The Gaoling Bending Tournament Report: December 2020

2020-12-28 15:57:38 +0000 UTC by QuietDove

The final tournament of 2020 is here! It's been a wild 12 months, in so many ways, but we have been treated to some incredible tournaments this year, and December was no different. Sit back, relax, and take in the tournament through the eyes of our reporter, KevinY3.


Competitors Direct Link

Water: UROShadow, Yagurakaratachi, WarriorMuffin, TikTacJack

Earth: GrndMageDecisnom, CaesarSW4R, S3ventyS3ven, _Gent

Fire: Ubuu, deSEPPtion, spug, MrSlushie96, IncognitoSubito

Air: iamthepowerfulE, MatteoCallebaut, Ruben_Ninja, MrCafeMan, EshelD, BananaVirus

Non-Bending: MakoBanned


First Round Direct Link

UROShadow (Water) VS. MakoBanned (Nonbending):

The round went off to an explosive start as Shadow came out with two ice spears in a row, weaving between the water pools and making good use of ice sphere to keep himself sheltered from Mako’s strongest moves. For a while, the two fighters jabbed at each other from a distance until suddenly, through either confidence or by accident, Mako got himself stuck in a pool of water where Shadow was free to pummel him. Shockingly, he managed to extract himself from the situation and was back to poking Shadow from a distance mere moments later, using grenades and blowdarts to keep his opponent on a slow downward slope which would spell his defeat if not halted soon. Shadow, knowing that he had to go in for the kill before he died from Mako’s strategy of inescapable attrition, adopted an almost suicidally forward offensive playstyle. He undoubtedly took many hits as a result of this, receiving grapples and knives and bombs in excessive amounts, but it ultimately saw him through to victory.

GrndMageDecisnom (Earth) VS. CaesarSW4R (Earth):

Decisnom took the offensive as soon as the match began, subverting the expectations of not only the audience but himself: Caesar was the much more experienced and far more feared player, having earned his place in the annals of AvatarMC time and time again. The reason, as he would explain after the match, was because of his ping. Specifically, his 1000ms ping. Thoroughly disadvantaged, Caesar panicked and started erecting walls in order to box himself in, barely avoiding Decisnom’s unrelenting barrage of shatters and coins. In mere seconds, Decisnom had cornered Caesar, who was low on HP and desperately doing everything he could to weather the assault. At that moment, it looked as if one of the server’s best fighters would be knocked out of the tournament! Caesar’s weakness turned out to have all been a ruse, however. One sandstorm was all it took to pin Decisnom and to kill him: in a single move, Caesar had just decisively won the match. It was an astounding display of efficiency, and one that shocked the audience out of their sense of complacency. They had expected Caesar to win, but in such a cunning and understated fashion? Apparently, there was more to Caesar than met the eye.

DeSEPPtion (Fire) VS. Ubuu (Fire):

From moment one it was obvious who had the upper hand. Where Sepp used a veritable menagerie of bending moves, hardly ever touching the ground in between fire jets and blitzes, Ubuu was left running and barely casting a spell. While he floundered, hardly seeming to even understand his own arsenal, Sepp gradually wore him down, never taking even a single hit in return. It was after mere seconds from the outset of the round that Ubuu was crushed. Both of them had given a commendable performance, it was just that Sepp was in another league from Ubuu entirely.

Spug (Fire) VS. IamthepowerfulE (Air):

Spug was uncharacteristically cautious as the fight began, taking some precious time to size up his opponent rather than leaping into the fray. He made use of a tactical style of play rarely employed by firebenders, making very clear distinctions between offensive and defensive phases. There were periods during which he’d use fire shot from a distance to poke his opponent, while during others he’d go in close to try to ensnare them in his fire breath. It was during one of these ferocious pushes that he scored the win, engulfing IamthepowerfulE in a point-blank solar burst. In a heartbeat, the airbender was reduced to cinders.

Ruben_Ninja (Air) VS. Matteocallebaut (Air):

This match had to be delayed for quite some time because Matteo failed to show. When he did though, things went off to a devastating start, with windslams coming out from both sides. Ruben seemed to be toying with his enemy, using twisters to keep him high in the air and to pin him against walls, while Matteo played a comically slow game in return, using no moves except for windslam and the occasional burst, hardly even making use of a single dodge or jump. It was obvious that Ruben was taking the mickey out of Matteo, perhaps unwisely: he was taking a fair amount of damage as a result of his relaxed policy toward combat. It was for this reason, perhaps, that he suddenly came out with a windslam at the tail end of the match, tersely dispatching Matteo and clearing the way to the second round.


Second Round Direct Link

UROShadow (Water) VS. YaguraKaratachi (Water):

It was teacher VS. student, young VS. old, a man of many elements against one who’d practised one to perfection. There was going to be no quarter given and none expected in return: in any other tournament this would’ve been the finale, but Christmas came early this year as Shadow and Yag were put up against one another in the ring, where legends go to be born and martyrs go to die! Spears, cages, stream explosions: Yagura took an unfortunate ice spear early in the round, taking what must’ve been an unacceptable amount of damage from just one attack. After that he got noticeably lighter on his feet, prioritising evasion and tricky maneuvering over sheer offence, as he had in previous tournaments. Shadow, meanwhile, played a reactionary game, selectively picking his engagements whenever he identified an environment that he could abuse. At one point he got Yag in a corner where he had no water to use, but where Shadow was able to exploit a hedge of leaves to pummel his opponent into oblivion. At another, he trapped Yagura within a cage of ice and juggled him with explosions and splashes. It looked as if Yagura was a beast, and Shadow was the tamer desperately trying to keep a grip on the situation: nobody knew where the battle would lead! And ultimately, it came down to one of the small moments - the micro victories which went over the audience’s heads - which sealed Yagura’s fate, as he died in the middle of a combo to a humble water bolt. Well played by both parties, and may we see many more fights of this calibre!

BananaVirus (Air) VS. MrSlushie96 (Fire):

Where Slushie kept to the earth, grounding himself on the arena floor, Virus took to the skies and to the scooter, cleanly transitioning from one mobility move to another. He made himself impossible to target or predict, only occasionally dropping in to deal some light damage to Slushie. The firebender, to his credit, responded admirably by replicating Virus’ own style, staying evasive until an opportunity to attack presented itself, whereupon he committed with everything he had. He found it impossible to outplay the airbender though, and found himself paralyzed by air shocks and wind slams again and again, never quite managing to land the hits that he needed to. He eventually fell to his death, leaving Virus the victor.

CaesarSW4R (Earth) VS. WarriorMuffin (Water):

Caesar went on the defensive again, much as he had in the last round: he erected a wall and took shelter inside a box of earth, perhaps unwisely, as he did so while Muffin was right next to him and he was in a pool of water, making himself easy pickings for an ice spear. He was playing at a level that nobody had ever seen him at, one which could hardly even be described as mediocre. He was clearly doing his best in spite of all the factors stacked against him, from his incredibly high ping to the fact that he was playing on a computer that wasn’t familiar to him. It was almost unfair how dominant Muffin seemed, landing important shot after important shot while Caesar struggled to even make the most out of an earth blast. His sandstorms were waylaid, shackles went awry, pebble tosses struck nothing but air. Ultimately, tragically, he fell to a water blast while trying to run away from Muffin. Unlike many other fights in the tournament, this one didn’t evoke any excitement or anticipation: all it produced was a sad, insidious pity.

DeSEPPtion (Fire) VS. IncognitoSubito (Fire):

Incognito had shown himself both in and out of the ring to be a formidable fighter, challenging some of the greatest legends of the server and overcoming them in endearingly humble fashion. The two firebenders seemed to be gearing up for the battle of the century, the fated clash between the old guard and new, when Subito unexpectedly crashed. Not knowing how to proceed, the server staff decided to take a break and engaged in a behind-the-scenes conversation about how much they hated eating chocolate, forgetting that they’d done so and then later finding brown gunk on their fingers. Before the dialogue could go to darker places, Incognito reconnected and the fight was allowed to get underway. Sepp was clearly in his element, quite literally: he played fast and loose, maintaining a consistent distance between himself and his opponent, knowing that he couldn’t play the close-range game but that he also couldn’t afford to play at great distance. Subito, on the other hand, fought very conservatively and kept his cards close to his chest, remaining relatively immobile and focusing on simply hitting Sepp with every move that he could. It was this stoic and considered strategy that ultimately earned him the victory, causing the ever-dynamic Sepp to perish out of the blue, having continued his ferocious assault even on low health.

Spug (Fire) VS. S3ventyS3ven (Earth):

Spug knew that S3ven would win any straightforward engagement, he was simply too bulky and had too many offensive moves on his side. Spug initially stayed mobile, making use of his greater range, but eventually found out the hard way that old habits die hard. He dashed into S3ven, hoping to score a round-ending combo, only to find himself shackled and in the crosshairs of the most keen-eyed earthbender on the server. Coins, blasts, tosses, they all found their mark. Meanwhile, Spug hardly managed to do anything to S3ven in return, failing to keep up with his myriad of dodges and earth walls. The match was less a fight and more a journey, one where Spug was the passenger, S3ven was the train and the route was the one-way line to the deepest pits of Hell.

TikTacJack (Water) VS. MrCafeMan (Air):

In spite of Jack’s clear advantage in both survivability and offensive potential, he still made use of an evasive style of fighting, spending much of his time in the air and as far away from CafeMan as he could be. He made the most that he could out of his limited arsenal, dealing some minor damage here and there. CafeMan, meanwhile, kept up a relentless assault, using geysers to push his opponent out of the water and an unending slew of air bolts to pin him down. He didn’t seem to realise that he was dealing less damage than Jack could’ve with water bolt alone: air has never been a good element for frontal assaults. TikTac won without really ever having to try, drowning CafeMan in a deluge of splashes and blasts.

Ruben_Ninja (Air) VS. _Gent (Earth):

Gent had learned from his past experiences of being one-hit by Eshel. This time, he wouldn’t be the victim of a similar gambit. He played at a distance, keeping himself as far from his opponent as he could, using blasts and coins to knock him away and walls to build up barriers between himself and what he perceived to be instantaneous death. Ruben showed off his love of scooter in return, often leaping high into the air only to come back down to earth atop a sphere of wind, allowing him to stay above Gent’s coins and to deal some decent damage. He almost always received a shackle and a frankly ridiculous amount of damage in return however, making it rather strange that he kept using air scooter even after it was proven that it was losing him the match. Eventually, he perished during one of his famous scooter rides, going down to a well placed coin.

In other second round news, EshelD was given a bye into the third round after his opponent failed to show up.


Third Round Direct Link

BananaVirus (Air) VS. UROShadow (Water):

Bananavirus hyped himself up perhaps a bit too much before the fight began. As soon as the starting bell tolled, he went in for what he must’ve perceived as an opportunity to take his opponent off guard. Instead, he was caught in the middle of an ice sphere and a whirlpool, taking the full brunt of the assault while Shadow stood in the middle of it and watched Banana get tossed about. It was shortly afterwards that Shadow cast heal, swimming around in a shallow pool while Banana stood far away, not attacking but catching his breath. Once Shadow had finished recovering his health he pushed Banana into a corner, surrounded him with an ice cage and used a blizzard to end his life. The fight had been a foregone conclusion from the start but nobody would’ve anticipated the comedic turns that it ultimately took.

IncognitoSubito (Fire) VS. WarriorMuffin (Water):

Incog was at a loss as the round began, trying to weigh up his options: he’d hardly ever fought waterbenders before and he was rather intimidated by the fact that they had the advantage in close quarters, typically his favourite quadrants to exploit. He was, however, able to adapt and started up an astounding combo of attacks, flitting between flame shots and blitzes into firebombs and walls, zoning Muffin and keeping them on the run. Muffin was all too used to a frenetic and evasive style of play however, and managed to keep up both their mobility and their offence. They eventually had to take a break however and so cast ice cage around themselves to shield them while they recuperated. Bad decision. Incognito stood on top of the sphere and cast solar burst, immolating Muffin inside their own home: crispy!

TikTacJack (Water) VS. S3ventyS3ven (Earth):

TikTac was hardly able to land a single hit throughout the entire match. S3ven was too mobile, erected too many walls, juggled TikTac too much for his aim to ever be steady. Between the many, many pebbles that he landed and the dozens of times he dodged Jack’s attacks, it was obvious that S3ven held the advantage. In a desperate attempt to turn the tide, Jack pulled S3ven in and use high tide, hoping to pull him out of his element. Instead, he trapdped himself in the middle of S3ven’s own sandstorm, a spell which rapidly cancelled Jack’s ultimate and brought him to his knees.

EshelD (Air) VS. _Gent (Earth):

This was a fight which Gent had been desperate to avoid: he’d lost in October to EshelD, dying because of an abusable combo which earth had no chance of avoiding. Similarly, Eshel had lost before to Gent because of that very same combo being temporarily patched out of the game. Both combatants were absolutely terrified of the other one, playing so carefully and non-commitally that they barely even spent most of the round in the same half of the arena as one another. Eshel eventually braved a closer style of play and started making use bursts and wind carries to toss Gent around, keeping him away from his source of power. Gent responded with his own adaptation, using rumbles to interrupt Eshel’s combos and scooter to prevent himself from being knocked into the air. Eshel was at a loss; every attempt he made to crush his opponent was literally stonewalled. He went back on the run, hoping to drag out the fight into a war of attrition which he had more chance of winning. However, the difference had already been made: he was sniped by an earth blast, leaving Gent the last man standing.


Semi Finals Direct Link

IncognitoSubito (Fire) VS. UROShadow (Water):

Shadow bunkered up at the outset, keeping himself within an orb of water while Incognito did his best to deal whatever damage he could. His rains of fire, however, met with essentially no success as Shadow stayed well within the pools in the corners of the arena, not once chancing an expedition onto dry land where he was most vulnerable. Incognito was left pummelling ice and striking water. Shadow, meanwhile, kept landing his shots, making it obvious that if Incognito didn’t knock him out of the game soon, he’d take the match easily. Recognising that this was the case, Incognito tried to land a solar burst, using the very same strategy that had eliminated Muffin. It was shortly rebuffed by an ice sphere. However, after that failure, he started playing more dynamically, more smoothly: he stayed high up in the air where Shadow couldn’t hit him, started aiming his flame shots more deliberately: where he had once seemed like the next stepping stone on Shadow’s path to victory, now he was putting up a fight. And a fight he put up, constantly no-selling Shadow’s best combos and breaking every ounce of momentum the waterbender managed to build up. A mere half minute later, it was Incognito - not Shadow - who was the winner of the fight, subverting every expectation that the audience - and even Incognito himself - had built up in their minds!

_Gent (Earth) VS. S3ventyS3ven (Earth):

Two tectonic titans tangled into the arena, each one a dark reflection of the other. Gent, the oldest active earthbender on the server (sans Martdamp), with an aggressive and mobile playstyle to his name: the very same which had earned him fame and elevated earth to heights never before seen. S3ven, a relative newcomer yet a veteran in his own right, with a host of victories under his belt and a reputation for being unkillable. Both of them were legends, both of them were unwilling to give an inch of ground in true earthbender fashion. Where Gent capitalized on shackle, often silencing S3ven and leaving him vulnerable to attack, S3ven seemed to prioritise twisting the environment to his advantage, strategically erecting walls and keeping up an unceasing output of pebbles, blasts and shatters. Gent, meanwhile, attacked less but made his moves count more, curving blasts around walls and making use of tricky angles to bypass all of S3ven’s defences. Both of them persecuted a slow but deliberate vector of attack. It was Gent who came out on top in the end, having sneaked in enough hits to earn himself a tidy victory while proving that quality trumped quantity.


Third Place Playoff Direct Link

S3ventyS3ven (Earth) VS. UROShadow (Water):

Shadow was fast, ferocious, cunning, like a wolf dancing circles around its prey, closing in for the inevitable kill. He went for the proverbial jugular again and again, making use of spears and creeping ices to either control or obliterate his opponent. S3ven, meanwhile, found himself seemingly surrounded on all sides. When he responded to an attack from his front, he soon found himself being hit from his flanks: Shadow was simply unwilling to stay in place. At one point S3ven leapt into the air in search of solace and instead found himself struck by an ice spear as soon as he touched the ground. Later, he was trapped by a high tide: this time he didn’t manage to cast sandstorm before he was thrown into the air. S3ven played not to win but just to survive, trying to shove Shadow as far away from himself as he could. It was all for naught, however: Shadow, through relentlessness and guile, brought S3ven down. Getting only third place must’ve stung for someone so eminently talented, but he’d more than earned his stripes in the past. This was not so much an accomplishment for him but just a rehash of past battles: another day in the life of a legend.


Grand Final Direct Link

_Gent (Earth) VS. IncognitoSubito (Fire)

Incognito was finally given an opportunity to show off his preferred dynamic. Against earth, he could afford to be bold. Against earth, he finally knew precisely what his role was: the hunter. He chased Gent all around the arena, forcing him to dodge and jump in circles while rains of fire and bombs carpeted the ground behind him. Gent could hardly land a hit, and though things got dicey for Incognito once or twice when a shackle found its mark, for the most part he was an inescapable presence, an exacting buzzard which Gent couldn’t swat. He soared through the air, thundered across the ground, galloped as the vanguard of a cavalry regiment staffed with fireballs and flame shots. The solar brigade left no stone unturned, overcame every fortification in its way: in no time at all Gent was down for the count, burnt to ash and leaving Incognito with his first tournament win: a fantastic performance from one of the newest firebenders on the server!

The bracket for this tournament can be found by clicking here.


The Dove Awards Direct Link

Best Fighter - There are no doubts this month. IncognitoSubito is the runaway winner! He shocked us all by knocking the all dominant UROShadow out of the tournament, the latters first defeat in any tournament since July! Incognito became a firebending hero by becoming just the second one to win a tournament. They were aggressive, exciting, and an incredibly worthy winner. Congratulations!

Best Fight - There are several candidates for this award this month. Honourable mentions to EshelD vs Gent_ and to IncognitoSubito vs UROShadow. The winner though is the titanic battle between UROShadow and YaguraKaratachi. This highly anticpated fight between two of the most succesful fighters in history lived up to all the billing, it was fantastic to watch.

The Champagne Moment Award - What's this? A brand new award? Yes, that's right! The Champagne Moment award will go be given to the best single moment of the tournament. Pull off an incredible combo? Defeat the odds and knock out a defending champion? These are the sorts of things that might win you the Champagne Moment. This month I am awarding this to Gent_ for their remarkable nullification of Eshel's one-shot-combo. They had clearly worked hard to discover this, and they duly awarded with victory.

Funniest Moment - I'm delighted to say that we have a fine winner this month. GrandMageDecisnom is the winner, for their excellent use of sand to suffocate themselves and leave Caesar with a simple task to win their match. Truly astounding incompetence!


Last Notes Direct Link

This has been the best year we've ever had for tournaments. Since Febuary we have held one tournament each month, and each time we have seen the numbers increase, and the quality improve. A huge thank you must go out to the Events team, particularly the joint leaders CheeseSandwich and AvatarKorra, who have tirelessly worked to organise all the events you see on the server.

January will be a bumper month for all things AvatarMC, with the long awaiting Harvest update bringing us the Agrarian Zone, Professions and more. A special release event will go up alongside this update to celebrate, so keep an eye out for more information to come.

Last but not least, a massive thank you to everyone who has taken part in a tournament over the last twelve months. Seeing people enjoying them makes the whole thing worth it.

Have a good Christmas and a much better 2021!

QuietDove


Hall of Fame Direct Link

  • July 2018 - Kaaldr
  • August 2018 - Porku
  • September 2018 - nanook4219
  • October 2018 - _Guru
  • November 2018 (2v2) - Tofu_ and Porku
  • December 2018 - _Guru
  • January 2019 - KevinY3
  • August 2019 - Vincebobogunoosh
  • February 2020 - _Guru
  • March 2020 - Porku
  • March 2020 (2v2) - Porku and Best_Minority
  • April 2020 - KevinY3
  • May 2020 - Jtox17
  • June 2020 - Mystef
  • July 2020 - YaguraKaratachi (Mystef)
  • August 2020 - ShadowKing1255
  • September 2020 - CaesarSW4R
  • October 2020 (2v2) - UROShadow and Fire_LordAzula
  • November 2020 - UROShadow
  • December 2020 - IncognitoSubito