They started out as Power Trip, and were the first WoW arena team to have official sponsors. But today, team Pandemic proved that all the money and hype weren't for nothing. After coming up through the ranks, which included 63 Chinese teams, one European team, and one other American team, Pandemic went on to dominate in the finals against Fnatic 3-0. This makes Pandemic the current WSVG World of Warcraft Champions. And considering the roar from the crowd when Pandemic was awarded their prize, it appears that WoW Arena teams are most definitely a welcome addition to competitive gaming.
The secret to team Pandemic's success appears to have been due to a combination of factors. One of the first, and most notable, is that the Chinese teams have not had access to the Burning Crusade expansion for nearly as long. This meant that those hometown teams were playing with spells and abilities that they are not very used to, whereas the US/EU teams have had the chance to get used to them for months. However, one of the most telling things in the final match was that both ending teams used a solid Warrior, Mage and Paladin combination. Why would this prove to be such a big deal? It's use put Pandemic in a far stronger place than Fnatic from the word go, as Fnatic's mage, Sander 'Vo0' Kaasjager, has only been playing his class for approximately three weeks. Both teams appeared to focus on the strategy of forcing the opposing team's mage to burn their two Ice Blocks as quickly as possible, which, combined with some poor crowd control and just plain bad luck on the side of Fnatic, proved to be the winning combination for Team Pandemic when it came down to it.
Now we wait and see what happens next when the WSVG reconvenes in Louisville on June 21-23. Hopefully the camera work for the webcast will be a bit better this next time. Or better yet, that a channel like G4 picks up the final rounds at least. For now, the China WSVG videos are all over the Internet, for those interested in catching the highlights of some of the finger-twitching-good action.
(The current team rankings and prizes awarded are beyond the cut.)