Smite Pro League – Season 6, Week Two – Match of the Week
I’m still working out the format of these pieces. Any thoughts on what you’d like to read/see? Let me know in the comments!
This was an incredible set of SMITE, and we’re only in week two! Instead of covering all five of these matches from Day One, I’m going to focus on a few of them, the ones that were possibly the most impactful to me. This was the first match to go to five so far, and it’s beautiful. The other matches were quick and ugly, but Rival is going against arguably the two toughest teams at the start of their season. Though they didn’t win, they were not stomped in any of these games, except game one. I’m sure there are going to be plenty of people that come out of the woodwork and blame PandaCat, who is new to the mid role, but I don’t think this is the case at all. PandaCat showed that he has an incredibly diverse god pool, and even banning four mid gods in Game Four. The strat here was very clearly to force PandaCat to go to a god that he was not comfortable on, but it didn’t work. Over these games, I was most impressed with PandaCat’s performance on every single god he picked. The Isis pick was probably my favorite. Her ultimate had a lot of pressure and secure power for objectives.
On the note of Mid Lane, Hurriwind, the only NA player on Dignitas showed he could fit in with the Dig squad just fine. I was genuinely surprised to see so much Ah Puch, but I don’t know why. He’s incredibly powerful, his ultimate covers the entire teamfight space, and he has a mighty burst. Both of these teams showed a great deal of tactical depth and teamwork, and nothing but respect to Rival for their mighty comeback from their 0-2 deficit. They turned this around, forced a game five, forced Dig to play their game. The downside, in my eyes, is the Pittsburgh Knights definitely watched every single match and took notes. If PK is able to learn from the strengths and weaknesses of this current Rival squad, it could be a very short, ugly day two in week two for them. Another thing to point out is Stamina. Going to game five took about six and a half hours. There’s a potential for that to happen to some teams multiple two times a week several weeks of this year. I think it’s to both teams credit to get that experience again, because last season, that didn’t happen until major Lans/Worlds. Instead of covering all five of these games, I’m going to focus on the ones that I thought were most interesting. Otherwise, that’s seven to eight pages of notes, and I don’t think anyone wants that.
I chose this set because it was the one I was most eager to see. It was hard to pick between this and Rival/PK though. That one’s going to be exciting, but it’s going to hinge on how both teams learned from Day One (PK watching, and Rival playing). I chose this because it’s Rival’s first match of the year, and as the team I rooted for the hardest last season, I wanted to see how this new composition did. Though they didn’t win, it was one hell of a slugfest, and I anticipate today’s match being much of the same. Today’s probably going to go to a game five as well.
Dig: Ne Zha, Chronos, Da Ji, Kuzenbo
Rival: Arthur, Freya, Serqet, Ratatoskr
Dig: Artio, Ah Puch, Terra, Hun Batz, Hachiman
Rival: Xbal, Achilles, Fafnir, Vamana, Janus
Not even a second into the game and Artio (Trixtank) gets bopped. They’re still trying to steal Speed Buff but wasn’t successful. However, it still forced three members of Rival to work on that one buff. Lots of jungle action! Fafnir (PBM) tried to steal a Blue Buff, or at least deny it. Sort of interesting that Rival had both Speed Buffs, and Dig had both Red Buffs. Rival does have three Totems of Ku already, which is a boon to them. Trixtank and Hurriwind dive at 5:26, snatching up first blood on Pandacat (Janus)! It’s a little rough for Rival so far, hopefully, they did their homework by watching last week’s matches. Rival are finally on the board by Achilles boxing down Hun Batz, but Rival winds up losing two for that about 8:50. The gold count, despite the kill discrepancy, is still fairly even. Rival may not be winning fights, but they’re winning on objectives.
Another fight breaks out near Harpies/Mid at 11:20, and Rival take another kill on Ah Puch! But it winds up being a trade, as Janus dies as well. At least it’s both mid-laners, so neither of them gets a head up on EXP. Slowly but surely, Rival’s pulling back into the game, though they’re only 1k gold down, as Variety (Terra) falls. Frenzy + 3 Physical Damage? That’s going to potentially be a beatdown in teamfights if they survive all of the displacement and disrespect in the Dig lineup. DIG tries to pick up Gold Harpy, but are interrupted at 17 minutes. Sadly, Twig (Achilles) fell during the distraction.
However, at 19 minutes, Rival scoop up the Pyromancer! They’re down 2k Gold, and a heated battle takes place at Fire Giant! It winds up being a win for Dignitas, 3 deaths on Rival, 2 on Dig. Variety and Trixtank tried to dive for more, but it did not work out, so they pulled back. Dig’s push continues in the right lane, and even if it’s 9-5, and only a 4k gold difference, Dignitas has gotten the best of every single fight. Rival’s not out of this yet, but Dig is showing they cannot be taken lightly. Dig gets the second Pyromancer at 24 minutes, and both teams look to be rotating closer to the Oni Fury. Dignitas wind up getting the Fury without any real contest. Pitched battle at 26 minutes, and it’s a 1 for 1!
Dig is pushed back, losing a tier 2 tower, and it’s a 1 for 4 trade! Rival lost everyone but Pandacat and Trixtank/Ataraxia head on to get Fire Giant. Janus (Pandacat) tries to steal Fire Giant, but he was a little early. Rival is faltering under Dig’s aggressive comp. Dig is poking and prodding the Rival base, and Rival has one Phoenix down, and no towers left. If Dig gets too greedy, Rival can turn it around, but Dig backed off instead of diving.
Instead, Dig back off and get Primal Fury, and as Fire Giant is about to wear off, it’s time to not dive Rival there. I think they could have just gone in without it, but better to not underestimate Rival. Rival must steal Fire Giant, or at least pincer/out-position Dig. The casters pointed out that Rival hasn’t been working as a five-man unit, and I definitely see it. Things are getting more and more out of hand for Rival, and I think Dig can just push their way in after Fire Giant (33 minutes). Rival doesn’t contest Enhanced FG at all, which puzzled me. They must have popped Through Space and Time early. Trixtank has been such a star this game, but he did get a little too cocky around 35 minutes, and Rival obliterated him at Phoenix. Rival tried so hard to push Dignitas back! Dignitas retreated, Rival followed, and Dig tricked them. It winds up an even 2-2 trade, but Dig also got a Phoenix. At 40 minutes, Rival 5 vs. 1 on Variety, and he disappears! Back to base with him! I’m amazed that Rival is still in this as strong as they are. Rival’s peeking around Fire Giant, dropping a ward then backing off. At 43, Dignitas gives up all pretenses, dives the base, and gets the win. Game one goes to Dignitas!
Rival: Terra, Xbal, Serqet, Rat
Dig: Freya, Chronos, Da Ji, Ravana
Rival: Arthur, Fafnir, Isis, Rama, Nemesis
Dig: Achilles, Artio, Ah Puch, Hachiman, Kali
I love that Isis was picked. F. made a great point that big heals like hers make execute abilities much harder to land (stalling Achilles a great deal). Man, these comps are wild! Isis, Nemesis? Kali and Ah Puch! Arthur gets picked just because, let’s be honest, his numbers don’t lie. Achilles and Arthur is going to be a bloodbath in the solo lane. Dignitas grab up both speed buffs for a change, and before I can blink, Captain Twig (Nemesis) grabs first blood, and they almost get a second kill! Man, Rival’s going hard and fast here, almost getting Hurriwind in mid. They do get his beads, at least. Dig get into a 3v2, and Variety is defeated, and so is their Blue Buff. I appreciate that none of these have been salty runback comps. This set has shown that both teams have nice god pools and that new things can and will be tried to counter the strats of other teams. Though Rival are up 4-0 at 7 minutes, Dig put them into a 4v2, and get a kill for it on a Blue Buff pit. 3 members of Dig rotate to the left lane for PBM and Arkkyl. Kali (Qvo) survives the Rama (Arkkyl) ult, thanks to her own, and just walks away, and Arkkyl pays for it.
At 10 minutes, Rival successfully land the Gold Fury, but Dig did try to steal it. It didn’t work, but they sure tried. Nemesis is paying big dividends this game, and her ability to dive the back line and her burst is really going to help if Captain Twig picks the right target for the ult. At the 13-minute mark, Rival dive Right side tower, get one kill, get the tower, but Kali escapes yet again. So far, it’s all Rival, with an about 7k gold lead, and 5 kills (7-2). Rival is eyeing the Fury, and while that happens, Arkkyl sniped Trixtank. Oni Fury drops at 15 minutes, and Qvo almost stole mid tower! Kali hits that ultimate again and just skates easily. Kali has no ult as Rival pushes Fire Giant, and Rival gets an uncontested Fire Giant! Fineokay demolishes Hurriwind, and Rival is bodying Dignitas without so much a scratch on them. It’s 10-2, and I think Dignitas need to really ban out Arthur (as Taco pointed out). Rival gets a Tier 2 tower in mid, and this is going to be over any minute I think if it stays on this trend. Arthur tries a 1v3, but gets some help in Fafnir! Yet another Arthur ult and they make it look easy!
Rival pushes down another Tier 2 tower at 18 minutes, and while the set is not over for Dig, it’s looking really hard for Dig in this particular match. Dig almost lost two Phoenixes. Qvo has yet to use his ultimate in an aggressive manner, which I doubt is what they were hoping for. It’s 13-3, and Rival have a commanding lead. Rival looks to Fire Giant #2, but it’s not enhanced since it’s not even 25 minutes. Fire Giant melts, and Rival continues to batter the hopes of Dignitas. Circle of Protection makes Achilles dissipate, and Rival continues to bully the Phoenixes! 22 minutes, Phoenix is down, and Rival backs off, instead of being greedy this time. Rival move to Fire Giant at 26 minutes, and it’s absolutely melting. Rival get their third FG, and Qvo finally gets to use the Kali ult in a fight, and get a double, but no triple! Rival, however, push Dig over, knock over their sand castle, and get the deicide! They have minions, and are just going to push the Titan without bothering with the other Phoenixes! Game Three goes to Rival!
Dig: Chronos, Isis, Ah Puch, Discordia
Rival: Arthur, Freya, Achilles, Hachiman
Dig: Artio, Serqet, The Morrigan, Jing Wei, Sylv
Rival: Terra, Xbal, Ne Zha, Geb, Poseidon
Damn, Dignitas banned every single god that Pandacat has played so far! Do they think their mid has a small god pool? Dignitas is being very smart here, weakening the player in a role he’s new to. Toily thinks they’re trying to push PandaCat into Janus, which he was weak on, and Hurriwind could transform into. I’m very curious to see what their answer is. Poseidon is the answer? It’s an interesting choice. That huge cripple in the whirlpool, it’s a choice that I definitely like. But will it be the answer to Dig banning out everything else he’s done? As the game starts, Dig almost immediately kills Captain Twig! PBM almost dies too, about one auto attack from death and he too, escapes. Sylvanus vs. Geb in the solo lane? I love/hate this. You guys know me, I love seeing guardians in games, but I wonder if they’re going to build tank or damage. I feel like Sylvanus really has the edge on Geb there. He’s not reliant on crits and has the range to just bully Geb, shield or no shield.
And the first death of the game is Trixtank, who falls to Rival in the jungle! Variety (Sylv) heads to Geb’s Blue Buff and stole it! How did Captain Twig live in the fight at 3:50 in the right lane? He had virtually no HP, it was disgusting. PandaCat says Quack Quack, and blasts the mid lane to get a kill at 5 minutes! Variety fends off a 2v1 gank with a well-placed ult at 9 minutes, and even though Rival has two kills, everything is nice and even on the gold front. Dignitas has 4 Totems to Rival’s 1, though. Meanwhile, things heat up in the mid lane, Pandacat getting another kill, and Trixtank perishes right after. Rival’s got a bare lead, the teams split up. However, Qvo dove Pandacat under the tower, obliterated him with two or three crits, leaps back out, but ultimately still winds up dying. But it put his team on the board!
Dig’s building for the late game again, but Rival also have a very sound late-game comp. It’s going to come down to PandaCat and Hurriwind, in my opinion. I say PandaCat because if PandaCat succeeds in mid lane, all those bans were for naught. More kills in the jungle for Rival, and a 3 for nothing fight! Just like that, Rival snatches Gold Fury at 14 minutes. However, Dig didn’t fold, beat back Rival a little bit, and got a tower for it. Rival steals Pyromancer! They barely took it. Arkkyl barely survived a beatdown from Qvo, the poison not quite enough. Dignitas is really coming back into this game, getting yet another tower. The Morrigan easily gets away from Geb, utilizing the stealth. How did nobody die in the teamfight at 20 minutes? Rival lost a tower, but somehow nobody died in that absolute mess. This leads to a fight over Pyromancer, but PandaCat winds up taking it, and Dig backed off. But Trixtank is eyeing that Fire Giant briefly, before pushing the right lane.
I blink and a pitched battle takes place at Fire Giant. The FG helped Dig push Rival back, and I’m starting to think that Rival was getting greedy. Panda pointed out that Rival has completely stopped the double Serqet initiate at every single point. Between Geb Shield and the Cripple Whirlpool, they just can’t get in. I think The Morrigan should look for a different ult target. Why not Terra? Why not Xbal? Geb is the MVP right now, using that shield at the proper time to prevent Serqet’s poison from killing people. Between that and Shell, Serqet can just weep in bitter frustration. Rival’s lead continues to grow, and I don’t know if Dignitas can turn this around. People are crowding and surrounding the Fire Giant, but Rival choose to loop into their own jungle instead. Who is going to take the next Fire Giant? Rival initiates it, Pandacat stops Dig with a Quacken, but Hurriwind pushes to get a kill, only to perish in the end. Dignitas had nothing in that fight, and I think Rival will just push Fire Giant over for free soon. This has been a pretty slow match. PandaCat’s down at 38 minutes, but I doubt Dignitas will get the Fire Giant for it. They push towards the Right Lane but didn’t find a pick. Looks like a fight’s going to break out. It does, and PBM almost gets killed! He escapes by the skin of his teeth. Rival has the advantage, but Dignitas isn’t quite being pushed out. Dig still have the ability to pick someone off, if Rival even lets up for a single second. Dig push at Fire Giant at 41 minutes, but they lack the damage. Was it a feint? They back off, and kill Captain Twig! Dignitas manage to win that team fight in a 3 for 2! They couldn’t get Fire Giant, but Dig is catching up. Unfortunately, Dig is caught with their pants down, and Rival bop them, 1 for 3! They have been battling to get this next Fire Giant for at least 10-15 minutes. I think it’s finally going down, thanks to Rival!
Rival’s pushing into the base for the first time this game at 46 minutes, just waiting on some minions so they can try for the Left Phoenix. And… as soon as the team fight started, the Spectator Client died! OH NO! Rival take it though, and it goes to Game 5!
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