The path towards HRX has begun for the top tier teams from the regular Fall Split season. Kicking things off with North America first, eUnited would go up against Trifecta to start the day while Luminosity would await their chance to face Spacestation. Winners of these best-of-fives would advance towards HRX, and Sunday regional finals. Losers drop to group play for a second opportunity while Noble and NRG await in the dark.
eUnited 3-0 Trifecta
Trifecta bring in a unique strategy to their own play style in the very first game of the set. Aphrodite was selected for Hurriwind in the mid lane along more tanky options of Ymir for KiKiSoCheeky while Aror would be playing that Geb. However, these three gods would be the target for Benji playing Hercules consistently hitting Earthbreaker pulling enemies toward him. Just for good measure, Venenu was on Morrigan mid that could look for some pulls of his own or copy Scream’s Ratatoskr for that secondary global ultimate pressure. At the 16-minute mark, Trifecta looked solid when Cynosure took PolarBearMike’s Artio into the sky with the Nezha ultimate and found an initial picking resulting into three additional more and a fire giant to boot. Unfortunately for them, the buff didn’t result into any towers to catch up in the gold department. The next team fight heavily favoring eUnited with the multiple pulls from Benji and Venenu. eUnited secure the next two Fire Giants and the first game of this set.
Adapting towards the global pressure, Trifecta take away the Ratatoskr, allowing Cynosure for global pressure. Stripping away the Artio on top it for the hands of Aror. A god they forgot about was the powerful Hercules in Benji’s possession. Still pulling multiple Trifecta enemies towards himself along his teammates, Benji had too much space control for Trifecta to play around. Building a 5,000 gold lead after a 13-minute Gold Fury, eUnited did not take their foot off of the gas pedal winning the game in less than 22 total game time, only giving up three deaths and now only one win away from the promise land of Hi-Rez Expo!
They say third times the charm in most cases. For Trifecta, this would not be the case. Taking the necessary steps to force a different route from eUnited, they ban away Benji’s Hercules in the first banning phase. Trifecta had a small lead in the early game, but none larger than 2,000 gold. It was PandaCat’s time to shine at the top of the player damage charts with his Ah Muzen Cab yet again, same as game one. The Chaac jungle for Cynosure to begin to show the leaks in the boat as the late game was not in Trifecta’s favor. With two clean picks onto Cynosure and Aror, eUnited obtain the 21-minute Fire Giant and end the game less than three minutes later being the first North American team to go to Hi-Rez Expo! Now eUnited waits the winner of Luminosity against Spacestation Gaming to see who is the Regional Champion in Sundays game.
— SmitePro (@SmitePro) November 1, 2017
Luminosity 3-2 Spacestation Gaming
The famous BaRRaCCuDDa vs Zapman match up. Not only are the hunters close but Luminosity and Spacestation are very evenly matched as this set panned out. The composition of LG wasn’t working out in the early game as Baskin was focused early playing his Morrigan. Aquarius on his Hercules earned a solo kill against ScaryD which were the two wildcard players going into this set. His time in Noble didn’t amount to much but now with LG and these other veteran players, he’s made quite the statement. Mask on the Ratatoskr dove onto Spacestation’s back line almost effortlessly and just for good measure, Baskin would switch to Mask to double the trouble. The composition from Spacestation was too aggressive and couldn’t find good peeling options for Zapman’s Ah Muzen Cab and andinster’s Sol. Getting the first win, Luminosity struck first blood in the set!
This time around, the aggressive Spacestation comp worked out against LG with how resilient they were. The Bakasura onto Homiefe ate through the competition with his true damage. The movement speed provided with his passive during split push opportunities made things more difficult for Luminosity than it needed to be. Picking AMC and Hou Yi for picks one and two for LG, targeting Zapman, tried to find the balance of magical damage which resulted in Cabrakan for Aquarius. Getting ahead early on, Spacestation goes for a 19-minute Fire Giant call but BaRRaCCuDDa sacrificed his own life to steal it away! The Nike jungle from Mask didn’t provide much presence from her passive as there would never be a 10th kill from LG and by the time two LG members hit level 20, they were already down 15,000 gold. Spacestation clean up this game after completing the third fire giant of the game and sieging down all the phoenixes tying up the series at one a piece.
Homiefe on the Thor started off the game in spectacular fashion by side swiping mid lane to start things off and in a 4v2, gets an early double kill. However, Mask gets more efficient farm by only sharing experience with Aquarius. Once Homie gets his global ultimate, he begins to rotate on the already struggling BaRRaCCuDDa playing Ah Muzen Cab. The early game plan and execution from Spacestation Gaming was clearly working throughout this game. Up until the 28-minute mark where Baskin surprises Zapman with his Morrigan stealth, taking advantage of the Aegis relic on cooldown. Killing Jigz on top allows LG to secure the first fire giant of the game and their second win of this set.
Switching things up for Baskin, going for Poseidon in attempts to shut down the Artio did not provide to be fruitful. LG attempt an ambitious Gold Fury at 21 minutes which Spacestation punish them dearly for, taking out four LG members, netting a Fire Giant buff for their troubles. Once the late game rolled around, it was near impossible for LG to prevent both ScaryD’s Artio and Homiefe’s Camazotz from diving their back line. With the utility build from Baskin going Gem of Isolation and attempting to survive with Dynasty Plate Helmet, he was near the bottom of the player damage charts. It took Spacestation three Fire Giant buffs to close this one out and tie the series at two a piece.
It didn’t seem to matter that a team lost a game in this set as they were both able to bounce back mentally. After losing the previous game and the ticket to HRX on the line in an elimination game, LG’s Aquarius picks the Thanatos for his solo lane. A pick that we haven’t seen since last Worlds when Variety (while in Obey Alliance) picked it against both Team Eager and NRG Esports! The pick showed signs of brilliance from the beginning as Aquarius acquires an early double kill at level two with assistance from Mask’s Ravana. With an early blink, Mask was all over the map and had 100% kill participation at the end of the game. Gold Fury would not be denied from LG at the 10, 16, and 21 minute-mark. The calculated pickup of Ancile from both Aquarius and Mask prevented Jigz from engaging the way he wanted to with the blink Sylvanus ult combo as andinster would sometimes proc the item. In desperation mode, Spacestation Gaming gave up objectives in attempts to get towers and phoenixes. Giving up their own duo lane tier two while failing to return the favor in the opposite side of the map showed how far ahead LG truly were. The final siege attempt from Spacestation was successful by sneaking the left phoenix but could not get away from the chasing LG members. After acquiring two kills, LG was able to end the game 5v3 with the long respawn timers and punch their ticket into HRX joining eUnited!
— SmitePro (@SmitePro) November 2, 2017
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Anatoliy “AnatoLiy” Alekseyenok is an Associate Esports Specialist at HiRez Studios. You can follow him on Twitter @iGAnatoLiy.