Shadowlands Castle Nathria Mythic Raid Racing

            December 15th started the race for the mythic finish line with the launch of the Castle Nathria mythic raid. Thousands of guilds face off against 10 intensely difficult bosses to see who can be the first in the world to beat the raid. As of the writing of this, more than 5 days later, none of the teams have crossed the final hurdle but some of them are getting very close.  It like will be quite a while until WoW accounts with mythic gear are available in this market.

            Each mythic raid group is composed of 20 players, the small number of contributors being one of the key reasons the mythic raids are so difficult. With Castle Nathria, you can normally face off against the bosses in different orders but since all of these guilds competing to be the first in the world to beat Castle Nathria, it is only fair to have the bosses arranged in the same order. Less luck and more strategy will help the very best in the world stand out for skill rather than their good RNG.  Many players have been frustrated with heroic raid difficulty and have made the decision to sell their WoW account rather than face the challenges.

            Of the 10 total bosses, the top 10 contenders for the title of first in the world have all beaten 7 of 10 of the bosses. To put a name to that count, all 10 of those guilds have managed to beat (in this order) Shriekwing, Huntsman Altimor, Hungering Destroyer, Artificer Xy'Mox, Sun King's Salvation, Lady Inerva Darkvein, and The Council of Blood. Each of these bosses is a challenge unto themselves with unique mechanics that would make even one of them a challenge for a 20 player party. It is an ineradicable feat of gamesmanship that so many guilds have gotten so far in relatively so little time.

            The wall that is holding up all but the top 3 guilds appears to be the 8th boss of Castle Nathria, Sludgefist. Sludgefist is a single-phase boss and a hell of a bruiser that packs a wallop. Nothing some proper tanking can’t handle, right? Well, Sludgefist is the 8th boss, so he has to have a few tricks up his sleeve. And none of Sludgefist’s tricks are more devastating than his tethering ability. Sludgefist connects players together, forcing them to try and maneuver the battlefield without moving more than 12 yards from one another. If you move too far apart and the tether is broken then both players take massive damage.

            The teams are probably having a hard time surmounting Sludgefist’s steep “win condition” where he will periodically destroy pillars and sections of the room and, if not mitigated properly, will deal enough damage over time to wipe the party from this effect alone. Timing and maneuverability are essential, but so is the coordination, and that makes this seemingly simple boss fight a real test for even the most seasoned guilds.

            The guilds in the top 3 positions of this race to beat mythic Castle Nathria are Pieces, Echo, and Complexity Limit. Pieces is holding third, managing to bring down Sludgefist, only to run into trouble against the 9th boss, the Stone Legion Generals. The Generals are 2 bosses built into a 3 phase fight with a wide array of high damage random target attacks. They have to be fought with mechanical precision and top tier teamwork or you won’t be able to make it to the end. It is impressive to beat this boss with a full raiding party, but just 20? It is unsurprising that only the top 2 have managed to get past them to the final boss.

            As it stands now, Complexity Limit and Echo have both managed to defeat the generals and only have one boss standing in their way. These are two teams each with their own impressive stories that make them worth rooting for. Complexity Limit is the defending world champion from the last expansion mythic race, Battle for Azeroth. They have a title to defend and, so far, has been doing so fantastically and maintaining a more than decent lead. But the margin has become slimmer and slimmer as team Echo has caught up with them to face off against the final boss at the same time.

            Echo is made up of former members of Method, a guild that has lost a lot of its talent due to the mishandling of sexual misconduct allegations. Rather than signing on elsewhere, the former Method power players formed a new guild and it looks like they have something to prove. Complexity Limit better take full advantage of the extra strategy time they had because they are going to need every trick in the book to beat the final boss before their title is snatched from beneath them.

            The 10th and final boss that both these guilds are up against are Sire Denathrius. Sire Denathrius, like all good devastatingly hard WoW bosses, has three phases. During each of these phases, Sire Denathrius will be utilizing massive AoE damage as well as random target abilities. Denathrius would be a party killer outside of mythic, and the smaller party means even less wiggle room for messing up. His 2nd phase adds power summoned flying swords to his list of ways to kill you and then the 3rd phase is just more of the same, actually. Well, he does create a copy of himself during the 3rd phase who can cast all the same abilities, but technically we’re right.

            Even with the top players in all of WoW competing for days straight, it’s no surprise to us that Sire Denathrius proves a more than an overwhelming challenge. Heck, we’re still impressed that some of the guilds managed to be Sludgefist. Then again, we have watched all types of teams overcome intense challenges with strategy, teamwork, and skill time and time again and we have no doubt that Sire Denathrius will go the same way. Okay, maybe just a little doubt. But that will make his defeat, and the earning of the title of world champion, that much more exciting when it happens. We have been sitting on the edge of our seats for a few days now, and we will probably keep doing so until one of these guilds manages to pull off the raid of a lifetime.


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