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 PayDay bars in her handbag (just in case).
Day one of the Smite World Championships opened with North American favourites Cognitive Red taking on the Chinese second seed Doage Is Dog. It looked briefly like there might be an upset as DID scored first blood on Cog Red's Hunter, Snoopy. Unfortunately for DID, that was not a sign of things to come and the rest of the kills, and indeed the game, went to the young North American side.
The second match saw European team SK Gaming defeat Brazil's We Love Bacon. (Do you have any idea how much affection the gathered press had for the latter's team name?) Knowing how comfortable SK are at LAN events that wasn't a surprise.
The first real tension in the tournament came as Titan (formerly Aquila, formerly Agilitas) took on OMG, a Chinese team running with several standins in their lineup. Titan looked to be under pressure early on as OMG - familiar with the EU penchant for late game victories - attempted an aggressive early game lineup. Unfortunately for the Chinese side (and fortunately for Titan's long-suffering coach) Titan were able to hold on until their gods came online and the game swung back in the top EU seed's favour.
Red's sister team Cognitive Prime then picked up a straightforward victory against Latin America's 404 Name Not Found. I'm looking at my notes for the match and the words "absolutely dominating" feature.
Determining who would leave the tournament was the next order of business and We Love Bacon forced DID's exit from the SWC just before OMG dispatched 404. Obviously, nursing a defeat never feels great but it's a slightly sweeter exit than you'll get in some eSports tournaments - the bottom four teams each walk off with just over $32,000 each.
The final matches of the day were the ones with the most hype around them. European LAN powerhouse SK Gaming versus NA favourites Cognitive Red; Titan - coming to SWC after a meteoric rise from the EU amateur scene - versus Cognitive Prime and their home state star Barraccudda.
SK scored what's probably best referred to as a statement victory against Cog Red, leaving the hotly tipped NA side visibly subdued - shaken, even - despite conceding first blood to their fifteen-year-old star player Divios. The second of the two matchups went the way of North America, though, as Red's sister team Cognitive Prime beat Titan. It actually looked like Titan were repeating their "make our coach have a heart attack" strategy as a strong early performance by Prime started to pay fewer dividends in the face of Titan's ability to regenerate health after the 20 minute mark. A badly chosen teamfight and Prime's ability to punish Titan for engaging at that point gave the North American side the advantage and saw Prime earn their spot in the semi-finals, leaving Titan to fend off We Love Bacon in the quarterfinals.
So where does this leave the competition? Well, if Titan can beat We Love Bacon and Cognitive Red can hold off OMG in the second day's best-of-three matches you'll see an EU v EU or a NA v NA semi final - possibly both. If not, the Brazilian and Chinese sides will advance and square off against two of competitive Smite's best known teams.