Last weekend was the first Smite LAN after 2017 Worlds. 14 teams traveled to compete for the Gauntlet with only 3 open spots for the SMITE Masters. All the previous six LANs leading up to this one had been won by the same five players; Dimi, Adapting, Yammyn, iRaffer, and emilitoo. However, this wouldn’t be the same case for lucky, or rather unlucky for NRG’s case, number seven.
NRG Online Performance
|Five||Lion Guard Esports||Win|
Despite having a relatively slow start compared to what NRG is used to, they ended the online phase with enough points, 12, overcoming Eanix by just one point and putting themselves as the “European Final Boss”. Placing as the best non-qualified European team to Masters, it gave NRG two chances during the Gauntlet to qualify for the LAN at the end of April. Either by having to beat the European team that made it the furthest, or defeating the losing North American team in a wildcard match. Unfortunately for NRG, it would be the later.
NRG eSports 1-2 Team Rival
After Rival had some momentum defeating Elevate and Eanix in spectacular fashion going the distance in Game Three for both sets, NRG were able to shut this down by winning the first game. It wouldn’t be an easy task at all for the veteran two time defending world champions. Rival were controlling the objectives early and established a comfortable 3,000 gold lead but it was the grace of god from emilitoo’s Hou Yi Ricochet that allowed NRG to get back into this game.
— SmitePro (@SmitePro) April 16, 2017
Second game would be a similar beginning as Rival continues the early pressure shutting down the Season Two MVP, Yammyn. Playing the Susano for Rival, iceicebaby, goes 8-0-8 until the 28th minute-mark receiving his first death when trying to defend the Fire Giant. Despite the early lead he built for himself and the rest of Rival, it would prove to be troublesome to siege into emilitoo’s Skadi having top player damage a large portion of the game. After taking advantage of the ambitious Rival squad, NRG slowly climbed back into the game and what used to be a 11,000 gold lead quickly dwindled down to 3,000 after successfully defending their tier two solo tower, picking four Rival members, securing their own Fire Giant buff, and ultimately knocking down all the remaining towers from Rival. However, NRG would suffer the same fate as Rival when attempting to demolish the duo lane phoenix. The sustain from Wlfy on the Ra, coupled with the focus fire on emilitoo’s Skadi and Yammyn’s Poseidon, gave the late game edge back to Rival to tie this set to go onto a game three.
With everything on the line for both these in the final game, four out of the ten gods selected were first-time played this whole weekend. Specifically Chronos and Janus for NRG while Rival picked up Kali and Athena. Exerting a lot of pressure onto NRG, Rival were able to invade ALL of the buffs at the 4-minute mark without anyone sacrificed. With this advantage, Deathwalker’s Bellona builds a two level lead (8 vs. 6) and kills Dimi on the Tyr for the First Blood! Feeling confident with the early invades and slight gold/xp lead, Rival start the Gold Fury at the 14-minute mark and secure it. NRG wouldn’t let this go unnoticed and chase down Rival tallying two kills. However, Rival hold onto their tier one duo tower in a 2v4 while Deathwalker solo’s Yammyn in the mid lane, his second of the game! Building more gold for themselves while shutting down any potential NRG had for a comeback through objectives via Gold Fury or towers, this Rival team have certainly made progress between Season three and four. Picking off iRaffer at the 24-minute mark was the last nail in the coffin for NRG as Rival secure the Fire Giant, two phoenixes, and the game.
After losing to Rival in the Gauntlet European Finals, NRG’s 6-LAN Winning streak has ended. Their last LAN set loss was to the hands of Paradigm back in November of 2015 during the 2015 Super Regionals! However, this wouldn’t completely eliminate NRG and their chances for making Masters. They continued that day playing against eUnited in the Wildcard match for the final spot into Masters.
NRG eSports 2-0 eUnited
The wildcard match for the final spot into Masters would be played by both of the respective regions “Final Bosses.” A little history between these two teams dating back to when they first met during the 2016 Smite World Championship. Formerly known as Enemy, Khaos and PainDeViande was never really able to overcome the European powerhouse despite coming the closest they’ve ever had during the Epsilon Invitational as they won three out of their seven total games.
Going back to a historical season two and three pick for Khaos, Zhong Kui, Adapting shows us why Nemesis is the best hard counter.
There are a few players in all of SMITE you probably don’t want to give a lead to. Adapting on the Susano dissects the weakness of the eUnited mid and jungle combination in this second game.
Despite not winning their 7th LAN in a row, NRG eSports still qualified to the MASTERS LAN and give their fans a reason to continue to cheer their name! You can catch this roster starting to compete April 27th at 11:00 AM EDT (05:00 PM CEST) on HiRezTV!
Follow us on Twitter – @SmitePro for all your SMITE esports updates and news during the SMITE Pro League.
Anatoliy “AnatoLiy” Alekseyenok is an Associate Esports Specialist at HiRez Studios. You can follow him on Twitter @iGAnatoLiy.