SMITE MLG Pro League NA Semi Finals Results
At the MLG.TV arena in Columbus, Ohio today, five North American teams took to the stage to battle it out for a spot in the Xbox One Invitational during this year's SMITE World Championship event.
The first match of the day, Juice vs. Elevate, didn't make it to the stage. Due to undisclosed circumstances, Juice was unable to make it to the LAN event. The match was forfeited, and Elevate moved on automatically to the semi-finals. The rest of the matches played out without a hitch, and we saw some fantastic gameplay from all the teams. Here's what you missed:
Eager vs. Epsilon
2-0, favor of Eager
"Are they listening to us? I think they're listening to us...Just act natural"
--Eager team comms
Eager started strong in Game 1, grabbing first blood and the first Gold Fury relatively early on. Epsilon had picked gods that they were very comfortable playing, but their overall team composition just didn't work in their favor. By the fifteen minute mark, Eager had earned a fairly significant lead -- almost 10k gold and 13 kills to Epsilon's 1. When we tuned into Epsilon's comms as they struggled to regain ground in team fights, it was clear that there was some dissonance in the ranks. Eager, on the other hand, was communicating clearly and calmly -- they were even cracking jokes each time they realized that the commentators were listening in. At only 21 minutes in, Eager had managed to take the Fire Giant and breach Epsilon's base to end the game.
At the outset of Game 2, it looked like Epsilon might be able to tie up the match. Although Eager took first blood, Epsilon was able to hold their own in team fights this time around. But that just wasn't enough. They suffered a 4-1 wipe by Eager, and shortly after lost 4 members again in a team fight at the Gold Fury. With the Fury under their belts, Eager had a comfortable lead. Epsilon tried to farm the map for objectives and close the gap, but Eager took the second Gold Fury and the Fire Giant mostly uncontested. Just shy of the half hour mark, Eager made the final push into Epsilon's base to bring down their Titan and take the match.
With Epsilon out of the running for the Invitational seat, Eager moved on to face XGN in the semi-final round later in the day.
Semi-Final 1: Elevate vs. Cognitive
2-1, favor of Cognitive
Elevate dominated early on in this match, taking first blood in Game 1. Lots of well-timed ultimates gave them the upper hand in multiple team fights, which gave them the lead. In a crucial team fight for the Fire Giant, Elevate came out on top and furthered their lead. They continued to dominate from start to finish. Cognitive was only able to take one objective before Elevate breached their base and took the first game.
But Cognitive Prime wasn't willing to go down so easily. They took first blood in Game 2 and an early lead. They pushed hard for the first 10 minutes of the game, then eased back on the throttle a little to avoid wearing themselves out and handing over the second win. Elevate took the first Gold Fury, but their lead didn't last long. Cognitive started breaching their base around the 20 minute mark, but they weren't able to lock it down and were forced to retreat. They wiped out Elevate at the Gold Fury, then took the Fire Giant uncontested. Their next attempt to push for the Titan cost them 4 members. Cognitive resorted to guerilla warfare, hitting the base where they could and biding their time until they could close in. Finally, they were able to commit and take the second game.
In the deciding game of the match, Cognitive took the early lead once again. They dominated throughout, not giving an inch for Elevate to work with. They took both the first Gold Fury and the first Fire Giant, snowballing a 9k gold and 18k experience lead by the time they started pushing into Elevate's base. However, once they started moving in on the Titan, Elevate fortified their defenses and gave them a run for their money. Cognitive couldn't quite land enough damage to breach the enemy base, so they had to fall back and farm the map for a while to get their offense up to snuff. Once they had a handsome advantage, they went for the Titan and ended the game (and the match) with a 25-5 kill count in their favor.
Elevate took the fourth place spot, while Cognitive moved on to the final round. They'll be facing Eager on Day 2 for the NA Championship title.
Good games to @eLevateGG pleasure playing against you guys— COGnitiveGaming (@CognitiveGG) December 5, 2015
Semi-Final 2: XGN vs. Eager
2-1, favor of Eager
XGN was the favorite going into this match. Their team has dominated the Xbox One competitive circuit, and they've proven many times that they're the team to beat. In Game 1, they lived up to the reputation they've built. After taking first blood, they pushed relentlessly toward Eager's base. At only 15 minutes in, they were leading by 9 kills and 9k gold. By 17 minutes, they had taken the first Gold Fury and cleared all tower objectives from the map. XGN forewent the Fire Giant to push directly for Eager's base, ending the game at the 18 minute mark.
XGN's landslide win in Game 1 was obviously a wake-up call for Eager. They started strong in Game 2, despite XGN taking first blood. The first major scuffle of the game happened at the Gold Fury camp, and it fell in favor of Eager. A second team fight erupted when the Fury respawned, and XGN lost 3 members. After another 4-0 wipe in favor of Eager, XGN was in serious hot water. They tried to mitigate the damage by stealing objectives like the Fire Giant, but it didn't quite pan out the way they wanted. As XGN tried to take the Fire Giant, Eager split up to tackle two objectives at once. Half the team met XGN at the Giant's camp to steal the buffs, while the other half snuck into their base to start attacking the Titan. Before XGN had a chance to defend themselves, Eager won the game and tied up the match.
Game 3 saw a lot of back and forth, as both teams were unwilling to give up that coveted seat in the final round. XGN took first blood, but Eager quickly retaliated and gained a slight edge. They continued to maintain a slight edge over XGN for the better part of 25 minutes into the game. XGN was able to even out the difference by targeting key objectives like the Gold Fury. They turned their attention to the Fire Giant next. Eager tried to pressure them away, but they just couldn't hold their own in team fights. After three tries, XGN destroyed the Fire Giant and took a steep lead. But they couldn't quite breach Eager's base. Eager came roaring back in team fights, and eventually took the fire giant for themselves. After several false starts, they were able to commit to the Titan and take both the game and the match.
Holy shit! That @EgrWorld series was amazing. Hats off to XGN. One of the best game 3's I've ever seen.— Scott Lussier (@ScottGandhi) December 6, 2015
Eager will be moving on to face Cognitive Gaming in the Grand Finals round. However, because they've already earned their spot on the Worlds Invitational through the UMG qualifier, that seat will automatically go to Cognitive, regardless of whether they win or lose the game.
There's one day left in the NA Finals for Xbox One. The Grand Finals match between Cognitive Gaming and Eager will start at 2:00 PM EST. Tune in to the official MLG stream or follow @MLG on Twitter to keep up with all the action.
This is the last event before the SMITE World Championship tournament in January. In addition to being named the best NA SMITE team for Xbox One, the winner of the MLG Finals will return to the stage at Worlds to compete alongside three other teams in the Xbox One Invitational.
For news and updates as we move closer to the World Championships, follow @SmitePro on Twitter and stay tuned to GameSkinny for all your official coverage of the event.