What does Maniakk’s roster change means for EU SPL and SWC?
What it means for Obey
João ‘maniaKK’ Ferreira with his move to NRG has put a massive spanner in the works for Obey’s SWC hopes. There are two aspects to the way in which it affects Obey. The first is what they lose in maniaKK, who is one of the premier solo lanes in theworld. Since his return to the SPL at the beginning of the season he has been a force to be reckoned with. Of his caliber, he is probably the most aggressive solo laner in the SPL.
This is shown by his revival of Osiris in the solo-lane. Being one of the if not the solo laner who put Osiris back at the top of the solo lane meta. He is also incredibly mechanically gifted. Craig ‘iRaffer’ Rathbone recently gave testament to this in a recent interview. iRaffer spoke about how in scrims being on 1 health was terrifying as maniaKK is pretty much unjukable. maniaKK also brings more in terms of intangibles but more on that later when we talk about what NRG are gaining.
Possibly what is a bigger problem for Obey is not what they have lost, but what are they going to get? At the moment there are three premier solo laners in Europe, Adrian ‘Deathwalker’ Benko, maniaKK and Harry ‘Variety’ Cumming.
The problem is two of them in the last two splits alone have left Obey, so that leaves Deathwalker as the only premier solo laner who hasn’t recently left Obey. I think I can say without too much contestation that Obey will not be getting Deathwalker any time soon.
This leaves Obey with only three realistic options for a like for like replacement. First of them is James ‘Duck3y’ Heseltine who is currently the solo laner Eanix who has showed a lot of promise in the solo lane. The next would be Ofer ‘N0Numbers’ Rind who is currently playing for Elevate. Similar to Duck3y in terms of potential and maybe it is time to give one of these players a chance at a genuinely top team.
That being said I do think that Eanix could keep pushing into the top echelon through the next split and maybe even break through completely. The other option is to go for Jeroen ‘Xaliea’ Klaver who is currently a free agent. Xaliea has about as much pedigree in the SPL scene as its possible to get. A player who has been around since the very beginning of the pro scene.
However, towards the end of his time in the Pro League he was not the dominating and innovative solo laner he had been before. This is not to say he can’t come back refreshed and even better, I mean maniaKK has to be the perfect example of how that is possible.
Either way whether they get one of these three or somebody else it has hard to see Obey not downgrading in the solo lane. Quite frankly the best players are already somewhere else and they would have to rebuild synergy with whoever the new member is going to be.
This also brings another issue to the forefront. Right now Obey’s biggest challengers for SWC look to be NRG and Dignitas who between them have two of the three best solo laners in Europe if not the world. This could cause serious problems when SWC comes around as Obey have proven they can compete at the highest level in any other role, with recent changes to their solo that will have to be proven there all over again.
What it means for NRG
I have spoken about the in-game aggression and mechanical ability of maniaKK already so now lets talk about something else he brings. His out-of game aggression. By this I mean his incredible confidence and LAN mentality. If you have been watching Smite for a while now you will have heard all about maniaKK screaming at LAN’s and getting as hyped as anyone in the Smite competitive scene has ever been.
An interesting insight interview iRaffer gave was how maniaKK’s trash talk is effective. iRaffer claimed he was one of the best at getting in peoples heads in the league.
Another factor is who maniaKK is replacing. Peter ‘Dimi’ Dimitrov has not been performing to the high level he made us expect from him recently. iRaffer in his interview explained that Dimi has had to prioritize things like school over playing Smite.
Dimi is a great player but it is incredibly hard to stay at the very top end of a professional game. It is also tough to balance school and being a top tier gaming talent.
Lastly this gives NRG a new start. It represents a clean break from the recent disappointments NRG have suffered. iRaffer in his interview spoke about this saying it has helped pick up NRG and reinvigorate them after the disappointment of Dreamhack Valencia.
Top image courtesy of esports.smitegame.com