Big Brain Strats from the MDI Global Cup #4

The fourth and final MDI Cup of the Season is over. No more last hurrahs or chances to qualify for the MDI Global Finals, which will be taking place on April 23 - April 25. The top 6 teams from the “Global” Region will be joined by 2 teams from the China Region to create an all-star lineup of 8 teams competing for that number 1 spot. Here are the final standings from the “Global” Region at the end of this last Cup:

This past Cup was a chaotic one, that’s for sure. Throughout an MDI Season, we typically expect each Cup to go better than the last, as teams have just that much more time to perfect their routes and strategies. Cup 4, however, had a wrench thrown into the mix with the arrival of Patch 9.0.5. We discussed some of our predictions regarding how the patch could affect this last MDI Cup last week, but we were certainly not expecting the craziness that ended up occurring on broadcast! Here’s a quick recap.

Echo got sent to the lower bracket after being defeated 2-0 by PI ME in a series that included a 24-death run from Echo in The Necrotic Wake. We saw that scary and dangerous triple-angel pull before Devos in Spires of Ascension go awry for more than one team when they were unable to kill them all equally, resulting in the angels healing back to full health! Without the Windwalker Monk present with that last-second equalizer of Touch of Death, the pull clearly became that much more difficult. Powerhouse team Perplexed did not make it into the Grand Finals of the weekend, coming in third place instead, which was certainly unexpected. Needless to say, Cup 4 of this first Season of the MDI was full of surprises.

But more importantly, was it full of Big Brain Strats? Surprisingly enough, after 4 weeks of Time Trials and 4 Cups, some of the teams were still able to come up with some brand new and innovative Big Brain Strats for us to review!

Remember to check out the brackets and re-watch this past week's matches here

Echo Plays Hide and Seek

In the very first game of the weekend, we saw Echo and Sloth go head-to-head in Spires of Ascension. With some very intuitive use of Line-of-Sight tech, Ring of Frost, and the Vengeance Demon Hunter’s sigils, Echo managed to pull both packs of Usurper mobs and AoE them down. Prior to this, we saw teams do these packs in two separate pulls or bringing them into the boss and using one of the coveted and crucial Kyrian Spears to be able to stun and burn them all down. This strategy ends up being a more efficient use of cooldowns, timings, and allows for better usage of the Kyrian Spear in the dungeon as a whole. Take a look and watch as they perfectly execute this dangerous pull!

Shadowmeld? Who Needs Shadowmeld?

As we saw in Cup 3 of this Season, there began a shift of the meta towards using Holy Paladins in the healer spot. Holy Paladins bring a lot to the table, but the one reason we have not seen more Hpals until now (and especially during BFA) is the fact that Night Elves cannot be Paladins. This means that, in order to have a Paladin on your team, you are sacrificing strategies where the entire team needs to Shadowmeld…...or are you?

In this first example, watch how Echo has figured out a way to skip an entire area of trash between Doctor Ickus and Domina Venomblade in Plaguefall, despite not having access to Shadowmeld across the team. Jeath puts a Blessing of Protection on Naowh to protect him long enough for Jeath and the rest of the team to do their best Rogue impersonations and sneak past all of the trash while Naowh grabs aggro on everything and pulls it off to the side. As Naowh has no choice but to be a Night Elf (#justDemonHunterthings), he then waits until his team is safely past, and Shadowmelds all of the mobs off.

We saw another example of innovative ways to compensate for the lack of full-team Shadowmeld skipping in Sanguine Depths. We did see this used by multiple teams, but the first team to do it on broadcast was PI ME, so we’ll give them the credit!

Watch this clip below where you can see PI ME make use of Mind Soothe from their Shadow Priest to reduce the aggro radius of the three dangerous mobs in the hallway prior to the General Kaal gauntlet...and then watch Igloo on his paladin make use of Venthyr Covenant ability Door of Shadows to sneak past! The combination of Mind Soothe and Door of Shadows makes it so Igloo doesn’t get in combat, eliminating the need for Shadowmeld!

In this last example, both Echo and Golden Guardians make use of even more Priest utility to bypass the need for full-team Shadowmeld. The casters do an excellent job explaining the strategy, so just watch as both teams employ Life Grip into their routing to assist their Shadowmeld-less Holy Paladins in navigating the trash!

No Sanguine for You!

This clip below isn’t necessarily a Big Brain Strat, but we think it certainly qualifies as a Big Brain Play. We all love to hate Sanguine, especially when an NPC gets stuck casting inside a pool and you get to watch its health go up and up and up. Perplexed had two Corpse Collectors stuck in a Sanguine pool during their match against Reload Fulcrum in The Necrotic Wake. Ashine used Death Grip on one of them, but that still left another one soaking up that healing. Without missing a beat, and showcasing even more Priest tech, Swag used Mind Control on the second Corpse Collector to walk it out of the Sanguine pool. That’s a Big Brain Play for sure!

Golden Guardians Play Leapfrog

In their game against Obey Alliance in Plaguefall, Golden Guardians brought out an interesting use of the fact that the miniboss situated amongst the trash in Margrave Stradama’s room, Ickor Bileflesh, has an ability where he teleports to the furthest Plaguebound Devoted NPC. They manipulated this teleport, knowing he would go to the furthest mob, to leapfrog him out of the room and position him exactly where they are. Check out the video below to watch it in action!

The MDI Global Finals take place on April 23-25, and we will see the addition of two teams from the China Region. 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.