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Team UAX Wins the PAX 10k Arena!

By Sean Ferguson

It came down to UAX vs. Reconnect for the final match on Sunday. To get to the finals, both teams won a semi-final match earlier in the day after qualifying on Saturday. At the finals, they received a new deck of sealed skill cards, different from any they used during qualifiers or at the semi-finals. In a showdown spanning two games of 4v4 tournament play, these teams assembled builds and went head to head on two different maps. UAX came out ahead, earning a hefty $4,000 grand prize, while Reconnect walked away with a nice $2,000. And all of it for playing a game! Congratulations, guys.


Team UAX unlocking $4,000 prize

Team Reconnect connecting with $2,000 prize and signed copies of Factions

The final sealed decks

Team Reconnect had these skills to choose from going into the finals:


Team Reconnect sets up
Aegis
Animate Bone Minions
Aura of Restoration
Backbreaker
Backbreaker
Banish
Belly Smash
Blood is Power
Crushing Blow
Crystal Wave
Dissonance
Dragon's Stomp
Dual Shot
Earthbind
Edge of Extinction
Epidemic
Ether Renewal
Frenzy
Furious Axe
Gaze of Contempt
Glyph of Essence
Grasping was Kurrong
Heaven's Delight
Hunter's Shot
Hunter's Shot
"I Will Survive!"
Incendiary Bonds
Lacerate
Lava Arrows
Leaping Mantis Sting
Lifebane Strike
Mark of Death
Mark of Instability
Melandru's Arrows
Melandru's Resilience
Mend Condition
Muddy Terrain
Nightmare Weapon
Painful Bond
Putrid Explosion
Recuperation
Revealed Hex
Ride the Lightning
Shame
Shared Burden
Sharpen Daggers
Signet of Agony
Signet of Devotion
Sliver Armor
Spirit Siphon
Spirit to Flesh
Spirit Walk
Staggering Blow
Stonesoul Strike
Sun and Moon Slash
Twisting Fangs
Union
Unyielding Aura
Wail of Doom
Ward Against Foes
Wary Stance
Watchful Spirit
Winter
Withdraw Hexes
"You Will Die!"

Team UAX had these skills to choose from going into the finals:


Team UAX sets up
Aftershock
Animate Flesh Golem
Arcane Mimicry
Belly Smash
Blind was Mingson
Boon of Creation
Chaos Storm
Dark Apostasy
Deadly Riposte
Death's Charge
Disenchantment
Disrupting Lunge
Diversion
Dust Trap
Dwayna's Kiss
Earth Attunement
Enfeebling Blood
Enraged Lunge
Expose Defenses
Final Thrust
Furious Axe
Gaze From Beyond
Heal Party
Holy Strike
Illusion of Haste
Illusion of Weakness
Inspired Enchantment
Iron Palm
Keystone Signet
Life Attunement
Lifebane Strike
Lightning Hammer
Lightning Javelin
Maelstrom
Mantis Touch
Mantra of Signets
Marauder's Shot
Painful Bond
Pin Down
Plague Signet
Poisonous Bite
Price of Failure
Protector's Strike
Shield Bash
Signet of Rejuvenation
Siphon Strength
Skull Crack
Skull Crack
Soul Twisting
Stolen Speed
Symbiotic Bond
Symbol of Wrath
Unseen Fury
Vampiric Touch
Vapor Blade
Vengeful Weapon
Viper's Nest
Wailing Weapon
Ward of Stability
Warrior's Cunning
Well of Power

Side-by-side comparison of team builds:

Reconnect UAX
Backbreaker
Backbreaker
BackbreakerBackbreaker [Elite]
Warrior - Hammer Mastery - Attack
Adrenaline: 10
Activation: 0
Duration: 4
Recharge: 0
Attack. If Backbreaker hits, you strike for +1..20 damage and your target is knocked down for 4 seconds.
Warrior/Ranger
Backbreaker
Crushing Blow
Staggering Blow
Frenzy
Wary Stance
"For Great Justice!"
"You Will Die!"
Resurrection Signet

Ranger/Assassin
Melandru's Arrows
Dual Shot
Hunter's Shot
Mark of Death
Winter
Muddy Terrain
Charm Animal
Resurrection Signet

Elementalist/Mesmer
Revealed Hex
Dragon's Stomp
Ether Renewal
Sliver Armor
Crystal Wave
Ward Against Foes
Aura Of Restoration
Resurrection Signet

Watchful Spirit
Watchful Spirit
Watchful SpiritWatchful Spirit
Monk - Divine Favor - Enchantment Spell
Energy: 15
Activation: 1
Duration: upkeep
Recharge: 5
Enchantment Spell. While you maintain this Enchantment, target ally gains +2 Health regeneration. That ally is healed for 30..180 Health when Watchful Spirit ends.
Monk/Ranger
Aegis
Signet of Devotion
Mend Condition
Heaven's Delight
Watchful Spirit
Melandru's Resilience
Stonesoul Strike
Resurrection Signet
Skull Crack
Skull Crack
Skull CrackSkull Crack [Elite]
Warrior - No Attribute - Attack
Adrenaline: 9
Activation: 0.5
Recharge: 0
Attack. If it hits, this attack interrupts the target's current action. If that foe was casting a Spell, that foe is Dazed for 10 seconds.
Warrior/Mesmer
Skull Crack
Final Thrust
Protector's Strike
Warrior's Cunning
Deadly Riposte
Shield Bash
Inspired Enchantment
Resurrection Signet

Ranger/x
Viper's Nest
Marauder's Shot
Pin Down
Enraged Lunge
Disrupting Lunge
Poisonous Bite
Charm Animal
Resurrection Signet

Ranger/Assassin
Iron Palm
Mantis Touch
Pin Down
Dust Trap
Expose Defenses
Siphon Strength
Charm Animal
Resurrection Signet

Heal Party
Heal Party
Heal PartyHeal Party
Monk - Healing Prayers - Spell
Energy: 15
Activation: 2
Recharge: 2
Spell. Heal entire party for 16..80 Health.
Monk/Ritualist
Dwayna's Kiss
Signet of Rejuvenation
Vengeful Weapon
Blind was Mingson
Life Attunement
Heal Party
Symbol of Wrath
Resurrection Signet

Game 1 – UAX win

The first battle took place on a fiery map, The Crag (a three-minute timed map, with each kill counting for one point). Showing no hesitation, team Reconnect pushed aggressively with their Backbreaker Hammer Warrior, calling out loud when knocking down the Monk. UAX's Monk lacked a powerful self heal, and had to rely on combining Energy-intensive Life Attunement with expensive Heal Party or weak Signet of Rejuvenation to heal himself. As such, he went down early, resulting in the first kill of the game at about 30 seconds in.

After taking down the Monk, Reconnect quickly switched targets in hopes of another fast kill. But UAX rezzed their Monk right away. Once he got back in the fight, he could more efficiently use Heal Party to mitigate the damage everyone else had suffered. In fact, UAX's Monk had an optimal situation to cast Heal Party—the other team left him entirely alone and spread their damage out.


UAX concentrating

This perfect life didn't last long for UAX's Monk. Reconnect dashed right back to him as soon as they saw the widespread healing come into play. As they charged in, their own Monk would soon fall. UAX's Poison-spreading began to take a toll, and their Warrior seized the opportunity to drop Reconnect's Monk. Reconnect pulled back to rez and, with their Monk up and running, swept in on UAX.

Although they dropped UAX's Monk yet again, Reconnect would have problems of their own as UAX's Warrior landed a successful Skull Crack on the Monk, and called his teammates over to help with interrupting the Dazed caster. This proved too much for Reconnect to handle, and the final score ended at 5-3 for this map, with UAX coming out ahead.


Game 2 – UAX win

Going from the quick-paced Crag map to its polar opposite, the Shiverpeak Arena, the teams started by trading Priest ganks (Priests revive fallen teammates every two minutes). Reconnect took out the enemy Priest first and raced back to their base, but by the time they got back, UAX had dispatched the Priest and stood ready to fight.

In this game, the UAX Monk had adapted his tactics and made frequent use of Watchful Spirit. He'd cast it on himself, kite away and let the Health regeneration give him a boost, then cancel the maintained Enchantment to grab some extra healing when the enemy caught up to him. At one point he escaped a particularly nasty engagement and squeaked out a Signet of Devotion on himself with only eight Health remaining. A simple wand attack would've decimated him. Despite his lucky break, Reconnect Crippled him as he tried to pull out another heal and he went down.


Team Reconnect coordinating a spike

But UAX, showing tactical sense, rezzed fast while their injured Warrior retreated. Reconnect sent their own Warrior to finish off the wounded player, but he had too much of a head start and made it safely back to the protective sanctuary of his Monk.

The next few minutes saw all players locked in combat. To avoid another Skull Crack incident, Reconnect's Monk made a heroic effort, carrying Blind was Mingson into the fray and dropping it an opportune moment, Blinding the opposition and buying himself time to use his slow healing skills.

UAX gradually pulled ahead, as they made use of their pets to apply pressure and overwhelm the enemy Monk. They also inflicted Blind, Cripple, and Poison, slowing down Reconnect's Warrior and dispersing Health degeneration throughout the whole team.

As the Health degeneration increased, Reconnect finally built up enough adrenaline to hit UAX's Monk with Backbreaker. Excited, they called it out and unleashed attack skills. But their own Monk had gone down, folding under the condition pressure. When they killed the UAX Monk, Reconnect had a Warrior and Elementalist alive at about 50 Health each, making easy targets to take down.


UAX victory prizes, including developer-signed copies of Factions

The Final Analysis

The build choices of both teams demonstrated a firm understanding of skill interaction, even though they had limited setup time. Perhaps this comes as a result of doing sealed play all day Saturday and accumulating experience. They had an idea of what kind of skills they'd want in a sealed play match, and applied that knowledge when making builds. Being sealed play, luck of the draw had a role in the outcome of all matches at the PAX 10k Arena. Nonetheless, the ability to work with limited skill choice, design synergistic uses for uncommonly used skills, and keep cool amidst eager fans all contributed to the win.

UAX seemed to have an intuitive grasp of sealed play, and performed exceedingly well throughout both days. And they had an additional surprise, accepting a challenge from ArenaNet staff in a Dev vs. Public exhibition game, and going on to win 2-0. We'll have details about this game, and about the Dev Team that stepped in and won the next exhibition game against team PIE (short for Pie Induced Ecstasy).

Also, we'll soon have more sealed play match reports from the 10k Arena, in-depth coverage of the Guild Wars Live Event, and GW-related community news from PAX!