The first matches of the SMITE Oceania Pro League has shown that Season 3 has brought much more competitive drive to the scene. Credit goes to the drop in the amount of teams in the OPL from last year’s 8 teams to 6 teams this split. With $10,000 on the line, players are set and ready to take first place at the first LAN in Sydney at the CyberGamer Premiere League Finals.
Avant Garde vs Pandamonium
The first match of the day was definitely one to be remembered as the old roster of Avant Garde, now Pandamonium, took to the battlefield against the new Avant Garde.
Rowe, Sporks, Subfloor and Ochita all returned to the OPL with experience from the SMITE World Championships along with a new organisation and support. Swaya, a new face to the competitive scene, did not have the crowd convinced he would be able to fill the shoes of former support Biggy. Though, those doubts were silenced after the matches against Avant Garde.
The new roster of Avant Garde is the only team in which all the players were playing in the PAX regional finals last year. After a great performance in the OPL Qualifiers and settling for third seed in the OPL Avant Garde had the crowd expecting a continuation of their new and improved playstyle.
Game 1 started out in favour of Avant Garde starting 3-0 up on Pandamonium. First blood was taken by Avant Garde through a nicely timed gank by LiquidRenegade and Maus on the duo lane fruited in 2 kills on Swaya and Subfloor giving Robdigidy and Tomahawk an early lead. However, their lead was taken out from under them at 17 minutes from a great steal of Gold Fury from Pandamonium winning the team fight.
They then turned to the mid lane to take a tier 1 and tier 2 tower leading them from a 3,000 gold deficit to a 1,300 gold lead.
It looked as though all Pandamonium needed to do was brush the dust off their shoulders and play to their strengths and experience to turn a small lead into a 32 minute win. Avant Garde played very well in the early game but unfortunately were not able to translate it into a win.
Game 2 was as if Pandamonium had taken their lead from game 1 across matches. It began with Rowe having free reign over LiquidRenegade’s jungle resulting in Rowe reaching level 6 before 2:45.
Though no gold furies were taken and only one tower for the side of Pandamonium they had a 5,000 gold lead over Avant Garde and had not died once 15 minutes into the game. Fantastic initiation from Swaya and Sporks, and team fight synergy meant Pandamonium were able to close out the game in 25 minutes.
Pandamonium have shown that their skill has not faltered after their roster change and time off since SWC. Whilst Avant Garde proved that they can definitely be aggressive and play fearlessly from game 1 but they must be able to translate a lead into a win.
Only time will tell what happens with this roster as they can only go up from here.
Final Score: Team Pandamonium 2-0
Dire Wolves vs Tainted Minds
Dire Wolves have been the crowd favourite coming into Split 1 as the roster has made only a few changes since we last saw them at PAX Regionals. Yada has moved to Hunter and replacing the empty Solo role is OnlyGoodAtSolo (aka OGA) who was sub for the old roster of Avant Garde and went to SWC 2016.
OGA is regarded as one of the top 2 solo laners in all of Oceania. The team also has a new coach and manager, Biggy, the support for the old roster of Avant Garde who also went to SWC 2016 and played on the big stage. With the experience from playing against the top teams and players in the world these two additions to the team have made the roster look stronger than ever. Or so we thought.
Tainted Minds weren’t expected to show any huge plays or synergy as they are a newly formed team in comparison to Dire Wolves. But to the surprise of many they showed up when it mattered most. Losing the first game to Dire Wolves in 33 minutes with a finishing score of 23-7 and a gold deficit of 17,000 made it seem as though Dire Wolves were just adjusting to playing in OPL once again rather than Tainted Minds putting up much of a fight.
Game Two was very different from the first. The game began with iDivine taking first blood on OGA with help from Shred putting iDivine, playing Vamana, at a massive advantage. Not one minute later, Slycy, playing Agni, rotated from mid to solo to catch out OGA once again and iDivine was able to secure the kill putting him 500 gold and a level ahead of OGA.
Back and forth team fights between Dire Wolves and Tainted Minds showed that this game was a completely different story than game one. The game was drawn out to 32 minutes where one team fight, played fantastically from Tainted Minds secured three kills, two tier 2 towers and a phoenix. This was a massive turning point for the game and the end was in sight for Tainted Minds when they took Fire Giant shortly after. One team fight and a deicide later Tainted Minds closed the game out for a 43 minute, 25-14 game. Dire Wolves put up very good fight but with spectacular play from iDivine (8/2/12) and Slycy (9/1/14) Tainted Minds were able to even the best of three series to 1-1.
Game 3 took an interesting turn as Maxen was subbed out for Biggy. Many were confused by this decision as Biggy is a support player and played Thor jungle. Biggy’s shotcalling is one of the best in the entire region which was a big factor in the replacement of Maxen for this game. Another reason is that Maxen was lagging and had a few disconnections in game 2. The same issue happened in Challengers Cup last year.
The game started much slower than game 2 with first blood happening at 3:35 when Tomolomu was caught out in mid lane. Dire Wolves were up 2 kills and showing their strength once again taking an early Gold Fury at 8:30 on the clock.
Jump to 45 minutes into the game, Dire Wolves were finally able to take Fire Giant and were back in the game. Still with one phoenix down they pushed back to destroy Tainted Minds right phoenix and were in prime position to take the game. Dire Wolves transitioned to destroy the middle and were successful. When they moved to take down the final phoenix the game took a massive turn.
Yada and Kikiomeo were exploded by Shred, iDivine and Tomolomu with the entire Dire Wolves in range to peel for their carries. OGA was killed shortly thereafter. Tainted Minds looked like they wanted to close the game but were unable to with the respawn timers.
Tainted Minds phoenixes respawned and Dire Wolves once again looked to finish the game. This wasn’t the case at all as Dire Wolves were split up and Tainted Minds were able to pick off the carries once again and rush down mid to win the game after 52 minutes. The score was 27-27 and the gold difference was 3,000. If that’s not a close game then I don’t know what is.
Tainted Minds surely put up a great fight against Dire Wolves and that is most commendable, however, the loss of Dire Wolves is mostly on themselves. Similar to Team SoloMid’s 2016 League of Legends roster, five star players on one team sounds like a great idea but without proper leadership and team play they cannot expect their mechanics to carry them to the top.
Final Score: Tainted Minds Win 2-1
SIN Gaming vs Trident Esports
SIN Gaming, coming in as last seed to the OPL had nothing to lose and everything to gain. They could play however they wanted and definitely showed they could, especially in the second game against Trident Esports.
Trident Esports (Previously Ghazali Jafaar) had many roster issues coming into the OPL and were forced use a substitute support in Desacrator for their match against SIN Gaming.
The game started and nothing out of the ordinary happened until 3 minutes when Trident decided to 4 man invade red buff. Trident’s invade was successful as they secured the buff and a kill onto TemperWolf, who was separated from Horizon due to a nicely placed Fear No Evil from UltimateAbyss.
The first gold fury of the game went to SIN after they noticed Trident had recalled so they had no difficulty in securing it. Their lead was short lived as Horizon, Agony and TemperWolf were all killed in a team fight which brought back Trident from 1,700 gold down to only 500.
SIN came back after a few successful team fights and outplays to take the lead once again and pressure every lane and come out on top in game 2 through great decision making and superior team play.
Game 2 was very interesting as SIN and Hs247 decided to play jungle Ymir. It turned out to be a great pick as first blood was scored on theBeasttt in solo for Hs247. He continued dealing huge damage with the help of his passive and setup from his kit.
The saving grace for Trident was JustLaney who played Chiron. At the moment Chiron is one of, if not the strongest Hunter gods in the game. He exerted a large amount of pressure against TemperWolf and was never too far behind his lane opponent in gold.
Unfortunately this was to no avail as SIN made picks, won fights and took objectives with little trade-offs throughout the whole game and made a gradual upward lean in the graphs.
SIN, with their 16,000 gold lead, took the Fire Giant with harassment from Trident. Desacrator tried his best at helping steal it but was left alone in the middle of the enemy team and fell quickly. The rest of Trident were taken down by the now buffed up SIN as their base was destroyed in seconds by Agony.
SIN Gaming still need some work with their roster but have displayed skill in their strengths. Horizon has definitely transitioned well from Solo to Support this season. Trident have to sort out their roster before they can see themselves ahead of any other team in the OPL.
Final Score: SIN Gaming 2-0
Though there was large expectations for the first week of OPL many were let down but there was no lack of excitement throughout all the games. Sol was the stand out pick this week with an overall KDA of 25/8/28 and 100% win rate.