DDO March Madness: Championship, maybe

Acanthia

It feels a little strange to be working on something that ISN’T a bunch of code for a change, or a blog post that’s not just a quick update about OurDDO. LOL

But I started this March Madness thing back when it was, y’know, still March, and gosh darn it, I’m gonna finish it!

When last we left our intrepid competitors, Jall and Tirae were about to square off in the championship round final after defeating Acanthia and Even respectively; the latter two dropped to the consolation bracket, where they prepared to face each other with the winner advancing to face the loser of the Jall/Tirae match. Yeah, it confuses me too, but there’s a handy-dandy bracket now in spreadsheet format further down in this post.

So, seen that message on the login screen about the quest “Protect Baudry’s Interests” being closed? Well, remember, I did tell you the tourney was being held in Cartamon’s Shipping Warehouse. Coincidence? I think not. (No matter WHAT Slvr tries to tell me about kobold lichs killing newbies in there. :D)

With no worries about hapless adventurers stumbling in and interrupting the action by trying to prevent kobolds – lich or otherwise – from smashing the big box, Acanthia and Even were the first to hit the floor. With both feeling the sting of their semifinal losses, they were tentative at first; most of the “action” consisted of friendly jibes at each other.

Even: Where are the rest of your hit points?
Acanthia: Don’t need ’em, I have evasion!
Even: I have 133 AC and 122 PRR AND almost 500 more hit points than you do.
Acanthia: Yeah, well, I’m cute and you have no DPS.
Even: Damn, she got me on that one.

Unfortunately for Even, no amount of hit points or AC or PRR could make up for her having, really, no DPS… and being slowed by her DoS III stance, she couldn’t’ve caught speedy monk Acanthia anyway. The little halfling (to distinguish her from the big halflings, right?) nimbly leaped from box to box, occasionally including the big box that didn’t go smash, using Stunning Fist and Kukan-Do to daze Even and then hitting her hard with Drifting Lotus and Orchid Blossom. Acanthia even tried Tomb of Jade, but as Even’s not a tainted creature, it didn’t work… although it would’ve looked lovely with her hair.

Poor Even kept valiantly swinging her epic Hellstroke, but by the time she got the axe to where Acanthia was, Acanthia was somewhere else. The clinching blow for Acanthia came when Even, down to only a third of her HP, accidentally clicked her Cannith boots instead of Lay On Hands and zoomed right into the path of Acanthia’s Grave Wrappings.

The two high-fived and then, after a quick repair, went to sit with the rest of the crew while Jall and Tirae got ready to square off.

Tirae had studied the video from Acanthia’s match against Jall and knew she’d have to try something different if she were going to get the win. The bad news for Tirae – she’s basically a slightly lesser copy of Acanthia with darker hair and skin (and, according to Acanthia, less cuteness). The “slightly lesser” is because Tirae is still banking 25, whereas Acanthia’s capped; Acanthia has a few more destiny twists at her disposal; Acanthia has a full set of +3 tomes whereas Tirae has +3 Wis and +2 in everything else; and Acanthia is a 32-point build while Tirae is an adventurer.

There’s just one main thing Tirae has that Acanthia doesn’t – Ivy Wraps. So she knew that if she were going to have any shot at defeating Jall, she’d have to rely on her toxic cloud (from the WRAPS! And NO, I don’t mean burritos!).

There was little good-natured trash talk this time; Jall and Tirae are good friends, but being on different servers, they really don’t know each other as well as Even and Acanthia do. Jall, always wanting to make other people feel better (that whole cleric thing she’s got going on), complimented Tirae’s hair before the two got down to brass tacks… or at least wooden crates.

The toxic cloud generated by Tirae’s Ivy Wraps worked quite well – when she could keep Jall in range. While Tirae had monk speed on her side, the cloud didn’t move with her, so a few quick sidesteps were all Jall needed to get herself clear and find a little breathing (literally) room.

Poor Tirae. She tried, she really did. And she gave Jall a few scary moments. But there’s only so much you can do when your opponent fills the room with blade barriers and then starts spamming Divine Punishment on you.

It just wasn’t Tirae’s night. After getting herself Divine Punished to death (“It sure didn’t feel divine to ME,” she was heard to say afterwards), she had to battle Acanthia in the consolation bracket final. Those tomes and build points and destiny twists won out over Tirae’s toxic cloud, although the crowd FINALLY got the all-melee, all-DPS matchup it’d been clamoring for since the start of the tourney. After Acanthia was declared the winner, Tirae headed to the bank to ponder the greater heart of wood she’d stashed. Acanthia, who hadn’t enjoyed that toxic cloud at all, really wanted to go farm Druid’s Deep for the gazillionth time, or at least check the AH, in hopes that she’d finally get her own pair of Ivy Wraps, but she had other things to attend to first.

Because it was time for… The Rematch.

*cue Europe’s “The Final Countdown,” which might make a darn good filk*

Yep, there was undefeated Jall, sitting a bit nervously atop the championship bracket. And there was Acanthia, who’d suffered her only loss to the once-gimpy Drow cleric. Should Jall win, the tourney would be over, as everyone else would have suffered two losses in the double-elimination format. But if Acanthia won, both she and Jall would have one loss each, sending them to the “if necessary” match.

Draegloth

Acanthia doesn’t take losing lightly. So after her upset loss to Jall in the semifinals, she’d put a lot of thought into what might have made the difference. One of her main downfalls had been dealing with Jall’s endless light spells – DP, Searing Light, Avenging Light, Bud Light – well, OK, Bud Light was what Acanthia needed AFTER the semifinals. All that light, plus the glare from Jall’s aura and bursts, had made it hard for Acanthia to see what the heck she was doing, not to mention the spell damage. So she “borrowed” one of Even’s solid fog clickies (she might even remember to tell Even about it if when she returns them) and marched into the warehouse hoping for a better result than last time.

Jall had no new tricks up her sleeve, and can you blame her? All her old tricks had been working perfectly well, and she now had the advantage of two levels in Unyielding Sentinel to beef up her HP a bit. Acanthia was a bit nonplussed to see that Jall had darn near caught up to her in hit points.

Grateful that his big box was unsmashed, Baudry Cartamon himself blew the whistle to start the match. To no one’s surprise, Jall quickly buffed herself, tossed a few blade barriers around the room, and started spamming DP on Acanthia – wait, where WAS Acanthia?

She might not have Ivy Wraps to make herself a nice toxic cloud to hide in, but those “borrowed” bracers cloaked the makeshift arena in a deep bank of fog. Jall’s DPs often went nowhere because she couldn’t find Acanthia to target her.

The little monk, meanwhile, used her reasonably high Hide and Move Silently skills to sneak through the fog, get behind Jall and stun her. That almost backfired on Acanthia as Jall started flailing around with her Forgotten Light and landing a few pretty good headbonks by sheer luck.

“Since when did she get DPS?” Acanthia muttered just loudly enough for the crowd to hear; Even borrowed a quill and a spare scroll from Zak to quickly scribble something that looked a lot like, “Note to self: Ask Jall where to get DPS.”

But another click of Even’s “borrowed” bracers and Acanthia had disappeared again. She took advantage of her concealment to target Jall and start firing away with her ki strikes while jumping from the top of one box to the next so Jall couldn’t get a bead on where she was.

One Kukan-Do and an Everything is Nothing later, Jall found herself on the receiving end of a loss for the first time in the tournament. Will she find the winning form that allowed her to beat Acanthia in their first matchup, or will Acanthia battle back from the consolation bracket to win it all? Well, I’m not gonna tell you, I’m saving that for the next post. *g*

tl;dr – Jall and Acanthia will face each other for the third time in the championship.

And here’s that handy-dandy bracket, now in spreadsheet form, which should be a lot less clunky than those huge graphics. Not sure why Google Docs turned some of the lines red; can’t be arsed to make them all black again. It’s also a lot bigger than the original; can’t be arsed to shrink it down a bit either.

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