State of the Meta: West Time Trials #1

Today we’re taking a look at the results from the first week of the Mythic Dungeon Invitational Time Trials West, featuring teams from North America and Europe. This is the first of six weeks of competition (three weeks for each division, alternating). This weekend the East will compete on an entirely different set of dungeons. Meanwhile, the West’s Top 8 teams are facing off in West Cup #1.

For this analysis, we’re only considering the best runs for each team, and only looking at runs that were completed in time.

Dungeon Statistics

Which dungeon was the most challenging? Let’s let the numbers speak for themselves:

Kings’ Rest (Tyrannical, Bursting, Skittish, Reaping) stands out as more challenging than the other dungeons, with many teams failing to post a set of three times for the dungeons because they couldn't time Kings' Rest. This is consistent with what we’ve seen across Battle for Azeroth Season 1 and Season 2: Tol Dagor, Freehold, Atal’dazar, and the Underrot are usually among the easiest dungeons each week, whereas Kings’ Rest, Shrine of the Storm, Siege of Boralus, and the MOTHERLODE!! are usually among the most challenging. It’s no surprise to see Kings’ Rest continue to be difficult, despite the recent addition of three minutes to its timer.

Teams had an easier time with Atal’dazar (Fortified, Raging, Explosive, Reaping) and the Underrot (Tyrannical, Sanguine, Volcanic, Reaping). Impressively, the top teams almost managed to clear Atal’dazar in half the dungeon timer. Method NA, the team with the best Atal’dazar clear, was just a bit over 3 seconds off of a 15 minute clear.

Fun fact: There was exactly one timed run with a Guardian Druid and one timed run with a Discipline Priest in the 1st West Division Time Trials.

Tank and Healer Representation

More than 50% of the best attempts from teams used the amazing combination of Protection Warrior + Restoration Druid, taking advantage of the Protection Warrior’s unparalleled damage output and the HPS that Restoration Druids are able to pump out. On Kings’ Rest, with Bursting, the domination of Restoration Druid was even more complete, with all but 10 runs out of 76 runs using them as their Healer.

Another factor in Restoration Druid’s favor is that the MDI Tournament Realm does not allow use of Unstable Temporal Time Shifter (the Engineering profession's battle resurrection item). Restoration Druids are the lone healer with a battle resurrection thanks to Rebirth (sorry Shaman, Reincarnation doesn't count), and in a meta filled with Protection Warriors and Rogues, and only 5 attempts per team per dungeon, having a battle resurrection somewhere is vital. Perhaps we'd have seen more healer diversity if Engineering items had been permitted.

Protection Warriors and Restoration Druids also figured into the #2 and #3 tank/healer pairings. MDI 2018’s Lord of the Tanks, Blood Death Knight, didn’t even make it as the runner up tank, with only 38 runs compared to Protection Paladin’s 45 and Protection Warrior’s incredible 199. Who knew taking Ignore Pain off the global cooldown would lead to this?

Fun fact: There are more Outlaw Rogues across all the Western Division Time Trials timed runs than the total number of timed runs (309 vs 294).

Team DPS Composition

Double- and even triple-melee dominate, not surprising in the cleave-happy, mass-pulling style that Reaping encourages. Unholy Death Knights in particular are a flavor-of-the-month pick in The Underrot (28 out of 107 top Underrot runs ran at least one Unholy Death Knight), largely thanks to the power of their scaling area of effect damage that lets them do more damage as they hit more targets (at the cost of having a complex rotation with a lengthy ramp on damage).

Here are the common DPS compositions used by 10 or more teams:

Outlaw Rogue Outlaw Rogue Windwalker Monk
Outlaw Rogue Havoc Demon Hunter Frost Mage
Outlaw Rogue Havoc Demon Hunter Unholy Death Knight
Outlaw Rogue Havoc Demon Hunter Balance Druid
Outlaw Rogue Havoc Demon Hunter Demonology Warlock
Outlaw Rogue Havoc Demon Hunter Elemental Shaman
Outlaw Rogue Outlaw RogueHavoc Demon Hunter
Outlaw Rogue Windwalker Monk Beast Mastery Hunter
Outlaw Rogue Windwalker Monk Beast Mastery Hunter

Elemental Shaman led the way in the Ranged DPS rankings, but it was tough for Ranged to find a spot in this melee meta. Take a look at the spec representation for Ranged DPS, Melee DPS, Tanks, and Healers:

Faction Rivalry

Out of the 293 timed runs with faction information, 61% were Alliance. But that wasn’t the case at the top end, likely because of the power of Shadowmeld, which allows teams to death skip without dying and sometimes even not have to fight Reaping waves. At the high end, the Alliance reigned supreme: out of the 24 best runs from the top 8 teams, 21 runs were for the Alliance. Only three runs were for the Horde.

Looking Ahead

There are five more weeks of Time Trials, with Cups after each Time Trials (the West’s first Cup is also this weekend): three more time trials in the East and two more time trials in the West. Will Europe continue to show North America which side of the Atlantic is strongest? In the East this weekend, will we see a novel meta, or will the triumvirate of Warrior, Druid and Rogue continue to rule?

About the Author

alcaras made it to the Time Trials in MDI 2018 and 2019, plays an Outlaw Rogue, and runs, a Mythic+ statistics website using the Raider.IO API.