MDI Team Spotlight: Method EU

Photo Credit: Reece Martinez for Blizzard Entertainment

Hello and welcome to the sixth and final RaiderIO MDI Team Spotlight of 2019! My name is Samantha aka Vitaminpee and with this series, we hope to help you learn more about the people who participated in the tournament. This week, I interviewed Fragnance, Gingi, Meeres, Naowh, and Zaelia from team Method EU, the winners of the MDI Global Finals which took place at BlizzCon earlier this month. Today, the boys of Method EU share insights on their success and the benefits of maintaining a positive mindset no matter the mistakes that happen in a run.

I’d like to extend a special thanks to Jah and Ulsoga of RaiderIO for an incredible year working for their website. November 27 was the anniversary of my very first RaiderIO article and, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’d like to thank them for the amazing opportunity I’ve had to highlight some of the great minds and personalities in the Mythic+ community worldwide. Thank you to all the awesome translators who have helped me on my projects this year and to Cirra for his numerous contributions throughout this MDI team spotlight series!

MDI Team Spotlight Series

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

“We have a general rule that we’re never allowed to be mad or upset when we’re in a dungeon. If something goes wrong, we already know why and calling that person out is not going to help us recover.” —Naowh

VitaminP: Hello and congrats on your huge 2019 MDI win! Can you please tell us a little more about yourselves?

Fragnance: Hey n’ thanks, aye sure. Name’s Jimmy. I’m 27 and I live in Sweden. I’ve been playing WoW on and off since its release and I guess over half my life. I didn’t really play WoW much until later into Mists of Pandaria where I ended up playing for Method in competitive raiding. Later into Legion, I found liking to high Mythic+. Outside of WoW, my biggest passions are probably music and motocross.

Gingi: Hey everyone! My name is Mike. I’m 24 years old and from Denmark. I first started playing WoW during Cataclysm, right as Dragon Soul got released. I played on a server called Bloodhoof where, funnily enough, I played with Zaelia who I still play with to this day in Method raiding and our MDI team. I have been playing dungeons at a high level ever since Challenge modes came out in Mists of Pandaria. Back then, we were competing for the fastest times in the world, compared to today’s high key pushing for levels and time. When I don’t play WoW or stream, I work out and spend whatever little extra time I have with family and friends. Most of that time spent with my Girlfriend :)

Meeres: Heyo, thanks! My real name is Marc. I am 21 years old and live in South Germany. I originally got into WoW because of my dad (who is actually still playing). When WoW first came out 15 years ago and I was super young, my dad bought it for us and took me into his Classic guild. Aside from my participation in the MDI in Legion and BFA, I’ve actually never really pushed high keys on live servers. Right before BlizzCon, I started studying at a university. In my free time, I like to read Mangas and watch Anime.

Naowh: My name is Robin. I was born and raised in Sweden. Even though I look young, I’m actually turning 26 in a month. Started playing WoW in late Vanilla and have been playing ever since with a lot of breaks. I played at the start of Legion, but got bored rather quickly and decided to take a break. I came back for Tomb of Sargeras and that’s when I started enjoying Mythic+. This was also when I started streaming and I have been enjoying Mythic+ ever since. Outside of my stream, I’m just your everyday normie. I hang out with my friends and enjoy life.

Zaelia: Hello hello. My name is Kenn. I just turned 25, meaning I've been alive juuust long enough to experience the journey all the way from Vanilla and through. Starting out, I was encouraged by my very own dad to play and experience this new massively multiplayer online game they call World of Warcraft. This was a big mistake for him, since I still sit glued to the chair, eyes locked on the screen, exploring all new chapters as they unfold to this day. I’ve always been competitive regardless of what I’m doing—whether it be slaying the homies in Guitar Hero, working together on a football team, or overcoming the bad guys etc. For as long as I can remember, it has been my nature to strive towards being the best version of myself. Some may know me from a quick 2-year hiatus in Heroes of the Storm playing for Team Dignitas, but for now, my home is Method and World of Warcraft.

VitaminP: How did the Method EU team come together?

Fragnance: I think it started back in Challenge Modes in Mists of Pandaria already with Gingi and Zaelia playing together. While I was running Challenge Modes in MoP too, it wasn’t with them at that time. Eventually, I ended up playing with Gingi and Zaelia in Warlords of Draenor. Ever since then, we had formed the basis of our team and swapped tanks, healers, and some DPS.

Gingi: Naowh, Fragnance and I have been together as a Mythic+ team ever since Mythic+ came out. We were looking to improve our team from last season and bring together a group of 5 people capable of winning everything. Meeres and Zaelia have been amazing additions to the group filling out the empty spaces lacking in our team.

Meeres: The main Method EU Team was originally formed in Legion with Naowh, Imba, Frank, Gingi, and Frag. After Legion, Gingi was searching for a new Healer and DPS. This past spring, I was looking to join a team for the MDI and Gingi happened to whisper me asking if I would like to play with them. We already knew each other from the Method raiding Team. The five of us have been playing together as a group ever since about 3 weeks before the first Proving Grounds.

Naowh: Gingi, Fragnance, and I all played together in the MDI back in Legion, but we made some changes to the team for BFA since we weren’t happy with our previous results. Adding Zaelia and Meeres to the team was a rather easy decision. Zaelia’s was a perfect fit due to his accomplishments in MoP speedrunning and Meeres was the best option we found for a DPS.

Zaelia: I came back to WoW at just the right time: early 2019 when Mike, Robin, and Jimmy had just finished their previous MDI season and were looking to establish a team for 2019. Mike had speedrun dungeons together ever since the Challenge Mode era began back in MoP, so I quickly found myself in the healer slot of Method EU. With the final addition of Meeres to round it all out, the homies were back on track.

VitaminP: How long did it take you to develop strong team synergy? How do you guys handle callouts and kick assignments? How scripted are your runs?

Fragnance: We’ve had most of our assignments laid out since the early Cups or from keys where “yolo” attempts at kicks caused wipes. We ended up just assigning who kicks what target for every dungeon and also have Gingi throw marks on targets for big pulls, since it can be hard to find your target in a pack of 20 mobs.

Gingi: The first Time Trial week was not the greatest. We had to adapt to a new meta after seeing how the other teams’ times were. And, magically after changing our composition in the last couple of days, we somehow managed to come out on top being the #1 seat going into the first Cup. I have no idea how we managed to do that. Ever since then, we have played the meta strongly and consistently, coming up with strategies faster and better than other teams with a short learning curve. Meeres and Naowh do a really good job working together to come up with our initial routes and then we, as a team, nitpick and come up with a perfected strategy after trial and error. Fragnance and Kenn are the muscles. We know we can put them on most classes and they will perform well mechanically and do whatever job we assign them to. I’m the team Captain, so I assign kicks, stuns, and any crowd control going on during our runs. I’m pretty much the shot-caller making the decisions and keeping the run together. Our runs are scripted down to the smallest details such as who uses potions where and who uses their cooldowns where to optimize the run to the utmost possible speed. A good example is Atal’Dazar’s priestess boss where we have one Death Knight commit Army of the Dead whilst the other Death Knight holds his Army for Rezan due to the fact that we can make the DPS push with just a single Army use on the 2nd blood soak and any extra DPS needed would be a waste.

Meeres: Our team synergy developed pretty quickly, but I don't know the exact timeframe it took to get there. Our runs are insanely scripted—for around 90% of the pulls, we don't even need to talk about interrupt or stuns. Everyone marks their own target and handles the interrupts, CC’s, etc. Gingi handles our shotcalling on boss fights or when we only have one target to interrupt. I would say that our runs almost operate on their own. One time, we even tried not calling a single thing in one of our Atal’Dazar practice runs and it worked out for the most part. The only 3 times we needed to talk were to call some things out when things happened that we didn’t plan for.

Naowh: I feel like everything just worked from day one. We never did Mythic+ on live together before we formed Method EU for this MDI since it’s only me and Gingi who actually enjoys high keys in BFA. We pretty much stepped into the spring season not really knowing what to expect, but realised rather quickly that our synergy and strats were just miles ahead of other teams. We pretty much plan every single cooldown/kick/stun in practice—nothing comes on the fly unless something goes wrong. Whenever we need to call out kicks, it’s usually Gingi doing that. I’m usually the guy calling out stuns/slows/knocks and Zaelia is calling personals, although this very rarely happens since every cooldown is already pre-set. An example would be our Atal’Dazar run at BlizzCon. Every cooldown throughout the entire dungeon was pre-assigned, down to everyone’s defensives, every offensive cooldown between the Death Knights, as well as every single kick in the packs. For example, we had one Shieldbearer each that we controlled just so we could focus on other stuff like mob positioning.

Zaelia: Our very first Time Trials were nothing short of a disaster. We were running a completely wrong meta (Blood Death-Knight tank and such), so we had one week to completely revamp our playstyle in order to adapt towards the current meta for the following Cup. We tried our best and somehow it worked out. We learned a hell of a lot that first round and, ever since coming together then, we've maintained a strong take on the meta and an ability to innovate and execute super swiftly in comparison with our competitors. If I had to break it down, our team currently runs with Robin and Meeres as the “brains”, Jimmy and I as the “muscle”, and Mike as captain holding it all together, calling and handling kicks/CC assignments. But the best part about the team is that everybody can, and naturally will, contribute to all parts, making everything come together nicely. Everything is scripted, down to the tiniest details—such as who uses potions where, who changes 1 Azerite trait for a bit more single target damage so we can meet this DPS check here so we can skip and Sap this at this timing, then I Ring this for Naowh to save Shockwave to cover there, so my Ring comes back up for the next Sap here so we can pull this for a bit more Death Knight DPS… everything we do is scripted to the teeth and ran for optimizing as one unit of 5 players.

VitaminP: Something that fans have noticed about Method EU throughout the year (and back in Legion) is how well you recover from mistakes in high-pressure situations. In Gingi’s post-finals interview with Eiya, he spoke about the importance of maintaining a positive mindset when things go wrong. What else do you attribute to your team’s ability to recover maps after big mistakes?

Fragnance: I don’t think we tilt less than any other team. To be honest, we always play with intent to win and expect to win, so when something goes wrong, we still mess up like everyone else. Since most runs currently are at their limit control-wise (CC’s, kicks, etc.) you really can’t just do a masspull to make up time just just because you lost control earlier in the run. Usually, we just try to calm down, tell everyone it’s fine, and continue on.

Gingi: When we have a full team wipe, there isn’t really a lot of talk going on. We are all in full agreement. If it’s salvageable, I try to come up with the best decision I can think of as soon as possible. We usually just stick to the plan, making small adjustments if needed like splitting a pull (such as in the full team wipe against Method NA in Atal’Dazar on the first pull). We could not repeat that pull due to the lack of Death Knight cooldowns after wiping, so we split it into 6 and then 3. After that we were back on track and everything was the same.

Meeres: I agree with what Gingi said about having the right mindset and not thinking about losing when we make mistakes. I can take you through the process that we tend to go through during wipes. When we wipe, we never ever flame the person who failed and this is actually super important. Normally when a fail of ours does not result in a full wipe, we say “it is fine” and try to make up for it in whatever way works in order to maintain proper timing on everything else we’ve planned. If we wipe, we try to stay calm and instantly problem-solve on how to make up the lost time or how to handle the pull with different CD’s other timings etc. Another important thing is that we will not start changing our strat just because we wiped—we stick to our plan and play the dungeon as if nothing happened.

Naowh: We have a general rule that we’re never allowed to be mad or upset when we’re in a dungeon. If something goes wrong, we already know why and calling that person out is not going to help us recover. There’s a famous meme saying we use during Cup games no matter the outcome: “It’s fine”. If something goes wrong, you just have to find the best solution for it and, since I’m the tank, it’s usually on me because I won’t have the same cooldowns or we’ll have less damage in the group. For example, in Atal’Dazar, we wiped on the first pull after committing all Death Knight cooldowns and lust, and we were like “Uhhh well, WTF do we do now?” I decided we would play 6 mobs into the remaining 3, since we would lack damage to do all 9, but I would be just fine to live since I’m usually not using my defensives on that pull. It was the same thing in our big wipe in Waycrest, since we knew we killed most of the mobs before we wiped. It was not going to be another rough pull and wouldn’t require a lot of cooldowns. I decided we would just Lightfoot potion and do the exact same pull with the remaining mobs.

Zaelia: When mistakes happen, there is a very quick agreement happening without having to say much. We have been spending so much time together that we are more or less on the exact same wavelength when it comes to decision-making. The absolute first thought in mind during an official match will always be about solving the current obstacle rather than shooting the blame. A great example is on the first map of the Grand Final, Atal’Dazar versus Method EU. We had a full wipe on the first pull. It’s clear that an interrupt was missed, but the calls was “It’s fine, BLAST THROUGH”, and then “Okay, go again. What CDs do we have?”, “No CDs”, “Okay, only 6 mobs then”. Then, we found the quickest way back on track into our script of cooldown-timings & assignments for the rest of the dungeon. This meant that we’d do 6 mobs into 3 mobs, and already be back on track with our cooldown timings when reaching our pull #2, even if it means holding cooldowns during the salvage. That way, it’s almost as if there was never a mistake in the first place. We lost time on the clock, but that was all. If you really want to win, nothing in the moment will distract you from coming up with your best bet in doing so.

“We’ve had tough games where we’ve handed games away, and we’ve also had games which were handed to us. It happens, though. When the pressure is high, mistakes are sadly too costly for good play to outweigh.” —Fragnance

VitaminP: What an incredible run you guys have had over the course of the MDI year. You went from being the tournament favorite to then losing 3-0 to Method NA in the Spring MDI Global Finals in Sydney. Then, in the Summer Cups, you won West Cup #1, lost Cup #2 to Abrakeydabra, and then lost Cup #3 to FourtyK. To go through all of that to then winning it all at the very first MDI Global Finals live at a BlizzCon must feel overwhelming. How has the experience been for you? How did you manage your time and maintain focus? If you could do the whole tournament year all over again, is there anything you would have done differently?

Fragnance: I mean, in my books, it’s been amazing. We’ve had tough games where we’ve handed games away, and we’ve also had games which were handed to us. It happens, though. When the pressure is high, mistakes are sadly too costly for good play to outweigh. I’m not sure really what happened in Sydney, but it felt like an off-day for us… maybe it was the sitting cold watching the game series being played, knowing that you’re about to play in the Grand Finals. Honestly, after the BlizzCon experience we had, I think I’d prefer to have the “guillotine hold” feeling of being in the Lower Bracket and staying warm by playing all the way through as opposed to waiting on the top getting cold.

  • Regarding practice hours, we stepped up our game for BlizzCon. A usual practice session would start around lunch time and go until midnight with a lot of breaks in-between, obviously.
  • During Cups, I’m usually opposed to endless practice hours and I make sure that we enjoy ourselves at times as well. I feel like there's always maybe the devil on my shoulder saying “you could’ve done more”, but there comes a point where practice has heavy diminishing returns.

Gingi: When we prepare for a Cup, the time is very limited and you have to come up with a good strategy quick and snappy. For BlizzCon though, we had a full 2 weeks to practice, so we took the extra time to perfect our strats. We had scheduled times from 12:30-24:00 everyday during our BlizzCon prep with planned lunch and dinner breaks. If we needed extra breaks due to various circumstances, we would take them. I think we did a very good job taking breaks when needed instead of banging our heads against the wall. I wouldn’t do anything differently looking back at our prep.

Meeres: The experience was insane and I will never forget it. All the time that we spent practicing and thinking about strats finally paid off and that feels great. If I could turn back time, the only thing I would change is the bad day we had in Sydney and losing Internet during the Cup #2. The rest of the time was great. We grew as a Team from Cup to Cup and I wouldn’t go back and change that. One of our strengths as a team is also how we manage our time. For a lot of teams, only having 2 days of practice is not enough, but we always managed to have a good strat for every dungeon and get in solid practice too.

Naowh: Losing Cup #2 and #3 didn’t affect us at all. We knew that we would have won #2 if I didn’t disconnect 3 times in Tol Dagor and Cup #3 we didn’t practice a single hour for, so we even expected to lose the first series (which we actually ended up winning). Winning BlizzCon was an insane experience, though. If anything, I was more scared that we would choke like we did in Sydney. Commiting time to practice is always rough since it really affects our streaming hours. No one really felt like turning their stream on after a 10h practice session to do live keys. Focusing on the practice wasn’t hard at all and we were all in the same boat—winning it all was more important than getting enough rest. I don’t feel like there’s anything we would have changed and I’m really happy with our performance throughout the entire year. One thing that I feel puts us really far ahead over other teams is our learning curve. We felt prepared for every single Cup. For our team, doing a dungeon 2-3 times was enough to gain consistent execution, whereas other teams struggled with the low amount of allocated practice time.

Zaelia: We would always go into official matches feeling prepared. However, the amount of preparation we did would determine how many “low percentage pulls” we could pull off. When time was a limiting factor in our practice for Cups, we went with a more streamlined approach: fast and efficient rather than slightly faster but more complex. I’d honestly attribute most of our wins to our smart and well-balanced practice hours. When you spend all day together (14+ hours) diving deep trying to make complicated things happen with consistency, you neeeeeeed to have some kind of schedule and plan to not just go completely nuts. I think we did a great job with taking reasonable breaks and making sure we stayed at least slightly healthy. In return, we get to be very proud of our ability to quickly conjure up good strategies, while consistently being able to execute them. This is definitely one of the areas where we felt we excelled when looking at other teams. I don't think there are many things I would've done differently per say—we all committed our full time and energy to the MDI. Even though keeping up with the competition was painful and difficult at times, we all went the extra mile and I’m super happy with our effort.

VitaminP: I’m seeing somewhat of a trend with teams winning Global Finals after getting knocked into the Lower Bracket. Back in 2018, we watched Kjell’s Angels win the European Group Stage of the MDI in the Finals after getting knocked into the Lower Bracket by Method PogChamp. They then won the Global Group Stage against Method NA after getting knocked back into the Lower Bracket. In the Spring MDI this year, we saw Method NA also win the tournament after first getting knocked into the Lower Bracket and then facing off against you guys again in the Grand Finals where they won 3-0. At BlizzCon, you started off the tournament in the Lower Bracket after losing against Method NA in Rounds 1 and 2 of the tournament (which were not broadcast live but can be viewed here), but then you went on to ultimately win the entire tournament. Do you think that starting out in the Lower Bracket actually helped gain your team some momentum? Can getting knocked into the Lower Bracket sometimes maybe be a small blessing in disguise?

Fragnance: I kind of dipped into this answer in the section above, but I think it can be an advantage to be in the Lower Bracket because you pretty much get more used to the feeling of being on stage and in competition. It’s always a bit of a different feeling to play in Cup practice, Cups, tournament practice, and the tournament itself. I feel like us having been able to play through the entire Lower Bracket gave us a swing of momentum where we were pretty much on top of our game. Maybe we weren’t flawless, but we were ready to react regardless of issues that come up and we were probably less prone to choke.

Gingi: When playing at home, being in the upper bracket is a big advantage. You sit at home preparing for your next games playing comfortably in your own chair being fully warmed up and ready for the upcoming map pools. When you are at a LAN tournament, you are just sitting there waiting to play if you are in the Upper Bracket while your opposition is sitting on stage, getting comfortable and ridden of nerves. Playing more games obviously can increase the chance of mistakes, but playing back to back games can also be a good thing.

Meeres: What a tough question because, in my opinion, the Lower Bracket has two sides—it can be either good or bad for a team to wind up there. In our case for BlizzCon, I believe it was the good side because we actually got nice momentum from playing so many games on stage back to back so that we were able to go into the hardest games already warmed up. Obviously, the downside to being in the Lower Bracket is that you have the pressure of being knocked out of the tournament, so that can be in the back of your head in addition to the fact that you also have a bigger map pool to practice. In the end, it paid off for us and I don’t think we suffered many negative effects from being “Lower Bracket boys”.

Naowh: I feel like getting knocked down into the Lower Bracket is actually better than coming from the Upper one. I think we had 3 games before the finals, and just played a series before the Grand Finals. Meanwhile, Method NA didn’t play for 2 series or something (I don’t remember exactly). I feel like you just build so much momentum on the stage compared to the other team. You don’t really have a lot of time to practice when you’re playing at a LAN. For example, in Sydney, we had to leave the practice area after the first game in the series before the NA teams were finished, and just sit and watch the next 1-2 games. Even if you have a tiny bit of time to practice the maps of the series, I actually prefer the momentum you get from lower bracket, not to mention that all eyes are on the Upper Bracket team. However, I prefered coming from the Upper Bracket in the Cups, since you had way more time to practice (you didn’t have to sit around doing nothing until your game) and you would go into the finals warm and really prepared for the final maps since you had 1-2 hours to practice whatever you wanted.

Zaelia: Absolutely. If you don’t fully lose, the Lower Bracket is the place to be. It’s just easier to have a good day when you play more matches and how it is to play with your nerves on full blast. Does it outweigh the extra preparation the Upper Bracket counterpart can have? Maybe, but it’s definitely a case-by-case situation. I would say that, more often than not, the Lower Bracket team in the Grand Final will have a much higher chance of “having a good day” and showing up strong in the final matches.

VitaminP: We know that you guys have all been “lights out” for several weeks, meaning that you kept all of your practices off-stream in order to protect your best strategies from getting copied by competitors. This is not unusual for a top PvE team in WoW, but for viewers who may not have seen your progression through the Spring and Summer MDIs, can you please highlight places where we may have seen some new strategies from you guys during the BlizzCon Global Finals that we didn't see from you in the Spring or Summer Cups?

Fragnance: In my experience, it’s not even the strat that matters the most. Most of the work involves micro plays or how you handle each pull by themselves. It’s important to invest time into picking each pull apart to make it work and then improve it each time so that it gets consistently faster. Another thing that made practicing off-stream invaluable for BlizzCon was the time we all spent seeing how different NPCs work and interact with their environment/other mobs.

Gingi: We did not hold anything back when we were at BlizzCon and it’s not like we did a crazy amount of changes. We go into every tournament with the same mindset. For BlizzCon, we just had extra time to practice, so the runs were more developed. One of the biggest changes we made was the amount of times we used a double Unholy Death Knight and Mistweaver Monk comp, which took us some time to fully optimize how we’d play those classes to the best of their abilities. I think the biggest change we made was to our Bolstering Atal’Dazar playing little to no Small saurids but instead play more equal HP mobs. We managed to come up with a good strategy removing honor guards from the equation using Paralyze, Blind, and Control Undead from the Death Knight.

Meeres: Yeah, sadly it is a must to go “lights out” in MDI because, at this stage, there are only super small changes you can make to your strat in order to win a map. To answer your question, we didn’t hold back any strats for BlizzCon. Everything we showed had just been changed for this tournament. The changes we made where not that big in every dungeon, but I can list some of the major changes we made to our BlizzCon strats. To start off, we tried to play double Unholy Death Knight + Mistweaver Monk in every dungeon possible because we believe it is one of the best comps at the moment.

  • Atal’Dazar: We stopped playing a lot of the middle part of the dungeon because of Bolstering. Instead, we did the right side in 2 pulls that were actually quite hard to play.
  • Freehold: Reaping was a lot of fun and we tried to go as big as possible, but nothing special.
  • Kings’ Rest: As shown in the clip above, we changed that first pull. After the second boss, we changed the packs that we play. Sadly, there is not a lot you can do to get a lead in Kings’ Rest.
  • Shrine of the Storm: We played double Unholy Death Knight and played almost the same thing as one of our old strats, just more “spicy” in the sense that we pulled more packs together than we used to.
  • Siege of Boralus: One change in Siege that was quite big compared to other teams was that we decided to skip a lot of Spotter count and just went for the “kill all the stuff in the way until the second boss” strat.
  • The MOTHERLODE: This dungeon is always a hard one. We tried to not play a lot of the low-health mobs in the start of the instance to avoid any Sanguine problems. Instead, we played some Azerite Extractors after the first boss and the rest was almost like every other Motherlode run we’ve done throughout the MDI this year.
  • The Underrot: this dungeon was not played at all this tournament, so no need to explain anything :P
  • Tol Dagor: We didn't play Tol Dagor at all because it wasn’t in the map pool for the tournament.
  • Waycrest Manor: This was probably one of the hardest maps in this MDI due to Quaking. We changed up the pull after the first boss a bit, but the biggest change was to pull the whole hallway to the third boss into the Hunting Lodge. This pull would have been so insane to see happen on stream, but we sadly didn’t manage to execute it properly in the actual tournament.

Naowh: We had a few new strategies up our sleeve, but in general, we just tried going bigger and riskier. The big pull in the first room of Kings’ Rest was one of the strats we had formulated a while back, but we never even attempted it in the previous Cups because we weren’t sure if we could pull it off without getting the Emissary of the Tides. We did this pull back in the spring season with Reaping, but this was the first time we did it with Beguiling and I’m pretty certain we were the only team doing it. For me personally, I went way more offensive at BlizzCon than the Cups. In the Cups, I played double defensive trinkets and your everyday Protection Warrior Azerite traits. However, for BlizzCon, I swapped and min-maxed my trinkets and Azerite way more. For example, I played Arcana in Kings’ Rest as a tank and used Merektha’s Fang in a few dungeons. These changes had to do with the increased practice time we had between the Cups and BlizzCon. For the Cups, practice was really limited and I didn’t know exactly how much damage I would take on every pull. Therefore, going safe was just smarter at that time. In general, I think we just played a double Death Knight comp way more at BlizzCon compared to the Cups. Making a really good pathing for double DK is hard and takes a lot of time, which is why we didn’t see it as often in the Cups. You need to play around the DK’s in every single pull and build the MDT completely around them. If you compare that to the double Outlaw Rogue + Windwalker comp that just uses their abilities on cooldown 99% of the time, you can tell the difference in the larger amount of pre-planning of strats when you swap to double DK. I can’t really think of another pull off the top of my head, but overall our mentality for BlizzCon was basically to just go bigger and play smarter.

Zaelia: That first Kings’ Rest pull was not necessarily anything new, but no one had pulled it off with those exact affixes so we spent a lot of hours in there grinding, tweaking and testing to try and make it work. It’s definitely something we took pride in being able to pull off on such a big stage. Hiding strategies was definitely something we considered along the season, but in the end, we always just decided against it. It’s too hard to adapt to an entirely new strategy during a tournament, so we always just went in guns blazing, blowing everything immediately and not withholding any big strats. It’s also good to get some “stage practice” with your routes and put them to the test so that your strats are extra ready for potential finals.

Photo Credit: Reece Martinez for Blizzard Entertainment

VitaminP: While this was not your first time playing at a LAN tournament, was it anyone’s first time playing on a big stage in front of a crowd? Do any of you guys have certain routines/rituals you go through to get ready for a performance like this? With all the festivities at BlizzCon, there’s obviously a lot of distractions and you’re coming from different countries all the way to California. How did each of you stay on track?

Fragnance: Before they got us to the Sheraton Hotel, we were in Irvine for two days. I only got a couple of drinks with some of the other teams and PvPers the day prior to competition, but in general, it’s all business until the tournament is over. In regards to the stage, I would say that I settle in and find my groove of what it’s like after the first map. Not sure if it’s the same for everyone, but if you have a plan and your gut is telling you that you’re going to win, it's easy to tune out all of the distractions until the keys are over.

Gingi: The day of the tournament is when you start feeling the excitement. I try to dwell inside my own head and calm myself down. Once you are on stage and about to play your first game is when the nervousness is at its peak. Once you have started you will automatically get into the zone and you don’t feel it at all. When we played the final, I was completely calm after being on stage the whole day.

Meeres: For me, it was the first time playing in front of a live crowd and it was great. I don’t think we have any special rituals we go through before the games. One thing we have going for us is that we all are either big streamers or already attended a Race to World First event where you are on stream basically 24/7, so we are all kind of accustomed to being on camera. The distractions were there, but having the opportunity to play on stage two hours before the real matches gave us the chance to experience all the sound effects and acclimate before the tournament started.

Naowh: I can’t speak for my team, but it was my first time playing in front of a live crowd. I went to BlizzCon last year and saw the All-Star games. I told myself that I’d do anything to sit up there and play in front of all these people. One year later, I got to experience it and even win it all. It was so epic. Honestly, I got more nervous in the Cups than I did on the stage both in Sydney and BlizzCon. The start of the first game on stage is always a bit shaky, but you get into it really quick. For me, I don’t even think about the fact that I have thousands of people watching me—it only gets to me after I’m done with the game. Regarding the festivities at BlizzCon, we decided that we would come as a team and stick as a team until we were done with our games. I guess you can say that Gingi is the dad in the team. I like partying and felt like going out for a drink after practice, but I knew that focusing on winning was the right call.

Zaelia: I think everybody competing on stage is nervous in some regard. You may either be more excited/more focused and play better on stage or you may be more insecure, a bit shaky, and maybe sweating a bit. It all depends on what kind of person you are, what kind of practice you brought to the tournament, and how well you slept etc. All these things play a role in how you feel on the day of a performance. Personally, I just try to embrace it as well as I can—deep breaths and soak in the air of the arena. You may be nervous, but everybody else is too including your opponents and that’s the beauty of it all.

Photo Credit: Reece Martinez for Blizzard Entertainment

VitaminP: What are your plans as a team for future MDI tournaments? Are there any features that were announced for the new xpac that you are really looking forward to or any that you think will change Mythic+ the most?

Fragnance: I haven't really had time for a deep dive into the upcoming changes and Mythic+ due to the MDI and other stuff going on IRL, sadly. However, I’m definitely going back to world-first raiding and hopefully we’ll make another MDI 2020 entry ;)

Gingi: Seasonal rewards are one thing I’m looking forward to in Mythic+. I can only hope that they will bring back titles like they have in PvP as well as mounts and other cosmetic items such as Transmog sets. My dream is that one day they will implement the MDI format into retail. I think it will be super popular in addition to increasing the interest of the MDI tournaments. I will continue to raid in Method swiping some more world firsts as well as going for the fastest max-level player in Shadowlands like I did together with Fragnance in Legion and then Meeres and Deepshades in BFA.

Meeres: I don’t think we have any concrete plans yet for the future. Hopefully we can stay together as a Team and compete in more Mythic+ Tournaments. For raiding, we hope that there will be no overlap with MDI in the upcoming expansion. I am looking forward to the new Season 4 affix. It looks pretty cool for Shadowlands and I want to see what it looks like in action in the dungeons.

Naowh: We haven't talked much about it, but as far as I know, we’re sticking as a team. After we won at BlizzCon, Fragnance said that there was no way in hell he would let anyone else experience winning on the stage, so I guess we have to help him out on that one. We never really did live keys together and I don’t think we ever will. Regarding raiding, it’s a bit weird, I’m fighting some of my best friends in the game instead of having them by my side because I will be raiding with the North American team Complexity Limit instead. I feel like a big reason to why Mythic+ went downhill in BFA compared to Legion is the dungeons themselves. They are really boring and you don’t have the same amount of choices as you did in Legion. Examples of this are Kings’ Rest, Temple of Sethraliss, etc. I just really hope we get to see dungeons where you have more free choices in Shadowlands.

VitaminP: Zaelia, you were accidentally skipped over in your post-victory interview on stage (#HealerLife right?), so I’d like to take a quick moment to ask you some questions about healing in high-pressure Mythic+. Prior to joining Method EU for this year’s MDI tournament, you were a professional Heroes of the Storm (HotS) support player. According to your Liquipedia page, you’ve competed in many world-first raid races in WoW with Method as a Restoration Shaman and hold multiple world records for Challenge Mode Dungeons back in Mists of Pandaria as a Brewmaster Monk. What aspects of playing HoTS on a professional level have carried over to WoW and vice versa? When troubleshooting and forming strats with your team on the Tournament Realm, how do you make decisions on how you’re going to optimize as a healer?

Zaelia: The thing I carry with me from Heroes of the Storm is the ability to function well in a group and just overall be a good teammate. This is one of the most (if not the most), sought-out qualities a player can possess. Try to imagine working closely with someone you despise 12 hours a day… it’s just not going to work. I had the pleasure of having great teammates for 2 years in Team Dignitas and it really taught me (sometimes the hard way), of the GIGA IMPORTANCE of doing your job, being on time, communicating problems swiftly, knowing your limits, and letting other people know them too (just good human things). God, I’ve come to really appreciate these things and I hope that these qualities are reflected in me! I try at least, hehe. When it comes to big pulls, the healer and tank don’t really matter as long as Unholy DK’s exist the way they do now, so it's all about making sure the DKs can get their damage out. I do most of the ground work with Naowh (how we gather up the pulls, who pulls what, how we chain our stuns, how we chain our CDs, etc.), but in the end, it’s all based around how much time the DKs need to set up their cooldowns and then destroy everything. I make sure to track all defensive cooldowns from all players and will regularly call for Gingi’s Cloak or a DK’s Death Pact usually just so that I can pump a bit of extra DPS especially on boss fights. However, these are all things that are already planned beforehand more often than not.

VitaminP: Now for the meme-value and the sake of thoroughness, I’m going to bring Eiya back so she can ask you her final question personally.

Eiya: What are your future plans? Do you miss HoTS or are you happy sticking with WoW esports now given the growth of the MDI and the World-First Races events (and do you hate me)?

Zaelia: I giga miss HotS. I miss owning noobs rather than just NPCs, but maybe it's also attributed to the recent state of BFA and how it hasn’t exactly been the most umm… satisfying. But in general, I’m happy with where I’m at and the people I’m around are still lovely so we’re chillin’—except for you, actually. Yeah, you I hate, definitely. 😆

VitaminP: Last but not least, what piece(s) of advice can you give to aspiring players looking to compete in Mythic+ or in competitive WoW in general? Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Fragnance: Reflect and judge your own gameplay. But more than anything, enjoy yourself. You learn far more if you’re motivated and have fun doing it.

Gingi: I was an aspiring player once. I used to look at the best players at their role and analyze the things they did. I’d try to imitate those things and improve them on my own. I was very self critical, so I always looked at my own mistakes and reflected on what I could have done better. Finding like-minded people and trying to become better together is something that has helped me become the player I am today. I surrounded myself with the best players I knew to keep a high standard. I would also like to thank everyone who has supported me and my team throughout this MDI journey, everyone who watches my stream on a daily basis, and to all of you who follow and support Method.

Meeres: One of the most important things is to make sure that you actually have fun playing the game because with that comes the passion to improve. This sets a perfect base for you to build upon. Make sure to reflect upon your own gameplay a lot before judging others. For that, I can recommend the Shadowplay function from Nvidia GeForce this helps you to make a quick re-play of what you did so that you can look at your mistakes/or improve aspects of already good gameplay even more.

Naowh: I think I covered a lot of that in the previous questions, but generally, you just need to understand how you improve. It doesn’t matter how much DPS you’re doing if your pathing and general layout of the dungeon is garbage. You need to be looking at the whole picture and utilize every single piece of your line-up. This can’t really be used for high keys since you play with different comps all the time, but would be my tip if you’re looking to participate in the MDI.

Zaelia: I ended up here because I had too much fun playing certain video games, so my grandest most exclusive tip would be: have fun :). Have fun with what you do, enjoy it, and then you’ll accidentally end up pro, I think. Shoutout to Method for picking me up and taking me in as if I never left and to the lovely sponsors MSI, Corsair, Twitch, Wowhead and Fanbyte! Last but not least, I want to give the biggest shoutout to all the fans making my way of living not only possible, but an amazing experience. Thank you! More streams coming soon™

Photo Credit: Reece Martinez for Blizzard Entertainment







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 on both the NA and EU regions. Feel free to message her via Twitter for any business-related inquiries.