It was a big night for the SPL on Thursday, as Spacestation Gaming and eUnited met in a showmatch for the opening of Esports Arena Las Vegas. Playing at the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas, a $15,000 prize pool was available in the best of one.
Unfortunately for eUnited fans, Lucas ”Screammmmm” Spracklin was unable to attend the event, leaving Cassidy ”Card1ac” Cameron to fill in as a support, and Michael ”PolarBearMike” Heiss to go off-role as their jungler. In the end, the absence of Screammmmm was too much as Spacestation won without much trouble in 33 minutes.
Picks and Bans
Solo: Hercules – Ben ”Benji” McKinzey 1/2/2
Jungle: Thor – Michael ”PolarBearMike” Heiss 2/4/0
Mid: Ullr – Brandon ”Venenu” Casale 0/4/2
Support: Geb – Cassidy ”Card1ac” Cameron 0/8/1
ADC: Sol – Maksim ”PandaCat” Yanevich 2/3/0
Eun Bans: He Bo, Da Ji, Cerberus, Cu Chulainn
Solo: Artio – Ryan ”Aquarius” O’Neill 0/0/15
Jungle: Camazotz – Andrew ”andinster” Woodward 5/1/13
Mid: Janus – Woonyoung “Baskin” Kim 12/3/8
Support: Athena – Rosario “JeffHindla” Vilardi 2/0/16
ADC: Jing Wei – John “BaRRaCCuDDa” Salter 2/1/11
SSG Bans: Nemesis, Thoth, Serqet, Ravana
Both teams turned in a fairly traditional picks and bans phase with every role seeing a familiar god. Spacestation drafted an incredibly strong global presence with the selections of Janus mid and Athena support, while eUnited looked for early pressure and control with Sol ADC, Ullr mid and Geb support.
A standard 2-1-1 start was the choice for both teams with the two supports starting in the duo lane. In duo, both teams ran into a stalemate with only one moment of low health for JeffHindla and BaRRaCCuDDa.
Baskin got off to a strong start at Esports Arena Las Vegas, catching Venenu with a Portal bringing him below half health on the first wave. However it was Baskin getting caught with a Thrown Axe from Venenu, as PolarBearMike collapsed on the Spacestation mid laner leading to the first ever kill at Esports Arena Las Vegas.
Card1ac’s inexperience showed early, as he was caught out of position five minutes in leading to andinster putting Spacestation on the board.
Both Aquarius and Benji seemed content to wait out the early game. Neither side made any forced plays until seven minutes in. Here, Benji looked for an invade onto Spacestation’s right side experience camp, turning it into a kill onto andinster. However a quick rotation by Aquarius, JeffHindla and Baskin led to a response kill onto Benji by Baskin.
As the teams transitioned into the mid game, it was clear that Card1ac was having problems in the support role.
Already two levels behind, the eUnited substitute mistakenly used his Cataclysm before using his Blink. This caused Cataclysm to be missed entirely leaving him without an ultimate. Baskin took advantage soon after with a beautiful ultimate that caught Card1ac as he attempted to return to base 15 minutes into the game.
Spacestation looked to push their lead, as andinster picked up another kill on PolarBearMike then helped to secure the Pyromancer at 17:50.
PolarBearMike gave eUnited fans some hope 19:50 in when he connected with Mjolnir’s Attunement onto Baskin. This gave eUnited both a solo kill, as well as an uncontested Gold Fury. In response, Spacestation tried to to start a fight, leading to Card1ac being killed by JeffHindla and BaRRaCCuDDa being taken down by PandaCat.
The hope did not last long for eUnited however, as another misused Cataclysm by Card1ac at the 22 minute mark led to Spacestation getting a triple kill for Baskin, the middle T2 tower, a kill for andinster, the middle phoenix, the Pyromancer and finally the Fire Giant. This ultimately proved to be the turning point of the game.
With the Fire Giant buff around their belt, Spacestation pushed their lead even further going into the late game.
Spacestation was able to follow up by taking both duo lane towers, along with another quick double kill by Baskin. This gave them the opportunity to siege the duo lane phoenix with ease while killing Card1ac again in the process. With two phoenixes and three eUnited members down, Spacestation decided to play it safe by taking the Gold Fury instead of trying to end the game.
From here, Spacestation played a slow and steady game, picking up kills onto PandaCat, PolarBearMike, Card1ac, Venenu, and the middle phoenix for the second time, only losing Baskin in the process.
Off of that, Spacestation was able to get their second Fire Giant kill of the game at around the 30 minute mark. With the enhanced buff Spacestation easily destroyed the remaining phoenixes, killing the majority of eUnited in the process, allowing them to kill the Titan and end the game in 33 minutes.
Chalice of the Oracle looks to still be valued by both teams, as five players purchased it at some point in the game. Look for this trend to continue in future games.
Spacestation showed great poise and patience with respect to ending the game. Other teams, including eUnited, have thrown wins in the SPL this season by overextending to try and end the game. Spacestation decided to instead play a safer style, waiting until all phoenixes were down before committing to attacking the Titan.
Strong performances by both andinster and Aquarius should have Spacestation fans feeling good going into Friday. The two were Spacestation’s biggest question marks heading into the season, but if they play as they did tonight, expect dominant sets from Spacestation.
The importance of Screammmmm to eUnited was clearly on display in the Esports Arena. While PolarBearMike showed promise filling in for the jungler, their substitute Card1ac had a game to forget. Multiple missed ultimates led directly to Spacestation building a lead that they never surrendered. If Card1ac fills in this season, he needs to show that his performance here is not indicative of his ability.
Player of the game: Baskin
eUnited and Spacestation will play again on Mar. 23rd 2018 at 6:45 ET exclusively through SmiteGame on Mixer.
Top image courtesy of Hi-Rez Studios and Esports Arena