MDI Team Spotlight: Black Mamba Rebirth

Hello and welcome to the fourth 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, Cirra and I interviewed Blwong, Nvies, 止境, Likesevente, and Moon from team Black Mamba Rebirth of China. With the last East Cup of the Summer MDI coming up this weekend, we wanted to talk with them about their experience in the MDI and their future goals. We’ve seen their trials and tribulations over this past tournament season as they’ve worked to form almost a brand new team when three of their players quit after the Spring MDI season. Black Mamba Rebirth is a team that displays tenacity, humility, hard work, and they just never give up. As we’ve watched their growth this summer MDI season, we hope that this article shines a light on the wonderful minds behind their team.

I’d like to extend a special thanks to NasDa for being such a fantastic Chinese translator and liason for us again. You may remember NasDa from his translation work when I interviewed Ysne from Team D in season 2 or from his heavy involvement in assisting Alpha and reporting news on the top Chinese raiding guilds for the recent World-First Race of The Eternal Palace. We truly appreciate people who are willing to help us bridge the gap between the regions, since the communication barriers between us and Asia are probably the greatest given the fact that China has its own mainland publishing partner, Netease, and thus cannot track Mythic+ score on RaiderIO due to restrictions with the Blizzard API. Additionally, Chinese streamers do not stream to Twitch, but rather to another platform called DouYu. Despite all these barriers, it will always be my mission to conduct these interviews on deserving players regardless of region, so I truly appreciate the help of translators and contributors such as NasDa. Bravo and thank you again!

MDI Team Spotlight Series

If you like this interview, check out our other MDI Team Spotlights:

“When the mistakes happened, we first tried our best to avoid a full team wipe and recover from there. No matter how little the possibility of winning was, we would never give up.” —Nvies

VitaminP: Hi! Can you please tell us a little more about yourself? Our readers want to know more about you and not just the character that you play.

Blwong: People can call me Wong, which is my last name. I’m 29 years old and am the oldest member of the team. I live in Changsha, China. I am now a full-time WoW streamer. Apart from playing WoW, I also like to play DotA with friends.

Nvies: My name is Zhang Hao. I’m a 24-year-old living in Hubei province of China. Outside of WoW, my job is a travel photographer. I specialize in photographing and post-production graphics editing.

止境: Hi! I’m 止境 from Black Mamba. The name of 止境 was originated from my real Chinese name, 吴止境, which sounds exactly like a Chinese old saying which means “endless” or “limitless” in English. It also reflects my attitude towards gaming. I’m a 25-year-old living in Xi’an, China. I like to travel and try delicious new foods when I am not playing WoW.

Likesevente: Hello, everyone! I’m 导演 which means “director” in English. Because of this name, there is a WoW meme in the Chinese scene where people tend to think that I was responsible for every full team wipe that we had during MDI, which I was not! I’m currently a WoW streamer. I used to be a Warrior tank player who liked to push high keys a lot. Due to the fact that I really love the game and in order to prove myself on the stage of MDI, I joined Black Mamba and switched to the DPS role.

Moon: Hi guys, I’m MOON. I’m a 28-year-old veterinarian living in the city of Weihai, a beautiful coastal city in eastern Shandong province, China. Aside from playing WoW, my favorite hobby is to bully Wong!

Cirra: We’d love to know more about your team name. A lot of sports teams name themselves after animals in the hopes of intimidating their opponents. Was this the idea with Black Mamba? What changes have been made to your roster between the spring/summer seasons and why did you end up adding rebirth to the name?

Blwong: The team name was originated from the great Kobe Bryant, who I’m a huge fan of. Not only is it Kobe’s nickname, but the Mamba mentality also means never giving up. We were only a “new fish” back in the Spring MDI Cups this year, so we practiced a lot. Due to the really long hours of intense practice, the original members Hanks, Xinhesu and I all started to have serious physical health issues. Blue quit because he no longer had time to play due to personal reasons. So overall, 3 players left our team after this year’s Spring MDI. After I re-built the team, I wished it would have a brighter future than the old one. That was why I added the word “rebirth” in the name.

VitaminP: With new players coming into a pre-existing team, it can be a bit weird at first with people taking on new roles and overall team synergy. How well has the team worked together and 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/lust?

Blwong: We get along very well personality-wise. But when it comes to team synergy, there are still some improvements that need to be made. The fact that we had to start earning points as a new team because we swapped out 3 players and not being able to obtain enough points to attend BlizzCon had a hugely negative impact on our mindsets and team morale. Most of the interrupts and CCs are pre-assigned before the match, so everybody tends to focus on their own task.

Nvies: I’d say we have a pretty positive team atmosphere. Those that live in the same city also meet up with each other in real life. During practice, everybody tends to offer their opinions and insights. The 3 new lads work extremely hard as well. Real match experiences and stable performance are some things that we as a team are still lacking.

止境: We have a pretty enjoyable atmosphere where we tend to make jokes with each other. We like to call our team leader Wong an old man even though we are pretty much the same age. Wong is our main shot-caller and the rest of us help split the workload. Most of the interrupts are called by me and Moon is responsible for assigning marking, re-buffing, and calling for lust.

VitaminP: As people may have noticed by now after my interviews on Guardian Druid Lipkiss and Holy Paladin Kimchoco from Korea and Unholy Death Knight Ysne from China is that the East region has a history of being more creative/adventurous with bringing off-meta picks than the West regions in both live Mythic+ and MDI tournaments. Most of the time, your team tends to stick to a comp of Protection Warrior, Restoration Druid, two Outlaw Rogues, and an Unholy Death Knight, but we have seen you mix that up a bit with a Windwalker Monk and even a Fury Warrior during your Motherlode run in East Cup 1 lower finals. Can you please explain the thought process you go through when deciding on a DPS comp for each dungeon?

Blwong: Fury Warrior is Likesevente’s main and favorite class. He had only just started playing Monk right before the tournament. Fury Warrior is a very good spec for dealing with the Explosive affix and also shines in dungeons with small group of mobs like King’s Rest and Temple of Sethraliss. We tested a lot of different comps on the Tournament Realm. For example, my main class Blood Death Knight and Nvies’s favorite, Holy Paladin. But unfortunately they didn’t turned out to be as viable and effective as other comps.

Cirra: As well playing classes we don’t see very often in the MDI, you guys also like to show off some cool new strats from time to time as well. I absolutely love what you did here in Shrine of the Storm on this pull before the second boss! Despite finding innovative new snap spots to make pulls easier, we have also seen snap spots like this one go very wrong in the past, even causing remakes. Do you spend a lot of time finding snap spots like this and have you ever had mobs get stuck and start evading during your practices?

Blwong: Speaking of this, all credits shall go to our big brain, Moon. He likes to spend hours on finding all sorts of clever positions and snapping points in different dungeons all by himself and he is so good at it. If mobs do get stuck or start evading, we try to figure out the reason behind it. There are some other really cool snapping points we haven’t used in the matches because there is a small possibility that things could go wrong.

VitaminP: There’s always a lot of comparisons made between the East and West regions about which region is stronger in the MDI. East tends to be more creative with strats but finds it hard to execute them causing them to be slower. How would you feel if they threw your team in with say the European teams or even just had one big global competition where you weren't split into regions but played everyone?

Blwong: Nvies and I have participated in the Spring Finals this past year, so we know just how strong some of the Western teams are. Even though we are a newly-formed team, there is still a big gap between us and some of the top West teams.

Nvies: Wherever there is competition, there is comparison. As one of the teams that participated in this year’s Spring Finals, it was an honor to be able to compete with some of the best teams from the West region. If we were to compete in a one big global competition, I think we would be a midstream (middle-level) team at the moment.

“Although there is no hope for us to go to this year’s BlizzCon, we still want to finish what we started and we are seriously considering bringing out all of our favorite classes to the last East Cup this weekend to just try and enjoy the game as much as we can.” —Blwong

Cirra: I’m not sure how aware of this you are, but in the West MDI Discord last Cup, there was a little challenge going on between some of the teams to see who ended up with the most deaths overall. Currently in the lead, we have Abrakeydabra at 147 deaths total followed by Method NA at 117. Right now, you guys are absolutely dominating those numbers with 249 deaths this MDI Summer season! When you make mistakes, what is your process for problem-solving? Do you tend to stay calm in these situations or do voice comms get really chaotic?

Blwong: As much as we appear to be calm on the outside, we are actually easily tilted on the inside. We tend to be comforting with each other over voice comms even when huge mistakes are being made in the tournament. To be really honest with you, I don’t see Abrakeydabra and Method NA beating us on the total deaths leaderboard.

Nvies: Up until now, we were still lacking a lot of experience and stability as a team. We feel that we haven’t played to our full potential in this tournament yet because most of us were just too nervous when we were actually competing. As a result, some of the problems and chaotic situations we ran into during the actual matches were issues we haven’t even encountered once during practices. When the mistakes happened, we first tried our best to avoid a full team wipe and recover from there. No matter how little the possibility of winning was, we would never give up.

止境: We haven’t really counted it yet. But I guess it still sounds cool that we are dominating in one category on the leaderboard. Hehe :)

Cirra: Looking now at the final East Cup, you guys sadly can’t get enough points to overtake Team D and steal a BlizzCon spot, so what’s your plan?

Blwong: Being able to go to BlizzCon is pretty much the only reason why I attended MDI in the first place. It has been my childhood dream ever since I was just a little kid who loved to play StarCraft and then became a diehard Blizzard fan. This is why, despite the fact that I have a serious heart condition and my family tried to persuade me from participating in the tournament, I still wanted to give a shot. Maybe we set the goal too high at first and it put too much pressure on the whole team. Although there is no hope for us to go to this year’s BlizzCon, we still want to finish what we started and we are seriously considering bringing out all of our favorite classes to the last East Cup this weekend to just try and enjoy the game as much as we can.

Nvies: As much as we want the title and to go to BlizzCon eventually, all of us love World of Warcraft very much and it’s been a big part of our lives and beliefs. Team D is well-deserved to have a guaranteed spot in BlizzCon. It’s quite disappointing that we won’t be able to do the same, but we will finish the final East cup and will be bringing out some interesting strats and class picks if possible.

Likesevente: We might pick off-meta classes and put on a show for the audience and hopefully Blizzard will do a better job on class-balancing and class-diversity in the future. I think most of the people have already been tired of watching the so-called MDI comps and want to see more class get to performance in the tournament.

Moon: People might see a Survival Hunter, Subtlety Rogue, or an Arms Warrior making their very first appearance in this year’s MDI. Let’s find out this weekend.

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 Cup? Do all of you participate in the strat making or are some people more involved in that process than others?

Blwong: We basically cancelled all real-life commitments in order to make time for the MDI. We normally spend 8 hours practicing every day. Freehold, Atal’Dazar, Shrine of the Storm, and Waycrest Manor are the dungeons we practice the most and I have to say that I hate Kings’ Rest. When it comes to strats, everybody gets to offer their opinions and insights and we put them to the test first and come up with the best ones eventually.

VitaminP: So we’re nearly at the end of the Cups stage in the second 2019 MDI season where we’ve had a format of three Time Trials into three Cups and then a global final at the end. A lot of teams have said they are feeling the strain after 4 weeks of playing and competing. How is your team's morale/stamina levels going into this final East Cup? What format changes would you like to see implemented in future seasons to make the tournament a little less stressful for competitors?

Blwong: I have to say that the current Cup system is extremely unfriendly to us given that we had a big roster change. After the first East Cup of this Summer season, our hope of going to the BlizzCon was gone, so our team morale plummeted and it greatly affected our later performance.

Nvies: I wish that we could be given more time to practice and prepare in future seasons. Right before the first East Cup this summer, Outlaw Rogue got nerfed and it was extremely challenging for us to prepare for the Cup matches because we didn’t have enough time to practice other comps and make new strats all over again.

VitaminP: What would you hope to see in the future of MDI question? Are there any rules you wish you could change? Is there anything about the format you would change?

Blwong: I would like to see some adjustments on the MDI point system which can give more hope to teams like us or completely fresh teams who are trying to make it to the BlizzCon tournament. I would also like Blizzard to implement a class and dungeon ban/pick system to MDI or just simply allow the loser to pick the dungeon and the affixes to make the tournament more interesting and exciting to watch and also significantly reduce the workload from the teams for practice.

Moon: I think we also need some kind of punishment system for people or teams that randomly don’t show up without notifying anyone. The punishment can either be point deduction or team suspension for a period of time. It’s disrespectful and they don’t deserve the opportunity to participate in the tournament.

Cirra: I like to finish off these interviews with a fun question: if you could invent a piece of gear to be added into the game that would reflect you as a person, what would it be called and what would it do?

Blwong: It would be a trinket called “Wong’s automatic shield block system” which would automatically activate Shield Block at the right time and cost 0 rage. I used to main Blood Death Knight and I have only just rerolled to Protection Warrior very recently right before MDI Spring season, so I really need that trinket.

止境: I’m a die-hard Death Knight player. In China, we call Death Knights “corgi” (the pet) because their mobility is just terrible. Therefore, I would like to add a weapon called “Endless Blink Dagger” into the game and it gives the players the ability to blink for a certain distance, just like how it works in DotA 2. I think every Death Knight player needs this item.

Likesevente: I’d make a weapon called the “Orgrimmar Pig Head Hammer”, which stuns players for 10 secs after they are resurrected from death as punishment in order to constantly remind players to increase their survivability skills.

VitaminP: Is there anything else you want our viewers to know about you or your team? Thanks so much!

Blwong: 1) Please buff Blood Death Knight. 2) Please bring back Legion style class balance and diversity where every class gets to be played. 3) Please nerf the seasonal affix. Reaping was very fun to play with. Beguiling is a bit too hard for pug teams and has already made lots of my friends quit the game.

止境: Death Knight’s mobility needs some buff and also Resto Shaman in mythic dungeons needs some attention from Blizzard developers as well. I almost lost a friend in-game because he always complains about it.

Moon: More class diversity, please! It’s just plain sad that a lot of classes and specs don’t even have a chance to compete with meta comps. I don’t like to play Rogue personally, but I have to as long as I want to play competitively.

Likesevente: Survival Hunter is one of my favorite classes. It was quite fun to play with in Legion, but I feel like the developers have already abandoned this class in BFA, so I hope Blizzard can show some love to it in the future.


About the Authors

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.

Cirra was the captain and healer of the 2018 Mythic Dungeon Invitational team Kjell’s Angels and casted/analysed for the Mythic Dungeon International in 2019. He is the creator of Keystone Masters, the first community run MDI tournament. He’s described by friends as a procrastinator and yeah I’ll write the rest of this later…