DreamHack Atlanta starts Nov. 15 and that means it’s time for Smite fans to get ready for the SMITE World Championship!
The Free-to-Play Massive Online Battle Arena game Smite pits heroes, gods and demi-gods from the world’s various pantheons in a five vs. five clash. From Zeus, Thor, Osiris or Ganesha to Baron Samedi, Olorun and King Arthur, there are over 100 gods ready for your control.
So, what’s to be expected at the SMITE World Championship?
The favorites on paper heading to Worlds are Team Rival. While they had been faltering towards the end of the season and haven’t looked as dominant as they did earlier in the year, they are still the favorite heading into Worlds earning the No. 1 seed.
The big story
The big story coming out of the placement matches is the Minor League (SML) team Sanguine Esports beating a few of the professional (SPL) teams and making an unlikely run to qualify. While they have momentum coming out of placements, they are the heavy underdogs heading into the Worlds.
However, they do have some players that can make an impact.
“We’ve got all-star rosters, countless former champions, and even some sML boys in the mix so it’s hard to choose a single person,” said TitanForge Community Manager @TitanAuvey. “But I for one am gonna keep a close eye on [Nathan “Haddix” Ulrey]. That guy is an animal and the way he showed up during placements was just so impressive.”
What makes Haddix’s run so impressive is that he was originally a substitution for the starting solo-laner Libardo “Jarcor” López who could not attend the placements due to visa issues. Haddix earned the hype during placements though, giving dominating performances in almost all of the games he played.
The Community Poll
I talked to a few people who are close to Smite and gave them a few rapid-fire questions to see where minds and (occasionally biased) hearts are.
Who is your personal favorite to win it all?
Hi-Rez Studios’ caster John “@Finchcaster” Finch—who’s seen every single game this season—gives an edge to Splyce for the repeat.
“That team is the most well-rounded, with likely the best individual in their roles in the jungle, support and carry,” says Finch. “They also tend to come into big events ahead of the meta.”
Splyce has always been on the cutting edge when it comes to shaking up the meta and bringing unorthodox characters to the field.
Every year a separate meta comes out of Worlds that is unlike anything seen throughout the season. Whether it’s a completely different style of gameplay, seeing different characters or the usual meta character in different roles, Splyce usually leads the charge through meta-breaking strategies.
Who are the players to watch?
Answers from around the community varied, but here are the most popular players from each team:
- Alec “fineokay” Fonzo from Team Rival
- Jacob “SoloOrTroll” High from Splyce
- Jeppe “TrixTank” Gylling from Team Dignitas
- Paul “Paul” Berger from SK Gaming
- Ben “Benji” McKinzey from EUnited
- Mohaned “CherryO” Wailed from Renegades
- Nathan “Haddix” Ulrey from Sanguine Esports
- Kennet “Adapting” Ros from Pittsburgh Knights
All of these players have had standout performances this season and have made an incredible impact on their team. Most of them have playoff experience and all of them have MVP potential.
Which underdog has the best chance at a deep run?
Sanguine has been the most popular team for an underdog deep run.
“They did amazing in placements and they proved they have a chance,” said @leabamxo, a popular Smite streamer.
Their biggest roadblock will be against the top seed to start SWC, but that same No. 1 seed lost to a minor league team at the Mid-Season Invitational. If Sanguine can make it past Rival, the biggest roadblock will be behind them and they can then make a run.
Which character do you think we’ll see most of that we didn’t see during the regular season?
“If I could see one god, it’d be Anubis,” said Smite aficionado @duckyquackerz. “I don’t care where. [Michael “PolarBearMike” Heiss] can play him, just get him on the map. Is he good? No… Would I be able to die happy? Yes.”
Personal bias aside, there’s always at least one unexpected pick to come out of Worlds that many seem unprepared for.
Community members seem to think that the Serpent of the Nine Winds, Kukulkan from the Mayan Pantheon will be that unexpected god. This doesn’t come as a large surprise, especially since he recently received a buff to his main damaging spell.
I also had the privilege to talk to Splyce’s solo-lane Jacob “@SoloOrTroll” High to ask him this same question. His answer was none other than the Goddes of Wisdom herself: Athena. Her taunting ability is incredibly powerful in controlling the opponent and keeping them away from teammates.
So it all comes down to this—my personal, thoroughly researched, expertly opinionated predictions.
I am giving the edge to Renegades. Their performance throughout the season, as well as their win at the Mid-Season Invitational, shows me that they have the players, brainpower and mechanical skill to raise Thor’s Hammer as champions of the Smite Professional League.
Written By Mike “Roomba” Schwartz