Big Moves for Mythic+: Nerfs to Tyrannical and Trash Damage

For a while now, what seems like the bulk of the Mythic+ player-base has been asking Blizzard to remove or nerf the Tyrannical affix in some way. One of the two alternating affixes that get applied to keystones at levels 2 and higher, Tyrannical has long been a thorn in the side of many Mythic+ groups. Affecting boss encounters only, Tyrannical increases a boss’s health by 40% and its damage dealt (and any of its minions) by 15%. Over the years, we have seen many complaints about this affix from players who state that it makes dungeons overly difficult in comparison to Fortified weeks, making them take way too long to complete, or simply making them incredibly unenjoyable.

If you are among the players who have wanted to see changes to Tyrannical, Blizzard just announced some very big news, and we think you’re going to like it!

Tyrannical Nerf

In a hotfix posted on February 1st, and to take effect with regional restarts, Blizzard is reducing the health increase of boss mobs during Tyrannical weeks to 30% instead of 40%. The damage increase remains the same, but this is a fairly substantial nerf to the affix. One of the major issues with Tyrannical contributing to its difficulty was the duration of the fights, so a nerf to the health pool will go a long way to ameliorate that.

But what does this nerf really mean, and is it enough? We believe that, despite the nerf, dungeons will still be slower to run on Tyrannical weeks than they are on Fortified. However, it is a step in the right direction, as it should still result in substantial time being shaved off Tyrannical keystone runs. What was once a "dead" key may now be alive again! We estimate that this nerf is roughly 30-50% of what it would need to be in order to bring it in balance with Fortified in terms of total key duration.

The news was only just posted, and so far it is already seeing good reception from the community:

Typically speaking, participation levels (measured by keystones completed) during Tyrannical weeks have been very low in comparison to Fortified weeks. This trend has continued so far in this first season of Shadowlands, where we have seen a total of 6,506,327 completed keystones over the 4 Tyrannical weeks, and a total of 9,052,528 completed keystones over the 4 Fortified weeks. This represents a 32.73% increase in key completion/participation during Fortified weeks over Tyrannical.

We hope that this nerf to the Tyrannical affix will help bring these numbers closer together, and increase participation during those weeks. Mythic+ is a widely popular and exciting part of World of Warcraft, so we are glad to see Blizzard taking steps to address concerns!

Dungeon Nerfs

The good news keeps coming! In the same hotfix announcement, Blizzard has included nerfs to the damage done by multiple mobs across all dungeons other than Halls of Atonement. All of the nerfs are to trash mobs, which have been the biggest issue so far for tanking in Shadowlands Mythic+. To date this season, Vengeance Demon Hunters have dominated the leaderboards for tank classes. In fact, at the time of writing, the first non-DH tank on the all run Mythic+ leaderboards (timed and untimed runs), a Brewmaster Monk cannot be found until rank 44. This is due to a number of reasons of course, but one of the main ones is that Demon Hunters have an excellent toolkit for kiting mobs while still maintaining aggro from afar. The trash in Shadowlands dungeons hits extremely hard, harder than previous expansions for sure, and it has been forcing a “kite meta” where, in order to survive, tanks need to do everything they can to completely avoid being hit.

Blizzard does seem to be be aware of the issue, since they included a developer’s note in the hotfix:

We’ve noticed tanks in Mythic Keystone Dungeons feeling pressured to spend more time running away and less time actually tanking than we’d like. In an effort to address this, we’re dialing back the tank damage of a number of dungeon denizens who’ve proven to be particularly painful.

How will these nerfs affect tanking in Mythic+ generally, and the Tank Leaderboards? It is unlikely that we will see any kind of massive change in the leaderboards, because unfortunately, we do not foresee these nerfs changing the current “kite meta.” Vengeance will probably still dominate the leaderboards, because these nerfs will simply allow them to be able to complete even higher keys using the same kiting methods. However, we believe these nerfs will have a more substantial effect in tank variance in +15-18 keys and below. We will certainly see other classes of tanks that do not have the kiting abilities of the Demon Hunter complete higher keys than before, especially as a number of the mobs/abilities that were nerfed are things that Vengeance DH's can dodge with their leap, whereas other tanks have to take the hit. Overall, however, we do not anticipate any kind of massive overhaul of the leaderboards.

As someone who has been tanking more and more this season as a Protection Paladin, I am personally very grateful for these nerfs! I still anticipate that I will be spending ample time on my pony kiting mobs, but perhaps I will be able to stay alive a bit more when I don’t have access to my overwhelming paladin mobility. The nerfs are at least a step in the right direction, and they show that Blizzard is aware of the issue and is taking strides to address it. Whether or not it is “enough”, only time will tell!

What are your thoughts on the nerfs to Tyrannical and trash mob damage? Head on over to our Twitter and let us know!


About the Author

Hulahoops has been playing WoW since Vanilla. If she’s not leading her Mythic Progression guild TBD through raids, she’s probably practicing for the MDI with her team Angry Toast. Hulahoops is a Holy Paladin in every sense of the term: she moderates the Hammer of Wrath Paladin Class Discord, and she was a practicing Lawyer for the last 7 years. Judgment isn’t just a spell! Hulahoops recently decided to put the law books away and follow her passion for esports by joining the team at RaiderIO as the Events and Community Coordinator. She is also passionate about making Azeroth an inclusive, welcoming space for all gamers and is a proud co-founder of the Defias Sisterhood community.