Big Brain Strats from the MDI Global Cup #2

The second Cup of this MDI season has ended. We saw a nail-biting rematch between the winners of Cup 1, Perplexed, and their European rivals, Echo. Unfortunately for Perplexed, they were not able to make a repeat of Cup 1, as Echo emerged triumphant in the best-of-three final match-up of the weekend.

As the players get a week off before the Time Trials for Cup 3 begin, we want to showcase some more Big Brain Strats from this past Cup! We saw some crazy stuff in Cup 1, and the incredibly talented teams continue to wow us with innovative and ever-more-efficient routes and strategies. Take a look at some of the amazing plays we saw this past weekend.

Click here to see the brackets and re-watch the matches!

Echo Saves Prideful for Max Efficiency

During their second match-up against 8th seed team Reload Fulcrum, Echo made a few tweaks to their Necrotic Wake strategy, which helped them beat last Cup’s best time in that dungeon by almost a full 3 minutes. Most notably, they opted to take the time to kill the 100% Manifestation of Pride instead of leaving it behind in the Necropolis after killing Surgeon Stitchflesh. One of the biggest time sinks in The Necrotic Wake is the final boss encounter, Nalthor the Rimebinder. Due to his Dark Exile mechanic which periodically removes one DPS player from the encounter, and Icebound Aegis which prevents damage taken, Nalthor the Rimebinder can eat up a lot of time on the scoreboard.

Until this match-up, we saw teams spawn their 100% Manifestation of Pride in the corner of the Necropolis prior to engaging Surgeon Stitchflesh, and then ignoring it completely while they teleport up to Nalthor the Rimebinder. Typically speaking, the buff gained from killing a Prideful mob does not compensate for the time it takes to kill it. However, in this situation, after ensuring they had Bloodlust and offensive cooldowns available, Echo chose to kill the Prideful mob for the sole reason of gaining the buff prior to Nalthor the Rimebinder. This decision seems to have paid off as we can see from their 14:27 completion time. Watch the clip below to see just how fast that boss’s health evaporates under Echo’s prideful-buffed onslaught!

Obey Alliance Showing their Big Brass…..Brains!

In their first map of the day, Obey Alliance came out swinging with a 16:16 Halls of Atonement time. After killing 62% of their required trash count, Obey Alliance headed on over to the first boss of the dungeon, Halkias, with an enormous amount of trash on their heels. Keep in mind that one of the affixes of this dungeon was Spiteful, so after killing all of those mobs, they had to manage the Spiteful spawns while staying inside Halkias’s circle to avoid getting feared. At around the 45% health point, the team uses the Venthyr covenant ability to mind-control another Loyal Stoneborn, and then takes Halkias on a stroll to pick up even more trash. These additional mobs are precisely counted to spawn the 80% Manifestation of Pride mob. Once this spawns, Obey Alliance opt to kill it and use what remains of the buff to help them kill the second boss of the dungeon, Echelon. Naguura does mention on the broadcast that she thinks skipping this Prideful mob would have been more efficient. Either way, pulling the trash the way they did and having that 80% Manifestation spawn just as the boss is dying was efficient, risky, and very big brain!

In this second clip from the same match-up, you can see Obey Alliance pull all of the trash between Echelon and the third boss, High Adjudicator Aleez. Note that at the beginning of the pull, Skylark imprisons one of the Depraved Houndmasters. This mob eventually makes its way to the fight after the team has dealt with all of the trash and gotten the boss fairly low. They employ a chain of crowd control to the Houndmaster for the remainder of the boss fight, and then using Shining Force from their Discipline Priest, knock it far enough away that they can run and use Shadowmeld to drop combat with it. This strategy takes this very dangerous trash mob out of the picture entirely!

Jdotb Takes the High Road

As they battled their way through De Other Side, we saw an innovative strategy from the side of Golden Guardians during the Dealer Xy’exa encounter. Instead of jumping down from the cliff with the rest of his teammates, their healer Jdotb instead stays up top. This allows him to ignore most of the boss’s mechanics and focus on healing/DPSing. They had to deal with the Tyrannical affix during this map, making bosses more difficult, and Dealer Xy’exa does a significant amount of group damage. This is a small but very useful strategy that can also be used on live servers!

Perplexed Plays in Puddles

In their Day 2 match-up against Does Gargoyle Stream, Perplexed showed us their risk vs. reward mentality yet again. Throughout the Plaguefall dungeon, there are a number of Slimes that have various effects. When they die, they can be absorbed by a member of the Necrolord covenant to provide buffs via their Fleshcraft ability, but the buffs can be accessed either way, if you’re brave enough!

The Pestilence Slime, otherwise known as the Red Slime, drops a puddle on the ground when it dies. If you stand in this puddle, you gain the Rapid Infection debuff, which increases your haste by 25% at the cost of doing nature damage every 2 seconds. Watch as Perplexed engages Doctor Ickus while standing as a team in this puddle, and more importantly, watch as their health pools rubberband back and forth as they take significant amounts of damage. What’s a near-death experience when there’s a haste buff to be had, right?

Reload Fulcrum Brings the Pain...adin?

While they unfortunately did not end up winning this map against Obey Alliance in De Other Side, we wanted to highlight Reload Fulcrum’s somewhat non-meta composition of Vengeance Demon Hunter, Balance Druid, Shadow Priest, Fire Mage, and Holy Paladin. This is the only map where we saw this team break out these classes. As casters Naguura and Tettles mentioned on broadcast, this composition provided one major benefit to Reload Fulcrum: huge single-target burst damage. Watch as the team absolutely melts Dealer Xy’exa with a combination of Bloodlust, Prideful buff… and that sweet, sweet Holy Paladin DPS! Ashen Hallow is no joke, folks…keep your eye on that damage metre!

No Labyrinth Can Hold Pitu's Angels

The last Big Brain Strat to highlight from this past weekend’s Cup comes from The Pitu’s Angels on Mists of Tirna Scithe. In between the first and second bosses in the dungeon, players must navigate a maze with trash packs waiting in each section of the maze. For the sake of competitive integrity, the route in the maze is fixed on the Tournament Realm, as opposed to live servers where it is random and requires a guessing game to determine the correct path. To go to the next section of the maze, players must be out of combat and then walk through a door of mist. This out-of-combat requirement essentially means that you cannot pull more than one section at a time, which would obviously speed things up substantially. That is, we thought this to be the case until Pitu’s Angels showed us differently! By a very precise use of Chi Burst, the team’s monk Eidryan was able to engage the next section of the maze, bringing the mobs through the mist door!

After they debuted this innovative strategy, we saw other teams make use of this Chi Burst interaction and make even faster and more efficient pulls throughout the maze. Check it out in the clip below!

The next MDI Cup of the season starts on Friday, February 26. Will we see even more Big Brain Strats? Make sure to tune in to the broadcast to find out, and follow our live brackets to stay in the action!


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.