Astral Authority, The Abjured, and Good Fights—if you’ve been an avid competitive Guild Wars 2 Player vs. Player fan for the last few years, these names may ring a bell, and there are familiar faces between all three. Chaith, Toker, and Wakkey made up the majority of the Good Fights roster, which dates back to late 2013, and they proved themselves as one of the best in the region. In the fall of 2014, the Abjured’s roster adjusted due to age restrictions for the World Tournament Series in Beijing. There, they dominated the competition in the qualifier and tournament. They would later place second in the WTS in Boston, and win the WTS again in Cologne in the fall of 2015.
30 November 2014, marked the final series win by a North American team against the group now known as Astral Authority until their first defeat in 540 days to Team PZ in the final week of Season 2 of the Pro League. It’s a run that will be remembered in competitive PvP history as the greatest to date.
What happened? The Astral squad was kicking some serious omnomberries for the longest time, but slowly started to lose their grip. The addition of the Pro League into the competitive scene seemed to do the trick. It forced teams to stick together longer than they had in the past to fully claim their benefits from placement in the regular season.
Astral Authority was undefeated in Season 1, and the team members were World Champions after their victory in the WTS in Cologne. Their strongest competition was Team PZ, who fell short in the week-seven bout. After moving onto the Season 1 finals and beating Vermillion in their round-one matchup, they looked poised to take on Rank Fifty Five Dragons, but fell short in the last three games.
Season 2 was all Astral and Team PZ, who fought for a first place slot in the final week. Team PZ took them down 2–1, ending their winning streak. Although this is a blow to Astral, it’s nothing to fret about, as Team PZ is clearly an incredibly strong team. Now, as they look to take on Rank Fifty Five Dragons in the semifinals, I chatted with Toker about their preparations for this series.
Storm: Having fallen short to Rank Fifty Five Dragons in the finals last time, what kind of mindset do you have going into this series?
Toker: We know that our hardest challenge will be in the first round. Fifty Five is an extremely good team, and very good at rotations and choosing the fights that give them the best advantage. We will come in with a win-all attitude, and try our best to pull a win over one of the best EU teams to date.
Storm: What sort of advantages with your composition do you think you have, given that Rank Fifty Five Dragons is yet to show their hand?
Toker: None of the teams are disclosing what compositions they will be using in the finals. Both regions have been privately scrimming in hopes of catching their opponents off guard in the first round. You can beat a team 50 times in a row, but come tournament time, nothing in the past matters. It’s who surprises, adapts, and outplays that will walk away the champion.
Storm: In every tournament you’ve ever played in, you’ve always been one of the favorites. Now that you have dropped a few games to both regions, that probably doesn’t put nearly as much pressure on you going into your games. Is there a sigh of relief on that end, and what kind of mind-set does that put you in?
Toker: First off, I’d like to say I really appreciate my team, and all of the success we’ve had since we started playing together. It’s never easy taking a loss, especially after being dominant for so long. But a loss is what you make of it. A true champion doesn’t dwell on the fact that they have been defeated. They learn from it and come back stronger and smarter than before. Having less pressure is always a good thing, but we will not do anything but play our best in hopes of being champion once again.
Storm: Looking past your first match, who would you hope to find yourselves against in the finals: Team PZ or The Civilized Gentlemen?
Toker: Assuming we are able to knock out Fifty Five in the first round, I would much rather play Team PZ in the finals. Not because I think any less of PZ, but it would be really nice to have an all NA finals. I think it would be really hype and surprising.
Storm: This is your fourth LAN together with all five players. What sort of advantage does this give you over the other teams who are yet to appear at so many live events?
Toker: Having LAN experience is invaluable in my opinion. It’s very comfortable to sit at home and play; there’s no one to view you on a personal level. When you step out in front of a crowd, it’s a completely different atmosphere. Nerves tend to be a lot higher; now all eyes are on you and all of the moves you make. Personally, I’m a shy person. It was really nerve-racking going out on stage for the first time in China. Being nervous definitely affects gameplay and decision-making. It’s all about how you can zone out your surroundings and focus on the task at hand. With that being said, I think our team’s experience and confidence will allow us to play without allowing any outside distractions hindering our performance.
Don’t miss the ESL Guild Wars 2 Pro League Season 2 Finals this Saturday, 25 June on Twitch!