Most of us know Team Rival from their showings in the SPL for the mid to latter half of Season 4. You can be forgiven for this, as Rival had a brief tenure on the North American side of Smite in 2015, where they had a brief tenure. This isn’t the story being told of the Rival that made a small showing in 2015 though. This is the story of Rival, a highly successful team that joined in the early days of season 4. This is the story of Rival’s achievements thus far, and the exciting story that they will be telling for Season 5.
Season 4 Spring and Summer Splits
Rival picked up what was the former roster of Cyclone, and headed into the Spring Gauntlet with a new look. The Impact was immediate with Rival winning the Spring Gauntlet and punched their ticket to the Masters tournament. Things didn’t quite go so well, as they fell to Obey Alliance, who went on winning the tournament overall. Rival then went into the Summer split, starting slow with a 7-7 win/loss record, though showed a lot of resilience. It was at Dreamhack Valencia where Rival made it big, as a low seeded team, and advancing to the Valencia finals against Team Dignitas. It was Rival’s off-meta picks that gave them a narrow loss in the finals, though it was clear Rival had become a powerhouse of EU, winning the hearts of the Smite fan base.
Fall Split, Super Regionals and SWC
With their success at Valencia, it was on Rival to show that they were a top tier team in the final split of the year and win on the biggest stage of them all, the Smite World Championship. However, despite making a name for themselves where it counts, Rival fell to another 7-7 record, struggling with the top teams of EU, clinching the 3rd seed only on the last week of the split. Did Rival lose its momentum from Valencia during the fall? Absolutely not, as it was business as usual for Rival however, as Super Regionals came around and Rival once again found themselves on top of all the other EU teams, avenging their Valencia defeat against Dignitas (taking a 3-0 series), before winning the EU Super Regionals against Obey Alliance (3-1).
With the momentum back in their favor, it was onto the Smite World Championship as the team to beat. For Team Rival this was business as usual, playing at a top tier LAN team. Rival just did Rival things at the SWC, dispatching Nocturne Gaming in the Quarter finals. It was up to Rival’s unusual off-meta tactics to carry them further (let’s say using Thoth in the ADC role is just brilliant). From there, it was onto fending off the reigning world champions NRG, in a nail biting 3-2 set.
Smite World Championship Finals
The stage was set for Rival, on the grandest platform of them all and where teams are immortalized in the battleground of the gods, they held the task of taking down the North American powerhouse eUnited, to win the Smite World Championship. Both teams came out with victories in game one and two respectively, showing that they deserved to be there as the best. Unfortunately on that day, eUnited proved that they wanted the title of champions more by taking the last two sets, and winning the championship once and for all. For Rival, it was just another split where they came so close but couldn’t quite finish the job. Through their success in Season 4, Rival went from a mid-tier team to the best team in Europe and became known as a powerhouse at LANs.
Now that we’ve reached Season 5, it’s time to look ahead to what Rival brings to the SPL. The most impressive thing about this squad since the beginning, is their ability to adapt and change with the meta and all the teams around them. You know that team that went to every LAN and had success in Season 4? It’s the exact same team of guys from the onset of Rival to today. In fact, they are the only team in the Smite Pro League that can say that they have not had one roster change since its inception. This team just grows together, and builds on their success.
At the ADC role is Liam “Vote” Shanks, a man that commands success with his diverse god pool in the duo lane(remember that Thoth ADC? yeah that was Vote.) In the Support and team captain role is Petar “KaLaS” Matejić a fearless support who will not allow his opponents to wipe out the team’s backline. In the mid lane is Alexandru “Wlfy” Lefterică, who has a commanding knowledge of any and all mages in Smite. Jungling for the team is Aleksandar “iceicebabyy” Zahariev, who can lock down an enemy jungle no matter who he is facing. Finally, probably the most publicized of the group is Adrian “Deathwalker” Benko, the solo laner for the team and master of any and all things related to it(Go watch Dreamhack Finals game 3 to see what I mean).
These gentlemen are back for season 5, and you can bet that they are ready for the new map that comes with it. This time it’s different however, they are the team to beat in EU. They are the standard, they are ready for their opening game against NRG. If they somehow struggle during the season, don’t panic because you know when it comes to a LAN, they will show up. They always do.