Analysis: Abjured vs Orange Logo – WTS Grand Finals
Last weekend The Abjured and Orange Logo played a total of 7 games, with The Abjured winning 5 of them. Orange Logo took the first set 2-1, and The Abjured swept the next two 4-0. Along with accounting for aspects of a high stakes competition such as confidence and onstage nerves, I’d like to provide an overarching strategical analysis of what enabled The Abjured’s victory in the matchup.
Orange Logo Team Profile
Rom – Rampage Warrior
Tage – Bunker Guardian
Fraelin – Burn Guardian (Rampage Warrior/PU Mesmer in last series)
Sindrener – D/P Thief
Denshee – D/D Ele
Orange Logo’s strategy utilized Rom and Fraelina as the main threats. They looked for fights where the carry/support combo of Rom and Tage could lockdown and burst a single opponent with assistance from Sindrener. Fraelin and Denshee tried to prevent reinforcements from +1ing the main skirmish. Orange Logo prioritized getting kills and and snowballing them into capture points afterwards.
Abjured Team Profile
Chaith – Rifle Elixir Engi
Wakkey – D/D Ele
Phantaram – D/D Ele (D/F in a few games)
Magic Toker – D/P Thief
Nos – Signet Necro
The Abjured played a man for man setup relying on builds with strong sustain and decent damage. They often went for 3 point openings; Phantaram pushing the far node, Chaith capping close, and the rest contesting mid. Even past the opening minutes, Abjured looked to pressure multiple points and create 1v1 and 2v2 situations where their builds and players shined. Magic Toker was used as an X factor – more on that below.
First Set: Feeling out the opposition
To understand the grand finals, we should start by looking at the first set between the two teams to set up context. The opening series displayed the strengths and weaknesses of each team’s compositions and playstyle. For Orange Logo, the raw kinetic force of Rom/Tage together was a huge threat in teamfights, but they often gave up map pressure from having multiple members in one place. The Abjured possessed greater mobility (with double Ele) and ability to take cross map objectives, but showed unfamiliarity playing against Burn Guardian and susceptibility to overstaying on points.
In my opinion, Forest of Niflhel was the most illustrative of the strengths and weaknesses I listed above, since neither team had started to adapt to the other team’s play-style yet. I will go through this match chronologically.
Note: Timestamps refer to in-game clock. Game 1 begins at 1:22:54.
From the start, Orange Logo boldly declared their game plan by rotating all 5 mid. The Abjured were unprepared to fight Rom/Tage/Fraelin leading to Nos and Wakkey both going down (13:33). Despite this, The Abjured held both the side nodes, and the weakness of Rom without Tage was shown as he got picked off without the support of the Bunker Guardian (12:49). Orange Logo took back the side nodes with another Rom/Tage combo by downing Magic Toker and Nos (11:22). The ensuing couple minutes were back and forth, but The Abjured had Phantaram and Wakkey pressure close and far simultaneously. Due to the sustain and slipperiness of D/D Ele, Orange Logo were torn apart trying to push them off point (a difficult task) and they lost control of the side nodes (8:35). The Abjured continue to rotate in this manner and built up a 150 point lead until Rom and Tage grouped together again and bursted down Nos (6:26). This snowballed into a series of staggered deaths from Nos, Wakkey, Phantaram, and Chaith. Orange Logo’s gank squad continued to take down single members of the Abjured until the game evened at 417:415 at 2:29 on the game clock. The Abjured were unable to regroup and Orange Logo won the game 500:445.
Temple of the Silent Storm played out similarly to the first map without much adaptation from either team. However, The Abjured’s multi pronged offense was favored for this map, due to the presence of four additional buffs and the triangular layout of the capture points. Orange Logo still brought the game to within 30 points, claiming crucial teamfight victories with the Rom/Tage combo.
Legacy of the Foefire had The Abjured controlling the map dominantly and forcing their preferred small skirmishes. Unfortunately, a lapse in decision-making cost them the game: Nos stepped off the far node and allowing Tage to cap it, while the rest of the team did not defend Lord. These types of mistakes should be attributed to the pressure of the environment rather than strategical faults.
Dealing with Pressure
Coming off the Legacy match, I would like to touch on the some of the effects the LAN setting had on the outcome of this series. Naturally, each player would not perform in the same way they would in the comfort of their room and PC. While some players thrive off the adrenaline and play better, others can buckle and make uncharacteristic mistakes and bad decisions under pressure.
When winning, Orange Logo’s play-style seemed to hold up well at LAN as seen at WTS Boston. An aggressive, fight focused play-style is easy to understand, easy to mentally buy into, and can cause the opponent to feel even more pressure. On the other hand, once The Abjured became comfortable with Orange Logo’s play-style, Orange Logo showed that they had no Plan B, and started making poor decisions.
Abjured’s multipronged, point focused play-style required a more level-headed mindset from every member of the team. Because their strategy revolved around the fundamentals of holding 1v1s, not overextending, and trusting teammates to take crossmap objectives, there could not be a communication breakdown at any point in time. At WTS Boston, Orange Logo’s unrelenting aggression seemed to get into their heads, but Abjured looked much stronger mentally at Gamescom. As they got more comfortable playing in Cologne, their confidence seemed to rise and it was reflected in-game, with each victory more convincing than the last.
Grand Finals: Adaptation and The Magic Toker Factor
Guild Wars 2 is very fast paced game. It is also a relatively undeveloped game (competitively), and teams do not have set plays for different situations quite yet. For these reasons, it is difficult to mid-game, identify what is wrong with your strategy, differentiate that from simple mistakes, come up with a fix, and implement that fix. Even post-game, because there is so much action around a map and five different perspectives on a team, it can be difficult to pinpoint these issues. (As a side note, a coach would be immensely useful in these situations!)
At WTS Cologne, The Abjured were able to both identify and implement a fix. In the previous games, when Tage and Rom were grouped together, The Abjured would lose members and capture points to the combo. As said by Chaith in the post game interview, they realized they needed to rotate around Tage’s Bunker Guardian. Additionally, when under pressure, The Abjured started pulling out earlier rather than attempting to sustain. They also recognized Fraelina’s Burn Guardian as a serious threat, and played more cautiously against him.
The Abjured went straight into the next series trying to create fights where Tage felt he had to bunker or hold a point. They immediately rotated off of him and looked to burst down Rom or Fraelin. This effectively nullified Rom’s presence due to his lack of defense as a Rampage Warrior and he was constantly found in the downed state, or running away and trying to heal back.
Finding a weakness is one thing, but exploiting it is another. For this, Magic Toker should receive a lot of credit as he was The Abjured’s tool for singling out and bursting down Rom and Fraelin. Furthermore, Toker picked up high impact de-caps, halting any momentum Orange Logo was able to gain off of any won fights. With the adaptation of rotating off from Tage already pushing The Abjured over the top, Magic Toker’s individual performance snowballed their victories to dominance.
Orange Logo attempted some adaptions of their own with Fraelin changing classes twice, but neither of their choices sufficiently addressed their weaknesses or the strengths of The Abjured. A second Rampage Warrior was effectively the same level of threat as Burn Guardian and did not prevent The Abjured from rotating off Tage. A PU Shatter Mesmer brought burst and rotation potential with Portal, but Portal was not sufficient mobility to match two D/D Elementalists. Additionally, Mesmer (due to stealth) was unable to fight on point adequately. I do feel, however, that if Fraelin and Sindrener were able to work together to burst down single targets, Mesmer could have been a good choice. Orange Logo did not seem comfortable enough with Mesmer to play with this level of coordination.
I hope this analysis provided some insight into The Abjured and Orange Logo’s matches at WTS Cologne. If you enjoyed the piece, disagree with my analysis, have some ideas for ways Orange Logo could have beat The Abjured, or any other feedback, drop a comment below!
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