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Match Report - January Hero Battle Championship Finals

Murder Za defeats X Ekelon X
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.


On January 27, the first monthly Hero Battle Championship of the year played out between familiar face X Ekelon X and relative underdog Murder Za on Bombardment. The action was fast and resulted in a 20 to 9 finish with a whole 2:15 remaining on the match timer. Murder Za dominated the match and emerged with a strong victory.

Before facing #1 ranked Ekelon in the finals, Murder Za beat Tsu The Frog, Sihoe Is Lf A Guild, and Rambo Chaos—a tough road, considering two of Murder Za's single-elimination opponents are in the top ten of the Hero Battle ladder. To get to the final round, Ekelon won against Juggernaut The Best, Depeche Plays Dirty, and Vi Guilla Vi.

At the start of the match, both players sent the majority of their teams to the Center Shrine. Murder Za immediately split off a Rt/N to begin capturing the Health Shrines, while Ekelon sent an Elementalist to capture the Siege Cannon. Both players soon brought all of their Heroes to the Center Shrine. Shortly thereafter, Murder Za scored the first kill of the match on Ekelon's Ritualist. Following that, Murder Za scored a second kill on Ekelon's Assassin. At two minutes into the match, Murder Za was leading 3-1.

After waiting for characters to resurrect, Ekelon regrouped with a full team at the Center Shrine, placing Murder Za under massive pressure. Given the situation, Murder Za was forced to retreat from the Center Shrine. In the retreat, Ekelon managed to kill Murder Za's Rt/N. After the Rt/N resurrected, Murder Za split it off to the Health Shrines while taking the rest of the team to the Siege Cannon.

At three minutes into the match, both Murder Za and Ekelon had three characters at the Siege Cannon. Ekelon had an Elementalist capturing the Center Shrine, while Murder Za's Rt/N finished capturing the Health Shrines. Eventually Ekelon had to retreat from the Siege Cannon and allow Murder Za to capture it. During the retreat, Murder Za killed Ekelon's Ritualist, which resurrected almost immediately. Continuing to pursue Ekelon, Murder Za also scored a kill on Ekelon's Assassin and Monk before the five minute mark.

At five minutes, Murder Za was leading the match 11-5. With the deaths of both his Monk and Assassin, Ekelon decided to split the Elementalist and Ritualist. The Elementalist headed to the Health Shrines and the Ritualist went to capture the Siege Cannon. In response to Ekelon's split, Murder Za pursued the Ritualist to the Siege Cannon and again split the Rt/N to the Health Shrines. When Ekelon's Monk and Assassin resurrected, they both went to the Siege Cannon, but Murder Za was still able to push Ekelon away and recapture the cannon.

Ekelon retreated to the Center Shrine with Murder Za in pursuit. Eventually both players brought all of their characters to the Center Shrine to skirmish. As usual, Murder Za's offense, combined with the Siege Cannon's effect, caused Ekelon to take losses and retreat toward the Siege Cannon. While pursuing Ekelon, Murder Za scored the last point of the match by scoring another kill on Ekelon's Assassin. With 2:15 remaining in the match Murder Za won with a score of 20-9.

Corrupt Enchantment
Corrupt Enchantment
Corrupt EnchantmentCorrupt Enchantment [Elite]
Necromancer - Curses - Hex Spell
Energy: 5
Activation: 0.75
Duration: 10
Recharge: 10
Hex Spell. Remove one Enchantment from target foe. If an Enchantment is removed in this way, that foe suffers from -1..8 Health degeneration for 10 seconds.

Looking at the two players' builds, Murder Za had a definite advantage with the N/Rt. The use of Corrupt Enchantment on this Hero completely counteracted Ekelon's Hero Monk. Ekelon packed a number of protection magic enchantments on this Monk, which actually worked in favor of Murder Za's Corrupt Enchantment. Without the substantial protection power of Ekelon's enchantments, the healing in the build could not keep up with the pressure from Murder Za's spirits. In prolonged engagements, Murder Za often scored multiple kills and built a large lead.

Shadow Prison
Shadow Prison
Shadow PrisonShadow Prison [Elite]
Assassin - Deadly Arts - Hex Spell
Energy: 10
Activation: 0.25
Duration: 1..10
Recharge: 20
Hex Spell. Shadow Step to target foe. For 1..10 seconds, that foe moves 66% slower.

With Ekelon's protection enchantments hindered, Murder Za really piled on the pressure with a large number of spirits. The damage from all of the spirits would quickly drain Ekelon's Monk of its Energy, and Murder Za could spike targets down with the Assassin. Murder Za was also able to gauge when Ekelon's Monk could not stop the spike by watching for Ekelon to retreat. Using snaring skills like Shadow Prison, Murder Za scored kills at these crucial moments.

Bombardment offered Ekelon a few options to counter Murder Za's spirits, but Ekelon couldn't capitalize on them. One option available to Ekelon would have been to dominate the Siege Cannon to maintain a large AoE pressure at the center shrine and take down Murder Za's spirits. However, aside from the beginning of the match where Ekelon had the Siege Cannon, Murder Za was able to dominate the Siege Cannon. Without the help of the Siege Cannon, Ekelon could not do enough to pressure Murder Za through all of the spirits.

Ekelon could have also attempted to split Murder Za's spirits and get kills by collapsing on separated characters. Of course, Ekelon did attempt to split Murder Za, but could never do enough to force Murder Za into a weak position. Ekelon was never able to maintain control of the outer shrines well enough to force Murder Za to split unfavorably. Ekelon could only catch Murder Za between shrines (and without spirits) a few times, and scored few kills as a result. Forced to meet Murder Za in longer skirmishes, Ekelon typically succumbed to Murder Za's spirits.

How did Murder Za accomplish this domination over Ekelon? Firm control of both the Center Shrine and the Siege Cannon forced Ekelon to face off against Murder Za in prolonged skirmishes. When defending the Siege Cannon Murder Za would respond with overwhelming force and push Ekelon away. Murder Za would then leave a number of spirits at the Siege Cannon and pursue Ekelon towards the Center Shrine. From here Ekelon had to face Murder Za or concede a Morale deficit.

In the first monthly Hero Battle Championship of the year, observers were treated to a match full of quick scoring. Unusual for most Hero Battle finals, this match ended well before the time limit elapsed. Of course, strong play won out and Murder Za triumphed. Congratulations to Murder Za for a well-deserved win.