Xbox Invitational: Open Bracket Review

As SWC began today, behind the scenes of the opening ceremony and the grand stage, was the Open Bracket for the fourth and final spot in the Xbox Invitational. While the Open Bracket may not have necessarily been worthy of being broadcasted on Twitch or shown on the big stage, it was definitely a fun time and a few exciting matches went down. Below I will cover the few games that happened in Open Bracket that were somewhat evenly matched.

Nerd Gaming v XGN

I feel like I would be doing a disservice to Nerd Gaming if I didn’t mention their valiant efforts in today’s Open Bracket. However, they found themselves matched up against a very good XGN team rather early in the tournament and weren’t able to pull off an upset against that team. I was unable to cover that whole set because I was still trying to pry my way into the Media Room at that time.

Aware Gaming v Orbit

This was the first quality matchup that I was able to watch and it was definitely an exciting one.

In game one, Orbit completely took control of the early game, establishing dominance across the entire map. This early dominance resulted in first blood and the first two kills falling on the side of Orbit. However, Aware TSmall wasn’t going down without a fight, especially while playing his best god in Thor. Him and his Aware squad were able to catch Orbit out of position and make the game a little bit closer. Sadly that was not enough for Aware as Transonics had a fantastic performance and his slight advantage of Qruxy was able to really help his team late in the game. A solid 11-4 performance from Sealcar on Bellona was definitely a catalyst in the victory for Orbit in game one.

In game two, Aware gave Transonics his lethal and favorite pick in Xbalanque, as well as gave Sealcar Bellona yet again. Having seen Sealcar put up a lethal performance in game one as Bellona, Aware tried to rotate on him very early in Solo lane but came up unsuccessful and Orbit was able to turn that unsuccessful rotation into a Gold Fury and later into a first blood. The early success yet again for Orbit deemed to be too much for Aware going into the late game as Transonics and his Xbalanque turned up.

EnvyUs v Elevate

Many expected this game to be a huge one and even members of the crowd were spotted stating that this was the real final.

In game one, for eLevate things looked to be moving in a positive direction right off the bat as Chapo was given his best god in Thor. An Odin support pick was made on the side of eLevate and I believe it ended up being sort of an issue for the team as they progressed into the late game. Early, Aggro and Chapo seemed to be on fire, grabbing First Blood and the first three kills of the game. However, the early game success didn’t seem to be quite enough as Weak3n & Allied’s immense experience at the highest level finally emerged in the mid and late game. A fantastic performance on Chiron as well as an invincible 4-0-22 performance for Omega on Bellona lead to a tremendous late game stampede and victory for Envy.

In game two, eLevate didn’t quite accel to the great early lead they had in game one but Cata was able to find a first blood on Chiron which held out the tremendous push from Envy for a little while. But yet again, Cyclone played tremendously on his favorite ADC, Xbal. As well as another deathless performance from Omega in Solo as he went 2-0-15 on Xian Tian. In this game, eLevate wasn’t able to find anything to gain an advantage from and it got away from them much faster than they would have liked. Despite losing, eLevate put up a very enjoyable show to watch against players who honestly should be competing in SWC for PC.

Orbit v XGN

I could be wrong but I believe this may have been the only set to actually reach three games and it definitely was a thrilling three games.

In game one, XGN made sure to take away Bellona from Sealcar after seeing him wreak havoc on Aware with her in Solo. But what XGN didn’t realize is that Sealcar had Tyr in his back pocket ready to use and he definitely knew how to use him. XGN was actually behind as the game entered the mid-game but they actually managed to take Gold Fury while trailing in the game. However, that Gold Fury take just wasn’t enough as the heals from Orbit proved to be too much for XGN to handle and a fantastic 8-1 performance for Transonics as Chiron lead them to a victory.

In game two, Seal was given his Tyr again and after a solid performance it looked like he would be able to repeat the same. But XGN had something else planned for Orbit in this game. A great early rotation by Homiefe landed First Blood against Sealcar and that was just the beginning of the stampede that was game two. XGN controlled every aspect of the game to the point that Orbit F6’d to prevent a mental snoball for XGN in game three.

Game three was something special and definitely an eventful game on both sides. After a wonderful performance by Bronx in game two, Chiron was banned immediately in game three. But a PnB mistake would punish XGN later in the game giving Transonics his true love Xbal. Bathing in the success of game two, XGN decided to try and invade Orbit off the bat. Sealcar actually spotted out the invade on his blue buff and made plans accordingly. Not only did Seal notice the invade attempt but shortly after he was able to solo PolarBearMike and get himself First Blood on Xian Tian. Early on yet again, XGN made a rotation on Sealcar in Solo. This time he was prepared and his team proceeded to start up the Gold Fury, but to their dismay, XGN actually stole the Gold Fury from Orbit giving them a boost. As game three progressed, things started to tilt closer towards Orbit. An absolutely fantastic performance on Xian Tian by Sealcar was the real difference maker in this game. Sealcar was able to continually initiate for Orbit, diving towers, tanking objectives and time after time burning beads and abilities out of their opponent. After a very strong push, Orbit went all in on the Titan to siege game three from XGN and find themselves in the Finals v EnvyUs.

As the Open Bracket comes to a close tomorrow at Noon ET, we will see who will earn that lost spot in the Invitational whether that is EnvyUs or Orbit, only time will tell. The EnvyUs squad seemed rather confident in their ability to walk all over the Xbox scene, so anything but a win tomorrow will be an utter disappointment. But for the Orbit side, they have a lot to prove tomorrow not only to try and land that fourth spot but also leading in to season three in general. So to find out how exactly Orbit was preparing for this tough matchup, I talked with Jungler Peny and Solo laner Sealcar.

 

How exactly do you as a team keep yourselves focused and mentally prepare for such a high quality team like EnvyUs?

Peny: “We just have to tell ourselves that we are the best team here and that we can do it. We’ve been playing pretty standard and we definitely just need to stick to things we are comfortable with. As long as we don’t let anything get us down mentally we should be able to stick with them and hopefully pull off a W.”

Tomorrow you’ll be up against Omega, who is one of the best Solo laners in Smite. How exactly do you plan to prepare for him seeing as he didn’t die once today?

Sealcar: “We’ve been playing them in scrims ever since we formed our team. He is an amazing Solo laner and his Bellona is definitely something I have to respect. However, I do think I’ve played him enough that I can handle his Bellona but I’m sure it will still give me some trouble. In the past we’ve had games that we were successful against Envy so I’m sure that we can do it.”

As you can see, Orbit has the right mindset going into tomorrow if they want to try and pull off a the unimaginable. Congratulations to all who competed today and good luck to both teams who play tomorrow. I’ll be reporting Live from the Media Room via Twitter at @BigBadeSports.