Three things the Summer Split taught us about the SPL

The early game meta is here to stay

It looks like Season 4 of Smite will be defined by the early game meta. It has persisted through the first two Splits of the season and with only one more split to go it is not likely to change. However, this should be qualified, by the fact that it is not quite as pronounced as it was in the Spring Split. Games in the SPL are going much longer, something Mike ‘PolarBearMike’ Heiss pointed out in a recent tweet.

There are two reasons it is here to stay. Firstly, the map, it caters itself to this early game aggression. PBM has a great video on his YouTube explaining this from the perspective of an SPL player.

One of the reasons PBM gives for this is that, the core of the map has been around for a very long time. As such, the players have gotten much better at exploiting the map as they have gotten better and due to playing on the same core for so long.

This leads to the other reason why the early game meta is dominating at the moment. Players and teams improved, becoming better at holding onto leads. As such playing compositions which give you a lead early on are more powerful as SPL teams capitalise on leads much better than before. It is far harder to hold out for 40 minutes and have Kali win you the game like a famous game from Thomas ‘Repikas’ Skallebaek. Obviously the easiest way for Hi-Rez to counteract this is still through map changes.

NRG are still not the force they once were

This is one that a lot of people may be confused about, as NRG were not the dominating team seen in previous seasons last Split. NRG’s history of dominance in not just Europe but the entirety of the Smite scene means one split is not enough to say their era of dominance is over, more data is needed.

Last Split Craig ‘iRaffer’ Rathbone spoke about how at least at the start of the season, NRG were taking things a bit easier to avoid burning out. This was often suggested as a reason why NRG were not performing to their usual standards. This is not to say NRG are performing badly or aren’t still a great team. It is just NRG used to be head and shoulders above the rest of the competitive Smite scene, setting records we are unlikely to see matched. This is the visual representation of NRG’s performance in Season 3.

View post on imgur.com

People suggested that taking their foot off the pedal meant they were slow to catch up to meta or maybe even just a bit rusty. Those excuses are no longer viable. This is unless perhaps burn out has occurred within the ranks of NRG, or some players just aren’t enjoying the game right now. This is something iRaffer admitted too, in what has become an infamous Reddit post about Sunder. Maybe with all the success and the recent complaints about the Smite meta, it has been harder to get as motivated. Something which could very much change going into the Fall Split, as that is the Split leading into SWC. If getting the three-peat and another chance for cash doesn’t motivate them, I’d be very surprised.

Another factor is that the competition is far better this year. It is not as if NRG are playing badly but the new-look Obey is an incredibly strong team, while Dignitas is looking stronger than the old Orbit team. Throughout the league, especially in Europe there are a lot of really high quality teams.

However, saying all this, there is still a not so small part of me that expects iRaffer to lift the golden hammer again this year. I don’t know if it’s because my mind now sees it as routine, or i’m just too nostalgic for my own good, but I have a sneaking suspicion the three-peat is on.

The competition is real!

This is something that has featured in other parts of this article, but deserves its own segment. The competition levels in the SPL have just risen and risen throughout Season 4. While at the end of the Spring Split the gulf between NA and Europe was exposed, there is hope that over this Split that gap will shrink. I think it is still likely that Europe are going to dominate, though hopefully not as much.

Within the regions though the competition is fierce. I think one thing that illustrates this point quite nicely is when you look at 6th place in both regions. Team Allegiance and Elevate are not bad teams, in fact they are good teams who are getting better. This season is the only season in Smite where we would have teams of that caliber so far down the standings.

Look at the top of NA as well, last split Luminosity looked definitively like the best team in the region. This split they just squeezed into the final LAN spot, one point ahead of eUnited in 4th and only two points ahead of Noble in 5th. Noble was a team everyone was writing off at the beginning of the split.

In Europe, the region that got an extra spot to Dreamhack, we had 2nd-4th being fought over up until the last day of competition. Things are really heating up heading into World’s next split. I genuinely think in Europe that the top five teams will all be going into next split thinking they have a realistic chance at being SWC champs.

Image courtesy of tentonhammer.com

 

Top Image courtesy of esports.smitegame.com

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SPL Summer Split: North American All Star team

With DreamHack around the corner, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the Summer Split, and the players who deserve to be part of an All Star team.

Solo Lane All Star

This one is tough to choose. We saw strong play out of the Solo lane this split, but the All Star selection comes down to two players. The Short Lane veteran Jarod “CycloneSpin” Nguyen, and the newcomer Alec “fineokay” Fonzo.

Cyclone returned to form this split, posting the highest KDA out of the Solo lane at 3.88, as well as posting the 4th fewest deaths per game out of every player at 1.5. He was a rock for Team Allegiance, and always looked good, even in their losses. If Cyclone can continue this play, ALG will have a good shot at making Worlds.

Even with how well Cyclone played, the rookie fineokay deserves the All Star nod. Joining Spacestation Gaming (SoaR at the time) in the middle of the Spring Split, fineokay has shown he’s not to be treated like a rookie. He finished second in KDA behind Cyclone in the Solo Lane, and just behind him at 1.6 deaths per game. Yes, Cyclone had the better stats, but what doesn’t lie is the record. fineokay helped to propel his new team to a first place finish in North America.

Jungle All Star

The Jungler of choice for the SPL All Star squad is much easier than the Solo Lane. Alexander “Homiefe” D’Souza of Spacestation Gaming was an absolute monster this split. There were discussions whether Suharab “Mask” Askarzada or Homiefe were the top Jungler in the world. That was answered this split, and it’s Homiefe.

Homi boasted a KDA of 5.2, which was a whole 2 points higher than Brooks “Cynosure” Mattey of Trifecta. On top of that, Homiefe finished 2nd in NA with 4.5 kills per game, and 5th with just 1.6 deaths per game. He also participated in 78.2% of Spacestation Gaming’s kills, good for 4th highest in North America.

Photo by Hi-Rez Studios

Mid Lane All Star

Just one split off of his first pro split spent in a new role, who would have thought the best player out of the Mid Lane would have been Andrew “andinster” Woodward? We saw flashes out of the Spring Split whenever Andi would play Ra, but he turned it up during the Summer Split, and showed why he was once considered the best player in the world.

Andi was a Jungler when he was known for being the best, but he has shown that it was more about his skill at Smite then his ability in the Jungle. Andi had the highest KDA in the North American SPL this split at a whopping 5.36 as he carried Spacestation to the top. He also finished second in the league in deaths per game at just 1.3.

Support All Star

The closest race when it comes to All Star in a specific role has to be out of the Supports. Between Connor “Jigz” Echols and Sinjin “Eonic” Thorpe, we had some impressive guardian play.

Jigz captained his newly named Spacestation gaming to first place in North America while posting the highest KDA in his role at 4.62. He led his team by example when it came to deaths per game by leading the league with 1.2. Everyone on Spacestation gaming finished top 5 in that category, and everyone died fewer than 1.7 times per game.

Eonic led the resurgent Trifecta to a strong 10-4 record, good enough for second in North America. He was right behind Jigz in KDA posting a 4.28 stat line. He finished first in the SPL in assists per game with an insane 10.5, as well as third in deaths per game at 1.4. Eonic also participated in 77.2% of his teams kills, good for 6th in the SPL.

ADC All Star

This split saw Steven “Zapman” Zapas step away from the Smite scene. The stage was set for someone to fill his shoes, and Evan “Snoopy” Jones stepped up in a big way. For reference, he played Vulcan ADC and dominated with it, so there’s that.

Snoopy posted a solid 4.76 KDA in the Carry role, as well as leading the league in kills per game at 4.9. He also fell into the group of players that died just 1.6 times per game. Snoopy stepped up for SPL fans in the absence of Zapman, and now he’s got a shot to step up for North America come DreamHack.


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Feature Photo by Hi-Rez Studios

North American SPL DreamHack hopefuls

Current Standings

Photo by Hi-Rez Studios

Noble Esports

Wow, were Noble fun to watch last week or what? On Thursday they took a 2-0 victory against Team Allegiance, a team viewed as top three. Then they took a very hard fought 2-0 against eUnited, who was looking like a team poised to make a run for DreamHack. Up until Week Three, Noble hadn’t picked up a single game. Now they’re sitting in fifth place, with six points and a shot at DreamHack.

Technically speaking, only Flash Point is out of the running for DreamHack as of right now, but Noble is the last team with a legitimate shot. They don’t control their own fate, however, but they can put themselves in a pretty good situation. They have two sets remaining this split, one with AI, and the other with Flash Point, both of which are behind them in the standings.

Should Noble take a 2-0 in both games, they will end up with 12 points. They will need some help from the other teams, as the teams ahead of them are in a much better situation.

In Memory of Gabe (Now Trifecta)

IMOG was right there during the Spring Split. They were so close to clinching a spot at Smite Masters. Not much has changed for them, and yet again they’re a squad right on the edge of a spot at DreamHack. They’ve done enough to put themselves in this position, but it will take a strong performance out of them the final two weeks to clinch a spot.

Gabe plays AI, Luminosity, and Team Allegiance in their final three sets. On paper, and based on the standings, the way these games should go are 2-0, 0-2, and 1-1, which would give IMOG a total of 11 points. As with Noble, that point total doesn’t look like it will be enough to clinch a spot, and they too will need some help from the other teams.

If they don’t want to have to rely on others, however, Gabe can easily clinch on their own. Taking a game off of Luminosity, and then a 2-0 on ALG, IMOG will end up with 14 total points, which would be enough to make DreamHack. It’s all on Gabe to show up and perform at their best in the final two weeks.

Team Allegiance

ALG underperformed in the Spring Split. With the roster they had, there was no reason they shouldn’t have been competing for a spot at Masters. They’ve turned things around this split, and have positioned themselves to make DreamHack.

Allegiance is in the same boat as IMOG. On paper, they should be splitting 1-1 with both of their remaining opponents, IMOG and Monkey Madness. But if ALG is going to make Dreamhack, they’ll need to take at least 1 2-0.

The game they’ll need to find the 2-0 in will be the Monkey Madness game, as that’s the one that comes first. That’s a tall task, as MM is currently tied atop the North American standings. However, MM lost 2-0 against Luminosity, a team that ALG split with. If you believe in the transitive property, and ALG = Lum, Lum > MM, then ALG > MM. But they play the game for a reason, and anybody has a shot here.

Monkey Madness

They’ll probably be under a different name by the time DreamHack comes around, but Monkey Madness is in one of the best positions to make it there. They are tied for first place in North America with Luminosity and have complete control of their destiny.

It’s simple – if MM win 2-0 in their game versus ALG this weekend, they clinch. No relying on anyone else, just win and they’re in. Losing against ALG is where things could get messy. It wouldn’t mean they are out, but it would mean they could only total 13 points, and ALG, IMOG, and Luminosity all have the ability to end with at least the same amount of points.

Luminosity Gaming

Luminosity has been one of the top teams in North America for a while now and currently sit in first place by tie breaker. With three games remaining for Luminosity, and two of those games against some of the bottom teams, Luminosity has the best shot at making DreamHack.

Just like Monkey Madness, Luminosity controls their fate. Unlike Monkey Madness, they can’t clinch just by winning their next set just based on their schedule. On paper, Luminosity should 2-0 all three teams they have left to face. This would give them a total of 19 points, and clinch first place in North America.

Should Luminosity choke, they could be in a bit of a bind. As unlikely as it is, they could end up getting beat 2-0 or splitting 1-1, and a combination of those could spell disaster for them. In the end, Luminosity is a veteran team, and they’re going to do what it takes to clinch their spot as soon as they can.


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Feature Photo by Hi-Rez Studios

SPL Summer Split Week Two: Big NA Games

Week One of the Summer Split only gave us one result that wasn’t expected, and that was the split between Luminosity and Allegiance. Sure we knew ALG had improved, but Luminosity was supposed to be the top North American squad, so a 2-0 wouldn’t have been a shocker. Instead we got a 1-1 split, and a look at the promising new ALG roster. Looking ahead to week two, 20% of the split is over, and the opportunity to make a statement. Here’s a look at the big games taking place in North America this week.

Noble Esports

Image by smite.esportswikis.com

Noble plays two games this week, one Thursday vs Monkey Madness, and one Sunday vs In Memory of Gabe. With the way Noble looked against Luminosity last week, these games aren’t big games for either MM or IMOG. In fact, they should just be going about their business, and picking up points where they have an easy win. For Noble, however, this week is make or break. If Noble drops all four games this week, that puts them at 0 points almost half way through the Split.

Now is the time for Noble to show they deserve to be in the pack of top NA teams. Luminosity still seems like the only team that is a lock for top three this split, and Noble already lost to them. The good news is Noble can control its own destiny by winning these two sets this weekend against two teams believed to be in the running for top three. Ryan “Aquarius” O’Neill showed up last week, and everyone else seemed to just be there. If Noble wants to pull off these wins, Brett “MLCst3alth” Felley is going to need to show he’s still a top Mid lane player, and Jacob “Wowy” Carter will need to win his lane match up to carry his team.

In the end, I still have Noble dropping both sets. They haven’t given any reason to think otherwise dating all the way back to the Gauntlet.

eUnited vs Team Eager

Image by smite.esportswikis.com

Eager split with Monkey Madness last week. This isn’t really a big deal, as Eager made a roster change and MM is the same SoaR squad that made Masters. eUnited splitting with IMOG is essentially the same situation. Neither team made Masters last split, and both teams made a roster change.

The reason this game is big is that it can tell us exactly where these teams belong. If this game ends up a 2-0 in eUnited’s favor, then some questions begin to pop up with EGR. If this game ends up a 2-0 in Eager’s favor, then we still view EGR, and Monkey Madness, as top three teams.

Image by smite.esportswikis.com

However, if this set ends in a split, that’s where things get interesting. Is EGR falling down out of the top three and into the pack of squads climbing? Are eUnited so improved that they can be considered with EGR as a top three team?

With only one set played, Eager still hasn’t shown they can dominate the way we’ve seen in recent splits. eUnited had a pretty strong performance last week and could have walked away with the 2-0. I’m calling a split with this one.

Team Allegiance vs eUnited

Image by smite.esportswikis.com

Are they really a top three team? That’s what this set is all about. Is ALG really as good as they have looked so far during Summer Split? If they are, then they need to 2-0 eUnited. eUnited splitting 1-1 with IMOG show the company they keep in terms of team ability. Barring a 2-0 vs Eager, this should be a middle of the row team up against a top three team based on what we’ve already witnessed.

Aleksandr “Oceans” Brudniy has looked like a top ADC so far this split, especially when playing Cernunnos. He’ll be up against his former lane partner is Michael “PolarBearMike” Heiss. PBM will know the ins and outs of not only how Oceans wants to play, but ALG as a whole. It will be up to Kurt “Weak3n” Schray to lead his squad and keep up the performance we’ve seen out of him thus far.

I think this one will end in a split as well. One week of ALG dominating Flash Point, and splitting with Luminosity isn’t enough for me to call them a top three team yet.

Monkey Madness vs Luminosity Gaming

Photo by Hi-Rez Studios

This one is simple and straightforward. Luminosity is in first place, tied with Monkey Madness and Team Allegiance. Luminosity split with ALG, while MM split with Eager. There are only three teams from North America that can make DreamHack at the end of Summer Split. Because of that, head to head matchups are incredibly important against the other top teams.

Both teams have already split against top teams. Getting a 2-0 win against another top team would be huge, especially for Luminosity, as they

Image by smite.esportswikis.com

haven’t played Flash Point yet. John “BaRRaCCuDDa” Salter and Andrew “Andinster” Woodward are the top two in North America so far in KDA. It will be up to them to try to carry their respective teams to a 2-0 against another top squad.

 

I just don’t see that happening. Just as EU is close at the top, NA is the same way. This one will end in a split, leaving Luminosity and Monkey Madness tied at the top of North America.

 


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Feature Photo by Hi-Rez Studios

An Interview with Team Allegiance Jungler Weak3n

Kurt “Weak3n” Schray has been playing Smite competitively since before the Smite Pro League was a thing. He is a World Champion with Team EnVyUs in the Smite Console League, as well as a Masters champion with his old SPL team AFK Gaming. He is currently the Jungle for Team Allegiance of the SPL.

If you want to learn more about Smite or Weak3n, you can check him out on Twitter, Twitch, or Youtube.

 


 

First off, congratulations on splitting with Luminosity Gaming. What went right for you during this set that allowed your squad to be competitive in the game 1 loss, and then take a close game 2?

 

-Game 1 we had an early lead between all of us which was what kept us close throughout the entire game, but we had a comp that was built around killing the god who was in front of our mage/hunter and we did not play around that in team fights. We let them dive us and instead of making them pay we fell back which was a mistake each fight.

 

You’ve been playing Smite competitively since before the SPL even existed. What motivates you to compete for such a long time, and into the future?

 

-The fact that the game changes and adds new gods every two weeks is the main reason I haven’t gotten sick of the game. Also the fact that I do not have a PC World Championship is a big motivation.

 

You have a lot of fans, as evidenced by your success on Twitch and YouTube. However, you’re also looked at as a villain in the eyes of some SPL fans. What is it like to be viewed this way, and does something like this fuel you to win?

 

-The hate doesn’t really affect my drive to win, I have been the same since I started Smite when no one knew who I was. I enjoy having both sides of the spectrum though because I want to enjoy my community and this weeds out the audience that I don’t relate to.

 

The SPL has had a copious amount of what fans call “rosterpocalypse” over the last few splits. Team Allegiance, and you specifically, have been at the center of these roster changes. Knowing your roster signed with ALG for a full year, what is your opinion on the way roster changes are handled in the SPL?

 

-Roster changes are usually pretty basic, the only difference is the community tries to get involved in it and they don’t understand what so ever. This leads to the players sharing more information than needed. Most times teams make changes it’s because of business.

The entire idea of “hey x team, you need to play together forever to be great,” is just unrealistic. Some players work well together and some don’t. The only way to find out is to try it. Look at all pro teams in sports, every single team makes changes through each year.

 

Compared to past Seasons, do you enjoy Season 4 more or less?

 

-I honestly just go with the seasons and enjoy each with what they bring. Every season the players complain about something, it changes, and then something else is complained about. Just have to roll with it and try to win with whatever is in place.

 

You’re a player that is sort of known for falling a bit behind in order to feed your teammates. How has the current meta, with the aggressiveness and over abundance of sunder, affected your playstyle?

 

-Well I build a lot of sunder. I don’t really fall behind as much in this meta, but that is mainly because I have a team of people who aren’t selfish and I don’t have to deal with being proxy’d in lane or having buffs killed before I get to them.

 

It’s no secret that NA was embarrassed at Masters. What is it about EU that made them so dominant so quickly, and what does NA need to do to catch up?

 

-EU has been experimenting and not just going with the standard stuff, which is what NA was known for in previous seasons. I think until NA gets in that mindset we will be a step behind.

 

As a follow up, how do you feel your roster has done at making that jump, and how do you compare against the other NA rosters?

 

-Our team is a top 3 team now. We have energy, positivity, a second shot caller with immense game knowledge, and a team that enjoys playing together. All of this will lead to our team getting stronger over this season.

 

What needs to happen for Team Allegiance to compete at DreamHack Valencia for Summer Finals?

 

-If we play aggressive and as one unit we will make Valencia. Nothing needs to change. Continued work will just put us further ahead.

Photo by Hi-Rez Studios

Quick Hits

 

Favorite God?

-Serqet

 

Favorite pair of shoes?

-Kevin Durant IV “Weatherman”

 

Favorite video game of all time?

-Halo 2

 

Most memorable Smite moment?

-Winning our first LAN back in season 2 when no team would even practice against us at the LAN.

 

Favorite SPL player to Gank?

-Zapman

 

Can I have Speed Buff?

-No.

 

Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. Good luck to ALG during the rest of Summer Split, and I hope we can see you competing at DreamHack in July.


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Feature Photo by Hi-Rez Studios

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

Photo by Hi-Rez Studios

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

Photo by Hi-Rez Studios

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

Photo by Hi-Rez Studios

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)

Photo by Hi-Rez Studios

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

Photo by Hi-Rez Studios

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

Photo by Hi-Rez Studios

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

Photo by Hi-Rez Studios

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

Photo by Hi-Rez Studios

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

Allegiance Founder Gives His Ideas for the Future of Halo Esports

In a post to the Team Beyond forums Wednesday, Team Allegiance President and Founder Connor “InStiiNcT” Hall gave ideas for what he believes can elevate Halo to a top-tier esport. Hall founded team Allegiance in 2015, and built a team to compete in Halo 5. Allegiance’s inaugural season was a success, as the team would go on to place second in the 2016 Halo World Championship.

Connor Hall (left) of Allegiance. Courtesy of Columbia Missourian

Since then, Allegiance maintained success in competitive Halo 5, boasting several top 8 finishes, and all-star rosters. However, after a disappointing bid for 2017 Halo World Championship qualification, Allegiance announced their withdrawal from competitive Halo. In his announcement, Hall provided justification for the departure, stating “-our vision in Halo doesn’t align any longer with the future plans for the competitive scene”. Following accusations toward 343 Industries about transparency, and plans for the future of competitive Halo, some wondered if Allegiance was the first of many organizations exiting the Halo scene.

Hall is not finished with Halo, though. In his post, he says that he is open to working with 343i to help grow the scene. In this article, I’ll break down major parts of his plans in easy-to-read bullet points, and give my take on his proposals.

Transparency and Communication

  • 343 must treat transparency with utmost importance.
  • Necessary for 343 to listen to players and community members to implement in-game settings.
  • Communication and transparency facilitates trust among the community.
  • Halo needs a spokesperson to respond promptly and professionally to the community.
  • A method of communication that prioritizes league investment, keeping players and organizations in the know.
  • Content must be created to showcase great aspects of competitive Halo, and build storylines.

My Take: Hall mentions that his organization was left in the dark about plans for competitive Halo. This is absolutely appalling. Esports organizations are businesses that require careful planning to function properly. I think it is at the very least disrespectful for 343 to exclude the community and orgs included from structural strategy. At the end of the day, the community is solely what drives interest in competitive Halo. Excluding the community is equivalent to signing your own death certificate. 343 must be better at allowing players an outlet for communication and criticism.

 

Player Professionalism

  • Pros must treat their position as a professional occupation.
  • Players should be expected to respect their contract, practice their craft, and seek improvement as necessary.
  • Players are representatives of their brand, and the community at-large, and should portray themselves as such.
  • Team changes are sometimes requisite, given the culture of the game, but loyalty is imperative.
  • Content creation is necessary to sustain interest in Halo as an esport.

Courtesy of ESL

My take: I wholeheartedly agree with all of this. Yes, Halo began as a grassroots community, with little to no player restraint necessary. But since the inception of org involvement in Halo, players are representing businesses. If a player acts poorly, it reflects negatively on the organization, which hurts marketability to potential sponsors. In its current state, Halo needs to be appealing to the largest audience possible. Immaturity will only leave a bad taste in the mouth of anyone with a prospective interest in the title.

I also believe it necessary for pro players to churn out content regularly. These players have a platform that many would kill for, and not creating content does a disservice to themselves. Many pro players don’t seem to understand that as interest in Halo esports wanes, so does the viability of their career as a pro gamer.

 

Tournament Quality and League Vision

  • Tournament quality must be competitive in nature to other esports.
  • Possess standards of quality when working with tournament organizers.
  • Build events that appeal to spectators, fans, and competitors.
  • Share visions and aspirations with leaders in the community to attract professional interest.

Courtesy of ESL

My take: I don’t run an esports organization, but it seems that 343i is willing to accept a standard of quality that only just gets by. This cannot continue. To achieve the prosperity similar to other top esports, you must act like one. Poorly-run tournaments, lackluster venues, boring broadcasts, and little opportunity for amateurs to succeed will not drive interest. 343 Industries needs to work with their partners, and esports organizations to improve the quality of their league.

 

Conclusion

Hall has some great ideas that I can really get behind. He has demonstrated that he has the knowledge and passion to succeed in Halo esports. I believe that 343 Industries should be open to working with leaders in the community like him, and help create a better future for Halo esports. You can find Connor Hall on Twitter @CHInStiiNcT. You can read his original post here.

Do you agree with the proposals mentioned above? Do you have others to contribute? Let me know in the comments!

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