Player Spotlight: Ysne

Hello everyone! Welcome to the thirteenth RaiderIO Player Spotlight. My name is Samantha aka Vitaminpee. With this series, I am aiming to highlight the amazing players of World of Warcraft regardless of their chosen class, specialization, language, and/or region. I hope to bring you valuable information and help you learn more about your favorite top players or discover new ones from around the world.

This week, I had the privilege of speaking with Unholy Death Knight Ysne from Team D, currently one of the top MDI teams from China who recently won the Eastern MDI Cup #1 and came in second place in the MDI Eastern Cup #2. In the MDI 2018, Ysne was the main tank of team Skyline D, who came in first place in China and seventh place in the world.

While there weren’t many Unholy Death Knights who competed in the first Eastern Time Trials, RaiderIO writer Alcaras pointed out in a report on the second West Time Trials that Unholy Death Knights have been a game-making class choice for several of the teams in dungeons where they can really shine through their incredible AoE damage that increases their single-target damage output. Despite the fact that Ysne has only recently switched to Unholy spec from Blood for this year’s MDI tournament, he has continued to perform competitively for his team. Today, Ysne shares his thoughts on the Unholy Death Knight spec, but also some helpful tips from his experiences competing successfully in two MDI tournaments as both a tank and DPS player.

I’d like to extend a very special thanks to NasDa for being a fantastic liaison and translator for this interview. Thank you for all your hard work and for helping us connect with the Chinese region!

点击此链接跳转到这篇采访的中文版本。(Translated by NasDa)

“As a DPS player, your survivability is always more important than your ability to deal damage and your single-target damage output is always more important than your AoE damage in the end.”

VitaminP: Hi Ysne! Can you please tell us a little more about yourself?

Ysne: Hey, my name is YuShang. I’m 31 years old and I’m from the Hubei province of China. I’ve been playing WoW for more than a decade, but I only started pushing high Mythic+ since patch 7.2 in Legion. I like riding a bicycle and swimming in my spare time.

VitaminP: How long have you been playing Unholy Death Knight in competitive Mythic+? Do you also push keys as Unholy on live servers or only on the tournament realm?

Ysne: I recently switched to Unholy spec to accomodate my team going into the MDI, since our teammate Long was also able to tank proficiently as a Protection Warrior. Before this year’s MDI, I was maining Blood Death Knight and Protection Warrior. I’ve been trying the Unholy since Blood got nerfed to the bone this season. I’ve pushed some high keys on live servers as Unholy recently, but the highest key I’ve managed to finish on time in this spec so far has been a +24. If you’re interested in seeing me play Unholy Death Knight in a high key on live servers, I recorded an Atal’Dazar +23 yesterday that you can check out.

VitaminP: How were you able to transition so quickly into the DPS role for your team at such a high level? Have you faced any particular challenges so far?

Ysne: I’d say my performance as Unholy Death Knight thus far has only been slightly above average and there is still a lot of room for me to improve. Single-target damage wise, I didn’t perform as well as I could have in the first Eastern cup. When our team went up against team Battle for Champion on Motherlode, my gear choice didn’t quite balance out between AoE and single-target capabilities. Unfortunately, this resulted in our team’s loss due to lack of my single-target damage, despite the fact that we were very ahead due to our strategy of pulling the Azerokk boss fight first. In addition, Unholy Death Knight is a spec that relies heavily on the tank and the team as a whole. It seems like people only remember the “insane DPS” clip from my Death Knight, when in fact the real heroes behind the scenes were our tank Long and our healer Abb who made the pull even possible.

VitaminP: Speaking of which, let’s talk about that clip. During the first Eastern MDI Cup on April 6th, we saw you spike over a whopping 1 million DPS on your Unholy Death Knight when your team pulled Reaping mobs into the Raal the Gluttonous fight in Waycrest Manor. Can you please explain what aspects of Unholy Death Knight damage make it so strong in situations like this?

Ysne: Firstly, there have to be enough mobs available and they should be pulled together. Secondly, the talent Infected Claws combined with Dark Transformation enables your ghoul to apply Festering Wound to multiple mobs very quickly. Death and Decay and Scourge Strike will “burst” the wounds. This triggers Bursting Sores, which makes your Festering Wound deal more damage as well as dealing damage to all nearby enemies. This kind of quadratic scaling effect works a lot like a Fire Mage’s Living Bomb spell—the more mobs the merrier! In addition, the tier 6 talent Pestilence can also help apply more stacks of Festering Wound.

Lastly, you can have perfect gear by stacking Azerite traits such as 3x Festermight and crit traits such as 2x Blightborne Infusion and 1x Swirling Sands on the Tournament Realm. Festermight itself can add up to 30 stacks in a matter of seconds, giving you an insane amount of strength (9000+). If both of the crit traits trigger at the same time, you will be able to deal a ton of devastating damage to the mobs.

VitaminP: That being said, what is your go-to talent build?

Ysne: My go to talent build for Time Trials is:

Sometimes for high keys, I swap one talent:

VitaminP: Due to Netease being Blizzard’s publishing partner in mainland China, we know that the Chinese Mythic+ scene is rather isolated from everyone else since you have different rules and also cannot track Mythic+ score via any third-party website like RaiderIO due to the Blizzard API. How do you compare to other teams and see their progress if you can’t actually track score? Do you mostly just watch other players’ streams?

Ysne: RaiderIO is such a great website and a tool for Mythic+ community. Unfortunately, such things are currently non-existent in the Chinese scene. In order to see where we stand against other teams, we tend to check RaiderIO and compare our results with the records of how other teams have performed with the same levels and affixes. Additionally, we watch and analyze other team’s videos on streaming websites such as Bilibili, Douyu and Twitch.

“As some people probably already know by now, Unholy Death Knights have quadratic scaling in their AoE abilities, which means those spells scale so much better and simply obliterate everything when the number of the targets increases.”

VitaminP: What are the greatest strengths of Unholy Death Knight in Mythic+? What kinds of utility does your class bring?

Ysne: As some people probably already know by now, Unholy Death Knight has quadratic scaling in its AoE abilities, which means those spells scale so much better and simply obliterate everything when the number of the targets increases. Besides that, Unholy Death Knight is the only class that has instant combat res, which adds sort of another “security measure” to the meta comp of running a Restoration Druid. If a team’s Restoration Druid dies during a boss fight without an Unholy Death Knight in the group, it usually results in a wipe. At that point, the best case scenario is being able to fully reset the boss and do it over again, but that isn’t always possible and you still lose a lot of time having to redo the fight. Moreover, Unholy Death Knight can bring some other great utilities to the team, such the Chains of Ice slow to help the tank kite, Death Grip to move mobs out of Sanguine or interrupt otherwise uninterruptible spells, and a taunt called Dark Command to help your tank reset stacks of harmful debuffs such as Necrotic.

VitaminP: What are the weaknesses or shortcomings of Unholy Death Knight in Mythic+? Do you think they are more well-suited for speed runs on tournament servers than pushing live keys?

Ysne: Unholy Death Knight has two weaknesses: its lack of single target damage and its poor survivability. The availability of the fifth ring of Azerite traits has slightly compensated for Unholy Death Knight’s lack of single target damage, but it will most likely do less damage in high keys on live servers because tanks usually can’t pull as many mobs in high keys as they do in lower keys on the tournament realm. Although Unholy has 10% more in stamina than other classes due to Veteran of the Third War, they still can’t survive abilities such as Azerite Powder Shot and Upheaval in a +24 key even with Anti-Magic Shell up. As the level of the keys increase in each Time Trial and Cup, Unholy Death Knight AoE performance will inevitably decline due to the lack of mobs in each pull, so its low single-target output will be a far greater issue than it has been in the tournament so far.

VitaminP: What are the hardest parts about preparing for Time Trials? How do you and your team form strategies and how many hours do you practice together before you decide you’re ready for the Time Trials keys?

Ysne: The hardest parts are knowing you team’s limits and whether your team is capable of blasting through some really aggressive pulls. Speaking of forming strategies, our team normally develops and optimizes based on our usual tactics and routes. However, we do tend to be more aggressive, since Unholy Death Knight’s damage on Tournament Realm is way stronger than on live servers. During Time Trials practice, each map normally takes us about 5-6 hours to prepare and complex dungeons take even more time.

VitaminP: Since you have now been a competitor in two MDI’s as both as a tank and a melee DPS, what final advice do you have for aspiring players looking to get into competitive Mythic+?

Ysne: First of all, you need to have a clear and stable microphone, since communication is the key.

As a tank, you need to find the sweet spot between survivability and damage output. No matter how familiar you are with the dungeon, there is no harm opening your Mythic Dungeon Tools and checking the route again before inserting the key.

As a DPS player, your survivability is always more important than your ability to deal damage and your single-target damage output is always more important than your AoE damage in the end. Focus target interrupt macros are absolutely mandatory. You also need to understand and learn how to help your tank survive such as resetting your tank’s Necrotic stacks by taunting mobs and helping your tank CC and kite when his defensive abilities are on cooldown.

Thanks for having me and coming up with this great interview!


About the Author

Vitaminpee mains a Brewmaster and loves to do competitive Mythic+. She is the Social Media Manager for Big Dumb Gaming and a partnered Twitch streamer who plays all tanks at max level and loves pushing keys with her teammates Synecdoche, Oddy, Sham, Hodonn, and Comfykins.