PC Super Regionals NA Semis: EnVy upset by Enemy, C9-eGr go down to the wire

Back with another summary of matches at the 2015 Smite Super Regionals, and boy were the two sets memorable. Both sets went to 5 games, and I could probably write 10 pages highlighting the matches, but it’s something that just has to be seen for yourself. Instead, I bring to you the “10 Things We Learned” about Thursday’s matches in the North American Regionals.

One of the newest gods to Smite has made quite an impression during the Super Regionals. Dignitas, Enemy, and Cloud9 have all found success with the Chinese guardian. Most notably, Baskin was able to build the most tankiest guardian harasser against Eager I have ever seen. He itemized him to an impressive 3600 plus health and still managed to do top damage. Baskin used the god to perfection, single handedly pulling Eager off of Gold Furies while also getting to their back line during extensive engagements to split the team in half for easy penetration. Because of this success by SaltMachine and Baskin especially, I expect to see the headless god first banned for the remainder of the Super Regionals. If not, my money is on the team that picks him up.
PBM has been playing so well since late in the Fall Split and has continued this into the Super Regionals. Sure, he didn’t play a perfect set against Cloud9, with a few mistakes of getting picked off in the jungle to his demise. However, for this being his rookie season in the SPL, with the pressure of playing with 4 other veterans, he has played beyond what most would have expected him to play. PBM was critical in the almost comeback by Eager against Cloud9, playing a phenomenal Geb, keeping his team alive with the shields and ultimates. Mike’s performance in the EnVy series will be critical to the team’s success and their chance at Worlds.
Baskin had some big shoes to fill when he came to Cloud9 to replace Omega in the solo lane. MLC_St3alth called him “their own CycloneSpin” for his ability to play assassins and carry a team. Lately though, Baskin has adapted his play into the front line warrior that has made Omega, his predecessor, so successful. And it has worked. His Xing Tian play against Eager was truly remarkable, and his wherewithal and knowledge in team fights to know when to engage and target the high damage carries has been a big improvement in his game. An improvement that makes me think he is very well the second best solo laner in North America. Baskin still has areas to improve, sometimes losing sight at the task at hand, as seen with his Cabrakan ult in game 3 that cost C9 the team fight.
Possibly one of the biggest problems for Eager in the first two games of the set was the ADC Zapman’s lack of presence. Most know Zapman for being a highly aggressive player who would bully his lane, but sometimes would feed because of it. Zap swears that’s not the type of player he is, and he tried to show that in those 2 games. It never panned out and it allowed C9’s Barraccudda to get some early kills as Xbalanque that put him so far ahead Zap could never catch up. When their backs were against the wall, Zap finally brought back the aggressive playstyle, and while it cost him his life a few times, it opened up the fighting for his team that gave Eager the critical 2 wins they needed to force the game 5. With Allied and the entire EnVy squad currently in a slump, Zap’s aggression may deem critical to Eager winning the set.
Maybe more so than Vetium, SaltMachine has been a frontline carry for Enemy so far this LAN. He played exceptionally as Xing Tian and Bellona against TSM and EnVy, and was able to really handle CycloneSpin in lane. Salt has made a huge transition into the pro scene when he was picked up Pain to join this team for the Fall Split. This LAN has established a name for himself, and he has 2 months to perfect his craft and his god pool, because Enemy will need to rely on him in January when they compete for a World Championship.
Vetium has been the breakout player of the tourney thus far, and he had to prove it against some of the best hunters in North America, Snoopy and Allied. Not only did he hold his own, he actually outplayed them. Vetium had some dominant performances in both series, most notably his deathless Neith in the game 5 thriller against EnVy. Now with a bigger target on his back, Vetium will go to Worlds with more pressure to perform at the top of his game.
The Summer Split wasn’t a kind one to PainDeVainde and his team, Legion of Carrots. Finishing in last place, The organization would be relegated into the Challenger Cup. However, Enemy had a roster change as well and gave Pain the opportunity to rebuild a team on his own terms. Kicking off everyone from the LoC team, he went out and found himself some of the best mechanical players North America had to offer to join him on Enemy. Few would’ve guessed this team would even make LAN, and nobody outside the team would’ve seen them qualify for Worlds, yet they’ve defied all the critics and all the doubters and will be playing against the best of the best in January.
EnVy haven’t played at the top of their game since the mid season of the Fall Split. Some credit it to being so far ahead of the competition in North America that they let go of the throttle and tried new, off meta strategies. Others think the meta change that nerfed hypercarries in the solo lane have hurt EnVy’s strategy of getting CycloneSpin ahead and allowing him to carry late. Whatever the case may be, EnVy is in trouble having lost to Enemy in the semis, and being forced to play Eager in the third place match for a shot at Worlds. EnVy have had very few shining moments in the past couple months, and I think it’s starting to weigh on them. Had it not been for Weak3n stellar 2 games of Mercury, Enemy may have swept the series. To make matters worse, the team decided to role swap KikiSoCheeky and Incon at the mid and support roles for the first time at LAN, a very strange decision with a berth at Worlds in their sites. With all these problems, EnVy will really have to shake off the dust and quickly in their set with Eager, who have been one of the more powerful, consistent teams in North America.
An ADC known for his superb positioning and game knowledge, Allied ended the Fall Split on a bad note and have seemed to bring it with him to LAN. Many times Allied was being picked off for being out of position, or playing closer to the front line and being forced out of fights.A terrible time to be playing at your worst, the change of Incon to mid seemed to also affect his drought, as Allied seemed a bit hesitant with what he could do with Kiki as his support. Losing the matchup with an unproven Vetium last set, things may only get worse when he has to lane against one of the best and most aggressive ADCs in Zapman on Saturday.
A huge surprise for everyone watching EnVy play yesterday, Kiki and Incon swapped roles, playing their new roles for the first time in a competitive setting at LAN with no prior experience. While EnVy may have been comfortable with this change, it definitely seemed to affect them, most notably a couple times where Weak3n and Incon seemed to be on the wrong page in the midlane. Playcalling and team fights seemed to be off as well, showing off an EnVy team we haven’t seen in a while. EnVy have always been known to really control team fights and be able to play from behind, and we really didn’t see that Thursday against Enemy apart from Weak3n’s Mercury plays. It’ll be interesting to see if EnVy decide to go back to their original roles or if they’ll ride this out to the end. Either way, they better be prepared when they play Eager on Saturday for a shot at Worlds.