Glyph of Sacrifice, Meteor Shower. Perhaps that's what iQ will be remembered for in this second game, but for me, it will be iB's monumental failure to execute that told the tale for this one. Sporting a modification of KGYU's now-famed condition-pressure build, the Blokes swapped out the usual Tainted Flesh Necromancer for a trapping Ranger with Nature's Renewal and Tranquility (likely their build from yesterday's cancelled first match). But their follow-through, or lack thereof, was utterly baffling, and the blame falls squarely on their Rangers.
iQ's build, on at least a base level, appeared relatively typical–though certainly played to their strengths. Two nice Heal Parties, Smite, Traps, and possibly the most irritating Hammer Warrior build ever devised (Five knockdowns!) all added up to a fairly comfortable, if not terribly imposing offering. For 30 minutes, iB pushed, and iQ reacted and reflexed, but collapse was never in sight.
Sporting THREE copies of Deblitating Shot, a load of interrupts, and lots of conditions to spread around, it was a task in and of itself to figure out where iB's bow-wielding troupe were focusing their attention. Aegis or Balthazar's Aura on the Smite Monk? Nope. Ether Prodigy or Fireball from the flag stand Elementalist? Nope. Oath Shot or Traps from the Trapper? Nope. Where then, was this potentially devastating pressure that the build promised? Well, I'll tell you. It was with Empeh, and Empeh alone. He maintained Melandru's Arrows at all times, and kept iQ bleeding almost the entire match. With Serpent's Quickness and Debilitating Shot, he tried to pressure the Monks at times, but he was surely alone.
Sissi, who possessed the game-breaking assets in NR and Tranquility, insisted on placing his spirits in the thick of the battle, so that even when he successfully got them down, they were destroyed instantly. He was rendered an almost non-factor thanks to a quality job done by Lara Valor, which can be attributed mostly to Sissi's inability to adapt and just get his job done.
But Wraith, even more than Sissi, was an absolutely mystery to me. Apply Poison was almost never up, his interrupts were MIA, and he spent more time using Crippling Shot than anything else, which just simply isn't an issue when your opponent has an Elementalist sitting back untouched, casting Extinguish to his heart's content, and a Smite Monk who was rarely pressured and able to use Draw Conditions effectively.
So what is the story to be told here? What is the hidden gem that can be found underneath all this posturing and failed execution? Glyph of Sacrifice and Meteor Shower, it seems. The entire match, iQ paid almost no attention to the flag stand. They played defense, they protected themselves against the potential threat of degen overload. Basically, they tread water. But when the water is this calm, something surely had to lie beneath.
When VoD hit, iQ's plan went into motion. Their Trapper, who had played decoy nearly the entire match, dashed to the front of the pack. He put up Whirling Defense, and body-blocked the ENTIRE NPC core of iB. Balthazar's Aura went on him, and iQ's Elementalist used two skills he'd been saving the entire match–by now, I would hope you know what I'm talking about! In a blink, the red team went from Morale control and apparent positional advantage to dead, defeated, and absolutely sunk. iQ enjoyed their first morale boost shortly after, and only had to wait a little bit longer for the Blokes' Lord to make his way out to the middle.
Not enough pressure, not enough coordination, and certainly not enough implementation, and the underdogs fought their way to victory today. Congratulations goes to Idiot Savants, especially for Game 2, where they took a big chance in their tactic, but it paid off massively.