The RWF of Aberrus: Rosters, China, and More!
It has been quite some time since Raszageth the Storm-Eater was slain, with Echo claiming the crown as the Race to World First Champion at the start of Dragonflight right at the dawn of Christmas. It was an incredibly close RWF, with Liquid being hot on Echo's heels, and, in the end, less than four hours separated the two best guilds in the world from one another.
Now, months later, preparations for the next RWF are in full swing once more, but that doesn’t mean that the guilds have been idle up until now. Since the end of the RWF in Vault of the Incarnates, many of the competitors decided to step down, with some of the RWF and high-end raiding guilds disbanding altogether. To top it all off, the game servers in China closed down in January 2023, and while some of the Chinese top guilds did still compete in Dragonflight’s first RWF, they did so under the assumption that it would be their last hoorah.
Initially, this painted a very bleak picture for the future of the RWF, but it also meant that many players became free agents on the lookout for a new chance to prove themselves. With how competitive the RWF has become, the best of the best quickly found themselves under a new banner. And as the sun rose in the east, some of the Chinese guilds reformed in a new home, on a new server. As the dawn of the next RWF approaches, let’s take a closer look at the developments of the last few months and what to expect in the Aberrus, the Shadowed Crucible Race to World First.
Table of Contents
Another One Bites the Dust
One of the saddest news for raiding in Dragonflight Season One arrived in early February, as Aversion had a heart-breaking announcement to make via Twitter: After over six years of raiding, the foremost German guild closed its doors. Recruiting new players in the german-speaking world was becoming too difficult, as 11 of their players decided to move on to greener pastures after defeating Raszageth. What always made the guild unique among the RWF competitors became their downfall, as nowadays, many German players are opting to compete in international guilds instead.
Aversion will join many other guilds that have already moved into the Hall of Fame of the RWF, and we’re not talking about the literal Hall of Fame here! We’ve seen many great guilds fall in recent expansions. Titans like Paragon, Blood Legion, Exorsus, Midwinter, Pieces… the list is getting longer and longer. Aversion certainly deserves a spot on that list, and the RWF will not be the same without their presence.
There is a silver lining, however. While there are fewer guilds that can realistically fight over the title of World First champion, many of the best players of the disbanded guilds are now raiding in the few that still remain. Echo, Method, Liquid and BDG are thankful for the influx of high-caliber players that not only perform incredibly well, but have proven themselves in previous RWFs already. Let’s hope that Aberrus will not claim another RWF guild once the race has concluded…
Rostermania in the Race for World First
It is not only the players from disbanded guilds that are looking to compete in the RWF, of course. While the top guilds are pushing for the title by raiding as much as humanly possible, there are plenty of guilds with a more relaxed schedule that have star players in their rosters. Performing in the RWF environment is tough, and many guilds have gone out of their way to try to find the best possible recruits in preparation for a new tier.
After weeks and months of looking for and trialing a bunch of prospective raiders, all the RWF guilds have settled on their new rosters for Aberrus. Combining the experience of the veterans with the fresh blood from top guilds all around the globe, each and every RWF contender is feeling readier than ever to take home the next World First. With big rosters that allow for plenty of multi-classing, let’s take a quick look at how their rosters have changed since their Vault of the Incarnates clears.
|Guild||Roster Size||New Trials||Total New Players|
|Echo||30||1 Tank, 1 Healer, 2 DPS||4|
|Liquid||32||1 Tank, 2 Healers, 3 DPS||6|
|Method||30||1 Tank, 3 Healers, 4 DPS||8|
|BDG||27||1 Tank, 2 Healers, 7 DPS||10|
Method and BDG are bringing in a lot of new firepower, with BDG having undergone some major changes on both an organizational level, as well as their player roster. Both guilds have struggled to keep their players in the past, as many have seen them as springboards to make it to the very top. While this is far from ideal for the runner-ups from both regions, they are aiming to close the gap to the Top 2 once more in Aberrus.
Liquid added only six new raiders to their roster, with many of them being proven raiders from top guilds from both EU and NA. Three of them previously played for BDG, and Emsy, our Featured Streamer of the Week, came over from EU, having previously played for MNM - another guild that stopped raiding after Vault, after over 8 years of raiding. Regions seem to matter less and less these days, as the dedication to compete at the very top makes leveling and gearing up 6 to 8 new characters absolutely worth it.
Echo is the guild with the lowest number of new raiders, having only 4 new players in their team, with three of them previously playing under Method. Seeing this little change in the roster of the current RWF champion is no surprise though, as they still retain about two thirds of their roster since the guild’s founding at the end of BFA. Echo is known for keeping almost the exact same roster every tier, and Aberrus is not going to be any different.
It will be interesting to see how all of the new trials and raiders perform in the upcoming tier. Having this many new raiders in your team obviously adds a lot of extra stress to the environment, but it might also be the breath of fresh air that some of the guilds needed to take them over the finish line before everybody else.
Yankee Swap… but with Tanks!
With the Vault of Incarnates RWF ending right before Christmas, everybody was getting ready to unpack their presents. Unfortunately, as is very common in many parts of the world, stealing someone else's Christmas present and keeping it for yourself is a common game, and it looks like our RWF competitors engaged in plenty of yoinking themselves!
While adding and removing players is simply part of running a guild, no matter what level you play at, this RWF stands out among all the others when it comes to roster changes, for one simple reason: Every RWF guild has a new Main Tank! That’s right; from Liquid, to Echo, to Method, to BDG, each of the guilds had to replace one of their tanks for one reason or another.
If Healers are the motor, and DPS the wheels of the car, then Tanks are the fuel that you need to be able to go anywhere and keep it running. If you have the wrong mixture, your car will not go as fast as the others. While the metaphor might be awful, largely due to my lack of understanding of how cars and gasoline work, it is certainly true that having a well-oiled Tank Duo is often key to being able to get ahead of the competition.
After Vault ended, both Echo and Liquid lost one of their tanks, as Naowh and Ben (Lightee) decided to step down to pursue other passions, at least for a while. Naowh not only wanted to focus on winning another MDI crown (doesn’t he have enough of those already?), but also wants to focus on his content creation instead of raiding as much as he used to. While the raiding itself was stressful but manageable, the sheer amount of time and resources that went into preparing for the RWF simply took their toll.
In a very similar move, Ben aka Lightee decided to step down from his position as Maintank for Liquid. When you’re greatly enjoying other things in life, and you’re winning all the Path of Exile races, dealing with the downsides of the WoW RWF competition seems less and less worth it everytime you compete.
Liquid decided to pick up Yipz, a long-lost brother from back in Legion, when Liquid was still raiding under the name of Limit, and Yipz was playing a Warlock DPS. Yipz swapped over to the tank role in early Shadowlands while raiding for vodka, and further honed his tanking skills in the MDI, having played for Donuts in multiple iterations of the event. He is now back with his old guild, ready to claim the World First!
Echo decided to pick up Andy from Method, who previously played for Pieces, and who is well known as one of the foremost Mythic+ tanks when it comes to highkey pushing. If there was a tank who is worthy of stepping into Naowh’s footsteps, Andy is one of the few who might be able to do it.
Andy leaving for Echo was a big blow to Method, as they struggled to find a replacement for him – there even were some rumors that Sco might be making a return! They ultimately ended up recruiting Nate, who swapped to NA and was playing for BDG during Vault, after previously playing in both Pieces and Angered. Nate joined Pieces in Sepulcher, after their previous tank left to join Method. The tank who left Pieces back then? Andy. Don’t worry, this is getting crazier still.
Pieces disbanded after cleaning out the Sepulcher of the First Ones as World 4th, and many of their players had to find a new home after the guild disbanded, but not all of them managed to find a spot in a RWF guild right away. One of those players was Nate’s co-tank in Pieces, Shazz, who, after having been with Pieces since Legion, joined LEVELS for the first tier of Dragonflight. At this point you might have guessed how this story ends. Nate leaving BDG meant that they themselves needed a new tank to partner with Sloot, and who better to replace Nate than his former tanking mate? Out of the four tanks that are playing under a new banner this tier, he is the only one with an RWF title under his belt, as he was with Pieces when they took down Uu’nat before anybody else.
Shazz killing Uu’nat with Pieces. Source: Lyaira.
With tanks switching and swapping around until your head starts spinning, it will be interesting to see which guild manages to adapt to the new environment the best. All of them had plenty of time to build a lot of chemistry, and all four of them are more than capable of achieving their goal of claiming the next RWF title!
A Race Without China? No Thanks!
We all shed a tear for our fellow gamers and WoW enjoyers when it was announced that Blizzard would temporarily no longer have operational game servers in China. For many players, years, or even over a decade’s worth of gear, mount and pet collections, and achievements of playing the game are now sitting on flash drives all across China waiting for a potential return. While the memories remain, it seemed like a dark day for the future of the RWF.
With the announced closure of the game servers in January of 2023, some of the best raiding guilds in China got together for one last dance, and they did so in style, claiming a fifth, sixth, seventh and ninth place in the Vault of the Incarnates RWF. While the RWF was unaffected at the time, the Hall of Fame certainly wasn’t, as many western guilds managed to eke out a spot or two that would’ve normally been taken by one of the many Chinese guilds that excelled at raiding and progressing.
We all lamented the situation and prepared for a Race for World First without the participation of our chinese friends, until Neo, our Chinese Community Liaison, presented us with some incredible news about a month and a half ago: At least three of the Chinese top guilds have fully migrated over to the Taiwanese servers, and are planning to go all out in the upcoming RWF as well! Hooray!
Skyline, Chao Jie and JTH will once again challenge the best of the West and make them sweat. While this means that there will be no downtime between NA going to sleep and EU waking up, as you’ll always have something to watch, this isn’t even the best part. Playing on the Taiwanese servers means that they will be tracked properly by the Blizzard API, meaning that we will be able to provide you with even more information on their progress. Yay!
What initially seemed like a RWF that might be negatively affected by many of the more recent developments, has thankfully turned into yet another promising display of excellence in both raiding and planning for the RWF. Guilds disbanding is never something to look forward to, but it also means that we will get to see even stronger rosters this time around as they are about to tackle the most challenging content WoW has to offer.
Another great development is that we have new competitors emerging from the shadows. FatSharkYes have recently announced that they will be streaming their progression, and while they are not a contender for the title of World First, we have always wondered how they can perform this well on their fairly relaxed schedule. Now we'll be able to find out! LEVELS have also expressed interest in trying much harder this tier, and we might be seeing themsnagging a spot in the Top 10 this time around.
This RWF is going to be incredibly exciting, and we hope that you will join us on May 9th for the start of the RWF. You also might wanna keep an eye on our front page, as there is plenty of content to come all week. See you soon!
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About the Author
Seliathan has been playing Rogue for over half his life, since the initial release of WoW over 16 years ago. After a long career of Raid Leading, Theorycrafting, and pushing Mythic+, Seliathan enjoys creating all kinds of PvE content on Twitch, co-hosting the Tricks of the Trade Rogue podcast, contributing to the Raider.IO RWF Coverage, and writing guides for Icy Veins.