Last night’s Round of 16 in the 2013 DDO March Madness Tournament began with a mild upset but ended with a lot of predictability.
No. 8 seed Chalei, a fire savant newly leveled to 14, was a clear if not overwhelming favorite over Merenwynne, a level 12 Favored Soul who held the ninth seed. Chalei’s Scorch kept Meren backpedaling through much of the early going, but the elven divine healed herself quickly and – after casting Resist Fire – rallied with blasts of Searing Light. Both eventually depleted their mana pools and resorted to hand-to-hand combat in a messy scene one spectator called “the worst example of melee DPS I’ve ever seen.” Meren’s paralyzing shortsword proved to be the catalyst, as an immobile Chalei was unable to fight back or drink cure pots.
Level 12 Warforged Favored Soul Winnabette, the No. 10 seed, was hoping to pull off her own upset in the next match. Sadly for Winnie, she’s designed for endgame content and isn’t yet much of a healer. While her melee DPS is acceptable, her only offensive spell is Soundburst. Seventh-seeded Chartreusia, a level 17 ranger, used terror arrows to strike fear into Winnie before wrapping up the match with her dual Maces of Smiting.
The spectators began to grow impatient as the match between the sixth and 10th seeds wore on. Underdog level 11 wizard Zak used undead form effectively for healing and damage-doing, but Discordette, a heavy favorite despite her bard gimpiness due to her level 18 status, had her own healing ability. While her damaging spells were limited to Greater Shout and Soundburst, she used Grease and Otto’s to great advantage. The match wore on for quite a while to scattered boos from the crowd, who clearly wanted more melee fighting and less gimpy casters running around pointing wands at each other.
Things got a bit more interesting as level 23 Victaurya, a rogue with the No. 5 seed, faced off against 12th-seeded artificer Yttriemme, at level 8. It still wasn’t a good old-fashioned melee throwdown, but at least the dueling repeaters made for a break from the casters. While Yttsie had the advantages of a rune arm and Minni, her arti dog, she was no match for Vic’s Slaver’s Hand crossbow.
No. 13 seed Azida never stood a chance in the next match. The spunky level 7 Tempest ranger has the misfortune to face level 24 cleric Jalliria, the fourth seed, in a meeting that was over so fast, some spectators didn’t even know it had happened. Jall charged into the arena and hit Azida with Divine Punishment, although afterwards she rezzed, healed and buffed her fallen opponent.
The crowd was finally rewarded for its patience as the last three matches of the night were all melee, all the time. A pair of monks – third-seeded Tirae, banking level 25, and level 7 Rhennie in the No. 14 spot – went hand-to-hand in a brief but satisfactorily violent matchup. Already nearly overcome by the toxic cloud generated by Tirae’s Ivy Wraps, Rhennie went down for good when Tirae hit her with Drifting Lotus.
The penultimate first-round match also featured two competitors of the same class, in this case a pair of paladins in level 25 Evennote, seeded second, and 15th-seeded Nekah at level 7. There was melee and lots of it, although since both chose the Defender of Siberys path, there wasn’t much DPS to speak of. Even’s high AC made it hard for Nekah to damage her, and Nekah had trouble healing herself with her very limited spell point pool. In the end, the girl with the green pigtails emerged victorious, albeit with a few new scratches on her Bastion. (It’s a tower shield, you pervert, not a body part!)
While she lost rather spectacularly, 16th-seeded Ironica got a standing ovation after her match against level 25 monk Acanthia, the top seed. The crowd roared when the level 5 fighter/barbarian strode confidently into the arena with her greataxe held high. Despite getting neg-leveled to death by Acanthia’s Grave Wrappings, Ironica never stopped swinging or tried to retreat, though to be fair most of her swings passed well over halfling Acanthia’s head. Several people speculated that Acanthia’s bangs are now a bit shorter.
Following a short intermission, the eight competitors who lost their matches returned to the arena for the first round of the consolations. Since the tournament follows a double elimination format, each player stays alive until he or she loses twice. In the consi first round, Chalei’s firewall quickly burned Ironica’s tourney hopes; Azida’s evasion allowed her to score a minor upset over fellow Cannith dweller Yttsie; Zak’s use of Eladar’s Electric Surge shocked Rhennie into defeat; and in a crowd-pleasing melee match, Winnie’s greatsword made Nekah’s night not great at all.
On the bracket file – yes, it’s huge. And yes, it’s hard to read, especially the consolation bracket (which I just realized I forgot to label). Hey, YOU try fitting all that in a 500-pixel width! I’m working on doing it in spreadsheet form – in hindsight, I shoulda just done that from the start – and uploading the worksheet to Google Docs so I can link the image to that… which is a hell of a lot of work for something that’s supposed to be frivolous and fun. LOL
Speaking of frivolous and fun – I usually try not to use a pic more than once, but I think that Dretch might make it into another blog at some point.