A game of strategy and skill, of luck and teamwork. A game that has been around for years, spanning multiple versions with plenty of updates and additions in between. A game defined by its personalities, that began as an underground refuge for gamers before blossoming into a mainstream industry, where the best and the brightest can make it their full-time careers. Yes, Counter-Strike fans, I am of course referring to Dungeons & Dragons.
Did I fool you? You’d better put some points into your Perception skill, then. Nonetheless, while prepping a campaign in which my players will have to break up a forced marriage between a vampire and an elf queen after they escape from a dungeon (the four of you better not be reading this), the similarities between some memorable characters and a collection of the top CS:GO teams became clear.
The ranger from Advanced D&D 1st edition is by far one of the most overpowered classes, and this character only becomes more unstoppable with experience. Astralis have certainly picked up their Danish red dice set and rolled out a ranger. Per the core rulebook, rangers can only be good in alignment. In fact, they lose their ranger status and revert to being a lowly fighter if they are ever not good. And yeah, Astralis is very good. Over the past half a year, there have only been a couple events where they didn’t finish first, and that includes two majors. Rangers are also rarely surprised.
All other characters have a 50 percent chance of being surprised, while rangers are only surprised when rolling a 1 on a six-sided die (16.667 percent chance). Since the beginning of the FACEIT London Major, Astralis have lost roughly 18 percent of their maps; 28 out of 152. Their chances of being surprised are almost the exact same as rangers in 1E.
Per each level of experience, the ranger deals an additional point of damage to enemies that are giant-type. This includes bugbears, ettins, giants, gnolls, goblins, hobgoblins, kobolds, ogres, ogre magi, orcs, and trolls. For Astralis, these giants are manifested in some of the other top teams of the world. Teams that they frequently meet in the playoffs of major events. But even though these enemies get some good shots in, this extra damage to giants always carries the Astralis rangers to victory.
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This is the kind of player that leaves a dungeon master incredibly confused but also very proud. The fighter doesn’t do anything special, they have no magic powers or crazy abilities, but they are very strong. They also have incredible saving power. Their saves against things like paralysis, poison, and spells are higher than any other class. And if you doubt ENCE’s ability to make a save, may I remind you that they were down 0-2 in the group stage of IEM Katowice, with only four rounds separating them from an 0-3 elimination? That performance was a legendary save. They got dropped right in the middle of a perilous dungeon, and made high roll after high roll to vanquish multiple monsters, including the Liquid ooze and the AVANGAR vanguard. They did so without taking any damage either, as they won nine maps in a row before finally taking a hit against Na’Vi.
Despite taking damage from Na’Vi, they still bested their foe, but were eventually defeated by the final boss in Astralis. There’s just no breaking that armor class. There’s no shame in making it all the way to the final room of a major dungeon, and they earned themselves plenty of the two most important forms of currency, to boot: Gold and experience. ENCE took home their largest prize pool to date, and with the experience they gained, they are no longer a low level fighter. Now they’re warriors worthy of being in the top-five team discussion, and the major dungeons on the horizon don’t look so perilous to them now. Welcome to the party, lads. Hope it hasn’t gotten too EZ for you.
Watching this character adventure is extremely frustrating to watch. So much wasted potential. C9 specifically has made dozens of changes to their starting set of gear, with a new change seemingly taking place after every major dungeon. They’ve swapped in gear that increases leadership, then swapped that out. They’ve added gear with the Veteran perk. They’ve tried relatively new gear made at home, and older gear from far off lands. Nothing has worked.
That’s because if you keep swapping around your gear, you don’t gain any consistency with it. Nothing is worse than jumping into a dungeon and trying to figure out new gear on the fly. This isn’t a video game RPG where you just grab and equip gear as you go because the big number on it is bigger than your current big number, this is D&D. Take your time to get used to the new gear, seek out some masters, learn how the pieces you have work together, and start out with some smaller, online dungeons before heading to the Large And Nefarious dungeons. You know, LANs.
Sometimes the gods are generous. And by gods, I mean the dungeonmaster and his random treasure drop table. But that’s not the only way to get the best gear. Some characters can save up lots of money from other ventures and make a big purchase on a once-in-a-campaign weapon. This weapon is transcendent: The hammer of NiKo. It can detect sneaking enemies, land critical hits at a higher rate, and deals one of the highest damage values.
Unfortunately, this weapon is not being used anywhere near to its highest potential. Most notably, FaZe has enchanted it with the Leadership spell, which is not compatible with the weapon at all. The weapon is doing just fine racking up damage on enemies, but its incompatibility with the remaining gear and armor leaves FaZe vulnerable to taking huge damage themselves. They just recently escaped with their lives from Shanghai and Sao Paulo after some rough encounters, and despite a strong showing in Miami, if they don’t disenchant Niko and get that Leadership spell off of him, it can spell disaster for this roster.