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

Potential mid-season targets for EU LCS teams

The 2018 EU LCS Spring Split has concluded, and Europe enters the mid-season. This year is special, because, for the first time in a while, relegation is abolished. While franchising has not happened in the European league, like North America, teams remain secure for Summer Split, regardless of their place in the spring standings.

This time last year, the EU LCS saw several major mid-season roster changes, including Ninjas in Pyjamas and Mysterious Monkeys entering the league, Misfits picking up Maxlore and YamatoCannon leaving Splyce. With the risk of relegation off the table, it is unclear if this mid-season will show the same volume and depth of changes. That being said, here are the most likely targets for EU LCS teams hoping to shake things up this mid-season.

Unicorns of Love: Top-Support

Unicorns of Love may need to consider replacing WhiteKnight this mid-season

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

The Unicorns finished Spring Split in tenth place with a 6-12 record. They spent almost the entire nine weeks in last place. Kold stood out as their key catalyst in the early game, playing Kayn, Evelynn, Kha’Zix, and Rengar outside of the meta junglers. His momentum and activity during laning phase pushed the pace for Unicorns’ opponents, but rarely allowed the team to snowball. Samux also performed fairly well across the split, with a string of carry performances on Tristana. These two feel like the best place to start for UOL’s roster moving forward.

Exileh continued his trend of tumultuous performances, sometimes carrying, sometimes feeding. Since Spring 2017, Exileh has been one of the most inconsistent mid laners in the EU LCS. His high points look dominant, while his low points look like feeding. Unicorns of Love will probably keep him, but it would not be too surprising if they replaced him. Bringing in new players to play around him may be better in the short term.

WhiteKnight and Totoro feel like the weak links on this roster. Unicorns’ top laner simply lost lane almost every match, and rarely made up for it in the mid-game. His Gnar was relatively good, but WhiteKnight finished significantly low in almost every top lane statistic. Totoro had a decent LCS debut, but did not bring a “wow” factor to the Unicorns. He was able to make some big plays on Alistar and Tahm Kench, but his Braum and Rakan did not translate as well. Best.GG ranks Totoro seventh among EU LCS supports, around the same level as Promisq, Targamas and Vander. However, these players are a tier below Kasing, Hylissang and Norskeren.

Giants: bot-support

Giants may need to consider replacing Steeelback this mid-season

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

Giants came out swinging this spring, hovering among top four for the first six weeks. Unfortunately, a 1-5 record over the last three weeks dropped them to finish ninth overall. Once the meta shifted towards faster games with bottom-centric compositions, Giants fell apart. Ruin could not carry as much as his first few weeks. Betsy did not have adequate time to safely scale to late fights. Djoko’s supportive, control jungle style became much less effective.

However, Steeelback and Targamas were the biggest offenders. Steeelback and Targamas finished the season at the bottom of the league in almost every statistic, from laning phase to damage and KDA. Targamas’ rookie status allows him some grace, but Steeelback is a veteran of Europe, and this split was awful for him. Going into Summer Split, it would not be surprising to see at least one of these two replaced.

Of course, Giants entered the Spring Split with four-fifths of a new roster. It takes time for these players to synergize and build communication, especially when it comes to adapting to changes together. However, it is alarming when a team starts the split strong and progressively gets worse and worse. Betsy and Steelback have played in the EU LCS for a long time, but have not seen success in quite a while. Giants have a lot to think about in this mid-season. They do not need to worry about relegation, but if their goal is to compete with top teams in Europe, then they will have to make changes for summer.

Everyone else

Misfits and ROCCAT may not need to replace anyone on their rosters this mid-season

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

Without the fear of relegation, the other eight teams will most likely maintain their rosters. H2K and ROCCAT probably field the weakest rosters, on paper, in the league; yet, they made it into playoffs. Misfits and Schalke 04 are composed of star players, but they consistently lost key matches, and could not execute in clutch moments. Fnatic, G2, Splyce and Vitality showed moments of brilliance over the course of the Spring Split. The players on these teams are not the issue.

Schalke could maybe benefit from organizational change. Something prevented their superstar roster from success, whether that be coaching, management, or something else. From the outside, it is impossible to know what underlying issues plagued them. Misfits falls into a similar category, with three-fifths of their Worlds roster unable to place top six in Europe. Granted, PowerOfEvil and IgNar were powerful components of the squad last year. It is difficult to believe that two new players under the same coach and organization would result in such lowered performance.

H2K and ROCCAT clawed their way into playoffs through steady improvement over the split and winning when it counted. H2K, specifically, made roster adjustments part-way through the split, which made a huge difference in their performance. They could realistically keep what is working and build off of it. ROCCAT understandably struggled in different positions throughout the spring, considering both its solo laners are Korean imports. However, Memento and Norskeren provided stalwart, consistent support. HeaQ exhibited highs and lows, but seems promising overall. Roster-wise, it may be worth retaining these players and working on consistency, communication, and synergy.

The 2018 mid-season may be the least tumultuous in Europe’s history. The region has historically seen rapid turnover between splits, due to new organizations entering the league regularly. Without the Promotion Tournament, the current LCS organizations can rest on their laurels and turn towards improvement and development, rather than risky, immediate change. Unless top talent turns to North America’s bottom-tier teams, expect those players to remain on their same teams.

credits

Images: LoL Esports Flickr

The Game Haus covered the NA LCS finals LIVE. You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for articles, pictures, videos, interviews, and more content from Thomas and other contributors!

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

HWC 2018 top four predictions

Over the past three months, hundreds of teams have fought for the chance to appear at this weekend’s Halo World Championships in Seattle. Only sixteen have made it and come Sunday, only one will be left standing. Rosters have been set, groups have been seeded and the show is just getting started. Let’s take a look at some likely top 4 candidates for HWC 2018.

4th: Renegades

HWC 2018

Travis “Neptune” McCloud. By Halo Esports Wiki.

Roster: Jason “Lunchbox” Brown, Aaron “Ace” Elam, Bradley “aPG” Laws, Travis “Neptune” McCloud

The first roster to carry the Renegades banner since 2016 and the only roster to carry a single Brown twin into HWC 2018. This prediction specifically isn’t necessarily a confident one. Team Reciprocity, a squad with the services of Austin “Mikwen” McCleary, Eric “Snip3down” Wrona, Zane “Penguin” Hearon and Tyler “Spartan” Ganza can knock Renegades out of the top 4. In fact, at both MLG Columbus and Orlando, Reciprocity was the squad to beat Renegades into that top 4 spot. In head to head scrims, Reciprocity has won out by a significant margin.

Here’s the catch: The Brown twins, even if it’s just one of them, always show up at live events to play and this team has Lunchbox, one of the smartest and most clutch players in Halo history. He’s also one of the most hungry players, especially after missing out on Worlds last year. HWC 2018 is his chance to turn things around. If Renegades isn’t overwhelmed by Reciprocity’s pure slaying power, they can take the win in a head-to-head series.

3rd: Team EnVyUs

Image result for pistola halo

The Wizard is back. By MLG.

Roster: Justin “iGotUrPistola” Deese, Jesse “bubu dubu” Moeller, Joey “TriPPPeY” Taylor, Tommy “Saiyan” Wilson

A very different roster from the last time NV was at a World Championship event. Only one player from the original NV squad that was the first to defeat OpTic Gaming’s (now Tox’s) dominant roster, remains. Despite that, it seems this is the best group that has ever been mustered for NV. At both Orlando and Columbus this roster placed top four, with one of those finishes coming alongside a 3-0 of Tox. A decent record to have going into the HWC 2018 Finals.

Saiyan has proven to be an absolute monster of a Slayer, posting dominant stat lines even in team losses. Not just in kills, but in damage dealt, assists and accuracy as well. The guy can shoot, there’s no doubts about that. TriPPPeY helps shoulder plenty of that load as well, being an excellent mobile damage-dealer that helps his teammates get easy kills. Combined with bubu dubu’s smart, lurking playstyle and Ola’s experience and wizardry, this squad is dangerous.

Even with all of that, it’s unlikely that they’ll make it to the Grand Finals.

2nd: Splyce

Image result for renegade splyce

Two down, one to go. By MLG.

Roster: Anthony “Shotzzy” Cuevas-Castro, Jonathan “Renegade” Willette, Braedon “StelluR” Boettcher and Kevin “Eco” Smith

To say this squad is red-hot doesn’t even begin to describe their romp throughout the HWC 2018 season. They don’t even scrim other teams. They don’t stream at all. But without a doubt, this team by far has more young talent than any other in all of competitive Halo. Even despite a lack of experience in comparison to the reigning World Champions, they’re dominating. This team won both MLG Orlando and Columbus. Not only that, they did so with relative ease.

Throughout those two events, they played the reigning champions in four separate series. They won three of them. The single loss was a day after one of Splyce’s players ended up in the hospital. The 3 wins? A 4-2, 4-1 and sweep. A few of the games weren’t even close. This squad is quite possibly the future of competitive Halo. That said, they’re missing one factor that always comes to outrank everything.

Experience.

HWC 2018 Victors: Tox Gaming

HWC 2018

3-Peat. By MLG.

Roster: Paul “SnakeBite” Duarte, Mathew “Royal2” Fiorante, Bradley “Frosty” Bergstrom, and Tony “LethuL” Campbell, Jr.

There’s a great analogy for this squad considering the time of year. Ever watch the NBA’s Eastern Conference Playoffs over the last few years? One team in that conference has a player named LeBron James, or “The King.” He has a habit of flipping a switch when it really matters and playing astronomically better than his usual excellent play.

That is similar to Tox. Regardless of any drama regarding OpTic Gaming dropping the roster, the community should be quick to remember what this squad can do. At the 2016 Worlds season, they lost to Evil Geniuses at the X-Games Invitational. They then proceeded to effortlessly roll through the 2016 Finals with ease. Last year, both Team EnVyUs and Team Liquid took series to seven games against them in the events leading to the 2017 Finals. In the 2017 Finals, this squad swept both of them on their way to back-to-back World Championships. There’s little reason to believe they can’t do the same this year. This squad has been the end-all, be-all of Halo 5: Guardians up to this point. In scrims, they’ve played well, with only a handful of teams being capable of taking more than a couple of games from them. All that said, on LAN and specifically at World Championship events, they flip the switch.

To be the man, you have to beat the man and Splyce is yet to do so at the event that is by far the most important.

I believe Tox will win this weekend at HWC 2018 and will become back-to-back-to-back Halo World Champions.

This event is going to be absolutely bonkers, especially with MLG running the show. Be sure to check out the stream on Twitch, Mixer and MLG!

Disagree with me, or have anything to add to the conversation? Catch me on Twitter and in the stream chats all weekend long!

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 Devin! Get in touch with Devin personally to talk more HCS and see more articles by following him on Twitter @DS_Frostbite!

Header image by Halo Waypoint

 

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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Top Image courtesy of the official Smite Youtube channel.

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

 

Luminosity: CWL Birmingham champions

Splyce upset as Luminosity takes title in CWL Birmingham

Luminosity took home their first title of the CWL WWII season this last weekend. Splyce was unable to hold Luminosity in the two series Grand Final, resulting in an ending of 3-1 in favor of Luminosity.

It was a real battle, though. Luminosity fought hard, but some would say that Splyce fought better. Splyce won their first matchup against Luminosity, during pool play, in a 3-2 win. It seemed the crowd was there to back them up, but Luminosity wasn’t done with them yet.

Losers Bracket

Splyce lost a deafening 0-3 defeat to Rise Nation in the Semi-Finals of the Winners bracket, which knocked them down into the losers bracket. After tearing a 3-0 hole into Reckless, Splyce was back into the finals.

From here, it seemed that Splyce was unstoppable. They rocked their way through the “Scump” backed Optic Gaming roster and finally got their chance at revenge against Rise Nation. The crowd was wildly in favor of their boys in Splyce. They were screaming behind every single play or double kill that Thomas “Tommey” trewren and the others would get. Ultimately, leading Splyce to net a 3-1 taste of victory over the team that would send them on a longer run then should’ve been necessary. Rise Nation.

Just a taste of what this Splyce crowd was like.

Winners Bracket

This isn’t a fan favorite, but I’m going to come out and say it. Luminosity had an easier bracket up until their last couple of matches. They were shut out by Splyce at the beginning and were lucky that that wasn’t the match that would’ve sent them into the losers bracket. Fortunately for them, Optic wasn’t having a great tournament. Luminosity managed to knock them aside and proceed towards the power house in Rise and their finals against old foes in Splyce.

The most surprising/impressive moment of Luminosity’s climb to the top was the toppling of the previous champions. They managed a 2-3 victory over Rise Nation and this is no minor feat. Luminosity’s JKap was quoted as saying that Rise Nation is, “the best in the game right now.”

All that was left to do now was battle, again, with Splyce.

Splyce

This team really showed up to play. Not only did they manage to defeat Rise Nation in their second time around, but they also beat Luminosity. Twice. First in pool play, and then again, later, during the first series of the Grand Finals.

If I had my pick, I would’ve given the MVP to either Tommy or Ben “Bance” Bance. Both of these two players were exceptional in every way and showed up to play one of the most impressive games of Hard point in the opening match-up of the Grand finals against Luminosity that there has ever been in Call of Duty history.

Splyce just won gunfights. That’s it. There was only a couple of times where they teetered under the pressure of Luminosity, but this team had fuel. Their crowd kept them going and they were able to pull two wins out from underneath Luminosity. Even though they couldn’t secure the final series, they ended the whole event with a 2-1 record over the Grand Champions.

Luminosity

Though they might’ve only narrowly secured their victory, they are one of the best teams in Call of Duty right now. This became especially evident when they were able to shut the previous CWL Atlanta champions, Rise Nation, out of the Grand Finals spot. Not only that, but they had some of the more impressive team plays.

In every bout of S&D we would see clumps of three players usually rush one bombsite while their fourth would play sentry on the other side of the map. This was such a consistent and perfect tactic, that allowed them to walk away from almost every game of S&D with a win.

The team just worked really well together, once they got the momentum going. It’s hard to really say who the best player was, but the CWL League seems to think that it’s Johnathon “John” Perez. With so many muscle clenching plays coming out of JKap, Octane and SLACKED, it’s hard to really say that there should only be one MVP.

Regardless, here are your battle hardened CWL Birmingham champions: JKap, Slacked, Octane and the MVP John.

Luminosity: CWL Birmingham Champions

Image courtesy of DoT Esports

 

 

 

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Fnatic will face G2 in the 2018 EU LCS Spring Split finals

EU playoffs update: Semifinals review and finals preview

The EU LCS moved into the playoff semifinals this past weekend, with Europe’s quarterfinal winners stepping up to the plate. Splyce met G2 after defeating ROCCAT 3-0 in quarterfinals, while Vitality had beaten H2K 3-2 to face Fnatic in semifinals. Check out last week’s article to get the setup for quarterfinals and semifinals.

G2 v. SPY

G2 defeated Splyce in the 2018 Spring Split semifinals

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

Splyce came into Friday’s match as the slight underdog, as they lost the second place slot in a tiebreaker with G2 at the end of the season. That being said, four of Splyce’s members won All-Pro honors, while only three from G2 were recognized. Splyce also dominated ROCCAT just last week, which made their match-up versus G2 even more exciting.

Their first game kicked off with Perkz giving First Blood to Xerxe’s Trundle in the mid lane. Jankos and the rest of G2 responded with a successful top lane gank and a pair of Ocean Drakes. He then turned to bottom lane for a dive, but KaSing’s Janna ultimate and Odoamne’s Sion Teleport nullified Jankos’ attempt, which turned into a death for Wadid and G2’s bottom turret. Over the next several minutes, Splyce and G2 traded rotations to take all outer turrets until G2 won a mid lane fight and took Baron. Using the pushing pressure, G2 accrued a 7,000 gold lead, but when G2 took their second Baron, Splyce traded for Elder Drake and was able to win every fight from there. They took G2’s Nexus in 42 minutes, still over 5,000 gold behind.

Game two was relatively quiet for the first 15 minutes. G2 was able to sustain enough lane pressure to allow Jankos space to take two Infernal Drakes. Wunder showcased the power of Swain, gaining around 40 CS over Odoamne and pushing down both solo lane turrets. G2 more-or-less forced their will onto Splyce for the rest of the game, sometimes a bit overzealous. Hjarnan’s Jhin and Jankos’ Skarner were able to engage onto Splyce at will, which allowed G2 to easily siege. Securing a Baron at 25 minutes was the straw that broke Splyce’s camel’s back, as G2 successfully kited any counter-engage from Odoamne’s Sion or Xerxe’s Sejuani. G2 ended the game almost 10,000 gold ahead by 34 minutes.

G2 gained the early lead in game three, by surviving a massive bottom lane gank from Splyce. They came out of it with two kills and bottom lane turret for just Wadid’s death. G2 also outplayed Splyce when they contested Rift Herald, but Odoamne, Xerxe, and Nisqy took mid lane turret in exchange. By 20 minutes, Splyce and G2 took all six outer turrets. They danced around the first Baron on even terms, but G2 secured it and a kill, which cracked open a 5,000 gold lead. After a surprise pick on Perkz’s Zoe, Splyce turned to secure Baron. Kobbe secured the objective, but G2 forced the fight and Hjarnan’s Jhin cleaned up a Quadra Kill. G2 pushed the series to match point.

Splyce and G2 remained even through the first 20 minutes of game four. However, G2 outplayed Splyce once more in a large top lane fight to take the lead. Odoamne’s Camille teleported in with KaSing’s Shen ult on him, but Wunder’s Fiora teleported in reply. Hjarnan and Wadid beat Kobbe to the lane, which resulted in a three for one for G2. Splyce pressured Baron just after 20 minutes, which resulted in a pick, but G2 staved them off of the objectives. Minutes later, Splyce sent three members bottom to kill Wunder, but G2 secured the Baron in response. In a desperation play, Splyce turned to pressure Baron again, at 33 minutes, but G2 took the fight, took the Baron, took the Elder Drake, and took the series. Hjarnan went 19-2-22 over the four games.

FNC v. VIT

Fnatic defeated Vitality in the 2018 EU LCS Semifinals

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

Analysts were not sure what to make of Vitality versus Fnatic coming into the match-up. Fnatic were clearly the most dominant team in Europe, but Vitality had been their biggest rival during the regular season. Most expected the early game to revolve around Caps and Jiizuke in the mid lane, while Rekkles would be Fnatic’s late game ace up their sleeve. On top of that, Bwipo would substitute for SoaZ, due to an injury. The series could theoretically go many ways.

Fnatic drafted a powerful poke composition for game one, including Nidalee, Zoe, and Ezreal. Most of Fnatic’s pressure was on mid lane, as Broxah pulled off three successful ganks on Jiizuke pre-13 minutes. Although Vitality got a couple of picks on Hylissang’s Tahm Kench, Fnatic secured a 4,000 gold lead by 16:30. Caps’ Zoe roamed several times to nuke down Gilius and Minitroupax, while Fnatic also took first turret and a Mountain Drake. Fnatic took an uncontested Baron just after 20 minutes, and they finished in less than 26 minutes.

Game two saw Fnatic take a level one jungle invade, which ended as a one for one. Vitality ruled the early game this time around, as Gilius’ Skarner pulled off successful ganks top and mid. Fnatic also got outplayed in an early skirmish in their top-side jungle, giving Vitality a 2,000 gold lead around 10 minutes. Hylissang’s Braum made an aggressive play in the mid lane to shut down Jiizuke’s Taliyah and Gilius, which helped even out the game. Fnatic continued to pick up kills by punishing Vitality’s aggression towards Bwipo’s Gangplank in the side lane, gaining their own 3,000 gold lead by 20 minutes. The rest of the game was the Fnatic show, as Vitality only got one kill for the rest of the 30-minute game–no more turrets or neutral objectives.

Vitality got their first win in the third game. Gilius’ Olaf and Jiizuke’s Taliyah focused on the top side and Cabochard’s Camille pick, roaming and ganking Bwipo’s Cho’Gath twice in the first 10 minutes. With so much pressure, Cabochard was able to open up the map, taking several turrets, but Fnatic rotated as a team to match. They evened out the gold around 20 minutes, aggressively outplaying Vitality with Rekkles’ Ezreal and Caps’ Swain. Vitality pushed Fnatic off of a 20-minute Baron and took it for themselves. Fnatic returned to Baron around 29 minutes, but Gilius stole it and Cabochard and Jiizuke’s split push knocked down Fnatic’s Nexus turrets. With the next siege, Vitality closed game three.

Fnatic won out the early skirmishes of game four, mostly centered around Caps’ Swain. By 11 minutes, he was 3-0-2 with 100 percent kill participation. Vitality were active in finding picks on Bwipo’s Gangplank and shutting down Caps, but Fnatic always traded for turrets. Fnatic won the first big fight in the mid lane around 19 minutes, and they snowballed from there. Vitality contested Fnatic’s every move, but Broxah’s Trundle and Hylissang’s Braum permanently slowed their opponents, easily allowing Rekkles and Caps to secure kills. Fnatic took a Baron at 15 minutes without losing any members, and the following siege ended the game in 30 minutes. Vitality lost the series 1-3, qualifying Fnatic for their first finals in two years.

G2 v. FNC

G2 will face Fnatic in the 2018 EU LCS Finals

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

The classic “Old Kings versus New Kings” showdown will happen this weekend for the EU LCS Spring Split title. Of the 10 total LCS championships, Fnatic won five between 2013 and 2015, while G2 has won the last four in a row. These two organizations are the most decorated in EU LCS history.

But these are very different teams than the championship winners of the past. Huni, Reignover, Febiven, Zven, and Mithy play in North America now. Trick moved to the LCK and Yellowstar coaches. Perkz and Rekkles are the only remaining members of these previous winning teams, and everyone is watching them in this final.

2018 Spring Split G2 and Fnatic have relatively similar styles. Their junglers usually wait a while to make moves, opting for safer farm in the early game. Wunder and Perkz generally gain leads from laning phase, while Rekkles and Hylissang are more controlled for Fnatic. Giving a dragon or a turret is okay for these two, as long as they are safely farming and controlling vision.

However, once Baron spawns, the game truly starts. Both of these teams jockey for vision around Baron non-stop. Caps and Hylissang are often Fnatic’s initiators, engaging onto unsuspecting targets or baiting their opponents into an unwanted skirmish. Perkz and Hjarnan stay on the backline, while Jankos and Wadid check all fog-of-war. Wunder is quick to teleport into the fight, while Bwipo tends to hesitate.

Before semifinals, this match-up would be much more Fnatic-favored. But, with Hjarnan stepping up big time against Splyce, and Bwipo subbing in for Soaz, this match-up should be extremely close. Both teams showed variations in their playstyles over their series. Fnatic showed their extreme poke composition and strong team-fighting. G2 showed they can play split-pushing with Fiora and a pick composition with Zoe and Thresh.

Expect intense drafts from these two. Braum, Camille, Swain, Zoe, and Gangplank proved extremely strong for both teams. G2 and Fnatic will most likely stick to the meta picks and opt for scaling through the first phase of the game. Once they are in-game, the victories are going to come down to five-versus-five team-fighting and macro play. It should be a historic series, as these fights are going to be explosive. G2 could tie up the trophy count five and five, or Fnatic may re-establish their dominance in Europe. Find out on Sunday, April 8.

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EU playoffs update: Quarterfinals review and semifinals preview

The first stage of the 2018 EU LCS Spring Split playoffs kicked off this past weekend, with Splyce facing off against ROCCAT and H2K versus Team Vitality. These two pairs battled in best-of-five matches to determine who would continue into the semifinals. Here is what has happened so far, and what playoffs looks like moving forward. 

SPY v. ROC

ROCCAT faced Splyce in the quarterfinals of 2018 Spring Split playoffs

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

Splyce was the heavy favorite coming into their quarterfinals match against ROCCAT, since they closed the regular season in third, while ROCCAT finished sixth. Splyce had four of five members voted into EU’s All-Pro team; ROCCAT had none. The Snakes finished the last four weeks of LCS with only two losses, while ROCCAT went 4-4, including one loss to Splyce.

The first game of the series began with Splyce reacting to deep invades from ROCCAT. Nisqy secured three early kills on Kassadin, two from Memento, one from Blanc. ROCCAT maintained momentum, taking the first three turrets, three dragons, and Rift Herald, until a three for zero fight in Splyce’s favor around 25 minutes. Splyce took Baron, which unlocked the map. Nisqy finished the game 12-0-2.

Top lane pressure characterized game two’s early game, with Xerxe and Memento both pulling off successful ganks. Splyce gained the momentum with an Infernal Drake, a two for zero fight, and mid lane turret secured by 17 minutes. ROCCAT were completely out of sorts from there, as Splyce knocked down three more turrets by 20 minutes. With the map opened up, Odoamne’s Camille and Xerxe’s Zac were unlocked to roam the map and engage at their leisure. Splyce took Baron and ended the game by 29 minutes.

ROCCAT started game three with early game success on the bottom side, with KaSing dying twice and Nisqy dying once pre-10 minutes. However, ROCCAT’s messy skirmishing around the bottom side allowed Splyce to grab the reins. Odoamne’s Camille wreaked havoc once again, split-pushing down turrets and catching out unsuspecting ROCCAT members. Splyce took a 30-minute Baron and ROCCAT was unable to stall long enough for HeaQ’s Jinx to come online. The series ended in a 3-0 for Splyce, eliminating ROCCAT from playoffs in fifth-sixth.

H2K v. VIT

H2K faced Team Vitality in the quarterfinals of the 2018 Spring Split playoffs

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

Saturday kicked off with fourth place Vitality battling fifth place H2K for the semifinals spot versus Fnatic. H2K looked to ride the momentum of the back half of their split, which finished 7-3 over the last five weeks. Vitality felt the inverse effect, finishing 3-7 over that same time. This quarterfinal match-up would be a nexus point between the rise and fall of these two teams.

Game one saw H2K controlling the top side with Smittyj’s Camille gaining a leading and taking the turret, while Vitality’s bottom lane gained a lead and took their turret. Both teams matched their rotations to take second turrets, but Vitality’s Infernal Drakes and superior skirmishing allowed them to take a 2,000 gold lead, their third Infernal, and mid lane turret around 20 minutes. Vitality took the Baron and sieged bottom lane to end in 27 minutes.

Vitality won out bot lane again in their second game against H2K, with Sheriff and Promisq falling to an early turret dive. Minitroupax’s Caitlyn sieged down all three outer turrets by 17 minutes. However, Shook’s Baron steal around 27 minutes was the great equalizer. H2K pushed Vitality’s bottom lane all the way into the Nexus turrets, which gave them pressure to take the second Baron. Vitality never found the proper engage between Shen, Sejuani and Thresh, and H2K closed the game.

With Caitlyn and Leona locked in, Vitality continued to index heavily on bottom lane dominance in game three. By 18 minutes, Vitality knocked down two bot lane turrets and two Ocean Drakes, compared to H2K’s single top turret. Despite their 8-1 kill lead, Vitality were unable to properly posture around Baron. H2K forced them off with a three for one fight, then secured Baron for themselves the next go around. Sheriff got caught out during the siege, which gave Vitality enough control to take the third Baron. Vitality pushed down mid, but H2K defended the inhibitor, which caused both teams to dance around the 44 minute Baron. Neither team lost members, but Vitality secured Baron, rotated and took Elder Drake, then rolled over H2K to take the series to game four.

H2K flipped the script by taking the Morgana-Caitlyn bot lane combo, killing Jactroll, and taking turret around 9 minutes. Shook ganked bot with Zac and helped secure two more kills on Vitality’s bottom lane. With Smittyj solo killing Cabochard’s Shen with Sion, H2K maintained tempo advantage. They aced Vitality in the mid lane around 18 minutes, including a Quadra Kill for Selfie’s Kassadin. A 20 minute Baron for H2K set them up for an unstoppable siege. They ended the game in 23 minutes for “silver scrapes.”

The match point game saw both teams return to top side focus. Gilius and Jiizuke visited top lane for kills on Smittyj’s Ornn in the first 12 minutes. H2K responded by outplaying Gilius’ gank to bottom lane, resulting in a Double Kill for Smittyj. They took bottom turret, then rotated top for Rift Herald, where Vitality lost the fight 0-2. H2K contested Vitality around Infernal Drake, which Shook stole, but Minitroupax’s Tristana also got a Double Kill. From there, Vitality won siege after siege, eventually taking a 22 minute Baron. Over the next 10 minutes, H2K was only able to successfully engage and kill Minitroupax once, and Vitality used the Tristana and Baron buffs to push down all the way to the Nexus. The series went to Vitality, eliminating H2K from playoffs in fifth-sixth.

G2 v. SPY

Splyce will face G2 in the semifinals of the 2018 Spring Split playoffs

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

G2 awaits Splyce in Europe’s first semifinals match. The Samurai hold a slight advantage in this match-up, considering they defeated Splyce in a tiebreaker two weeks ago to secure second place. Both teams ended the regular season 11-7, with G2 winning in week three and Splyce winning in week seven.

In their first best-of-one, G2 gained a slight lead in laning phase. Most of the game held a 2-2 kill score, with both teams focusing on trading turrets and vision. Around 36 minutes G2 secured a 50/50 Elder Drake, which allowed them to win the fight and blow the game open.

When they met in the seventh week of LCS, Splyce took decisive control of the early game. Nisqy’s Galio paired nicely with Xerxe’s Ivern to wander around the map catching G2 out. Splyce also took the first turret and dragon by 11 minutes. The open map made it even more difficult for G2 to wander out of vision, and Splyce took over. Their Rakan-Galio engage combined with the buffed Baron-Banner-Ivern bush minion to mow down all of G2’s base without much resistance. Splyce almost perfect-gamed G2, who only ended with one kill and one turret.

Their tiebreaker match began with Splyce taking early control, yet again. Xerxe pulled off successful ganks in top lane and bottom lane, but a couple of uncoordinated plays in the top river cost Splyce several kills, two more turrets, and, ultimately, a 21 minute Baron. With G2 fully unlocked, they gained a 12,000 gold lead and bled Splyce out for second place.

Expect both of these teams to play standard League of Legends for the first 20 minutes. G2 and Splyce will politely lane against one another with the occasional gank from Xerxe or Jankos. They will group and rotate to contest turrets and dragons, but will otherwise avoid one another. Baron and Elder Drake will be game-breaking for these two, because once one of them secures the major neutral objective, they kick the game into overdrive and push their advantages hard.

G2’s individual members should be able to gain laning phase leads, if left to their own devices. Xerxe has been fairly successful with early game ganking in top and bottom lane, though. Over the course of a best-of-five, both of these teams should hold up. Splyce seem most likely to adapt their draft between each game, and prepare surprise strategies that could net them wins. This series should go to five games, unless Splyce or G2 heavily over-performs.

FNC v. VIT

Vitality will face Fnatic in the semifinals of the 2018 Spring Split playoffs

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

Vitality will challenge first seed Fnatic in the second semifinals series this weekend. Fnatic are favorites in this match-up, as they only lost four games all split. Vitality finished the season 10-8, but the back half of their spring was much less convincing than the front half. These two went 1-1 against each other over the regular season, with Vitality winning first in week two and Fnatic getting revenge in week seven.

Jiizuke’s Ryze was the star of the show in Vitality’s win over Fnatic. Gilius basically camped mid to put Caps’ Azir far behind. In response, Fnatic rotated top several times to shut down Cabochard’s Lucian. However, Jiizuke persistently pressured the side lanes with Ryze, frequently winning versus multiple opponents. Vitality ultimately feigned an Elder Drake take, but instead backdoored Fnatic’s nexus to end.

In their rematch, Vitality attempted a similar strategy, earning two kills for Jiizuke’s Azir by camping Caps’ Corki in mid lane. This pressure spilled over into bottom and top lane, as Vitality had a 4,000 gold lead by 15 minutes. Fnatic held it together long enough to sneak Broxah’s Kha’Zix into the Baron pit and steal it from Vitality. The steal brought Fnatic right back into the game, and allowed Rekkles’ Tristana and Caps’ Corki to lay siege. They pushed all the way to Vitality’s nexus turrets, then back off. Vitality responded with several picks and an Elder Drake, which they used to break open Fnatic’s base. Caps and SoaZ tried to teleport and backdoor, but Cabochard and Minitroupax stopped them. Vitality attempted to take Elder Drake, but Broxah stole that, too. The buff pushed Fnatic over the top to almost aced Vitality and end the game.

Vitality may have some weaknesses in their draft, if they try to utilize the same “camp mid” strategy every game. Rekkles has shown multiple times that he can remain self-sufficient playing into losing match-ups. Fnatic could easily force Vitality to pick Jiizuke’s mid lane champion first, and save the counter for Caps. They could also remove Gilius’ safest champions, Sejuani and Zac, and force him to play Trundle or Olaf. He would have less crowd control for mid lane that way, and less agency to gank early. Fnatic also have much more experience as a team in longer high pressure series, and should be able to adapt.

On the other hand, Fnatic will not start SoaZ this weekend. He is out with an injury, which means Bwipo will step in as their starting top laner. Putting a rookie in such a position could slightly compromise Fnatic’s chances. However, in their two games with Bwipo so far, Fnatic seemed just as dominant. They should be able to take this series quickly and efficiently, but Vitality will probably take a win in the first two games. Vitality’s unbridled playstyle should yield some exciting games, but if any team can stamp out their sparks before they burn everything down, it is Fnatic.

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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

Image Courtesy of esports.smitegame.com

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

Image Courtesy of esports.smitegame.com

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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