The Return of EvIL
Once upon a time, there was a team known as EvIL that dominated Guild Wars PvP. The Korean team achieved excellence through a ferociously aggressive style of play and a healthy dose of on-the-fly tactical brilliance. They were successful—EvIL members have been winning tournaments since there have been tournaments to win—but they were also respected among their peers for the way they played. EvIL didn't just win, they won a lot and had fun doing it.
Things changed, however. EvIL lost several of its key players, and without them the team faltered in the increasingly competitive PvP environment. EvIL eventually dropped out of contention, and then faded from tournament play entirely. One of the game's most exciting, dynamic, and well regarded teams was gone, and sorely missed...but now EvIL is coming back.
A History of Excellence
The players who made EvIL great have been a part of Guild Wars since the earliest days of beta release PvP, when Korean player Dang Jang and several others split off from War Machine. The new team, EvIL, was meant to be a bit warmer and friendlier than War Machine—they would play as hard as WM and with the same goal of total, decisive victory, but they would play without what they saw as WM's ruthless edge. The split between WM and EvIL created the first great PvP rivalry in Guild Wars: both teams practiced up to ten hours a day to keep their skills razor-sharp, and championship match showdowns between the two titans were commonplace. EvIL's trademark split squad/skirmish strategy and their ability to execute it flawlessly continued to get the best of their rivals, culminating in EvIL's victory over WM at the first Guild Wars World Championship.
The Tide Turns and Duty Calls
The PvP tournament scene is never static, of course, and a winning approach only works until someone develops the build to beat it. In the semifinal round of the 2006 Factions World Championship, Idiot Savants took down EvIL with a highly defensive strategy that forced EvIL into a Victory or Death situation that stymied their squad-based offense. Defeat at Idiot Savants hands became all the more bitter when EvIL's old nemesis War Machine defeated Idiot Savants in the finals and became the Factions World Champions.
The championship loss was frustrating, but soon after the team's future prospects grew even darker. A period of military service is mandatory for all citizens in Korea and shortly after the Factions World Championship, Dang Jang and other key members of EvIL were called to duty. With the team's leadership unavailable and the level of competition growing fiercer every day, EvIL was unable to maintain their winning ways. The team struggled on for a short while, competing only sporadically and without its former level of success, until at last EvIL stopped competing as an organized team.
A New Name for EvIL
Fast forward two years, to the present day: Dang Jang is back from the military and eager to return to the game he loves. EvIL is no more, but most of its founding members are still in touch—and many of them are eager to rekindle the aggressive excitement they brought to PvP back in the day. With Jang driving the process, four of EvIL's eight core members have returned to Guild Wars PvP under the name The Return (Jang refuses to use the name EvIL unless all of his former comrades rejoin the team) and they are on the lookout for more great Korean players to fill out their ranks.
The new team is holding fast to the old team's ways—The Return plays the same kind of hard, fast, squad-based skirmish strategy that made EvIL champions. The PvP scene has changed a lot in the past two years, however, and so The Return's old-school style of play is having a tough time of it—defensive strategies are dominant and the game itself has expanded greatly while The Return's founding members were away. Catching up on two years' worth of new skills, spells, and tactical tricks is no easy task, especially when you're former champions and everyone's looking to take down the legend. During this time of rebuilding and reeducating themselves, The Return is taking its lumps as it learns just how far it had to go to make it back to the top.
The Return takes these frequent losses in stride and without complaint. They have accepted the fact that as they grow older they no longer have the time to practice ten hours a day, but Jang and his teammates refuse to compromise their vision of how the game should be played or how victory should be achieved. To them, the only way to win is through direct confrontation, by overwhelming their foes with speed and strength. They consider this victory the only real victory, referring to it as victory with honor or "Absolute Victory," and they will settle for nothing less. The Return is determined to fine-tune their traditionally aggressive strategy until it's effective in today's defense-heavy environment. The Return has no interest in scouting other teams, or viewing matches in Observer mode—their attitude is, "We don't want to watch, we want to play. We don't want to use other team's strategies; we want to find a way to beat them with ours."
Even as The Return adapts to the new realities of the PvP tournament scene, the tournament scene itself also changes...and this time it changes to their benefit. The Victory or Death endgame that crippled EvIL's basic strategy at the Factions World Championship is gone; tie-breakers now hinge on how much damage is done to the Guild Lord, not on an all-or-nothing showdown in the middle of the map. Playing pure defense is no longer as effective against aggressive offensive powerhouses, and The Return's small, fast, and highly mobile skirmish squads are more dangerous than ever.
Are You Ready for The Return?
Anyone who doubts The Return's dedication should consider this: currently, the team is participating in 2-3 daily tournaments and practicing 6-7 hours per day. In order to qualify for a recent monthly tournament, The Return played for 16 hours straight just to qualify for the event...and then played another 7 hours in the tournament itself. The Return brings with it the same love of the game that made EvIL so effective, the same aggression that made EvIL matches so exciting, and the same joyous energy that made it so much fun to compete against EvIL in the first place, win or lose.
So to all you PvP warriors, lovers of the game, and top-flight competitors: celebrate and beware, because the team that defined success in the early days of PvP is back, and it won't rest until it is once again the team to beat.