It’s anyone’s league
Going into Season 5 of Smite esports, Smite fans knew exactly what team to look for: eUnited. The world champions, eUnited were the undisputed kings of Smite. Luminosity Gaming, on the other hand, were the opposite.
Fans had mixed opinions on the organization’s new roster, fueled by Jungler Kurt “Weak3n” Schray’s polarizing reputation. When eUnited and Luminosity were scheduled to play against each other, most people wrote this match off as an easy 2-0 for eUnited.
Then Luminosity won. That was the first match of the NA Season 5 SPL. And the excitement didn’t stop there. Across the first week of the Season 5 SPL, we saw an amazing amount of close games and sets going to game 3.
The perfect storm has hit Smite esports this season, and the playing field has never been more even. There is no dominant team that nobody can take a game off of. There is no laughing stock that can never seem to win. The outcome of a match never feels predetermined going into any of this season’s matches. Anyone can win, and anyone can lose.
The new SPL rules have some part to play in this shift. Season 5 of Smite esports has only six participating teams, as opposed to all previous season’s eight. This increased barrier to entry has prevented weaker teams that would normally be bullied into the bottom seed.
But rule changes can only go so far. The heart of this season’s balanced state lies in the teams themselves. They’re all just a lot stronger than in previous seasons. Players have found rosters with amazing synergy, leading to some amazing performances.
Space Station Gaming, who most agree to be the strongest team currently, feels like an old Cloud 9 reunion. Gathering most of the classic roster, they’ve most notably put Andrew “Andinster” Woodward back into the jungle after a long break playing Mid. And after his performance over the last week, it feels like he never left.
And they’re not alone: Counter Logic Gaming, Splyce and Trifecta are all full of veteran players who have shown they work well together. Each has proven that they have what it takes to stand up to Space Station Gaming. Trifecta took a game off of SSG in their set last Friday, taking the match to game three. Counter Logic Gaming beat both Splyce and Trifecta, but not without a fight: both matches went to game 3. In fact, the only matches that didn’t go to game 3 in the first week were the two matches that eUnited lost, against Luminosity and then Space Station Gaming.
It may be tempting to say that the world champions are washed up after their poor performance. But that would be a little naive. Only a few months ago, they won the world championship. It takes a little longer than that for a team to go from the best in the world to “washed up.” Instead, Space Station Gaming’s ADC John “BaRRaCCuDDa” Salter explained it best before their showmatch at the Las Vegas Esports Arena, saying “I think [eUnited are] still a little stuck in season 4.” Indeed, it seems eUnited are having trouble adapting to this season’s changes. While they may seem weak now, it wouldn’t be surprising to see eUnited turn it around and play like the world champions that they are.
In any case, this season of Smite esports is shaping up to be one of the best in years. The balance between each team gives each match a sense of excitement, and the close sets have never been a disappointment. Any Smite fan that’s not watching these turbulent early matches is missing out on some of the most entertaining matches in SPL history.
Top Image courtesy of esports.smitegame.com