Idiot Savants walked out their front door, took one look at The Last Pride's build (the exact same offering as they showed up with in Game 1), and turned right back around. EviL's greatest weakness had been put up on display at the end of Game 2, and iQ intended to do whatever it took to recreate the conditions that earned them their last victory, even if it meant turtling in their base for a full 30 minutes. Morale boosts came and went, the two most outlying Archers were left to die, and the Americans sat calmly in their seats and waited. iQ's logic was simple: disable EviL's ability to split you up and gain any kind of NPC advantage, and they will be unable to throw much weight around come VoD because their build lacks the brute force that iQ's possesses. It sounded solid, and certainly had history on its side, considering the fairly tragic meltdown that we saw on the Isle of Jade, and so we waited along with them.
By this time, the crowds had dispersed, as the show was wrapping up for the day. With the loud music off, the public eye not peering in so closely, the house lights back on, and the teams left to discuss and debate amongst themselves, the waiting game was less excruciating for those of us in attendance. In fact, it was almost calming after the frenetic activity from the past couple days.
Victory or Death!
At long last, the teams engaged and the real game finally began. iQ set to work on their now trademark Whirling Defense + Smite + Meteor Shower combination, and instantly made things tough for EviL. In a somewhat strange move, both Bloodlight and Last of Master stayed and fought at the flag stand, despite holding anchors (via Aura of Displacement) that would have instantly placed them in iQ's Lord room and forced their opponent back to defend. Instead, the match went heads up, and the AoE-fest began for iQ. Holding an E/Mo back to be a Heal Party machine, iQ pushed hard, and rarely let up. For the first few minutes of VoD, they paid little heed to the flag stand situation, instead focusing their attention on setting themselves up with an NPC advantage. After a tug of war battle and each team trading kill after kill, iQ possessed a lone Bodyguard, while EviL was out of NPCs.
Enter: the Guild Lords.
By 35 minutes, iQ decided it was time to run their first flag of the match, and it just might have been the best one they'd ran this entire tournament thus far. Rayne pushed the flag up, right through a pressing EviL team, captured the tower, and proceeded to return EviL's completely unguarded backup flag. By the time the Koreans could respond, it was too late, and morale was assured for iQ.
When their boost arrived around the 38 minute mark, the Savants were out of resurrection signets, and just barely holding ground with EviL. The added Health, renewed sigs, and true-blue morale boost (there's nothing quite like that feeling) pushed iQ to the next level, one without fear or doubt–they were on a mission. They pushed in, they took losses, but they just would not let up. A tenacious veracity has characterized iQ throughout this tournament, and as they worked away at EviL's Guild Lord in what can only be called an epic finale, it really felt like the end of an era for those of us looking on.
At one point, Soul Wedding and Only One Star were so low on Energy that Soul Wedding was yelling to just let him die so he could be resurrected with a bit more Energy. Once again, with no way to recoup spent Energy, EviL could not keep pace with iQ's damage output. Their Guild Lord fell, and the Americans were victorious, even following an EviL morale boost, and two of iQ's members lying dead on the Guild Hall floor, including a Monk! They erupted as one, mobbing together on the stage while EviL sat and stared at their monitors in disbelief. Idiot Savants had made it to the finals, and the Last Pride had suffered their first ever championship tournament loss.