Hirez Roundup #2
Welcome back to the Hirez Roundup! This week, our topics are perhaps a bit more focused, since I missed out on some of the Pro Matches, and the only patch notes we received were for HOTG. So today, the focus is going to be the Raijin Rework, Paladins Pro Play on Console (!!!)/3-Tank Comp, and HOTG Patch Notes Thoughts and a Sweet New Game Mode! The HOTG Patch Notes are massive though and there is a heap of new cards coming, so I will probably talk more about that than the others. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the fun stuff going down for other games. We’re also coming dangerously close to Super Regionals, which I am incredibly excited for as well as the SPL Gauntlet. It’s going to be an exciting end-of-year, as the teams potentially could be shaken up more than ever! Will we not see NRG at HRX this year? The unstoppable juggernaut has had a rough Fall Split, and instead, at the top of the EU Standings are Obey Alliance and Dignitas! Leading the pack for NA is EUnited and Luminosity! Does NA have a chance this year? Could it be time for the NA scene to shine? I believe in us. SPL Gauntlet is arguably my favorite esports event outside of EVO; it’s an endurance match unlike any other, where the last Gauntlet I got to see some absolute insanity. One team has the chance to start off and end as victors, and I thought it was going to happen last time! Perhaps I can get some time with F. or Hinduman to talk about the current scene! Hmm. Alright guys, let’s press on!
Raijin: 4.18/19 Rework with HiRezTopDamage:
So Raijin’s an interesting beast in SMITE. Between patches 4.18 and 4.19 he received some quality-of-life changes, and one of the big arguments since inception is that he’s “incredibly OP”. The numbers disagree, as St3alth pointed (which can be read right here) out his incredibly low win-rate, outside of the pro scene. As someone down in the Gold/Silver range, he can be very frustrating to play against. But he wasn’t pick-or-ban tier. I would see him occasionally in matches on the other team and it was always someone who happened to be the elusive “Raijin One-Trick”. They could do incredible things, and you never really knew if a shot was going to hit you. His hitbox/targeters weren’t in line with what they should be, and the worst offender of these (to me, at least) was Percussive Storm (1). The idea of an ability that gets wider the farther it travels is pretty cool, but I can see it being insanely frustrating to deal with, on both sides. I appreciate how this is taken from a numerical standpoint. It doesn’t feel like “Hey, we don’t like this, so we’re changing it”, but St3alth’s approach to this update is one I appreciate. You can argue with a thousand players on whether something is powerful or it sucks. But numbers, those don’t lie. What Raijin can and cannot do is far more clear, his targeting is better, and received a host of quality-of-life updates. He desperately needed some visual clarity and while yes, he did receive some nerfs in addition to this, I have a feeling it will not negatively impact how he plays. It was sort of unclear what was changing on Raijin during the patch notes, and this blog-style post over on Reddit made it abundantly clear the direction they took, and why. So, kudos, and I hope these continue in the future.
Probably the biggest thing that’s been cried out for in Paladins is a competitive scene for console! I’ll be honest, as a PS4 player, Mixer isn’t something that’s well-known to me. Most of my friends on Xbox One do stream on it, so I know it exists. But Mixer is the place to be for the $250,000 Paladins Console Series! All console players in North America and Europe are eligible, and each month players have a shot at cash and in-game currency! This will take place on the Paladins Mixer Channel, much in the same vein as the Paladins Premier League appearing on Facebook. What’s better, is that the top players from each region will be able to earn the right to compete on stage at the first Paladins Console World Championships, during HRX 2018. There can only be one first World Champion, and it’s the console players time to shine! This makes me wish I played more on console! I really should sit down and see how I feel about the game on a controller. There will be a series of 12 monthly tournaments, from Oct. 2017-2018! I love that these teams will be able to earn invites to LANs and Worlds in 2018. That has to be an incredible feeling to be able to play at that level. But this promises to be an awesome series of matches, and though I don’t use Mixer often, I guess I have no choice now!
I also have one more thing to talk about, in regards to Paladins. Something I saw a fair amount of in both Pro Matches and my own personal Matches (Gold 1-Plat V) is the Triple Tank Meta. Do you know what happens when someone locks a third tank without mentioning it or suggests “Triple Tank Comp”? I’m sure you do: “OMG FEEDER” “OMFG TROLLLLL”, et cetera. It’s rough. But does Triple Tank work? Of course, it does! Do you have someone you play Paladins with who is not a reliable damage but loves to tank? There are tanks that hit hard enough and have CC! I’d keep a flanker though because having a Maeve behind enemy lines slowing the other team down just makes life easier. You can just lock whichever tanks, but I think you should carefully consider which ones you want to use. The goal of a tank comp is to keep the enemy from the point the entire time. There have no chance to break your impenetrable wall of shields. So the top two tanks for Tank Comp, to me, are Ash and Inara. Wall, Cripple, Moving Shield, and the knock-back. I feel like these two are probably a must for “Tank Comp”. So those two locks down the point just fine on their own, but how do you really seal the deal? There are options! Pick Barik, run your turrets around corners to slow down the other team, and shield/ult for emergencies. He’s great at finishing the point-push with his ultimate plus more turrets. Torvald is my go-to for any situation and I won’t apologize for that. His new LMB can dismount people much easier than before, silence the poor sap that actually leaps down onto the point, or ult them away for the kill.
Honestly, my favorite Torvald tactic now is once we have the point, everyone’s alive and you’re near the point for victory? Ult them towards your base! You can’t remount, so good luck, chump. Or you can simply hook them with Makoa and mock them with laughter as they’re now stuck. And then dead. Basically, any flank works for this team, but my favorite is Maeve (triple jump, hang out at their base and dismount them), or Zhin (he’s still basically immortal, so he just runs around and bullies people). Pick the Flank that you think will be the most frustrating to deal with. No damage dealer though, keep those dorks in champ select. So ideally you want a very mobile flank that’s going to reach their healer/damage dealer/flank and have confidence in the role. That’s another reason to make Makoa, to hook their dumb flank and kill them on the spot. As far as Healers go, Ying, Seris, Jenos are popular because they deal silly damage and have excellent damage. But… consider this: Grohk. It is Grohk’s time to shine! Put the totem on the point and laugh as people try to stop you from being immortal! Plus his ultimate will deter anyone from getting close. Yes, this comp is where Grohk will stand out. Sure, you can pop a few Ying clones, or pull people in with Seris’ ult. But are either one of them an awesome Orc with a sick heal totem? No, no they are not. So next time someone considers Three-Tank Comp in your comped game, don’t threaten to report them. Hear them out.
Hand of the Gods: The Hunt/New Game Mode:
New cards for Hand of the Gods! A nice large pile of new cards! I’m not going to break them all down, but if you’d like to see them, feel free to click this handy link. But whoo doctor, there are some fun ones here. Aegean Outcast is far and away my favorite card in this patch. It’s a melee unit, 4/4 for 4 that has a Warcry of “Swap the attack and health of a unit” (Common). This is a little ambiguous, so it tells me you can use it to save a unit of yours that has a huge attack but is taking some serious heat. Now they’re a 3/15 instead of a 15/3! Or you can use it for its intended purpose, to lower something so that you can trade and kill it. That Loki not quite dead, but you need him to be? Consider him done. If this game ever institutes a “Best of 3” for competitive, and adds a Sideboard, guess what I’m using? Siege Master. It’s a ranged unit for 3 mana, that’s a 4/1 (Common). It’s Warcry is “Destroy two Structures”. I don’t like this as someone who mains the Hindu deck! But to deal with the mirror match? I’d sideboard two of them to put people out of my misery.
Occult Deadeye is another fun one, but its cost is a little on the high-side, at 5. It’s a 4/4 Rare Ranged unit, with “Afterlife: Return a random god from your graveyard and reduce its cost by 1”. In a Hindu deck, it lets your Afterlife creatures come back one more time. I love the idea behind it, and I can see it being included in many a Norse/Greek deck. Yay, Thanatos one…more time…Ugh. The last card I want to really highlight is Inferno, which is a Chinese card that has a 10 mana cost. And it’s a common! Whew. But it deals 8 damage and would be a terrific way to seal a game that’s not exactly going your way. I assume that you can run two of them, and at the end of the game, in a card game that has very few ways to counter a spell, this is powerful. However, what happens if your opponent manages to copy it and use it against you? Very much a risky business.
The Gauntlet sounds like a very fun new mode, where “Everything is on the line”! The Gauntlet is four individual queues that players can compete in for rewards that are unique for each patch cycle. Every patch will have four separate variants with their own requirements that will change how you approach the game. I love this because I enjoy variants like Commander/Pauper for MTG and other card games. You have to get 8 wins for your reward. Here are your Gauntlet Details:
- Only decks created from your collection and meeting the deck requirements will be eligible for use in the Gauntlet. This must be done before entering the queue.
- Rewards will be granted to players who achieve 8 wins.
- Monday at 5am EDT – Friday at 5am EDT players will be able to access two-weekday gauntlets.
- Friday at 5am EDT – Monday at 5am EDT players will be able to access two-weekend gauntlets.
- After a player has won or lost a specific gauntlet type, they will not be able to enter that same gauntlet again until the daily cooldown resets at 5am EDT.
The first four reward you with Cutesey Avatars and Core Packs + Favor, which are always worthwhile. My personal favorite is either Pauper or Prodigal. Pauper requires only Free/Common cards, and Prodigal is only Rare/Epic/Legendary cards. I love modes like this because it really is a test of what you can do with the cards you have. I still have a Pauper deck I use for MTG (U/B synergy, nothing over a 3 drop, all cards count as both white and blue and provide buffs to the rest of the deck). Divine Battle is another fun one, but likely not one I’ll try to queue for right away. It requires at least 10 God cards from Norse/Greek/Mayan. Only those decks can queue, but they must have at least 10 Gods. The final Gauntlet challenge is Pantheon Wars: Egyptian vs. Chinese. Only those two factions can queue in that mode. Now, when I read Divine Battle for the first time, I had to have read it wrong. My initial thought was “I can build a deck with three different factions!?” which would be absolutely insane. Sadly, I do not think this is the case, but how fun would that be to build? I think I’m going to enjoy at least trying these. I’m glad they aren’t like an Arena, where I have no control over what cards I have access to. But I also hope they offer more deck slots for this kind of thing.
So, there’s definitely a lot of fun stuff going on right now! From Paladins extending to console competitive, to SMITE updates and awesome new HOTG cards! What are you guys excited for? Rooting for any particular players/teams in the upcoming pro scene matches? Let me know below!
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