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Match Report - June GvG Automated Tournaments Championship Match:

Virtual Dragons [vD] vs. Peace and Harmony [PnH]
By Nicolas Carpenter


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.


Background

Peace and Harmony [PnH] has a lot of history in competitive Guild Wars. A European guild that has been together for almost two years now, PnH won the Winterfest 2006 tournament, securing the guild trim for their cape. Furthermore, the guild has finished in the top 20 at least five different times.

Virtual Dragons [vD] formed after the final ladder reset, in preparation for the Celestial Tournament. With a final record after this championship of 501 wins and 79 losses, a better than 5:1 Win/Loss ratio, vD has been in the top 5 (usually rank 1) for months.


The Final Match

Avatar of Melandru
Avatar of Melandru
Avatar of MelandruAvatar of Melandru [Elite]
dervish/Mysticism - Form
Energy: 25
Activation: 2
Duration: 10..70
Recharge: 30
Form. For 10..70 seconds, you have +100 Health, you are unaffected by Conditions, and your attacks deal earth damage. This Skill is disabled for 120 seconds.

Virtual Dragons and Peace And Harmony ran extremely similar builds. The Monks on each team had Light of Deliverance and Shield of Deflection. Both teams had a flag stand Blinding Surge Elementalist and Shield of Regeneration Water Elementalist runner. Shock Axe Warriors carrying Eviscerate and Avatar of Melandru Dervishes led the frontlines. A Domination Mesmer occupied each midline; PnH chose Hex Eater Vortex to counter Hexes, while vD opted for the standard Mantra of Recovery. The only substantial difference in the build was that Peace And Harmony had a Paragon where Virtual Dragons had a Ranger. vD's Ranger used Burning Arrow for added Condition pressure and interrupts. PnH chose the Paragon as a safe bet, because it can easily run Expel Hexes without sacrificing damage-per-second.

vD seems to have a slight advantage over PnH at first glance. PnH chose to dedicate two elite skill slots to Hex removal; Expel Hexes and Hex Eater Vortex. This strategy was used to hopefully counter everything vD could throw at them, since vD frequently uses Hexes. It would have worked perfectly, but there's only so much guessing a team can do and hope they are right. vD chose to use all of their elite skill slots in as offensive a way as possible. They knew that PnH was not prone to run Hexes, so they didn't worry about using extra skill slots, especially elite, for Hex removal. This proved to be a great move on their part.


The Builds

Based on skills used. In some cases, the player used only seven skills during the match.

Burning Arrow
Burning Arrow
Burning ArrowBurning Arrow [Elite]
Ranger - Marksmanship - Attack
Energy: 10
Activation: 0
Recharge: 5
Attack. If this attack hits, you strike for +10..30 damage and cause Burning for 1..5 seconds.

Virtual Dragons

Mo/E Brightlight Eyes
Glyph of Lesser Energy, Shield of Deflection, Signet of Devotion, Reversal of Fortune, Divine Spirit, Deny Hexes, Spirit Bond, Dismiss Condition
E/Mo I Olister I
Gale, Ward Against Melee, Glyph of Lesser Energy, Air Attunement, Lightning Orb, Draw Conditions, Blinding Surge
E/Mo Deep Likes You
Glyph of Lesser Energy, Ice Spikes, Blurred Vision, Armor of Mist, Aegis, Shield of Regeneration, Freezing Gust
R/Mo Leon Zero
Resurrection Signet, Distracting Shot, Savage Shot, Apply Poison, Troll Unguent, Mending Touch, Burning Arrow, Natural Stride
D/W Ji Endz
Resurrection Signet, Wild Blow, Eremite's Attack, Avatar of Melandru, Imbue Health, Wearying Strike, Pious Haste, Heart of Fury
Me/Mo Anita Timberlake
Mantra of Recovery, Power Leak, Power Drain, Diversion, Shame, Drain Enchantment, Shatter Enchantment, Resurrect
Mo/A Tarlisin The Divine
Protective Spirit, Dwayna's Kiss, Infuse Health, Reversal of Fortune, Holy Veil, Return, Light of Deliverance, Dismiss Condition
W/E Void Virtual
Healing Signet, Resurrection Signet, Shock, Bull's Strike, Executioner's Strike, Eviscerate, Frenzy, Sprint

Expel Hexes
Expel Hexes
Expel HexesExpel Hexes [Elite]
Mesmer - No Attribute - Spell
Energy: 5
Activation: 1
Recharge: 8
Spell. Remove up to 2 Hexes from target ally.

Peace and Harmony

P/Me K U M Q U A T S
Expel Hexes, Spear of Lightning, Anthem of Flame, "Go for the Eyes!", "Brace Yourself!", Vicious Attack, Aggressive Refrain, Signet of Return
Mo/Me Tary Na
Hex Breaker, Protective Spirit, Dwayna's Kiss, Infuse Health, Reversal of Fortune, Holy Veil, Signet of Rejuvenation, Light of Deliverance
E/Mo Leia Nii
Glyph of Lesser Energy, Ice Spikes, Blurred Vision, Armor of Mist, Aegis, Shield of Regeneration, Freezing Gust, Mending Touch
E/Mo Silent Ftl
Resurrection Signet, Gale, Glyph of Lesser Energy, Air Attunement, Draw Conditions, Blinding Surge, Storm Djinn's Haste
Mo/E Nap On Tour
Glyph of Lesser Energy, Aegis, Shield of Deflection, Signet of Devotion, Reversal of Fortune, Deny Hexes, Spirit Bond, Dismiss Condition
D/W Cell Healz You
Resurrection Signet, Bull's Strike, Eremite's Attack, Avatar of Melandru, Imbue Health, Wearying Strike, Pious Haste, Heart of Fury
Me/Mo Bufu Hells Mesmer
Power Leak, Power Drain, Diversion, Energy Burn, Drain Enchantment, Shatter Enchantment, Resurrection Chant, Hex Eater Vortex
W/E I Am Shobu
Healing Signet, Resurrection Signet, Shock, Rush, Bull's Strike, Executioner's Strike, Eviscerate, Frenzy


The Deaths

Pre-VoD deaths
vD PnH
3:37 Mesmer #4 1:19 Monk #8
5:45 Mesmer #4 2:10 Monk #8
12:58 Mesmer #4 12:14 Monk #8
  15:59 Monk #8
  16:12 Elementalist #5
  17:39 Elementalist #6
  17:54 Monk #8
Post-VoD deaths
vD PnH
20:48 Warrior #1 21:30 Dervish #2
20:49 Monk #8 22:20 Elementalist #5
23:04 Mesmer #4 23:45 Monk #8
  24:00-25:00; seven players die

The Match Begins

As the match starts, both teams make a critical decision, as all teams must at the beginning of a GvG battle. Virtual Dragons choose to take all eight players to the flag stand, with the flag runner holding the flag. Peace and Harmony's Water flag runner stays at the base waiting for the second flag. Both teams make a calculation here. On one hand, vD chooses to take all players and out-pressure the other team at the stand and score the first kill. On the other hand, PnH decides to keep a runner back, possibly gaining a head start on flags and making it easier to control the flag stand for a morale boost. Unfortunately for PnH, vD's tactic proved more lucrative. At the stand, vD begins an immediate assault and scores the first kill at 1:20 with a spike on an unprotected LoD/Infuse Monk. PnH quickly resurrects the Monk and the fight resumes. Despite this quick resurrection, vD kills the same Monk for the second time at 2:10. Now PnH's LoD has 30% Death Penalty at just 2:30 into the match. Not a good start.

Finally PnH captures the flag stand, and the flag race begins at 2:17. This relieves pressure from PnH because it forces the Water Elementalist from vD to leave and grab another flag. At this point, PnH moves ahead in the flag race because the runner has camped in base to fend off a possible gank and wait for the next flag. Now, vD makes a crucial push past the flag stand and forces PnH to the bottom of the hill. vD has Ward Against Melee, which causes horrible problems for PnH's melee characters because they have no AoE to force the vD team out of the ward. In the long run, this extra defense helps vD maintain their position past the flag stand.

Despite the sudden Monk deaths, PnH regroups and executes vD's Mesmer with a powerful spike. This much-needed kill seems to bolster the team's confidence as they continue an aggressive counterattack. A couple of minutes later, PnH feels pressure from the Conditions of vD's Ranger and the two melees. Just as it seems PnH might wipe at the stand, they score another brilliant kill on vD's Mesmer, buying some breathing room at 6:00. The fight rages on at the stand, but vD slowly creeps up and gains ground for even better flag positioning, pulling ahead on flag capping.

Shatter Enchantment
Shatter Enchantment
Shatter EnchantmentShatter Enchantment
Mesmer - Domination Magic - Spell
Energy: 15
Activation: 1
Recharge: 25
Spell. Remove an Enchantment from target foe. If an Enchantment is removed, that foe takes 14..100 damage.

Ten minutes into the match, after some small corrections and better pre-protting, PnH is able to keep themselves alive much better. They seem to have adapted to vD's spikes and pressure extremely well. vD sees an opportunity, and sends the Ranger and Warrior to take out NPCs. PnH quickly responds with the Blinding Surge Elementalist and Water Runner, and vD's spilt returns to the flag stand, thwarted. As the fight continues at the stand, PnH's LoD Monk dies again, having not been protected. PnH retaliates less than one minute later, taking down vD's Mesmer a third time with an excellently-timed Shatter Enchantment and Dervish spike. Both teams now have one teammate near 45% DP, a scary place because one more kill on either player could determine the match's outcome.


The Match Ends

Diversion
Diversion
DiversionDiversion
Mesmer - Domination Magic - Hex Spell
Energy: 10
Activation: 3
Duration: 6
Recharge: 12
Hex Spell. For 6 seconds, the next time target foe uses a skill, that skill takes an additional 10..56 seconds to recharge.

The real turning point happens just before 16:00 when vD makes a crucial kill on the LoD Infuser, forcing it to resurrect at the base. PnH must fall back, and the Blinding Surge Elementalist dies on the retreat. Seconds later, PnH's Prot Monk gets his Dismiss Condition Diversioned. PnH really starts feeling the pressure because they have only Draw Conditions (and Mending Touch on the flag runner) for Condition removal. 50 seconds later, a PnH Monk gets his Reversal of Fortune Diversioned. Almost immediately after, PnH's flagger is killed and vD returns the flag for a certain Morale Boost. At 17:50, vD receives a Morale Boost and pushes with the momentum, scoring a fifth kill on PnH's LoD Monk.

vD's Mesmer makes another key Diversion at 18:50, this time on Shield of Deflection. PnH is now without SoD until around 19:50. This forces PnH to give up ground and play defensively, which they do until Victory or Death. vD gets another Morale Boost at 19:50, and is ready to go with full Resurrection Signets and almost no Death Penalty except on the Mesmer. Each team has all NPCs, so it could be anyone's game and no one has given up hope yet. vD is playing much more aggressively, and storms in to kill NPCs as they approach the flag stand area at 20:45. Just as quickly as they charge in, vD's Warrior and LoD Monk are spiked. vD manages to resurrect the Monk, but is left without the Warrior because he is way past PnH's backline.

PnH has opportunity to wreak havoc on the temporarily outnumbered vD, but cannot capitalize on vD's mistake, mostly because vD has NPCs in superior positioning, with height and spread out. vD's Dervish pushes in at 21:30 and takes out every single NPC except the Bodyguard. At 22:00 vD's Warrior resurrects and returns to the flag stand. Now vD is back in full force with all of their NPCs, against PnH with only a Bodyguard left. PnH's support can't stand the pressure and the Bodyguard dies from Health degeneration. At 23:45, vD pushes strongly and destroys the Infuser again. PnH, without any NPCs or Resurrection Signets, retreats. vD's Water Elementalist snares some characters, spreading them out, and seven PnH players die after 24:00. vD storms into PnH's base full throttle and kills the Guild Lord at 25:05.


Nicolas Carpenter has played Guild Wars since the early Beta Weekend Events. He is a freelance reporter for Guild Wars and enjoys many aspects of PvP.