Rawr Cup: It's a Wrap
And, so, the Rawr Cup has drawn to a close. The signups have already started for the next one although no one knows when it will be or who'll be sponsoring it or anything else. The important thing is that there'll be another and I, for one, weclome it.
I hope you weren't expecting me to go all out and break out the live blogging stick or anything. This wekeend's something of a vacation for me and I'm taking it nice and easy. I did catch a lot of games, listened in on Weapon of Choice. Sadly misnamed because, as far as I can tell, Kestrel never showed up. Instead Scotty, Yue, and the lovely lady Roxianna filled in admirably. Scotty's one of the organizers from Rawr, and Roxianna is from GuildCafe, the people who sponsored the event, while Yue is from Delta Formation the #1 ranked guild and what had to be a heavy favorite heading into the day (Although he wasn't playing personally today). Just not the same, though. But still an enjoyable listen filled with some interesting stuff especially towards the end when the swiss rounds were over and they started to invite some guests on.
I gather there was a little bit of drama with the last minute switch to AT rules. Basically, the rules never said anything about a 14-day waiting period and a lot of people were caught unaware. But, running it under ANet's rules also meant ANet's support and major use of the in-game tournament functions - such as putting the game up on obs mode.
At first, the only matches avaialable were the ones featuring top 100 guilds. Which didn't bother me since that's what I was in the market for. But, after a while, the special events section of obs mode began to fill up with all the matches. They were mislabled as part of the Monthly Championship but at least you could check out the play from all the divisions. After that, I got rather caught up in watching the Titan division matches. The ones featuring the sub-500 teams, in other words. Not becaues they were especially thrilling but because I haven't been paying much attention to PvP lately and I want to get back into the flow. High-level PvP is fast paced and errors can be subtle things to detect. If you're not watchign the right person at the right time you might miss why a wipe is happening especially in a tight match. On the other hand, bad teams arfe interesting to watch make mistakes because they tend to be the big, broad ones. Splitting at the wrong time. Building too defensively. That sort of thing. So, I wasn't watching so much for the competition but to learn what not to do.
So, if you ask me, it was an acceptable trade-off. And, in the grand scheme of things a bit of confusion about the rules is a small price to pay in an event as large and complicated to pull off as this one. If that's te only thing that went wrong then things went wonderfully well.
Anf from what I can tell, that was about all that went wrong. The day was full of awesome matches and good competition. Saw a lot of stuff I liked - in particular I was taken with Dark Alley's Ele/Derv build. Mystic Regeneration, Mind Blast, Blinding Flash, Gale and lots of other fun stuff on a character that's well suited for the split and a beast at VoD. It's the kind of character I'd love a chance to play myself.
Sigh, days like today really make me want to play GvG again. Sadly, I have neither the time nor the patience to track down a guild let alone put in the required play time. Along with everything else that goes into playing some hardcore PvP. It's a shame because the game look sreally nice right now. A lot of the disgusting stuff is gone and there's a sense of newness, of people trying different setups and configurations again, that's been missing for me, for a while.
At the moment, though, the best I can do is watch and that's exactly what I did. Another bout with the internet connection demons that have been plaguing me lately meant I wasn't able to enjoy the first few rounds but jiggling some wires, clapping my hands, and dancing counterclockwise in a widening circle to placate Umbotho, angered god of disconnects, did the trick and I was able to enjoy the rest of the day just fine. Jumping back and forth, hopping from match to match, trying to keep track of the unfolding spectacle.
Sadly, my boys in [dR] went out in the semifinals losing to eventual runner-up [sup] whom they lost to earlier in the tournament, as well. I still don't know what happened with the first loss - [sup]'s midline was hor-i-ble the whole tournament and I figured [dR] would eat them up on Druid's. But [sup] hung in there even through they were playing on their heels and pulled off a Lord gank at the last minute. The second time around, though, it was build failure. [dR] was running a pressure condition build for Jade but they couldn't get past [sup]'s HB/HP spam (One neat trick I noticed was that they were using Holy Haste on top of HB not only as a cover but to get 1/4th the casting time. 1/2 second Heal Parties are nice.). While, at the same time, they had problems with [sup]'s knocklocks. That sort of thing seemed to be popular with the Euros and I saw a lot of teams running things like Aura of Stability to protect against it. Nothing like that on [dR], though, and they got caught off guard. They managed to right the ship after a while, correcting whatever was letting [sup] spike them out at will but, by then, they were down on morale and flags and everything else that matters. And, of course, their build still wasn't working. Matter of time, really.
Congrats to [EW]. They had an epic match against [sup] to take the Dragon crown. Again, [sup]'s midline was wretched. Their Ranger didn't do much. Their Mesmer seemed content to wand and HumSig. Either one of them could have pressured the Monk runner on [EW] and maybe helped either the flag count or by disrupting that HB spam - which really helped them push up on Imperial. [Ew]'s build, especially their Rit fueled Dervish went nuts at VoD, though. It was still a massive, tension filled scrum at the flagstand before it was all over.
And congrats also to Die Keller Kinder and Mundane Fabulous Guard who took the Pheonix and Titan titles.
The Pheonix Cup came down to Die Keller Kinder and Final Thrust on Burning. I'm pretty sure I caught Lemming in there, warding it up. [KK] were running a pretty vanilla build. 3 Monk backline with two Wars, a Para, a Mes, and an Ele. [RIP], meanwhile, ran two Dervs in front of two E/Rits with a Mes with its own Rit secondary and their own three Monk backline. I'm liking the Ele/Rits, myself, their point seems to be B-Surge along with Splinter and Ancestor's Rage spam with the occassional ward. Reminds me a lot of the old school GWFC era E/Mo - the legendary five-tooler who'd gathered up all the critical utility that you needed but couldn't fit elsewhere and powered it out. Match was pretty even heading into VoD when [RIP] got pushed off the flagstand when they couldn't hold up against [KK]'s pressure - I think it was the Paragon that did it just a little too much and too easy to switch from protted targets while Defensive Anthem blunted the Dervs who just couldn't get to working on the NPCs.
Still don't get what [RIP] was doing in the Phoenix pond since they're ranked #15. Maybe they weren't so vaunted when they signed up? In general, I think in general letting teams as good as [RIP] and [KK] into that division is problematic. If you ask me, they need a division for the top 100, then the 100~500, the sub-500. But no matter where they set the cutoff point, it's going to be the teams towards the top of the skill distribution who come out on top. I'd just like to see some lower ranked teams get a chance to have an audience. The top 100 have the ladder and the tournaments and everything else, the beauty of letting anyone compete in a tournament like this is that the teams who aren't normally coated in glory and fame get their turn.
Speaking of which, over in the kiddy pool, the final showdown occured on Solitude between Char in My [Car] and Mundane Fabulous Guard [MfG]. Both teams in the 600s, by the way. [Car] seemed to be running a dedicated split with a three man Warrior, Ranger, Monk squad and a Warrior, Ele, Mes with two Monks flagstand team. While [MfG] was running pure balance. A Warrior, a Rit, a BA Ranger, an Ele, a Mes, and a two Monk backline with a Rit runner. Off the start, [Car] did the smart thing, I think, and went for the gank. Solitude is nice and close and while it meant giving up an early boost it gave them a chance to work off a lot of NPCs. [MfG] sniffed it out though. And then the unbalanced split fun and games were on as the teams tried to overload each other at various points or collapsing to the 8 on 8. It lasted well into VoD but, in the end, [MfG] was just too much for [Car] to handle.
Incidently, I heard on the un-WoC that the commentators were surprised to see low-ranked teams splitting. I wasn't. Low-level teams split all the time, it's filtered well down at this point. They're not as good at it as the folks on top of the ladder but you can say that about spikes and bodyblocking and everything else. I think th ething is that against the better teams the teams at the bottom of the ladder who'd like to split are rolled too fast to ever put that startegy into serious play. They're forced into a defensive posture early and that means balling up and turtling and tryign to weather the storm. That's really why they're poor teams because the good teams go for the throat when they feel threatened.
Regardless, good to see the low-level competition and the people who toil away at it getting a chance to share the spotlight. There's nothing like some prizes and some recognition on the line to draw people into these events. Next time, hopefully, it'll be even bigger and better. But it's going to have a sound legacy to live up to.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Rawr Cup: It's a Wrap