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March Match Report – 3 April 2008

Pls Patch Crossing defeats Cs Element
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 Crossing

In a change from the last two Hero Battle monthly tournaments, the final match of the March tournament took place on the Crossing. Here, Pls Patch Crossing and Cs Element faced each other with very similar builds.

The Crossing is different from other Hero Battle maps. The shrines are in line from east to west across the map. As such, movement is easily constrained allowing four-on-four fighting to occur more often here than on other maps. Split tactics on this map are mostly used at the beginning of the match or after a player has scored a few kills in succession.

Another difference in the Crossing from other Hero Battle maps is the proximity of the shrines. This often causes difficulties for players because their Heroes will move off a shrine they are capturing to heal an ally at another shrine. This behavior vexes many players. Some have even taken names such as "Delete Crossing Plz" or "Pls Patch Crossing" to express their feelings.

To take advantage of the close proximity of the shrines on the Crossing, builds typically incorporate Shadow Stepping skills like Recall and Shadow Prison. In this match, both players made use of Shadow Stepping. Many players believe it is necessary to pack at least one such skill in their build when playing on the Crossing.


The Builds

Element and Patch brought almost identical builds into the match. Both players controlled a Shadow Prison Assassin, and used two Monk Heroes and one Ritualist Hero. Each player dedicated one of their Monk Heroes to smiting and enchantment removal while the other Monk ran Shield of Regeneration and other Protection skills. The major difference between the two builds was the choice of Ritualist skills. Patch chose a Caretaker's Charge Ritualist skill bar, while Element used a skill bar including Preservation.


The Match

At the start of the match, Element sent two Monks to capture the Center Shrine and the Mending Shrine, while moving the Assassin and Ritualist to the Cultist's Shrine. Patch sent a Monk to capture the Battle Cry Shrine and pushed everything else to the Cultist's Shrine. Once both of Element's Monks had captured their shrines, they went back to the Cultist's Shrine. Patch also brought the split Ritualist to the Cultist's Shrine after it finished capturing the Battle Cry Shrine.

At the Cultist's Shrine, both players remained deadlocked for two minutes. Holding both the Center Shrine and the Mending Shrine, Element had a morale advantage and took a 3 to 1 lead two minutes into the match. To break the deadlock, Patch retreated from the Cultist's Shrine. When Patch retreated, Element pursued. Fortunately for Patch, Element's Protection Monk overextended. Patch quickly snared the Monk, and killed it. Shortly after, Patch also killed Element's Assassin and Ritualist.

From here, Patch took control of both the Center Shrine and the Cultist's Shrine while Element had to wait for the Assassin, Ritualist, and Monk to resurrect. After the resurrection, Element immediately split, attempting to regain control of the lost shrines. However, Patch scored two more kills on Element's Heroes and retained control of the Center Shrine. After five minutes, Patch led 9 to 5 and held the Cultist's Shrine and the Mending Shrine, while Element had the Battle Cry Shrine.

Again the battle returned to the Cultist's Shrine. Oddly, Patch's smite Monk retreated from the Cultist's Shrine long enough for Element to neutralize the shrine. In this period Element also killed Patch's Ritualist. From here, Element split up the team and took control of the Center Shrine, the Mending Shrine, and the Battle Cry Shrine. However, with two minutes remaining, Patch still held a 15 to 9 lead.

Once again the fight returned to the Cultist's Shrine, still under Patch's control. The fight there remained a stalemate and neither player made any progress. With victory in sight Patch retreated from the Cultist's Shrine. Despite Cs Element's efforts, Pls Patch Crossing won the match 16 to 13.


The Analysis

Both players frequently brought the battle to the Cultist's Shrine. Since control of the shrine gives a player a five-on-four advantage, it is a major factor on the Crossing. Having the extra character gives a player more options to split, and more offense for full-team skirmishes.

Another reason for the frequent full-team skirmishes around the Cultist's Shrine is the previously mentioned Hero behavior on this map. To reduce the challenge caused by Heroes moving away from the shrine to cast on others, players will keep their group together at a shrine. However, with the limited space on terrain features like the bridges, keeping the full party together can create body-blocking problems.

Patch won this match by scoring frequent kills. With seven points earned from kills, Patch had enough of a cushion to negate Element's significant morale advantage at the end of the game. Element needed to recover the difference in points by scoring more kills, whereas Patch only had to retreat to win by points.

In the last two minutes of the match, Element started a strong comeback and eventually secured control of all the shrines. This triggered when Element scored a kill on Patch's Ritualist. From there, Element outmaneuvered Patch's three Heroes and started taking control of the map. However, Element only managed to score one more kill. If Element could have scored the game-turning kill earlier or followed up with more kills, Element could have pulled off the comeback.

This match showed very clearly how much the map affects the strategies that players use. Unlike other Hero Battles finals, this match featured frequent four-on-four skirmishes. The match was thoroughly enjoyable, and both players competed extremely well. Congratulations to Pls Patch Crossing for winning the March 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.