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The Alley to Victory – May 1, 2008

Dark Alley [dR] defeats Mistral Edge [Me] to win the April 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.


Dark Alley [dR], winners of the Rawr Cup Dragon Division at the beginning of the month, seemed poised to duplicate that success in the Monthly Championship. Mistral Edge [Me], which had run virtually the same build over the past few months as it had when it won the January Championship, made it once again to the final round. In the single elimination rounds, Dark Alley clawed its way through a gauntlet of tough opponents in Thugz Mansion [OG], Rebel Rising [rawr], and Whats Going On [sup]. Mistral Edge, meanwhile, defeated Be Team [be], Virtual Dragons [vD], and Dont Mess With The Don [mkay] to reach the finals.


Build Analysis

This month's Frozen Isle finale saw builds with strong split components. [Me] has used a variation of its Sineptitude Assassin split build for the past few months. The build uses its strong Assassin split to maneuver until it can eliminate enemy NPCs or build up Death Penalty on opponents while its Mesmers hold out at the flag stand. As needed, [Me] adjusts its split, since its Mesmers can also eliminate NPCs. Despite various skill nerfs and "Victory or Death!" changes, [Me] has continually proven the build's viability.

Avatar of Dwayna
Avatar of Dwayna
Avatar of DwaynaAvatar of Dwayna [Elite]
dervish/Mysticism - Form
Energy: 5
Activation: 2
Duration: 10..75
Recharge: 30
Form. For 10..75 seconds, whenever you use a Skill, you gain 15..60 Health and lose 1 Hex. This Skill is disabled for 120 seconds.

With [Me] unlikely to change builds, [dR] brought a build with numerous counters to Sineptitude. Its two Dervishes brought Avatar of Dwayna to counter [Me]'s hexes, as well as Harrier's Haste to keep up with [Me]'s splits. Its Mesmer had Hex Eater Vortex to punish [Me]'s hex usage. Dark Alley's two Shatterstone Elementalists ran Glyph of Immolation and Steam to foil [Me]'s Assassins with Blindness. Running three Monks allowed [dR] to dedicate one of them entirely to base defense. Word of Healing on all three Monks gave each one an efficient heal for some self-reliance against a split-heavy team. Of [dR]'s three Monks, two chose a Mesmer secondary for Hex Breaker while the third had Contemplation of Purity to combat Dazed and anti-caster hexes during base defense. Despite the Assassin secondary, [dR]'s Mo/A ran eight Monk skills.

MATCH LINEUP:

#3 Dark Alley [dR] #9 Mistral Edge [Me]
D/W Avatar of Dwayna with Bull's Strike A/N Beguiling Haze Assassin with Rigor Mortis
D/W Avatar of Dwayna with Bull's Strike A/W Shadow Prison Assassin with Tiger Stance
Me/Rt Hex Eater Vortex Mesmer with Death Pact Signet Mo/A Word of Healing Monk with Dark Escape
E/D Shatterstone Elementalist with Steam Me/E Signet of Illusions Mesmer with Backfire
E/D Shatterstone Elementalist with Steam Me/A Ineptitude Mesmer with Dash
Mo/A Word of Healing Monk with Contemplation of Purity Me/Rt Ineptitude Mesmer
Mo/[Me] Word of Healing Monk with Hex Breaker Mo/E Shield of Deflection Monk
Mo/[Me] Word of Healing Monk with Hex Breaker Mo/E Healer's Boon Monk
Morale Boosts: 2 (16:39, 22:23) Morale Boosts: 0

The Match

Both guilds sent most of their players to the center gate control area to begin the match, with each guild sending a player with the flag to the flag stand. Upon engaging Dark Alley at the center, Mistral Edge sent the Me/A around to the western path to attack [dR]'s NPCs. At the flag stand, [Me]'s Me/E captured first to start the flag race, allowing one of [dR]'s Shatterstone Elementalists, Windforce Ftw, to capture the stand in response. With [Me]'s A/N, Squ Me, coming towards the flag stand, Windforce could not stay around to harass [Me]'s flag runner, but Windforce soon found an opportunity to get into position to slow down [Me]'s flag runner.

Unsuspecting Strike
Unsuspecting Strike
Unsuspecting StrikeUnsuspecting Strike
Assassin - Critical Strike - Attack
Energy: 10
Activation: 0
Recharge: 4
Attack. If this attack hits, you strike for +19..31 damage. If your target was above 90% Health you deal an additional 15..75 damage.

At [dR]'s base, [dR]'s Mo/A, Savage Wears Pants, tried valiantly to keep [dR]'s NPCs alive. As Savage saved an archer from an untimely demise at the hands of [Me]'s Me/A on the west side of the base, [Me]'s A/W jumped the eastern most archer for the first NPC kill at 1:58. Meanwhile, with the E/D Windforce attacking [Me]'s flag runner down to half Health, Squ Me collapsed back on the E/D. Fortunately for [dR], one of its Mo/[Me]'s, Langola Redmonte, arrived in time to make the save, but [Me]'s flag runner managed to capture the stand in time to prevent a [dR] morale boost. Both of Dark Alley's Elementalists continued to look for opportunities to slow down Mistral Edge's flag runner, but this play backfired on them when Windforce became the game's first player casualty at 4:20.

Both teams continued to look for ways to get ahead on flags and NPCs. Neither team could hold an advantage on flag running and, although unable to penetrate [dR]'s savage base defense, Mistral Edge foiled [dR]'s attempts to even up the NPC count. However, at 13:10, [Me]'s A/W managed to take down another of [dR]'s eastern archers when [Me]'s Me/Rt drew Savage away to heal the westernmost archer. With the ensuing chaos at [dR]'s base, Squ Me managed to catch [dR]'s other Elementalist, The Finals, coming across the ice at 13:40, scoring a kill with [dR]'s closest Monk just out of range.

Bull's Strike
Bull's Strike
Bull's StrikeBull's Strike
Warrior - Strength - Attack
Energy: 5
Activation: 0
Duration: 2
Recharge: 10
Attack. If this attack hits a moving foe, you strike for +5..30 damage, and your target is knocked down.

Leave it to Dark Alley, however, to catch the split-happy Mistral Edge flatfooted. With the two teams contesting the flag stand, Squ Me pushed towards [dR]'s base. [Me]'s Shield of Deflection Monk, Eiria Curea, began to move towards [dR]'s base to try to support. As [Me]'s Healer's Boon Monk, Michelle Berkeley, trailed behind just out of range, [dR]'s D/W Dude Mcdudedude knocked Michelle down with Bull's Strike, used Distracting Strike to interrupt an attempted Protective Spirit, and finished the Monk off with assistance from Windforce at 15:03. [Me]anwhile, [dR] dropped Squ Me in its base at 15:05. These kills allowed [dR] to focus more attention on stalling [Me]'s flag running, resulting in [dR]'s first morale boost at 16:39.

At VoD, [dR] planted its two Dervishes on the narrow path on [Me]'s side of the flag stand. This tactic caused most of [Me]'s archers to stay behind the flag stand plateau while preventing [Me] from attempting to do the same to [dR]'s NPCs. Basically, [dR]'s archers would benefit from height advantage while [Me]'s archers would not. In addition, by keeping the Dervishes in the chokepoint, [dR] managed to get [Me]'s NPCs balled up fairly well. Even though one Dervish died during this engagement, [dR] quickly resurrected that player and kept the momentum going. Between the Dervishes' Scythes and the AoE spells from [dR]'s bodyguard, [dR] eliminated many of [Me]'s NPCs—and scored kills on most of [Me]'s team—by 20:00.

Steam
Steam
SteamSteam
Elementalist - Water Magic - Spell
Energy: 5
Activation: 1
Duration: 5..10
Recharge: 8
Spell. If target foe is on fire, Steam Blinds that foe for 5..10 seconds and strikes for 20..80 cold damage. Otherwise, that foe is struck for 5..50 cold damage.

However, the deaths to [Me]'s team meant that its two Assassins and two of its Mesmers resurrected back at the [Me] base at 20:00. These four promptly rushed towards the Dark Alley base and [dR]'s unprotected Guild Lord. Savage responded quickly to the threat, but got caught at 20:54. [dR]'s Elementalists, supported by Langola and the freshly resurrected Savage, quickly eliminated the [Me] threat, killing the Me/A at 20:54, the A/W at 21:00, and the A/N at 21:13. [Me]anwhile, [dR]'s Dervishes continued to pressure [Me] at the stand, eliminating [Me]'s bodyguard at 21:51. With [dR]'s Elementalists back at the stand, [dR] dropped [Me]'s Michelle Berkeley at 21:59, forcing a base resurrection at 22:00.

With a fresh morale boost at 22:23 and a fair number of NPCs remaining, [dR] needed only to wait for [Me]'s Guild Lord to charge in. As [Me]'s Monks frantically tried to keep their Guild Lord alive, [dR] picked off the rest of [Me]'s team. [Me]'s Guild Lord finally fell at 23:27, and Dark Alley capped off a fantastic April with a long-awaited, well-deserved gold cape trim.


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