Just two competitors remain alive in the winner’s bracket after the third round of DDO March Madness concluded, a day late because the Bracket Mistress was really tired the previous night.
The evening began with a consolation round, though, as Char’s high saves kept her sane under Dissy’s disco balls while her Manyshot did some serious damage to the Amazing Gimp-O-Bard. Ranged damage also propelled Vic and her trusty repeater past an overmatched Meren. And I probably should have mentioned at some point that the competition is taking place in Hazadill’s Shipping Warehouse, hence why Jall was able to kite Vic through her blade barriers – Vic had to keep moving to stay away from Jall’s Divine Punishment, so by scattering BBs around the room, Jall was able to do a decent job kiting her through them.
(Yes, Hazadill’s Shipping Warehouse. It had to be somewhere with obstacles to give the lower-level characters at least SOME chance against their stronger opponents, and I ruled out the Pit after a number of hireling spectators fell into the lava pit and died while begging for hjeals.)
With only epic-level toons remaining in the top bracket, the championship round promised to be a good one, and it didn’t disappoint. Tirae and Even took to the arena for a rather well-matched battle of DPS vs. damage mitigation. Level 24-banking-25 monk Tirae used her ki attacks to great effect, but Even’s endless Lay On Hands quickly brought the capped paladin back to full health. The crowd gasped as Tirae hit Drifting Lotus to knock off about 200 of Even’s plentiful HP, quickly followed by Everything is Nothing, but Even made the save and was only hit for 500 points, taking her down to about 500. Tirae zoomed in with a Stunning Fist and then, just as Even was starting to come ’round, the little monk took advantage of her newly-acquired Kormor’s Belt to cast Otto’s. Unfortunately for Even, she rolled a 1 and found herself helplessly dancing while the fumes from Tirae’s toxic cloud (no, Tirae didn’t have beans for dinner – it’s an effect from her Ivy Wraps) overcame her.
“If I had to lose, ad leasd I losd to a gread cobpedidor,” Even said afterwards through a very stuffy nose (those fumes stick with you for quite a while).
More monkish domination was expected from level 25 Acanthia, who faced Jall, a level 24 cleric, in the other championship round semifinal. Jall has passed on her “Amazing Gimp-O” title to Dissy, but she’s still far from being considered a powerhouse… or at least she WAS. While Acanthia’s ki strikes did some serious damage, Jall’s aura and occasional bursts were more than enough to keep her red bar full, and her self-buffing mitigated a surprising amount of Acanthia’s DPS. Having switched back to Exalted Angel after originally competing in Unyielding Sentinel, Jall went for light spells early and often, peppering Acanthia with Avenging Light, Searing Light, and of course Divine Punishment, all the while using Rebuke whenever possible to make Acanthia more susceptible to light damage.
Like Tirae, Acanthia finally went for Everything is Nothing, but Jall had cast Divine Intervention on herself and then used Astral Presence to get back to full health and then some. The crowd sat in stunned silence as Acanthia, the odds-on favorite to win the tournament, succumbed to one final blast of Avenging Light.
“All I can say is, Tirae should definitely bring sunglasses to the championship final,” Acanthia said following the match, “because that’s one heck of a lot of light.”
Both Even and Acanthia still have a chance to win the tournament, though, as they stayed alive in the consolation bracket. Acanthia’s EiN worked much better against Char than it had against Jall, and Vic was unable to damage Even faster than Even could heal herself. The match was still fairly close, as Even’s DPS really sucks, until Even managed to trip Vic and get in a few good whacks with her Drow Rapier of the Weapon Master, one of few weapons that can actually make Even look non-gimpy.
Jall and Tirae will face off in the championship bracket final, with the winner advancing to the title match. Acanthia takes on Even in the consolation semifinal; the winner of that match will play whichever of Jall or Tirae loses for the other title match spot.
This was actually kind of hard for me to write, because when I came up with the idea, I just assumed Acanthia would easily win all the way through the bracket and defeat either Tirae or Even for the title. I thought Jall would PROBABLY finish ahead of Vic and then lose to whichever of Tirae and Even didn’t play Acanthia. But as I thought about each toon’s strengths and weaknesses, it just seemed that Jall would be able to take Acanthia down, at least the first time… because Acanthia (and don’t tell her I told you this) is sometimes a little too confident and would be likely to underestimate Jall (as I think I’ve done once or twice).
Because of the double-elimination format, any of those four could still end up winning it all. I’m debating having third-, fifth- and seventh-place matches as well, just for the heck of it… and still no spreadsheet. I was too wiped out last night. 😀