The Arena World Championship Spring Finals loomed large this weekend as the third AWC European Cup locked in Europe’s elite for the Spring Finals. XRB and Skill Capped Black looked to be sitting pretty going into the weekend with the other two spots for Europe up in the air.
The surprises started early with XRB getting swept by 85% and dropping to the lower bracket to face off against Ascendant who’d lost to Skill Capped Black in the upper bracket. In what was essentially a matchup that decided who was going to make the Spring Finals, a tight back and forth saw Ascendant edging ahead in the series after Game 3 on the back of some incredible performances from Youri “Ratapai” Van de Wetering. It wasn’t enough though as XRB took the series 3-2. In the other lower bracket, Tempo Storm and TJ Die Maschine played a close one with the spread damage from TJ’s Jungle Cleave going right at the reigning BlizzCon champions. In Game 5, the all-in from Tempo Storm’s Paladin/Warrior composition was too much for TJ Die Maschine.
In the lower bracket XRB, who were guaranteed a top-four finish, overpowered Tempo Storm, leaving Tempo’s fate in the hands of 85%, who were themselves facing a tough matchup against Skill Capped Black. When it was over, 85% beat Skill Capped Black in the upper bracket finale, eliminating Tempo Storm from Spring Finals contention. The only remaining question was who would take the fourth seed: 85% or Reformed.
Skill Capped Black went to the lower bracket for an elimination match against a surging XRB, who were finding their stride with a Windwalker/Death Knight composition. Skill Capped Black answered with a Druid healer and kept the crowd control of their damage-dealing Rogue/Mage composition. It worked like a charm against XRB’s Windwalker/Death Knight composition, moving SCB to the Grand Finals versus 85%.
The cup final featured a twist from 85% as they opened with a triple Monk composition to try and counter the raw damage of Skill Capped Black’s Warrior/Retribution lineup. The second game of the series saw Skill Capped Black wwitch to their Elemental Shaman/Rogue composition to try to answer the Monk cleave. It wasn’t enough, and going to 35% dampening, 85% took the win after exhausting Chas’ mana bar and focusing down René “Swapxy” Pinkera. In Game 5, 85% brought out a Warlock/Paladin composition which fell to a strong RMP build and lead to Skill Capped Black’s solid 3-2 lead. In the end one last swap from 85% to bring out their Death Knight for James “Jme” McKeever was not enough as Skill Capped Black won the tournament and guaranteed themselves the top seed from Europe.
Europe’s top four are locked in with Skill Capped, XRB, Ascendant, and Reformed heading to the AWC Spring Finals. Next weekend, North America will fill out the remaining spots in the Spring Finals as teams look for a chance to qualify for Blizzcon.