Hi Rez Expo 2017: Paladins Invitational Highlights & Results
It's the last day of the 2017 Hi-Rez Expo, and the best pro teams for SMITE and Paladins have gone head to head for the world championship titles in their respective games in some truly intense match ups.
The day kicked off with the final round of the Paladins Invitational -- the inaugural tournament for Hi-Rez Studios' new arena shooter. It was looking like a long road ahead for Burrito Esports in this best of 7 matchup for $150,000, however, as they'd yet to win a set against their European rivals, and winners of the Paladins Dreamhack tournament -- District 69.
The match went to a full 7 games, as both teams brought everything they had to the world stage. But in the end, Burrito emerged victorious and took home the first ever Paladins championship title.
Bans: Timber Mill, Fishmarket
Starting off in the open Frog Island, Burrito lands a solid roster of Sha Lin, Viktor, Evie, Maldamba and Makoa to face off against D69's Androxus, Cassie, Ruckus, Fernando, and Ying line-up.
While the double frontline "Ruckus meta" role call was in contention only a few short weeks ago, D69 demonstrated the power of the green-skinned game-winner with a powerful 4-0 victory on the map.
It was a strong opening statement from the fightin' 69, and reminders of Dreamhack for the mighty Burrito.
Jaguar Falls (1-0 favor D69)
The standard lineups for the set start to coalesce, as D69 drafts their familiar Fernando and Ruckus comp, backed by Androxus, Maldamba and Pip, while Burrito picks up a well-rounded quality team of Makoa, Evie, Ying and the Bow Bros Cassie and Sha Lin.
Burrito rallies hard from their 0-4 loss in game 1 and storms the first point, taking it in Overtime and making good on the conversion for a 2-0 lead.
69 wins the second heads up, however, and takes their overtime victory on the objective, but fails the conversion (with a little help from an Evie ultimate). 3-1 quickly turns to 3-2, however, D69 claims the next objective, and refuses to be shut down twice in a row, scoring the conversion and bringing the game to 3-3.
In a desperate battle in which overtime lasts for all time, D69 again fires up the Ruckus machine and brings home the last point, scoring the map and a hefty 2-0 lead in the series.
Serpent Beach (2-0 favor District 69)
Now with pick priority for the first time in the draft, D69 tired of challenging Makoa and scoops up the turtle-tank first thing, followed by Androxus, Sha Lin and Maldamba, and tried to fill out their double front line comfort strategy with the competitively under performing Barik -- as the boys of Burrito had themselves drafted the Ruckus Wrecker comp with Ruckus, Fernando, Cassie, Evie and Ying.
They may be on the back foot in heads up LAN victories, but the Burrito is first for a reason -- quickly conquering the D69 comp with their own game and taking the first point, but failing the conversion. Crushing the next point with a clean 100-0, Burrito takes it to 2-1... but quickly falls to 2-2 as D69 claims their second successful defense. Third try's the charm, however, as Burrito's Shipa (on Sha Lin) goes on an absolute rampage, claiming the point -- and the conversion, landing their fourth point for the game, and their first game in the series.
Ice Mines (2-1 favor D69)
Back in the driver's seat, Burrito claims the Makoa slot and fills out their squad with Sha Lin, Evie, Maldamba and Pip. District fires back with their Fernando, Ruckus and Androxus core, rounding out with Cassie and Ying.
D69 rallies from their last game and starts off strong, quickly claiming a point and a conversion, putting Burrito in a 2-0 hole to dig themselves out of in the Ice Mines.
Dig they do, however, and while they fail the conversion, they do grab the next objective and put their name on the board, 1-3. With an incredible last minute cap, pulling back from 99-0, they claim the next point as well but can't take it home. Now 3-3, Burrito's Laizy (on Evie) snags the last heads up with, the fourth point, and the momentum in the series bringing the match to a tie.
Frozen Guard (2-2 tied favor)
Both teams find their comfortable rosters as Burrito nabs their Makoa and Bow Bros core, backed by Evie and Ying, while D69 Lands Fernando, Ruckus, Androxus and has their two tanks backed by double support -- Maldamba and Pip.
Burrito grabs the first point but just can't seem to close, landing the game at an early 1-1. The clocks ticking on their second capture, but as D69's PERDO winds up an Androxus ult to try and storm the point, bonkar's Sha Lin takes the wind right out of his sails, nailing the Ultimare and securing the second point for Burrito - but not the second conversion. 2-2.
D69 nails point 3, and Sha Lin can't snipe Burrito's way out this time as the conversion lands, scoring D69's fourth point and the map.
Jaguar Falls (3-2 favor D69)
D69 nails the Makoa pick, Bow Bros and the support-squad wombo combo Pip and Maldamba, while Burrito supports their Fernando, Ruckus, and Androxus core with Evie and Ying.
The Ruckus wrecking machine was strong the last round on this map, and continues to be as the roles are reversed -- but it's bonkar's Cassie holding down the fort as Burrito claims the first point from a nail biting shootout at 99-99%.
The hardest fight was over there, however, as Burrito channels the first point momentum into reminding D69 they're #1 in the EU for a reason, and flipping the game 1 script as they railroad D69 with a 4-0 victory.
Frog Isle (3-3 tied)
Down to the wire, the end looks an awful lot like the beginning -- Burrito first picks Makoa, grabs Cassie and Sha Lin, and rounds out with Maldamba and Pip. D69 decides if it ain't broke, they aren't gonna fix it - -grabbing Fernando and Ruckus early, followed by Evie, Androxus and Ying.
It was a clean sweep the same as game 1 -- but the roles were unfortunately for D69 reversed, as bonkar's Sha Lin shows Shipa he's not the only wind in town, and rolls a massive killing spree into a 4-0 for the boys of Burrito.
Winner: Burrito Esports
It was a dark start for the Burrito Esports squad, as it looked like a repeat of Dreamhack, but from that 0-2 start came a delicious Cindarella story as they clawed and scraped their way back from the brink to emerge from the Best of 7 Invitational finals as the world champs (and $150,000 richer).
The finals may be over, and the winners crowned, but Paladins is just getting started -- soon entering Season 1, and with a serious pathway to professional play, the team shooter will mark developer Hi-Rez's third professional gaming circuit and a clear cut method for those teams who stand together to make it to next year's world stage.
Be sure to stay tuned for coverage of the other finals here at Hi-Rez Expo, too, as both the Console and PC SMITE World Championships are still ahead.