Because RenO was ranked higher at the end of the ladder season, the first game took place on RenO's home turf, the Frozen Isle.
RenO came into this game with a split build consisting of two seemingly almost identical teams of one Warrior/Elementalist, one Mesmer/Monk, one Elementalist/Monk and one Monk/Mesmer. One Warrior used an axe and Eviscerate while the other had a sword and used Charge. Both were equipped with Shock, a good point-blank guaranteed knockdown. Both Elementalists used the popular Ether Prodigy as their elite skill, while one focused on Lightning and the other had a mix of Water and Lightning skills.
EW, on the other hand, ran a fairly straightforward spike build. Their team consisted of two Warrior/Mesmers, one Mesmer/Monk, two Elementalist/Monks, two Monk/Mesmers and one Necromancer/Monk. One of their Warriors ran Devastating Hammer while the other one was an Eviscerate axe Warrior. The Mesmer had Martyr for his elite skill, but spent most of his time in this game using Shatter Hex, Shatter Enchantment and Diversion.
Right off the bat, RenO split their team into two groups of four. One team used Charge to get to EW's base as fast as they could around the west passage of the map, the other team headed for the flag stand.
EW stayed together in a single team of eight, and took the flag stand right away. As soon as they saw that RenO had split, they sent their Necro, one of the Elementalists and one of the Monks back to protect their NPCs. They succeeded in driving the RenO split team away, but not before losing three of their archers.
Meanwhile, at the flag stand, EW's team of five successfully kept RenO's team of four from capturing the watchtower. EW got their first morale boost 2:42 minutes into the game. As EW's defense team joined up with the rest at the flag stand, they managed to take two quick kills, and RenO backed off to split up once more. EW chased the RenO offensive team through the center, forcing them to stay on the run and hindering them from killing any archers or bodyguards. RenO gathered up at the flag stand but split up once more as the entire EW team headed for them. This time, RenO's offensive split team managed to kill one more archer before being driven out of the EW base by a defensive team of three.
The Esoteric Warriors took another kill at the flag stand and kept constant control of the watchtower. This prompted RenO to try a different tactic. Around 12 minutes into the game, they took the fight at their side of the flag stand, 8 vs. 8. This battle continued for almost 12 more minutes, with EW taking a clear lead. They kept complete control of the watchtower and earned six kills to RenO's two. It was clear that their spike build was more suited for 8 vs. 8 straight combat than RenO's split build.
A little over 23 minutes into the game, RenO finally abandoned this approach after taking a couple of deaths in a row. They backed up to their NPCs while sending three players towards EW's base through the western passage. EW responded by backing off with their entire team, but after some running around, they ended up sending their defensive team of three back to deal with the split while the other five attacked the RenO base. RenO killed a bodyguard of EW's while EW slew a few archers and got several player kills. The 30-minute mark was approaching fast, and it looked like there was no way Esoteric Warriors could lose this one. Their morale was +10 across the board, and although they were at a slight NPC disadvantage due to the loss of a bodyguard, it didn't seem like it could compare to the massive death penalty advantage they had.
The Esoteric Warriors backed off in preparation for Victory or Death, and congregated in the center area of the map. As the NPCs from both bases started to move, they began to head for the flagstand. RenO also headed for the flag stand, but at the same time they pulled a clever move. They sent one Warrior through the western passage to attack EW's NPCs as they left the base.
Using some skillful aggro management, this Warrior isolated a bodyguard and went 1-on-1 with the NPC while the archers stayed on course to the watchtower. However, EW became wise to the scheme and sent their flag runner E/Mo home to handle it before the bodyguard died.
Unfortunately for EW, the damage was already done. All of EW's NPCs had been delayed enough to arrive too slowly at the flag stand, where they were met by two bodyguards and a gaggle of archers already on top of the hill. RenO with NPCs not only outnumbered EW and their NPCs, but also had the terrain advantage and the flag stand.
By the time EW's bodyguard arrived, the team that had so recently seemed unstoppable had already lost archers, and it was too little too late for EW to turn the fight around. Around 32 minutes into the game, RenO got their first morale boost, negating the last advantage EW had. The Esoteric Warriors held out until their Guild Lord charged into the watchtower area, but the game ultimately belonged to The Benecia Renovatio.
Afterwards, Obscura of EW admitted their tactical mistake near the end of the game. If they had ignored the flag and the NPCs when Victory or Death rolled around, and chosen to try to fight 8-versus-8 at RenO's Guild Lord instead, the outcome might have been different.