In between our Summer and Fall Split of SPL was the NRG Invitational last weekend. With NRG winning the last year worlds, they get their own tournament. In case you missed it, it was an event comprised of four team captains (iRaffer, Ataraxia, BaRRaCCuDDa, and Aror) that participated in a draft to recruit from a pool of current active SPL players for their team. iRaffer’s team, Minotaurs, drafted Adapting, Zyrhoes, Benji, and PandaCat. Captain Ataraxia from Titans, drafted Dimi, PrettyPrime, Wubbn, and Mask. BaRRaCCuDDa, Juggernauts, picked up Yammyn, JeffHindla, Variety, and QvoFred. Last, but certainly NOT least was Aror’s Manticores that consisted also of emilito, CaptainTwig, TheBest, and KiKiSoCheeky. A two-day LAN where Saturday’s games consisted of fun mini games that gave winning teams points for seeding for the Sunday conquest games. For more information about how the mini games worked, click here to read the previous article.
Day One – Mini Games
Minotaurs 1-0 Titans
Manticores 1-0 Juggernauts
Juggernauts 1-0 Minotaurs
Titants 1-0 Manticores
Manticores 1-0 Minotaurs
Skill vs strategy, brain vs brawn, troll vs serious. However you want to label this specific game, it was clear that the Manticores were more prepared as they picked the better long term Assault god with Hel as opposed to Minotaurs that tried to brute force their way to victory with Ullr that did not out damage the sustain from Manticores.
Juggernauts 1-0 Titans
More dynamic game play in the second Multiplicity as Juggernauts selected Vulcan while Titans elected for Nox. An interesting strategy for the Titans as they developed a consistent strategy where 4 of the Noxs would all Shadow Step into one that had a Blink Relic and surprise Juggernauts. On top of the element of surprise that Titans had, their control with the silence clouds and roots would eventually chain lock unsuspecting victims. In the flip side, Juggernauts weren’t deterred from the surprise element as they had a brute force strategy of spamming turrets and Magma Bombs, out damaging the army of Nox.
Pick Your Poison
Manticores 1-0 Titans
In a mode where the teams pick the other teams gods in a conquest draft mode, both Manticores and Titans elected to draft Guardians for each other. Whether or not this was agreed upon before the game started is a mystery but it ensued for some hilarity and shenanigans. Despite having 10 resilient gods on the battlefield, there was plenty of action and lots of deaths.
Juggernauts 1-0 Minotaurs
As opposed to the previous Pick Your Poison match, this one would be all hunters. BaRRaCCuDDa on the Artemis was able to truly shined in this match where all others were playing his game. It would be the Luminosity support, JeffHindla, that would be the last man standing as he took out the Minotaur’s Titan.
Day Two – Standard Conquest
Manticores 2-0 Titans
Captain Aror against Captain Ataraxia. The first regular Conquest format match of the Invitational was decided by the team with more North American players – which isn’t something that can be said very often as of recent past LAN performances.
Juggernauts 2-1 Minotaurs
After the four captains drafted all their players, analysts and fans combined predicted these two teams were the clear cut favorites. Unfortunately for Captain iRaffer and his Minotaurs, BaRRaCCuDDa’s Juggernauts just had the better edge as QvoFred and Variety made sure to shut down Adapting.
Manticores 3-1 Juggernauts
The grand finals of the NRG Invitational was a surprise to most as Manticores weren’t praised after the draft concluded. With three North American players of Aror, TheBest, and KiKiSoCheeky, their combined synergy and communication was by far the best compared to any team as these three have been playing together even before they participated in the SPL scene. The one game that Juggernauts did win was with the solo/jungle control that QvoFred and Variety had between the monkey brothers Hun Batz and Sun Wukong. Willing to go outside the box, Aror played Hel support in games one and four to throw a wrench at the Juggernauts. Coordination was evident between the Manticores as they dismantled the Juggernauts in four games.
With Summer Split over and the NRG Invitational concluded, our next SPL broadcast will begin August 19th 1:00 PM EST (7:00 PM CEST) for SPL Relegations on HiRezTV!
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Anatoliy “AnatoLiy” Alekseyenok is an Associate Esports Specialist at HiRez Studios. You can follow him on Twitter @iGAnatoLiy.