Tier 19 Begins: An Introduction and Hype-up to the Race

Tier 19 Begins: An Introduction and Hype-up to the Race

It’s here! Well, almost - less than a day from now we will officially be in the first tier of Legion World First raid progress. Now, I wanted to address some widespread comments and concerns about this particular race as well as get us all primed and hyped for this premiere event in WoW PvE.

A lot of people have said things along the lines of “well this isn’t going to be a good race because no competition etc.” Well guess what? This is basically the raiding equivalent to “WoW is dying” and has been happening in almost all raid tiers so far. First it was the US guilds dominating, then when that stopped everyone claimed it was the end of competition while Nihilum was on top, then Ensidia was expected to dominate everything, then Paragon, then Method. And while it’s never that simple and there’s always something interesting going on, this particular race could be the most exciting and unpredictable of them all. Allow me to explain.

A Recap of Recent Events

So, let’s start with what’s happened and what situation the guilds are in, in case you haven’t been following the events since last progress. The first hit to the race was Paragon’s announcement that they wouldn’t be raiding, as they were Method’s main competition during Warlords, so that was the first instance of “competition over, it’s all Method’s now”. Incidentally, a number of Paragon players went to form an Overwatch team, and Seita, the GM, and Fragi are currently playing together at Ninjas in Pyjamas.

The big news was obviously Method’s split, with a large part of the guild leaving and forming Serenity. As usual, this was supposed to spell Method’s doom and it was all over for them (and the race), they’ll never be seen again in progress raiding! Except they bounced back pretty quickly, integrating Rapid Eye Movement, the current No.6 into their ranks before beta raid testing began.

The US/OC side of things didn’t get a pass in the final tier of WoD either, and while Limit and Ascension took some early kills, Midwinter re-established their dominance towards the end, only to falter at the finsh line and lose a lot of members. We’re still expecting them to show up for this race, but for now it seems Limit is the favorite in that region.

The Asian scene also suffered some fractures, mostly with Chinese guilds. The No.1 guild, Korean based AFK R seems to have made it out ok as we saw in the Heroic coverage, but one of the oldest Chinese guilds, Stars (Yogg-saron +0 WF), has stopped raiding, with some players moving to Allstar. Asia No.2 KeaHoarl also saw some turbulence, with ex-raiders forming a new guild called PanGu, but the main guild is still going strong as well. Style War had a similar fate, as they’ll still be raiding, but their leader formed a new guild called Alpha.
Huge thanks to @andyice_77 for giving us the lowdown on the Asian servers!

Tier 19 Begins

So, what does this all mean for the race? Currently Serenity are considered the favorites by a lot of people, simply because they have the largest number of raiders from the previous World First guild. However, as anyone who’s ever raided in a top guild knows, there’s much more to what makes a team successful than that. In my opinion this race has the potential to be the closest one we’ve seen in a very long time. The three top contenders at the moment would seem to be (alphabetically, nothing to infer here) Exorsus, Method and Serenity and each of them has things going in their favor.

As mentioned above, Serenity has the highest concentration of World First raiders of the three, but they are a very new guild which brings with it a lot of issues and they’ve had some roster problems recently with a tank and healer leaving as well.

Method suffered the biggest hit, obviously, but REM was an established guild for a long time and with the additions from Method, especially Rogerbrown - who is mostly responsible for Method’s winning boss strategies - they’ve recovered well.

Exorsus are the rock in this analogy, a large, tough, Russian rock. They’ve been around for a long time, under the same leadership, consistently staying in the top and have suffered no significant losses.

Limit seems to be in charge for the US/OC servers, but just as they supplanted Midwinter at the top in Hellfire Citadel, there may be a rival out there gunning for their spot, perhaps even Midwinter themselves, or Limit just might push it up a notch and come up into the very top.

You can never count out Asian guilds either, but since we don’t have that much info on their raiding scene, and their success is usually dependent on how long the race lasts, we can’t really get into specific details there.

Guild item levels

That was all well and nice in theory, but what do the numbers say?

Note: The numbers from Wowprog don’t take Chinese guilds into account and the highest Korean/Taiwanese guilds are around 861.

Guild Region / Realm Item Level
Serenity EU-Twisting Nether 865.45
Exorsus EU-Ревущий фьорд 864.66
From Scratch EU-Sargeras 864.42
Method EU-Tarren Mill 864.16
Entropy OC-Frostmourne 864.15
Midwinter US-Sargeras 864.12
Ðanish Terrace EU-Sylvanas 864.11
ScrubBusters EU-The Maelstrom 863.40
Easy US-Aerie Peak 863.27
Prime EU-Tarren Mill 863.07

Race Duration Concerns

One of the key factors in all races is their actual duration. The biggest impact this has is in the potential for competitiveness for Asian guilds, as mentioned above, since they start two days after the US/OC and one after EU, so the shorter the race, the worse it is for them. On the other hand, the longer the races goes, the more it becomes about who can spare the most time out of their schedules to raid the most insane amount of hours per day. The current consensus is that two, two and a half weeks is optimal, so the raid has at least some semblance of difficulty, but so it also doesn’t start messing with people’s lives to an extreme degree (although it’s all extreme to most of us).

Now, this specific raid, the Emerald Nightmare, might have an extra issue here. The fear is that it may just be very, very short, and not just because of its' relatively low number of bosses. The new expansion brought with it some new itemization features, the biggest of which are two extremely rare events: an epic item proccing Titanforged to 895 item level and, of course, legendary items. We’ve previously discussed the effects of disproportionate legendary distribution among the guilds, but my concern is more about their impact on the overall length of the race. Since these items are so rare, it doesn’t seem plausible that Blizzard would tune Mythic with them in mind, and since the top guilds almost certainly have the most legendaries and 895 epics out there (at least statistically, I’m sure individually some haven’t had luck with them) there’s is a real possibility that they’ll just steamroll through the entire raid due to being overgeared. When you add to that the 1 day delays for EU and then Asian guilds, that starts being a huge issue for the race itself. Unfortunately, all we can really do is hope that Blizzard took all this into consideration and at least Xavius proves to be a worthy challenge and a great start to a really great expansion.

In closing, I’d like to reiterate that I honestly think this might be one of the best and certainly closest races so far, with many candidates vying for the number one spot in a way we haven’t really seen in a long time. Even if it does turn out to be a short one, the Trial of Valor, and much more so Nightwell raids are sure to make up for it and they aren’t that far away either. Also, I think you’ll love the changes we made and new features we’ve added to the progress race coverage page that's up now, adding more reasons to why this just might be the best race, at least for those of us following it, in WoW so far!

xavius concept art

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