A week's worth of competitive Smite play at Hi-Rez Studio's in-house esports arena has come to an end, resulting in three European and two North American teams taking trips to Atlanta this January.
The week began with 12 teams, six from each region, ready to do battle in the third-person, god-powered MOBA. They gathered in Alpharetta, Georgia, home of Hi-Rez Studios headquarters, split between two office buildings, one of which had been converted into a small esports arena. I attended the venue for the first couple of days, chuckling at the Atlanta skyline backdrop for the between-round commentary set, when in reality the windows of the single-floor office looked over a parking lot and some trees. It's the magic of broadcasting, kids.
Familiar team names and familiar logos all around, at least for those following the Smite scene. Some of the faces weren't so familiar. Team Enemy in particular is not the same Enemy that took last place during the Summer Split earlier this year. The new Enemy is actually Legion of Carrots, the team that took sixth place in the split — but not really. Following the split Legion of Carrots team captain Louis-Philippe "PainDeViande" Geoffrion basically dropped the rest of his team and reformed with new folks, some veterans, some new faces. Word is he didn't think his then-current team could make it to Worlds. Legion of Carrots was acquired by Enemy, and now — well, there's good news on that front.
After breezing by Team Solomid on Tuesday, Enemy faced off against Team Envyus in a gruelling best of five on Wednesday night, taking the final game in the match to secure a spot in the Super Regional North American finals, as well as a spot in the World Championship. They'd best spend the holidays skirmishing however, because Cloud9 trounced them in the finals, taking home the $US70,000 grand prize while Enemy wound up with a measly $US55,000.
Meanwhile, in Europe...
I didn't get to see many of the European matches, as despite taking place on American soil, they took place really early in order to make sure folks back home could watch. If they were watching, the watch Paradigm struggle in the quarterfinals, sweep the semis and then fight for every inch against second place Epsilon eSports to secure first place. I was cheering for Titan and Team Dignitas, neither of which are going anywhere this January. It's probably best I don't cheer.
Finally we have the battle for the wildcard spot. Winners of both regions' third place matches squared off to determine once and for all which teams were better, North America or Europe. Perhaps that wasn't the point, but taking it that way was entertaining.
And also disappointing. Being Eager is nice, but being so much of a fanatic you can't even be bothered to spell it correctly turns out to be much better.
And so we have five teams going to the World Championships this January, where I will be outside eating at the food trucks for the entire event.
North America: Enemy, Cloud9
Europe: Fnatic, Epsilon eSports, Paradigm
We've also got Avant Garde representing Oceania and Isurus Gaming from Latin America. We're just two teams from China and one from Brazil away from knowing the full lineup. We'll get those results in the coming week, and then we'll know for certain all the teams that Cloud9 is going to beat come the World Championships in January.
I'm cheering for them.
The Smite World Championships will take place in Atlanta, Georgia January 7-10. Along with the PC version, there'll also be an Xbox One invitational, which should be highly amusing.