How they got there: Panthera, Paradigm, and Hungry For More heading to DreamHack
The top 3 SMITE teams from Europe(EU) will be heading to DreamHack to compete against the top teams from North America, Hispanoamérica, and Brazil. Panthera, Paradigm, and Hungry For More will be representing EU in Sweden from June 18th-20th where the winning team will take home the largest portion of the Spring Split’s $450,000+ USD prize pool.
Each of the 3 teams from EU took their own unique road to get to DreamHack and below we will give you a rundown of how they got there. It is important to remember that stats are just a piece of the puzzle. As fans, we often do not get to see or hear the strategy behind the picks and we quickly jump to conclusions off of strictly statistics.
#1 Seed: Panthera
Panthera is the 2016 SMITE World Champions and was the overall favorite coming into the Spring Split. They did not disappoint finishing with a record of 24-4 and locking up a trip to DreamHack weeks before most of the other teams. With the title of World Champions also comes a target on their back and taking home the top prize at DreamHack won't be easy.
What went right?
When you post a 24-4 record there is plenty to find that has gone right. Panthera is filled with strong players from top to bottom whether it is Adapting, who many consider the best player in the world or Dimi who has gained the nickname Dimi "the Undying". I will point to Yammyn as someone who has really allowed Panthera to play flexible with his ability to go between traditional mages in the mid-lane and hunters. While other mid laners have found success with hunters in the mid lane it is Yammyn who boasts a perfect 6-0 record this split when playing a hunter. His most played God though has been Isis with 8 games this split and no losses. In the duo lane, Emilitoo and Panthera captain iRaffer form an aggressive team. iRaffer seemed to favor Ares or Bacchus during the split compiling a 13-1 record when playing one or the other. Overall Panthera seemed to pick teams that geared towards burning purification beads. Adapting played Fenrir,Awilix,or Thor 22 of their 28 games while iRaffer's top support was Ares. In a meta where crowd control is favored, this comes as no surprise. Panthera enters DreamHack as the #1 seed and for rightful reasons.
What slowed them down?
To be fair not much has slowed Panthera down during the Spring Split. Dropping a total of 4 games with 1 coming during a set where they all swapped roles because the games meant nothing makes it hard to find anything. Looking at the 4 losses for Panthera, 3 of them they were against a Scylla and they played against a Scylla total of 4 times during the Spring Split. Could Scylla be a God that perhaps gives Panthera problems? Again it is grasping at straws when you post a 24-4 record to find flaws. In the losses you can also see that they played some of their least played Gods (as far as Spring Split is concerned) during these losses. In the loss to Paradigm iRaffer played his only Sobek of the split, the loss to Hungry For More Adapting played his only Hun Batz all season, and in the loss to Cringe Crew Emilitoo was on Anhur which he only played twice this season. Perhaps it was just a case of playing Gods they were not practicing with as much.
Highlight Video of Adapting
While I mentioned Yammyn above as being flexible in the mid lane and allowing for his team to do many things around him, the MVP still goes to Adapting. Arguably the best player in the world on the best team in the world. Adapting has 22 of 28 games this split with no more than 2 deaths.
#2 Seed: Paradigm
Paradigm is the definition of consistency when it comes to the SPL. Having the same members since the start of 2015 and constantly competing at the highest level in the SMITE pro scene. Winning regionals last season and eventually falling to Enemy in the Semi-finals at worlds. Week 6 of the Spring Split the slots for Dream Hack were up for grabs with the EU standings being relatively close. Paradigm won 11 of their last 12 to lock up the #2 seed and once again prove they are a top tier team in the SPL. The lone loss coming against Panthera in a 1-1 split in week 8.
What went right?
After week 6 Paradigm sat at 9-7 and in while they were in line for a DreamHack slot they had teams nipping at their heals. The boys from Paradigm then strung together the best record in the SPL from weeks 7-10 (along with Hungry For me) to secure the #2 seed. Paradigm is known for playing Gods outside of the meta but Chronos seemed to be a God that could do no wrong for Paradigm during the Spring Split. Whether in the hands of Funballer or Lawbster they combined for 10 wins out of the 12 times they picked Chronos. Funballer also had success on Hou Yi, playing him 9 times and never having a negative stat line on the defender of the earth. Splitting with Panthera in week 8 was huge for Paradigm as well, showing they have what it takes to win DreamHack.
What slowed them down?
The biggest roadblock for Paradigm is TrixTank being unable to attend DreamHack. Instead, opting to finish school and rejoin the team for next split. This is a blow to Paradigm as TrixTank had the highest K/D for supports in the SPL (min 20 games as supp). TrixTank is often credited with being one of the first supports in the SPL that will bring a new warrior or odd pick to lane and make it work. KaLaS, Trix's sub has filled in nicely but the emotional leadership from Trix is just something that can't be replaced. Paradigm has constantly found success over the years and this is just another obstacle they are looking to overcome. The boys from Paradigm also have not had the greatest results when they pick Chaac, 4 of their 8 losses have come with Chaac on the team. Could this be something they look to stay away from at Dreamhack?
Highlights from week 9 via Paradigm's YouTube
This is hands down TrixTank due to what he brings to the game as well as his decision to make sure he has a plan B after gaming. He has stated he obviously would love to always compete in eSports but realizes how important his education is. As eSports, in general, is on the rise he is setting a great example for those coming up behind him.
#3 Seed: Hungry For More
Hungry For More (HFM) have battled their way to DreamHack after sitting in 8th place after 5 weeks with a record of 3-9. They found themselves on the side of criticism from everyone, even earning the nickname "Hungry For Losses". After the half way point, they would go on to post a record of 14-2 (Best in SPL) and lock up the #3 seed for DreamHack. While they did pick up a new support, MANALIKE, it seemed to be more than just the new addition that sparked the turnaround. HFM is the only EU team going to DreamHack that was not a team during season 2. Perhaps they needed the first half to gel as a team and show the SMITE community what they really can do during the second half.
What went right?
The simple answer is everything after week 5 went great for Hungry For More. Often tagged with a death sentence, Nemesis was a God that would widely be mocked when picked due to her poor win/loss rate. While many argued her kit was good (recently buffed), it never seemed to lead to wins when picked. CaptainTwig changed that when he began playing Nemesis and racking up the wins in bunches by posting a perfect 7-0 record when playing her. New addition MANALIKE seemed to favor Sobek since joining the team, picking him a total of 8 times and picking up 7 wins on the God of the Nile. Variety in the solo lane deserves recognition with his Tyr play this split posting a 10-3 record and playing a key role with rotations to fights ahead of his opponent.
What slowed them down?
Staying alive is a key part for HFM going into DreamHack. HFM is the only team going to DreamHack that has reached 400 deaths as a team. Even if you remove Zindurn's 47 deaths they have spent more time in the fountain than their EU counterparts Paradigm and Panthera. Clearly this has gotten better over the second half of the split but they need to make sure they stay on their current track if they want a shot at winning DreamHack.
HFM VS. Paradigm via SmitePro
This came down to Ataraxia or PrettyPrime. While Prime has not been mentioned much in the article, he has been a staple of what HFM has done. PrettyPrime prefers high burst mages and he is the only mid-laner in the SPL to consistently play Vulcan and make it work. The nod though will go to Ataraxia due to the fact he also comes off as an emotional leader for HFM. Maybe not in the sense of getting loud and bringing a "rah rah" type personality but instead a voice of reason and not allowing anyone to panic. These are obviously observations from the outside looking in. Ataraxia has also been consistent with his play all split. While his apollo play has been nothing short of outstanding he has recently shown his Jing Wei is just as powerful.
You can check out the DreamHack brackets on their website. I will be providing the same coverage on the North American teams this coming week. Which team are you rooting for at DreamHack. Let me know in the comments below.