This time last year the landscape of SMITE esports was very different, with Titan at the forefront of the EU competition, blazing their way through the Regional finals alongside current 2nd seed Fnatic (then known as SK Gaming). Fnatic ultimately ended up at 4th place in the SMITE World Championships (SWC), while Titan went all the way to the grand finals and an amazing 2-3 set against Cloud 9 (then known as Cogitative Prime), to finish in 2nd place in the world.
From then to now, however, much has changed. Two new regions will be joining the standings, making the SWC a battle between North America, Europe, China, South America, Brazil and Oceania. The local standings in EU are also even harder to predict this time around, with a lot of high level players bringing their best.
« The atmosphere here at the studios is incredible. Every team is here to win, they're super pumped and ready to prove themselves. It's fantastic to see so much passion for SMITE, not just from my guys but from everyone involved, from teams to esports staff. » - Nate "Ataraxia" Mark
The competition leading up to the season finale will be far from easy, especially with Titan having gone from last year’s 2nd seed in Europe to ending this year’s fall split in 5th seed position (behind London Conspiracy, Paradigm, Fnatic and Epsilon Gaming). That being said, the road is still there, and below we’ll take a look at what Titan will have to do in order get to the SWC, who they’ll be playing, and what they’re going to have to bring in order to remind people how they got there the first time around.
Image courtesy of Hi-Rez
Round 1 – Quarter Finals
Vs. London Conspiracy
Titan’s first game of the week will commence on Wednesday, November 18th, against 4th seed London Conspiracy. Historically, Titan have done very well against LC (despite being currently below them in the standings), beating them 2-0 in their last SMITE Pro League set. In fact, LC have only ever managed to take a 1-1 split against Titan, as they’ve never won a whole set outright in most recent SPL.
That being said, London Conspiracy have been on the scene for the same amount of time as Titan have and they’re not a team to just blow off as easy pickings. LC have managed to hold their own against the best in Europe, so while Titan may have the advantage, statistically speaking, whichever team loses in this set will be the team going home, so expect both teams to be bringing the best they have.
Round 2 – Semi Finals
Vs. Epsilon Gaming
Epsilon are the team to beat at the Super Regionals this year. With 1st seed in the European league, they only dropped a single game in the fall split of the SPL. Needless to say, Titan have struggled against them in the past; however, their reputation could be their downfall, as Epsilon need to be careful not to let confidence turn into complacency. Every team can be expected to bring their A game this week, and Titan are no strangers to toppling giants, as Nemesis says so often: “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.”
If Titan do beat Epsilon, it means securing their spot in the world championships, an incentive that is sure to guarantee a tough game. In that situation they will go on to the finals against the winning European team from the 2nd bracket for first place and $70,000. However if Titan lose, not all is lost, as the team will then go on to compete for the Wildcard spot against not just European teams, but North American teams as well.
« Our biggest competition is definitely going to be Epsilon. They're the road block in front of our SWC dreams, but if we qualify it'll feel damn good to know we qualified by beating the best. » - Nate "Ataraxia" Mark
This is where things get complicated. If Titan lose in the semi-finals they go on to the Wildcard bracket, but here they may face either Fnatic (2nd seed), Paradigm (3rd seed) or Dignitas (6th seed). However, if you want to place bets based on past results then the odds favor Paradigm to be the team showing up here, as Fnatic have beaten both Paradigm and Titan in their most recent matches 2-0.
Paradigm, in turn, is a team made up of some of the most tenured SMITE players on the scene, housing both former Fnatic and Team SoloMid members. Titan have struggled against this team in the fall split, being beaten 2-0 in their last set against them. However, this was during a transition period for the Titan lineup, and now that Brotuz has had some time to settle into the game and tighten the synergy with his new teammates, things may well turn out differently.
What should also be noted is that Paradigm have sometimes struggled to answer some of the more pocket strategies that Titan have pulled out over the split, namely the Aphrodite/Sun Wukong duo lane, leaving room for some possible Titan surprise plays in the super regionals.
Image courtesy of Hi-Rez
Finally then, if Titan mange to beat the likely opponent Paradigm, they will next go on to face their North American equivalents, this time to play for the grand prize: the SWC NA/EU wildcard spot. The NA metagame is very similar to that of EU, though it does have a few minor differences, and this match is sure to be an interesting one as it will be the first time NA goes up against EU in this split.
The one key difference between the two regions though is the style of play, where NA on the whole tends to favour more aggressive styles, preferring to take more risks. For example, an NA team will normally start attacking the Gold Fury to initiate a team fight, while EU teams are more calculated, with the Gold Fury only being attacked once a team knows they can comfortably secure it.
There are other small differences in terms of god picks as well, where at the moment it seems that NA favours guardians in the solo lane a lot more than EU, while EU seems to prefer warriors like Chaac in that same role. These may be minute differences, but it will create some interesting dynamics in both the pick-and-ban stage and in the game itself.
Titan’s road the regionals has been rocky over the fall split, but they’ve secured their place among the best in Europe, and this wouldn’t be the first time they’ve come into these regionals as the underdog. The team is currently at boot camp, preparing for the competition next week, but with everything said and done there’s only so much that can be prepared for, as all 12 teams have the capacity to end the week with a spot at the SWC. The only thing that is really guaranteed is a great set of matches from the best teams in the world, and all that’s left to say is: Good luck, have fun.
- Written by Alex "AleXelitist" Hall