The victors of the Albion Arena Masters Fall 2017, Humble like Ron Weasley, made a name for themselves this season after a formidable showing, battling their way up through the group stages and double eliminations to seize the number one place.
So, who are these humble champions that are so conveniently named? We took some time to get to know them, their strategy, and rediscover their highlights.
Congratulations on winning the first Albion Arena Masters tournament! What does it mean to you to win, and did you manage to celebrate yet?
For us it’s been a great accomplishment, when we signed up we didn’t think we would make it that far. We never had a real chance to face some of the best players and teams in this game in a soft-capped environment, and we always felt a sort of burnout because we didn’t have the training, scheduling, time or resources needed to appear in the GvG mainstream scene.
The theorycrafting process was only possible because of the choice to let people switch armor pieces, which we felt was the right decision. It was a huge part of the fun for us, and we think it was a clear demonstration of the potential variety that Albion offers combat wise.
We still have to celebrate live with some beers, it is just a lot of screams on Discord for now!
What did you do to prepare for the tournament as a whole? Did you get more arena games in beforehand?
We didn’t really train for this tournament. I do believe that all of us had less than 30 Arenas done before the tournament. Besides that, we spent the first two months of the game doing Infernal Hellgates and trying to build a GvG team. We were quite used to playing together even if Hellgates and GvG have a very different approach and metagame from Arena.
We are very happy with this victory because it comes from people that didn’t know each other before Albion. The team was built day after day, dying in Hellgates until we got sort of good and started to win most of them. It wasn’t easy at all because a five-men team is difficult to organize and schedule. That’s why our team was made of 7-8 people that we trust on the same level.
The name we chose for this event identifies our mentality, even after the qualifier where we beat Mojo’s team we still hadn’t that feeling of ultra confidence. We saw what was written on the Twitch chat about us by our future opponents. Something along the lines of having a bad team composition or just being lucky. Instead of replying with toxic stuff we stayed humble and very focused.
Thinking back on the start of the tournament, did you always believe you could win?
We definitely didn’t expect to win. We signed up mostly for the fun and it was a way to force ourselves to login at certain times and play together with a precise schedule. Recently, we had problems doing Hellgates because we weren’t able to schedule ourselves to login at the same time anymore.
What do you think contributed the most to your victory, was it your composition, synergy, the individual skill of some of your team members, or something else?
Friendship. Let me be straight on this: we surely know that we can trust each other. We came up with, in our opinion, a great metagame vision; and the camaraderie built over the past few months allowed us to try out funky stuff, as we believed that our members trying out new things was the correct approach.
Your only loss of the tournament was to Carpet of Bones, a team that was arguably built to outsustain and outlast opponents, did this match change your approach to subsequent games?
Yes, we remember the loss against Carpet of Bones during the qualifiers. In that phase we were not confident about our setup, in fact we were still trying to understand if we wanted a kill based strategy or a capture point strategy. In that game they used double healer with one of them in plate for an additional windwall. We thought it was a very smart choice and very viable. In that game we understood the inefficiency of ZeroUno that played a frost mage build, in our opinion, is too much mana-dependant in an outlasting content like the Arena. So, for the rest of the tournament, we were forced to bench our best player, ZeroUno. But that was also because he is lazy and didn't want to reroll other stuff for the tournament.
The Exertion Squad “Hellgate Champs 2017” was one of, if not the No#1 seed of the tournament, going flawless up until your fight. Did you prepare any specific tactics to go against them?
FuS’ team was like the final boss for us since the beginning… The Ganondorf for Zelda, the Sephirot for Cloud or the Nausk for any gatherer. We clearly thought that we would never have won against this team with the composition we were running in the qualifiers. We were sure that in the playoffs, the other teams would have scouted us trying to find a counter to the Holy/Great Nature duo. But rather than completely change classes, we felt the solidity of our composition and playstyle, so we decided to adjust little things and see which would have been the first loss. In that case we would have switched to our secret comp that unfortunately we couldn’t show you. We don’t need to hide it: it was a pushaway composition built specifically to capture points without killing people. We were sure of the effectiveness if our opponents were unprepared, if they hadn’t had Knight helmets in their bag it would have been totally destructive. Ironclad - Windwall - GreatHoly - FiendRobe - ClothCapnockback were the backbone of it.
Your team was a rather different setup compared to the typical GvG meta composition we see currently (Great Mace, Holy Staff w/ Eye of Secrets, Glaive, Curse, Clarent / Frost). How did you feel your team / opposing teams varied from this in the arena setting and what was the logic behind it?
As soon as we stepped in the first Arenas we understood that it was a sort of mini game, very different from Hellgates that were our main content. The fact that you can respawn quite quickly changed all the metagame. We felt that it was much more about outlasting rather than combo-killing single targets. So, we started thinking in that way, we kept trying out what was the best balance between defence and offence. We even thought about the manaburning strategy, which we faced during the tournament, but we declared it as a failure mostly because you can just use sprint on your boots and go back to the tent at the right time to get full mana again in 6 seconds. If you kill a target instead he’s forced to use a death cooldown, which leads most of the time to being outnumbered and losing a control point.
What did you think of ClownFiesta’s composition, and do you feel your composition was superior or that you simply outplayed them; or both?
I would like to give props to the finalist Team ClownFiesta of ZORN, because we think they were the best example of the speedgrudge into demonic combo. They performed that type of composition much better than any other in the tournament.
I think we just played around the overconfidence of those teams that are used to a GvG playstyle. We realized most of the teams were playing the Arena in the same way they play a GvG fight, in which you clearly approach the opponent strategically, but in the end you throw an ‘all-in’ trying to secure a kill. We believed that with nerves of steel we could afford getting single kills but we would have outlasted any Glaive or Frost or Fire, because they are so mana dependant.
Did you feel you needed to adapt throughout the tournament to win?
Yes. Firstly we needed to adapt to Holy, with only two real damage dealers (Clarent and 1h Cursed) we were still looking for a way to secure some kills in order to pursue our plan, and Holy healer could even keep his mates alive on his own.
We came up with the Fiend robe on the Clarent that we’d like to think is really cool and never seen before. Ninjao from Nilfgaard showed in the early release how you can Clarent in Druidic robe and hit huge Mighty Blows. We wanted to show you how annoying a melee can be with a Fiend robe which is probably designed as a defensive cooldown instead.
Secondly, we still had to in some way mitigate the crazy Grudge and Hunter Jacket combo output damage, which is always lethal and that seemed to have been used by 90+% of the teams. We came up with Guardian armor on the tank which denied most of the damage and also revealed the Hellion Hood user.
Thirdly, we’d like to think that Burberina invented the CursedMachineGun build, which is basically nothing new because of the Grudge+Hunter Jacket combo. but still no one thought about putting all of that in only one character, possibly thanks to the Torch in offhand instead of relying on the classic Glaive mate.
Finally, we were also ready to counter our counter that nobody tried out. We were quite sure we would have lost from a double Demonic composition, so everybody had Knight boots and others items with invulnerability effects in their bags.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
We thank you for the opportunity to let us say thanks to Hannybaal, he’s always been part of our team and unfortunately couldn’t sign up in the tournament because of the limit of 6. Deeo had a much broader variety of masteries on his character so it was a more viable option. Hanny still had a key role in the theorycrafting process, and he’s always been on Discord during the matches supporting us.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all participants to the tournament and congratulate our top 5.
#1 - Humble Like Ron Weasley
#2 - Team Clownfiesta
#3 - 2017 Hellgate Champs
#4 - S0 Salty
#5 - Warlegend Legacy
Keep your eyes peeled for future event announcements!