What exactly is the 21st Raider? Mythic raid sizes only go up to 20! Think of the 21st raider as a coach. No doubt you’ve heard of some of the top end guilds utilizing the position of a 21st raider to help with encounters. We use this extensively in DJs and it’s been beneficial for us. An orchestral conductor will often cue various sections during key entries (like the brass in Raiders March from Indiana Jones) even though they should already know this if they’re keeping time. That emphasis helps ensure that everyone is in sync. Likewise, the 21st raider can function the same way and help remind the raid what’s about to happen and how they should respond. It’s one less mental load that raiders need to keep at the forefront. I remember back during Shadowlands when we were progressing on Stone Legion Generals that there was often confusion between the big shared soak versus the individual solo soak (that involved running out and dropping circles). Having a reminder would have helped cut down on the number of pulls until we had it ingrained.
What you’re not there to do is to tell each player how to play their class unless it’s an integral part of the encounter (like Warlock gates or reminding them of defensive CDs). The big advantage of this is that it removes some of the thinking required for players and allows them to fully focus and commit to their rotation while staying alive. They still have to do some of the mechanics (because you’re not in there to do it for them), but a prompt or a reminder can go a long way, especially when progressing on a new boss. Encounters are getting increasingly complex, especially at the Mythic level.
So what does it take to be effective in that role?
Before we start that, we need to over the setup. Someone needs to stream their perspective to you so that you can see what’s going on.
How to Stream a Point of View Efficiently
Make sure the selected raider has a fast and stable internet connection with a great upload speed. This will allow them to stream at a high quality. They’ll want to stream at least in 1080 or higher with 60 FPS if possible. We use Discord for this.
- Have Raid Notes Displayed: Your MRT window with the note should be displayed on the side somewhere. I like to position mine on the far left portion of my screen.
- Show Raid Cooldowns: The raid caller will need to see who has what available in case they need to audible a defensive in the event a player dies or boss ability timing changes partway through the encounter. With MRT, it has the ability to display raid cooldowns. I personally use a combination of Weak Auras for this with Zen Tracker (Zera DF Update), and the ZT Front-End Textual. I can never remember what raid icons correspond with what abilities and I prefer having the names of both players and abilities.
- Boss Ability Timers: This one’s obvious. In order for the raid caller to do their job, they need to see what’s about to happen. Place your Bigwigs or DBM bars somewhere prominent. I prefer using the Raid Ability Timeline Weak Aura which condenses all the abilities into a timeline view but it can still be done with bars.
What information is important to call?
As the group progresses through the fight, the 21st raider’s responsibilities might change from phase to phase or as the group gets more progressed in the encounter. Balance important and relevant information with minimalism. Brad Pitt once told Matt Damon to not use seven words when four will do. So channel your inner Brad Pitt!
Critical abilities: Figure out what’s important and what isn’t. As the group first learns about the encounter, certain abilities have to be highlighted to remind the raid what’s about to happen and how to respond. But as they get more familiar, these types of calls can be reduced because of the ingrained muscle memory. After 4 or so pulls, you don’t need to remind people to line up pillars on Terros or to always drop puddles behind Eranog.
ExamplesTerros: “Stack for soak, line up pillars”
Eranog: “Puddles behind boss.”
Upcoming cooldowns: As your players start learning the damage patterns, it helps to reinforce which players are using raid cooldowns next. All it takes is a gentle reminder. Name the player and the spell so that they know. You may have to be prepared to call an audible in case that healer isn’t able to commit their defensive cooldown to it. Maybe they died early or you phased ahead of schedule and the spell isn’t available yet. Get creative. It’s not just cooldowns here because consumables play a part and even at this level, players often forget they have it available or choose not to use it (I call this the Megalixir effect).
Council: “Next Fire Axe is an Aura Mastery.”
Raszageth: “First shield in 3, this is DPS potions and Matt’s Divine Hymn.”
Terros: “This tank slam is a Health Potion.”
Raid movement: Another good one to mention is for upcoming player movements. You’re directing traffic and reminding the team where to go to drop off any important debuffs. This might also involve instructing when Warlock gates need to be used. Not just that, but this is great for any stacking or spread-out motions. On specific fights, you can wave off the group from soaking (like Kurog if a Mage has the frost bomb that they can Ice Block).
Sennarth: “Wait for Chilling, then take gate up the stairs.”
Kurog: “Freezing Tempest, stack in now.”
Dathea (Mythic): “NO MORE dunks on blue, all dunks on green.”
DPS Priority Targets: This one’s an easy one to miss especially for melee players. There are going to be bosses where adds will appear and they can show up in a part of the map that isn’t quite so obvious. On the flip side, it’s also necessary to issue stop DPS instructions in case you want to slow down damage so that you don’t enter a phase you’re not quite equipped for yet.
Sennarth: “Spider spawn in 3, get ready.”
Dathea: “Need to move Infuser, all stop DPS.”
Battle Res: Not every player that dies has to get resurrected right away. When the group progress is getting close to a kill, it might be better served to hold one in reserve just in case a more critical player dies (like a tank or a healer). This also applies for Shamans because they might have died in a bad spot and they can’t use their own self resurrection. If there are multiple players dead with a limited number of resurrects, it’s time to decide who will be more valuable alive. Maybe you don’t need the extra healer on their feet but you have to have extra DPS instead to help with the final push. Or there’s two DPS players down but one has offensive CDs available and the other does not. Lastly, not only do you want to control who takes the res but also when they should take the res. I’ve seen instances where the res is cast in a bad position or there’s an ability about to occur that makes it unsafe. Be prepared to say wait!
All that being said, work with the raid group to see what information is and isn’t necessary anymore. I hope this helps you become better at helping your raid. Players might find as they’re getting better that specific calls are getting redundant and don’t need to be mentioned. You’re there to function as a guide and to help reduce some of that mental load until it becomes second nature.