Our newly adopted XBox Smite team tackled the best teams in Europe this weekend at the EU World Championship Qualifier hosted by ESL in the Curve Theatre in Leicester.
Day one threw this newly formed team straight into the deep-end putting them up against the number one seed and crowd favorite, Paradigm. Despite being matched up against the qualifier favorite the team went into game one with high spirits. They showed moments of potential greatness but fell short when attempting to capitalise on them and their God combination didn’t have a cohesive team-fight presence causing them to drop the first game.
Not letting this shake us, we went into game two of this best-of-3 with the same determination as game one and fixed the team-fight issue picking a much more AOE based team composition. While we appeared to be on the back foot for a lot of the game with most Gold Furys going to Paradigm, as well as several Fire Giants our strong team fights managed to drag this second match into the late game. At this point Paradigm has pushed us back into our base and we had very little map control. Paradigm kept throwing themselves at our Phoenixes but with some great teamwork we held them back picking off several players each time. Biding our time and winning these Phoenix fights over and over again, we slowly clawed our way back into this game and managed to capitialise on on Paradigm’s final Phoenix push picking off enough of their team that we were able to push out our base, rush down the lane and take their base and game 2 sending this best-of-3 into a third and final map.
Game three started off very slowly with a spot in the finals hanging in the balance as this World Championship Qualifier was a single elimination event and both teams wanted to get their hands on that spot at the Smite World Championship. However Paradigm slowly picked holes in our defensive play and were soon snowballing to victory. They quickly took advatange of their lead taking objectives and towers with methodical rotations across the map and it wasn’t long before they had secured game three and their spot in the finals meaning we were left to play in a best-of-1 for 3rd/4th.
Day Two came on around and we were kicking off the show again with a best-of-1 game against Exertus Esports who had lost 2-0 to Aware Gaming after our Paradigm game on day one. While there was still money on the line, this game had a much more relaxed feel to it as the grand prize of a trip to the Smite World Championship was off the table. This more relaxed attitude was apparent at the start of the game when all players met in the middle lane and had a friendly jump around before running off to their starting positions. For most of the game the game we seemed to be in the driving seat coming out of team fights on top and keeping the pressure on Exertus. Everything came undone when the team decided to try and take a Gold Fury while all of Exertus were near and as they broke through the zoning wall and started picking apart our backline it was clear the game had taken an almost unrecoverable turn. Exertus claimed the lead and soon closed the game off the back of that one mistake and took 3rd place.
I caught up with Adam “Blanks” Heath to get his feel on the event and this new team.
I couldn’t be happier with the amount of success this team has had over their short existence. They had been together about a month before this event and have already shown their potential by taking a map off the number one seed. They were unlucky in the 3rd place game against Exertus and with a bit more experience under their belt and the addition of a coach which they are now looking for now these mistakes can be fixed. Most of all I love the irony of the weekend. Back in 2013 when we had our PC Smite team we came 4th at PAX Prime after only winning one map and most of the time we lost on a risky Gold Fury call, and here we are 2 years later on and the same happens again. It was great to meet the team and I look forward to watching them learn from this experience and come out the gates swinging next season. Thanks to HiRez and ESL UK for a great weekend, and special thanks to our old support player, HiRez Adanas, for his unwavering biased faith and comments.