Sometimes plans have to change. Originally, the idea was to have the winner of the RU Spring Mayhem Tournament face the winner of the EU-NA contest in one almighty grand final. But, as the third day dawned, the realisation was sinking in that with only one match planned - albeit a best-of-three - there perhaps wasn’t a great deal of incentive for people to tune in. Especially given that it was the penultimate night of Spring Mayhem itself. Yes, the two regional champions had both proved themselves to be worthy of anyone’s time, but the last battle needed a warm-up act to set the scene. Thankfully the respective runners-up, Unity and Red Wing Orlandinos, weren’t just hot, they had a shot at turning over what were narrow defeats. Things were about to get interesting.
In the first grand semi-final, the EU-NA finalist Unity was pitted against the RU champion Chaos. It was set to be an intriguing match-up, for while Unity had ultimately come up short against the eventual winner, over the course of four battles against Ming, the honours were technically even. If this battle ended up being close, it was a sure thing that the rest would be too.
Things were indeed very tight, for a while. The first five minutes were steadfast and even, with plenty of on-screen action, without either team able to break the stalemate. Then, when it seemed Unity had the advantage, the tide changed quickly when Chaos took all three capture points in quick succession. Unity gamely counter-attacked, but fatally on two fronts - failing to concentrate its forces until it was too late. Advantage Chaos.
Match 2 seemed to mirror the same ebb and flow of the first battle, with both sides attempting to establish themselves in the centre of the map. Unity gained the advantage before Chaos quickly took all three capture zones. This time Unity was able to counter effectively and it seemed like the EU team was close to securing a narrow victory. Chaos, however, was able to time it’s last assault perfectly, taking the centre ground long enough to exhaust Unity of all hope. Chaos was through to the last stage with a game to spare.
The second semi-final saw RU runner-up team Red Wing Orlandinos against the EU-NA winner, Ming. It proved to be another close call, after both teams charged in a bloody head-on assault to secure the centre of the map. Despite doing so, Red Wing Orlandinos lost the flanks and a cagey but even-handed battle ensued. Both sides were disciplined and seemed able to time their attacks for maximum impact. In the end, Orlandinos were able to time theirs a little better.
The second battle was a must-win game, not only for Ming to be able to make the final, but for an EU-NA team to be represented. Unexpectedly it was Red Wing Orlandinos that managed a solid start, securing two capture points and managing to defend them with such discipline that, by the time Ming had an advantage, its reinforcements were significantly reduced. However, the match then flipped and it was Ming’s turn to hold onto its gains while the enemy was whittled down to 300 points. Remarkably, Red Wing Orlandinos staged a clever comeback, flanking with a Warlord-only attack on one side of the map that seemed to blindside Ming. All three capture points were quickly turned red and there was no coming back.
So, it was to be an all-Russian final. Except it wasn’t. Another change of plan, this time forced by a refusal by the finalists to take to the field: Perhaps understandably, having lost twice to Chaos already, Red Wing Orlandinos were eager to cede the match and have Chaos crowned as global champions. However, viewers were expecting a final and for a crown to be taken rather than meekly given, requiring a willing pair of finalists. Thankfully Unity and Ming were able to rally their forces to avert a disappointing end to a great competition. Seeing it as an opportunity to assert dominance over the other, Ming and Unity took to the field. As will all their encounters in the tournament, it went the distance and we were left with not just a worthy winner, but a runner-up too!
Congratulations to Ming, who will soon be having a major Conqueror’s Blade city renamed in its honour! We shall find out which city and what its new name will be is soon. Our favourites include Mingsk, Mingchester and Mingeapolis - watch this space!