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#16 I Black Widow I [Wi] Defeats #1 The Last Pride [EvIL] – May 20, 2006
European underdog stuns reigning Guild Wars World Champion
By Harold J. Chow


When a higher-ranked guild bowed out of the competition before the brackets were set, I Black Widow I [Wi] capitalized on its playoff berth in the top sixteen by upsetting the number-one-seeded guild, The Last Pride [EvIL]. Wi then advanced to Round Two of the GWFC season two playoffs.


Game One

Shadow Shroud
Shadow Shroud
Shadow ShroudShadow Shroud [Elite]
Assassin - Shadow Arts - Hex Spell
Energy: 10
Activation: 1
Duration: 3..9
Recharge: 20
Hex Spell. For 3..9 seconds, target foe cannot be the target of Enchantments.

EvIL's build featured a Mesmer with the Assassin elite skill Shadow Shroud. This skill creates a small window of opportunity during which the target cannot receive the Enchantments that most Monks use to save teammates from damage spikes. EvIL's Assassin participated in those spikes without alerting opposing Monks, shadow stepping to a target with Aura of Displacement each time and unloading a chain of dagger attack skills. EvIL's Ranger supplied both poison and interrupts.

Arguably, Wi's build featured more raw offensive power. Their build included two Warriors providing consistent damage and knock downs, a Ranger to Cripple and Poison foes, a Mesmer with Air Magic attacks boosted by Fast Casting, and an Assassin with Shock, who could knock down a foe before unleashing a devastating assault.

GAME 1 LINEUP
#1 The Last Pride [EvIL] #17 I Black Widow I [Wi]
Me/A – Domination Mesmer with Blackout, Shadow Shroud W/A – Axe Warrior with Death's Charge, Bull's Strike
E/Mo – Air Magic with Ward of Stability, Ward Against Melee R/E – Apply Poison, Crippling Shot
A/Mo – Aura of Displacement, Contemplation of Purity W/E – Sword Warrior with "Charge!", Shock
W/E – Sword Warrior with Auspicious Parry, Shock, "Shields Up!" A/E – Aura of Displacement, Shock, Caltrops
R/Me – Apply Poison, Punishing Shot, Savage Shot Me/E – Air Magic with Elemental Attunement, Air Attunement, Gale
Me/Mo – Expel Hexes, Diversion, Draw Conditions, Energy Burn Mo/Me – Divine Boon Protector with Energy Drain
Mo/Me – Divine Boon, Mantra of Recall Mo/Me – Divine Boon Protector with Energy Drain
Mo/Me – Blessed Light, Power Drain, Gift of Health, Channeling E/Mo – Air Magic with Windborne Speed, Ice Prison, Heal Party
Morale Boosts: 5 (4:18, 6:18, 25:18, 27:18, 29:18) Morale Boosts: 4 (9:02, 12:26, 32:46, 34:46)

Game one took place at EvIL's Frozen Isle guild hall. As one might expect, EvIL started the game by splitting, sending half the team to the flag stand and the other half to the central gate-control area. Wi countered by sending one group toward the gate controls and a second group, with a Ranger and Elementalist, toward the flag stand. More importantly, Wi sent its Assassin to infiltrate EvIL's base on his own. Although Wi had to withdraw from the flag stand, its Assassin had already eliminated one of EvIL's NPC Archers by 1:00.

Shock
Shock
ShockShock
Elementalist - Air Magic - Skill
Energy: 5
Activation: 0.75
Recharge: 10
Skill. Target touched foe is knocked down and struck for 10..60 lightning damage. This skill has 25% armor penetration and causes Exhaustion.

While Wi's strategy allowed EvIL to earn early morale boosts, Wi's Assassin antics steadily gave the European guild a numbers advantage for Victory or Death. After both guilds regrouped in the center of the map, Wi's Assassin snuck off again when Wi's Elementalist attempted to interrupt EvIL's control of the flag stand. By the time Wi conceded a morale boost to EvIL at 4:18, Wi's Assassin had already eliminated four more Archers by using Shock to set up attack chains. EvIL finally sent its own Assassin back to subdue the threat to its base, but after Wi sent its Ranger to the rescue, EvIL's Assassin soon fell. Two Wi players continued to eliminate EvIL's NPC Archers, as well as EvIL's Assassin after he resurrected in the EvIL base at 6:00. This forced EvIL to send its Warrior back to base to limit the losses. Wi took advantage by pushing toward the flag stand. Despite getting another morale boost at 6:18, EvIL suddenly found itself on the defensive. With Wi capturing the flag stand at 7:02 and its Warrior needing assistance, EvIL fell back to its base.

Having improved its field position, Wi could now play for morale boosts. By harassing any EvIL player that carried a flag, Wi secured a morale boost at 9:02. Although EvIL momentarily retook the flag stand, Wi's Assassin and Ranger had already infiltrated EvIL's base again. By eliminating one of EvIL's Bodyguards at 10:30, the duo coerced EvIL into returning to base, earning Wi another morale boost at 12:26. EvIL split again, sending its Warrior, Elementalist, and Assassin to deal with Wi's Assassin and Ranger, while the rest tried to retake the flag stand. Although the split kept the main battle away from EvIL's base, Wi's Assassin still managed to sneak off to kill EvIL's remaining Bodyguard at 18:16.

The guilds continued to trade control of the flag stand until EvIL finally forced Wi into a defensive position. Although EvIL had received three more morale boosts, Wi managed to preserve three Archers and both Bodyguards for Victory or Death. With added NPC firepower pushing out of the Wi base at 30:00, Wi's Elementalist followed the NPCs to retake the flag stand. EvIL seized the opportunity to push into Wi's base. With Wi's NPCs out of the way, EvIL racked up kills and mounted an offensive on the Wi Guild Lord. However, Wi's fallen team members soon resurrected at 32:00 and thwarted EvIL's assault. With its own Guild Lord marching out unprotected to the flag stand, EvIL had to withdraw. Wi's NPC advantage at the flag stand soon proved too much to overcome as Wi finally eliminated EvIL's Guild Lord at 39:39.


Game Two

Healing Light
Healing Light
Healing LightHealing Light [Elite]
Monk - Healing Prayers - Spell
Energy: 5
Activation: 1
Recharge: 4
Spell. Heal target ally for 40..100 Health. If your target has an Enchantment, you gain 1..3 Energy.

Wi's Burning Isle guild hall, with its Flame Cursed Sentinels and lava hazards, tends to prevent teams from splitting effectively. As Wi's guild hall choice helped hinder EvIL's tactical options, Wi changed its build almost entirely to take advantage of the "home turf." The build included three Ranger/Warriors with hammer attacks and pets, and a Necromancer with Disease, Condition removal, and Hex removal. Wi swapped one of its Divine Boon Protection Monks for a healer with Healing Light and Infuse Health, two skills unaffected by Shadow Shroud. EvIL, meanwhile, swapped out its Ranger for an Axe Warrior with Shock. EvIL's Me/Mo swapped out Expel Hexes for Martyr.

GAME 2 LINEUP:
#1 The Last Pride [EvIL] #17 I Black Widow I [Wi]
Me/A – Domination Mesmer with Blackout, Shadow Shroud R/W – Irresistible Blow, "Charge!", Bestial Fury, Charm Animal
W/E – Axe Warrior with Eviscerate, Distracting Blow, Shock R/W – Backbreaker, Crushing Blow, "Retreat!", Charm Animal
A/Mo – Aura of Displacement, Contemplation of Purity R/W – Backbreaker, Poisonous Bite, Charm Animal
W/E – Sword Warrior with Auspicious Parry, Shock A/E – Aura of Displacement, Shock, Horns of the Ox
E/Mo – Air Magic with Ward of Stability, Ward Against Melee, Heal Party N/Mo – Tainted Flesh, Rotting Flesh, Draw Conditions, Aegis
Me/Mo – Martyr, Diversion, Remove Hex, Energy Burn Mo/Me – Divine Boon Protector with Energy Drain
Mo/Me – Divine Boon Protector with Mantra of Recall, Channeling Mo/Me – Healing Light, Infuse Health, Ethereal Light, Distortion
Mo/Me – Blessed Light, Gift of Health, Power Drain E/Mo – Water Magic with Armor of Mist, Blinding Flash, Aegis, Heal Party
Morale Boosts: 2 (5:44, 7:44) Morale Boosts: 5 (13:16, 15:16, 17:16, 19:16, 21:16)

Unable to split effectively, both guilds started game two by heading to the flag stand. The two guilds exchanged kills for the first four minutes until EvIL pushed through Wi's front line to kill Wi's Healing Monk. As Wi's other defensive players fell soon thereafter, the guild used "Retreat!" to fall back to base. With four Wi players down, EvIL relentlessly pursued, eliminating both of Wi's Bodyguards before 6:00. Just as Wi's team was about to resurrect, however, EvIL withdrew from Wi's base.

Poisonous Bite
Poisonous Bite
Poisonous BitePoisonous Bite
Ranger - Beast Mastery - Pet Attack
Energy: 5
Activation: 0
Duration: 5..20
Recharge: 7
Pet Attack. Your animal companion attempts a Poisonous Bite that Poisons target foe for 5..20 seconds.

Instead of letting EvIL escape unscathed, Wi struck back hard. Taking advantage of the narrow paths leading out of its base, Wi forced EvIL's Monks to retreat out of the spell range of its front line. As EvIL suddenly found itself poorly positioned, Wi killed several members of EvIL's team—including both Monks—within a thirty-second span that started at 8:08. With the teams spread out, one of EvIL's Warriors had a clear path to the Wi base. EvIL's Warrior headed toward the Wi base, but soon faced a lone pursuer in Wi's Assassin. As the two dueled at Wi's base, Wi took down EvIL's other Warrior, who had become separated from his Monk teammates. Soon both Warriors had fallen, and EvIL was struggling to stabilize. Between trying to resurrect its personnel and trying to cope with the heavy Health degeneration caused by Disease and Poison, EvIL suffered several casualties over the next three minutes. Although EvIL managed to resurrect its Warriors and send them off to attack Wi's base, the Warriors could not deal with both the Blinding Flash from Wi's Elementalist and the knock downs from Wi's Assassin. With its Warriors dying at the Wi base, EvIL had no frontline to keep Wi's three hammer Ranger/Warriors from controlling the flag stand. Forced to retreat, EvIL conceded Wi's first morale boost at 13:16.

Tainted Flesh
Tainted Flesh
Tainted Flesh Tainted Flesh [Elite]
Necromancer - Death Magic - Enchantment Spell
Energy: 5
Activation: 1
Duration: 20..44
Recharge: 0
Enchantment Spell. For 20..44 seconds, target ally is immune to disease, and anyone striking that ally in melee becomes Diseased for 3..15 seconds.

Although EvIL held back Wi's onslaught for the next four minutes, it eventually succumbed to Wi's lethal combination of knock downs and Disease. As they inflicted a heavy death penalty on EvIL's Warriors and received a morale boost every two minutes, Wi broke through EvIL's defenses around 17:30 and took down both of EvIL's Bodyguards. With EvIL unable to recover from its increasing casualties, Wi completed its upset at 21:45 and advanced to the second round.

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