SPL Summer Split: North American Team Preview

The Summer Split is finally here! North America has some catching up to do this split with how things ended at Masters LAN. With every team returning to the SPL, let’s take a look at how the North American teams are projected to perform this time around.

Flash Point

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Flash Point is the team with the most to prove. They finished the Spring Split in last place, meaning they needed to compete in Relegations to make it back in the SPL. They won both the matches they played pretty impressively to secure that spot and appear to be a better team than they were the previous split.

FP is coming into the Summer Split with three new players on the roster. Among these players is Jon “Sheyka” Sheyka, who replaces Riley “Incon” Unzelman in the mid lane. With the backbone of Erich “ShadowQ” Grabowski and Eugeen “Mirage” Mathew they put on a strong performance in Relegations, beating the SPL Gatekeepers (formerly Oxygen Supremacy), a team who beat them back in the Gauntlet, pretty handily. Expect Flash Point to be much more competitive this split, taking more games off the other teams than they did previously. Just don’t look for them to finish in the top three of North America.

Noble Esports

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Noble is a team to look out for. They are returning three players that are known to be some of the top players in their role. With that being said, they still finished 7th last split and were another team forced to play in Relegations. The good news for Noble is that the two players they added will make their roster much stronger. Ryan “Aquarius” O’Neill, previously on Flash Point, was their top performer during Relegations, which was big for them considering they under-performed out of the solo lane last split.

Noble’s biggest unknown is what they’ll be getting out of their veteran players. Smite World MVP Brett “MLCst3alth” Felley didn’t look like the same player during the Spring Split that we’re used to seeing. The same can be said out of the duo lane with Jacob “Wowy” Carter and Derek “Wubbin” Gibson.  Most importantly, however, is if this team has figured out a strategy. MLCst3alth stated during the Gauntlet that Noble didn’t exactly know how to pick and ban quite yet, as they were still trying to figure things out as a team. That is something that will need to change if they want to compete for a spot at Dreamhack at the end of the Summer Split.

Team Allegiance

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Team Allegiance is an interesting case. They are the team that has had the most roster changes in recent memory, whether it be from the “Weak3n backstab”, or players deciding to retire. Either way, Kurt “Weak3n” Schray has said that Allegiance has been winning a majority of their scrims lately. Now if that’s slightly exaggerated, who can tell, but what we do know is that they’re coming in to this split with an edge. ALG was one of the North American teams to compete in the Season 3 Smite World Championships.

The biggest roster change for ALG had nothing to do with their roster. With the SPL Gatekeepers losing during Relegations, they were forced to split up. This allowed Allegiance to finally pick up the perfect support player to replace the “retired” Mike “PolarBearMike” Heiss. Neil “Neirumah” Mah fits in perfectly with this Allegiance team. Looking back at the Spring Split, you could see that they had a lot of trouble when it came to shot calling and objective control. Neirumah is a player known for his shot calling and will be the perfect complement for Weak3n.

SoaR Gaming (Formerly)

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SoaR isn’t quite as fun to talk about, and for them that’s probably a good thing. SoaR was a team that was supposed to be the next “super team” when they were first formed. After a rocky start, and a solo lane debacle, SoaR figured it out and ended up at the Masters LAN, where they lost to a very good Team Dignitas squad.

They still have one of the strongest jungle players in the world with Alexander “Homiefe” D’Souza, and one of the smartest players in Connor “Jigz” Echols. Add to that Andrew “Andinster” Woodward coming into his own in the mid lane, the sky is the limit for this team.

In Memory of Gabe

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In Memory of Gabe is a team that came out of the gate storming the SPL. They appeared to be this unstoppable force that would compete for the top spot in North America. As the split went on, they fizzled out, and ultimately lost to SoaR in the Gauntlet.

This is still a roster that is strong all around. Evan “Snoopy” Jones and Sinjin “Eonic” Thorpe have spent a lot of time together in this league, and are a very reliable duo lane pair. The biggest question that IMOG will have is their new solo lane player. Tyler “Meerkat” Jensen replaces Mark “Whalrus” Maloney, a player who is very strong short Laner. It will be interesting to see the new dynamic Meerkat brings to the squad.

eUnited

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eUnited appeared to be back to their former glory of Season Two as Enemy. They closed out the Spring Split very strong after stealing Ben “Benji” McKinzey back from SoaR. SoaR got their revenge on eU during the Gauntlet however, winning the North American side, and ultimately causing eUnited to face NRG for the Wild Card spot.

This time around eUnited will be taking on the Summer Split without their general. Louis-Philippe “PainDeViande” Geoffrion was replaced with the previously retired PolarBearMike. Pain is known as a great shot caller, so it will be interesting to see how eUnited fairs in that category this split. They have five very talented players – perhaps the easygoing attitude of PBM will be what they need to get back to a big LAN.

Luminosity Gaming

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Luminosity is the only other team without a roster change joining SoaR. Going into the Masters LAN, John “BaRRaCCuDDa” Salter said that he wasn’t too worried about winning the LAN because it was all about the World Championship for him. After the performance Luminosity and the rest of North America had it’s safe to assume Barra has changed his tune a bit. Luminosity will come into the Summer Split as the favorite after finishing second and having no roster changes. They will be the team that NA will be leaning on heavily this split.

Luminosity is a team known for playing the meta extremely well. This meta is incredibly fast paced and aggressive, which fits the play style of Barra, Woonyoung “Baskin” Kim, and Suharab “Mask” Askarzada perfectly. Expect Luminosity to have new life this split, and look to take the top seed.

Team Eager

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Luminosity might know the meta, but Team Eager is a team known for creating their own meta. They tried to do that at the Masters LAN, and were embarrassed with their Guan Yu Jungle attempts. The meta is very defined at the moment, and is will be interesting to see if Eager can play this meta instead of their own.

The good news for Team Eager is that the place that the meta seems to be the least defined is in the ADC role. What is means is that Steven “Zapman” Zapas will have the ability to play whatever God he feels most comfortable on and be the Carry fans have come to love. What remains to be seen is if the roster swap will work out for them. Samuel “sam4soccer2” will be replacing Cody “djpernicus” Tyson in the jungle, and will have to be able to fit the winning pedigree Eager has created of late.


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Feature Photo by Hi-Rez Studios

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