungeons like Siege of Boralus and Tol Dagor when their numbers were a little lower but the utility was invaluable, but now their numbers are also great.

There are some other interesting candidates, such as Brewmaster which also has potent kiting and mob control through effects like Ring of Peace, and which can depart from the Kyrian covenant more easily if necessary, but Brewmaster has a hard time staying alive in massive pulls. Prot Pallies bring tremendous damage, which is often valuable in the MDI, but they also struggle to clear the survivability bar and cannot play Night Elf for Shadowmeld, a racial ability that has defined the MDI.

Guardian is my pick for second most likely tank to see play, as they can become absurdly tanky with the right build, and need to kite less than demon hunters. They suffer from low damage, especially outside of cooldowns, but if they facilitate bigger pulls then it may be worthwhile.

Warrior, the dominant tank throughout BFA’s MDI cups, has been far less popular in live keys this expansion than last. It remains fantastic at mitigating heavy incoming physical damage, which is the overwhelming majority of the damage in dungeons, and Spell Reflection remains very powerful, but the breaking up of its most powerful talent builds may prove too damaging to the spec for this season’s MDI.

Healers [back to top]

In live keys, Resto Shaman have jumped to an early lead in representation in the Shadowlands. They contribute a tremendous amount of healing throughput and can also sustain their mana pool very effectively. Shaman can also easily fill the common Venthyr and Necrolord holes left by the predominantly Kyrian tanks and Night Fae dps when needed for their dungeons. However, they may not translate as well to MDI settings, as they cannot play Night Elf which means teams would forgo the ability to skip Prideful with ease.

Discipline Priest, on the other hand, can play Night Elf and can also contribute a substantial amount of damage, both with their own spells and through Power Infusion. Like Shaman, Priest doesn’t rely on any specific covenant to heal effectively, and can swap as needed for the covenant-locked dungeon buffs. Holy is also a consideration for Priests, though Discipline’s higher damage numbers are likely to seal the deal in an environment focused on the timer like the MDI.

Former BFA favorites Resto Druid and Mistweaver Monk are less likely to show up this time around, with Druid being the more likely of the pair, though they do contribute various pieces of valuable utility which teams may experiment with for specific uses. Holy Paladins can crank serious damage numbers, though they’re less able to fill the covenant gaps groups may have for certain dungeons - Kyrian provides such a powerful way for them to instantly top the entire group on a short cooldown that will likely be critical, though if it isn’t then they can play Venthyr and cosplay as a DPS for 30 seconds of every 4 minutes.

DPS [back to top]

Several things have changed from BFA in the damage dealing department. The target capping that many specs received has been somewhat relevant in live keys but will be particularly noticeable in an MDI setting where pulls tend to be bigger. Shadowlands has seen a shift towards Ranged DPS on the live servers due partially to this and partially due to the increased hostility towards Melee through the dungeon mechanics and the new Shadowlands affixes like Spiteful and Storming. This trend is likely to continue into the MDI, with 0-1 Melee and 2-3 Ranged present in the average group.

The Melee that might make the cut include Windwalker, whose burst damage in cleave situations is truly insane. Another candidate is Unholy, whose damage went from scaling quadratically in AoE down to scaling mostly linearly, which still outpaces the majority of melee who went from scaling linearly to not scaling at all past 5 targets. Rogues historically do well in the MDI setting thanks to their tremendous utility suite, and they can also fill in the covenant hole in the group as needed per dungeon. Other melee may find their way into the MDI but it’d be surprising and likely based on a specific strategy being discovered or a team that’s able to make an unexpected spec shine.

There are several fantastic ranged specs that are likely to see play in the MDI. Marksmanship, though target capped, deals so much damage that it’s a very tempting option for any group. Fire Mage now operates on roughly a one-minute cooldown window, which is very powerful in the fast-paced MDI, while Balance Druid can deal insane damage in large AoE situations while also providing Trees to relieve a tremendous amount of pressure from the tank.

Beyond those three specs, there are other potential contenders for Ranged DPS slots - Warlock, which has three potentially strong specs worth investigating, and Shadow Priest, which can deal massive damage in its own right in addition to bringing Power Infusion for themselves and/or another damage dealer. Elemental can also blast surprisingly high damage for their low representation on the live servers, though importantly Shaman or Priest potentially can’t be used if the team is already planning to have the healer play that class.

Conclusion/TLDR [back to top]

My guess for the most likely composition is Demon Hunter tank, Discipline or Resto Shaman healer, and 3 of the following 4 dps specs: Windwalker, Marksmanship, Fire, and Balance.

It’s very likely that I’m wrong about some or all of the above specs showing up in this tournament - so if you have different predictions, that’s great! Whatever happens, remember that the MDI compositions are largely a product of the specific and unique circumstances of the tournament - both the rules and the heavily focused speedrunning nature. This naturally puts a lot of pressure on the compositions you’ll see and likely will result in team’s comps converging as the cups progress - this isn’t a sign of an unhealthy format or an indication that you should be as picky in your groups on the live servers, it’s just a product of the hyper-focused competition where small differences get hugely magnified.

About the Author

Dratnos hosts the The Titanforge WoW Podcast. He’s also an Officer in the World 36th guild poptart corndoG, and a commentator for events such as the MDI and the Race to World First! He streams on Twitch, where he likes to review his friends’ logs.