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Match Report


#4 Esoteric Warriors [EW] defeats #6 Irresistible Blokes [iB] — May 28, 2006
Top European Guild Wins Season Two of the Guild Wars Factions Championship.
By Harold J. Chow


With European guilds earning huge upset victories over the top Korean and American guilds in the first round of play, it came as no surprise that the top two European guilds, Esoteric Warriors [EW] and Irresistible Blokes [iB], would end up facing each other in the finals of the Season Two Guild Wars Factions Championship playoffs.


Game One

Feast of Corruption
Feast of Corruption
Feast of CorruptionFeast of Corruption [Elite]
Necromancer - Curses - Spell
Energy: 15
Activation: 2
Recharge: 20
Spell. Target foe and all adjacent foes are struck for 16..80 shadow damage. You steal up to 8..40 Health from each struck foe who is suffering from a Hex.

EW ran a spiking build designed around Feast of Corruption to take advantage of its Imperial Isle guild hall. This map favors spike builds with its large central flag stand area, which makes splits difficult. Using a Ritualist with Soul Twisting and a Ranger with Oath Shot, Esoteric Warriors could fuel its spikes by constantly creating and destroying Ritualist and Ranger Spirits to trigger its Necromancers' Soul Reaping. This extra Energy allowed the Necromancers to carry powerful Monk skills such as Aegis and Heal Party.

Although iB successfully ran a build almost identical to EW's on the same map in the semifinals, iB chose a balanced build for Game 1 of the finals. On a typical GvG map, this type of build has quite a bit of flexibility, as the guild using it can either fight as a group or execute a split. The Imperial Isle, however, hinders typical split strategies because of the central open area around the flag stand.

GAME 1 LINEUP:
#4 Esoteric Warriors [EW] #6 Irresistible Blokes [iB]
N/Mo – Feast of Corruption, Desecrate Enchantments, Aegis, Extinguish, Holy Veil, Spirit Bond W/E – Axe Warrior with Eviscerate, Bull's Strike, Shock
N/Mo – Feast of Corruption, Desecrate Enchantments, Protective Spirit, Blood Ritual, Mend Condition W/A – Axe Warrior with Eviscerate, Bull's Strike, "Shields Up!"
N/Mo – Feast of Corruption, Defile Enchantments, Reckless Haste, Infuse Health, Karei's Healing Circle Me/Mo – Energy Drain, Diversion, Cry of Frustration, Blackout
N/Mo – Feast of Corruption, Desecrate Enchantments, Suffering, Heal Party R/Me – Crippling Shot, Apply Poison, Distracting Shot
N/Mo – Feast of Corruption, Defile Enchantments, Faintheartedness, Jamei's Gaze E/Mo – Earth Magic with Ether Prodigy, Obsidian Flame, Heal Party, Gift of Health
Rt/Mo – Soul Twisting, Shelter, Essence Strike, Gaze From Beyond Mo/Me – Divine Boon Protector with Mantra of Recall
Rt/Me – Expel Hexes, Recuperation, Essence Strike, Gaze From Beyond, Weapon of Warding Mo/Me – Divine Boon Protector with Energy Drain
R/Rt – Oath Shot, Pin Down, Frozen Soil, Quickening Zephyr, Primal Echoes, Shelter E/Mo – Air Magic with Windborne Speed, Deep Freeze, Ice Spikes, Heal Party
Morale Boosts: 5:50, 17:33, 30:51, 32:51, 34:51, 36:51 Morale Boosts: 0

Both guilds started the match by heading into the central flag stand area while each guild's flagrunner went into the acid-trapped hallways to retrieve a flag. Irresistible Blokes attempted to send its Warrior/Elementalist with its Guild Thief up a side ramp to infiltrate Esoteric Warrior's base, but EW quickly dispatched the Guild Thief at 00:29, quashing any hopes of an early base attack.

iB's main team retreated, avoiding direct confrontation with EW's spike build in the open. EW quickly eliminated the NPCs outside iB's base and, with its Guild Thief in tow, followed iB into the narrow confines of iB's base. iB sent its Ranger/Mesmer out the back gate to assist the Warrior/Elementalist, who had begun eliminating the NPCs outside EW's base. iB's other Warrior soon followed to carry a flag to the flag stand. Because the acid traps guarding the flags on this map make flag running difficult for someone with a Death Penalty, these maneuvers forced Esoteric Warriors to fall back at 2:45 to save its outnumbered Ranger.

Unfortunately for Irresistible Blokes, Esoteric Warriors not only saved its runner, but also killed iB's Ranger. Esoteric Warriors then forced iB to retreat again, killing iB's Warrior/Assassin just inside iB's front gate at 4:58. This push left iB's flagrunner, an Elementalist, isolated outside of iB's base, leading to this character's demise at 5:15. Despite iB's Warrior/Elementalist isolating and killing one of EW's Necromancers, Irresistible Blokes could not prevent Esoteric Warrior's first morale boost at 5:50.

Over the next ten minutes, Irresistible Blokes valiantly tried to turn the tide of battle. First, it sent its Ranger with the Guild Thief to help its Warrior/Elementalist eliminate some of EW's NPCs. iB also kept moving around the map to keep EW from landing lethal damage on a single target. Amid the chaos, iB attempted to interrupt EW's control of the flag stand. EW countered by tightly guarding the flag stand, forcing iB to engage EW head on to prevent further morale boosts. With casualties starting to mount, iB retreated and conceded a morale boost at 17:33.

Irresistible Blokes tried to keep the Esoteric Warriors on the move, but this maneuvering allowed EW to kill off more of iB's NPCs. By Victory or Death, Esoteric Warriors had achieved an insurmountable NPC advantage. Unable to defeat the NPC army at the flag stand or sneak by EW to attack the EW Guild Lord before 35:00, iB finally fell to EW at 37:00.


Game Two

Soul Twisting
Soul Twisting
Soul TwistingSoul Twisting [Elite]
Ritualist - No Attribute - Skill
Energy: 5
Activation: 0
Duration: permanent
Recharge: 15
Skill. Destroy target allied spirit. The next Binding Ritual you perform casts 66% faster and recharges instantly.

Both guilds changed builds for Game 2. Irresistible Blokes took advantage of its Druid's Isle guild hall by using a mobile build that allowed Warriors to shadow step by placing Recall on an Aura of Displacement Assassin. The team also improved its defensive capabilities with a Soul Twisting Ritualist.

Esoteric Warriors changed to a Warrior-centric offense supported by three Ritualists, a Mesmer, a Monk, and an Elementalist. On a map like Druid's Isle, however, the build's lack of mobility proved costly.

GAME 2 LINEUP:
#4 Esoteric Warriors [EW] #6 Irresistible Blokes [iB]
W/A – Hammer Warrior with Devastating Hammer, Death's Charge, "To the Limit!" A/E – Aura of Displacement, Golden Phoenix Strike, Twisting Fangs, Shock
W/E – Axe Warrior with Eviscerate, Shock, Distracting Blow W/A – Hammer Warrior with Devastating Hammer, Crushing Blow, Fierce Blow, Recall
Me/Mo – Martyr, Energy Burn, Signet of Humility, Unnatural Signet W/A – Axe Warrior with Eviscerate, Recall
Rt/Me – Expel Hexes, Weapon of Warding, Recuperation, Life, Gaze from Beyond, Essence Strike R/Me – Crippling Shot, Apply Poison, Distortion, Blackout
Rt/R – Soul Twisting, Union, Shelter, Gaze From Beyond, Nature's Renewal Rt/Me – Soul Twisting, Union, Shelter, Soothing, Shadowsong, Doom
Rt/Me – Spirit Channeling, Weapon of Shadow, Recuperation, Mend Body and Soul Mo/Me – Divine Boon Protector with Mantra of Recall
Mo/Me – Healing Monk with Blessed Light, Drain Enchantment, Inspired Hex, Hex Breaker Mo/Me – Divine Boon Protector with Energy Drain, Distortion
E/Mo – Mind Shock, Blinding Flash, Windborne Speed, Gale, Ice Spikes, Teinai's Prison E/Mo – Air Magic with Windborne Speed, Deep Freeze, Ice Spikes, Heal Party, Extinguish
Morale Boosts: 0 Morale Boosts: 6:58, 11:21, 14:54, 16:54, 18:54, 20:54, 22:54, 24:54, 26:54, 28:54, 30:54, 32:54, 34:54

When both guilds met at the flag stand to begin Game 2, iB's Assassin split off to infiltrate EW's base. While the battle raged, iB's Assassin used Aura of Displacement to attack an EW Archer. However, EW's Elementalist/Monk flagrunner had stayed back in the base to facilitate a "double capture" of the flag stand. Between the Elementalist's Blinding Flash and damage spells, the iB Assassin earned a quick 15% Death Penalty at 1:22.

Recall
Recall
RecallRecall
Assassin - No Attribute - Enchantment Spell
Energy: 15
Activation: 1
Duration: upkeep
Recharge: 10
Enchantment Spell. While you maintain Recall, nothing happens. When Recall ends, you Shadow Step to the ally you targeted when you activated this skill.

Undeterred, iB's Assassin returned to the battlefield with a Vine Seed to open the back entrance into EW's base. When iB's Assassin successfully infiltrated EW's base and started killing Archers, EW sent a Monk back to alleviate the situation. However, when both of iB's Warriors used Recall and shadow stepped at 4:26, the outnumbered EW Monk could not prevent the numerous NPC deaths that followed. With the rest of iB's team able to hold out near the flag stand, iB's Ranger came to assist iB's infiltrators in killing EW's flagrunner at 5:52. Unable to recapture the stand in time, EW conceded iB's first morale boost at 6:58.

With NPC deaths mounting and its Monk unable to stand alone against half of iB's team, EW fell back to deal with the threat and minimize losses. EW regrouped and captured the flag stand, but with iB's players still roaming freely in EW's base, EW's flagrunner could not run flags safely. Killing Esoteric Warrior's flagrunner twice more earned Irresistible Blokes its second morale boost at 11:21.

iB's ability to defend the flag stand while simultaneously demolishing Esoteric Warrior's base made it difficult for EW to run flags except as a group. EW's attempts to take the flag stand allowed iB to kill both of EW's Bodyguards by 17:26, leaving EW with only one Archer to defend its Guild Lord. EW proceeded to "turtle" in its base to keep its Guild Lord alive until Victory or Death. However, EW could not push out of its base at Victory or Death and suffered several casualties in the process. With the game well out of EW's reach, iB wrapped up its victory at 36:51.


Game Three

Shelter
Shelter
ShelterShelter
Ritualist - Communing Magic - Binding Ritual
Energy: 25
Activation: 5
Duration: 30..60
Recharge: 45
Binding Ritual. Create a level 1..8 Spirit. Non-Spirit allies within its range cannot lose more than 10% maximum Health from a single attack. When this Spirit prevents damage, it loses 75..45 Health. This Spirit lasts 30..60 seconds.

Back in its own guild hall, Esoteric Warriors turned back to its Game 1 build. Irresistible Blokes, on the other hand, used a build featuring five Mesmers with Air Magic. By using both Elemental Attunement and Air Attunement, these Mesmers generated high damage output without severely depleting Energy. However, this type of build typically has difficulty with Shelter, which EW had already used in Game 1.

GAME 3 LINEUP:
#4 Esoteric Warriors [EW] #6 Irresistible Blokes [iB]
N/Mo – Feast of Corruption, Defile Enchantments, Extinguish, Spirit Bond, Gaze of Contempt Me/E – Fast Casting Air Magic with Lightning Orb, Lightning Strike, Gale, Inspired Enchantment
N/Mo – Feast of Corruption, Desecrate Enchantments, Protective Spirit Me/E – Fast Casting Air Magic with Lightning Orb, Lightning Strike, Cry of Frustration
N/Mo – Feast of Corruption, Defile Enchantments, Reckless Haste, Infuse Health Me/E – Fast Casting Air Magic with Lightning Orb, Lightning Strike, Gale
N/Mo – Feast of Corruption, Desecrate Enchantments, Suffering, Heal Party Me/E – Fast Casting Air Magic with Lightning Orb, Lightning Strike, Gale
N/Mo – Feast of Corruption, Defile Enchantments, Faintheartedness, Jamei's Gaze Me/E – Fast Casting Air Magic with Lightning Orb, Lightning Strike, Cry of Frustration
Rt/Mo – Soul Twisting, Shelter, Essence Strike, Gaze From Beyond Mo/Me – Divine Boon Protector with Energy Drain
Rt/Me – Expel Hexes, Recuperation, Essence Strike, Gaze From Beyond, Weapon of Warding Mo/Me – Divine Boon Protector with Mantra of Recall
R/Rt – Oath Shot, Pin Down, Frozen Soil, Quickening Zephyr, Primal Echoes, Shelter Mo/Me – Life Barrier, Vital Blessing, Aegis, Blessed Signet
Morale Boosts: 7:58, 9:58, 11:58, 13:58, 17:28, 19:28, 21:28, 23:28, 25:28, 27:28, 29:28 Morale Boosts: 0
Gaze of Contempt
Gaze of Contempt
Gaze of ContemptGaze of Contempt
Necromancer - No Attribute - Spell
Energy: 10
Activation: 1
Recharge: 25
Spell. If target foe has more than 50% Health, that foe loses all Enchantments.

Game 3 continued the pattern of home-team domination. Although Irresistible Blokes made use of Life Barrier and Vital Blessing to keep spikes at bay, Esoteric Warriors used Gaze of Contempt to remove all of its target's Enchantments. Using this Factions skill, Esoteric Warriors notched its first kill before 1:30. Despite holding out for another five minutes, Irresistible Blokes surrendered a morale boost to Esoteric Warriors at 7:58 after suffering two quick deaths. As EW increased its kill count, iB retreated to its base at 13:00.

Unable to push forward to the stand, Irresistible Blokes sent a Mesmer out the back gate with the flag to interrupt EW's flag stand control. This Mesmer's subsequent harassment of EW's flag runner forced EW to withdraw from iB's base. In the ensuing chaos, iB's Mesmer tried to infiltrate the EW base with the Guild Thief in tow. Esoteric Warriors quickly eliminated this threat, however, forcing Irresistible Blokes to retreat again.

Although Irresistible Blokes scored several kills by taking advantage of times when Esoteric Warriors did not have Shelter available, EW kept iB pinned inside the base. With no dedicated flagrunner to secure a morale boost and the need to focus on keeping party members alive, iB could neither retake the flag stand nor keep NPCs alive. Once EW managed to spike down iB's Life Barrier Monk, iB could no longer defend against the spike and EW's victory became a mere formality. EW finished off iB's Guild Lord at 29:42 to claim the Season Two Championship.


Harold J. Chow is one of our freelance Guild Wars reporters. His in-game name is Guild Informant.