Smite Console League Preview

295 is the number of days Smite has officially been launched on Xbox One. Since its launch, Smite on console has seen many drastic improvements, a huge influx of players and even a branch out to the “other” console. But the number that really matters is six, and that is the number of teams that qualified for the Smite Console League after six long weeks of day long qualification tournaments. Today is the day that six of North America’s best console teams take to the Battleground of the Gods for the first time in SCL.

Xbox Smite’s competitive scene started with weekly/bi-weekly UMG or MLG tournaments with rather small cash prizes. In the past year, it has evolved into something many thought a console MOBA could never be. Today marks the day that competitive console Smite is officially in HiRez Studio’s hands. I asked Associate eSports Specialist, HiRezCooper, how excited he was for the SCL to launch.

“The fact that we can finally put Console under this eSports scene that we have built from the ground up is what has me the most excited. The SCL is just the start and being able to hold LANs and championships with our production team and staff is something I am definitely looking forward to this year!”

Over the next seven weeks, teams who have spent countless hours preparing for their debut, will battle it out to qualify for the Summer Split LAN, likely to be held at HiRez Studios. Of the 30 players on SCL rosters, only about half of them have had the opportunity to experience a LAN, so this sacred opportunity is something many of these players are striving for.

In this multi-part SCL preview, I will cover the players for each of the six teams and give my prediction on where I think each team will stand at the end of the summer.

Teams

Most Wanted eSports

mw

This is a team that I knew heading into qualifiers would definitely qualify for this summer split, but what I didn’t expect was the absolute high level of play they came out of the gates with. With players adjusting to console/new roles, I expected this team to struggle a bit but they did not do that in any sorts. This team has a strategy that I haven’t seen from many teams at all. They practice regularly not only on Xbox to tune up mechanics but also on PC to gain synergy and have practice on upcoming patches.I have high expectations for this team after having plenty of time to prepare together and after having a fantastic qualification run.

Jungle: Cynosure

Cynosure is a player that comes from strong roots in the PC Smite scene. He has been a jungler for quite a few top challenger cup teams and is a highly ranked player in the jungle on PC. He was a first choice pick by Most Wanted’s captain Clow so his team has full trust in his ability to convert to console in a very timely manner. I expect to see him make a huge impact for this team from the Jungle assuming his team can synergize quickly seeing as he was just recently acquired.

Cynosure had this to say about his joining of Most Wanted and his mindset heading into SCL.

“Clow invited me to the team when Adjust left and I can say over the course of just a couple days playing with him and the team, it’s been a fun experience. I’m very excited for the opportunity to prove myself as a top jungler in the SCL.”

Mid: Clowwwwww

Clowwwwww is a character. His superb gameplay isn’t what really defines him to me. It’s his outgoing personality and “trolly” nature. After finishing 5th in the Open Bracket at SWC, Clow decided he was going to spend 2016 playing with his friends rather than repeating another year of constant xbox roster changes trying to find the perfect match. Ironically, Clow’s decision allowed him to put one hell of a squad together. Clow showed in SCL that he is one of the more dominant mid laners. (That is when he isn’t playing out of meta gods and feeding.)

Clow had this to say about playing with a new jungler for this SCL.

“As a mid laner, you’re basically the jungler’s bot. You follow their every move and try to follow up on their plays and try to make sure they are taking a lot of things into consideration before making a play. Cynosure is the best jungler I have played with. Even though he is new to the controller, I’m very confident moving into the split and we are expecting first place.”

Solo: Wolves

Wolves is a player that was talked about massively when Juice Gaming announced their return to Xbox earlier this season, even to the extent of having a widely spread meme created about him backpacking Juice Gaming. Even though things for Juice didn’t quite work out like they may have liked, Wolves has still found himself playing in the SCL for a very talented squad. I’m really excited to see what impact Wolves can have for Most Wanted after they spent most of the qualifiers being very successful but not having a player who was comfortable in the Solo lane role.
Wolves had this to say about his transition to a new team and keeping up with the standard they set in qualifiers.

“I just have to live up to the expectations. I feel extremely confident with this new team, we’re all committed to the game and we’re looking to be the best.”

Support: Matt Koiz

Matt Koiz was one of my favorite players in Season 2. He was one of the only junglers who would play nonconventional gods in the jungle role and that was something that really impressed me. He spent the SCL in Solo lane where he definitely didn’t look his most comfortable and wasn’t able to impact his team in the way he would have liked. But I believe that Support may be a good fit for him if he can develop a wide god pool. When he was a jungler, he always tended to be the one making the plays but not dealing the damage which is what Support at the highest level tends to be.

Matt Koiz had this to say about his recent role swap.

“Switching roles is never easy. I played jungle all season 2 on xbox and I enjoyed every minute of it. Support and Jungle are very similar in many ways and with me playing tanky gods like Ymir and Cabraken in the jungle, it was actually a really smooth transition. iRaffer used to be a remarkable jungler back in the day and after he made the transition he proceeded to win the Smite World Championship. I just hope I can do that on the Xbox side of things.”

Hunter: Transonics

Transonics is another one of the SCL players who falls under the term “Xbox Native”. Transonics has been in the competitive scene on xbox since it’s birth last summer. While the team name he was under has changed a decent amount, his role and skill level haven’t waivered from ADC and godlike. Transonics has shown better than anyone in my opinion, the ability to carry the game literally on his back from the ADC role. His insane mechanical skill and love for hypercarries, Transonics may actually be the best carry himself. The only worry I have for him going into the SCL is whether or not he has overcome his biggest foe, his communication skills.

I caught up with Trans about his feelings going into this SCL with the current Meta and his new Support duo.

“Matt playing Support has been a rather smooth transition. He grinds and wants the team to win and that is what I really look for in a Support. On top of our team being pretty good mechanically, I can micro-manage Matt in lane and out of lane Clow and Cyno can take care of him. But as for me, this Meta has #Blessed me with the Golden bow allowing my hypercarries (Rama & Xbal) to survive the early game.

Kingdom eSports

kngdom

This is a team that is going to be seen as an underdog all season, but that isn’t due to a lack of skill, rather just not being as elite as the other top teams. This team definitely has what it takes to beat the top teams, and if they can fill the underdog role to their best ability. They may be able to take games off of teams at the top of the table. This team is going to be very exciting to watch this season.

Jungle: TSmall

TSmall is another player that I had known about for quite some time but just wasn’t able to find himself on a team that would put him in the shining light. At SWC Open Bracket, I saw TSmall do things for Aware Gaming that I haven’t seen many players do yet in the console scene. Even though his team wasn’t able to find much success in Open Bracket, TSmall used falling just short of the Grand Stage as motivation going into this season and showed that he’s better than ever. In the few times that their games were streamed during qualifiers, TSmall was boasting good numbers in the Jungle. My only worry is how well him and McSaltyCakes will synergize with the pair never having competitive experience together.

Mid: McSaltyCakes

Salty is a player that to my knowledge mostly worked his way up through the Xbox ranked system. He has proven over time to be a solid mid laner and he will have his chance to prove it for the first time competitively this season. My only worry for him is whether or not he will be able to fill the huge shoes of Sambam who decided to depart from his own team after the qualifiers.

Solo: Sealcar

Sealcar is a player that I didn’t quite realize had the skill level he did until this year at SWC. While Sealcar didn’t get the chance to live his dream and play on the grand stage. He put up a fight against Omega that I have yet to see anyone besides Baskin do. He Solo’d the guy who “never gets solo’d” two times in their BO5 set against Team EnVyUs but that just wasn’t enough for Orbit to pull away victorious. I’ve been nothing but impressed with Sealcar’s mentality and attitude heading into the SCL and I wouldn’t be surprised if Sealcar is able to take a few people by surprise this season.

Support: Toasty

Toasty is a player that has been in the competitive xbox scene for quite some time. He was seen on the Epsilon Xbox roster last season whom had a very good year in 2015 but just wasn’t able to put it all together to make it to SWC. Support is a role on Xbox that isn’t always fulfilled to its finest and Toasty will need to perform at a very high level this split to give Kingdom a chance to compete with the best.

Hunter: Catalyyyst

Catalyst was a player that was always on a top team but was never able to find himself a perfect fit for a home, I believe that he finally has. Catalyst first made a name for himself at MLG LAN with amazing Chronos game play that really shocked a majority of the community. At SWC Open Bracket his Chiron was something even one of Smite’s best, CycloneSpin wasn’t really even able to contain and he almost was able to help eLevate(at the time) beat the eventual World Champions. This split is Catalyst’s chance to prove he really is one of the best ADC’s.

Catalyst had this to say about being an underdog this split.

“We are the underdogs and honestly I thrive on being an underdog. We look to come out of no where and impress by upsetting!”

SoaR Gaming

soar

This is the team everyone knows is going to bring a party to the table every time they show up. Nobody but Eager could stop them in the SCL qualifiers but they never really were able to take out Eager. After some roster changes, they are looking better than ever and they believe they have what it takes to really finish first this time. It’s going to be exciting to watch this team grow and their first match-up against Eager is going to be something worth watching.

Jungle: ImTheGodelchapo

Well his gamertag change is a rather interesting one, but assuming Chapo can perform at the high level he has in the past, it may still be a fitting one. Chapo has proven in his time on Xbox that he can carry anything and anyone to victory. His mechanical skill is second to none and there is nobody who will argue it. But what most players and viewers don’t get to see is what his teammates continually rave about, his shot calling. If you’ve ever tuned into a chapo stream you know that his ability to get competent words out of his mouth at a fast(and rather loud) rate is insane, so just translate that to a competitive match and that is what you get from the Godelchapo. I think chapo’s performance this split is going to be what makes the difference between second and first for this team.

Chapo had this to say about returning to Jungle this season.

“I’ve been grinding, this was my position for two years and I’m coming back better than ever.”

Mid: ElAggro

Aggro is a player that I have said many times before comes in and balances the hyper-aggressiveness of chapo. Another really important aspect of this SCL for this team is whether or not Aggro and Chapo can find that perfect balance or if the counter-activeness results in misplays. Aggro has been putting in a lot of work personally to better his gameplay because he was not satisfied with his performances in the SCL. With recent buffs to gods played in the mid lane, I expect to see Aggro come out guns blazing ready to boast his god pool and help lead this team to victory.

Aggro had this to say about how his team has prepared to do what they couldn’t in qualifiers and overcome Eager.

“We’ve worked really hard to improve because we were not happy with our overall performance. We watched a lot of our games and really broke down what we needed to do better as a team. I worked with our coach, Narrian, to improve my game specifically because I wasn’t happy with my own play. We feel like with the roster changes, we are better than ever and are excited to show it this split.”

Solo: Uzzy

Uzzy no longer synced with Wuzzy, is the player with the highest amount of elo in all of Smite. If this doesn’t say enough about his skill level, he bodies most of the best solo laners in the game playing Nu Wa and Aphro solo. His god pool is quite large, including gods of all classes which allows SoaR to strategize in different ways but also allowing them to pick multiple flex picks. I expect for the most part for him to just pick gods that will allow him to flex his skill level in lane and then better transition into team fights. Even in his brief stint of relegations, Uzzy was able to show utter dominance in Solo lane. I expect nobody besides Dwurst and possibly Sealcar to give him much trouble this season.

Support: Elbr0chacho

Br0chacho is a player who brings an amazing work ethic and desire to win to the battleground with this SoaR team every match. His experience in the Support role is genuinely second to none. The only thing he lacks is the constant experience with a controller but that is something that has been shown to not matter for too long. His aggression at the Support role is something that has always worked well with this team but will work even better now that he is playing with arguably the best mechanical player on console in Keegs.

Hunter: KeegsMate

Keegs, if you weren’t aware of him ahead of time, is a player that has found much success at the highest levels of 1v1 joust now called Duel. He has shown an insane ability to outplay any and all players in 1v1 scenarios which is what ADC, especially on console has become. Keegs in his time on Xbox has made it a point to prove how much better he is than “Xbox Natives” and has started a series on Twitter called “Solo’ing Xbox Natives”. I hope for his own sake that he is able to back up his statements otherwise he will be in for a treat from the xbox community. I think if Keegs is able to translate his 1v1 skills to the 5v5 format at ADC. He could be the MVP of this split and be the reason SoaR finish first.

I asked Keegs about his transition to Xbox.

“In my “short” time on Xbox compared to the other SCL players, I can already see myself being better than 90% and those are facts my guy. In all honesty though, eGr or rather my role competitor, AirCougar is my most respected Hunter. I think my teammates can agree that they are excited to have a Hunter who won’t choke when his team needs him to do his job. I feel very confident and I’m excited to show that we are the best in NA.”

Team Eager

egr

This team is Xbox’s best team and are looking to prove that yet again this split. Nobody was able to top them until 60% of their roster couldn’t show up for a show match. They won 5 straight weeks of qualifiers with a tad bit of ease. This roster and team has a target on their heads and everyone is going to be seeking to be the team that topples Eager. AirCougar has this team focused and ready for this split like never before. This team’s road to LAN is going to be exciting.

Jungle: Myflin

Little did I know before talking with Myflin, he has a tad bit of a personality. But on top of having a personality, he has a tremendous skill set that has transitioned very smoothly to the console scene after finishing in last of the SPL on PC. His experience with Unre(Delta Marine72) has also proven to be a huge asset for this Eager team and helped lead them to an easy first place victory.

Myflin had this to say about his experience translating to Xbox.

My years of experience have hardened my resolve and player skill into that of a fucking diety. I’m literally just a God at the game. The strong consume the weak, and I am the zenith-predator.”

Mid: Delta Marine72

When the times got dark for Eager in the SCL qualifiers(which hardly happened), Delta Marine72 was the person who came through with the clutch triple kill, or 3 man Janus ult, or 5 man Zeus ult. He was the shining light in my opinion for Eager when it came down to it. His skill level has only risen since qualifiers and I expect him to be a contender for Split MVP come August.

Solo: eGr Dwurst

I’ve always claimed Dwurst to be the Shining Light for this team but I think that torch has been passed along. But that doesn’t mean Dwurst has taken a dip in skill in any means, if anything, he’s better than ever. Ever since facing utter disappointment at SWC in January, Dwurst has pushed himself to a level I didn’t even know existed. Even down to the smallest unit of movement, Dwurst has perfected his game in Solo lane after getting outclassed by Omega. Nobody besides his own teammate, Jelly, has impressed me more with their improvement this season. I’m really excited to see how Dwurst does this SCL with his insane desire to win.

Dwurst had this to say about his motivation after SWC.

“I just really hate losing and want to avoid it at all costs.”

Support: eGr Jelly

As stated previously, Jelly is back, and better than ever this season. In the SCL qualifiers, Jelly seemed to be literally everywhere making plays. From what I was told previously, Jelly was always putting in the extra work to get better. But what I do know is that he was not happy with the results this squad received from SWC and he has been playing with a chip on his shoulder ever since. With his duo partner looking as stable as ever, I expect to see utter dominance coming out of the duo lane of eGr this season.

I asked Jelly about what his motivation has been as well.

“I’m driven by the fact that as a team, I want to win this time. Coming in 3rd/4th was not an acceptable result for us and we are much better than that. We have a drive to win like no other team and I think that may be what sets us apart.”

Hunter: eGr AirCougar

AirCougar being the captain of this team has been the person who felt the most scrutiny after SWC. He took it upon himself to replace SamBam and Matt Koiz. Despite the unpopular opinion of the community, his choice in replacements panned out very well. But what has surprised me since SWC was the drastic improvement in AirCougar’s skill and the improvement to his god pool. Every game, regardless of opponent, AirCougar put up fantastic numbers and was part of the reason why his team was unstoppable. AirCougar’s game play and team management skills will be the reason Eager end up on top yet again.

AirCougar said this about keeping his team focused on getting better.

“The best way to keep us focused on improving is to keep up constant practice. We each try to make sure we’re competing at a level that we are satisfied with. As competitive players, that’s not an easy level to reach.”

Noble eSports

noble

Noble is the true definition of underdog heading into this split. They didn’t show signs of struggling in the qualifiers until they faced other SCL teams, but sometimes their ability to hold their own wasn’t really there. This team has been grinding the hardest this season so I’m excited to see if their practice will pay off.

Jungle: True Shame

Shame is a player that has been playing competitively on Xbox for quite some time and even competed in Open Bracket at SWC. I know he has swapped roles since the 2015 year, so I’m not sure how comfortable he really is in the Jungle. But he will need to do a great job with Suprah in the mid if this team wants to stand any chance this split.

Mid: Supra0H

Supra is also a player I haven’t been able to watch much of but will have an impact on this team’s results this split. Supra’s god pool is supposedly rather large and that is something that will really benefit this Noble team who will need to find ways to overcome their opponents.

Solo: yoyoabc

yoyoabc is a player that transitioned to Xbox in 2015 but didn’t really find his home until 2016. He made the trip to SWC as a “coach” for Orbit. yoyo is a player that has played a ton of PC Smite and has been able to translate that experience to Xbox quite well. In qualifiers his mechanics were one of the things really holding him back but he showed over the course of time that he could improve drastically in those terms. His god pool is rather large and his experience is there, I think there’s a chance that yoyo could surprise some people and help this squad find success.

Yoyo said this about translating experience from PC to Console and his role swap.

“Solo has been a good role transition for me from Jungle. Solo is all about game knowledge and how you adapt to certain opportunities. I’ve grown a lot as a player and with this team to get where I am now. I’m excited for this opportunity and can’t wait to show what I can do.

Support: Grattywind

Gratty is another one of those players who is an “Xbox Native”. But Gratty’s story isn’t filled with instant success. He spent most of 2015 trying to find  role that fit him comfortably and trying to find the right team to play with. After grinding Smite throughout the Summer and beginning of the Fall, he was able to land a spot on Epsilon eSports Xbox team as a sub. While that team may not have panned out well, he was able to prove that he was a player that had what it took to play professionally. This season he was able to join this Noble team at Support and put on a fantastic showing. I truly think Gratty has the desire and work ethic to help this team defy the odds.

I asked Gratty about how he felt, finally having made it to the SCL.

“It’s definitely the dream. I was super excited after week 6 quals ended even though I didn’t get to play the finals. I know I’m not the best but I’m excited for the opportunity to put on a show and I think it’s amazing I’ve been able to do all of this just playing Smite a year.”

Hunter: xxxLou

Lou is a player that has gaming experience much beyond SMITE. Before he got into Smite he was a fan of League and Dota. He joined Smite with high desires to get into the pro scene, and he did just that. Lou originally got involved on PC with ironically, Noble eSports. He made the transition to Xbox eventually and has found much success in his time. He qualified for the MLG Pro League playing with Onslaught Clan whom had a rather sad departure from the competitive scene. Lou has put in a lot of work for this upcoming SCL and I hope to see him able to overcome the odds.

Team eLevate

 elevate

This team is filled with tons of talent and two players who were in World Finals at SWC. Although they have faced a few roster changes and role swaps, the talent level hasn’t dropped a bit. This team has what it takes to finish first but whether they can get the results is something we will have to watch for.

Jungle: Froyuh

Froyuh, also known as Freya was a player that really showed up when it counted last season. He was in a different role, playing mid for Cognitive Gaming but his insane mechanical skill as well as tactical skill was very apparent even when they dropped the World Finals to Envyus. Froyuh has a tendency to make off-meta picks and this is something I think could really help this team catch teams off guard this split.

Mid: Paul From PC

Paul was known last season to be the unstoppable Hou Yi, having it banned in literally every game of the SWC Finals. Paul showed at the ADC role last season that he could play a wide range of gods and I expect him to do the same this season in Mid. He’s shown a desire to play Hel, whom at one point was an unstoppable force on Xbox. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Paul bring some gods back from the ashes and show his insane ability to play them this season.

Solo: Stormy

Stormy, also known as wordsasweapons, is a player that alongside the rest of this squad besides Zachsy, came from PC. His experience on PC was very apparent in qualifiers as he showed he was very comfortable in Solo for this squad. He has done a great job of filling the shoes of our favorite spam taunter, Soupkitchen.

Support: Thoofa

Thoofa was a player I haven’t gotten to see enough of yet this season, but when he was playing alongside Paul, he showed signs of brilliance. Whether or not he will be able to synergize with Zachsy this season will be an important part of whether or not this team can overcome the odds and finish at the top.

Hunter: Zachsy

Zachsy spent the SCL qualifiers playing with EDC now SoaR. There’s plenty of speculation on why he is no longer on that roster but that is all irrelevant. Zachsy has something to prove this SCL split, and that is that he really is one of the best ADC’s on Xbox. He has huge shoes to fill seeing as Paul who was previously at ADC did a very good job of doing the Carry part of the ADC acronym. Zachsy showed a wide god pool in the SCL qualifiers and I expect to see the same out of him again this split.

The Smite Console League kicks off today on twitch.tv/hireztv. If you weren’t already informed about the teams in the SCL, I hope this helped you get a little bit better insight. Below I will leave what I believe the standings will look like at the end of August but I can’t reiterate enough how wrong I know I will be.

 

g