MDI Season 2: Big Brain Strats from Group A

The MDI is back, and we could not be more excited about it! Season 2 of the Shadowlands Mythic Dungeon International has returned in full force and style, with awesome new format changes and brand new faces. As always, with the competition starting up again, we will be bringing you all of the Big Brain Strats from each weekend of play this Season. The first installment is here with all of the impressive plays from Group A, which just came to a close.

Blizzard implemented a number of format changes this Season, which we, and the players, are big fans of. With these changes, we have 24 teams that qualified from the Time Trials to move onto the Group Stage. There are 3 Groups that make up this stage, and each Group of 8 teams plays a double-elimination tournament to earn qualifying spots for the Global Finals. That means that each weekend we get to see 8 brand new teams...which also means lots of opportunity for Big Brain Strats!

You can read more about the format changes in our Season 2 MDI Overview here.

Soniqs Imperative Manipulates the Mist

In their very first dungeon of this past weekend’s competition, Soniqs Imperative was able to pull multiple additional trash packs during the maze portion of Mists of Tirna Scithe. Being able to pull trash through the mists was a common tactic from Season 1, but it looks like Soniqs Imperative improved upon this tactic. It is a very efficient way to increase your trash count in this dungeon if you can make it work.

Last Season, this strategy was usually employed by a ranged player - there were a couple of areas within the maze where you could stand and use a ranged ability on mobs in another section of the maze, but with that strategy you could only pull one extra pack at a time. Soniqs Imperative have innovated upon this tactic by having their tank be the one to pull the additional trash by using a trinket from the new mega-dungeon, Tazavesh, called Codex of the First Technique. The trinket has a damage reflect mechanic that Glick was able to manipulate to pull multiple mob packs through the mist.

Dratnos provides a good explanation of the technique in this first clip, and in the second clip you can watch the Big Brain Strat in action.


At the end of BFA, Blizzard decided that they wanted to change how a lot of NPCs function in dungeons in order to reduce the amount of “snapping”, a tactic that absolutely dominated the MDI throughout that expansion. “Snapping” is when you are able to force either NPCs or your characters to be effectively teleported instantly to the exact same location by manipulating line of sight, combat status, and/or available or unavailable pathways. This is a very rudimentary explanation, but the main point is that snapping became much less prevalent in Shadowlands as a result. This fact also means that when a group discovers a new “snap” in a Shadowlands dungeon, it’s just that much more Big Brain!

We were treated to a brand new snap pull this past weekend in Theater of Pain during the Group A bracket. The pull was first showcased by the team of SHEEESH in their matchup against Apes Together Strong. To make it even more exciting, we saw another team, Evolving, try to adopt this strategy after SHEEESH brought it to the stream. This is definitely a tough pull to make happen, and requires a fair amount of finesse. But, if executed properly, it looks like it could certainly improve a team’s overall time.

The pull itself takes place on the boss Gorechop. On Mythic and Mythic+ difficulty, he has an ability called Tenderizing Smash, which will pull all players to him before he casts an AoE. Well it would appear that the part of this mechanic that pulls all players to him does not care about range or line of sight. What SHEEESH first showed us is that if Gorechop is engaged and gets to the point where he casts Tenderizing Smash, he will snap all other players to him, regardless of where they are in the dungeon.

Why would you want to do this? The trash in the hallway preceding Gorechop is some of the deadliest in the dungeon. It is not only dangerous, but time consuming and inefficient. By making use of this snap technology on the boss, you can send one person to navigate their way through this trash with an invisibility potion and get to the boss without pulling any of it. This player then needs to pull Gorechop and most importantly, survive long enough for him to cast Tenderizing Smash, at which point the rest of the group will be snapped into the boss’s room. You can use this strategy to skip all or part of the trash before Gorechop, giving you more control over your route.

We have a few clips of this tactic to show you. We will start with the first time we saw this strategy over the weekend, as Wildi of SHEEESH uses his entire Mage toolkit to make this possible. We also have a clip of Voci from Evolving making this same strategy work on a Hunter. The first time Evolving attempted this strategy, Voci was unfortunately unsuccessful, but when they went back into Theater of Pain on the last day of competition, Voci had figured it out and made it look easy!

Just Demon Hunter Things

Sanguine Depths is well known to be one of the harder dungeons from this expansion. There are certain areas of the instance that can really slow down your run, and the gauntlet before General Kaal is probably the biggest example of this. It is a fairly difficult stretch, and if you fall behind even the slightest it can be very difficult to catch up. It is also just inefficient in terms of time, so when it comes to building strategies for the MDI, teams are likely going to look at ways to speed up the gauntlet in particular.

This past weekend, Team Name managed to improve the efficiency of the gauntlet ever so slightly by grouping together what would normally be two separate pulls into one, and bringing them together by one of the lanterns in order to make better use of the buff. It is not some groundbreaking new strategy, but it is excellent use of Vengeance Demon Hunter utility...and in a competition like the MDI, every little bit counts!

In the clip you can see as Team Name’s tank, Lepan, use Sigil of Misery to fear/crowd control an entire pack of Dark Acolyte mobs. He then leaps past this pack and pulls the next one, bringing them back on top of the first group of trash. Once Lepan has all of the mobs engaged in combat and nicely grouped, he pulls them back to the lantern as Igloo opens it. Team Name has also re-engaged General Kaal at this point in the gauntlet with this big pull, speeding up the entire process as a result. It might seem like a minor strategy, but it’s pretty Big Brain!

Voci Goes on a Hunt

As we are in Season 2 of the MDI for this expansion, and teams have spent close to a full year in these dungeons already, there are not a lot of new strategies to bring to the table. And yet, somehow these top players manage to innovate even the smallest things every time and bring new tactics to improve their speed and efficiency throughout the dungeons. The last Big Brain Strat we have to bring you from the Group A bracket is from Evolving. Helmed by MDI veteran Sjeletyven, this team finished in third place this past weekend. They will unfortunately need to work their way back through the Last Stand tournament in order to qualify for the Global Finals, but if they keep iterating on their routes and making them more efficient, we expect they will be a strong contender for that last qualifying spot!

As we have mentioned, efficiency is the name of the game when it comes to MDI strategies, so why not make better use of your Bloodlust on a boss by bringing in some extra trash mobs? In Theater of Pain, Kul’tharok is certainly a difficult boss, and depending on your route choice can be an excellent time to use Bloodlust. In the clip below, Evolving have shown us an excellent way to maximize this important buff.

As the group engages Kul’tharok, Voci casts misdirection onto the tank, Alex. He then runs over to the far side of the platform and attacks a handful of the Shackled Soul mobs across the way. These mobs now have aggro on the tank, and since they cannot fly across the open space, they snap onto the platform and find themselves facing a bunch of incidental cleave damage. Watch how quickly these trash mobs die just from being on top of the boss. Talk about an easy way to gain an additional 3% trash count!

Group B will be facing off this coming weekend on the Warcraft YouTube Channel. If you’re unable to tune in, make sure to keep up with all of the action on our MDI Highlights page, where we bring you live updates on every game!

The next Group will have 8 brand new teams, and we cannot wait to see what kind of Big Brain Strats these players will be bringing to the table. Stay plugged in to Raider.IO for all things MDI!


About the Author

Hulahoops has been playing WoW since Vanilla. She has recently shelved Retail to go back and re-experience TBC in all its glory, but will one day make her way back to the Shadowlands. In her hey-day, Hulahoops could be found raid-leading in Mythic Progression, or competing in 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 7 years. Judgment isn't just a spell! Hulahoops decided to put the law books away and follow her passion for gaming and esports by joining the team at Raider.IO. In her capacity as Production Manager, Hulahoops oversees events, content, and more!