Smite’s third season of competition is coming to a close this weekend, with the world’s best teams battling one another for a share of $1.8 million.
10 teams will be taking part in the Smite World Championship, with two from Europe, two from North America, two EU/NA wildcard teams and one each from the Oceania, China, Brazil and Latin America regions.
The highest qualified team from both the NA and the EU Smite Pro League have automatically qualified for the knockout phase, while the remaining eight teams will take part in a placement stage, with six teams progressing to the finals proper.
But which teams should you be rooting for, and which can we expect to claim victory of the Smite World Championship? Let’s take a look at the competitors.
While NRG didn’t top the EU league in the Smite Pro League – coming in second behind OrbitGG who was then knocked out by Obey Alliance in the qualification tournament – it is still one of the strongest rosters in the Smite scene.
NRG finished the league with 4-3-0 (for comparison, OrbitGG topped the league with 5-2-0) but in the qualification round it was definitely the one to beat, with very competent 3-0 sweeps against Sanguine eSports and then Obey Alliance.
As a team they’re capable of quite a varied selection of gods, with the likes of Thor, Athena and Erleng Shen with a wide selection of potential ranged carries.
It’d be safe to assume NRG will be one of the teams likely to make it to the grand finals, and stands a strong chance to become the victory.
After disappointments in Season 2 – failing to qualify for the World Championship, even – a new roster formed from ex-Dignitas members for the third season and since then Team Eager has been trying to regain lost glory.
Though it placed fifth in the Pro League, during the following group stage Team Eager played with greater pressure, eventually going on to top the group stage and to seed itself into the knockout qualifiers, where it came out ahead with 3-1 in both of its series against Flash Point and then Soar Gaming.
Expect to see at least Zeus, Slyvanus, Ra or Serqet to make an appearance, though Djpernicus has found a great deal of success in the past from Bastet – so maybe he’ll attempt to relive those plays this time around.
Team Eager can be erratic with its results, but its recent results shows how well it can play as a team when it’s on form.
As perhaps one of the strongest NA teams right now, we can expect to see a lot from Soar Gaming at the World Championship – perhaps even enough to see them in the grand finals.
Though the team came in second with 5-1-1 behind Luminosity’s 5-2-0 in the Smite Pro League, Soar Gaming ended up knocking the league winners out at the knockout stage with a series that was mostly led by SG the whole way.
With LG entering the World Championship as a wildcard we could see quite an intense rematch between the two. Whoever might be the winner of that game, though, could well be in with a chance at first place in the grand finals.
Easily the most dominant team in the Brazilian Pro League, INTZ hasn’t really had much to worry about in the run up to the World Championship, winning the largest share of its games and having no real issues qualifying for the finals.
Whether the team can perform on a global scale, however, will remain to be seen this time around. It faces Soar Gaming- one of the strongest NA teams right now – in the first game of the placement round, and that will be a tough challenge for the squad to overcome.
We’ve already mentioned the battle between Luminosity Gaming and Soar Gaming, and that’s going to be the overriding thoughts going into the early placement round of the World Championship.
Though it was Soar Gaming that knocked LG out of the regional qualifiers, there’s no denying the strength of the team. It’s consistently been one of the teams to beat in the Smite esports scene and the 2016 has been no different.
The Chinese Smite League doesn’t get all that much recognition over in the West, so details on Team HAPI – once upon a time Kindergarten – are limited, making it one of the more unknown quantities in the World Championship.
It has proven itself to be the most consistent team of the Chinese Smite scene, what little there is of it, so that should be enough, but it’ll likely struggle against many of the tougher teams on the global stage.
And since it’ll be up against Luminosity Gaming for its first game of the tournament, well, it could be a tough expectations to see Team HAPI making it much further.
Though Team ALG achieved middling results in the Pro League – coming in fifth by its close – it’s fair to count a large reason behind this being the regular roster changes the team suffered over the year.
Now with a revitalised squad, Allegiance has found itself on something of a run of good fortune having since placed first in the Season 3 Fall Gauntlet and managed to top the Wildcard league with a clean set of 5 victories to 0 losses, even ahead of Luminosity’s attempt to rejoin the World Championship.
Whether ALG can maintain this strong position and head further into the tournament it’s certainly plausible, and we expect we’ll see the team at least in the finals proper.
This Mexican team is the Latin American outlet entering into the World Championship, and as with the non-EU or NA teams it’s hard to compare the team’s capabilities on a global level.
All the same, Licht Esports had to overcome a good number of competitors (nine other Latin American teams, in fact) to make it this far, so it’ll be interesting to find out what the unknown entity can do, even if its most recent results aren’t quite where they need to be to inspire confidence.
It’ll face Team Allegiance in its first game and – since it’s only a single game knockout phase – Licht Esports might not have the time it needs to warm up against ALG, who is on a hotstreak of sorts.
As a team Obey Alliance’s history is a short one, but having formed from Hungry For More (who, in turn, formed from the remnants of team Titan) there’s plenty of heritage among the players.
Since its formation in September of 2016 Obey Alliance has been taking names left, right and centre, and has proven itself determined to make it all the way.
In the EU regionals ahead of the World Championship, Obey Alliance managed to put OrbitGG – the League winners – out of the knockout stage, though it was ultimately swept by NRG 3-0. There’s a lot of expectations from Obey, however, and definitely not a team to count out.
The Oceania representative for the World Championships is consistent one, and has made itself known on the world’s stage having come out on top with a strong 7-2 lead in the Pro League.
A strong contender for underdog of the grand finals, Dire Wolves will face a relatively unknown Licht Esports in its first round in a game that it has the squad to confidently beat for relatively easy passage to the finals proper.
In addition to this, Dire Wolves have already been in Atlanta for three weeks prior to the competition itself for a intense bootcamp, which could well be a decisive action that leads to the team’s rise during World Championship.