Things are heating up in week two, with teams finding their places in the Guild Wars 2 Pro League. There were much longer and closer matches than last week, with teams on more even footing in levels of skill - especially in Europe, where we saw giants Rank Fifty Five Dragons and The Civilized Gentlemen collide. Over in North America, things began to mix up, too, with the prequalifying teams up against those who came through the qualifiers in some fantastic three-game sets - let’s take a look at how it all went down.
Vermillion vs. Orange Logo
Two of the top prequalifier teams went head to head in the first round this week. There was much the same roster as last week, but this time with Orange Logo substitute Baenz on the lineup. With a long history between these two teams as scrim partners, we saw a huge mix up in strategy - and a somewhat surprising result.
It was an impressive start for oRNG, getting the first kill in just 30 seconds. Despite this early advantage, oRNG played a very defensive game and couldn’t get the damage out to take the lead. Both teams were neck and neck until Vermillion decimated oRNG’s ranks in a three-man wipe. Maintaining a double cap and taking buffs left and right, Vermillion more than doubled oRNG’s score. oRNG’s preoccupation with the Tranquility buff left the map open for Vermillion, and using their advantage they kept the lead until time ran out.
With some sneaky portal play, oRNG managed to clear the map and keep it that way for a long time. However, despite an aggressive push to keep Vermillion at bay, oRNG were losing all teamfights, leaving the map open for Vermillion. With a double cap at one minute left, Vermillion pushed hard and took the match just 22 seconds from endgame in the longest set we have seen in the Pro League so far.
More Guns Than Roses vs. Purple Noise
Two very new teams, both on the back foot after suffering dramatic defeats last week. More Guns Than Roses set out to prove themselves against Purple Noise in two of the closest games in the Pro League.
More Guns Than Roses had the early game advantage, almost taking full map control before Purple Noise even had points on the board. GnR dominated every teamfight, using their player advantage to push for the triple. Purple Noise rallied in the last minutes, managing a double cap, but GnR’s lead was still immense. Taking Tranquility gave Purple Noise a window of opportunity to turn the game around, but GnR took Stillness for the points they needed for the win.
Game two saw Purple Noise step up as a team, the but early game was very much in GnR’s favor. GnR took out four players in quick succession, taking a double cap and the lead. However, Purple Noise came out on top in teamfights, using a condition-heavy strategy to keep GnR’s health down. It was a slow catch-up, but Purple Noise took the triple and the lead. GnR, only 60 points behind, closed the gap with boss kills. In the final tense seconds, less than 10 points between them, Purple Noise took Chieftain to take the lead - but a More Guns Than Roses double cap was enough to solidify the win at 501-500.
Rank Fifty Five Dragons vs. The Civilized Gentlemen
The featured matchup between veterans Rank Fifty Five Dragons and The Civilized Gentlemen lived up to all expectations, giving us the first three-game set of the EU Pro League. An intense grudge match, with ex-oRNG Frae on TCG and Rank 55 made up of former TCG members Texbi, Levin and Zan.
TCG opened uncontested, with a double cap and a few kills under their belts early on. Keeping on top of decaps, TCG doubled Rank Fifty Five’s points very quickly. TCG suffered a huge blow by losing three players simultaneously but regained their advantage almost immediately, retaliating with a two-man wipe. Just 100 points from a TCG win, Rank Fifty Five pushed for Tranquility, but TCG’s defense was just too strong. With just one node under their control, TCG’s points ticked over 500.
Rank Fifty Five Dragons turned the tables in game two with an aggressive start. TCG fell behind almost immediately, getting decaps but losing players across the board. A big teamfight at mid set the tone for the rest of the game, with Rank Fifty Five taking the lead by just one kill. From there, their fantastic rotations kept the map under their control. TCG, to their credit, worked hard at taking out players but Rank Fifty Five had too secure a lead, killing bosses to quicken the inevitable and taking us to game three.
First points went to Rank Fifty Five Dragons, who managed an early kill, but with one cap apiece the early game was decided by a teamfight at mid. Rank Fifty Five took the advantage but was thwarted by TCG. Taking a double, TCG managed to get 100 points ahead before Rank Fifty Five reacted - and they reacted with fury, taking out four players within seconds of each other. Using that momentum, Rank Fifty Five took full map control and the lead. A final, desperate Lord rush by TCG was too little, too late. Rank Fifty Five Dragons took the game - and the series - with their triple cap.
Car Crashed vs. Chaotic Contingency
Another matchup between two teams on the quest for redemption from last week. Both Chaotic Contingency and Car Crashed made it through the qualifier undefeated, but suffered in their first match of the Pro League. However, being on more even footing resulted in two fantastic games in the final European set of the night.
Starting with a cap each, the early game was very equal. Car Crashed pushed for buffs but spread themselves too thin, leaving the map open for Chaotic Contingency to take the double. However, from there both teams traded double caps and kills almost evenly. A disconnect on the side of Chaotic Contingency didn’t seem to affect points all that much, but certainly didn’t hurt Car Crashed’s chances. Holding at least one cap at all times, Car Crashed got the points to take the game.
Car Crashed came into game two very strong. Chaotic Contingency kept the pressure on with kills but failed to get the decaps they needed to slow Car Crashed down. Despite constantly being down one or two players, Car Crashed held on to their home node for so long that the consistent point income was enough to take the game and the set.
Zero Counterplay vs. Apex Prime
Zero Counterplay was something of an enigma, having been forced to forfeit due to roster problems in week one and handing victory to the Abjured. Apex Prime, however, took the win in the only 2-1 game of last week, and were looking strong coming into week two.
A strong start for Apex Prime set the tone for the match, taking mid and pushing for downs early. However, Zero Counterplay snatched a double cap in an instant, bringing points about even. With the appearance of Tranquility, Zero Counterplay all but abandoned the fight above ground - to the detriment of their points. Three players underground, Apex Prime took control of the map. With a double cap, plus two buffs, Apex generated enough points to take the game.
Game two proved to be a very slow match, with Apex Prime maintaining the slightest lead and supplementing their caps with boss kills. Apex Prime was on the back foot after losing a team fight at mid, but Zero Counterplay failed to work with their advantage. With less than 100 points left until an Apex Prime victory, Zero Counterplay managed a double cap before Apex drew out their point lead to take the win.
Team PZ vs. The Abjured
This week was the Pro League debut for WTS champions The Abjured, who had an automatic win last week due to their opponents’ forfeit. Against the greats we had Team PZ, who came off the back of a 2-1 loss. However, that didn’t deter them from putting The Abjured to the test, again coming into a three-game set.
Team PZ had the early game advantage, taking the lead with a double cap. However, overinvesting in a teamfight put the game in the hands of The Abjured who, despite losing a few players, managed to gain map control. The Abjured solidified their lead until Team PZ took the first Tranquility buff of the Pro League for the triple. The Abjured quickly decapped, however, and used player kills to increase their lead, eventually taking the game to 500 points with a double cap.
The Abjured carried their momentum into game two, with a double cap straight off the bat and ahead early by over 100 points. However, Team PZ changed the course of the game, taking down two Abjured players in quick succession and securing a double cap and the lead. The Abjured fought back, keeping Team PZ in the downed state to take the two cap but failing to overtake them in points. Another boss kill increased Team PZ’s lead, and taking out yet another three Abjured players solidified Team PZ’s win.
Into game three, and historically The Abjured’s best map. Despite this, Team PZ dominated the early game with two kills and a cap. However, The Abjured took a double cap very quickly and, extending their lead over 200 points, completely snowballed the game. Team PZ put up a good defense, stalling the inevitable and getting a full map clear, but The Abjured took yet another double cap, pushing their points over 500 and taking the set 2-1.
Final Form vs. Spoookie
With both teams taking the win last week, this best of three was tense - both Spoookie and Final Form were looking to solidify their place in the top position of the Pro League.
Final Form took the double cap early, using their triple Mesmer strategy to overwhelm Spoookie and deny their home node cap. However, Spoookie pushed back to take the double and the lead, taking out half of Final Form in the process. Despite having so many team members down Final Form pushed down to Tranquility in a feint, leaving their players above ground to take a two cap from spawn. With less than 100 points left in the game and both teams neck and neck, Spoookie capped the Stillness buff and overtook Final Form to take the match.
Game two started slow, with both teams switching caps but keeping the score fairly even. Spoookie finally took the lead with a double, but a teamfight at mid in favor of Final Form turned the tide of the match. Trading double caps for most of the mid game, the score stayed even until Spoookie took out Chieftain for the point bonus. This left the map open for Final Form. Spoookie took Svanir, too, in the final seconds, and would have taken the game if Final Form hadn’t decapped mid and taken the game themselves by just three points.
Spoookie had the early advantage in game three, taking the triple cap - but Final Form descended quickly to decap. With just one node under their control, Spoookie managed an impressive 150-point lead before Final Form managed to stall them with a clear map. Team fights extended the point pause, with Spoookie breaking the curse with a double cap. With only a few caps here and there, Final Form had no hope against Spoookie’s impressive lead. With a double cap just 50 seconds from endgame, Spoookie took the game to win the set
Never Lucky vs. Ez Pz Lemon Squeezy
Last week saw both of these teams in the bottom tier. Never Lucky is looking surprisingly unlucky despite coming through the prequalifiers. Ez Pz were looking strong this week, however, as close as their matches were last week.
Ez Pz proved that strength with an early double cap. Never Lucky’s portal aggression lead to a successful decap at Altar, but Ez Pz maintained consistent map control - even going so far as to take an unnecessary Tranquility buff for the triple. Never Lucky managed decaps, but these weren’t enough to stop Ez Pz’s points climbing over 500.
Game two saw a desperate struggle, with both teams neck and neck for much of the early game. Ez Pz managed a two cap and pulled ahead, holding just one node to maintain a 100-point lead. About half way in, a disconnect for Ez Pz was honored by Never Lucky, who stood one player out of the fight. Never Lucky continued to try for decaps but did not manage to close the point gap. Ez Pz continued with a minimum of one cap and very slowly took their points over 500 to take the set.
Join us for the next matches!
The Guild Wars 2 Pro League is back next week on Monday the 7th of December. 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 updates!