February Match Report
Ice Chunk Outmaneuvers Hero Battle Player for the Win
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.
There is strong parity within the rungs of the Hero Battle ladder. The February Monthly Hero Battle Championship proved this when an abundance of new names appeared at the top. In the final match of the recent monthly tournament, Ice Chunk (currently #1 on the Hero Battle Ladder) faced Hero Battle Player (currently #11) on Bombardment. Ice Chunk defeated My Mpz in the opening single elimination round, Slayer In The Wind in the quarterfinals, and Depeche Plays Dirty in the semifinal round. On the way to the finals, Hero Battle Player beat Austria Ftw, Death to Defy, and I F C P R E M I X I.
The Builds: Healing Heavy
For the final match, Ice Chunk brought an Me/A with Crippling Anguish, an R/N with Melandru's Resilience and anti-melee hexes, and two Mo/As with Blessed Light and Shield of Regeneration. Hero Battle Player (HBP) brought a Shadow Prison A/W, and an Rt/A with Caretaker's Charge and other Channeling skills like Ancestors' Rage and Warmonger's Weapon. Hero Battle Player also brought two Monks to the final match: an Mo/E with Shield of Regeneration and an Mo/N with Word of Healing, Smiting skills, and hexes to support the Assassin's damage.
Comparatively, both players' builds were alike. Both Ice Chunk and Hero Battle Player had similar capacity for movement control. While Ice Chunk's Crippling Anguish had a longer duration than Shadow Prison, HBP's Assassin Skill Bar had multiple snares in the form of hexes and Cripple conditions. Also, both players had substantial healing from Monks, which required each to outperform the opponent when capturing shrines. Also, the strong healing in each build and the amount of split play produced very few points scored through kills.
The Match: Movement is Key
To start the match, Hero Battle Player captured the Center Shrine with the Assassin and both Monks, while Ice Chunk captured both Health Shrines and the Siege Cannon Shrine. Hero Battle Player immediately sent the Mo/E to the Health Shrines and took the rest of the group to the Siege Cannon Shrine. Ice Chunk conceded the Siege Cannon Shrine to HBP, but managed to take the Center Shrine in the process, while Ice Chunk's R/N followed HBP's Mo/E to prevent it from capturing shrines.
From here on the match became an exhibition of Ice Chunk's ability to keep healers following in the wake of Hero Battle Player's damage dealers, and negating HBP's splits. Most of the time, when HBP brought offensive power to a shrine, Ice Chunk simply conceded it and re-captured another shrine instead. Ice Chunk's play allowed HBP a few kills—two just before three minutes into the match, and another at the six minute mark. After the third minute, though, Ice Chunk led 4 to 3 with control over all outer shrines.
After scoring two kills at the Center Shrine, Hero Battle Player sent the Rt/A to capture the Siege Cannon Shrine, and attempted to kill Ice Chunk's Tahlkora between the Center Shrine and the Siege Cannon Shrine. Meanwhile, Ice Chunk recaptured the Center Shrine after waiting for the Monk and Mesmer to resurrect. Meanwhile, Ice Chunk's R/N shadowed HBP's Mo/E back and forth between the Health Shrines. Hero Battle Player moved to retake the Center Shrine and Ice Chunk responded by capturing the Siege Cannon Shrine. After five minutes into the match, Ice Chunk had a strong 8 to 4 lead with continued control of all outer shrines.
Hero Battle Player shifted the battle towards the Health Shrines, but Ice Chunk held out with strong healing and captured the Center Shrine. Hero Battle Player returned to the Center Shrine and captured it, and then moved to the northern Health Shrine. Just after the six minute mark, HBP managed to kill Dunkoro and force Ice Chunk off the shrine. However, Ice Chunk took control of the Center Shrine. After seven minutes, Ice Chunk's lead grew to 13 to 6 with control over three of the four shrines, including the Center Shrine.
After Ice Chunk took control of the Center Shrine, Hero Battle Player brought all characters to the Center Shrine. Of course, Ice Chunk then captured the undefended Health Shrine. At the Center Shrine, Ice Chunk held off HBP's attacks, creating a temporary stalemate. With two minutes left in the match, Ice Chunk held a commanding lead of 15 to 6 with control over all shrines. Hero Battle Player resigned with 1:45 remaining on the clock.
Hero Battle Player could never get any traction when it came to capturing the outer shrines. In fact, HBP never controlled more than one shrine. Ice Chunk accomplished this shrine superiority by taking the outer shrines first and then shadowing HBP's movements. Ice Chunk managed to keep sufficient healing following HBP's damage. Control over the majority of shrines and solid movement gave Ice Chunk an ever-growing, daunting lead.
Had Hero Battle Player contested the outer shrines from the start of the match, the end may have been different. Ice Chunk dominated the shrines because of sound tactical movement combined with the advantage of early control of the outer shrines. If HBP could have split more during the match, the chance of catching Ice Chunk's characters between shrines would have been greater. From there, HBP could have scored more kills on isolated targets, and taken control of more shrines. However, this would have had to happen from the beginning of the match to pressure Ice Chunk to split more. Ice Chunk proved once again that better movement around the map wins Hero Battle matches.
The similar levels of skill in the contestants of this Monthly Championship made for a number of exciting matches. As usual, the final round was particularly enjoyable and displayed skills essential to performing well in the Hero Battle format. Congratulations to Ice Chunk for winning the February Monthly Hero Battle Championship!
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.