The Papis dominated in relegations, making short work of every team who came up against them. However, the question was always going to be whether they would look as good in the SPL.
Coming into this past week, The Papis were sitting on a record of 0/1/2. This wasn’t the dream start to the SPL that they would have hoped for. When you look at the teams that they had to start with though, it’s no surprise. Eanix is a team who will expect to be challenging for a place at DreamHack, currently sitting in second place in Europe with a record of 2/1/1. The other team they lost too was Obey, who came first in Europe for the Spring Split as well as being the winners of the Smite Masters. It would be unfair for us to expect a brand new team in the SPL to beat such high-level opponents.
The Papis split their match with Elevate. This is by no means a weak team. It may have been a bit of a blow to lose Daniel “Faeles” Evans to Eanix, but Elevate is still a strong outfit. They are not in that top echelon of teams, but to most neutral observers they are well capable of beating a team recently out the Challenger Circuit.
The Papis split with Rival looks more surprising when you take a closer look at their split with Elevate. In the first game, they were firmly beaten in 19 minutes, with a kill count of 16-0 in Elevate’s favour. The next game was a tight affair. The Papis did have a minor lead through the majority of the game but were also trailing in kills, showing it was no walk in the park for them. This suggested the higher regarded team of Rival would make quick work of The Papis.
Rival is a team who, due to their offline performance at the end of the last Split, have propelled themselves into the upper tier of SPL teams in a lot of peoples eyes. Admittedly, the upper tier is a little crowded at the moment. In EU the top five teams are all genuinely competitive. So, a quick 2-0 was what most people would have locked in their fantasy points for. However, in the first game of the set The Papis really dominated them.
The Papis held a lead throughout, minor at first but really grew their advantage from the 23rd minute onwards. In this game The Papis dominated the objectives getting three Gold Furies and a Fire Giant, with Rival only able to pick up a consolation Gold Fury as The Papis were pushing down the right Phoenix. The Papi’s also dominated kills, ending up with an advantage of 16-4.
What fans of The Papis should be excited about is the future of this team, which is guaranteed to be good because of how well they work together. This is not a one-man show by any means. In their victory against Rival, every member of the team did their part. Their lowest kill participation was from Marc “Warchi” Gomez and Ojoboom, who had a very respectable 75 percent kill participation. This shows how much of a unit The Papis are when they get it right.
This is a team just finding their feet in the SPL. However, they have been together for a long time, trying to make that jump from Challenger to Pro League. This means that they already have a lot of synergy. One of the questions when entering the SPL was always “Is there going to be any member of the team who is going to get found out at the pro level?” Happily, for The Papis, this does not seem to be the case.
I think it would be very unfair to say that any of these players look woefully unequipped in the SPL. They have had players performing better than others, but we have all seen how players can thrive and improve their game when consistently playing at this high level. You only have to look at the solo-lane monster that is Adrian “Deathwalker” Benko to see how much a player can improve from their first split.
All that is now required of The Papis is for them to get comfortable at the very top level of play. They have a great base to work from and it will be very interesting to see how they rise to the challenge. Although, for this split it would just be a great achievement for them to avoid relegations. But with the strength of the European scene right now, it’s unlikely to happen. However, I do expect to see them in the SPL next split.
Top Image Courtesy of https://twitter.com/thepapissmite