SMITE Masters: Spacestation Gaming day two recap

In the second matchup of North American vs European teams this season, Europe once again came out the victors.

In similar fashion to their regional scrim partners eUnited, Spacestation Gaming lost their quarterfinal set against Team Dignitas 2-1 at the SMITE Masters LAN event. The loss places Spacestation into the losers bracket in the tournament, giving them a win or go home, three-set path to the final. That path will potentially include yet another face-off between Spacestation and eUnited, two teams that know each other well. However, Spacestation must first get past the Latin American representatives in Nocturns Gaming, a team that looked the strongest in a relatively weak international field.

Game 1 – (Dig)

SSG picks:

Solo: Ryan “Aquarius” Oh Neill – Achilles (2/2/6)

Jungle: Andrew “andinster” Woodward – Ravana (3/1/7)

Mid: Woonyoung “Baskin” Kim – Poseidon (2/2/7)

Support: Rosario “JeffHindla” Vilardi – Sylvanus (1/2/7)

ADC: John “BaRRaCCuDDa” Salter – Jing Wei (3/4/5)

SSG bans: Terra, Sobek, Hercules, Fafnir

DIG picks:

Solo: Harry “Variety” Cumming – Aphrodite (1/3/4)

Jungle: Anders “QvoFred” Korsbo – Serqet (4/2/3)

Mid: Joakim “Zyrhoes” Verngren – Janus (1/0/5)

Support: Jeppe “Trixtank” Gylling – Amaterasu (0/2/7)

ADC: Kenny “Arkkyl” Kuska – Rama (5/4/6)

DIG bans: Athena, Ullr, Geb, Artemis

In order for Spacestation to have won this game, they needed to get off to a strong start. The picks they made were all about the early pressure, with the hopes of snowballing to a quick and decisive victory.

Dignitas on the other hand drafted a dream late game composition. Their main goal was to keep it close until Aphrodite, Rama and Amaterasu could take over the game.

Unfortunately for Spacestation, they were not able to build a large enough lead to avoid going to the late game. Dignitas won the objective war, securing two Gold Furies, zero Pyromancers, and two Fire Giants. Spacestation however secured only one Gold Fury, two Pyromancers, and one Fire Giant.

This back and forth close action was exactly what Dignitas wanted, as they were able to take complete control of the game around the 30 minute mark.

QvoFred on Serqet proved to be a real thorn in Spacestation’s side. However, it was Variety’s superb play on Aphrodite that will leave a sour taste in Spacestation’s mouth.

Spacestation had the opportunity to snowball on Aphrodite’s weak early game, but Aquarius and andinster were not able to turn their pressure into invades to put the squishy mage far enough behind. That failure led to Dignitas closing out the game in 38 minutes.

Player of the game: Variety

Game 2 – (SSG)

SSG picks:

Solo: Ryan “Aquarius” Oh Neill – Achilles (4/4/5)

Jungle: Andrew “andinster” Woodward – Serqet (9/1/9)

Mid: Woonyoung “Baskin” Kim – Apollo (8/3/10)

Support: Rosario “JeffHindla” Vilardi – Sylvanus (0/2/13)

ADC: John “BaRRaCCuDDa” Salter – Hachiman (3/3/11)

SSG bans: Janus, Terra, Ravana, Ratatoskr

DIG picks:

Solo: Harry “Variety” Cumming – Sobek (1/2/10)

Jungle: Anders “QvoFred” Korsbo – Nemesis (10/3/2)

Mid: Joakim “Zyrhoes” Verngren – Discordia (1/6/4)

Support: Jeppe “Trixtank” Gylling – Fafnir (1/6/6)

ADC: Kenny “Arkkyl” Kuska – Rama (0/7/7)

DIG bans: Athena, Ullr, Jing Wei, Artemis

The story of game two was all about Spacestation’s ability to invade Dignitas’s red buff. Repeatedly, Spacestation was able to group to get a four man invade into the Dignitas left side jungle, coming away with kills and the coveted buff.

Their strategy not only gave them a lead, but gave them pressure on the left side of the map. This pressure turned into complete objective control, as Spacestation secured all three Gold Furies in the game.

QvoFred and Variety did all they could to keep Dignitas in the game, but andinster on Serqet was too much for Dig to handle. The initiation, mobility and burst damage that Serqet provides could not be adequately countered by either team in this set.

Ultimately it was Baskin piloting Apollo that denied Dignitas from two Fire Giant attempts, allowing Spacestation to build their lead and close out the game in 33 minutes.

Player of the game: andinster

Game 3 – (DIG)

SSG picks:

Solo: Ryan “Aquarius” Oh Neill – Achilles (1/3/0)

Jungle: Andrew “andinster” Woodward – Ravana (1/7/2)

Mid: Woonyoung “Baskin” Kim – Jing Wei (0/2/0)

Support: Rosario “JeffHindla” Vilardi – Sylvanus (0/2/2)

ADC: John “BaRRaCCuDDa” Salter – Jing Wei (1/5/0)

SSG bans: Janus, Terra, Amaterasu, Aphrodite

DIG picks:

Solo: Harry “Variety” Cumming – Sobek (1/0/7)

Jungle: Anders “QvoFred” Korsbo – Serqet (11/0/7)

Mid: Joakim “Zyrhoes” Verngren – Thoth (2/2/11)

Support: Jeppe “Trixtank” Gylling – Kumbhakarna (1/0/14)

ADC: Kenny “Arkkyl” Kuska – Rama (4/1/10)

DIG bans: Athena, Ullr, Apollo, Poseidon

It was the QvoFred show in game three. In a third straight game of Serqet dominating the field, QvoFred was able to do anything he wanted. His early gank on duo lane completely shut down Spacestation’s strategy of invading Dignitas’s red buff, and ultimately gave Dignitas complete control of the map.

Without the same level of pressure and map control as in game two, Spacestation quickly lost in both kills and objectives. Wherever QvoFred went, a kill was likely soon to follow him, as he was involved in 18 of Dignitas’s 19 kills in a 23 minute game.

This game was a sloppy performance by Spacestation, closing out an entertaining set in a disappointing fashion for the top North American seed.

Player of the game: QvoFred

Takeaways

Spacestation showed that while they are capable of putting forth a competitive set against European competition, they still are not able to take that next step to win. Games one and two were close games that could have gone either way, but game three was all Dignitas.

While Baskin did not have a bad set, Dignitas was able to do enough to keep him from controlling the game in games one and three.

Don’t expect andinster to go back to the Ravana for the rest of the tournament. While the god itself is not bad in the jungle, two straight poor performances will likely force Spacestation to look at other options.

High mobility was king in this set. Gods like Serqet, Amaterasu, Apollo and Janus dominated their respective roles. Expect to see a lot more of this style going forward.

Double hunter and four physical compositions proved to be viable in game two. With the strength of anti-tank items and the objective shred capability of hunters, having a balance of magical burst damage is not necessarily required in this meta. Look for Spacestation to go back to this strategy later in the tournament.

BaRRaCCuDDa looked to be refreshed in his first LAN set of the season. After struggling to provide an impact throughout much of the spring split, the North American ADC showed flashes of greatness in games one and two.

If Spacestation wants to keep their LAN dreams alive, they can’t afford to have a repeat of their game three performance.

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Top image courtesy of Hi-Rez Studios.

SPL: Spacestation Gaming week five recap

spacestation gaming

Image courtesy of esports.smitegame.com

In week five, Spacestation Gaming became the first team in North America or Europe to clinch their spot at the SMITE Masters LAN event.

After going down in their first game against Counter Logic (4-4) on Wednesday, Spacestation (7-1) came back to win the set convincingly 2-1. On Friday, they went on to defeat an inconsistent Luminosity (3-4) team in a 2-0 set. With the victories, Spacestation separated themselves from the rest of North America as the team to beat going into the spring finals LAN event in May.

Spacestation Gaming vs Counter Logic Gaming

Game 1 – (CLG)

SSG picks:

Solo: Ryan “Aquarius” Oh Neill – Artio (0/4/2)

Jungle: Andrew “andinster” Woodward – Nemesis (1/5/0)

Mid: Woonyoung “Baskin” Kim – Ullr (1/2/1)

Support: Rosario “JeffHindla” Vilardi – Athena (0/2/1)

ADC: John “BaRRaCCuDDa” Salter – Jing Wei (0/1/1)

SSG bans: Terra, Janus, Achilles, Odin

CLG picks:

Solo: Alec “fineokay” Fonzo – Sobek (1/0/7)

Jungle: Alexander “Homiefe” D’Souza- Ratatoskr (3/0/9)

Mid: Tyler “Hurriwind” Whitney – Sol (6/1/5)

Support: Connor “Jigz” Echols – Fafnir (0/0/12)

ADC: Evan “Snoopy” Jones – Hachiman (4/1/4)

CLG bans: Camazotz, Da Ji, Serqet, Cerberus

Game one of this set saw little competition as Counter Logic snowballed their way to victory. Spacestation fell behind early due to the pressure that Homiefe was able to provide by playing Ratatoskr.

With a Fafnir and double ADC on their side, Counter Logic was able to turn their early pressure into objectives. Those objectives allowed Counter Logic to dominate the team fights and win the game game convincingly in 29 minutes.

Player of the game: Homiefe

Game 2 – (SSG)

SSG picks:

Solo: Ryan “Aquarius” Oh Neill – Artio (4/2/12)

Jungle: Andrew “andinster” Woodward – Nemesis (2/2/8)

Mid: Woonyoung “Baskin” Kim – Ullr (9/3/6)

Support: Rosario “JeffHindla” Vilardi – Athena (0/2/13)

ADC: John “BaRRaCCuDDa” Salter – Jing Wei (4/1/10)

SSG bans: Achilles, Terra, Ratatoskr, Janus

CLG picks:

Solo: Alec “fineokay” Fonzo – Sobek (0/1/6)

Jungle: Alexander “Homiefe” D’Souza- Awilix (6/4/4)

Mid: Tyler “Hurriwind” Whitney – Sol (3/5/5)

Support: Connor “Jigz” Echols – Fafnir (0/5/6)

ADC: Evan “Snoopy” Jones – Hachiman (1/4/5)

CLG bans: Da Ji, Serqet, Camazotz, Cerberus

Game two saw almost a direct replay of game one picks from both teams. The only difference came after Spacestation banned away Ratatoskr, forcing Homiefe to select Awilix. While Awilix’s ultimate counters Jing Wei and Ullr, the missing global presence from the Counter Logic jungler was felt.

Spacestation’s early game execution prevented a repeat of game one, as Aquarius was able to put the team on his back and front line his way to victory. Artio’s cripple field proved too much for Counter Logic as Aquarius was able to lock down his opponents for his teammates to clean up. This led to the game going in Spacestation’s favor, 33 minutes in.

Player of the game: Aquarius

Game 3 – (SSG)

SSG picks:

Solo: Ryan “Aquarius” Oh Neill – Odin (0/4/2)

Jungle: Andrew “andinster” Woodward – Serqet (1/5/0)

Mid: Woonyoung “Baskin” Kim – Ullr (1/2/1)

Support: Rosario “JeffHindla” Vilardi – Geb (0/2/1)

ADC: John “BaRRaCCuDDa” Salter – Sol (0/1/1)

SSG bans: Thoth, Terra, Discordia, Janus

CLG picks:

Solo: Alec “fineokay” Fonzo – Cu Chulainn (1/0/7)

Jungle: Alexander “Homiefe” D’Souza- Camazotz (3/0/9)

Mid: Tyler “Hurriwind” Whitney – Hel (6/1/5)

Support: Connor “Jigz” Echols – Fafnir (0/0/12)

ADC: Evan “Snoopy” Jones – Hachiman (4/1/4)

CLG bans: Athena, Da Ji, Artio, Achilles

In a complete reversal of game one, Spacestation dominated Counter Logic from the start.

Homiefe and Hurriwind teamed up to make repeated mistakes early in the game, allowing Baskin to build an insurmountable lead. First, Homiefe went for an early invade of Spacestation’s blue buff instead of clearing his own. The invade came up empty handed forcing Homiefe to go back to finally clear his own buff. This allowed andinster and Baskin a free gank onto an out of position Hurriwind in mid lane for the first blood.

To make matters worse for Counter Logic, Homiefe followed this up with dangerous pathing that led directly into Baskin and andinster waiting around the corner for the second kill of the game.

At this point Baskin’s two level lead on Hurriwind turned into a quick third kill as Hurriwind was once again caught out of position by a ganking andinster. At only three minutes into the game, these three kills gave Baskin an enormous lead on a character known for snowballing. Spacestation went on to dominate the rest of the game, leading to the quickest victory in the SPL this season at 19 minutes in.

Player of the game: Baskin

Spacestation Gaming vs Luminosity

Game 1 – (SSG)

SSG picks:

Solo: Ryan “Aquarius” O’Neill – Cerberus (0/1/6)

Jungle: Andrew “andinster” Woodward – Da Ji (3/1/5)

Mid: Woonyoung “Baskin” Kim – Apollo (5/2/3)

Support: Rosario “JeffHindla” Vilardi – Athena (0/1/8)

ADC: John “BaRRaCCuDDa” Salter – Sol (2/2/7)

SSG bans: Janus, Terra, Discordia, The Morrigan

LG picks:

Solo: Ismael “KikiSoCheeky” Torres – Artio – (0/2/4)

Jungle: Kurt “Weak3n” Schray – Achilles (3/2/2)

Mid: Keegan “keegsmate” TwoEagle – Poseidon (0/2/4)

Support: Michael “NotGeno” Lukashin – Sylvanus (2/3/3)

ADC: Conor “Clout” Roberts – Hachiman (2/1/4)

LG bans: Ullr, Camazotz, Jing Wei, Odin

Luminosity got off to a strong start in game one, getting the first blood along with an early team fight victory. While this put them up 5-1 in kills, they were not able to capitalize on this by capturing objectives. Instead it was Spacestation securing the big objectives on the map, allowing them to stay in the game.

As the game went on, Spacestation continued to outclass Luminosity. Objective after objective went in Spacestation’s favor allowing them to close out the game in 26 minutes.

Player of the game: Baskin

Game 2 – (SSG)

SSG picks:

Solo: Ryan “Aquarius” O’Neill – Odin (7/0/10)

Jungle: Andrew “andinster” Woodward – Da Ji (4/4/7)

Mid: Woonyoung “Baskin” Kim – Apollo (8/2/8)

Support: Rosario “JeffHindla” Vilardi – Geb (1/1/9)

ADC: John “BaRRaCCuDDa” Salter – Sol (2/1/4)

SSG bans: Janus, Terra, Discordia, The Morrigan

LG picks:

Solo: Ismael “KikiSoCheeky” Torres – Camazotz – (0/5/1)

Jungle: Kurt “Weak3n” Schray – Achilles (4/6/3)

Mid: Keegan “keegsmate” TwoEagle – Raijin (0/6/4)

Support: Michael “NotGeno” Lukashin – Ganesha (0/3/6)

ADC: Conor “Clout” Roberts – Hachiman (4/2/0)

LG bans: Ullr, Camazotz, Jing Wei, Odin

It was all Spacestation in game two as Baskin continued to show why he is in discussion for being the best player in the world. Once again Spacestation’s objective play outclassed Luminosity’s allowing Spacestation to quickly finish the game in a dominating 20 minutes.

Player of the game: Baskin

Takeaways

Baskin continues to show he can make anything look overpowered in mid. Whether it be Camazotz in previous weeks, or Apollo this week, Baskin has proven his god pool has no limit.

Aquarius has been noted by casters as a role player in recent weeks, but he continues to prove that analysis wrong. The 19 year old Canadian has the ability to put the team on his back and dominate from the solo lane.

As two teams that started the split hot, Counter Logic and Luminosity are both in danger of missing the first LAN of the year. The two teams need to iron out their inconsistencies if they want to be considered as true contenders in the upcoming summer split.

All SPL games are available exclusively through SmiteGame on Mixer.

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Nolan Evans

Top image courtesy of Hi-Rez Studios.

SPL: Spacestation Gaming week five preview

Spacestation Gaming (5-1) look to keep up their momentum in their week five rematch sets against Counter Logic Gaming (4-3) and Luminosity Gaming (3-4).

spacestation week one

Image courtesy of esports.smitegame.com

Counter Logic took the first set in a decisive 2-0 manner, but since then the two teams have taken divergent paths. Spacestation has won their last three sets since the March 28th meeting, while Counter Logic has gone 1-3 in that same span. This week, both teams will be looking to put themselves in a commanding position for clinching a top two seed in the 2018 spring split.

Luminosity has shown regression since losing 2-0 to Spacestation in week two. The roster mixed with fresh and old faces have shown inconsistencies this year on a week to week basis. After a strong 2-0 win against Counter Logic last week, Luminosity needs to prove they are capable of being consistent against North America’s best. Time is running out for LG this split with only three games left to move from 5th to 2nd in a competitive North American landscape.
Clinching Scenario: If Spacestation wins their two sets this week, they will clinch a trip to the SMITE Masters LAN event in May.

Counter Logic Gaming: Apr. 18, 2018 6:45 ET

Solo – Aquarius (SSG) vs fineokay (clg)

Ryan “Aquarius” Oh Neill has shown he is not to be doubted this season. The 18 year old Canadian has done more than hold his own in the solo lane. He has shown the ability to play both an aggressive style to capitalize on pressure, as well as a passive supportive role.

This week Aquarius will get a rematch of the week two matchup that saw Alec “fineokay” Fonzo come out on top with the help of seemingly constant ganks on the right side of the map. If Spacestation want to avoid the same fate this time, they will need to do more to support Aquarius in lane, either through ganks from the jungler, or through the selection of gods with global presence. After their first matchup, fineokay showed he has a slight advantage.

Most contested god: Achilles

Advantage: Counter Logic

Jungle – andinster (ssg) vs Homiefe (clg)

Andrew “andinster” Woodward’s return to the jungle has been seamless this split. After a shaky start, the Spacestation jungler has been a force for his team in tandem with Woonyoung “Baskin” Kim. His opponent in the jungle this week is Homiefe, one of the best junglers in North America this season. Homiefe was far and away the best player in the week two set against Spacestation earlier this split.

If Spacestation wants to avoid their second loss of the season, they will need to find a way to shut down the Counter Logic jungler. The goal for Spacestation should be to keep Homiefe off Baskin at all times. It was clear in week two that if Homiefe could get to Baskin, the fight would go in Counter Logic’s favor. Spacestation and andinster need to find a way to control Homiefe and keep him playing from behind. This means they will need to draft more control and movement to ensure Homiefe is not sticking to their carries.

Most contested god: Nemesis

Advantage: Counter Logic

Mid – Baskin (ssg) vs Hurriwind (clg)

The matchup in mid for this set will feature the rematch between two of the best mid laners in the world. Tyler “Hurriwind” Whitney has been incredible in the midlane for Counter Logic, while Basking continues to make his case for being the best player in the world. It is clear that the game plan for Counter Logic will be to shut down Baskin and get him out of team fights as early as possible. So far this season, Counter Logic has been the only team capable of doing so. Now, Spacestation will need to adjust and allow their best player to have a clean playing field.

Most contested god: Thoth

Advantage: Spacestation

ADC – BaRRaCCuDDa (SSG) VS sNOOPY (clg)

It has been a quiet split for John “BaRRaCCuDDa” Salter. Few ADCs in the league have been able to provide an impact in a meta that sees the role struggle to get farm. BaRRaCCuDDa and Evan “Snoopy” Jones once again are no strangers to each other. The two are not only having a rematch from week two, but have faced off as opponents and played together as teammates. As with previous weeks, don’t expect a big impact out of the duo lane. However if Spacestation is able to get BaRRaCCuDDa going, it will substantially take pressure off of Baskin and andinster in the midlane.

Most contested god: Jing Wei

Advantage: Spacestation

Support – JeffHindla (SSG) VS Jigz (clg)

Rosario “JeffHindla” Vilardi has been putting on a clinic in his games this split. From stealing objectives, to setting up kills, to peeling for his team, the Spacestation support has done it all. In his match this week comes a counterpart that JeffHindla has seen a lot of in his career. Both he and Jigz have been battling out the support role since season two. The two play a similar aggressive style of game that sees a lot of rotations around the map. Overall the advantage is in Spacestation’s favor as JeffHindla has been the top support in North America this split.

Most contested god: Terra

Advantage: Spacestation

Prediction

This matchup is one of the closest in the entirety of the SPL. After getting beat in week two, expect Spacestation to come back and get revenge on the Counter Logic squad.

2-1 Spacestation

Luminosity: Apr. 20, 2018 6:45 ET

Solo – Aquarius (SSG) VS KikiSoCheeky (lg)

The matchup between Aquarius and Ismael “KikiSoCheeky” Torres features two players that enjoy playing guardians in the solo lane. Don’t expect to see a lot of action here if the trend continues.

In their first matchup, Aquarius dominated in lane both as Camazotz against Terra, and as Terra against Camazotz. In that set Aquarius outclassed Kiki in every facet of the game. The Luminosity solo laner will need to change that this week if he wants his team to have a chance at the win.

Most contested god: Camazotz

Advantage: Spacestation

Jungle – andinster (SSG) VS Weak3n (lg)

As the outspoken and charismatic leader of his teams, Kurt “Weak3n” Schray has drawn the ire of many fans throughout his career. This season it has been clear he has a chip on his shoulder to prove wrong those who doubt him. However, he will need to improve his consistency playing against one of the league’s top junglers in andinster. If the Luminosity jungler is allowed to control the game, Spacestation will be in for a rough set. Spacestation showed it was possible to shut down the Luminosity jungler, and they need to show the same this week to pull out a win.

Most contested god: Serqet

Advantage: Spacestation

Mid – Baskin (ssg) vs keegsmate (lg)

Keegan “keegsmate” Twoeagle has been living up to the hype since his spectacular week one debut. The rookie mid laner has put forth dominating performances against some of the world’s best. This week though, he is put up against the best mid laner in the world in Baskin. Luminosity will once again need to focus on shutting down Baskin if they want any chance at winning. The advantage in this game goes to the incredible experience and skill of Baskin.

Most contested god: Thoth

Advantage: Spacestation

ADC – BaRRaCCuDDa (ssg) vs Clout (lg)

Conor “Clout” Roberts has been arguably the best ADC in North America this season. The Luminosity ADC has shown the ability to take over games, which is not a common thing for other players in the role. BaRRaCCuDDa will need to match that level of play and not allow Clout to snowball early. After their first set, Clout showed he is more than capable of matching up with BaRRaCCuDDa, and you can expect a similar result until the Spacestation ADC can figure out a way to break through.

Most contested god: Sol

Advantage: Luminosity

Support – jEFFhINDLA (ssg) vs nOTgENO (lg)

As another newer face, NotGeno has been proving he can compete with the top supports in the league. He has had a promising start, outplaying many other top supports in the league. Both teams highly value Athena for her global presence, and you can expect to see her a lot in this set. If JeffHindla is able to continue making the MVP level impact he has had so far, then we should be in store for a repeat of the 2-0 set we saw in week two.

Most contested god: Athena

Advantage: Spacestation

Prediction

Luminosity has looked too inconsistent this season to favor, especially compared to the dominance Spacestation has displayed. Spacestation should take this one in a clean two games.

2-0 Spacestation

Things to watch

Expect to see a lot of Achilles and Terra in picks and bans this week. The changes to Terra have been a big boost to her stock, and it would be surprising to see her get through very often. Achilles on the other hand has been valued by just about every team in just about every role.

Watch out for how the teams treat the Fire Giant this week. In recent weeks there has been more fights around the Fire Giant pit, and it will be interesting to see if that trend continues this week.

All games are available exclusively through SmiteGame on Mixer.

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Nolan Evans

Top image courtesy of Hi-Rez Studios

Smite Esports

North American Smite esports teams are more balanced than ever before

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.

Smite Esports

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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 causes

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.

The teams

Smite Esports

Image courtesy of smite-esports.gamepedia.com

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.

eUnited’s problem

Smite Esports

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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.

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Top Image courtesy of esports.smitegame.com

SPL: Spacestation Gaming week two preview

After a strong week one, Spacestation Gaming (2-0) look to keep up their momentum in their week two sets against Counter Logic Gaming (2-0) and Luminosity Gaming (2-0).

spacestation week one

Image courtesy of esports.smitegame.com

Counter Logic matched Spacestation as the only other North American team to win win two sets in week one. Spacestation fans will see familiar names, as Connor “Jigz” Echols, Alexander “Homiefe” D’Souza and Alec “fineokay” Fonzo have all spent time with Spacestation. For them, it will be a chance to prove the organization made a mistake by not bringing them back in season five.
Coming into the season, few people predicted Luminosity to finish above 5th in North America. But after defeating the reigning world champions eUnited in week one, Luminosity created believers throughout the SPL. Now they look to prove they are a legitimate contender by taking down another top team in Spacestation.

Counter Logic Gaming: Mar. 28, 2018 6:45 ET

Solo – Aquarius (SSG) vs fineokay (clg)

Ryan “Aquarius” O’Neill helped to answer many of the questions that surrounded with his performance in week one. Now, he will be tasked with going against the man he beat out when he joined the now Spacestation roster in the 2017 fall split. Both solo laners played guardians in week one for the majority of their games, so expect a slow start to the games in this one. Guardians are typically picked for their safe laning phase and excellent team fight, so if the trend continues, don’t expect much action in the solo lane. Aquarius has shown himself to be solid in the solo lane this season, while fineokay has been playing a more supportive role. Overall the slight edge goes to Aquarius in this matchup.

Most contested god: Cerberus

Advantage: Spacestation

Jungle – andinster (ssg) vs Homiefe (clg)

In week one, Andrew “andinster” Woodward did not show much rust being back in the jungle. After a shaky start, the Spacestation jungler was dominant in both of his sets. His opponent in the jungle this week is Homiefe, one of the best junglers in North America last season. Don’t be surprised to see a lot of early aggression and ganks in this set, especially coming on the duo lane side. This is another extremely close matchup, but with how dominant Homiefe looked in his games along with his play last season, the advantage is in his favor.

Most contested god: Nemesis

Advantage: Counter Logic

Mid – Baskin (ssg) vs Hurriwind (clg)

The matchup in mid for this set will feature two of the best mid laners in the world. Tyler “Hurriwind” Whitney was an absolute force last season for Trifecta, and the trend looks to be continuing on Counter Logic. Woonyoung “Baskin” Kim played a monumental role last week in securing the victories for Spacestation, and there is no reason to expect any different this week. If Counter Logic are not able to shut down Spacestation’s superstar, they will be in for a very short set.

Most contested god: Discordia

Advantage: Spacestation

ADC – BaRRaCCuDDa (SSG) VS sNOOPY (clg)

It was a relatively quiet week for John “BaRRaCCuDDa” Salter. A familiar story for most ADCs in a meta that sees the role struggle to provide an impact. In week two, hunter items will see a big buff, possibly leading to a resurgence within the class. BaRRaCCuDDa and Evan “Snoopy” Jones  are no strangers to each other. The two have faced off as opponents, and played together as teammates. When two players know each other so well, you can expect a very safe early game to be played. If BaRRaCCuDDa is able to make his presence known in week two, good things will be in store for Spacestation.

Most contested god: Jing Wei

Advantage: Spacestation

Support – JeffHindla (SSG) VS Jigz (clg)

Rosario “JeffHindla” Vilardi put on an absolute clinic in his games last week. The Spacestation support did it all, including peeling, setting up, and even stealing a fire giant. In his match this week comes a counterpart that JeffHindla has seen a lot of in his career. Both he and Jigz have been battling out the support role since season two. The two play a similar aggressive style of game that sees a lot of rotations around the map. Overall the advantage is in Spacestation’s favour as JeffHindla has shown himself to be one of the best supports in the world.

Most contested god: Ganesha

Advantage: Spacestation

Prediction

Overall this is an extremely close set with two of the best teams in the world. The games will ultimately be decided with objective play, and after the changes to make attacking phoenixes easier goes into effect, don’t expect many phoenix defenses in week two. This one should be won by Spacestation in three games.

2-1 Spacestation

Luminosity: Mar. 30, 2018 6:45 ET

Solo – Aquarius (SSG) VS KikiSoCheeky (lg)

The matchup between Aquarius and Ismael “KikiSoCheeky” Torres features another two players that enjoy playing guardians in the solo lane. Once again, don’t expect to see a lot of action here if the trend continues. KikiSoCheeky has been a journeyman within the league, seeing play with a variety of teams. His play last week showed why it is that teams keep giving the 22 year old a chance. However, with how well Aquarius played in week one, it is hard not to give him the advantage in this set.

Most contested god: Cerberus

Advantage: Spacestation

Jungle – andinster (SSG) VS Weak3n (lg)

As the outspoken and charismatic leader of his teams, Kurt “Weak3n” Schray has drawn the ire of many fans throughout his career. Last week it was clear he had a chip on his shoulder to prove wrong those who doubted him. He will need to continue that strong play against another top jungler in andinster. If the Luminosity jungler is allowed to control the game, Spacestation will be in for a rough set. However consistency has been the major issue in Weak3n’s recent career, and until he proves that to be in his past, andinster will have the advantage in this one.

Most contested god: Serqet

Advantage: Spacestation

Mid – Baskin (ssg) vs keegsmate (lg)

Keegan “keegsmate” Twoeagle was the biggest unknown coming into season five. The former console worlds MVP made the transition to PC after the 2018 SWC. He did so with the hopes of proving wrong the doubters that insist console players can’t make it in the SPL. The rookie midlaner got off to a fantastic start to his career, making big plays against eUnited and outplaying the PC worlds MVP Brandon “Venenu” Casale in week one. Now he will be tasked with going against one of the best players in the world in Baskin. With the way Baskin played in week one, it is clear he wants to prove that he is in fact the best in the world, and one of the front-runners for the spring MVP. The advantage in this game goes to the incredible experience and skill of Baskin.

Most contested god: Thoth

Advantage: Spacestation

ADC – BaRRaCCuDDa (ssg) vs Clout (lg)

It is hard to make an accurate assessment of Conor “Clout” Roberts this week. The Luminosity ADC makes his season debut after missing their first game in week one. The player formerly known as Vetium has had a solid career in the SPL, and you can expect BaRRaCCuDDa to have his hands full in this set. This one will once again come down to the player that farms the most efficiently, so expect BaRRaCCuDDa’s experience to give him an advantage.

Most contested god: Sol

Advantage: Spacestation

Support – jEFFhINDLA (ssg) vs nOTgENO (lg)

As another newer face, NotGeno is going to need to prove he can compete with the top supports in the league. He had a promising start to that goal, outplaying one of the top supports in the world in Michael “PolarBearMike” Heiss. Luminosity will need their rookie support to keep up with the veteran JeffHindla if they want a chance in this game. But after how dominant JeffHindla looked in week one, the advantage is in his favor.

Most contested god: Athena

Advantage: Spacestation

Prediction

Luminosity looked strong in week one, but they still have a lot to prove. They should put up a good fight against Spacestation, but ultimately it will be Spacestation coming out the victor in three games.

2-1 Spacestation

Things to watch

Watch out for how teams react to the changes being implemented in patch 5.5. The Fire Giant will give a more powerful buff making phoenixes easier to kill. This may force teams to take more fights around the Fire Giant instead of giving it up to defend.

Another important change in patch 5.5 is a bonus to the damage of T1 towers. By dealing more damage, we will either see fewer tower dives, or more deaths by players that choose to dive.

The picks that are made for each team’s ADC will be very telling about the state of the hunter class. With the buffs to hunter items we could see magical ADCs take a backseat. The amount of picks between magical and physical ADCs will be an indication towards how much the buffs helped hunters.

Look for some early game group ups this week. Teams have had some good success at catching a pick with an early fight. If they are successful, check the time to see how long until minions spawn. The closer it is to the start of the game equates to a bigger impact on the rest of the game.

All games are available exclusively through SmiteGame on Mixer.

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Top image courtesy of Hi-Rez Studios

Esports Arena: Spacestation Gaming vs eUnited showmatch recap

esports arena

Image courtesy of esportsarena.com

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

EUN Picks:

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

SSG Picks:

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.

Early Game

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.

Mid Game

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.

Late 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.

Takeaways

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.

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Top image courtesy of Hi-Rez Studios and Esports Arena

SPL: Spacestation Gaming week one preview

Week one of Spacestation Gaming’s spring split kicks off this week with a pair of Friday night best of threes. The first set of the night features eUnited, marking a rematch of the North American finals at the 2017 Super Regionals.
spacestation week one

Image courtesy of esports.smitegame.com

Nine out of the ten players in this set were involved in the Super Regionals best of five, which was taken by eUnited in five games. Now, with the addition of Andrew “Andinster” Woodward, Spacestation’s roster is hoping for a better outcome on Friday. There is good reason to have hope, as the roster that now comprises Spacestation Gaming was able to beat eUnited three times in the 2017 fall split. Only one other team was able to do so once, as eUnited went on to dominate European competition and win the 2018 Smite World Championship.

In the second set of the night, the Spacestation squad will see familiar faces in Trifecta’s jungler Suharab “MASK” Askarzada and solo laner Ronnie “ScaryD” Belair. MASK and ScaryD have spent time with much of the Spacestation roster, being the jungler and solo laner for the group when they were all on the Luminosity roster last season. This year though, MASK and ScaryD will be flying under the Trifecta banner, looking to prove wrong the decision to move on from them.

eUnited: Mar. 23, 2018 6:45 ET

Solo – Aquarius (SSG) vs BENJI (eun)

Looking back at their games last season, Aquarius was able to hold his own admirably against one of the best North American solo laners in Ben “Benji” McKinzey. This year, Aquarius is going to need to show he can continue that play without working as closely with his jungler. If he can apply enough pressure to out-rotate Benji, then Spacestation has a solid chance to come out the victor. But after Benji dominated his competition in season four, the advantage is in his favor.

Most contested god: Cu Chulainn

Advantage: eUnited

Jungle – Andinster (ssg) vs screammmmm (eun)

On Friday night, Andinster will take on one of the most dominant junglers in the world in Lucas “Screammmmm” Spracklin. In Andinster’s first set back in jungle, it will be a true test for the 21 year old to prove he can still succeed in his old role. Though, Screammmmm has had consistency issues throughout his career that he needs to show are in the past. If not, Andinster needs to take advantage of the mistakes Screammmmm has been prone to make. If Screammmmm plays as he did in the 2017 fall split, the advantage will be clearly in eUnited’s favor.

Most contested god: Serqet

Advantage: eUnited

Mid – baskin (ssg) vs venenu (eun)

Going into what is arguably the closest matchup of week one, Woonyoung “Baskin” Kim and Brandon “Venenu” Casale will both want to prove they are the best at their role. Baskin has proven that he is one of the most mechanically gifted players in Smite, while Venenu on the other hand brought home the 2018 SWC MVP. If the two play to their full potential, fans will be in for an absolute treat in the mid lane on Friday. In a matchup this close, the advantage goes to the reigning MVP. However, Baskin still might be the best player in this set.

Most contested god: The Morrigan

Advantage: eUnited

ADC – BARRACCUDDA (SSG) VS PANDACAT (EUN)

It has not taken long for Maksim “PandaCat” Yanevich to establish himself along with John “BaRRaCCuDDa” Salter as the top two ADCs in North America. If PandaCat is able to keep up the pace he set in the 2017 fall split, he is going to give BaRRaCCuDDa everything he can handle. Here, the side that can generate pressure and play off their jungle and mid will be the side that sees success. Overall, BaRRaCCuDDa’s efficient style gives him the advantage in this close matchup.

Most contested god: Hachiman

Advantage: Spacestation

Support – jEFFHINDLA (SSG) VS POLARBEARMIKE (EUN)

If there is one player in North America that can match Rosario “JeffHindla” Vilardi as an all around support, it is Micheal “PolarBearMike” Heiss. The eUnited support has been an incredible leader for his team, helping them win the aforementioned 2018 SWC. PolarBearMike has shown he is a play-making support with one of the top minds in the game today. Both players can have massive impacts on their games, and as with mid, the advantage in a matchup as close as this goes to the reigning champion.

Most contested god: Fafnir

Advantage: eUnited

Prediction

Spacestation and eUnited are primed to put on a show in week one in the SPL. The two teams should provide a close set that ultimately sees eUnited victorious in three games.

2-1 eUnited

Trifecta: Mar. 23, 2018 8:30 ET

Solo – AQUARIUS (SSG) VS SCARYD (TFECT)

The solo lane in this matchup features two players that have had their fair share of question marks surrounding them. Aquarius was brought on to replace ScaryD on the Luminosity roster before the 2017 fall split, due to inconsistencies within his play. Aquarius on the other hand needs to prove he is capable of being a difference maker on the Spacestation roster. This is a close matchup, but ScaryD has shown himself to be too inconsistent to favor.

Most contested god: Artio

Advantage: Spacestation

Jungle – ANDINSTER (SSG) VS MASK (TFECT)

In another matchup featuring a player going against the man who replaced him, MASK and Andinster are set to face off. Both players play aggressive styles of jungling, so expect to see speed buff invades and ganks throughout the game. Ultimately though, this matchup is going to be won through efficient farming and objective play. With that in mind, the advantage goes in favor of MASK who was seen as a top North American jungler last season.

Most contested god: Serqet

Advantage: Trifecta

Mid – baskin (ssg) vs metyankey (tfect)

In possibly the most lopsided matchup of week one, Baskin is set to take on Michael “Metyankey” Fasciano in the mid lane. Baskin is widely considered to be one of the best players in the game currently, while Metyankey split his time in season four between mid and ADC on a faltering Allegiance Gaming squad. Look for Baskin to take advantage of this disparity and apply strong pressure on the lane and enemy jungle. The advantage is easily on the side of Spacestation in this matchup as Metyankey looks to simply be outclassed.

Most contested god: Thoth

Advantage: Spacestation

ADC – barraccudda (ssg) vs zapman (tfect)

BaRRaCCuDDa and Steven “Zapman” Zapas have a long history in the ADC role. Both have been thriving in the league since the original launch tournament in 2014. Zapman though, has had a recent dip in play. After taking the 2017 summer split off, Zapman returned for the 2017 fall split with disappointing results. As the ADC for Spacestation gaming, Zapman struggled to find the success he had become accustomed to in the league. Zapman needs to put up a big performance against BaRRaCCuDDa in order to stop the questions regarding his disappointing play. However, BaRRaCCuDDa’s farming style is perfect for a map that rewards efficiency, giving him the advantage in this matchup.

Most contested god: Ullr

Advantage: Spacestation

Support jeffhindla (ssg) vs neirumah (tfect)

As a relatively new face in the SPL, Neil “Neirumah” Mah is going to have his hands full competing with JeffHindla. Neirumah is considered by analysts to be a strong up and coming presence in the SPL. However after a weak showing as a part of the now disbanded Allegiance Gaming, Neirumah needs to show he is capable of matching the excellence of other top-tier supports in the league starting in week one with JeffHindla. The advantage here goes to JeffHindla through his experience and versatility in the role.

Most contested god: Ganesha

Advantage: Spacestation

Prediction

These are two aggressive teams that are going to look to capitalize on their objective play in this week one matchup. Overall a well matched set that should see Spacestation come out the victor in three games.

2-1 Spacestation

Things to watch

Keep an eye on early game relic choices in week one. Relics such as Teleport, Belt of Frenzy, Blink, and Horrific Emblem are likely to see a lot of play. As well, pay attention to when these relics receive an upgraded purchase, as it may come earlier than last season.

Watch how the junglers on each team decide to start their pathing. It will give an indication of where they will want to apply pressure on the map. This decision may dictate the outcome of the game.

After a cost increase in patch 5.4, watch for any purchases of Chalice of the Oracle. Both PolarBearMike and JeffHindla have valued this item out of support in the past. Now, we will see if it will still be attractive for them and other roles in week one.

All games are available exclusively through SmiteGame on Mixer.

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Nolan Evans

Top image courtesy of Hi-Rez Studios

Super Regionals

Super Regionals: The NA favourites

Super Regionals are right around the corner. While normally Super Regionals is the showpiece event of a Smite Split, in the Fall Split it sort of becomes a Super Gauntlet. The big prize at Super Regionals is not winning it but qualifying for SWC. Honestly I don’t think there is a NA team out there who wouldn’t take the deal right now for a SWC spot. It’s where the biggest prize pools and by far the most prestige is.

With that being said the strongest contenders for SWC from NA are eUnited, SpaceStationGaming, Luminosity and Trifecta. However, it is going to be hard for more than two of those to qualify. This is because after the Regional Semi-Finals it is going to go to cross region group play, of which only two of the six teams will qualify. We already know NRG, the back to back world champions, are going to be in that as well as two from Dignitas, Obey, Rival and Elevate. With how the regions have matched up against each other this Season I’d say we are most likely going to see four EU teams at SWC. This just puts added pressure on the B05 they will play against their own region.

Super Regionals

Image courtesy of lol.gamepedia.com

 

eUnited

eUnited have to be one of the favourites to qualify from NA. They have been on a tear this Split. With the recent losses of Alexander ‘Khaos’ Greenstein and what many viewed as the teams figurehead in Louis-Philippe ‘PainDeViande’ Geoffrion, it is a shock to many how well they performed this Split. When you consider that these were two of the core players that took them to a second place spot at SWC, their current form is all the more impressive.

Ben ‘Benji’ Mckinzey has looked phenomenal for eUnited this Split and with the current importance of the Solo side of the map, this has created a great platform for eUnited in their games. This has also helped Lucas ‘Screammmmm’ Spracklin perform. He has always been considered a very talented player, but he was often seen as inconsistent, gracefully falling behind on occasion. This Split has been a different story though, as eUnited’s results will tell you he has been consistently top level.

Luminosity

Luminosity this entire season have been around the top end of the NA SPL. They are a talented roster from ADC to solo lane, but where I think their biggest strength will come from is the duo lane. The experience that John ‘Barracuda’ Salter and Rosario ‘Jeffhindla’ Vilardi have is matched by few in the SPL. They have been competing since the days of weekly’s and are both SWC Champions. What is more incredible though is that if you include Launch Tournament, Barracuda has never placed lower than third in the four World Championships we have had. Jeff is only missing the Launch Tournament placing.

If anyone understands what it’s like to play in a pressure series when it’s all on the line, it is these two very talented veterans of the Smite competitive scene. Overall Luminosity is a very solid team which I expect to do well at Super Regionals.

SpaceStationGaming

SSG is one of those teams that is absolutely stacked full of talent, but has never quite fulfilled everyone’s expectations.

The big talking point this Split was about the return of Steven ‘Zapman’ Zapas to the SPL. The verdict I think most people have reached is that although a bit of ring rust showed at the beginning, he has been good, but not great. The problem when it comes to Zapman is that because he is such a favourite among the community and has this reputation as the swashbuckling ADC, unless he is getting penta’s left, right and centre there is always a slight pang of disappointment. He is a player who is known to thrive off high pressure and LAN environments though.

Super Regionals

Image courtesy of smite.esportswiki.com

A big part of their season, and something when we look back will be focused more heavily on, is the jungle role. Should Alexander ‘Homiefe’ D’Souza be the jungler instead of Andrew ‘Andinster’ Woodward? In all honesty I don’t know, but for me probably not. There is every possibility I’ve looked at the past through rose-tinted glasses but before there was Kennet ‘Adapting’ Ross there was Andinster.

When Andinster was a jungler, he was either the undisputed best player in the world or very close. When Adapting was viewed as just unplayable, Andinster for most peoples’ money took second or third place in their power rankings. Homiefe is undoubtedly one of the stronger junglers in the NA scene, and Andister, particularly this Split, has put in some great performances from the mid lane. Both of them playing well in their respective roles isn’t the question here. Whether it is the most efficient use of resources is the real question.

While he has been great this Split from the Mid I don’t think many people are putting Andinster as one of the best mids, never mind players in the world at the moment. The same can be said about Homiefe in the jungle. Admittedly part of this may be from just how far behind NA has fallen this season, and as I said earlier it may be my rose-tinted glasses; but I don’t think Andinster in the mid lane has been the most efficient use of SSG’s resources.

Conclusion

Overall as I said at the beginning of the article, I think for NA teams to qualify for SWC, they are going to have to do it in the semi-finals. If I were putting my money on results it would be that eUnited are going to beat Trifecta. Then Luminosity are going to beat SSG, although that will be a close series and it could go either way. But I am 60-40 on LG’s side.

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Top image courtesy twitter.com/smitepro

 

NA

How Dreamhack highlighted the ever growing gulf between NA and EU

How we got here

The big story in competitive Smite throughout Season 4 has been competition. There have been two aspects in regard to competition. Firstly, competition has grown incredibly within the regions. Seed one through six are all capable of taking games off each other now in both regions. What is possibly the bigger story is that NA have fallen off a cliff competitively when it comes to LANs.

In every other season NA has been able to compete at the highest level. Admittedly NRG have been top dogs for the last two years, but between the rest of EU and NA there has not been much difference. However, at the very end of Season 3 things started to change. EU sent only two teams to SWC after not performing all that well at the preceding LAN. However, EU dominance started to show there as both EU teams went to the final. This was even more impressive as at the time Obey were not respected as the team they are now. The second team in EU was OrbitGG who didn’t go to SWC due to poor performances at the preceding LAN.

It was at the Gauntlet though and Smite Masters where we really learned just how big the gap had grown between the two regions. It was dominant from EU just putting NA to the sword. Nothing epitomised this more than the way in which Rival handled Soar (now SpaceStationGaming).

Where we are at now

na

Image courtesy of neogaf.com

EU was known to be stronger than NA; however there was hope that the gap would shrink. Day one of Dreamhack Valencia put such vain hopes to rest. In the three sets between NA and EU only one game went to NA. What was more telling was the way in which EU won. It was brutal, NA were made to look like one of the minor regions. 4th seed in EU, Team Rival, absolutely took SSG, the first seed from NA, to pieces. The way in which that happened makes me confident that Eanix, EU’s 5th seed, has a better chance of winning SWC than any team in NA.

Why?

NA have little success in Moba’s. In pretty much all Moba’s NA are significantly behind the rest of the competition. A few theories are banded around but I don’t put a huge amount of stock in any of them.

Firstly, you hear that ego hinders NA teams; they think they are all better than they are, don’t play for the team and big egos clash. This doesn’t make any sense to me for so many reasons. I mean is John ‘Barracuda’ Salter’s ego getting in the way of LG competing internationally? I think not. You occasionally hear that NA doesn’t take competitive gaming seriously and conventional sports are much more popular. EU is no different, conventional sports are far and away dominant over esports. Most people don’t really know about competitive gaming as a thing. I honestly couldn’t give you the reason, but it is a trend which is hard to ignore.

How?

More focused on Smite I can’t tell you the core problem, but I do have some ideas as to symptoms of the issue. The big thing here that everyone notices is how much more objective focused EU are than NA. I think one of the best ways in which we have been shown at Dreamhack so far is through mid lanes and supports.

The first time this is apparent is in the Rival vs SSG set. Game 2 was won through objective control. The Ra pick by rival was huge. Firstly, it takes away one of Andrew ‘Andinster’ Woodward’s favourite picks. Secondly, it gives you a great ultimate for objective secure. Then SSG backed themselves into a corner with the Hades pick. They had zero objective secure. Up to 20 minutes the game was close but Rival were behind in kills, but had three Gold Furies.

Take away those Gold Furies and SSG are in a dominant position in the game instead of slightly behind. Their objective play was just sloppy as a whole that game though. When they lost a Gold Fury because five people backed at the same time, it was infuriating. This is something that has been known since the game was in open beta. I mean this is not EU playing amazingly but NA playing pretty poorly. Rival were also taking Gold Furies in the face of SSG. This is because of their dominant objective secure.

Look at game number one in the NRG vs Dignitas set. Dig have a Sol in the mid lane and NRG had a Vulcan. While Sol’s objective secure is not bad it just can’t compete with a Vulcan. Dignitas recognise this though, so Jeppe ‘Trixtank’ Gylling starts with a HOG.

NA

Image courtesy of smitepedia.com

This allows them to really compete and contest at Gold Furies. It shows the thought that EU are putting into making sure that they don’t fall behind in the objective game. Something NA clearly are not doing at the moment. Notice how he didn’t go HOG when NRG had a Morrigan in the mid lane, showing that this is a thought process based around big mage ults.

NA also seems to be one step behind when it comes to Meta. One way in which this has risen to prominence is how little they value the Sobek. Sobek has been dominant this LAN. Objective wise he is one of the best supports. If you are baiting a Gold Fury he is great as anybody who comes near has to fear the pluck into your entire team. Same goes for anybody trying to contest. You could be one second away from being flung into the entire opposing team.

On top of that he probably has the best ult for securing objectives, with Lurking in the Waters, slowing anybody who comes in, doing huge amounts of damage to players and objectives. For example, when Trix went HOG on Sobek he alone could probably burst the Gold Fury from 30 percent down in a second or so. If you look at the only NA team to win a game, it was when Sinjin ‘Eonic’ Thorpe was playing the Sobek. NRG noticed this though and started banning out the Sobek vs Trix.

What this means for competitive Smite

Nothing good comes from this ever growing divide. Smite competitively is hamstrung in one major regard. We have no serious Asian scene. In particular, Korea does not recognise Smite as a competitive game. Having Korea as a region in a game is beneficial for so many reasons. Korea takes esports more seriously than any other region in the world. For those of you who do not follow any other esports, the best way to describe this is to mention Kespa. That is the government body specifically designed to deal with esports, who even go as far as hosting their own ‘Kespa Cups.’ Korea drag every other region up as they are so professional and take esports so seriously that to keep up everyone must try to emulate. Korea is very invested in their esports scene.

Missing those benefits hurts competitive Smite, but now not having Korea becomes even more of an issue. Only having one region who is competitive will get boring very quickly. If it stays this way, there will be no inter-region competition at LAN’s. Inter-region competition is the most exciting part about big LAN’s. When that disappears, interest in major events falls rapidly.

At the end of the day if NA doesn’t up their game soon everyone suffers.

Top Image courtesy of twitter.com/SmitePro

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Team Allegiance: A Rising Force In NA

Spring Split Woes

Team Allegiance did not have the strongest of Spring Splits. They won five games, lost nine, and were the last team to be 2-0ed in a crazy run by Oxygen Supremacy in the Gauntlet. To put it simply, it was not the sort of split players of that caliber would be hoping for.

Team Allegiance has high caliber players, there should be no doubt of that. At the start of the split, the Allegiance roster looked like it had the potential to go far. They had rising stars such as Aleksandr ‘Oceans’ Brudnyi and veterans of the scene such as Kurt ‘Weak3n’ Schray and Jarod ‘Cyclonespin’ Nguyen. Not to forget Mike ‘PolarBearMike’ Heiss and Michael ‘Metyankey’ Fasciano. You have a group of players there who would not look out of place in pretty much any roster in the league. There also seemed to be a strong and vocal shot-calling component, having both Weak3n and PolarBearMike on the team.

The promise of the team did not materialize though throughout the Spring Split. The results were not there. Apart from eUnited, their performances against the top end of the league were not impressive. This led to PolarBearMike benching himself and while he did say there where other real world factors, he specifically notes that under-performing wasn’t the problem but “the way we handled it”.

It is worth noting at this point that Weak3n had already said early on in the split that the Spring Split didn’t mean much. The thrust of his argument was that the start of the season would be largely people adjusting to meta but most importantly teams would still be building synergy. He said this is the split where you would get a much better idea of the teams and how they are going to do throughout the rest of the season. Whatever you think of Weak3n (he is a very good player btw, despite what twitch chat has to say), you are undeniably wrong if you don’t think he has a very firm understanding of how the SPL works and how to build a successful team.

Summer Split Resurgence

Allegiance has looked great this split; they look like they are definitely a top three team in NA. There are a couple of reasons for this.

First, four out of their five players have had a full season to get synergy.

Second, Neil ‘Neirumah’ Mah seems like a very strong pickup. James ‘ViviaNx3’ Murphy didn’t really get a huge opportunity so cannot speak on his level, but the team seems to think Neirumah is an upgrade.

Another of the big reasons for their current upswing in form is their objective control. In a recent interview with TGH, Weak3n explained that NA was behind because EU was “experimenting” much more. The most obvious way you can see Allegiance experimenting is by how frequently they run the Isis in mid lane.

Image courtesy of smite.gamepedia.com

 

The Isis has worked incredibly well for them. She gives them great early pressure in mid. Early pressure in mid is vitally important, especially in this meta. She is also an incredible teamfighter. The spirit ball is great burst and CC and can set up great engages and peel.  The silence and protection shred is one of the most underrated CCs in Smite. Her ultimate is ridiculous, probably one of the best if not the best tools in the game to deal with hard engage. It creates a massive area which is just far too dangerous to stand in because at full charge is one of the highest damaging abilities in the game, as well as giving significant damage reduction and a burst heal meaning that not just does the floor become lava, that carry you were trying to burst down is now incredibly safe.

What the ult is famous for though, and what Allegiance are using it for extremely effectively, is objective control. Another thing that has been lauded as being behind the EU supremacy recently. Allegiance has been using the Isis ult just to take the Gold Fury on cooldown. An example of this is in their win against Luminosity in 30 minutes Allegiance had four Gold Furies and a Fire Giant to their name. This is while being down two kills, once again proving kills<objectives.

Another reason behind Allegiance’s great results this split is the dominance of the right side of the map. Weak3n and Cyclone are running games like the old AFK days. The perfect example of this is the set they just played against eUnited. There is, of course, the now infamous pick of Arachne for eUnited. However, the performance by Weak3n, in particular, was impressive. Afterall, you can only play what is put in front of you. This great objective control they now have with a dominance of the right side of the map is driving them to success this split.

Allegiance look like they could become a real force to be reckoned with this season. They have it all, talent, veteran leadership and importantly at the moment what seems like a willingness to adapt. There is also the fact that within in NA one of the best teams in Eager looks a lot weaker than last split. Not only have they lost the synergy they had developed over the previous seasons, the players they have got in seem to be of a lesser caliber.


Top Image Courtesy of esports.smitegame.com

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