This is the most important week for the SPL Fall Split online portion. There’s no more second chances, no more excuses, no more “we’ll do better next week”. This is it. Short term, only the top four from each region get to go to Super Regionals, everyone else has to find the one ticket out, per region, through the gauntlet. Long term, only the teams that finish top six during the regular season will be in the SPL for Season 5. Some of our high end teams came into the week with their spot at Super Regionals already locked up, but everyone else came in fighting for their professional lives. The best part was that just about everyone was in control of their own destiny. Win and you’re in, lose and hope for the best. Let’s go back over the action from week 5 to see how we ended up with the eight Super Regional teams that we already know are safe, and the eight Gauntlet teams who have a rocky road ahead of them.
Thursday – International
Elevate 1-0 Obey Alliance
The first set is a game of mixed priorities. Obey are not just guaranteed to go to Super Regionals, but guaranteed at least 2nd place. Even if Obey lose both games this set, they could still be first by winning the full set against Dignitas on Saturday. Elevate, on the other hand, need every point they can get. Coming into this set they were tied with Valance for 3rd place and they play Valance on Saturday. That means if they get even one point off of Obey they force Valance to have to 2-0 them to pass them in the standings. When you factor in NRG, who are only one point behind, Elevate securing some points here greatly diminishes the chances of the two time world champs avoiding the Gauntlet. Game one does go the way of Elevate, and it was the shock felt throughout EU! Dardez on Nox and Cherryo on Athena brought too much control for Obey to deal with. Obey Alliance fall for the first time all split, and their undefeated record is a thing of the past. Now Obey have to regroup for Game 2, which no longer has any impact on their seeding. Elevate don’t pick up the Athena or Nox in game 2, but CaptainTwig goes back to his Ratatoskr. Obey slow the game down considerably, and have no problems picking up game 2. Ataraxia on Hou Yi provided too much AOE for his team and Xaliea’s Cabrakan brought plenty of disruption. Elevate is now in a position where Valance would have to 2-0 them on Saturday to put them in danger.
Team Rival 2-0 Burrito Esports
Next up was Rival up against Burrito. Burrito are looking like the bottom team in Eu, along with Papis, but Rival were the next closest team standings wise. Rival would need to at least split if they want to avoid being relegated. Rival were a full three points ahead before the game, and burrito would have to 2-0 here just to even things up. They keep the game even for about 25 minutes but IceIcebaby on the Vamana helped pull the game out of control for Burrito all at once. Now Burrito are going to have an extremely tough path to avoid Relegations. Rival find the 2-0 that they needed in this set, though. Burrito fought well, but too often, a few members of Rival got away with low health. Wlfy was 8/0/11 and IceIceBaby with the jungle Osiris was 5/1/11. Now Rival are set up with 8 points, tied with elevate who got a split against Obey. Valance has been pushed out, and the set between NRG and Rival could very well decide who goes to Super Regionals and who goes to Gauntlet.
eUnited 2-0 Vigilant
The first NA set of the day is eUnited against Vigilant. eUnited are all but guaranteed to be in Super Regionals, so right now they’re chasing Luminosity to earn that top seeding. Vigilant, on the other hand, could really use at least a split to help put some distance between them and Noble. Game one is a dominant game by eUnited, captained in large part by Screammmm on Ratatoskr. He’s the one setting up Venenu on Chronos and partnering with Benji. The game is so far gone that Vigilant surrender, and focus on getting their heads right for game 2. eUnited don’t get rat again, but they get Camazotz who is just as good. Venenu takes Aphrodite mid, a spicy pick, but it’s PandaCat on Hou Yi who shows up big. PandaCat doesn’t always get a chance to shine on a loaded roster, but today he did. He ends the game 5/0/2 and top of the player damage chart. eUnited continue to dominate and only have LG in their sights after winning this set 2-0.
Trifecta 2-0 Team Allegiance
The final set of Thursday was Trifecta taking down ALG. With ALG at the bottom of the SPL, Trifecta are sitting pretty with a guaranteed fourth qualifying to Super Regionals. Trifecta needed this victory to guarantee themselves into Super Regionals, and ALG was aiming to create some space between themselves and the bottom. They would find space hard to find in game 1 up against Cynosure’s Thanatos pick. Thanatos can still have an impact even if he doesn’t get started early, but Trifecta did not have to worry about that on Thursday. Cynosure gets off to a hot start and ALG never regain control. 7/0/6 was how he finished and Trifecta take game 1. Game two was much longer and much closer. 40 minutes in, Trifecta finally start to truly pull away from ALG. They take down four members of ALG, only losing Cynosure, and then with the fire giant around their waists they push down ALG’s titan and take the set 2-0.
Saturday – Europe
Elevate 1-1 Valance Squadron
Such an important set to start off the day. Valance needed a 2-0 and nothing less if they wanted to make it to Super Regionals, while Elevate only had to secure a split to guarantee themselves a spot. Jermaine is unavailable for the set, putting eLevate in a bind going into their most important set of the year. Baas is their sub, and he steps up for them. Game 1 was really slow paced until about the 19 minute mark when Dardez blinks in as ymir and gets immediatly turned on. Valance win the fight, take the Portal Demon, the Fire Giant and the game is blown open from there. Funballer played out of his mind all set, but especially in Game 1 on the Skadi. Game 2 was a lot closer throughout, and it took 40+ minutes for eLevate to find a win. Funballer takes Anhur this game and builds all attack speed and pen. eLevate defend one fire giant push from Valance and then make their own. Valance defend and look for the counter initiation, but eLevate’s response is too strong. eLevate find the split they need (without Jermain) and take their spot at Super Regionals. Valance, will have to find a way through The Gauntlet.
NRG Esports 1-1 Team Rival
Another set where both teams control their own destiny, but the job is a little harder for NRG. NRG have to 2-0, but all Rival need is to split, and they would send the world champs down to The Gauntlet. After seeing eLevate make their way through to the Gauntlet, everyone knows there is only spot left. NRG show up with a game plan, though, and looks real strong in Game 1. Emilitoo picks up the spicy Ullr pick and it gets off to a good start. It’s Adapting on the serqet who was truly wrecking havoc. They draft a composition with tons of early pressure, and execute it perfectly. IceIceBaby never gets to see his jungle and Adapting keeps picking up kills. It takes 30+ minutes, but Rival never had control. Now it’s all even footing, win or go home… Or, at least go to super regionals. Rival look much better in game 2. This game it’s DeathWalker who gets to pilot the Osiris and NRG has no answer to him. Rival are in control all game, until about 33 minutes in when NRG casually steal a fire giant from Rival. NRG defend and now they are the ones pushing. Emilitoo is playing great again, this time on Jing Wei. Rival win one more teamfight off the back of IceICeBaby’s excellent Odin cages. With the Fire Giant, NRG couldn’t defend, and Rival qualify straight to Super Regionals. The two time world champs drop to the Gauntlet.
Burrito Esports 1-2 The Papis
You’re not reading that scoreline wrong. Burrito and Papis had to play three games. The third set of the day saw Papis and Burrito, battling it out to determine seeding for the Gauntlet. Both teams will be relegated going into Season 5, no matter what, but this will determine who will have to fight one extra match on their Gauntlet grind. Game 1 went in favor of Burrito, and it felt like they had control of the game the entire team. Dzoni takes He Bo jungle in game 1 and he gets out of hand quickly. Moving on to Game 2 Dzoni picks up He Bo jungle one more time, but doesn’t see quite as much success. The Papis had the lead in game 2, but it was a smaller lead for most of the game. Warchi was the superstar of game 2 on Hou yi, never dying the whole game ending up 9/0/6. Now they end up tied in points and gotta go to a game 3. It seemed to be in favor of Burrito the whole game, but a fire giant steal from DracoMarino turns everything on it’s head. Creed plays He Bo in solo, and Warchi continues to be a terror on Hou Yi and Papis take the set and 7th place.
Team Dignitas 0-2 Obey Alliance
This match up is all about seeding and a look at how our potential best teams in the world stack up. Obey hold all the cards though, needing only a split to secure first place, while Dig would need a 2-0. Emilzy plays support Hel, and is pumping out the heals early. Obey have no problems taking game 1, Dig had no answer for the sustain Emilzy brought. At this point the seeding can no longer change, and CaptainTwig uses the opportunity to test out the Kuzenbo jungle against top level talent. Dignitas is playing mostly for pride at this point, and a chance to get reps up against their biggest rival in EU. It catches Dig a little off balance at first, helping to set up an early kill on to Variety’s Ravana solo. Obey Alliance are once again in control but Zyrhoes is almost single handedly keeping Dig in the game with his Sol play. Xaliea continues to look untouchable on Cu Chulainn at 11/0/10. The Kuzenbo jungle may have seemed like a joke, Twig has now put it into the minds of all the Super Regional opponents he’ll be facing. Game 2 goes 50 minutes, and Obey take the set.
Sunday – North America
Noble 1-1 Team Allegiance
The first set of the day was a match up between the 6th and 7th seed in NA, a battle to see who gets relegated. Noble were in the better spot, but only by a little. They needed a 2-0 to guarantee their season 5 spot, but a split would mean they’d need some help from Vigilant. ALG had to 2-0 or their season 5 hopes would be crushed. The game stays neck and neck despite an early spill for Cyclone. He shows his veteran experience by recovering, and even stealing a gold fury when Moswal fails to secure it with a Thoth Final Judgement. The game is one of the longer ones and up until about 45 minutes or so it’s relatively even. Noble are finally able to start pushing, and take down two phoenixes. They’re too low to end, though and try to back off but ALG decide to try and chase em down. Wubbn is low, but two waves of fire minions are pushing in on their Titan! They did pick up Wubbn, but the damage was done. Winions relegate ALG, and now Noble have a chance to secure their spot in game 2. ALG play a lot better in game two but unfortunately it doesn’t matter. Cyclone continues to play well and ALG force the split, setting them up to tie with Cryptik.
Luminosity 1-1 eUnited
These two teams are a lock for super regionals and a lock for 1 and 2 seed. The only question – in what order. Luminosity come out the gate looking like they want that 1 seed. BaRRaCCuDDa looks like the best hunter in NA piloting Jing Wei, and Baskin’s Raijin sits atop his team’s player damage charts. Ratatoskr continues to be a top tier pick with Mask facilitating all the damage for his team, and eUnited take their first lost of the entire Fall Split. Luminosity switch things up in game two and get hyper aggressive. They have a chance to take first seed if they get the 2-0, but their aggressive double assassin comp doesn’t get a big enough lead early. Mask gets off to a six kill start but PandaCat is bringing way too much damage on Jing Wei. AOE from Venenu and excellent setup from PolarBearMike mean that eUnited secure their spot at the top with only one loss all split.
Vigilant 1-1 Team Cryptik
Cryptik came into this set needing to 2-0 if they wanted to avoid falling out of the SPL in season 5. This team is essentially new, but they have to deal with the struggles of a roster that came before them. Vigilant are lead by PainDeViande, and they need every point they can get to improve their seeding against Noble. In game 1 Vetium deletes AKillaTheHun with a sick ricochet right as the waves meet in game 1. It feels like Vigilant never recovered, as they lose every lane, and ShadowChair shows he has a disgusting Ra. Game 1 goes to Cryptik and now they need just one more game. Vigilant got off to an even start in game 2 but Cryptik fight back hard and claim the fire giant. Vigilant make several strong phoenix defenses and secure a fire giant of their own in response. That swing in momentum couldn’t be countered by Cryptik, who over committed several times under their phoenix. Game 2 ends up going to Vigilant, and the split mean we get a tie breaker on our hands.
Team Cryptik 1-0 Team Allegiance (Tie Breaker)
After Cyptik split with Vigilant a tie breaker was needed between them and Team Allegiance. ALG pick Kuzenbo jungle, and FineOkay shuts everything down with Chaac solo. Cryptik take advantage of the crippled and demoralized ALG separating themselves away from the last seed.
SpaceStation 1-1 Trifecta
SpaceStation and Trifecta are both already confirmed for Super Regionals, in the third and fourth spots, but seeding is still up in the air. Trifecta would have needed a 2-0 to pass SpaceStation and they were on the right path. Game one was in Trifecta’s control the whole time as Cynosure on the Ratatoskr used his global presence ultimate to position himself all over the map. Hurriwind picked up Aphrodite mid and kept everyone healed up. KikiSoCheeky is up near the top of player damage all game on his solo Chaac, and they pick up the first half of the set they need to improve their seeding. Unfortunately for Trifecta, game two was the opposite. ScaryD takes Vamana solo and it seems to throw Trifecta for a loop. He uses blink to get into the fights quickly and knock up multiple members of Trifecta. Once the late game arrives, Andinster takes it upon himself to start removing members of Trifecta from the map. His Raijin was accumulating absurd amounts of damage and SSG earn the split. SSG and Trifecta stay at 3rd and 4th respectively.
With the conclusion of the online regular portion, SPL moves to the gauntlet where only one team per region will advance to Super Regionals to compete in group play. Catch all the action on HiRezTV this Saturday @ 1:00 PM EST.
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.