Q&A with Method Jdotb, Affix Advice, MDI Talent, Eye of Azshara Boat Skip



In this week’s Mythic+ roundup, the Mythic Dungeon Invitational Talent has been announced, we’re highlighted the Eye of Azshara Boat Skip and we’ve got our Q&A with Method Jdotb which includes questions from the community and advice on this week’s affixes!

Q&A with Method Jdotb

Want to ask Jdotb a question? Leave a comment below and we’ll pick some questions for Jdotb to answer in the next Q&A!

Jdotb plays a Resto Druid and will be participating on the Method NA team in the Mythic Dungeon Invitational. He has achieved multiple World Firsts and currently holds many of the top times in the NA Region. He frequently streams his Resto Druid gameplay. Find him here:

Q&A

Is there one class that should really be in every M+ team or are all 5 slots pretty versatile?

It’s hard not to recommend an affliction warlock for every M+ team right now, at least for pushing higher keys. Perhaps most importantly (and I’m not joking) warlocks can make Healthstones for free when Astral Healing Potions routinely cost 200 gold on the auction house. You can easily save a thousand gold per dungeon if you’re liberally using Healthstones (which you should be when they are free). There is a very noticeable hesitation in warlock-less groups to use a Astral Healing Potion — I can almost hear the gears turning in my party’s head when big damage comes out trying to calculate whether this key is important enough to justify the Astral Healing Potion cost. This has only been an issue since Astral Healing Potions were introduced with Argus because the previous Ancient Healing Potions were incredibly cheap. It’s not an exaggeration when I estimate that running with a warlock has saved me at least a hundred thousand gold.

Warlocks are also key to the “kite meta” that is becoming increasingly popular in high keys. The idea is to tag several packs of slowable mobs, group them up and let the tank establish some aggro on them, and then have the tank run out and start kiting. The mobs will chase the tank instead of trying to use their abilities, and the rest of the group is free to unload on the now-harmless mobs. Warlocks make this much easier with Sacrolash’s Dark Strike which causes Corruption to slow mobs by 60%. The warlock just DoTs up the whole pack, and the tank is now able to kite without having to use any movement abilities.

Healthstones and kiting aside, warlocks are strong in all phases. They do great damage, they are tanky, and they have unreal self-healing even after the recent nerf. Warlocks are competitive in both single target and AoE damage, and their boss damage scales with more mobs so you can cheese some fights by pulling in trash or spawning adds. Warlock’s defensive cooldowns let them survive some of the nastiest one-shot mechanics in the game without breaking a sweat (pay attention during your next Amalgam of Souls and see if the warlock’s health bar moves when Soul Burst pops). And if a warlock does take damage, drain soul lets them quickly top themselves off.

Lastly, warlocks have historically been central to a lot of dungeon shenanigans because of their summons and teleports. Summoning allows people to hearth out mid-dungeon and respec then quickly get back to the group. Teleports have been used for several questionable skips, some of which have been hotfixed but many of which are still available.

Warlocks are as close to “necessary” as a class can get right now.

What is your biggest fear when doing high M+ as a resto druid?

My biggest fear as a resto druid is one-shot mechanics, particularly on other members of my group. Druids have Bear Form and Barkskin which lets them live through almost anything, but frequently my teammates aren’t as fortunate. Spike damage — especially of the single target variety since it isn’t affected by avoidance — can be very difficult to deal with. Ironically, the healer is often a bystander in these situations and your teammate’s fate is in their own hands; either they have enough health and mitigation to survive the spell or they don’t. Healers are limited in the ways they can actively prevent damage rather than heal it. There aren’t many spells or items in the game that let you shield or reduce damage taken.

Further complicating this predicament is that WoW doesn’t have a lot of tools to quickly judge whether someone is going to die to a mechanic. Currently players are forced to use third party websites to input their stamina, avoidance, versatility, etc. and plug in the level of the M+ key to determine if they will survive big hits like Lady Hatecoil‘s Focused Lightning or General Xakal‘s Wicked Slam. There are some weakauras that will attempt to calculate your effective health in real time so you know whether you need defensive cooldowns, but those can be tough to trust when a key is on the line.

RNG is the cherry on top. Two of the most stressful fights to heal in M+ are Hyrja and Xavius because of the onslaught of random single target damage. Hyrja is notorious for using Expel Light and Arcing Bolt almost simultaneously on someone. It’s incredibly difficult to live through that and also completely random if or when it happens. Expel Light at least chooses different targets each time it moves around; Xavius has nothing preventing him from using Nightmare Bolt and Feed on the Weak over and over on the same target. If you get targeted three times in a row, you will probably run out of cooldowns and die. As a healer, it’s frustrating not having any way to help your teammates survive.

In a nutshell, my biggest fear in M+ is damage that I’m powerless to heal.

For DPS, how vital is team comp compared to team familiarity?

The higher the key gets, the more team composition matters. A lot of the tools that make classes “strong” in high keys are completely unnecessary in lower keys: strong personal defensives, powerful crowd control, battle resses, immunities, etc. You aren’t forced to use most of those abilities in lower keys and instead rely on pure damage to kill things before they cast.

Team familiarity on the other hand is significant at all key levels. Knowing that your big trash pulls are always going to start with Leg Sweep into a Solar Beam into a Sigil of Misery makes it a lot easier to do all keys. And knowing ahead of time what pulls your tank is going to do lets you plan out your big cooldowns as efficiently as possible so that you aren’t wasting Combustion or Incarnation: Chosen of Elune on three mobs.

There are some abilities in the game that are simply irreplaceable, however. You either have Shroud of Concealment or you don’t. Sure, you can have your party run through the mobs, drop a Failure Detection Pylon and resurrect on the other side, but that’s time-consuming (and expensive). Is your tank trying to kite on Skittish week? Better have Tricks of the Trade or Misdirection. Want to permanently crowd control one of the adds on Moroes? Freezing Trap or bust. Strategies can be very specific to the classes you have in your group, and it won’t matter how good your communication or coordination is if you simply don’t have certain tools in your kit.

If I had to pick one, I’d take a group with lots of experience together over a PUG with ideal classes.

Do you think immunities are balanced?

Immunities by their very nature are imbalanced. You don’t have to look back very far at previous raids to see a litany of examples of classes being stacked because they can immune dangerous mechanics. In an infinitely scaling environment like M+ where eventually damage becomes unlivable and unhealable, immunities allow you to break through the “ceiling” that is supposed to exist in high keys. You either have an immunity and live or don’t have an immunity and die. That could not be less balanced.

This issue is brought into sharp contrast by the recent changes to battle res. It used to be that at least battle res competed with immunities because if you couldn’t live through a mechanic, you could at least be ressed. Now that option is a lot riskier with the shared recharge of battle res. You get one new battle res for the entire group every 10 minutes, yet the cooldowns on immunities like Ice Block and Divine Shield are at most 5 minutes and aren’t shared by the group. Some semi-immunities like Cloak of Shadows and Aspect of the Turtle are even shorter cooldowns.

Immunities are a holdover from the early days of WoW and realistically don’t have a place in today’s competitive environment. Either every class needs an immunity or no class should have an immunity because it’s literally impossible to balance a fight when some classes can ignore lethal mechanics at will. Perhaps the best example in M+ currently is Moroes, a fight whose central source of damage (Garrote) can be removed four (four!) times by a paladin with appropriately timed Divine Shield and Blessing of Protection usage. It’s not an exaggeration to say that a holy paladin halves the necessary healing required on Moroes strictly through the use of immunities. Another example is Mana Devourer, where the intended mechanic — collecting orbs and dropping stacks by soaking a puddle — does such incredible damage that you have to abandon that strategy even on keys lower than +20. Instead the only viable way to keep Mana Devourer from mana-capping is to soak orbs with immunities. And if you don’t have immunities? Then it’s time to start uncorking all the battle resses that you’ve hopefully been saving up for this exact moment.

I’m not holding my breath for changes to immunities anytime soon, but so long as they exist it will always be a “haves vs. have-nots” situation.

Is it difficult to prepare for the MDI when Blizzard isn’t forthcoming with details like M+ key level?

Certainly it’s better to know the details of the MDI as soon as possible for planning your team composition, but unless Blizzard deviates wildly from the last MDI, everyone already has a general idea of what to expect. Blizzard may even be waiting to decide some of those details; perhaps they want to see how teams fare in the time trials before deciding what keys to use in the regional rounds, etc.

I think the more salient issue is the disconnect between the MDI format and pushing keys on live servers. The MDI requires teams to speed run through relatively lower keys as opposed to live servers where the goal is to push a key as high as possible. While those two activities are related, they have significant differences that materially impact the classes you want to bring for the keys. Survival is the top priority on live servers while the MDI stresses big pulls and strong burst damage. Some classes that are almost entirely locked out of competing on live servers because they simply can’t live through an entire key might become strong contenders in an MDI setting with less threatening bosses.

Making M+ into an esport (which is presumably what the MDI aims to accomplish) will require standardizing the format of the competition. It’s understandable why Blizzard doesn’t want to have people running +27 keys in a live broadcast — the match might take an hour if nerves flare up. But if that’s going to be the format moving forward, then that format needs to be implemented on live servers so that teams aren’t having to learn a completely new meta every time the MDI rolls around.

The MDI should be the World Series of M+, but instead it feels more like the Home Run Derby.

Comments on this Week’s Affixes

Dungeons Most Affected by Teeming:

Dungeons Most Affected by Explosive:

  • Black rook Hold: aggressive pulls in the hallway after Illysana and on the stairs up to Smashspite and Kur’Talos will now be rewarded with a bonanza of explosive orbs.
  • Neltharion’s Lair: kiting is a popular strategy to deal with Rockbound Pelters, but you’ll likely run into orbs spawning at range that can be tough to keep pace with.
  • Arcway: ever been halfway through pulling all the spiders in Nal’tira‘s room when the first fel explosive spawns and reminds you it’s Explosive week?

Best Dungeons to Run This Week:

  • Darkheart Thicket: the Teeming mobs in here (bears, keepers, elementals) are either skippable or non-threatening. Not a lot of big sprawling pulls in here so Explosive is manageable. The hardest parts of this dungeon are Dresaron and Xavius, and neither are affected by these affixes.
  • Court of Stars: extra Sentries are mostly a one trick pony (did Throw Torch kill someone?), and the additional Inquisitors can be skipped and mob count made up elsewhere. There are a few pulls that make Explosive tricky (mana wyrms and imps), but the mobs die fast so the orbs shouldn’t get too out of control. Like Darkheart Thicket, Court of Stars is mostly about the last two bosses which aren’t affected by these affixes.
  • Vault of the Wardens: you’ll have to deal with some extra trash at the start of the dungeon and some Broodmothers before Cordana, but these are tame compared to other Teeming dungeons. Explosive can rear its ugly head on some of the early pulls but basically disappears after Inquisitor Tormentorum.

Mythic Dungeon Invitational Talent Announced

The Mythic Dungeon Invitational Talent have announced themselves on Twitter earlier today. Here is the lineup that we’ve found so far!

Hosts:

Casters:

Eye of Azshara Boat Skip

This week we wanted to highlight the Eye of Azshara boat skip. This skip saves time by not having to go through King Deepbeard’s cave and making up trash count usually on smaller and easier packs.

Here is a breakdown of the clip:

  1. Shakib, the Vengeance Demon Hunter, runs up the boat, uses Double Jump and Glide to make his way to King Deepbeard’s Cliff Face.
  2. Shakib mounts up on a multi-seater mount (Reins of the Traveler’s Tundra Mammoth or Reins of the Grand Expedition Yak) and stands on the edge.
  3. The rest of the party, but most notably the Warlock, Sarryna, can now jump off the boat into the mount.
  4. Sarryna places his Demonic Circle on top near the edge and then hops down.
  5. Sarryna mounts up on a multi-seater mount and the remainder of his party gets in.
  6. Sarryna uses Demonic Circle to teleport himself back on top, with the party members who were sitting on his mount.

Note that the jump is also possible from a Druid with Wild Charge in Travel Form and can carry another player who is riding on their back.



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