Hi-Rez Expo DreamHack

Hi-Rez Expo to Move to DreamHack

Hi-Rez Expo (HRX) has been its own standalone event for three years. But soon, that’s going to change. This year, Hi-Rez is breaking tradition by holding HRX and the Smite World Championship within the DreamHack Atlanta Festival. The response from Smite fans has been mixed. Let’s look at the event with a critical eye, and see what’s good and bad about the Hi-Rez Expo DreamHack change.

The Bad

Audience at DreamHack Expo

Image courtesy of Georgia.org

The most immediate negative responses to the event were based on the new timing. DreamHack is held on November 16th through 18th, months before HRX’s early January date. Students with exams during that time, and people celebrating Thanksgiving will have trouble finding time in their schedule to attend the event. Late November is a busy time in many people’s lives, and other things will likely take priority to going to an esports event.

Another complaint about the change stems from the removed sense of community. Hi-Rez Expo was the only large gathering specifically for fans of Smite and Paladins. By becoming part of a larger event, Hi-Rez fans will no longer be isolated. Part of the draw of HRX for many people was getting to meet fellow Smite fans in a Smite centered environment.

But not everything about this change is negative.

The Good

The most obvious benefit of this shift is in attendance. HRX has consistently sold out every year, and it has only gotten bigger after incorporating Paladins into the mix. With DreamHack, there’s a much bigger venue. More Smite fans than ever before will have the opportunity to attend the event. And not only that, but DreamHack tickets are much cheaper than HRX tickets would be. While the timing of the event may prevent some people from going, the lowered price and the larger venue might may make up for that.

Hi-Rez has also claimed that the larger event space will let them provide more events to attendees. Panels, developer meetings, and a bigger stage are among the benefits of moving to DreamHack.

But potentially the biggest upside to DreamHack is the exposure the game will receive. Being a part of a larger event means that people attending or watching the stream for other games will see Smite at its best. The world championships are the perfect time to expose new players to Smite, when everyone’s passion for the game is at its highest. If moving HRX to DreamHack results in a bunch of new players getting into the game, then it will certainly have been worth it.

Overall

This change to HRX change may seem entirely positive or negative, depending on your perspective. If you’re someone that can’t attend or watch the event because of poor timing, it’s unlikely that you’ll view this change favorably. If you care more about the atmosphere of the isolated Smite community than how the Smite community contributes to esports culture as a whole, you’re going to be disappointed. But it’s important to see the bright side of Hi-rez Expo being at DreamHack. If the event can manage to draw new players to the game, then perhaps this change will be a net benefit to the Smite community. The only thing we can do now is wait and see.

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Top image courtesy of the Official Smite Twitter account.

Hunter Builds

Hunter Builds: Crit vs Qin’s

Ever since the beginning of Season 2, Hunters have had a choice between two distinct builds. In past seasons the choice has often been easy. But in the current patch the two builds are more even than they’ve been in years. In the Smite Pro League, the preferred build varies wildly from player to player, and game to game. So, which of the two Hunter builds is best? Let’s figure out the pros and cons of each build path.

Crit’s pros

Critical damage builds are the classic Hunter build. In the last few seasons they fell out of favor, being slowly replaced by the penetration and Qin’s Sais build. But in Season 5, Crit builds on hunters are viable once again.

The biggest strength of a Crit build is its ability to burst down squishy members of the opposing team. Once you’ve got two Crit items finished, it only takes two or three lucky shots to take down opposing Mages, Assassins and Hunters. Having the potential to take enemies down in nearly an instant will make those classes play carefully around you, and will likely net you a couple cheeky kills along the way.Hunter Builds

Another more recent bonus to the Crit build is the item Poisoned Star. While this item was added a while back, it’s only recently become a staple in Crit builds. Poisoned Star slows any enemies you Crit by 20%. But more importantly, it also reduces their damage output by 20%. This item both adds a good amount of utility to the Crit build, letting you take an enemy God’s damage down a notch.

But not everything is amazing about the Crit build.

Crit’s cons

The biggest problem with Crit builds is dealing with tanks. Crit builds already tend to be worse at dealing with tanks than their Qin’s Sais counterparts due to having less penetration. But when the enemy tanks properly counter build against Crit, your problems only get worse.

Thorns is a gigantic threat to any Hunter building Crit. Once that purple plant covers a tank you’re fighting, you have no choice but to immediately stop fighting and start running. Any hits you land on the enemy tank won’t deal much damage to them, but the damage reflected back to you will be massive. And unless you have super human reaction speeds, one or two stray basic attacks will inevitably hit their Thorns. And if one of them Crits, you’re going to take a lot of damage. If they supplement their Thorns with a Hide of the Nemean Lion, things only get worse.

In addition to Thorns, Season 5 has added a new counter to Crit: Spectral Armor. This item reduces the bonus damage of critical strikes by 50%. Even when Thorns is down, tanks are now much harder to kill for Crit builds.

Qin’s Sais builds

The Qin’s build’s biggest pro and its biggest con are a reverse of the Crit build’s: It’s great against tanks, but falls a little short when fighting other damage classes.

The Qin’s build still deals respectable damage to the squishier classes, but is far less threatening to them than Crit is. On the flip side, tanks have a hard time dealing with them. With the ability to build more penetration items, less damage reflected by Thorns, and no counter building options like Spectral Armor, enemy tanks will fear a Qin’s Sais hunter.

Another big advantage to Qin’s builds is their adaptability. Crit builds have to build two or three Crit items, and one of them is nearly always Deathbringer. When you factor in that they need Boots, a Devourer’s Gauntlet for Lifesteal, and either Executioner or Titan’s Bane for penetration, there’s not a lot of room to breathe on a Crit build.

A Qin’s build, on the other hand, can fit in any weird counter building item you want. The core of your damage comes from just Qin’s Sais and a good penetration item or two, so other than that you can just build to your team’s needs. If there are a ton of tanks, you might want to get both Titan’s Bane and Executioner. Feel like you need extra lifesteal? You can grab Asi and Devourer’s Gauntlet. Want to deal more damage to their whole group? Try Odysseus Bow.

The other big advantage to the Qin’s build is that it’s fairly cheap. Qin’s Sais is a decently expensive item, but compared to the important Crit item Deathbringer, it’s very affordable. And because you don’t need so many items to get your damage online, you do so much sooner in the game.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, Hunter builds are no longer about which build path is objectively better. In Season 5, you have to be adaptable. If the enemy team is full of tanks, and you’re having trouble dealing with them, maybe pivot into a Qin’s Sais build. On the other hand, if they’ve got mostly squishy Gods, a Crit build is going to perform a lot better.

Your god choice can also affect which build is better. Gods like Ullr that like to build Transcendence will find it easier to build into Qin’s Sais. On the flip side, some gods like Jing Wei and Artemis have Crit already built into their kit. The age of cookie cutter Hunter builds is coming to an end, and you’re going to have to think on your toes when buying items on hunters now.

Which build do you prefer? Go ahead and leave your thoughts in the comments.

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All images courtesy of smite.gamepedia.com

Assassin Solo

What makes a good Assassin Solo?

In Season Five, some Assassins have been making big waves in the solo lane. The most obvious Assassin to come to mind would be Camazotz, the most picked Assassin solo. But he’s not alone: Nemesis and Ne Zha have both seen decent success in the solo lane this split.

But that doesn’t apply to all Assassins. In fact, most Assassins can’t compete with their Warrior and Guardian opponents in solo lane. So what makes these three Assassins special, and are there any other Assassins that could work in solo lane?

Sustain

Winning lane in solo is all about getting positive health trades with your opponent. And in terms of trades, any healing you give to yourself is worth practically the same as damage to your opponent.

Thankfully for Camazotz and Ne Zha, they have some of the best health sustain in the game. Camazotz has some healing on nearly all of his abilities: his passive gives him healing and mana from his Essence Pools, he gets a lifesteal buff and a heal from his Vampire Bats, and Devour gives him yet another heal. All of this healing combines to let him out-trade nearly any God he goes up against.

Ne Zha may not have as many different sources of healing, but his heal is still incredibly powerful. Not only does it give him back 15% of his health, but it does so immediately, rather than over time like many other heals. And as long as his passive is stacked, he can use it to heal in-between waves.

The odd one out of this trio is Nemesis, who has no heal. But her shield can fill a similar role. While your shield is up, you win trades automatically since they aren’t dealing damage to your health.

Clear

Like any other lane, solos benefit from clearing minion waves quickly. If you can push further up than your opponent, you open up a lot of options for yourself. You can farm your jungle, zone them away from your minion wave, or even rotate to other lanes.

It’s also the area where most Assassins fall flat. With clear abilities designed to hit jungle camps, not full minion waves, it can be hard to compete with Warriors and Guardians.

Camazotz, however, can out-clear a lot of his competition. Camazotz’ Screech can hit the whole wave if not blocked by the enemy solo laner, and provides him with a valuable power buff. His Devour provides another AOE ability to damage the wave. He also has a cleave, giving every third basic attack he lands an AOE, and supplementing his clear.

Ne Zha might not have clear as good as Camazotz’, but his clear is nothing to laugh at. His Ring Toss can hit the whole wave and the enemy God after a few level ups. And just like Camazotz, the last hit of his basic attack chain is a cleave, even if his is a lot slower.

Nemesis, unfortunately, has trouble clearing. But she makes up for it with something else.

Damage

The biggest advantage of picking an Assassin in solo over their Warrior and Guardian counterparts is their damage. With a combination of their burst-oriented kits, and in many cases buffs and debuffs that give them power or penetration, these Gods can wreak havoc. This not only helps them win lane by bullying their Warrior and Guardian opposition, but also makes them terrifying to face late game in a team fight.

While this is a strength shared by all three of the mentioned Assassins, the one that stands out the most is Nemesis. Her passive gives her back some of the power she’s missing, and her shield reflects enemy damage the same regardless of her build. And with two slows and two dashes, it’s hard to get away from a Nemesis that wants you dead. But Nemesis’ real strength is her ultimate.

Dealing up to 30% of her target’s current health, this ability deals just as much damage when Nemesis is building defense as when she’s building offense. In addition, it gives a slew of buffs to Nemesis and debuffs to her opponent, including stealing 30% of their protections. While this ultimate is up, Nemesis can win practically any one on one fight, making her scary to fight against in lane. And in team fights, this ultimate lets her charge the enemy back-line and deal a massive amount of damage, even with her defensive build.

Ne Zha and Camazotz aren’t far behind. Each of them have plenty of highly damaging abilities, and enough mobility and CC to comfortably stick to enemy Gods. Ne Zha’s ultimate also serves as a great set-up for your allies’ abilities.

The Other Assassins

Now that we know what makes an Assassin viable in solo lane, are there any Assassins that fit the bill but aren’t often picked?

There are a few Assassins that might seem to have all the elements of a good Assassin solo, but just don’t pack enough punch. Kali might seem like a good pick on paper, with good sustain and a good penetration buff on her passive. But her late game depends on dealing a lot of damage, which means she can’t reasonably build defensively.

Thanatos is better than Kali, but still not quite good enough. He has some great sustain, okay clear, and his ultimate and Death Scythe let him be threatening while building defense. Unfortunately for him, while his kit is suited well to the solo lane, he just doesn’t pack as much of a punch as the more popular Assassin solos.

Ratatoskr has historically seen success in the solo lane, but has recently fallen out of favor. However, his kit is still perfectly suited to it, with good sustain, damage, and clear. The squirrel is likely to make a comeback in the solo lane at some point. For now, the only question is when.

It might seem like the only viable Assassin solos are the ones already being picked. But there is one Assassin rarely seen in the solo lane that seems to have the makings of a great solo pick.

Fenrir

Fenrir has all the elements of a powerful solo. A good amount of sustain through Seething Howl, incredible damage through a combination of Seething Howl and Brutalize, and one of the best set-ups in the game in his ultimate. In fact, tank Fenrir is so powerful that it’s become his standard build, even when played as a jungler.
His main weakness in solo is his clear. But even that isn’t terrible, especially if your opponent can’t interrupt your Brutalize, allowing the AOE to hit their whole wave.

Are there any other Assassins that you think could be the next big solo laner? Let me know in the comments, as long as you don’t say Loki.

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Top art courtesy of smite.gamepedia.com

Smite Season Ticket Predictions

Smite Season Ticket predictions: Week 6

Moving into the last week of the Spring Split, we’ve got some interesting matches lined up.

On the EU side, it will be exciting to see how Obey Alliance will perform. After their upset against NRG, they’ve proven they have what it takes to stand up to Europe’s best teams. And with match-ups against Team Rival and Dignitas, we’ll know how they stack up against the best by the end of the week.

Over in North America, it’s still intensely even competition in the Spring Split. After finding their footing in week three of the split, we get to see how far EUnited has come. With matches against the teams that obliterated them in the first week of the split, Luminosity and Spacestation, EUnited has their chance at redemption.

With that, let’s go to the picks.

Tuesday

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsTeam Rival vs NRG EsportsSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Team Rival

Both of these teams are around the same skill level. However after dropping a game to Obey Alliance last week, I have to give this one to Rival.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsSK Gaming vs MousesportsSmite Season Ticket Predictions

SK Gaming

Mousesports are having some trouble finding their playstyle as a team. Everyone enjoyed watching their crazy picks at the beginning of the split. And while it may not have worked out for them in the short run, it’s better to be the meta definer coming up with new strategies if you aim to be a top team. In the past week, though, Mousesports have been picking fairly conventionally. And they haven’t seen any more success than when they were picking Janus Jungles and Chaac Mids. I don’t anticipate this being a good direction for the team, and I can’t see them finding their footing in the last week of the split.

 

Wednesday

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsEUnited vs LuminositySmite Season Ticket Predictions

EUnited

While Luminosity took this match up 2-0 in the first week of the split, EUnited is stronger than they were back then. While I don’t doubt Luminosity’s skills either, I think EUnited can manage to pull a win this time.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsSplyce vs Counter Logic GamingSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Counter Logic Gaming

Splyce is still having trouble finding wins in this split. And while they’re not a weak team by any means, CLG is still looking stronger right now.

 

thursday

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsTeam Dignitas vs MousesportsSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Team Dignitas

Again, Mousesports are having identity problems. If they can’t manage to beat SK gaming, there’s certainly no reason to change my mind in a match-up against the EU powerhouse Team Dignitas.

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsTeam Rival vs Obey AllianceSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Team Rival

I want to believe that Obey can take these matches. They’re definitely the team to root for if you like underdogs. But I pick with my brain, not my heart, and my brain says Team Rival.

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsObey Alliance vs Team DignitasSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Team Dignitas

Again, I would love to pick Obey here. But with the information we have, Dignitas is just the stronger team.

 

Friday

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsTrifecta vs Counter Logic GamingSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Trifecta

CLG has been underwhelming lately. They’ve fallen from grace after looking like the strongest team in the split half way through. On the other side of the spectrum, Trifecta has been fairly impressive. Taking wins off of both EUnited and Luminosity, Trifecta has had a strong showing in the past two weeks. Because of that, I have to predict Trifecta.

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsEUnited vs SpacestationSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Spacestation

This is another match-up where I want to vote for EUnited, but I just can’t. Spacestation has seated themselves on the throne of the SPL, and while EUnited certainly has a chance to take this I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsSpacestation vs TrifectaSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Spacestation

Just like with the last match, Trifecta is a strong team that has a chance. But it’s hard to deny that Spacestation is the strongest team in North America right now.

 

Summary

Team Rival > NRG Esports

SK Gaming > Mousesports

EUnited > Luminosity

Splyce < Counter Logic Gaming

Team Dignitas > Mousesports

Team Rival > Obey Alliance

Obey Alliance < Team Dignitas

Trifecta > Counter Logic Gaming

EUnited < Spacestation

Spacestation > Trifecta

 

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Top Image courtesy of Smitegame.com, SPL logo and Esports Team logos courtesy of Esports.Smitegame.com

Why are Hunters so weak right now?

Smite hunters have always been the rulers of the Team Fight in past seasons. As your team’s main source of consistent damage, many times the performance of your Hunter is what would win or lose you the game. In Season five, though, it’s a different story.

The duo lane is under performing in Season 5. For Supports, this isn’t new. They’ve been getting less farm than anyone else since Season 2. But for Hunters, this is a frightening new meta. They have less impact on the outcome of matches than they ever have. And until very late in the game your Mid Laner is expected to deal far more damage. What brought about this shift in power?

The causes

Easily the most damaging change that hit hunters recently was the reduction of XP sharing. In the Season 5 patch, the total split XP from sharing minions was brought down from 150% to 120%. Originally, this change might not have seemed massively detrimental to Hunters due to the meta toward the end of Season 4 favoring a roaming support. But as the meta developed, this change became the dread of all Hunter players.

The biggest immediate reaction to this change, along with the jungle changes that increased the farm of jungle camps, was to have your jungler primarily farm camps. This meant that when your support rotated, there was less farm in it for them.

Image courtesy of smitegame.com

In addition to this, the larger map size made rotating cost more time. As a result, Supports have wound up ordinarily staying in the duo lane until well into the Mid Game. Compounded with the XP changes, Hunters lost an enormous amount of farm going into season 5.

But in the early Season 5 meta, Hunters were still strong. This was due primarily to the item Deathbringer being way too powerful. At the beginning of Season 5, this item gave 35% critical strike chance, along with its critical damage improving passive. After patch 5.2 hit, it was massively nerfed. But unfortunately, a few other Hunter items were brought down with it: Devourer’s Gauntlet and Asi saw nerfs in the same patch.

Towards the end of Season 4, Hunters were admittedly a little too powerful. But after all the changes, it seems like Hi-Rez has hit the role too hard. What can be done to bring the role back up?

The fixes

The most obvious way to fix this situation would be to give the duo lane more farm. This would help not only the Hunter, but the Support as well. But that’s easier said than done. You can’t just increase a number to give the duo lane more farm.

Smite Hunters

Image courtesy of smitegame.com

A buff to Guardian’s blessing could be the answer. Something that increases the XP split to players in your assist range could improve things. But that’s always a difficult balancing act: you don’t want to improve it to the point where junglers pick it up too.

Another suggestion would be to increase the number of minions in a wave for the duo lane. But this could lead to more problems. With increased minion wave sizes, Sieging duo lane Towers would become too easy. The duo lane’s Towers would need to be buffed in response, creating an inelegant design situation where the Duo Lane follows different rules from other lanes. Additionally, this could impact the meta in unexpected ways. If the Supports decide to roam again, suddenly Hunters are ahead of everyone else in the game. It would also reduce the viability of Hunters with poor clear, like Xbalanque.

There is not an easy fix to this problem. It seems most changes Hi-Rez can make have equal downsides. That’s a problem for Smite’s Designers to solve in the following patches. For the moment, though, the duo lane is going to be stuck feeling a little under powered.

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Top art courtesy of smite.wikia.com

Smite Season Ticket Predictions

Smite Season Ticket predictions: Week 5

Now that we’re done with rerun week, I can start actually predicting things instead of regurgitating last weeks results. Which would be more fun in a different SPL climate. But this split’s North American teams are so even that it seems practically impossible to make clear power rankings.

EUnited beat Counter Logic Gaming, Counter Logic beat Spacestation, Spacestation beat Luminosity, Luminosity beat EUnited… All of these teams are in the same tier. It’s great for watching games, but stressful for predicting them.

At least the European side is a little easier. There seem to be two distinct echelons of EU teams, with Rival, NRG and Dignitas being top teams and Obey, SK and Mousesports being lower. But if teams from the same tier face off in EU, it can be just as hard as an NA game to predict.

Oh well, you’ve gotta pick someone. Let’s get into the picks for week 5.

 

Tuesday

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsTeam Rival VS Team DignitasSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Team Dignitas

Rival and Dignitas are both great teams, and both could easily take this. But for my money, Dignitas comes out on top. Dignitas are still the standout team of the European Pro League, even if they’ve recently lost some sets.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsObey Alliance VS MousesportsSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Obey Alliance

Two of the weaker teams square off in this set. But Mousesports is too inconsistent, and their drafts can get a little too crazy. And while I like experimental drafts as much as the next guy, they don’t translate cleanly into wins.

 

Wednesday

Smite Season Ticket PredictionseUnited VS TrifectaSmite Season Ticket Predictions

eUnited

It’s hard to vote against eUnited in these match-ups after their Week Three comeback. Last week they looked as strong as they did in the World Championship. And while I don’t doubt that Trifecta could take this, the same could be said for the team I vote against in practically any North American match-up. They’re just too even.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsSpacestation VS Counter Logic GamingSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Spacestation

On the opposite end of the spectrum, before eUnited’s comeback CLG was looking like the best team in the world. But after taking a loss from not only eUnited, but from Luminosity, they don’t look so tough anymore. Spacestation, on the other hand, is a consistently great team.

Thursday

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsTeam Dignitas VS SK GamingSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Team Dignitas

This is the day where that short tier list I made starts coming in handy. Dignitas is in the top three, and SK is in the bottom, which makes this prediction easy.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsNRG Esports VS Obey AllianceSmite Season Ticket Predictions

NRG Esports

Thursdays in the EU SPL seem to be the designated strong team versus weak team days. NRG is good, Obey isn’t. Easy FP.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsNRG Esports VS SK GamingSmite Season Ticket Predictions

NRG Esports

I like the low stress environment Thursday is creating here. I don’t have to think very hard. But there’s also not much to write about. That tier list is pretty real; so far none of the lower echelon teams have managed to take even a game off of the top three, let alone a whole match. It would be exciting to be wrong about these matches. But it also wouldn’t be responsible of me to predict SK.

 

Friday

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsTrifecta VS SplyceSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Trifecta

This is the battle of teams I’m not quite sure what to think of yet. Splyce has a number of talented veteran players that we haven’t seen in action for a while, and I’d love to see them find their footing in this match. But for right now, they’re not great. Trifecta in the short term is a pretty lukewarm team. They never seem to look that strong or that weak. But in the short term, I have to give this one to Trifecta.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsLuminosity VS SpacestationSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Spacestation

This is the match that I’m most unsure of. Spacestation is still a consistently strong team, but Luminosity had a strong showing last week. But when in doubt, vote for Spacestation. That way at least John “BaRRaCCuDDa” Salter fans won’t get mad at me.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsLuminosity VS SplyceSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Luminosity

I’m still reluctant to give Splyce my vote, and to repeat myself Luminosity has been looking incredibly strong lately. This is probably about as easy to predict as North American matches can get. And even here, I have no doubt that Splyce could take the game. It’s really anyone’s league in North America.

 

Summary

Team Rival < Team Dignitas

Obey Alliance > Mousesports

EUnited > Trifecta

Spacestation > Counter Logic Gaming

Team Dignitas > SK Gaming

NRG Esports > Obey Alliance

NRG Esports > SK Gaming

Trifecta > Splyce

Luminosity < Spacestation

Luminosity > Splyce

 

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Top Image courtesy of Smitegame.com, SPL logo and Esports Team logos courtesy of Esports.Smitegame.com

EUnited

Is eUnited back on top?

In the first two weeks of the Smite Pro League, eUnited’s performance was disappointing. After losing to Luminosity Gaming, it was loss after loss for eUnited. Fans were left with the question: had the magic faded for these world champions?

Opinions on eUnited were still mixed going into their matches last Friday. Some held onto their hope that they would make a comeback, while others had already decided they were washed up. Even after their win against Splyce, their reputation hadn’t recovered. Going into their match against Counter Logic Gaming, the top seeded team in the North American Pro League, most still predicted that eUnited would lose.

But in an upset, eUnited managed to pull a win. The world champions looked like their former selves this set, proving that they could still take on the best of them. What contributed to eUnited’s triumphant comeback?

Objective play

Eunited

Image courtesy of smite-esports.gamepedia.com

For as long as eUnited has been around, they’ve been known for strong objective play. Way back in Season 3, when they were still Enemy Esports, they made a name for themselves taking sneaky Gold Furies. This tactic lead them all the way to second place in the Smite World Championship.

In the first few weeks of the Season 5 smite pro league, eUnited’s objective play had been lacking. But in this set, they showed they were still the kings of Objective Play in Smite, returning to their sneaky Gold Fury tactics to great success.

Picks and bans

One of the most lacking elements of eUnited’s play in the Spring Split was their picks and bans. They would often draft teams with poor synergy, or take gods that just didn’t fit the Season 5 Metagame. But in their match against CLG they managed to find a nearly perfect Draft.

In their first game against CLG, they managed to get Janus and Hachiman, two gods that are among the best at their roles. But most notably they managed to get Nemesis, one of the best gods in the game. The opposing picks in those roles: Ullr, Rama, and He Bo respectively, were alright picks, but they couldn’t stand up to the dominant draft eUnited managed to pick. Rama in particular became a costly pick for CLG, with their Hunter Evan “Snoopy” Jones going 0/5/1. These dominant picks continued into game two, with eUnited managing to pick up Nemesis and Hachiman again.

Pandacat

EUnited

Photo courtesy of smite-esports.gamepedia.com

But it wasn’t just the picks that won the Duo Lane for the world champions. Maksim “Pandacat” Yanevich had an incredibly strong showing in this set. In game one, he managed to get a solo kill on Snoopy, and from there it continued to get worse for Counter Logic Gaming. Even in the second game, Pandacat managed to go 6/1/5, winning the Mixer MVP poll for both games one and two of the set. In addition to his effectiveness, Pandacat’s aggressive play makes him a joy to watch when he’s at his best. If Pandacat can play like he did in this set consistently, then eUnited will be the team to beat in the second half of the Smite Spring Split.

Even after their win against CLG, some still doubt EUnited’s strength. Were they just lucky, managing to catch CLG playing poorly? Or were these first two weeks the exception to eUnited’s rule? You won’t have to wait very long to find out: this Friday eUnited will have to face CLG again. If they can pull another win, that will prove that this was no fluke. It will be interesting to watch who can win this repeat match.

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Smite Season Ticket Predictions

Smite Season Ticket predictions: Week 4

At first this looked like a hard week to start on. Not only am I late, but accurate predictions of NA match-ups are getting harder. With EUnited’s comeback, North American teams are so even that it’s nearly impossible to tell who will win in these match-ups. And Europe, while not as bad, is still harder to predict than past SPL seasons.

But looking at the next week’s schedule gave me déjà vu. Which is probably because they’re the exact same match-ups as last week. I don’t understand why, but it does make predicting the winner pretty easy. Just vote for the team that won a week ago. So let’s get into my Smite Season Ticket predictions for the next week of the Spring Split.

Tuesday, April 10

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsNRG Esports VS Team DignitasSmite Season Ticket Predictions

NRG Esports

Well, at least this whole rerun week makes the picks pretty easy. Remember last week when NRG beat Dignitas? I’ve used my expert deduction skills to decide that that will probably happen again.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsObey Alliance VS SK GamingSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Obey Alliance

Both of these teams have been a little weak so far. And while Obey took this match-up last week, it was incredibly close. This game could easily go to SK as well. But Obey’s chances are still a little bit better.

 

Wednesday, April 11

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsLuminosity VS TrifectaSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Trifecta

Trifecta won last week, and I don’t see any reason to doubt them this time. Last week they won the set but lost game two. Trifecta learned a valuable lesson during that second game: Ban Nemesis. Even if she winds up in solo lane, you still need to ban Nemesis. And as long as they remember that, they should be able to beat Luminosity again.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsSpaceStation VS SplyceSmite Season Ticket Predictions

SpaceStation

After the last week, Splyce has been looking like one of the worst teams in the league. Meanwhile SpaceStation looks like one of the best. It’s not quite that simple, though. Splyce is full of team members that have been out of the SPL for a while. And as they continue to readjust themselves to competitive play and learn to work with their new teammates, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Splyce rise above SpaceStation. But that’s in the long term, and this match is next Wednesday. So I have to give it to SpaceStation.

Thursday, April 12

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsTeam Rival VS SK GamingSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Team Rival

Unfortunately for SK gaming, they just don’t stack up to Rival. Last time we saw this match it went 2-0 to Rival, and I don’t see any reason that would change.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsNRG Esports VS MousesportsSmite Season Ticket Predictions

NRG Esports

Thursday is going to be a whole day of strong team versus weak team. And unfortunately for Mousesports, they don’t give Fantasy Points for voting for underdogs.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsTeam Rival VS MousesportsSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Team Rival

It’s bad enough that Mousesports is having to face Rival, but they also have to play two matches in a row. And they’re likely coming into this match after losing to NRG. And they lost both of these matches 2-0 last week. This match will probably feel like a recurring nightmare for Mousesports. But who knows? Maybe they’ll win against NRG and bring that momentum into this match. That scenario’s a little too unlikely to get me to vote for Mousesports, though.

 

Friday, April 13

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsEUnited VS SplyceSmite Season Ticket Predictions

EUnited

EUnited proved last week that they’re still a powerful team, taking a decisive victory against Counter Logic Gaming. While this match was fairly close last week, EUnited are sure to be more confident after that comeback.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsLuminosity VS Counter Logic GamingSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Counter Logic Gaming

Don’t let their loss against EUnited distract you: Counter Logic Gaming is still a force to be reckoned with. And while Luminosity certainly isn’t a bad team, I don’t see any reason to vote for them over CLG.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsEUnited VS Counter Logic GamingSmite Season Ticket Predictions

EUnited

I was really hoping that I would get the chance to play devil’s advocate and vote for last week’s loser at least once. But after the dominance EUnited showed in this match-up last week, I couldn’t possibly vote for CLG. The message of this game last week was clear: EUnited is back, and they’re still the world champs.

 

Summary

NRG Esports > Team Dignitas

Obey Alliance > SK Gaming

Luminosity < Trifecta

SpaceStation > Splyce

Team Rival > SK Gaming

NRG Esports > Mousesports

Team Rival > Mousesports

EUnited > Splyce

Luminosity < Counter Logic Gaming

Eunited > Counter Logic Gaming

 

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Top Image courtesy of Smitegame.com, SPL logo and Esports Team logos courtesy of Esports.Smitegame.com

 

Eunited

What’s wrong with eUnited?

At the beginning of the spring split, eUnited was the team to beat. Riding the wave of their victory at the Smite World Championship, most people ranked them as the best team in the world. Over 80% of spectators predicted that eUnited would win their first match of the split against Luminosity Gaming.

But it didn’t go the way everyone expected. After their shocking loss against Luminosity, a team widely considered much weaker, most people called it a fluke. But two weeks and a couple Smite Pro League matches later, and eUnited has yet to find a single win. In fact, they haven’t managed to win a single game, let alone a whole match. It wasn’t a fluke; eUnited just isn’t playing well in season 5. Which leaves Smite Esports fans with a question: What’s wrong with eUnited?

Drafts

EUnited

Photo courtesy of smite-esports.gamepedia.com

A consistent error in eUnited’s play this season has been their poor drafts. They let powerful gods get picked by the enemy team, construct team compositions that lack synergy, and just make some strange picks. A good example of this is game two of their match against Luminosity gaming.

Looking at eUnited’s draft, they picked up both Athena and Cerberus. These gods form a strong set of initiations with Athena’s Taunt and Cerberus’s Ultimate. But they didn’t pick any gods with strong follow ups to those abilities. They picked The Morrigan without providing her any particularly powerful Gods to transform into. In the duo lane, eUnited let Luminosity take Sol, one of the most powerful gods in the ADC role. But their most questionable decision was picking up Bakasura for the Jungle role.

Bakasura is a weak character that hasn’t seen competitive play in years- and for good reason. And while many strong Jungle picks had been banned out, the powerful Assassin Camazotz was still available. EUnited’s Jungler Lucas “Screammmmm” Spracklin had shown he was capable of playing Camazotz well in the first game of the set. There was no apparent reason why eUnited chose Bakasura instead. This problem continues into most of their games, picking up bad compositions and letting powerful gods slip through the cracks and into the enemy team.

Metagame

eunited

Photo courtesy of smite-esports.gamepedia.com

Alternatively, eUnited could just be having trouble adapting to the new meta of season five. With the many item and jungle changes, along with the entirely new map, the season five Patch is one of the biggest changes to the smite metagame ever. And while eUnited has made an effort to pick Gods that mesh well with the changes of season 5, those Gods might not mesh well with eUnited’s playstyle. In addition to that, at times their objective play has been significantly weaker in season 5, which could be caused by the increased size of the map making it harder to respond to objective calls.

Spacestation Gaming’s ADC John “BaRRaCCuDDa” Salter predicted their performance would suffer for this reason before their Las Vegas Esports Arena Showmatch, saying “I think [eUnited are] still a little stuck in season 4.” The world champions could be having trouble finding their place in the new metagame, leading to poor performance in the early matches of the spring split.

Conclusion

I don’t know everything about eUnited. These are just theories from an outsider trying to explain their sudden drop after the World Championship. And while I’ve presented two likely problems, there are a slew of possible problems the team could have behind closed doors. But one thing is certain, eUnited needs to change something to start looking like the world champions again.

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Top Image courtesy of gamereactor.eu

How good is Hide of the Urchin?

In the European Smite Pro League, Hide of the Urchin is a common sight. The item has been picked up frequently by Solos, and sometimes even some Tanky Junglers. By my count, so far European players have picked up Hide of the Urchin 15 times this season in only three total days of play.

Hop across the ocean, though, and you’ll see a pretty different attitude towards the item. In the North American Pro League, this season players have only built Hide of the Urchin twice. Both times by Counter Logic Gaming’s Alec “FineOkay” Fonzo.

There’s a rift between these two continents in the value of this item. And that begs the question: Who’s right?

The numbers

First off, let’s look at Hide of the Urchin’s stats. For 2450 Gold, Hide of the Urchin gives you: 30 Physical and Magical Protection, 250 Health and 250 Mana. The Passive can net you an additional 2 Protections for every kill or assist you get. After capping the item at 10 stacks, you get an extra passive: a 100 + 5 per level shield that regenerates when out of combat.

The pros

Hide of the Urchin

Image courtesy of smite.gamepedia.com

Hide of the Urchin’s stats are great, if you can manage to get the item stacked. 50 of each protection is a decent chunk more than its biggest competition, Spirit Robe. It’s also got 250 Health, which makes it one of only three items that give both types of Protections and Health. In one item you get every defensive stat you need to survive, which makes it efficient when building mostly damage items.

In addition to its decent base stats, if you get the full passive shield it’s technically giving you 450 health. That makes it the third most effective health you can get off a single item in the game, only outclassed by Bulwark of Hope and Warlock’s Staff. That is, if you can get the whole shield.

The cons

That’s Hide of the Urchin’s achilles heel: the shield is too difficult to regenerate fully. You have to stay out of combat for 30 whole seconds, eons in Smite time, to fully stack that Shield. Late game, that’s a privilege you can’t often afford. In practice you’re rarely going to get the full 450 health that the item potentially gives. Unlike real health, the shield on Hide of the Urchin isn’t immediately full upon respawn, and can’t be healed. Compared to Hide’s peers, this Passive is awful.

But that’s not Hide’s only weakness. Hide only gets to this level once you’ve received 10 stacks from kills or assists. Before getting those stacks, there’s no controversy: Hide of the Urchin is garbage.

Hide of the Urchin

Image courtesy of smite.gamepedia.com

2450 gold is relatively expensive for a defensive item, and with only 30 of each protection and 250 health you’re better off going with something else. Like its neighbor on the other end of the Robe tree, Spirit Robe. For 50 less Gold, Spirit Robe gives 10 more Protections, 10% Cooldown Reduction, 20% Crowd Control Reduction, and a powerful passive that gives you 15% Damage Mitigation when under the effects of Hard CC. Before you manage to find those 10 kills or assists, you’ll be much better off with Spirit Robe.

In some games, that might not be too easy. If your team falls behind after you commit to Hide of the Urchin, you might never get those stacks. And if you do, it will be much slower. Hide of the Urchin can make a bad situation much worse if you aren’t getting your stacks.

Conclusion

So that leaves us with the original question: Who’s right? The North American teams, or the European teams? That’s partially up to your own opinion and play style. Do you value immediate power spikes, or do you not mind getting your stats gradually? Do you value useful passives, or raw stats? Do you value a wide spread of stats, or do you want to focus on one or two?

But in my opinion, North America wins this one. The eventual stats just aren’t worth the downsides; too many things can go wrong with this item. And the passive shield is just terrible. But what do you think? Do you think Hide of the Urchin is better than I’m giving it credit for? Let me know by tweeting me, or in the comments below.

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Top Image background courtesy of Smitegame.com, Hide of the Urchin image courtesy of smite.gamepedia.com