Specialist abilities were introduced in Black Ops 3, and their competitive balance has been debated ever since. On Sunday, Red Reserve qualified for the Pro League in part due to a play that left G2 Esports on the outside looking in. Red Reserve’s Rated, who played as the team’s Seraph, started the Game 5 Search and Destroy 0-7 before first blooding G2’s Chino in Round 11. This kill all but earned Rated Seraph’s Annihilator specialist, and he secured two more kills with it leading to Red Reserve’s victory and qualification into the Pro League. G2 was eliminated.
Since it’s buff prior to the Pro League Qualifiers, the Seraph specialist had a knack to influence several matches at the Pro League Qualifiers, whether it was to spark a comeback, or seal a victory. I decided to explore this game-changing Specialist, doing a little VOD research and using some basic math.
YouTube content creator TheXclusiveAce made a video showing how often Specialist weapons are earned. He noted that earning Seraph’s Annihilator takes 24 minutes of game time in Search and Destroy provided no score is earned. That time is decreased as score increases. However, this video was posted two months ago, prior to the patch that pro players played with this past weekend. The patch supposedly decreased the time to earn the Annihilator; to find out how much faster it is earned under the current patch, I did the math myself.
Using the Twitch VOD for the Red Reserve vs. G2 Esports match, we see that it took about 18 minutes in game time for Rated to earn the Annihilator. When Rated killed Chino, his Annihilator meter jumped almost 1/6th of the way, leaving only seconds until it fully charged (see below).
Rated’s meter before killing Chino in Round 11.
Rated’s meter after killing Chino in Round 11.
If we use Rated’s experience as a benchmark, then it takes about 10 rounds of SND to fill the meter to 5/6th full, evidenced by the pictures above. The average round in this match lasted 1.8 minutes. If it took 18 minutes over 10 rounds to get to 5/6th of a full meter for the Annihilator, then this means Rated’s first kill earned the final 1/6th of the meter. This kill charged the Annihilator 3.6 minutes faster (2 rounds x 1.8 average round time). Therefore, it would have taken about 21.5 minutes for Rated to earn the Annihilator had he not first blooded Chino in Round 11 to earn score.
This shows that Seraph’s Annihilator received a reduction in time taken to earn by about 10% (21.5 minutes under current patch / 24 minutes from the TheXclusiveAce’s video).
My research is somewhat flawed because it relied on watching the VOD and eyeballing the game clock. It is incorrect to claim that the difference is significant without taking everything into account. In any case, Rated earned his Annihilator with almost no score in Round 11 of SND, something that has not happened before. G2 Esports player Methodz took to Twitter to show his frustration with the situation:
He got an annihilator while 0-7 man how is that a thing
— G2 Methodz (@Methodz) January 20, 2019
Well, now you know. (Sorry Methodz, just jokes)
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