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Mythic+ 101: What You Need to Know For Your First M+ Run

Mythic+ provides a way for players to engage in progressively more challenging content to have fun, to earn better loot, and to improve their skills. While the system is officially called the Mythic Keystone system, the community has latched onto calling it "Mythic Plus", "Mythic+", or sometimes just "M+".

The goal of our Mythic+ 101 series is to provide new players with the foundation they need to get started in Mythic+. This series is a collaboration between Raider.IO and the Mythic Plus Friends Discord.

In the previous chapter, we discussed why you should be interested in Mythic+. Here in Chapter 2, we provide you with basic knowledge about Mythic+, including topics such as dungeon preparation, affixes, useful addons, and general tips and tricks.

Table of Contents

  Getting Started [back to top]

You will want to set aside enough time to complete the dungeon without taking a break. Dungeons have varying time limits and some may be harder than others depending on the week’s dungeon affixes.

The level of the Mythic Keystone used to start the dungeon is lowered by one as soon as you begin the dungeon. To raise the level of your keystone, you must then beat the dungeon’s timer. Beating the timer will give you a new keystone for a random dungeon and increase that keystone’s level by 1 to 3 depending on how much you beat the timer by. However, it is important to note that your keystone will always turn into a new dungeon if you beat the timer.

Each dungeon has its own set of benchmarks for the time required to complete a dungeon or, if you’re really speedy, you can cause your keystone to upgrade by 2 or 3 key levels higher based on the following criteria:

DungeonPar Time+2 Key Increase+3 Key Increase
  De Other Side43:0034:2425:48
  Halls of Atonement31:0024:4818:36
  Mists of Tirna Scithe30:0024:0018:00
  Sanguine Depths41:0032:4824:36
  Spires of Ascension39:0031:1223:24
  The Necrotic Wake36:0028:4821:36
  Theater of Pain37:0029:3622:12

If you fail to beat the timer, this is known as “depleting”. When you deplete a key, your keystone’s level becomes one level lower than your original keystone and is tied to that same dungeon.

Note: If you have a key that is too high for your group to manage, you can also intentionally deplete a high key by resetting the dungeon after you’re familiarized with your group’s capabilities and the dungeon mechanics. This is a common process used by M+ players to gain practice and a certain competency in dungeons before running them all the way through more confidently.

  Weekly Modifiers or “Affixes” [back to top]

Mythic+ is an advanced version of a Mythic dungeon with difficulty scaling based on the keystone level used at the start of the dungeon. There are also up to a total of four modifiers known as “affixes” that are active in a dungeon that will bring additional challenges to your run. Three of these affixes will rotate each week, while the fourth affix remains active for the entire duration of the Mythic+ Season. Here’s how it works.

The first affix begins for keys at level 2+ and cycles between Fortified and Tyrannical. These two affixes are the staples of Mythic+:

The second affix begins for keys at level 4+ and cycles between:

The third affix begins for keys at level 7+ and cycles between:

Every new Mythic+ Season brings its own exciting fourth affix, applied to every key at +10 or higher! The seasonal affix will be present every week for the duration of a season, but it will not be seen again once the season ends. Our Season 1 affix is currently:

The cycle of weekly affix combinations can be referenced below:

Week #Affix 1 (Level 2+)Affix 2 (Level 4+)Affix 3 (Level 7+)Seasonal Affix (Level 10+)
1   Fortified   Bursting   Volcanic   Prideful
2   Tyrannical   Bolstering   Storming   Prideful
3   Fortified   Spiteful   Grievous   Prideful
4   Tyrannical   Inspiring   Necrotic   Prideful
5   Fortified   Sanguine   Quaking   Prideful
6   Tyrannical   Raging   Explosive   Prideful
7   Fortified   Spiteful   Volcanic   Prideful
8   Tyrannical   Raging   Explosive   Prideful
9   Fortified   Inspiring   Storming   Prideful
10   Tyrannical   Bursting   Explosive   Prideful
11   Fortified   Sanguine   Grievous   Prideful
12   Tyrannical   Raging   Quaking   Prideful

To learn more in-depth information on the Mythic+ Shadowlands affixes and how to manage them, please check out Dratnos’s full write-up here.

  Weekly Routes [back to top]

For each set of affixes, Dratnos provides a Weekly Route Series where you can find strategies for every dungeon each week.

Check out his Weekly Route Series for helpful tips, tricks, and downloadable strategies!

  Dungeon Mechanics [back to top]

One of the most important ways to prepare for your first Mythic+ run is to study the dungeon mechanics. In each dungeon, you will be faced with both an array of boss and trash mechanics to manage.

To learn more about the mechanics of bosses in each dungeon, check out your in-game Dungeon Journal to read about boss mechanics.

To learn about dungeon trash mobs, the addon Mythic Dungeon Tools (MDT) provides useful information such as the trash mob abilities and even what kinds of crowd control they are affected by.

* Open your MDT addon in game and right click any mob to see this display

As we explain later in this chapter, MDT is also widely known as the bread-and-butter addon of Mythic+ for strat-making and strat-sharing, so definitely check it out. For more information on how to use the Mythic Dungeon Tools addon effectively, please visit the Mythic+ Friends Discord Academy channel where you can gain access to on-demand support from our members.

  Addons & WeakAuras [back to top]

There are many useful addons that can enhance your Mythic+ experience and help you learn dungeons and mechanics more quickly and effectively. Addons should be installed by an addon manager like CurseForge, WowUp, or other.

Below are some of popular addons that can help you get started:

Boss Timer Addons
Boss Timer addons provide a way for you to get visible and audible alerts when key trash or boss mechanics are going off in dungeons and raids. These addons also provide bars with timers for special abilities, so you can learn exactly how the dungeon works.

Nameplate Addons
Nameplate addons such as are very helpful for being able to see enemy health, casts, and effectively targeting trash in dungeons. These addons can help make it easier to coordinate Crowd Control (CC) and Interrupts, which are both important aspects of Mythic+.

Keystone Addons
Keystone Addons provide enhancements to the base Mythic+ UI for tracking time remaining in the dungeon, death count, and other useful information.

Raider.IO Addon
The Raider.IO Addon allows you to view Mythic+ experience and Raid progress on players in the Dungeon Finder, and provides you with a way to track your own progress in a detailed fashion. When used properly, this addon can help you form effective groups to beat even the hardest keystones.

WeakAuras is a very powerful addon that stands in a class of its own. This addon allows players to create/share/edit “auras” that track, alert, or remind players of just about anything in the game. Common WeakAuras (popularly referred to as “WAs”) track the groups interrupts, provide extra warnings for important enemy abilities in dungeons, and can provide reminders for individual classes and specs that can help players maximize their damage, healing, or tanking abilities.

To get started, first download the WeakAuras addon here.

Then, here is a quick Dratnos-approved list of popular and particularly useful WeakAuras to improve your Mythic+ quality of life:

WeakAura Tips from Dratnos
  • This Automarker WeakAura will put target markers on mobs automatically, allowing your groups to call kicks and stuns with ease.
  • When mobs are stunned multiple times in succession or overlapped, the effectiveness of stuns decreases over time until the mob becomes temporarily immune to all stuns. These are called diminishing returns (DR). Here is a great WeakAura for tracking stun DRs on mob nameplates so that you know when your stun will be effective (or when it won’t)!
  • Alternatively to GottaGoFast or AngryKeystones addons, you can opt to track your keystone progress with a WeakAura instead. I highly recommend Reloe’s M+ Timer WeakAura because it tracks when Pride is coming, and even how much Enemy Force count is in the pull you’re currently fighting if you have the Mythic Dungeon Tools (MDT) addon installed too.
  • Some affixes require more management than others. Check out these WeakAuras to track Explosive orbs, Quaking timer, and when Prideful/Spiteful abilities are targeting you!
  • Another great WeakAura places Spell Cooldowns next to enemy nameplates to track a bunch of important dungeon casts!

As part of Dratnos’s Shadowlands Affix Guide article, he also provides more links to affix-specific WeakAuras that players may find helpful for each week. For a more comprehensive list of Dratnos-approved WeakAuras, you can also read his full list of addons and WeakAuras here!

Finally, one of the most popular and useful WeakAuras for Mythic+ is an interrupt tracker. One of the best interrupt trackers is called ZenTracker (ZT) - Interrupt and Cooldown Tracker made by Method Dungeon Tools (MDT) developer Nnoggie. However, a word of CAUTION: ZT is a bit more challenging to set up if you are a beginner. Nnoggie’s ZenTracker WeakAuras are used for tracking interrupts, party cooldowns, and group utility, but this comes in a multi-step process that requires some manual customization in-game as well as several different WeakAura imports. If you wish to implement this into your user interface and need additional assistance, please visit our Mythic Plus Academy for support!

Alternatively to ZenTracker, there is another popular addon you can use instead to track party cooldowns and interrupts called OmniCD. OmniCD does not have as many customization options as the ZT WeakAuras, but it is much easier to set up and use if that is your preference.

  Consumables [back to top]

There are many types of consumables that you can make use of during Mythic+. While you may not need to use each of these consumables in each run, being prepared gives you an edge that can help you progress through your Mythic+ journey. Be mindful that while historically some items from previous expansions were still able to be used, now in Shadowlands you will need to use current expansion consumables in most cases.

Flasks, food, and potions provide an extra edge to your performance to help you complete dungeons within the time limit. Here are some other notable items and consumables that are useful for Mythic+:

  • Spiritual Healing Potions: These will immediately replenish a portion of your health, and do not share cooldowns with either offensive combat potions or Healthstones. Health potions are the only potions that do not share a timer with other combat or utility potions, so it’s definitely a good idea to keep a stack of these in your inventory at all times!
  • Healthstones: Much like health potions, healthstones also operate on an independent cooldown and refill a large portion of your health on-use. However, keep in mind that healthstones can only be utilized if you have a Warlock in your party.
  • Potion of the Psychopomp’s Speed: Speed potions give you a significant movement speed boost for a short duration of time, which can be particularly useful for Tanks to be able to gather up trash mobs from the dungeon and bring them to the group.
  • Potion of the Hidden Spirit: Invisibility potions provide a way to let you skip past certain trash mobs inside of a dungeon, which can be essential for meeting the timer.

Important: Invisibility Potions share a cooldown with your regular offensive combat potion, so you should generally only use one if it part of your group’s pre-planned dungeon strategy


  • Auto-hammer: This provides a way to repair your gear while in a dungeon. Needing to exit out of a dungeon to repair your gear can waste a tremendous amount of time, and easily cause you to miss the timer.
  • The Disposable Spectrophasic Reanimator (requires engineering): This item allows you to provide an in-combat resurrection, which is normally restricted to just Death Knights, Warlocks, and Druids.
  • Cardboard Assassin (requires engineering): The Cardboard Assassin is a Cataclysm belt enchant that has risen to popularity in Mythic+ this expansion because it summons a friendly mob who taunts nearby mobs for 5 seconds, making it a nice boost to your tank’s survivability! For tips on how to obtain and use this item, read here.

  Additional Tips [back to top]

Coordinate with your group on the route you will be taking ahead of time. Many of the dungeons in Shadowlands are considered non-linear, meaning that you can choose what order in which you’d like to kill certain bosses and/or trash mobs. Therefore, make sure your whole group is following the same plan to help reduce the chance of mistakes. As mentioned previously, the Mythic Dungeon Tools (MDT) addon is an excellent tool to help you and your team plan a strategy in advance!

In fact, utilizing MDT to make strats ahead of time also helps your group plan for Enemy Forces count (trash) in the run. Be very mindful of trash count because it is possible to accidentally defeat all the bosses in some dungeons before you’ve cleared enough trash. If this happens, you will be required to “backtrack” and clear more trash before you meet the Enemy Force criteria to complete your keystone.

You will be unable to swap talents or gear once you begin a Mythic+ dungeon. As such, make sure to update your talents and gear before the start of the dungeon.

  Finding Your First Group [back to top]

The in-game group finder is a good starting point, but there are also Discord servers that provide a great way to search for players to group up with too.

The Raider.IO addon and website are used in both of these cases to help find players of similar experience level to run your dungeon with.

Up Next

Chapter 3 of this series delves into how to find your first group, how to build up a network of reliable players, and how to navigate group dynamics.

About the Authors

MarianasTrench (Mari/Marinara) is a Marksmanship Hunter main who loves to play all classes in Mythic+ and raiding. He is a staff member at Mythic Plus Friends, and the Guild Master of Dualism. While he loves Mythic raiding and higher Mythic+ content, he also enjoys helping other players get involved and expanding the Mythic+ community through the Mythic Plus Academy at Mythic Plus Friends.

Vitaminpee specializes in tanking classes in WoW and other MMORPGs and loves doing competitive Mythic+. She is the Editor and Assistant Producer of Raider.IO and is currently pursuing her Masters of Business Administration. She is a partnered Twitch streamer and Discord Partner. Feel free to message her via Twitter for any business-related inquiries.