Match Report - May Hero Battle Championship
Piccolo II versus Master Of Whizkers
By Alex Marsyla
Special note: Each Match Report presents the opinions and insights of one game observer. These observations are personal in nature and do not reflect the opinions of ArenaNet. While ArenaNet does review each article to assure that it offers content that is respectful of all players, we intend to allow our reporters the freedom to inject some personal opinion into descriptions of the current atmosphere of competitive play in Guild Wars, and to express views based on their experience and observation.
Sunday, May 27, marked the first ever monthly Hero Battle Championship. This tournament was played over seven Swiss rounds, with the maps cycling through the Crossing, the Beachhead, Bombardment, and Desert Sands. The tournament fielded a number of strong players, with the majority ranked in the top 100 on the Hero Battle ladder. The battles were hard-fought and the victories well-deserved. The battle deciding the first monthly champion was a match between Piccolo Il and Master of Whizkers (ranked 9 and 16 at the time of writing). Both players entered the seventh round with 6-0 records and were set to fight it out for the tournament victory and the rewards that came with it.
Due to the map cycle in this tournament, the seventh round took place on Bombardment. For players unfamiliar with the map, Bombardment is laid out in a circular fashion with the Center Shrine placed directly in the middle between the players' starting points. The Center Shrine is flanked by two Health Shrines to the west, and the Siege Cannon to the east. The Siege Cannon is what gives this map its name and makes it unique. Once a player caps the Siege Cannon it fires at regular intervals on the Center Shrine. These attacks deal 100 armor-ignoring damage to the player and Heroes not in control of the Siege Cannon. The Siege Cannon tends to be a matter of importance on Bombardment, as it can easily change the flow of a skirmish at the Center Shrine.
Assault Enchantments [Elite]
Assassin - Critical Strike - Skill
Skill. Must follow a dual attack. Target foe loses all Enchantments.
For the final round, Piccolo brought an A/W with a combo based around the elite Assault Enchantments, a Mo/E with Shield of Regeneration, a R/P Pack Hunter with Heal as One, and another Mo/E using Restore Condition. Piccolo's build was a deviation from the standard metagame build that includes an A/W, two R/P pack hunters, and a Shield of Regeneration Mo/E. Normally, Piccolo appears to run a build that follows the metagame build closely and it was assumed that Piccolo changed the build after observing what Master of Whizkers ran in earlier tournament matches.
Master of Whizkers ran a build featuring multiple self-sufficient characters built to counter the typical metagame build. The build included two Heal as One R/P pack hunters, a D/W utilizing Ebon Dust Aura, and a D/P using spear attacks. The strategy behind Master of Whizkers' build appears to have been to shut down the physical heavy metagame builds by massing Conditions like Crippled and Blind on targets to render them ineffective. At the same time the two pack hunters could capture points away from the fighting.
dervish/Scythe Mastery - Attack
Attack. If this attack hits, target foe is Crippled for 7 seconds for each Enchantment on you (maximum 10..20 seconds).
Piccolo was mostly likely playing on the Assassin because it had an awkward Skill Bar. The Hero AI wouldn't always know how to make the best use of skills and tactics of the build. Master of Whizkers was ostensibly using the Dervish/Warrior with Ebon Dust Aura and Crippling Sweep because he wanted to maximize the spread of Conditions. Heroes may not do that as well as a human player.
Generally, the players use builds like this because it allows them to intercept the other player's Heroes between shrines and get kills easier than trying to micromanage a Hero to do the same. Also, the Hero AI is such that it would potentially face off against a group it couldn't handle alone with those builds.
Early Split Tactics
At the match's beginning, Piccolo split his Shield of Regeneration Monk and pack hunter off to capture the two Health Shrines while moving his Assassin along with his Restore Condition Monk towards the Siege Cannon. Master of Whizkers split his pack hunters off to capture the Center Shrine, and one of the Health Shrines, while the two Dervishes went to the Siege Cannon. Piccolo took the two Health Shrines while Master of Whizkers held the Center Shrine.
At the Siege Cannon Piccolo eventually forced Master of Whizkers away and took the shrine. The fighting then moved towards the Center Shrine, allowing Master of Whizkers to take the Siege Cannon with a pack hunter. Eventually, after capturing the Siege Cannon, Master of Whizkers took control of the battle at the Center Shrine and secured a few kills.
At this point, though, Piccolo had a large lead on points from holding the outer shrines for the majority of the match. After Master of Whizkers pushed Piccolo off the Center Shrine, he made an attempt to capture the two Health Shrines and make up his point deficit. As this happened, Piccolo seized the Siege Cannon and made another attempt at capturing the Center Shrine. The battle resumed again at the Center Shrine until time ran out. After ten minutes Piccolo held the lead with 19 points to Master of Whizkers' 14 points.
Restore Condition [Elite]
Monk - Protection Prayers - Spell
Spell. Remove all Conditions (Poison, Disease, Blindness, Dazed, Bleeding, Crippled, Burning, Weakness, and Deep Wound) from target other ally. For each Condition removed, that ally is healed for 10..70 Health.
I'd like to revisit a comment I made earlier about Piccolo seemingly changing his build to face Master of Whizkers. The inclusion of a second Monk in Piccolo's build and the abnormal Assassin Skill Bar are two things which seemed specifically designed for facing Master of Whizkers' Enchantment and Condition-heavy build. Using Assault Enchantments allowed Piccolo to strip all of the Enchantments that Master of Whizkers' two Dervishes used, which proved to be an effective counter to both. Aside from the different Assassin bar, the Restore Condition Monk also proved to be an advantageous choice for Piccolo. Master of Whizkers' build had massive Condition pressure and shutdown. Piccolo negated this by using a Restore Condition Monk in conjunction with the Assassin. While these two aspects of Piccolo's build did not decide the outcome of the match-up, it gave Piccolo a few more tools to work with.
Post Game Discussion
The opening moves of both players decided the outcome of this match. It seems that Piccolo won this battle with his capture of both Health Shrines and the Siege Cannon early in the match. Although it seems like only a minor detail, these capture points allowed Piccolo to maintain a stalemate at the Center Shrine and build an early lead in points. When Master of Whizkers took control of the Siege Cannon, Piccolo then forced the neutralization of the Center Shrine and continued to add to the point lead. At this point, having the two Health Shrines allowed Piccolo to hold under the Siege Cannon for long enough to build a sizeable lead. The lead that Piccolo built up early on was just too much for Master of Whizkers to overcome despite capping both Health Shrines after pushing Piccolo away from the Center Shrine and getting a few kills. This match could have easily gone the other way if Piccolo did not have both of the Health Shrines for the majority of the match.
No matter what, both players did exceedingly well in this tournament. With such a strong field of players, reaching the seventh round undefeated was a feat in itself. Hats off to both Piccolo Il and Master of Whizkers for doing so well, and congratulations to Piccolo Il for becoming the first monthly Hero Battle Championship winner.
Alex is a college student in his third year studying Computer Information Systems. He's been into online gaming for most of his life and has been playing Guild Wars since its release.