MDI Team Spotlight: Buff War Nerf Rogue

Hello and welcome to the second RaiderIO MDI Team Spotlight! My name is Samantha aka Vitaminpee and with this series, we hope to help you learn more about the people in the tournament. This week, I interviewed Chingbb, Lota, Morito, Supreme, and Tomboy from team Buff War Nerf Rogue of Taiwan. Last weekend, Buff War Nerf Rogue won the first East Cup, putting them one step closer towards their goal of competing at Blizzcon in an incredible 2-0 sweep against Team D⁠. Furthermore, they amazed us with their ability to somehow catch up and recover during matches where they made seemingly very costly mistakes. After a long period of rigid metas in the Spring MDI where we saw almost nothing but Protection Warrior, Restoration Druid, and triple Outlaw Rogues, team Buff War Nerf Rogue showed us that versatility and ingenuity in strats/comps and pure tenacity mean more this season than the meta as they weaved in various combinations of Vengeance Demon Hunter, Unholy Death Knight, and Windwalker Monk from dungeon to dungeon. Please check out the links at the bottom of this article to follow their Twitch streams and watch their team progress live!

I would like to extend a huge thanks to Hyper, the tank from MDI East team Hypers, for taking the time out of his Time Trials practice this weekend to translate multiple sets of questions from Chinese to English so that I could write this article. Time Trials are busy enough as it is! Secondly, I’d like to give a special shoutout to MDI caster/former MDI 2018 champion Cirra and MDI East competitor Moon for also helping me facilitate this interview process.

“If mistakes happen during tournament matches, just keep calm and remember what you practiced. As long as you don’t give up, you still have a chance to win." —Morito

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

Morito: Hi! I am from Taiwan. I am 24 this year and I just graduated from university. I’ve been playing WoW since Classic. My favorite class is Rogue. I’m so happy to finally advance to Blizzcon, since this has been a dream of mine for many years.

Tomboy: Hi! My name is Tom and I am currently a student living in Taiwan. I like watching anime and movies in my free time. I really enjoy playing WoW.

Lota: I am 21 years old and I am from Taiwan. WoW is my favorite thing to do.

Supreme: My name is Fanyuan. I'm 27 years old and I live in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan. My only hobby is playing WoW.

Chingbb: My last name is Chen and I am 23 years old. I live in Taipei, Taiwan and I am a student.

VitaminP: The name Buff War Nerf Rogue has been quite prophetic (due to the recent round of buffs and nerfs). How did you guys form your MDI team and how long have you been playing together? Are you the same Buff War Nerf Rogue team from the Spring season with a roster swap or two?

Morito: The reason for our team name is because Tomboy loves warrior and he wasn’t happy with the Warrior DPS nerfs. By patch 8.1, our team had officially formed together to push high Mythic+ and we ended up achieving one of the highest scores in the Taiwan region. Because of this, we wanted to compete in the MDI. Other than bringing Supreme into the squad this summer, our original core roster has not changed.

Chingbb: Before signing up for the spring competition, I found the previous teams healer (Lota) and DPS (Tomboy, Larzarus and Morito). We competed in the spring MDI with this team. Due to Larzarus’ work schedule we subbed him out for Supreme.

Lota: We met each other through premade groups (LFG Finder) while pugging keys. We all had the same passion and goals for Mythic+ dungeons, so that’s how Buff War Nerf Rogue was born. One of our original teammates unfortunately had time conflicts this season, so we invited Supreme to join our team for the Summer MDI.

VitaminP: Do you guys have one designated shot-caller guy on your team, or are several people in charge of calling different things such as interrupts, CCs, or lust?

Morito: The main shot-caller is Ching and Lota calls externals/personals. The DPS players focus on calling interrupts on mobs in order to maximize the DPS of our Resto Druid Lota.

Chingbb: We split the workload with everyone such as interrupts, marking, and various calls.

Tomboy: We normally assign interrupts before the game. In the actual competition, we will remind each other as well.

“Competing in WoW is kind of rewardless. You just have to really love what you’re doing and become a freaking tryhard for your own personal achievement.” — Supreme

VitaminP: I have a question for you, Supreme. It seems like you went right from competing in the World First Race of The Eternal Palace with Limit on NA straight into this summer MDI Cups with the East. What has it been like for you to play in Limit on NA while also practicing for the MDI East Cups this summer at the same time? Do you have any advice for players trying to compete in two different sides of competitive WoW?

Supreme: Thankfully, the times didn’t overlap too badly because the first East Cup started one week later than the first West Cup. So even though I flew to the Red Bull Gaming Sphere in London to stream The Eternal Palace progression with Limit, I was still able to have enough rest in between events. I don't actually have much advice. What I will say is that competing in WoW is kind of rewardless. You just have to really love what you’re doing and become a freaking tryhard for your own personal achievement.

VitaminP: Last weekend in the first East Cup, we saw Buff War Nerf Rogue get pushed to the lower bracket by Team D and then come back to win the whole Cup with a rematch against them in the grand finals. It’s pretty amazing to see a team come back like this and win with a sweep, especially against a team as strong and experienced as Team D. What were the thoughts going through your heads?

Tomboy: We’ve practiced a lot more this season than the spring season because it is summer and we are all on summer vacation. We lost the first round 1:2 to Team D because Shrine of the Storm is one of our weakest dungeons. After studying the video recording, we realized that the reason we lost was due to mistakes at the start of the dungeon. Despite those mistakes, we still caught up with them later. I never would have thought that we would 2:0 Team D. I hope we can continue our current form into the next games.

Morito: It isn’t easy to win coming from the losers bracket. We are happy that we were able to beat Team D. The moment we killed Harlan in Freehold, we knew we won and all yelled in voice comms. Many of our friends congratulated us as well.

Lota: I have to say… Team D is a very strong team, so it feels great that we beat them last weekend. I definitely felt a lot of pressure when we went up against them because any small mistake could have caused us to lose a match.

Chingbb: After Underrot was over, the team felt defeated. We managed to regain composure and, after finishing Shrine, we knew that we were actually capable of beating Team D. So despite losing against Team D in the first best of 3, it didn’t affect us too much.

VitaminP: In your first match up against AAA last Saturday, you won the Waycrest map and we saw Supreme pump a ton of damage as an Unholy Death Knight in your strat. Now that Outlaw Rogue has been nerfed recently, we know that there are other strong classes with unique benefits for different dungeons. Can you explain to our readers the thought process you go through when deciding on a DPS comp for each dungeon?

Supreme: Unfortunately even with the recent Outlaw Rogue nerfs, there still aren’t many viable classes for the MDI. We’ve experimented with classes like Shadow Priest and Boomkin, but they just don’t seem to work very well. Generally, we will use Unholy Death Knight for the dungeons where we can easily do a big pull and we will use Windwalker Monk for the dungeons where we have no idea what to do.

Morito: Since the last patch, Unholy Death Knights have been able to output a ridiculous amount of AoE damage. The challenge of Unholy Death Knights is being able to design the routes to allow the Unholy to shine. On top of that, the 5% physical buff from a Monk DPS is also very strong. We are still looking for ways to incorporate a DPS Warrior into our future strats.

Lota: The way we decide on a comp for each dungeon is by trying many different class combinations on the Tournament Realm. We ultimately choose the comp which fits our best strategy.

Chingbb: The dungeon design is the biggest factor. If you bring an Unholy Death Knight, it means that the size of the pull is controlled by that class. You must also consider whether you can pull trash with a boss. As such, both Waycrest and Underrot are very good Unholy Death Knight dungeons.

Tomboy: We played around Unholy Death Knight in Waycrest (pulls/routes). Whenever our Unholy Death Knight had cooldowns ready, we would pull in such a way that the Unholy Death Knight would be able to shine.

VitaminP: We also saw you bring Vengeance Demon Hunter to several dungeons, namely Underrot and Siege, where you made some really creative pulls with Sigil of Chains and Sigil of Misery from the Demon Hunter and Ring of Peace from the Monk. What was your reasoning behind your tank class choices per dungeon? What benefits does a Vengeance Demon Hunter bring to specific dungeons that you think Protection Warrior does not? How does the survivability compare?

Lota: I guess that Protection Warrior is technically a better tanking class than Vengeance Demon Hunter overall, but sometimes we use Vengeance in the MDI because of our particular strategy. For example, when we did the big pull into Sporecaller Zancha in The Underrot, we used Vengeance Demon Hunter because it is a class with more self-sustain/self-healing capability. This ensures that our Unholy Death Knight will live, since I will be able to focus more healing onto him while he does major amounts of damage. It is absolutely crucial that the Unholy Death Knight stays alive on a pull like that, since their damage is the most important aspect of that strategy. Therefore, we chose to use a tanking class with good self-sustain like Vengeance Demon Hunter so that I can make sure that the Unholy Death Knight lives throughout the whole pull.

Supreme: Since Legion, Chingbb has been a very experienced Vengeance Demon Hunter player. We had different reasons for why used Vengeance Demon Hunter for Underrot and Siege of Boralus. For Siege, we chose Vengeance for its CC through Sigil of Misery and Sigil of Chains so that we could easily bomb all the trash with the Spotters. For Underrot, we used Vengeance because it gave us more room for error due to its self-healing in comparison to Protection Warrior. Due to the huge pulls in our Underrot strat to utilize the strength of Unholy DK AoE DPS on single-target, Lota needed to be able to focus his healing on me and not as much on the tank. The fact that the Demon Hunter class also brings a groupwide 5% magical damage buff is just a bonus.

Tomboy: The reason for the Vengeance Demon Hunter in Underrot was because of the very large pull before the 2nd boss. That pull is very dangerous and a Vengeance Demon Hunter doesn’t really need much care from the healer. This allowed Lota to focus on healing the Unholy Death Knight so that he could pump out crazy amounts of AoE. The reason for Vengeance Demon Hunter in Siege of Boralus was because of fear sigil, which allowed us to abuse the Spotters’ damage.

Chingbb: The main reason we played Vengeance Demon Hunter in Siege of Boralus was because of the Necrotic affix. In the case of Underrot, Vengeance has a lot of self-sustain in big pulls. It won’t die without a healer unlike Protection Warrior.

“After a few runs of a key with new affixes, I start to set a goal for my own personal DPS. I then go back and arrange where I want to call for everyone's defensive cooldowns to optimize my healing/damage GCDs on a pull by pull basis.” —Lota

VitaminP: This one’s for you, Lota. What mindset shift do you need to make as a healer in order to make these off-meta class picks work? Rogues are the DPS class with the most utility and survivability, so how do deal with these comp changes from dungeon to dungeon? How do you still do optimal damage as a Resto Druid when you’re healing different classes with different strengths of defensive cooldowns in each dungeon?

Lota: After a few runs of a key with new affixes, I start to set a goal for my own personal DPS. I then go back and arrange where I want to call for everyone's defensive cooldowns to optimize my healing/damage GCDs on a pull by pull basis. Rogue definitely does have better survivability than other DPS classes, but the point is that I ask for more defensives from my teammates when we’re at spots where I can do more optimal damage. When we're at places where I don't feel too much healing pressure, I let them save their defensives for times where my damage will be better suited.

VitaminP: Something that we saw from you guys in a few different matches was how you used creative comps and strats to catch up despite mistakes and wipes. For example, it was impressive that you guys almost caught up to Team D in Shrine of the Storm despite the big team wipe with the mistake of Windspeaker Heldis getting pulled. When you guys make mistakes, what is your process for problem-solving? Do you guys tend to stay calm in these situations or do voice comms get really chaotic?

Chingbb: At the time that the snap spot failed, I tried to call for a reset, but unfortunately the Shadowmeld did not work and voice comms were very chaotic. Even after that, everyone knew that we shouldn’t give up just due to that mistake and, as a result, we quickly regained composure.

Supreme: In shrine the accidental Heldis pull happened a few times in our practice. This is because the trash would normally snap onto our tank, but sometimes, the trash would just run to Ching and proximity pull the Heldis Windspeaker pack. This didn’t happen a lot in our practice, so it’s kind of unfortunate that it happened during the Cup. The only thing thought in my head during moments like that is to stay alive despite the mistakes. This makes it easier for me to judge what to do and how to recover.

Morito: Most problems will happen in practice where we will discuss in advance how to best deal with the situation if it goes wrong. However, some problems may happen mid-competition. If mistakes happen during tournament matches, just keep calm and remember what you practiced. As long as you don’t give up, you still have a chance to win.

Lota: Whenever we make a mistake, I always say “Its fine, we still can win. Let’s keep going.”

“After Underrot was over, the team felt defeated. We managed to regain composure and, after finishing Shrine, we knew that we were actually capable of beating Team D.” —Chingbb

VitaminP: Given how short of a time frame you guys have each Time Trials weekend to practice the dungeons before your times are recorded, how much time do you spend on making strats and practicing complex pulls before you decide on what you’re going to do for a tournament? Do all of you participate in the strat-making or are some people more involved in that process than others?

Supreme: We practice about 12-13+ hours every day. We often change tiny things in every practice run. After all the runs, we finally figure out exactly what we’re doing for the dungeon strat. Everyone on our team offers suggestions for our strat; it’s not a one person job.

Chingbb: It takes around a day to finish practicing. Some maps require an Unholy Death Knight, which makes our practice time even longer. Even then, everyone tries their very best to stay focused in our discussions.

Morito: Everyone pitches in during the strat discussions. Our tank and healer will express what is difficult about the pull and DPS will find ways to maximize the damage. We practice a lot in order to find the best possible route.

Tomboy: Usually Ching and Lota will come up with a route for us. Once we encounter a problem, we all try to fix it by changing the way we pull or even making the pull bigger.

VitaminP: We are constantly seeing evolution in the MDI with regards to strats and the meta. In season 3, Tol Dagor strats have had to change dramatically now that each cannon only has 5 shots. In the MDI East Cup 1, we saw you do a really great job with some giant cannon pulls in Tol Dagor despite the new 5 cannonball limitation and Explosives affix. How easy is it for you to adapt to new strats and new comps when things like this change in the game?

Lota: It’s definitely not easy. Honestly, we just keep practicing and trying different comps and strategies.

Supreme: The hardest aspect of this pull was to make all the trash stack together and not the actual cannon shooting part. It took us a lot of practice to make it work with the Explosive affix, but my teammates did a really great job.

Morito: In addition to the East, We always keep an eye on the strats that the West regions come up with. They are very good at keeping up with the meta after patches. We try to adopt as many strats and ideas as possible from both regions.

Tomboy: The previous patch where cannons had infinite ammo meant that there was more room for error. The cannon is able to kill mobs in 5 hits but, because of the limited 5 shots, the mobs have to be very concentrated now to make the most out of each shot. That is the key to getting a fast time in Tol Dagor.

Chingbb: We didn’t play Tol Dagor very well. It is very difficult to kill all the mobs in 5 shots. Compared to Method EU, we still have a lot of room for improvement.

“We will continue trying our best in the next competition and hopefully we can obtain and even better results. Also… Warrior DPS needs a buff.” —Tomboy

VitaminP: Is there anything else you want our viewers to know about you or your team? Feel free to add anything else you’d like to say bellow. Thanks so much!

Morito: MDI is like the NBA— the West is by far the best. We hope to accomplish more in the East and compete for the Championship. Blizzcon… we are coming.

Tomboy: We will continue trying our best in the next competition and hopefully we can obtain and even better results. Also… Warrior DPS needs a buff.

Supreme: See you at Blizzcon :)


About the Author

Vitaminpee mains a Brewmaster and loves to do competitive Mythic+. She is the Social Media Manager for Big Dumb Gaming and is attending Graduate School to pursue her Masters of Business Administration. She is a partnered Twitch streamer and Discord Partner who plays all tanks at max level and loves pushing keys with her friends. Feel free to message her via Twitter for any business-related inquiries.