GWFC 1st Season Playoffs
#4 The Benecia Renovatio [RenO] defeats #5 Esoteric Warriors [EW] – April 15, 2006
By Adam Sunstrom
Because RenO was ranked higher at the end of the ladder season, the first game took place on RenO's home turf, the Frozen Isle.
RenO came into this game with a split build consisting of two seemingly almost identical teams of one Warrior/Elementalist, one Mesmer/Monk, one Elementalist/Monk and one Monk/Mesmer. One Warrior used an axe and Eviscerate while the other had a sword and used Charge. Both were equipped with Shock, a good point-blank guaranteed knockdown. Both Elementalists used the popular Ether Prodigy as their elite skill, while one focused on Lightning and the other had a mix of Water and Lightning skills.
EW, on the other hand, ran a fairly straightforward spike build. Their team consisted of two Warrior/Mesmers, one Mesmer/Monk, two Elementalist/Monks, two Monk/Mesmers and one Necromancer/Monk. One of their Warriors ran Devastating Hammer while the other one was an Eviscerate axe Warrior. The Mesmer had Martyr for his elite skill, but spent most of his time in this game using Shatter Hex, Shatter Enchantment and Diversion.
Devastating Hammer [Elite]
Warrior - Hammer Mastery - Attack
Attack. If Devastating Hammer hits, your target is knocked down and suffers from Weakness for 5..20 seconds.
Right off the bat, RenO split their team into two groups of four. One team used Charge to get to EW's base as fast as they could around the west passage of the map, the other team headed for the flag stand.
EW stayed together in a single team of eight, and took the flag stand right away. As soon as they saw that RenO had split, they sent their Necro, one of the Elementalists and one of the Monks back to protect their NPCs. They succeeded in driving the RenO split team away, but not before losing three of their archers.
Meanwhile, at the flag stand, EW's team of five successfully kept RenO's team of four from capturing the watchtower. EW got their first morale boost 2:42 minutes into the game. As EW's defense team joined up with the rest at the flag stand, they managed to take two quick kills, and RenO backed off to split up once more. EW chased the RenO offensive team through the center, forcing them to stay on the run and hindering them from killing any archers or bodyguards. RenO gathered up at the flag stand but split up once more as the entire EW team headed for them. This time, RenO's offensive split team managed to kill one more archer before being driven out of the EW base by a defensive team of three.
The Esoteric Warriors took another kill at the flag stand and kept constant control of the watchtower. This prompted RenO to try a different tactic. Around 12 minutes into the game, they took the fight at their side of the flag stand, 8 vs. 8. This battle continued for almost 12 more minutes, with EW taking a clear lead. They kept complete control of the watchtower and earned six kills to RenO's two. It was clear that their spike build was more suited for 8 vs. 8 straight combat than RenO's split build.
A little over 23 minutes into the game, RenO finally abandoned this approach after taking a couple of deaths in a row. They backed up to their NPCs while sending three players towards EW's base through the western passage. EW responded by backing off with their entire team, but after some running around, they ended up sending their defensive team of three back to deal with the split while the other five attacked the RenO base. RenO killed a bodyguard of EW's while EW slew a few archers and got several player kills. The 30-minute mark was approaching fast, and it looked like there was no way Esoteric Warriors could lose this one. Their morale was +10 across the board, and although they were at a slight NPC disadvantage due to the loss of a bodyguard, it didn't seem like it could compare to the massive death penalty advantage they had.
The Esoteric Warriors backed off in preparation for Victory or Death, and congregated in the center area of the map. As the NPCs from both bases started to move, they began to head for the flagstand. RenO also headed for the flag stand, but at the same time they pulled a clever move. They sent one Warrior through the western passage to attack EW's NPCs as they left the base.
Using some skillful aggro management, this Warrior isolated a bodyguard and went 1-on-1 with the NPC while the archers stayed on course to the watchtower. However, EW became wise to the scheme and sent their flag runner E/Mo home to handle it before the bodyguard died.
Unfortunately for EW, the damage was already done. All of EW's NPCs had been delayed enough to arrive too slowly at the flag stand, where they were met by two bodyguards and a gaggle of archers already on top of the hill. RenO with NPCs not only outnumbered EW and their NPCs, but also had the terrain advantage and the flag stand.
By the time EW's bodyguard arrived, the team that had so recently seemed unstoppable had already lost archers, and it was too little too late for EW to turn the fight around. Around 32 minutes into the game, RenO got their first morale boost, negating the last advantage EW had. The Esoteric Warriors held out until their Guild Lord charged into the watchtower area, but the game ultimately belonged to The Benecia Renovatio.
Afterwards, Obscura of EW admitted their tactical mistake near the end of the game. If they had ignored the flag and the NPCs when Victory or Death rolled around, and chosen to try to fight 8-versus-8 at RenO's Guild Lord instead, the outcome might have been different.
The second game took place on Esoteric Warriors' Guild Hall of choice, the Warrior's Isle.
This time, RenO brought an overload build. They ran the same Warriors as the previous game, but instead of the Lightning Elementalist, they used a Necromancer with Offering of Blood and lots of spammable hexes like Life Siphon and Faintheartedness. In place of one Mesmer was a Ranger/Mesmer with Crippling Shot and Apply Poison. The remaining Mesmer had switched to a build with Migraine, Conjure Phantasm and Power Leak.
Offering of Blood
Offering of Blood [Elite]
Necromancer - Blood Magic - Spell
Spell. Sacrifice 20% maximum Health. You gain 8..20 Energy.
EW ran the same build they used in the first game.
Both teams brought all eight players to the center right from the beginning, and they never really left. EW started taking sporadic kills early, but never got the snowball effect going. At the 6:30 mark, EW had taken three kills, and RenO decided to send their Ranger around the side with the thief to try and nab EW's repair kit. He was crippled by NPC archers however, and killed by one of EW's Warriors and EW's runner before he could leave their base. As soon as the Ranger resurrected at the shrine, he went the same way again and killed an archer on the wall before the flag runner chased him away.
After that, it was more of the same 8 vs. 8 combat at the flag stand, with EW taking a few more kills and nobody gaining any morale boosts. At least, that's how it went until around 16 minutes into the game, when EW's flag runner dropped the flag right next to the watchtower, presumably because of an accidental weapon set switch. RenO were not slow on the uptake though, and returned the flag immediately. At this point, they pushed hard to hinder EW from getting the flag in, and got the first morale boost of the game at around 16:50, bringing their death penalty level back up to the same as EW's.
Shortly after, EW sent a Warrior with a repair kit around the side to try to repair RenO's trebuchet. He was close to succeeding, but RenO's Ranger drove him off. It wasn't long before RenO attempted the same, except through the center, and succeeded.
There were a few more kills by EW before the 30 mark rolled around, bringing Victory or Death with it. RenO then expertly placed one Warrior in EW's front gate while manning the trebuchet. The tactic was successful, and EW's NPCs stopped in their courtyard to fire at the Warrior while the trebuchet rained death on them from above.
When the Esoteric Warriors found themselves without any NPCs other than a Guild Lord, they sent their entire team, including Monks, around the southeast path to try to get to RenO's Lord. RenO reacted wisely to this gank attempt, and sent their Warriors off to slay EW's unprotected Guild Lord while the rest of their team went home to protect their own Lord.
EW's Guild Lord fell, and The Benecia Renovatio advanced to the semi-finals. In the end, it was a victory of superior tactical choices over the stronger build.
Adam has been playing Guild Wars since February 2004 when he joined the Alpha test, and has been interested in the competitive aspects of the game from the beginning. In the early Beta Weekend Events, he led his former clan, The Fianna, with success. He is currently playing with a top 16 guild on the ladder.