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ESL War Cup #6 EU/NA coverage

By Jelly - 7th June 2017 - 14:48 PM

This week’s ESL coverage is written by Sparkskite, one of our Strategy Specialists and author of the Space Marine build order guide, ‘Lightning and Thunder.’ Sparkskite is an active ladder player and avid follower of the Dawn of War 3 ESL scene. He brings perspective on the fledgling Dawn of War 3 metagame, having experience in several previous RTS communities such as Starcraft 2, Company of Heroes, and Dawn of War 2.

ESL#6 took place only a few days after Relic's first balance patch was released on May 31st. The patch was highly anticipated as it dealt with several oppressive early-game strategies such as the infamous Dire Avenger/Striking Scorpions/mobile Webway Gate opening. With the removal of several sources of generator-smashing early-game true damage, multiple nerfs to squad-wiping Elite AoE burst abilities, and a significant increase to base requisition income, Relic clearly hopes to push more 1v1 games past the 10-minute mark and into Escalation Phases II and III. Ultimately Relic delivered a comprehensive patch that touched over 30 units, with far-ranging implications on the metagame.

Unfortunately, ESL turnout was quite disappointing in comparison. Only 12 players showed up to battle in the EU tourney, and a meager 6 players attended the NA tourney. Several top players did not compete, including previous ESL winners VindicareX, Cataclaw, and Bikerush (although BikeRush tried to late-register, he missed the deadline due to connection issues).

That said, there were still quite a few notable players who did compete.

Jin aka Supersaisian
The breakout player of this week is Jin (supersaisian on twitch), who achieved 1st place in the NA tourney and 2nd place in the EU tourney. Jin is new to the Dawn of War 3 ESL scene, but he is certainly no stranger to RTS games. He is a talented mechanical player, but even more noteworthy is his discipline in using replay analysis to make adjustments to his game. These habits probably come from his background playing Starcraft 2. He is my pick for most promising future ESL competitor. Jin played a dedicated scout/ASM strategy, not too different from my Lightning and Thunder guide. The main differences are pretty much informed by the patch notes: 1) Taking Lascannon Devs (which were buffed) instead of power swords (which were nerfed) for Anti-Vehicle damage and sieging objectives, and 2) Not taking Tip of the Spear (nerfed) and instead taking doctrines to enhance the Standard Banner (buffed).

ESL EU#2 champion Trojan (wptv_trojan on twitch) returned to compete and struck again with a victory in this week's EU tourney. Trojan is now playing Orks and experimenting with Kommando play, which makes sense since Zapnoggin was nerfed so heavily. Unlike many other early elite area nukes, the Kommando Nob's "Booby Trap" was left untouched by the balance patch. Like most Ork players these days, Trojan is using the buffed Shoota Boyz to great effect in T1. Trojan's use of the Shoota Boyz grenades in conjunction with the many stuns available to Orks (Boyz, Wazmakka, Nobz) is especially delightful to watch. Nobz and Killa Kans are still the preferred end game power sinks, although I will note that Trojan did not take the Kan rocket doctrine.
Very notable is the absence of Trukk play in Trojan's match against Jin, which I personally think is an overreaction to the Suicide Bomba nerf. Trukks are actually much safer against SM in T1 since Power Swords are no longer an option. Overall, Trojan's willingness to play multiple races and ability to win with "off-meta" factions (e.g. winning an ESL with SM despite Eldar being meta and with Orks in this patch despite SM being meta) is extremely impressive, although the lack of competition slightly detracts from his win this week. I am a huge fan of Trojan's play, which is highly aggressive and dynamic even in the face of heavy losses in a tough game.

ESL#4 finalist KiF1re also played in the ESL, although he was crushed in an 0-2 first round match against Jin. Overall, his micro was simply a step behind Jin's. I was very excited to see KiF1re equip the Wraithguard doctrine 'Rift Blast' (which makes Wraithguard effective at nuking infantry), which seemed to indicate Wraithguard play in lieu of the standard "Falcon meta." However, he built Falcons anyway in the face of ASM/scouts, then proceeded to get his Falcons chain-stunned by Scout Blind grenades and destroyed by Lascannons (built preemptively by Jin), an impeccably executed combination on Jin's part. Kif1re is a veteran of Starcraft 2 as well, which is apparent from his solid fundamentals and success on ladder. However, unlike Jin, he has been slow to develop his game sense in Dawn of War 3, which leads to questionable decision-making in high-pressure situations. I would like to see Kif1re commit to his own strategies in tough spots instead of merely copying the "meta," since this makes his play extremely predictable and exploitable.

Finally, one player who may have gone under the radar is Complexity. Complexity (S3xyl3xy on twitch) is an old-timer from Company of Heroes (the original, not CoH2), famous for being one of the best, if not the best, Panzer Elite players. Known for strong game awareness and high APM multi-tasking, he innovated several PE openings, most of which went on to become meta-defining. I was extremely delighted to see him register for the ESL, but unfortunately I was equally disappointed by his performance, with an 0-2 defeat in his first round. I would love to see Complexity play in future ESLs; he is a fairly talented RTS player with tons of experience with Relic games.

The patch hasn't been out for very long, but already many players are making adjustments to their strategies. It will be very interesting to see how the metagame continues to develop, especially as top players refine their strategies in future ESL cups.

See Trojan's path to victory:
Watch live video from WPTV_Trojan on www.twitch.tv

Interested in competing? Register for the upcoming Saturday ESL Cup #7 here!

Article written by Sparkskite, Edit by Jelly

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