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Match Report


That Hideous Strength [THS] vs. Black Crescent [BC] — June 1, 2006
By Daniel Jennings


This match, which took place early in the third season of the GWFC series, featured an aggressive display from two top guilds: That Hideous Strength [THS], ranked 28th with 15 wins and 3 losses, and Black Crescent [BC], ranked 16th with 22 wins and 3 losses were the contenders. Each team sported two very similar builds, and in the end it came down to the skills each team carried that allowed them to counter the offensive capabilities of its opponents. In this typical-length match, That Hideous Strength used its skills effectively to defeat its higher-ranked opponent with minimal casualties.

That Hideous Strength [THS] Black Crescent [BC]
W/E – Axe Warrior W/E – Hammer Warrior
W/E – Axe Warrior W/E – Axe Warrior
R/Me – Spike Ranger Me/A – Domination Mesmer
R/Me – Crippling Shot Ranger Me/Mo – Domination Mesmer
E/Mo – Air Elementalist E/Mo – Water Elementalist
N/Mo – Order of Pain Necromancer Mo/Me – Boon Protection Monk
Mo/Me – Boon Protection Monk Mo/Me – Boon Protection Monk
Mo/Me – Healing Monk Me/Mo – Illusion Mesmer

That Hideous Strength and Black Crescent came equipped with similar builds. Specifically, Black Crescent used two Domination Mesmers, one carrying the Guild Wars Factions skill Shadow Shroud in conjunction with its Warriors to spike single targets with damage. The team also utilized a Water Elementalist to hold a target in place while the Warriors, one Hammer and one Axe, unloaded their skill combinations in quick succession. A Mesmer wielding Illusion Magic was used to drain an enemy's health with degenerative spells.

That Hideous Strength, on the other hand, supplemented its Axe Warrior-based physical damage with two Rangers; a Spike Ranger was employed to deal large amounts of damage in a flash, while a Crippling Shot Ranger kept the team's targets in place for a pounding. The team additionally used an Order of Pain Necromancer to boost the effectiveness of its Warriors in close combat.

Skill SpotLight


Shadow Shroud
Shadow Shroud is a powerful new Elite Hex Spell in Guild Wars Factions that belongs to the Assassin's Shadow Arts attribute. This spell, when cast on a foe, prevents that player's team from casting Enchantment Spells on that target. This effect is especially powerful with the current style of Monk that most teams bring into guild-versus-guild combat, the Boon Protection Monk. Since this style of Monk generally relies on cheap, low-recharge Enchantment Spells to heal their allies (such as Protective Spirit, Guardian, and Reversal of Fortune), Shadow Shroud essentially shuts down the Boon Protection Monks from healing. That Hideous Strength was lucky in one respect that the team's healing capabilities were comprised of a combination of a Boon Protection Monk and a Healing Monk. Even though the Boon Protection Monk had a difficult time healing teammates Hexed by this spell, the Healing Monk picked up the slack until Shadow Shroud either wore off or was removed. The most obvious, and effective, counter to this spell is simple Hex removal.

The match, held in That Hideous Strength's map, Warrior's Isle, started abruptly with each team aggressively pushing to the flag stand. When both teams met, each completed a series of coordinated spikes. Unfortunately for Black Crescent, only That Hideous Strength was successful in its efforts. Between 1:15 (when the first Black Crescent player died) and 7:40, That Hideous Strength scored eleven kills on the enemy while suffering no casualties of its own. This was a direct result of the skill arsenal that the team carried which allowed it to counter the opposition. Specifically, That Hideous Strength's Air Elementalist used Blinding Flash generously to blind two Warriors on Black Crescent, and also arranged Wards Against Melee that gave the team protection from Warriors in the event that the effects of Blinding Flash wore off or were removed.

At 3:45, That Hideous Strength secured its first Morale Boost. By 4:08, the battle moved from the flag stand to the center of Black Crescent's base. The team began to play more defensively, camping just outside of range of Black Crescent's Bodyguards to pick off stragglers as they wandered outside of protection range of the Guild Lord. The team attempted three offensive strikes at the heart of Black Crescent's base, but gave up after repeated deaths of the first Axe Warrior as he was body blocked by the Guild Lord. After unsuccessful attempts to kill Black Crescent's NPCs, That Hideous Strength adopted an interesting strategy 19 minutes into the match. The team formed a line and ran circles around Black Crescent's base between the Guild Lord and the front gate.

Skill SpotLight


Return
Return is a skill new to the Guild Wars Factions campaign. It allows the user to teleport directly to the position of an ally within spell casting range and also cripples foes at his or her previous position for a variable amount of time. That Hideous Strength's second Warrior used this skill after luring an enemy soldier to his position. Return thusly serves two purposes: one defensive and one offensive. The defensive effect is removal of the user from the combat area, potentially saving his life. The offensive effect is the crippling part of the spell, which allows the user to Cripple a group of foes adjacent to his position.

The match continued uneventfully until the 29:45 mark when That Hideous Strength retreated to a position just outside of Black Crescent's base. This paid off at 30:45 when That Hideous Strength killed both Bodyguards and all Archers from Black Crescent's base with one well-placed shot from the catapult. This allowed NPCs to control the flag stand unopposed. By 31:30, the flag stand was controlled by That Hideous Strength's two Bodyguards and nine Archers. With most of the map under control, That Hideous Strength picked off its foes one by one with precise spikes. At 34:40, Black Crescent made its final offensive push against the opponent's base by charging in through the side gate. The defending team fell back in time. At 34:55 each team positioned itself outside the respective bases to welcome the Guild Lord at 35:00. When the Guild Lords met at the flag stand, That Hideous Strength killed the human players on Black Crescent's team before assaulting the enemy Guild Lord. At 36:45 Black Crescent's Guild Lord fell, sealing the victory for That Hideous Strength.


Daniel Jennings, known in-game as Derek Ravenclaw, is a Computer Science student currently residing near Seattle, Washington. Daniel has been playing Guild Wars since its launch in April of 2005 and is currently an Officer of the Angry Businessmens guild. Other than enjoying games such as Guild Wars, Daniel's hobbies include computer security and game development and design.