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Rising Back to the Top – 3 April 2008

Rebel Rising [rawr] defeats Stealing Society [StS] in the March Monthly Championship
By Harold J. Chow


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.


A monthly tournament filled with chaos and confusion boiled down to a battle between two favored contenders: former champion, Rebel Rising [rawr], and European favorite, Stealing Society [StS]. The first four matches during the Swiss rounds of the tournament inadvertently used February's map rotation, while the remaining seven rounds used March's rotation. To complicate matters further, the competitors had started to expect the February maps and did not know if or when ArenaNet would fix the rotation.

The unannounced fix surprised guilds that had made adjustments for Isle of the Dead and found themselves loading into Frozen Isle instead during the fifth round. After defeating its nemesis, Dark Alley [dR], to earn a spot in the single-elimination rounds, [rawr] powered its way through Whats Going On [sup], Supernova Jpn [SpNv], and January winner, Mistral Edge [Me], to get to the final round. On its way to the March finals, [StS] dispatched Epic Failing Europeans [Euro], You Failed [uF], and We Want Cookies [NOW].


Build Analysis

Guilds in past tournaments usually brought strong split builds to Frozen Isle, however both sides chose 8v8 builds for the final match. [StS]'s build choice seemed odd in light of [rawr]'s admitted weakness against strong split builds and its reputation for having strong 8v8 defense. Adding to the bizarre build, [StS]'s Ritualist lacked an elite skill, opting to run Weapon of Warding, Weapon of Shadow, Splinter Weapon, Ancestors' Rage, Recuperation, Protective Was Kaolai, Soothing Memories, and Dash. Possibly, [StS] used this build because they'd succeeded in the past against builds similar to [rawr]'s.


"Shields Up!"
"Shields Up!"
Warrior - Tactics - Shout
Energy: 10
Activation: 0
Duration: 5..11
Recharge: 30
Shout. For 5..11 seconds, you and all party members within earshot gain 24 armor against piercing damage and 50% chance to block incoming projectile attacks.

After last month's championship, ArenaNet adjusted the skill "Shields Up!" so it added 60 armor against incoming projectiles instead of giving a chance to block them. Despite this change, [rawr] proved the effectiveness of the skill in competitive play. Not only does this skill devalue enemy archers at Victory or Death, but for [rawr] against [StS], it also minimized the damage of [StS]'s dual Paragons.


MATCH LINEUP:

#4 Stealing Society [StS] #2 Rebel Rising [rawr]
I Am Godguard (W/Rt) – Magehunter's Smash with Endure Pain Chop Chop The Panda (W/E) – Eviscerate with Conjure Frost
Acid Ftwwww (W/Rt) – Avatar of Melandru with Death's Charge and Imbue Health Hexen Redeemer (W/Me) – Eviscerate with Disrupting Chop and Power Spike
Shad Gloats (P/Me) – "Incoming!" with Anthem of Envy Jatt Kittenstomper (P/W) – Song of Restoration with "Shields Up!"
Stop Smoking (P/Me) – Song of Restoration with Power Spike The Software Pirate (Me/Rt) – Energy Surge with Death Pact Signet
Come And Hit Me (Me/N) – Energy Surge with Rend Enchantments Asp Ending Spree (E/Mo) – Blinding Surge with Shell Shock and Healing Breeze
Himiko Detests (Rt/A) Pve – Restoration/Channeling with Splinter Weapon and Recuperation Three Pounds (Mo/E) – Restore Condition with Aegis
Stop Flaming (Mo/E) – Shield of Deflection with Aura of Stability Awowa Classic (Mo/E) – Word of Healing with Infuse Health
Its Me Liekkio (Mo/E) – Word of Healing with Infuse Health Torsen T (Rt/A) – Caretaker's Charge with Splinter Weapon and Recuperation
Morale Boosts: 0 Morale Boosts: 1 (21:01)

The Match

Rebel Rising opened by heading across the ice towards the center staircase. This maneuver on Frozen Isle allows a team to see whether the other team has sent a split to infiltrate the base along the western path and, if necessary, switch the gate lever to cut off the split. Stealing Society, on the other hand, kept its Ritualist flag runner in the base while the rest of the team marched out to the flag stand and captured it quickly. This tactic allowed [StS] to keep a player back to defend against a possible split as well as double-run the flag to get ahead on flag running.


"Incoming!"
"Incoming!" [Elite]
paragon/Command - Shout
Energy: 10
Activation: 0
Duration: 1..3
Recharge: 20
Shout. For 1..3 seconds, all party members within earshot take 50% less damage.

At the flag stand, the two guilds engaged in 7-on-7 battling while the Ritualists ran flags. Each side began trying to unravel elements of the opponent's defense with interrupts and Diversion. Stealing Society arrived at the stand first and set up on [rawr]'s side of the flag stand, giving them height advantage for their projectile attacks and putting them in better position to harass [rawr]'s flag runner. This advantage, however, did not stop [rawr] from getting the first kill of the game on Shad Gloats at 3:41.

While most of [StS]'s early spike attempts seemed directed at catching [rawr]'s Polly (a.k.a. Chop Chop The Panda) in Frenzy or going after [rawr]'s backline, [rawr] went after targets of opportunity. At 6:34, Polly and Hexen converged to spike [StS]'s Its Me Liekkio, drawing some Protection spells onto that Monk (one of which The Software Pirate, removed with Shatter Enchantment). As [StS]'s Acid Ftwwww rushed in to attack both Warriors with his scythe, [rawr] turned and spiked the Dervish down at 6:40. Rebel Rising took the opportunity to push on [StS] a little and reposition its team on top of the flag stand plateau.

Cry of Frustration
Cry of Frustration
Cry of FrustrationCry of Frustration
Mesmer - Domination Magic - Spell
Energy: 15
Activation: 0.25
Recharge: 15
Spell. If target foe is using a skill, that foe and all foes in the area are interrupted and suffer 10..44 damage.

Both guilds continued seeking weaknesses in their opponent's defense. Jaden kept [StS]'s Come And Hit Me in check, getting interrupts on incoming Shames and Diversions. [StS] came close to spiking down [rawr]'s Jatt Kittenstomper, but its spike attempts fell short until it finally caught Polly in Frenzy at 11:04 trying to attack [StS]'s Stop Flaming, who had just used Shield of Deflection on a teammate.

After [rawr] resurrected its fallen Warrior, Polly headed back to [rawr]'s base to help Torsen T double-run the flags. Polly would bring the flag up halfway and get back to the base in time to pick up the flag as Torsen captured the flag stand. While this tactic prompted [StS] to push on [rawr]'s defenses, [rawr] got ahead enough on flags over the next two minutes to force [StS]'s Himiko Detests Pve to run the flag almost continuously. After the 13:00 mark, Polly headed out the western gate from the base to start building an advantage for VoD, instead of waiting around for a flag. With [StS]'s Himiko away from the base desperately trying to keep up with [rawr]'s flag running, Polly successfully eliminated an archer at 14:02.

Caretaker's Charge
Caretaker's Charge
Caretaker's ChargeCaretaker's Charge [Elite]
Ritualist - Channeling Magic - Spell
Energy: 5
Activation: 1
Recharge: 4
Spell. Target foe is struck for 20..75 lightning damage. If you are holding an item, you gain 5 Energy and 5..50 Health.

[StS] responded quickly, sending Himiko and Acid to take care of the threat while I Am Godguard fell back to run a flag. Although unable to catch Polly, Himiko and Acid pushed on [rawr]'s base. Before they could finish off an archer, though, Torsen arrived and saved it with Restoration Magic. Meanwhile, [rawr] had sent Jaden and Asp Ending Spree to collapse on [StS]'s split, scoring a kill on the fleeing Acid with the aid of Torsen's Caretaker's Charge at 15:19.

Both teams raced back to the flag stand, with [StS] leaving Acid dead to resurrect back at the base and bring up another flag. Polly turned around and headed back toward the gate lever area to lie in wait for another opportunity to kill an archer. As Acid left the base with a flag, Polly finished off an archer at 16:42. Polly continued to draw [StS]'s attention away from the flag stand until just before VoD, thereby preventing [StS] from mounting any real threat to [rawr]'s main team.

Anthem of Envy
Anthem of Envy
Anthem of EnvyAnthem of Envy
paragon/Command - Chant
Adrenaline: 6
Activation: 1
Duration: 10
Recharge: 0
Chant. For 10 seconds, the next attack Skill used by each ally within earshot deals +10..25 damage against foes with more than 50% Health.

Assisted by the NPCs at VoD, [StS]'s offense turned up its intensity, killing [rawr]'s Three Pounds at 18:55. [StS] then racked up 15% Death Penalty on Jatt at 19:08. However, [rawr] soon turned the tables on [StS]. While Acid had drawn both of [rawr]'s knights, [StS]'s Stop Smoking drew the attention of Polly as well as [rawr]'s archers and bodyguard, who dropped the [StS] Paragon at 19:20. As soon as [StS] resurrected Smoking, [rawr] spiked the Paragon back down at 19:30. But with its NPC numbers dwindling fast, [rawr] seemed close to caving to [StS]'s pressure despite some great saves by Three Pounds and Awowa Classic.

[StS] must have noticed that [rawr] had control of the flag stand and would boost in just over a minute, because Godguard headed back at 19:56 to run a flag instead of piling on the pressure. With one less melee character at the stand for [StS], [rawr] began to push back with the help of its bodyguard. [rawr] finally eliminated [StS]'s bodyguard at 20:33 when Acid fell back to save a teammate with Imbue Health and prevent Avatar of Melandru from getting interrupted. Hexen then took down Come And Hit Me at 20:38 with the help of [rawr]'s remaining archers. Rebel Rising soon earned the game's only Morale Boost at 21:01 as Godguard arrived too late with a flag. Facing a [rawr] team with full morale and an NPC advantage, [StS]'s backline finally began to crack at 21:56 when it failed to save Godguard. Liekkio dropped shortly after at 22:02, and the need to focus on keeping the Guild Lord alive soon led to an almost full [StS] team wipe. After one last key Bull's Strike on Himiko, [rawr] claimed victory and its fourth gold cape trim at 22:57.


Harold J. Chow is one of our freelance Guild Wars reporters. His in-game name is Guild Informant.