The Rivalries and Surprises of the Summer Finals

July 17th by Ian Faletti

The World of Warcraft Arena World Championship (AWC) Summer Finals wrapped up in Katowice, Poland this past weekend, as the very best from North America and Europe clashed for a spot at BlizzCon. The Summer Finals was one of the most diverse competitions of the entire expansion, with each team bringing a unique composition and mindset into the tournament. Though the comps were extremely diverse, a few things remained constant: Upsets everywhere, Shaman healers, and a crazy rivalry between Europe and North America.

No Meta Allowed

In most tournaments we see a defined meta: In the Spring, Rogue/Mage/Priest (RMP) reigned supreme; at BlizzCon last year, Jungle Cleave and Windwalker/Mage saw play in the finals. In the Summer Finals this year, everything was up in the air. The Rogue/Priest/Shaman (RPS) of The Move saw a top-six finish, despite the casters and analysts predicting they’d place top four or higher. The top compositions have been a relatively expected Elemental Shaman/Outlaw Rogue combo from Method Black as well as an impressive Warrior/Warlock/Druid (WLD) from XRB. Though many analysts predicted WLD would struggle on the international stage, impressive play from Maroš "Blizo" Molčan helped push the European fourth seed deep into the tournament.

Seeding Doesn’t Mean Everything

Coming into the tournament, the safe prediction was The Move and Making a Movie to be competing alongside a dominant Method Black. However, XRB progressed deep into the tournament, and every single North American team lost in round one. In the lower bracket, Super Frogs took down The Move in another upset, highlighting the weaknesses of the RPS comp that saw The Move dominate North America. While North America got upset in the first round, a lower bracket second round saw Super Frogs and The Move upsetting their European counterparts to start climbing the lower half of the bracket.

Europe versus North America Takes Center Stage Once More

Europe and North America have had a long-standing rivalry—and with the potential for Europe to go into BlizzCon with five spots, the Summer Finals meant more than most other tournaments. In the end, Europe took the bragging rights in a convincing manner. The final North American team to fall was Super Frogs, who fell 3-1 to XRB in the lower finals. Europe seemed to have North America well scouted with a plethora of counter compositions ready for every best-of-five. Don’t just look at the results, though—some of the matches, especially between Super Frogs and XRB, were nail-bitingly close. When the dust settled, the two teams fighting for their spot at BlizzCon were Method Black and XRB.


Method Black Dismantle the Competition

Predicting Method Black to win the Summer Finals was not a surprise, and one that I and many analysts made before the tournament. Expecting them to win the whole tournament while only losing five maps (three to an incredibly impressive XRB) is something else altogether. Method Black came into this tournament with a rather unique Elemental Shaman/Outlaw Rogue/Discipline Priest composition. Lead by Oscar "Whaazz" Wulff on his Outlaw Rogue and René "Swapxy" Pinkera on Elemental Shaman, Method Black easily have the best DPS players in the world. With Legion ending and Method Black at the top of the PvP world, the question is now: Who will be ready for BlizzCon and the Battle for Azeroth?