It’s been seven weeks of incredible play leading up to the Pro League season finals. This past weekend, the top four pro Guild Wars 2 teams in the world flew out to Leicester, England to vie for the biggest prize pool in the game’s competitive history - and what a competition it was!
Each region showcased the strength of their league. Europe has been historically stronger, with a much more robust roster of teams. Vermillion and Rank Fifty Five Dragons have proved themselves worthy, having been through the gauntlet of talent on their home soil.
Meanwhile, the darlings of North America have - and always will be - The Abjured, who have completely dominated the scene for well over a year. Close behind them were Team PZ, who were the top of a brand new generation of North American players thirsty for that top spot.
The battle was intense, but only one team could take the trophy - here’s a rundown of all the action.
Team PZ denied their victory
Having formed at the eleventh hour, Team PZ breezed through the qualifiers but suffered in the early days of Season 1. With amazing individual players coming together in a strong roster, Team PZ and fought their way up from the bottom of the ranks to secure their place at the Pro League finals.
Their first opponents, Rank Fifty Five Dragons, had the advantage of much more LAN experience - and it showed. With three players having played together in a previous TCG roster, Rank Fifty Five had a polish that Team PZ lacked.
Game one seemed to be Team PZ’s strongest, holding their own in teamfights. However, Rank Fifty Five Dragons were able to outlive and outman PZ, taking control of the map to take the first round. The pattern repeated on the second map, with Rank Fifty Five taking control much earlier to dominate. Team PZ put up a valiant fight, but Rank Fifty Five took game three handily, eliminating Team PZ from the Pro League by taking the set 3-0.
Vermillion proved themselves more than worthy of making it to the finals, having only dropped two maps in the entirety of Season 1. Another team formed just before the qualifiers, Vermillion’s rise to the top was somewhat unexpected, but they are undeniably some of the best Europe has to offer.
However, up against undisputed best team in North America The Abjured, Vermillion faced their toughest challenge. The Abjured hadn’t lost a game on their own turf for over a year, but lost a set against a Europe team in the Cologne WTS last August - and this was Vermillion’s only window of opportunity.
The Abjured made short work of Vermillion, taking the first game by a landslide. But Vermillion weren’t giving up without a fight. Game two saw both teams neck and neck on Temple of the Silent Storm. With The Abjured just 27 points from victory, Vermillion took Tranquility to snatch the second map.
The third map was an old Abjured favorite, and they absolutely dominated, taking the game 501-143. Vermillion tried valiantly but dropped the fourth map and were eliminated.
The main event
Both at the top of their respective leagues, the matchup between The Abjured and Rank Fifty Five Dragons was almost expected. A clash of the titans, there was no real favorite between such evenly matched teams.
The Abjured came out swinging, with an early triple cap securing them the points to take game one for themselves. But Rank Fifty Five didn’t buckle under the pressure. Despite some resistance, Rank Fifty Five took game two-handedly, almost doubling The Abjured’s score.
Sitting at 1-1, each map was crucial. Game three took place over on Legacy of the Foefire - one of The Abjured’s best maps. With points neck and neck, Rank Fifty Five Dragons never gave in to The Abjrued’s pressure. Holding onto just one node, Rank Fifty Five took the third map, putting victory within their grasp.
Rank Fifty Five Dragons asserted dominance with a huge three-man wipe in the early game, but that did not set the tone for the rest of the game. It was neck and neck, until Rank Fifty Five took a double cap with just 150 points until end game. Securing the triple was the final nail in The Abjured’s coffin. Rank Fifty Five Dragons took the game, and were crowned Season 1 champions of the Guild Wars 2 Pro League!