The Summer Online Split has come to an end, and we have our teams for Dreamhack Valencia. Week 5 decided a single spot that remained in the EU, and all three spots that remained in NA. This is largely because the NA teams decided to buckle like a belt in Week 4. Regardless, this was the defining week of online play. In a defining week, we got some defining play – both good and bad. With out further ado, it’s time to condemn people to Tartarus and enshrine them in Valhalla for the last time until after Dreamhack. The pit will just have to sate its hunger on those who placed there, and the revelry will need to continue unabated until new heroes enter.
Condemned to Tartarus
This week revealed an easy choice out of the EU to condemn to Tartartus – Deathwalker (Solo – Team Rival). In a set that would determine whether or not his team went to Valencia, Deathwalker wasn’t able to play in the games. Now, his team knew about this prior to the set – he was on vacation – but his team was in dire need of him. It appears that Deathwalker is the glue that allows Team Rival to function. The rest of the team was unable to communicate effectively, tackle objectives as necessary, or team fight at all. They were just absolutely picked apart by an Elevate (EU) team that was fighting to avoid relegations. Elevate was feeling themselves so much that in game two Dardez (Support – Elevate) broke out Nox support and just destroyed with it. It was…not a good look for Team Rival. They just checked out after the first few minutes of the game, showing no desire to work with or help out their replacement player. It’s possible Deathwalker didn’t know he was the glue of the team, but that’s unlikely. Now, this isn’t to say his vacation could or should have been avoided. It’s just supremely unfortunate it occurred during the final week of online play with his team’s hopes and dreams on the line.
Over in NA, all of eUnited needs to share the blame for their performance in game two of the set against Spacestation Gaming (NA). If eUnited had won game two, they would have gotten into Dreamhack over Luminosity Gaming (NA). Instead, their builds and selections in game two made little to no sense, and their picks had almost no synergy. Pandcat (Hunter – eUnited) has turned his Skadi pick with the Midgardian Mail into a pocket pick of sorts, but it really only worked the first game in the week 4 set against Luminosity. The second game he was batted around, despite his team winning. Geb can be a good choice depending on the usage, but the team was built around a pick comp, leading to Geb attempting to isolate a single target. This isn’t an ideal situation, and I have to believe PolarBearMike (Support – eUnited) knew that. Amaterasu, Khepri, Ganesha, and Sobek were all still open. To top it off, Varizial’s build was just all over the place. A large variety of builds can often work – and seeing variety and counterplay is a good thing – but this was not that case. Not building brawler’s is just a mistake in that game, and it’s not even just about the Ra healing. Countering the built-in lifesteal of two other gods is huge. Likewise, Stone of Gaia is a great piece, but it needs to make sense to build it – particularly when you build it. If sustain is an issue it can be great, but as Camazotz? There are a lot of better options for around a similar price point. Ignoring the synergy and strengths of a god is just asking to be disappointed. For all of these reasons – and more – all of eUnited is condemned to Tartarus. It was truly a team effort.
Enshrined in Valhalla
This week saw two players rise above their peers and become heroes – Baskin (Mid – Luminosity) and Captaintwig (Jungler – Obey Alliance). While each had different outcomes on the line – attending Dreamhack for Baskin, and placing higher within EU while simultaneously establishing Obey is still very much a team to beat for Captaintwig – each ended up being dominating forces for their teams.
Baskin – along with ScaryD (Solo – Luminosity) – managed to keep Luminosity in game one of their set against AI (NA). His Sol play was reserved after a poor showing in week 4, and his game sense showed a massive rebound after it lapsing against eUnited. Throughout game one it was play after play by Baskin that allowed situations to be salvaged after fights turned against his team. As mentioned, it couldn’t have been done without ScaryD there alongside him, but Baskin’s performance in game two solidifies his spot over his teammate. It is not uncommon for mid players to have lower overall kill participation percentages than their teammates, but Baskin’s was equal to that of his support player – jeffhindla (Support – Luminosity). This sort of tremendous performance is what helps separates the heroes from the lay players. Baskin absolutely deserves his place in the hallowed halls this week, bouncing back admirably from his prior place in the pits of Tartarus.
Captaintwig broke out all of his best tricks against the #1 seed in the EU. The meta has shifted to a place where Captaintwig can again play warriors comfortably out of the jungle – not that he was hampered by the early season assassin-heavy meta – and other teams are not prepared for it. In game one as Osiris he went 3/1/7, participating in 10/12 kills for this team. In game two as Odin he went 6/0/13, participating in 19/27 kills. That put him at 29/39 on the day, for a whopping 74.36% kill participation, outstripping the support by several percentage points. His Odin is terrifying, and you can see it influencing the play of the rest of the region – just as his Ne Zha play managed to first spread to the EU and then the rest of SMITE. Bellona/Osiris jungle is not that uncommon to see at this point, and it’s in part thanks to his play – though eUnited to break it out in the Spring Split to some success. He’s become a trendsetter within the professional community, and his theorycrafting and commentary is helpful to the more casual players to boot. His play was the largest single contributing factor to why Obey Alliance took the set over Team Dignitas. He is most deserving of this week’s place among the eternal heroes.