Smite World Championships: Day 2 Roundup

The Smite World Championship is an eSports event taking place in Atlanta, Georgia. The prize pool is just over $2.6 million making it the third biggest in eSports history. Pip is out there writing daily reports, exploring the event and putting Hershey bars in her handbag (just in case).

Kicking off day two of the Smite World Championships, Europe’s top seed Titan took on the Brazilian team, We Love Bacon. Titan were in the quarter-finals after dropping a game to the American side, Cognitive Prime while WLB made their way into the match after defeating the Chinese side, Doage Is Dog.

The first of the best-of-three seemed surprisingly even although the game eventually went the way of the Europeans. In the second WLB took a punt on a relatively old school Zeus/Odin combination – a pickup popular back in the game’s beta. The risk didn’t pay off and Titan dominated the match from a Zeus kill before minions had even spawned, through a deicide (Smite’s term for a team wipe) at 11 minutes and onward to the point where Titan had almost double the amount of gold their rivals could muster. The EU team went through to the semi-finals and prepared to face off against SK Gaming in a repeat of the regional finals.

The other quarter-final of the day was between Cognitive Red (a casualty of SK’s day 1 aggression and swagger) and the Chinese team OMG. OMG were a slightly different side from the one which qualified as visa issues meant a number of the team couldn’t attend, leaving members of OMG’s B-team to make up the numbers. Whether the original side would have fared better is one of those unanswerable questions, but the side they did field were unable to offer anything approaching a challenge to the North American side.

Cog Red clearly thought as much. In the second game the team went with… not exactly a troll lineup but one with enough oddities to show that they didn’t feel threatened in the slightest. I did ask the team about the picks afterwards – a Ne Zha and Zeus combo particularly – and jungler DaGarz’ answer was: “We were just trying to have fun with it and we had a bit more security being up one game and we’re very confident in our abilities. Those are picks I’ve been wanting to try for a long time and we finally got a chance to do it.”

It also didn’t help that OMG left Thor unbanned an unpicked – a gift which DaGarz was only too pleased to snap up. The resultant Cog Red victory meant the second semi-final would be an entirely North American affair. I’d like to add at this point that despite relative inexperience and some bad decisions, OMG clearly have some strong foundations on which to build. Give them another season with the game and I suspect they might turn into a truly monstrous side.

The EU v EU semi-final was the first of the afternoon’s two regional face-offs. Titan admitted the week of scrimming prior to the tournament had been a rough one with SK winning about eighteen of the twenty or so matches. There was no trace of that horrible track record at the live event, though – as the team said later, “We used everything we learned against them – it worked out, I guess”. A balanced back and forth in the first game started to give way to an escalating Titan lead. There was a brief facepalm (literally, on the player cam) as Titan’s hunter Ataraxia got killed by one of SK’s phoenixes but soon after Titan secured a win just as Ataraxia bagged a triple kill.

The second game was far less of an even fight and a Vulcan ban (a respect ban given how well PrettyPrime had been doing with the god) put the mid laner on Nox. There’s no simple way to sum up the ensuing match other than to say Titan wrecked house – which I guess might seem like a weird analogy given their support, KanyeLife, spent so much time putting up impenetrable walls as frost giant Ymir.

The last match of the day was the North American semi-final between the two Cognitive teams; Cog Red and Cog Prime. In the first match the younger side – Red – had the upper hand but during Prime’s post-game press conference the older team confessed they felt it was more of a throw on their part than a win for Red.

In the second of the best of three I thought we were in Aquila/Cloud9 territory as Prime pressed their advantage too hard, taking on Red’s titan and attempting to close out the game at around the 27 minute mark. But Prime failed to deal with Eonic’s Athena. They couldn’t seal the deal and were chased out of base. For a while it looked like Red might find a way to claw their way back into the game. It wasn’t to be and Prime finally went back to finish that titan off fifteen minutes after they’d first started the job. The first titan attempt and an engagement near the Fire Giant were categorised by Prime later on as “almost throws”, the main takeaway from the match being “never be this stupid ever again”.

It was a strong strategy for the third game of the series. Another Thor slipped through for DaGarz but, unlike in the OMG game, this wasn’t an error. Prime simply aren’t scared of DaGarz’ Thor. They ended up proving their point as an ineffective Thor hovered around the same level as the enemy support, Sylvanus. Prime simply outplayed Red. Their decisive victory in that third game means it’s Cognitive Prime vying with Titan in the grand final for that $1.3 million first prize cheque. Meanwhile SK Gaming and Cognitive Red will duke it out for third and fourth place.

“We think we’re going to beat Titan easier than we beat Cog Red,” was Prime’s assessment of their day three chances. “We think we’re all the best players in our respective roles and we’ve said for a while the only thing that can beat us is us. If we’re all playing at 100 percent we’re going to win every game we ever play.”

15 Comments

  1. jarowdowsky says:

    Is Smite something Rock, Paper, Shotgun play a lot of?

    It’s not something I’d ever heard or seen mentioned here before and now it feels like the most important game in the world to you all.

    So far I’m guessing it’s sort of a pixel-art 2D fighting game set in a Muppet version of the Trojan war? Anyone ever played it outside of the writers?

    Whatever it is, it seems to be as appealing for you peeps as Destiny is for Eurogamer….

    • mukuste says:

      It’s a single person, Pip, who mostly does the MOBA writing, reporting on a currently ongoing event, namely, the Smite World Championships (as one can glean from the title). So it’s neither all of them nor does it happen all the time.

      As for the game, I understand that it’s basically League of Legends played from an over-the-shoulder perspective. I haven’t played it, no, but it’s pretty popular as far as MOBAs go, I hear. Probably third in player numbers after LoL and Dota 2, I guess?

      • BooleanBob says:

        In terms of viewer numbers, Smite has been at a pretty solid 40k during their World Cup event. That doesn’t look great compared to Dota 2, which was concurrently pulling in 120k for a qualifier to a smaller tournament. And of course it pales in comparison to League of Legends, which was also pulling in 120k for no competition at all.

        You wouldn’t know that now, because as of today Twitch has bumped Smite right to the top of the front page list, replacing the viewing figure (currently well under 10,000) with the words ‘promoted game’.

        • OmNomNom says:

          Smite is very much a newcomer compared to LoL and DOTA so I don’t think it is necessarily fair to directly compare player counts to. Whilst it obviously borrows a lot from the other games the third person view is refreshing and the abilities tend to be far more skillshot oriented.

    • BooleanBob says:

      Well, it says right there in the intro that Pip is out there at the event. So there’s nothing unusual about her getting a lot of articles out of it, as that’s what tends to happen when a writer goes to a tournament, convention or exposition.

      It’s a game that does get a fair bit of coverage here, which I think is down to both to Pip liking it and the sort of ‘root for the underdog’ mindset that RPS has long been known for. The comparison to Destiny is a bit unfair in that regard, because Eurogamer’s proselytisation of a game already so heavily marketed and hyped – certainly not in need of a helping hand for headline exposure – strikes me as being much more cynical than giving a leg-up to what currently is a bit of a genre also-ran.

      I’d like to see a healthier, more vibrant esports scene so I’m generally in favour of the smaller games having their share of the (key) limelight (pie). Whether this game (and these devs) in particular actually deserve a slice remains an open question, but let’s not be too quick to cudgel RPS for looking to the margins.

      • OmNomNom says:

        Yeah I definitely agree regarding limelight. I don’t care about the largest games as much as there are always specialist sites to garner more detailed information from. One of the things I love about RPS is r the reporting and reviewing on the underdog games that other sites wouldn’t give the time of day to.

    • Turin Turambar says:

      Smite is doing the world championship, and Philippa is there physically, that’s why we have more news. When the next Dota2 or LoL big championship occurs, she will do the same.

      Cog vs CogRed were the best matches, of course. Super high level of play, in both individual skill and temwork, and super even. Or at least the first two, the third decanted too early to one side.
      Interesting how they gave Thor to Dagaarz and lost even with that, but of course Cog got Serquet and Scylla and Sylvanus, while the Chronos was a bet for the late game which they never got.

      “In the first match the younger side – Red – had the upper hand but during Prime’s post-game press conference the older team confessed they felt it was more of a throw on their part than a win for Red. ”
      That’s bullshit, that was the most even game in the entire tourney. Like, 37 minutes into it and they were even.

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        Philippa Warr says:

        Yeah – I should have been a bit clearer with the context. That quote is from the post-match interview where Cog Prime were basically surfing a wave of adrenaline and swagger. I’d agree with your verdict on the match. It was close and regardless of whether it was Prime’s match to lose or Red’s to win they still had to fight.

        In case you were curious, as part of that conference the team said they felt the NA semi-final was the final to them because of how they view the strength of the North American scene. I’m looking forward to the final because I really think EU is strong and Titan can really bring it.

        Hope that clarifies – turns out I’m not as eloquent or explainy at 4am as I’d like ;)

    • Moraven says:

      I would have liked more coverage of the BlizzCon tournaments, but there are many other sites there to do that. (I was there and all it was great, between the 4 games being played and the stages. Hearthstone and SC2 stages were great).

      RPS writes what interests that writer. And helps that the writer here is actually at the event, live covering it (vs covering it while watching it online).

      I have not played or watched Smite yet, but liking all things eSports, it is nice to read up on it.

  2. DrollRemark says:

    Does anyone know where there’s a good newbie’s guide to MOBAs? It seems like the most impenetrable game to spectate to me. Maybe it’s just that I’ve never played games in that genre, but when I watch competitive CS or StarCraft (which I have played) I always get the impression that they’re pretty easy to get the basics from (SC: both teams are trying to wipe the other out. CS: one team wants to get to a certain location(s), the other is trying to stop them).

    I always find Pip’s articles interesting, but I rarely have a clue what any of it means.

    • Rizlar says:

      As someone that knows bugger all about DotA-likes:

      The aim of the game is to destroy the enemy base. Each base is defended by towers and a never-ending stream of ‘creeps’ along three lanes. In order to destroy said base, teams must build power by killing monsters and each other. So most of the action is a series of skirmishes with teams trying to get one over on each other by getting a kill or two, or just pushing the enemy out of position, setting them back in terms of the xp/gold arms race that’s going on. Once a team thinks it has an advantage / sees an opening they push towards the enemy base to win the game.

      Smite mixes things up a bit since the base/ancient is actually a titan that comes alive at some point and starts smashing shit up. And all the talk of team picks is confusing when (like me) you have no idea who any of the characters are or what they are good at, but suffice to say, teams can both pick characters and ban characters from being picked.

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        teije says:

        Thanks for that – that lifted my total ignorance of this game and genre somewhat. I was curious yesterday and watched about 10 minutes of the twitch (Titan vs. Bacon game). It was pretty impenetrable to me, and the overly excited commentators just made it more confusing.

        Although watching a sport with complex rules like American football for the first time is probably just as confusing to the uninitiated.

        I appreciate RPS’ coverage of this. One of the reason I like this site so much is it expands my gaming horizons. I don’t have to be interested in playing something to enjoy learning about it.

  3. Shadowcat says:

    The good thing is that Pip has tagged it with “eSports”. One day I’ll write a Greasemonkey script to hide articles with tags I know I have no interest in.

    Along the way I’ll get infuriated that the tagging isn’t nearly as consistent across the whole site as I’d like it to be for this sort of thing; but a cursory glance at the aforementioned tag results suggests that Pip will earn a gold star for diligence.

  4. Vandelay says:

    Edit: This was meant to be in response to Rizlar’s comment on the picking stage being confusing.

    Thankfully, in Smite, the team picking section seems to be gone through fairly quickly. The couple of games I’ve watched this weekend have been up and running in about 2-3 mins. In DOTA, each ban or pick seems to take about that length. I get that they are thinking about possible counter picks and have to adapt due to bans, but you would have thought that they would have thought out their strategy against their opponents enough to adapt quicker than that.

    As for actually understanding the game, I feel that Smite doesn’t have the best spectating system. Compared to DOTA, it seems a lot less accessible for eSports, which guess comes from the fact that the game is designed to be viewed from over the shoulder of a character, rather than to give an overview of the battlefield.

    • Moraven says:

      Ah, so it is the isometric perspective, at least from watching the 5 minutes of a rebroadcast.

      Do they ever go to player POV?

      It does seem a little off since how the characters play and ability impact plays differently than LoL/DOTA. Kinda has that WoW Arena vibe.