MDI Season 3 Finals Spotlight: PERPLEXED
We’ve had the Time Trials, we’ve seen Groups A, B, and C duke it out, we’ve had the China Finals, and we’ve watched teams battle their way through The Last Stand. A full Season’s worth of dungeon-running competition, crazy strats, and long hours of practice have all been leading up to this weekend’s finale: the MDI Global Finals!
While there were hopes that the Shadowlands Season 3 MDI Global Finals would mark the return of LAN events for WoW Esports, the decision was made to keep things remote for everyone’s safety. You can still catch all of the action LIVE, beginning this Friday, July 8th, at 10am PDT / 7pm CEST on the official World of Warcraft YouTube Channel. The best 8 dungeon-racing teams from around the world will be facing off for the crown of MDI Champions. Will Echo earn their 5th back-to-back MDI Championship, or will we finally see an upset? Only time will tell, so be sure to tune in! If you’re unable to watch the broadcast, we’ll be keeping you up to date with our MDI Highlights Coverage throughout the entire tournament.
In anticipation of the Global Finals starting this weekend, we want to bring you an inside look into the teams participating to gain a deeper understanding of what it’s like to be an MDI competitor and what it takes to win. This spotlight is on the 5th seeded team going into the championship: Perplexed!
Table of Contents
Perplexed: The Steadfast Veterans
Perplexed is an MDI team hailing from Europe. Leading the way as the team’s tank is Divinefield, Rycn as the healer, and Wolfdisco, Ashine, and Swag as the damage dealers. Three of Perplexed’s players – Wolfdisco, Swag, and Rycn – are all active raiders in the guild Echo, the reigning RWF Champions. Ashine is a raider in FatSharkYes, who completed this most recent raid tier of Sepulcher of the First Ones at the World 11th ranking. He is also a veteran Mythic+ player, and was one of the first-ever people to participate in a Raider.IO Player Spotlight interview in December 2018. The team’s tank Divinefield does not focus on Mythic raiding, but can often be seen at the top of the Raider.IO Mythic+ leaderboards at any given point in a Season.
Going into this Global Finals, there are only 4 players who have been competing in the MDI since its inception in 2017 — two of which are actually members of Perplexed: Swag and Wolfdisco. Divinefield and Ashine both started playing in the first MDI of 2018, and Rycn joined the fray in Shadowlands. As a group, Perplexed has the most combined MDI experience of any team in the tournament this weekend. That’s right, even more than Echo!
Despite being staples of the MDI over the years, the boys of Perplexed often fall under the radar. This is most likely due to the fact that they are fairly unique amongst the top MDI players in that they are relatively silent on social media and typically don’t stream.
Divinefield, often hailed as one of the best Mythic+ tanks in the business, is notorious for avoiding the limelight, and Swag doesn’t even have a Twitter account. Other than his tanking prowess, one thing Divinefield has become well-known for is being an avid fan of pineapple on pizza…and we agree with him! That’s right, the official Raider.IO stance is that pineapple belongs on pizza.
Ashine is known for his exceptional Rogue gameplay and for being a very strong mechanical player. Wolfdisco is one of the best multi-class DPS players in the competition, able to swap to any class and perform to an exceedingly high level. Swag is predominantly a melee DPS player, but can put out some ridiculous damage numbers no matter what he’s playing. Rounding out the team is Rycn, who can play pretty much any healer and keep his team alive while also providing damage and utility.
Perplexed have shown over the years that you don’t need to be a big name streamer or influencer to make an impact in the MDI. They have always been top contenders giving the likes of Echo and others a run for their money. They have one Global Championship under their belt, when they were the winners of the 2018 Global Finals, known at the time as Kjell’s Angels.
We mentioned previously that Divinefield and Ashine both started playing in the first MDI of 2018. However, what we didn’t mention yet is that they played together on the same team, and have continued to play together for every single MDI competition, including the 2018 Allstars Invitational. This was a tournament that took place at BlizzCon in 2018 where four teams — Method NA, Method Pogchamp, Free Marsy, and Excel’s Angels — were invited by Blizzard to put on a showcase tournament. The event took place at the end of the Legion expansion, but the teams got to compete in a preview of the new BFA dungeons! Divinefield and Ashine were on the team Excel’s Angels and, while they did not win, they definitely put on a good show.
Excel’s Angels were invited to the 2018 Allstars Invitational after their Championship win at the 2018 MDI Global Finals! They renamed from Kjell’s Angels before the Allstars, but their championship win in the 2018 Global Finals was a tight 3-2 matchup against Method NA. The final dungeon was a +25 Neltharion’s Lair with the Tyrannical, Grievous, and Bolstering affixes. It came down to the wire with both teams on the final boss, but Kjell’s Angels were able to squeak out the win to earn the title of Global Champions! Check out this video of the final matchup:
Interestingly enough, both Swag and Wolfdisco were also competing in the 2018 MDI on different teams, and both eventually got knocked out of the tournament by Kjell’s Angels Divinefield and Ashine! In the first MDI Season of 2019, Swag joined forces with Divinefield and Ashine when the team was renamed Abrakeydabra. They earned third place in the Global Finals that Season, after getting knocked down to the lower bracket by Method EU, and eliminated by Method NA in the lower bracket semi-finals. Wolfdisco was on team Fourty K, who also made it to the Global Finals but did not make it past the quarter-finals.
In the 2019 Summer MDI Season, Divinefield, Ashine, and Swag were back with team Abrakeydabra. The Global Finals that season were held at BlizzCon, where Abrakeydabra finished in third place for a second season in a row! In BFA Season 4, taking place in 2020, Abrakeydabra officially renamed to Perplexed, and this is when Wolfdisco joined the team! They earned fourth place at the Global Finals in this final MDI of BFA.
During the BFA Season 4 MDI, Perplexed was well-known for innovating what soon became the famous Big Brain Strat for handling the seasonal affix, Awakened, in the MDI. Instead of killing one or two obelisk mobs throughout the dungeon, they chose to ignore them and had their healer kite all 4 minibosses around the map while the rest of the squad killed the final boss:
The final piece of the Perplexed puzzle, the healer Rycn, joined the squad at the start of Shadowlands, and the roster has remained the same for the entirety of the expansion so far. They came out swinging at the start of Season 1, winning the 1st Global Cup by defeating powerhouse team Echo in a 2-0 sweep. They earned 2nd place, behind Echo, in Global Cups 2 and 3, and came 3rd in Global Cup 4. This earned them a qualifying spot in the Shadowlands Season 1 Global Finals, where they earned 2nd place, their best showing since the 2018 Championship win!
The tournament format changed slightly in Season 2 of this expansion, so each team that qualified from the Time Trials only competed in one Group Cup. Perplexed was seeded into Cup A, which they won, earning them a spot in the Global Finals. Unfortunately, and rather surprisingly for a team with so much experience and success, Perplexed was eliminated from the Global Finals without winning a single dungeon.
Shadowlands has been a bit of a rollercoaster for Perplexed, so we are looking forward to this weekend to see how they perform. They are an exceptional team with incredible players that certainly have the potential to be the ones to unseat the reigning champs of Echo!
Season 3 So Far
Perplexed earned third spot in the Time Trials this season, just over 1 minute back from first place. They were placed into Group B, where they earned second place, losing to MONKA in the final matchup. This earned them their spot into the Global Finals this weekend, where they are seeded 5th. Their first matchup will be against the team that won the Chinese finals, Long Ming. Since the Chinese teams go through a separate qualifier and don’t face off against any of the Global teams at any point in the Season prior to the Global Finals, this is sure to be an interesting matchup
Q & A
Now that we’ve provided you with some backstory on Perplexed, we wanted to delve a little deeper into what it’s truly like to compete in the MDI. We asked the players a handful of questions about life in the MDI, and this is what they had to say.
Q-1: How do you cope with the pressure, stress, and anxiety of competing on a World Stage, both as an individual and within your team?
Divinefield: I don’t have a trick to dealing with the pressure. I lose a bit of sleep and get sweaty palms in spicy games.
Wolfdisco: The stress is unavoidable to a certain degree but I try to just have a good team and to not think too much about the performance.
Ashine: I’ve found that the best way to deal with all of that is to not think too much about winning or losing.
Q-2: What role do people outside of your team (partner, family, friends, etc.) play in supporting you as an MDI competitor?
Wolfdisco: They cheer me on!
Q-3: How do you maintain your mental and physical health during the MDI Season, especially in situations where you or your team don’t perform as desired?
Divinefield: I get frustrated and sad when I or my team don’t perform well. It usually passes quickly, though. I get motivated to do better next time pretty fast.
Wolfdisco: I go to the gym a few times a week and try to distract my mind from thinking about the results too much.
Ashine: Honestly, I don’t know. It is quite a bit better now when you only play for 1-2 weeks at a time, but full-focus practicing for 12 hours a day is still very rough.
Q-4: Describe a typical MDI Competition day for you. Do you have any routines or rituals you follow? Any superstitions? Anything you make sure you do the night before?
Divinefield: Nothing special. Our usual MDI practice day starts at 1pm into a 1-hour break from 6-7pm. Depending on how we’re feeling at the end of the day, we stop playing at midnight or 1am. After we’ve stopped, I usually decompress by watching a movie in bed or something along those lines.
Wolfdisco: I don’t really do anything special.
Ashine: I wake up, brew some coffee, and basically stare at MDT for about an hour before we start practicing. After that, we practice from 1pm to around 1am with a 1-hour food break and quite a few smaller breaks. After practice ends we usually stay around for a bit to talk and analyze our runs. After this, there's about an hour or so left in my day, which I usually spend watching some streams or TV shows.
Q-5: What do you look for in your teammates? What are the important traits to being a good teammate? Why did you decide to join your current team?
Divinefield: What I usually look for in teammates is knowing how to press buttons in the correct order and being somewhat calm and cool headed.
Wolfdisco: I think the most important trait is to vibe together as a team and have a good time. Practicing for many hours every day can be hard and is unsustainable if there isn’t good chemistry in the team.
Ashine: Being able to have conversations about problems and accepting criticism. The moment somebody does not respect other people's opinions in the team, the team is guaranteed to crumble.
Q-6: If you have been playing in the MDI for a number of years, what is it that keeps you competitive and passionate about the esport? If you are newer to the MDI, what motivated you to join?
Divinefield: It’s always fun to do something you’re good at. I’m also very much a fan of problem solving and trying to come up with new strategies in dungeons.
Ashine: Competing is fun. I think WoW has quite a lot of problems but I am way too old to try being competitive in other games.
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About the Authors
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 General Manager, Hulahoops oversees events, content, and more!
Picco is an old-fashioned WoW gamer that started back in Vanilla and has played ever since. She is a healer by heart and is currently maining Restoration Druid. She loves Mythic+ and has a great passion for events like the MDI and TGP. Picco is part of the KeystoneMasters team and enjoys jiggling around with ideas for fun new formats of community tournaments. She is also a Mod for several streamers and guilds, particularly during the RWF. Outside of WoW, Picco is a Sprout in FF14, where she explores with her Lala Summoner.