What Aldo Raine Can Teach You About Raid Leading


What on earth could you learn about killer raiding and leadership from a ridiculously accented, revenge-based officer coming out of Maynardville, Tennessee? Answer: Quite a bit! If you haven’t watched Inglourious Basterds yet, I’d strongly recommend watching the movie.

The Lieutenant puts together a team of eight soldiers to go behind enemy lines and do nothing but kill German Nazis. Aspiring raid leaders would do well to pay keen attention to Aldo the Apache’s style.

What exactly does he do?

Ability to identify talent

Aldo has a keen eye when it comes to evaluating people with certain skills. When he hears of someone who’s in a tough jam that helps fulfill a need, Aldo will go out of his way to extend an invitation.

As leaders, always keep your eyes and ears open for players out there who may augment your guild in some fashion. If your guild is raiding, never turn down talent right away. Take a look at them and see if that player provides something that your guild could use.

Be direct

Don’t beat around the bush. It’s okay to pick words wisely. There’s better ways to tell someone that they need to improve other than they suck. But you have to be prepared to get straight to the point and not play passive-aggressive. Tell your players exactly what went wrong or where they messed up. After every wipe, I look through Recount and Obituary to find out the events that lead to our wipe and I’ll explain to everyone what happened. This way, we’re all on the same page for the next attempt and we can minimize the chance of that happening again.

Common sense

Sometimes it’s common for leaders to overthink the scenario. All you really need is some basic common sense. As Aldo says, “You don’t got to be Stonewall Jackson to know you don’t want to fight in a basement.” When it comes to strategy and tactics, examine the room you’re in. Take stock of the boss abilities and the players you have.

In the Faction Champions encounter, your raid doesn’t have much room for error. It’s different every time and it’s going to rely a lot on players. Leaders need to make the right call at the right time in terms of what’s the next target and who to lock down.

Push players hard

Either your raiders are going to sink or they will swim. Push and stress them to their limits. Now that summer is just about over, we’ve all but abandoned Ulduar and are setting the guild crosshairs on both Trial of the Grand Crusader hard modes for 10 and 25 man. We’re taking a “Survival of the Fittest” mentality when it comes to selecting personnel. Syd and the rest of the officer corps did an excellent job while I was away to recruit some extra players and now it’s their chance to show why they should remain. This means continuing the grind of raiding.

As Aldo says, “You know how to get to Carnegie Hall, don’tcha? Practice.”

Set expectations

On the first day Aldo meets his recruits, he makes his expectations and intentions absolutely clear. Leaders set the bar that everyone needs to reach. For raiders, lay down a rough DPS benchmark that they should be able to hit on test dummies or on certain bosses (Patchwerk or Ignis). It’s difficult to set benchmark for healers but I try to look at their potential healing throughput (like 2000+ healing per second on some fights, or their assignments get rotated to see if they can cope).

Right from the get go, every man under Aldo’s command owes him one hundred Nazi scalps.

… And he wants his scalps.

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About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.


  1. 5) Always think about raid leading

    Watching movies, brushing your teeth, taking the dog for a walk, you may just have the inspiration to glean a new insight!

    Ha ha, just joking, great stuff Matt as ever.

  2. Good stuff but there’s so much more to it – for real longterm success raid leaders need to come to grips with what it means to be a real leader

    Unfortunately there are a lot of “I shout a lot at people so we win!” or “I think I know better than everyone else but dont have a clue” raid leaders out there that don’t really understand what leadership actually means :\ Let alone raid leading

    The big problem with games like these MMOs is that they force people to group and leadership skills are so rare finding someone capable of decent leadership is extremely difficult. A lot of folks do try and some get by ok, but others oy.

  3. A brilliant film and a great way to analyse and apply it to WoW! Luckily I just have to worry about the healing side of things but I’ll certainly be referring to this post if I ever end up as a raid leader. Thanks for all the handy tips 🙂
    .-= Elyneth´s last blog ..Shaman Loot in the Trial of the Champion =-.

  4. I pose to you a what if. And its mostly a philosophical and hypothetical question.

    What if it were not the soldiers, but Aldo Raine, who was a bad soldier. To drop the metaphor, what if it wasn’t the 85% of the raid, but it was an officer who, for lack of a better term, sucked. Who reviews them, especially if its those doing the reviewing?

    These kind of topics bother me in the sense, it always talks about the raiders, but what if its not them, but one of the officers who are exhibiting poor play? Generally when the question is posed, it results in “then they will be dealt with, the same as the raiders” but in my time playing WoW, I’ve seen countless officers begin exhibiting less-than-optimal gameplay regularly, but the ones removed were often more than not, a raider who happened to have blame placed on them.

    Like I said though, my question is entirely hypothetical and posed towards any whom may answer.

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