Welcome to Battle for Azeroth and welcome to the Fall Season of the Arena World Championship! With the road to BlizzCon clear for every team, it’s time to look at what Europe and North America had to show for the first tournament featuring the new expansion, during this past weekend’s first two Arena World Championship Fall Cups.
Tank Trinkets Dampen… Well, Everything
With the launch of Battle for Azeroth comes changes—one of the most prominent being that trinkets are now usable in arenas. This was showcased very early on in the European Cup, the first tournament of the new expansion. The two main culprits were Xalzaix's Veiled Eye and Mchimba's Ritual Bandages, both of which saw some very deeply dampened games. We even saw a new record of 70% dampening between Method Black and XRB. It is fair to say that these trinkets in their current iteration have totally changed the face of PvP in Battle for Azeroth. The new meta presented a mighty different change to the game, and the cream of the crop rose to the top.
New Season, Same Method Black
Method Black have locked in their spot at BlizzCon but are still showing their dominance, shrugging off the meta changes and putting together another top-tier performance. Dropping to the lower bracket early on versus Daily Feed, there was some doubt. “Are Method Black still on top?”, you may have asked yourself. Well, yes—yes, they are. They proceeded to run 15-4 through the lower bracket, all the way to a 4-1 Grand Final romp. If that wasn’t enough, consider the difference in style they displayed compared to the Summer Season. They were an aggressive, hard-hitting team with incredible kill windows, saving Icy Veins and Plunder Armor for show-stopping finales. This new Fall edition of Method Black took multiple games past 60% dampening, including a couple of miracle wins where they were behind right up until they won.
XRB to the Moon Are Here to Stay
XRB to the Moon have been an incredibly good team in their day, and they’ve had quite a long day so far. In the Summer Finals they were impressive, taking second place behind Method Black, a performance they repeated in the first European Cup. While they seem firmly cemented in the role of being the No. 2 team in Europe (arguably the world), this isn’t a bad start for this team in Battle for Azeroth. Bringing a composition they didn’t show at the Summer Finals, with an Enhance Shaman and Arms Warrior, XRB looked to play the same long game as Method Black. Despite impressive wins over Tempo Storm, Making a Movie, and WWDK Nation, they couldn’t get over the last, mighty hump of Method Black. Still, second place is a great showing for XRB, and they look to be adapting very well to the slower meta. With this result, XRB have nearly locked in their spot at BlizzCon.
Method Orange Bring the Counters to BfA
Moving over to North America, we saw Method Black’s sister team, Method Orange, make their Fall Season debut after an underwhelming Summer Finals. This time around, they brought out a very different style involving some of the new PvP talents and Azerite traits. In the past, bringing two of a DPS class to the party would generally handicap a team, due to diminishing returns—but this was not the case with Method Orange’s double Demon Hunter composition. Essentially, they were using different talents and builds to run a pair of the same high-pressure class in two very different ways. While one might run Reverse Magic, one can run another, more aggressive option. This composition proved to be wildly different to the ones brought out by other teams and led to Method Orange having some of the shorter games of the day, most under 10 minutes. While this is far from the composition Method Orange used the most, the proof of concept leads to the question of what other assumptions will be broken in Battle for Azeroth. Whether this style will hold up internationally, we will have to wait and see.
The Gosu Crew Keep the Streak Alive
The Gosu Crew, formerly The Move, have kept their impressive streak alive, finishing in the top two of the last four North American Cups. Their trademark Rogue/Shadow Priest/Shaman comp has fallen somewhat to the wayside in Battle for Azeroth, which made some wonder what The Gosu Crew would have up their sleeves. Well, it turns out that having a world-class Hunter, in the form of Vincent “Jellybeans” Tran, and a Shadow Priest who plays just about any class and spec, means you’ll do just fine. The Gosu Crew came through the winners’ bracket up until they fell 3-1 to Method Orange. After sweeping aside the Super Rejects, they had a second chance against Method Orange, but they unfortunately fell again.
The Gosu Crew are still firmly planted in the top spot in the points standings for North America, and are near guaranteed a berth to BlizzCon. While the meta has shifted, The Gosu Crew has shifted with it, but only time will tell as to what the North American seeding will look like in a month.
With the first cup of Battle for Azeroth in the books for both North America and Europe, BlizzCon looms large, where the top three teams from each region will secure their chance at history. While the meta has certainly dampened the race, the hype stays as real as ever, with the next Fall Cup kicking off in two weeks. The top teams will need to remain consistent to guarantee their spots, as the underdogs strive for every point they need to keep the race close.
For signups, schedules, and more information about the Arena World Championship Fall Season, check out the announcement blog, and be sure to follow us on Twitch and Twitter to stay up to date with all things AWC.