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Match Report - September Hero Battle Championship Finals

Jamesb R vs. I Fretty I
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.


The September Hero Battle Monthly Championships provided displays of exceptional skill all-around, offering observers plenty of intense matches to watch. In the end, I Fretty I won this championship, but to do so he had to defeat Jamesb R, the player who knocked out three-time, reigning champion, X Ekelon X, in the semifinals.

Fretty ran the same build for the entire single-elimination tournament: two Ritualist/Mesmers to capture shrines and a Necromancer/Ritualist supporting an Assassin/Ranger (Fretty's character). This mix allowed Fretty to dominate most groups while capturing shrines. Jamesb, on the other hand, changed builds a number of times during the tournament. For the final round, Jamesb used the same build he used to defeat Ekelon: two Savannah Heat fire Elementalists and a Dervish/Paragon with Ebon Dust Aura supporting the Monk/Assassin played by Jamesb. In terms of build, Jamesb appeared to have an advantage with strong counters to both of Fretty's split characters and his Assassin.

The stage for this confrontation would be the map Bombardment.


The Builds

Jamesb R
Mo/A Jamesb R
Reversal of Fortune
Return
Reverse Hex
Dark Escape
Spirit Bond
Gift of Health
Mending Touch
Zealous Benediction
E/A Acolyte Sousuke
Fire Attunement
Meteor
Searing Heat
Recall
Dark Escape
Smoldering Embers
Teinai's Heat
Savannah Heat
E/W Zhed Shadowhoof
Healing Signet
Fire Attunement
Meteor
Searing Heat
Fire Storm
Shield Bash
Teinai's Heat
Savannah Heat
D/P Melonni
Mystic Vigor
Mystic Regeneration
Imbue Health
Barbed Spear
Disrupting Throw
Ebon Dust Aura
Heart of Fury
Remedy Signet

I Fretty I
A/R I Fretty I
Lightning Reflexes
Horns of the Ox
Black Lotus Strike
Expose Defenses
Blades of Steel
Impale
Black Spider Strike
Shadow Prison
N/Rt Master of Whispers
Barbs
Insidious Parasite
Faintheartedness
Spirit Light
Mend Body and Soul
Life
Corrupt Enchantment
Signet of Lost Souls
Rt/Me Xandra
Spirit Light
Essence Strike
Mend Body and Soul
Bloodsong
Weapon of Remedy
Rejuvenation
Rt/Me Razah
Blind Was Mingson
Shadowsong
Spirit Light
Mend Body and Soul
Pain
Displacement
Brutal Weapon

The Match

At the beginning of the match, Fretty sent one Ritualist to the siege cannon shrine while bringing his Assassin, Necromancer, and the other Ritualist to the center shrine. Jamesb, on the other hand, sent one Elementalist to the northern health shrine and the other to the siege cannon shrine, while the Monk and Dervish went to challenge Fretty at the center.

The first kills of the match were swift and brutal. Jamesb's Elementalist soundly defeated the Ritualist Fretty sent to capture the siege cannon shrine. At the same time, Fretty took advantage of his superior numbers at the center shrine and dropped Jamesb's Monk. After taking control of the center shrine, Fretty moved his characters to secure the outer shrines, leaving the center shrine undefended. With the shrine wide open, Jamesb took the opportunity to capture it. Despite this capture, though, at three minutes into the match Fretty led 5 to 3.

While Fretty was grabbing the outer shrines, Jamesb managed to trap Fretty's Necromancer in a one-on-one fight with an Elementalist at the southern health shrine. Fretty's Necromancer died quickly, and Jamesb capitalized on the death by capturing the other health shrine. This helped Jamesb recover from the scoring deficit and take the lead four minutes into the match.

About halfway through the match Fretty took control of the siege cannon shrine and advanced on the center shrine while dispatching a Ritualist to capture the health shrines. In response, Jamesb split both Elementalists to protect the health shrines. The Elementalists killed Fretty's lone Ritualist, but Fretty's numbers advantage coupled with control of the siege cannon shrine allowed him to take control of the center shrine. With less than three minutes to go, Fretty regained the lead.

After regrouping, Jamesb pushed into the center shrine with all of his Heroes. However, Fretty's Ritualists had enough time to set up and establish a proper defense. The engagement at the center shrine ended when Fretty killed Jamesb's Monk. With just over a minute left, Jamesb resigned the match with the score at 19 to 13 in favor of Fretty.


Recap

Coming into the match, Jamesb seemed to have a build advantage. His fire Elementalists had powerful area-of-effect skills, a sound counter to Fretty's Ritualist Heroes. Furthermore, Jamesb's Monk and Dervish were well equipped to deal with Fretty's Assassin and Necromancer. However, Fretty had an ace in the hole with Corrupt Enchantment on the Necromancer. By simultaneously stripping Enchantments while applying high Health degeneration, Corrupt Enchantment proved too strong a counter for Jamesb's Ebon Dust Aura Dervish.

Because Fretty's Ritualists were at a disadvantage against Jamesb's Elementalists, Fretty focused on the splits. He won the match with strong split play, taking advantage of open shrines and typically keeping one Ritualist split off. His dynamic split tactics slowed down the rate at which Jamesb's Elementalists could do damage and kill opposing characters. Thus, the points Fretty earned by controlling shrines were not offset by undue deaths.

Fretty also used the siege cannon shrine to great effect. Before pushing on the center shrine, Fretty consistently captured the siege cannon shrine. The pressure from the siege attack, with Fretty's Assassin and Necromancer, was usually enough to defeat Jamesb at the center shrine.

Both Fretty and Jamesb played very well throughout the tournament and into the final match. Jamesb brought an appropriate build to counter Fretty in the final match. Yet Fretty deployed his Ritualists in a manner that prevented exposing their weaknesses against Jamesb's fire Elementalists. This level of play shows why Fretty made it to the monthly championship finals and won.


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.