MDI 2023: The Last Stand Preview
The 2023 Mythic Dungeon International continues! Over the course of the past three weeks, six teams managed to qualify for the Global Finals, to be held from March 31st through April 2nd. The two best teams in each of the Groups A, B, and C earned themselves a direct qualification to the finals, but we still have two more spots available for the big event.
The last two remaining spots will be handed out in one final tournament this weekend. From Friday to Sunday The Last Stand will be held, with six teams competing for a qualification to the Global Finals. Many of the teams were hoping to already have their ticket to the Finals, but getting through the Group Stages was harder than anticipated. As a result, we have an incredibly packed and highly competitive TLS ahead of us!
The Last Stand starts at 10am PST / 7pm CET and you can watch it live over on the Warcraft YouTube Channel, or Warcraft Twitch Channel. If you aren’t able to tune in, we’ve got you covered with LIVE updates and highlights all weekend long over on the MDI Highlights page!
Table of Contents
The Last Stand Format
The current format of the MDI is continuing the structure that was implemented in Season 2 of Shadowlands. You can check out one of our previous Group Stage previews for a comprehensive overview on how the MDI works!
Over the course of the last 4 weeks, we’ve had Time Trials and Group Stages unfold before our eyes, with 24 of the best teams in the world fighting over six of the eight spots at the Global Finals. Each Group saw two teams qualify for the finals, but two more spots remain. This weekend, six teams will fight over the last two remaining spots for Globals, and it will be a slaughter!
The Last Stand is very different from the typical MDI Group Stage events, and bears more similarities with previous installations of The Great Push, than the MDI. However, it was already used in Season 3 of Shadowlands, when one remaining spot for the Season Finals was earned through The Last Stand.
In a departure from head-to-head dungeon races, teams will have five hours each day to speedrun a set of predetermined keystones over the weekend. The Keystone level will not increase when completing these runs. Instead, at the end of each competition day the combined time across all dungeons will be tallied up, and the slowest team on Day 1 and Day 2 will be eliminated. Across the 5-hour day, teams are required to take a break for at least 15 minutes, either in one sitting, or, in several 5 or 10-minute periods.
Teams will have to decide on how much time they are willing to spend in each dungeon to optimize their routes, timers, or simply re-run the dungeon to ever so slightly improve their results. Any key that was started before the five hour deadline can be completed, but, once every team has finished up their runs, the day ends, dungeon timers will be tallied up, and one team will be out of the running. On the final day, only four teams remain, and the two teams sporting the fastest combined times across all dungeons will move on to join the other six contestants in the MDI Global Finals!
Meet The Teams
Five out of the six teams this weekend have already competed in one of the Groups, and some of them fully expected to already have their tickets for the Global Finals secured at this point. All six of our contestants ultimately found themselves competing in another set of Time Trials earlier this week, and we’ve already seen some jaw-dropping performances by some of the teams.
Sadly, Empyrean was unable to attend, and, while they managed to get an admirable fifth place finish, they will be replaced by Ducks Can Fly as the sixth team for The Last Stand. Without any further ado, let’s meet our TLS teams!
We have also prepared short, introductory videos for each of the teams, so, if you just want to learn as much as possible about each of the teams in under 60 seconds, make sure to check them out!
Legendary are coming in hot after the Time Trials, taking first seed with two incredibly impressive run times in both qualifying dungeons. With a combined time of 26 minutes and 10 seconds, they beat out the next best team by over a minute and are coming into The Last Stand as the clear favorites of the competition.
The team was in a similar spot already during Group A, competing with Echo and Sloth over the two qualifying spots. Legendary did not manage to beat Sloth in the Lower Bracket and was relegated to do another run through The Last Stand. Filled to the brim with MDI veterans and players who have been playing since the Mythic+ heydays in Legion, this team comes well prepared for any challenge the tournament might throw at them. The team’s worst enemy is their own performance, as they struggled to get clean and consistent runs going throughout the group stage. TLS, however, offers a format that is designed for teams that can just run a dungeon back to back, and all it takes is one pristine run with an unbeatable timer.
Legendary are our favorites for this season’s The Last Stand, and they themselves are very confident about their chances.
“We are pretty confident that we will qualify for globals this time, as the top 2 teams will make it through and we think we are able to make that. The Last Stand is a lot more about consistency and completing a lot of runs, rather than making something happen in a single run during the group stage. You have to take a different approach to your strategy during the event, but I like this format. The Group stage was more of a lesson learned and TLS will be great practice for us. We managed to copy lots of strategies and improve our routes since our group stage performance, and now we are ready to blast!” —Tobo
Coming in second seed from the Time Trials are Cheese, a team full of MDI veterans that have banded together to claim the championship title. They were the only team that managed to be on Legendary’s heels during the Time Trials, ending up a minute and 7 seconds slower – with a huge gap to the third strongest team.
Cheese certainly didn’t expect to find themselves in this situation, however. In what was probably the biggest upset of the Group Stage, the French squad from Thundered stole away the glory of not one but two teams that now have to make it through The Last Stand: Cheese and Thunderstruck.
The dairy boys are back with a vengeance, and they seem to come well prepared for this event. With 15 hours to run six dungeons as fast as possible, a few mistakes aren’t nearly as punishing anymore, and the team will make the best of the new format to show that they are a force to be reckoned with.
“We believe in our ability to make it through the weekend. We have a solid setup for each dungeon, and we will adapt to the affixes and just blast. Getting knocked down and having to play TLS did not really add any additional pressure, it was just a case of ‘lessons learned’. We have improved a lot as a team, and will be stronger this weekend!” —Fem
Dire Wolves are the third fastest time in the competition, but the distance to the top two is very noticeable this time around. Being over two minutes slower than Cheese during the Time Trials, Dire Wolves are still as confident as ever about their chances of going to Globals!
Many viewers, and even the casters of Group B, had high hopes for Dire Wolves, as they looked capable of not only going toe to toe with a team like Perplexed, but were on the verge of straight up beating them 2-0. But that tiny lack of consistency in their performance, and an unfortunate disconnect, ultimately led to their downfall. As a result, they are now back in The Last Stand, and, despite their somewhat worse Time Trial performance, their innovative routing that we’ve seen already in Group B could easily allow them to take one of the coveted Global Final spots!
”Making it to globals SHOULD happen, and I'd be disappointed if we didn't, because I know how well we can play. But at the end of the day, it's all performance-based, so who knows what will happen.
Normally we don't do particularly well in Time Trial scenarios, but luckily this time we know we have better strategies than almost every team in every dungeon, and we’ve already shown as much during the Group Stage. We just need to actually play well, and we don't really feel any additional pressure so far. We just always try to do the best we can do, and we know that's enough to go to Globals. Time wise, The Last Stand is so much better for us, and not having to wake up before the event to practice feels wonderful.” —Holo
Let Him Cook is the only newcomer to the MDI. Well, not as much as a newcomer to the MDI, but they are the only team that did not already compete during the Group Stage. The team is definitely no newcomer to Mythic+, or the MDI for that matter, and they’ve shown what they are capable of during the Time Trials. Coming in fourth, they managed to stay 16 seconds behind Dire Wolves, and that is a great performance considering all of the other teams have already had plenty of time to practice during the Group Stage.
The team around Trell and Tarisant originally planned to only play in The Great Push, and while the team is seeing this tournament as more of a practice run for their planned competitive appearance in Season 2 of Dragonflight, they quickly realized that Globals is not entirely out of reach either.
“After the MDI signups were already closed, Trell mentioned something about doing TGP again, and it reminded me that I wanted to compete in that, so I hit him up. Within 20 minutes we had thrown together this squad, knowing that all of us wanted to try something like TGP and were mostly known for pushing on live. Since that was our preference, we had no real intention of doing MDI. Once Last Stand signups opened up, I tossed the idea out, suggesting that it would be good for our team synergy and practice if we did this event together. The others agreed, and we signed up. I do think the format is favorable for us due to our limited practice time overall, especially compared to some teams that already have a cup's worth of practice this season under their belt.
We're all friends with the guys on Donuts, so having the potential opportunity to play against them is something I look forward to. Not to mention, Trell is friends with everyone in the scene, so I know it means a good deal to him in the same way as the other teams. This is the first live event that Muchas and Hasty have done, and Sho's first MDI, so it's pretty exciting to be playing with people who have that "first-time drive" for competition.” —Tarisant
With Drjay as the team’s centerpiece, Thunderstruck missed out on a direct qualification in last week’s Group C. Their name-twins, Thundered, stole their spotlight, beating out the higher seeded Thunderstruck and Cheese. While the end result may not have been entirely unexpected, as it was arguably the most competitive of the groups, the team was as surprised as anybody that they only managed to grab a fourth place finish in their group.
With renewed vigor, Thunderstruck have gone through the Time Trials, earning themselves a well deserved fifth place finish. They were on Let Him Cook’s heels the entire time, ending up only a minute slower, and, with the change in format for The Last Stand, Thunderstruck can rely on their experience and ability to perform under pressure to make it through. Both Lemike and Drjay are no strangers to the Last Stand, having won TLS during Season 3 of Shadowlands to qualify for Globals, so their experience with the format might be a great advantage for the team.
“I think any team that played in the group stage is worried about not qualifying for globals. Getting there, and winning it, is the goal afterall.
I think our team's biggest weakness is that we're not that consistent, so the TLS format will suit us a lot better for sure. Hopefully it will allow us to make it through the qualifier.
I think we all just want to prove, if not to others then at least to ourselves, that we are good at the game, and can actually compete on the highest level. Everyone on this team is playing the game on a very high level individually, we just need to find a good way to deal with the issues together as a team.” —Lemike
Ducks Can Fly came in at the twilight hour, as Empyrean, the sixth seeded team of the Time Trials, was unable to compete this weekend. With only six seconds between Ducks Can Fly and Empyrean, they are a worthy replacement and more than earned their spot in this tournament,
They are yet another team that will likely benefit from being able to restart keys when something goes wrong, and it will likely come down to their proficiency with the “meta comp” that they have pulled out for the Time Trials now. Whereas their performance in the Group Stage saw them play on their comfort-classes and specs in most dungeons, TLS Time Trials have shown that they are more than capable of switching to what most would consider the new “meta” comp, adapt quickly, and pull off a great performance.
“To be honest we didn't expect to qualify, considering how many good teams had a better showing than us in group stages. We're not worried about not making it since we're clearly the underdogs here. We've seen every other team in group stages, and we're worried about all of them.
The Last Stand means we can definitely play a bit more riskily compared to group stages, and feel a bit less pressure about our runs. It is another brand new format for us though, and we'll take it as another learning experience.As a result we don't feel a lot of pressure to perform. We'll play the best we can, and who knows, maybe we'll be able to stay in the tournament after Friday and then repeat the process on Saturday. ;)” —Luka
Our predictions for the Time Trials were definitely along the lines of: “There’re just too many good teams, this is going to be a slaughter.” So it was surprising for us to see two teams come out ahead with such a huge lead, as Legendary and Cheese simply destroyed the two Time Trial dungeons with over two minutes between the top two seeds and the rest of the field.
It goes without saying (and yet here I am saying it) that both Legendary and Cheese are the favorites coming into this tournament. But both teams have been in this position before during their respective groups, and now they both ended up competing in The Last Stand. It would not be surprising if some of the other teams simply didn’t feel that it was necessary to hyper-optimize two dungeons that are unlikely to be played during the weekend itself, but it can happen, and certainly has happened, in some of the TGP events already.
Ultimately, it makes no difference, as all the teams have plenty of time to repeat and re-run the same dungeons multiple times over. It will likely come down to whether one of the teams has a better route that they will be unveiling late into the tournament so that no other team has a chance to replicate it. We’ve seen it time and time again in previous events, both of the MDI and TGP, and, with giga brains on every single team, this week’s event will be a sight to behold.
Dire Wolves have been the underdog and/or dark horse of Group B, and they retain that position coming into The Last Stand. Cheese and Legendary may feel comfortable and confident after their victory in the Time Trials, but overconfidence is a slow and insidious killer, and there are four other teams ready to take over at a moment’s notice.
We hope you join us for The Last Stand, and let’s see if our predictions of Legendary, Cheese and Dire Wolves as the Top 3 will hold true. (Somehow I feel it’s not much of a prediction when those are the Time Trial results already…). Anyway, let’s have ourselves a great weekend!
All of this year’s MDI can be watched on either the official Warcraft Twitch.tv or YouTube channels. In addition to the official English production, you will also be able to follow the event in multiple other languages:
- German: https://www.twitch.tv/kimuh
- French: https://www.twitch.tv/kusa
- Spanish: https://www.twitch.tv/phobyac
- Ukrainian: https://www.twitch.tv/poor_imagination and https://www.youtube.com/@ua_wow
- NEW: Raider.IO Recruitment System
- Set up Raider.IO Stream Widgets
- Set up Raider.IO Discord Alerts
- Download the Raider.IO Client
- Support Raider.IO on Patreon