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Week five a desperate battle for dominance in the Guild Wars 2 Pro League

Maddie Maree
Contributing Editor
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Welcome back to the Guild Wars 2 Pro League! 2016 is set to be huge, with the proceedings already having begun with some intense week five matches. In Europe, this week was make or break for a number of teams, with only a few slim chances left at getting into the finals. Over in North America, three teams were up for second place, with this week’s matches really focusing on defining their placings. Check out the recap of all the action below!

Europe

Chaotic Contingency vs. Purple Noise

We started this week with the true underdog matchup, with both teams at the bottom of the standings and fighting to pull out of last position. With both teams fairly evenly matched in skill, Chaotic Contingency put the pressure on with a heavy damage team composition - against which Purple Noise historically struggles.

Chaotic Contingency held the upper hand in the early game, keeping Purple Noise at around 50% HP collectively. Purple Noise managed the first points, but ChC took out two players, and opened the map for a double cap. Purple Noise held strong and managed a decap to keep the points neck and neck, but Chaotic Contingency pushed their way to victory with a triple cap.

However, Purple Noise weren’t about to roll over, taking the first kill in game two. ChC took advantage of a disconnect on Purple Noise’s side - and while Purple Noise held strong for a few minutes, ChC put the pressure on the remaining members to take a 100-point lead with a double cap. It didn’t take long for a forfeit to occur.

More Guns Than Roses vs. Car Crashed

More Guns Than Roses were looking like a favorite this week. Despite suffering a loss in the last match of 2015, GnR had the advantage of beating WTS champs oRNG in week three. Car Crashed were looking a lot less sturdy, but have proved themselves one of the most adaptable teams in the Pro League, thus promising a great matchup.

Just seconds in, Car Crashed secured the first cap - and held on to at least one cap for much of the early game. Taking some risks, Car Crashed dominated at mid - but a misplay lost them a cap, forgetting about the GnR players coming from spawn. Even so, Car Crashed took their double back, pushing their lead to over 200 points. More Guns Than Roses rallied with some kills, but too late - CC’s double gave them enough points to take the game.

Car Crashed took the advantage early in game two, too, building up a hefty lead. More Guns Than Roses tried - and failed - to slow CC down. GnR finally found their foothold, but still couldn’t close the gap in a significant way. With just 3 minutes left, the map was cleared. Managing a late double, Car Crashed rode out the timer, taking the last game in the series by almost 300 points.

Orange Logo vs. Rank Fifty Five Dragons

Rank Fifty Five Dragons have proved themselves a powerhouse, holding their position at the top of the scoreboard with zero losses. However, if any team could have broken their streak, it would be oRNG. Orange Logo have actually suffered in the Pro League, coming off the back of some amazing success in the Go4GW2. This week could have been their last chance at getting into the finals, with only harder and harder matches coming up in their future.

oRNG showed their prowess in the early game, feinting out to manipulate a cap flip. However, Rank55 ultimately came out on top, securing a triple cap in the first 4 minutes. oRNG dug their heels in and portalled out for a decap - but they couldn’t ride that momentum. Instead, oRNG took both spawn caps, closing the point gap to 200 points - until they suffered a three-man wipe and lost all nodes. Rank55 pushed ahead to 500 points.

Next was another close start, with Rank55 taking the first cap - followed by an almost immediate decap from oRNG. Neither team made significant headway, until oRNG managed to take out several players for a slight point lead. But oRNG didn’t push their man advantage, and Rank55 took the game back - maintaining a 50-point lead. Desperate, and with just one minute left, oRNG failed a Lord rush. Rank Fifty Five Dragons won by just 87 points at time.

The Civilized Gentlemen vs. Vermillion

Vermillion have been a dark horse in this competition, coming from underdog status to absolutely dominate in the Pro League. Up against them: pillar in the Guild Wars 2 competitive scene The Civilized Gentlemen, with their chance at a second-place spot within their sights this week.

With practically mirrored opening strategies, no real advantage was awarded until Vermillion took the first kill, pushing for the only cap. TCG replied with some great rotations, forcing Vermillion to regroup - and regroup they did, offering some great counterplays to keep TCG under control. Taking out three of TCG in one massive cleave, Vermillion scattered across the map to push their advantage. TCG rallied, but weren't able to close in. Vermillion held onto a cap throughout the game, and a last-minute double cap cemented their victory.

With both teams playing reactively, the early game was close, but Vermillion held onto a slight lead. Corralling TCG, Vermillion played the map, and took out TCG’s only point income with some nice portal play. Vermillion’s single cap slowly tripled TCG’s score, but with just four minutes left, TCG put themselves back in the game. The point gap closed to just 100 points, but The Civilized Gentleman ran out of time, failing a Lord Rush at 12 seconds left.

North America

Apex Prime vs. Ez Pz Lemon Squeezy

The first game for North Ameica brought us two of the four teams sitting in the middle of the standings, looking to knock each other out of that third slot. Both teams came off the back of a loss in their last games of 2015, meaning this week was also serving as a redemption round.

Both teams had very different opening strategies, with Apex pushing caps and EzPz securing kills. The kills had it, giving EzPz the chance to take a solid double cap. Apex Prime flipped control of the outer nodes, but couldn’t make it into a significant lead. With just 20 points between them for the majority of the game, both teams were trading kill for cap for kill. Apex took the lead with just 40 seconds on the clock, taking the game with a final boss kill.

After such a close first game, Apex Prime asserted dominance with an early double cap. EzPz replied with a cap of their own, but with no decaps for almost 5 minutes Apex Prime was lightyears ahead. EzPz switched the double into their favor and closed the gap up slightly - but Apex Prime held their single node into the Lord window, taking the Lord and the second game of this series.

Never Lucky vs. Zero Counterplay

Zero Counterplay have struggled throughout the Pro League, with no victories under their belt as of yet. Set against Never Lucky this week, this was Zero Counterplay’s chance to get a foothold over another bottom-tier team. However, Never Lucky have shown promise in the past with one win in week three, and had a chance to prove themselves against ZC.

The initial three-point push by both teams went in favor of NL. With the first cap feeding them points, NL aimed to keep ZC in the downed state. Never Lucky employed some great portal play to keep Zero Counterplay on 0 points. When ZC finally put themselves on the board, they were already 150 points behind. A double cap set the tide turning in their favor, but they couldn’t close the point gap. Never Lucky ran the clock to take map one.

Never Lucky took three kills very quickly next, using their man advantage to get the first cap - and taking the double pushed NL into a massive lead. Zero Counterplay managed to get some decaps to slow the inevitable. With 5 minutes remaining, ZC got their first points on the board, but Never Lucky ultimately took the game 581-15 with a Lord kill.

Team PZ vs. Final Form

This was another set of two teams both sitting on 2-2. Final Form have not been doing so well in recent weeks, despite taking the win against Zero Counterplay most recently. Team PZ looked strong coming into week five. After taking some losses in the first two weeks with some intense three-game sets, Team PZ have really levelled up their strategy.

Final Form took the first cap, taking an early 50-point lead uncontested as there wasn’t much aggressive action from either side. It was a very close game overall. Final Form slowly pulled ahead, holding the only cap for most of the late game - but Team PZ relied on boss kills to take the lead. Just 16 points behind at 20 seconds remaining, Final Form took the final boss kill to take the game.

It looked like a repeat of game one, with Final Form taking the early lead. However, Team PZ took out a few players in order to clear the map. Both teams sat in a stalemate until the final minutes, with Team PZ getting a double cap to take the lead. Finally, both teams headed for a Lord kill. However, they cancelled each other out, and Team PZ ultimately won game two.

Heading onto the Battle of Kyhlo, Team PZ turned the tide with the first cap, slowly taking the lead. Already 100 points behind, Final Form focused down players to flip the cap, but Team PZ weren’t ready to let it go. A double cap solidified Team PZ’s lead. Final Form managed to clear the map, but couldn’t hold any caps of their own. Team PZ took the win this week with a 350-point lead.

Spoookie vs. The Abjured

Saving the best for last, the match of the week was a battle between the top two teams in North Americ. The Abjured are the only undefeated team in NA, with a long history of total domination. If anyone could knock them off their throne, it would be Spoookie. Standing pretty at second place, this match was critical for Spoookie to maintain their standing.

Spookie took the first cap, able to get the upper hand on The Abjured early. However, The Abjured took half of Spoookie down and out to take a double cap and close that point gap. Spoookie fought hard, with some great rotations and decaps slowing The Abjured’s snowball. However, keeping on top of reclaiming those decaps pushed The Abjured into an almost 300-point lead. A late triple pushed The Abjured over 500 points.

The Abjured took no time in taking control of game two. With a triple cap, The Abjured held the man advantage over the map by keeping Spoookie down to two or three players at all times. Spoookie managed three kills in quick succession, taking a cap and putting points on the board. However The Abjured were unphased, taking the game by 407 points to sit at 5-0 in the Pro League!

Join us for the next matches!

Tune in on Monday the 18th of January for more Guild Wars 2 Pro League action! Be sure not to miss any of the exciting matches to come - visit the Pro League’s official website for all the latest information and follow ESL Guild Wars 2 on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates.