World Championship Qualifier Recap;

by Guest Author Joe Nowasell on 16th August, 2016

The Guild Wars 2 World Championship Qualifiers kept us all at the edge of our seats—and often rooting for the underdog—as teams gave it their all to qualify for the World Championship on September 17. With less than two weeks to prepare after the latest balance patch, there was no telling who would claim the six World Championship spots.

The European region had an abundance of nail-biters, with Rank Fifty Five Dragons, Vermillion, the Civilized Gentlemen (TCG), and Orange Logo all making it to the top four. The second-round match between Rank Fifty Five and Vermillion was quite a blowout as Vermillion were unprepared for the deadly duo of Texbi and Zan. This engineer/necromancer combo ran uncontested throughout most of the map, keeping the enemy on their toes.

The Civilized Gentlemen won their winner’s bracket semifinal match against Orange Logo, although it was not entirely convincing. With this win, they were guaranteed a slot alongside Rank Fifty Five in the World Championship. These two teams met in the winner’s bracket finals, where winning would guarantee at least the number-two seed for the European region. Reigning world champions TCG were expected to prevail, but they lost 2–1 in the series after Rank Fifty Five were able to figure out their rotations and counterplay. TCG managed to shut down Zan’s ability to support his teammates early on with consistent moas, but Rank Fifty Five adapted quickly throughout the series and claimed the victory.

In the match between Orange Logo and Vermillion, the winner would take the third World Championship spot and the loser would go home with nothing. Orange Logo looked like they had an edge on Vermillion early in the series, but they lost out on several key moments, which gave Vermillion the momentum to grab a 1–0 series lead. Vermillion continued their dominance in Legacy of the Foefire by outnumbering and forcing staggered respawns, which ultimately sent Orange Logo packing.

Although all three teams qualified, they would still fight for seeding. Vermillion had to match up against the Civilized Gentlemen, who grabbed a quick—albeit close—1–0 lead in the series. Vermillion bounced back in game two and grabbed a large lead early on. That lead slipped through their hands later, allowing TCG to force them into panic mode, but after a failed lord rush, Vermillion tied up the series 1–1. Game three was a series of unfortunate events: TCG lost Drazeh halfway through the game, which allowed Vermillion to move on to the grand finals and a rematch with Rank Fifty Five.

This rematch would be nearly identical to their first match, and Rank Fifty Five once again crushed them across the board. Vermillion had a few sparks of hope with Argi and Snowball bringing their own engineer/necromancer duo, but Rank Fifty Five prevailed and took home the number-one overall seed for the European region. This will give them a very deserving first-round bye at the World Championship.

North America was a roller coaster, as expected. The day started out with Never Lucky taking Team PZ for quite a ride with their newly reformed roster. Olrun of Never Lucky brought out the first daredevil thief we’ve seen in competitive play for quite some time, proving to be a nuisance for Team PZ early on. This allowed them to grab the first game of the series, but they fell short in the next two and lost the series 2–1, moving Team PZ into the winner’s bracket finals.

Astral Authority cruised by their opponent Ez Pz Lemon Squeezy 2–0. With Tarcis added to the Ez Pz squad and Wakkey moving to guardian, things seemed a bit off-balance at first, giving Ez Pz a way into the first game early on. However, any doubts were swiftly swept under the rug as Astral powered through the rest of the first game and stayed consistent throughout game two. Immediately following the winner’s bracket finals against Team PZ, Astral took a quick 2–0 victory and moved into the grand final, pushing Team PZ down to the loser’s bracket.

Ez Pz and Never Lucky met to battle for the third spot in the World Championship. Ez Pz took a convincing game one, but Never Lucky bounced back in game two with a 13-point victory. Shortly afterward, Never Lucky sealed a strong game three, securing a spot in the World Championship. Facing off against Team PZ in the next round for better seeding, Never Lucky pulled an incredible 2–0 upset with an absolutely devastating comeback on Temple of the Silent Storm. They went on to battle Astral in the grand final.

Astral had a few hiccups in the grand final but managed to take the series and the number-one seed for the North American region. Never Lucky took the second seed. Never Lucky created an almost entirely new roster between the end of Season 2 and this qualifier, and they not only qualified, but they also took down Team PZ. This proves them to be worthy contenders in the North American scene.

Find the full list of results and a bracket preview for the World Championship here.

Be sure to join us live from the ESL Studios in Burbank, CA, on September 17 to witness the top six teams in the world battle it out for $200,000 USD. Purchase your tickets here at Eventbrite, and stay tuned to the official Guild Wars 2 website for more information in the coming weeks!