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ESL War Cup #7

By Jelly - 13th June 2017 - 16:41 PM

Last Saturday the top players once again waged war in ESL’s “It is War Cup #7,” putting their DoWIII skills to the ultimate test. The EU bracket saw a Bhruic (Orks) vs Legion1397 (SM) finals with Bhruic claiming victory 2-0, while the later NA tournament culminated in a DadokisinX (SM) vs Dullahan (Orks), the Space Marine player winning 2-0. When asked for a statement Bhruic had this to say:

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Replays of the matches are organized in the events section (EU - NA). Moolyftw also casted some particularly entertaining games between Dullahan and Bikerushownz in the NA semifinals:

Unfortunately turnout was still low, with 9 contestants in Europe and 8 in North America. Despite this many interesting matches showcased various strategies, representing another week’s worth of evolution from Relic’s balance patch which disrupted the metagame at the end of last month, seemingly for the better.

With the exception of some extreme objective aggression (i.e. Legion1397 EU finals), strategies have predominantly revolved around controlling and denying power nodes. The increase to natural requisition income and early loss refunds have further magnified power’s status as the bottleneck resource. Often a power lead would be leveraged in the form of land speeders or dreadnoughts, or in the case of Orks infantry upgrades or Mek Shop units.

The ease of fielding large quantities of early units has also indirectly reduced the impact of early elites, causing some players (notably NA finalist Dullahan and Eldar player VindicareX) to skip their 2-point elite entirely, saving for quick 3 or 4 point elites. The 9-10 point elites even saw selections, Bhruic using Morkanaut’s beefy presence to great effect. That it’s possible to field these giants in an ESL match shows the game has slowed down significantly from last month’s extreme and constant aggression. Still, 2-point elites saw their use. The Deathwatch Killteam remains a near-mandatory pick for Space Marines, the unit offering great synergy with ranged armies and cheap on-demand anti-armor damage.

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A 33% cut here indicates 100% pick rate. Based on incomplete replay data.

Bhruic also used his 2-point Stormboyz’ to great effect, but not in the usual sense of Suicide Bomma Trukk abuse — he leveraged the extremely potent scrap ability to snipe structures and objectives, often one-shotting them with little warning. Also unorthodox was his inclusion of Weirdboy Zapnoggin who remains a potent nuker in his hands after the heavy nerfs to his teleport and scrap blast.

Despite their apparent success, Ork players were vastly outnumbered by Space Marines. Numerous strengths seem to attract players to the faction including recent buffs to tactical squads, drop pods affording powerful shock-aggression and improvised defense, and tough doctrine-upgraded listening posts; Space Marine players often neglected to build units entirely during the first minutes of a match, instead using their requisition to build listening posts all over the map. The small investment of requisition created defensive positions which were very cost-ineffective to assault early on. The main exception to this are Orks, perhaps accounting for their success in both tournaments; Ork players utilized their WAAAGH buffs, stikkbombs, and free reinforcement mechanics to assault these positions with relative ease. Still, in some cases large early-game ork armies would be repelled by a single drop pod and chapter banner, especially if Deathwatch were available.

Even less represented were Eldar, with VindicareX alone championing the race in both tournaments. Repeated ESL champion Cataclaw refused to compete again this week as a direct result of the recent Eldar nerfs. Bikerushownz, another repeated champion and former Eldar player echoed his bitterness when asked for a statement:
“[Playing Eldar] got boring and stale. the new patch killed eldar with too much of a nerf. and are at a huge disadvantage. the eco is broken also … sadly the game is broken is many ways.[sic]”

When asked about his persistence in playing Eldar, VindicareX was more optimistic than his peers:
“I've been playing Eldar more or less exclusively since the patch because I need to play a race extensively in order to gain the requisite insight into their mechanics and units. I've had plenty of success vs a lot of players - but not so much vs the top-level players like Elijah or Bikerush or someone. This trend further leads me to believe that their balance issues are only particularly noticeable at these high level matches (meaning the game is actually pretty balanced); however, Eldar do have a harder time playing in the early game at all skill levels.”

VindicareX made a comprehensive write-up of balance feedback which was well received on the official forums. (He also posted a shorter version here) Hopefully he’s correct in Eldar being nearly competitive and able to see play again soon, advancing us to a healthier 3-faction competitive scene.

Enjoying DOWIII? Try competing in the next ESL Cup! Registration is free and represents a great opportunity to play against good players and prepare for the upcoming $1000 Project Bellum 1v1 tournament.

Article written by Jelly

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