LG Dire Wolves travelled over to Atlanta over the weekend to take on the world's best in Smite, and wouldn't you know it, its first obstacle was esports powerhouse NRG.
It was a match Dire Wolves needed to win. It had walked into the competition's placement matches, after which waited a single elimination bracket. Our away team rattled NRG early, and managed to lead for the majority of the match. The Wolves took the fire giant in the middle, providing a strong team-wide buff for four minutes.
Fire Giant goes to @direwolvesgg!
— SmitePro (@SmitePro) April 27, 2017
But NRG managed to pull the game back in the late stages, and rallied for a convincing win in the second game, ending LG Dire Wolves' campaign early.
Watch the Dire Wolves battle NRG below:
The former player and coach for Dire Wolves, Kurtis "Biggy" Davidson, was in charge of Team Dignitas during this competition, which went up against Obey Alliance in the grand final. That was a finals first for Biggy - not to mention Australia - and I'm reliably informed by insiders at Hi-Rez that the team is now referred to as Bignitas.
Have a look at the finals series here:
Obey Alliance was the final winner, a team which had taken out NRG, the team that knocked out LG Dire Wolves. It's a story all too common in Australian esports; we get seeded against one of the best teams, face an early knockout, and usually earn the respect of casters and competitors before coming home empty handed.
A few weeks ago, much was made of the training system employed by the new LG Dire Wolves director, David Harris, who invested in trips to South Korea for its League of Legends team to train with top Asian competitors. It's an expensive strategy credited with winning them the OPL Split 1 final. If we see similar international experience being funded on the Smite side, we might see more international success as well.
For a wrap up of how the Oceanic finals went down, check out the below video: