Everything to Know About the Guild Wars 2 Pro League Season 1 Finals
Battle of the giants. The first Guild Wars 2 LAN that will feature four teams brings the best of both North American and European regions to the Pro League Season 1 Finals. We’ve seen many of these players on the stage before, but with more at stake for all of them, who will come up big? The new meta has started to settle in with the latest major balance patch on January 26th, giving teams just over three weeks to prepare before the show.
With another $100,000 on the line for all four teams more is on the table than ever before. Both The Abjured and Rank Fifty Five Dragons picked up $10,000 each from placing first during the regular season while Team PZ and Vermillion grabbed $9,000 a piece. A breakdown of the prizing for the season finals is as follows.
1st place – $50,000
2nd place – $25,000
3rd & 4th place – $12,500 each (no third place match)
Due to the structure of the tournament The Abjured will be playing Vermillion while Rank Fifty Five Dragons will take on Team PZ; NA #1 vs EU #2 and EU #1 vs NA #2. The finals will be single elimination with all sets as a best of 5. Lastly, teams will go through a map picking phase before their matches begin to add to the strategical side of things. Let’s take a look at the featured teams.
The Abjured – @TheAbjured
The top contender from North America hasn’t lost a set to a North American team since November 2014. While they did drop a few in the previous World Tournament Series in both Boston and Cologne to European teams, they did pick up first place in the latter. This will also be the first time both regions have faced each other since Cologne in which both The Civilized Gentlemen and Orange Logo were present. This is, of course, not the case this time which gives The Abjured the upper-hand in terms of on-stage experience.
Over the past few months of the regular season we’ve seen The Abjured sweep through all competition, finishing with a perfect 7-0 overall record and 14-1 match record. Their only match loss was to Team PZ, the opponent on the other side of the bracket. Although that loss was in week 2, just before the mesmer meta was setting in, it shows that they can be beaten. We’ve seen them in their most vulnerable state when facing European teams, which goes without saying there is fierce competition between these teams.
This team consists of several of the best players in the world with a few of them being extremely talented on multiple classes. With the new meta starting to shape up we cannot be for certain what teams have in their back pocket. Whether it be strategies or builds that teams may surprise us with, we are definitely being held in suspense as these teams are preparing to take the stage.
The Abjured have the highest overall point average throughout the entirety of the regular season beating out by Rank Fifty Five Dragons by a whopping five points, which may or may not come as a surprise given both teams are coming off of incredible undefeated seasons. Though there is a chance for Rank Fifty Five Dragons to meet them in the finals, The Abjured will be looking to deal with Vermillion first in their semi-final matchup.
With the addition of the map picking phase throughout the season finals, we will get to see a strategical side to this part of the game for the first time in competitive play. In the past The Abjured have been at their best on Legacy of the Foefire which held true during the regular season as their average score on both Legacy of the Foefire and Temple of the Silent Storm were significantly higher than Forest of Niflhel. Expect these two maps to be in their best interest when it comes to map selection.
While I find The Abjured to be the strongest team heading into the season finals, there is definitely a weak spot that Vermillion can capitalize on. The Abjured is a team that excels in adapting to enemy play when given the chance. The World Tournament Series in Cologne is an excellent example of this as they dropped their first set to Orange Logo 2-1, then came back through the bracket to beat The Civilized Gentlemen and 4-0 Orange Logo in the grand finals. Without double elimination, they are prone to the lack of the possibility for adaptation. Even with it being a best of five series, this wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen The Abjured come onto the big stage and falter in their opening set. Both Vermillion and Rank Fifty Five Dragons (should it come to them) will need to keep this in mind, knowing they could potentially have that edge on The Abjured.
Keys to victory:
+ Aggressive rotations have served them well in the past, allowing them to have massive swings and pulling in three-caps throughout sets
+ Nos will be a priority target, thus protecting him and serving up counter-pressure is key
+ Wakkey and Phantaram are flex picks for this team; utilizing this through means of adaptation if necessary could be crucial
How they’ll lose:
– Overconfidence can be the downfall of teams, especially the ones returning with a previous championship
– Unable to adapt within one set would mean a tournament loss
– Europe being the better region; North America was no challenge for The Abjured but perhaps Vermillion or Rank Fifty Five Dragons will be
Team PZ – @Team_PZ
A smooth transition into the Pro League scene after the reincarnation of Team PZ, they have managed to fight their way into a top two spot in North America. Although Team PZ entered the scene with a rough start after dropping their first two sets to Apex Prime and The Abjured, they managed to go undefeated in the final five weeks, finishing with a 5-2 record. Their head-to-head victory over Spoookie allowed them to capture the number two spot which will pit them against Rank Fifty Five Dragons in the semi-finals.
Zoose and Kaypud are the experienced ones for this team’s on-stage experience, having both participated in the Guild Wars 2 International All-Star Tournament held at Gamescom back in August of 2014. These two will be some of the play-makers for this team, adding to the action of Muffins, Marvin and Java, all of which have had their fair share of competitive experience over the years. This team was heavily reliant on revenant, mesmer, and elementalist during the regular season, some of which may come into play for the finale, but may not be the glue holding this composition together. With all five players being able to proficiently play multiple classes at the highest level, we could see a wide variety of compositions from this squad.
Many believe Team PZ may have fallen off since the new patch hit, but taking a closer look at the talent in this roster I find it hard to tell without any official matchups taking place. With both regions going into their games with uncertainty as to what they will be playing against, this could sway the advantage in either direction. Expect to see Team PZ bring everything they’ve got for their match with Rank Fifty Five Dragons.
If you happened to miss the interview I had with Zoose after their victory over Ez Pz Lemon Squeezy in week 7 of the regular season, check it out below to get a little insight as to what they’re doing to prepare for their upcoming matches.
Keys to victory:
+ Kaypud and Muffins outplaying the enemy on their revenants; their pressure is what made them so valuable
+ Zoose and Java settling into a role they’re comfortable with
+ Clean rotations is how they beat The Abjured in week 2 and they will need perfection here for a win
How they’ll lose:
– Continuous outplay by opponents through team fights and rotations
– Still adjusting to the updates; unable to find their fit in the current meta
– Muffins and Kaypud being overwhelmed and unable to keep up relentless pressure onto priority targets
Rank Fifty Five Dragons – @Rank55Dragons
Rank Fifty Five Dragons came out with a first place finish in the European Pro League for season 1, finishing with a perfect 7-0 record and only dropping two total matches (The Civilized Gentlemen and Vermillion). In their final week of play they managed to squeeze by Vermillion in a thrilling three game series that all came down to the final map in which the victor would come out with a match against Team PZ rather than The Abjured.
Facing Team PZ won’t be an easy task, regardless of the meta shifting out of the mesmer phase. Although Rank Fifty Five Dragons has the advantage over Team PZ in nearly every category in terms of points for and against, we’ve yet to see these rosters take the international stage. With this dynamic being new for many of these players, this is a factor you cannot overlook as a live audience included in this bundle will more than likely have an effect on all teams going through their matches.
Texbi, Levin, and Zan have all been through a LAN before, being a part of The Civilized Gentlemen roster for the World Tournament Series in Cologne where they finished in third place, losing to The Abjured in the loser’s bracket. With revenge on their mind, regardless of a new roster, they will be prepared with Oracle and Mancow backing them up for the action.
We’ve only seen this team lose games on Temple of the Silent Storm in season 1, which has their lowest point total average at 449 per game. With this in mind, Team PZ might take this into consideration as it is also their best map. The mechanics of Temple of the Silent Storm can be a hit or miss map for some teams that aren’t as reliant on rotations centered around secondary objectives or even prepared for the awareness factor surrounding the stillness and tranquility buffs.
Three out of the five members spent the entire season playing classes that are great pickups in our current meta which helps tremendously with their transition into the new patch. With that being said, it’s uncertain what a few of these players may bring to the table on an individual basis. Rank Fifty Five Dragons thrive in a high-damage oriented composition, which our current meta allows, giving them flexibility for Levin specifically. The last component of this roster isn’t as clear cut as the other pieces, as Oracle spent all 16 of his games on mesmer which is in a bit of tight spot. I feel the shift to another class would be rather smooth given the various roles he has taken upon himself with this class in the past. Ultimately, I’m confident in their experience with adaptation to make the right call for the final touches.
Rank Fifty Five Dragons know they’re a big favorite in Europe given they hold the #1 seed and are playing on their home turf, fueled by the fans rooting for them to take home a victory. With this in mind, expect them to create a thrilling environment with every match they play as they take the stage looking for victory.
Keys to victory:
+ 3/5 players spent the entire regular season (16 games) on meta picks which will carry into this tournament
+ Texbi and Levin are able to stay in sync with one another as they have done throughout the entire season
+ Continuous pressure onto enemy priority targets (ie. necromancers) from Levin
How they’ll lose:
– Teamwork is their strength; if split apart and picked off we could see them struggle
– Oracle spent all 16 games on mesmer which took a significant hit; if he was unable to find a viable build or class he’s comfortable with he could be added weight
– Failure to out-theorycraft The Abjured in the new meta and find builds/a composition that works to their favor
Vermillion – @VermillionGW2
Slotting in the second seed for Europe is Vermillion, who came out of the regular season with a 6-1 record. While their only losses came from Rank Fifty Five Dragons, they managed to go perfect throughout the rest of the season. Averaging a tournament-low of 207 points against them by all opponents combined, this is quite an impressive stat given its far lower than the other three teams. Will that work in their favor for the finals with a clean slate? Let’s take a look at what they have to offer.
All regular season games aside, Vermillion is about to take on the team all others have fallen to at some point in the past which may work to their advantage. In times of adversity like this, Vermillion is thought by many to be the underdog which can definitely fuel the fire for their attempt at taking a victory. This will be a new stage for Vermillion while The Abjured have that experience, thus making sure they are as prepared as possible in other areas is their main play.
I had previously mentioned that The Abjured has had a weak spot in their opening performances in the past which Vermillion will need to capitalize on. This will begin with the map picking phase and trying their best to adapt to their play throughout their best of five series. You can bet The Abjured will bring more than one composition or strategy to the table, thus Vermillion will need to be on top of their game to do the same as we’ve seen from them all season long.
Keys to victory:
+ Alkore’s experience on ranger, should he play it, will help considerably if Search & Rescue comes into play
+ Dedication was their strong point in mastering the double mesmer composition for the regular season; if their three weeks before the finals were well spent, they would have done the same thing with a new composition as talented multiclassers
How they’ll lose:
– Unable to adapt to the non-bunker meta
– Only team where all five members haven’t attended a LAN event which brings an entirely new atmosphere that may work against them
In the best interest of the North America versus Europe debate, a grand final between one from each region is something we all would enjoy witnessing. With how the matchups are arranged it is possible to see a rematch from the regular season.
If we were to see Rank Fifty Five Dragons take on Vermillion once again, I feel this would provide for an extremely competitive environment and a thrilling rematch between two powerhouse teams. This set went to a game three during the regular season, giving me a strong feeling that this could potentially see a game five if all stays the same. However, these will be two entirety different teams in with the changes over the past few weeks. All in all, this match would not disappoint!
Team PZ was the only team that managed to pull a game off of The Abjured and force a game three during the season. That fact alone could give a newcomer hope about Team PZ having a relatively good chance against The Abjured. Although this set would be a best of five, giving all the more reason for Team PZ to possibly take a game or two, it definitely is one that would favor The Abjured heavily. This is a matchup I don’t expect to see come gameday.
I’m certain the most anticipated matchup is The Abjured against Rank Fifty Five Dragons, pitting the #1 seeds against each other in a best of five. With both teams being similar on the boards through their first season, no clear advantage can be determined from stats alone. That being said, this set going to a fifth game wouldn’t be a far reach as both teams have had their ups and downs on particular maps which may show weakness for either of them. Let me know who you think will take the crown home in the poll below!
|Storm||The Abjured vs Rank 55 Dragons||The Abjured 3-2|
|Heurix||The Abjured vs Rank 55 Dragons||The Abjured 3-0|
|Jebro||The Abjured vs Rank 55 Dragons||The Abjured 3-2|
|Kaelaris||The Abjured vs Rank 55 Dragons||The Abjured 3-1|
|Munchables||The Abjured vs Rank 55 Dragons||Rank 55 Dragons 3-2|
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