The first day of the 2016 Smite World Championship is in the books after a series of best of one matches in the placement rounds. It went largely as predicted, with some blowouts and three notable upsets. We’ll quickly recap yesterday’s action before moving on to the rest of the predictions for the knockout stage, semifinals, and finals.
This part is history
The first game of the day we saw complete superiority, with European team Epsilon dominating Latin American team Isurus. While the victory was predictable, it felt like Epsilon was taking out some of their pent up aggression after going 27-1 during the regular season and then losing to Paradigm in the Super Regional.
It was essentially as perfect a game as possible for Epsilon, winning in under 30 minutes without giving up a kill or losing a tower.
The first upset of the day came at the hands of paiN Gaming. No one really knew what level of play the top qualifying team from China, Oh My God B, would bring to this year’s SWC, but many predicted they would be able to take care of business against the Brazilian champions. The game was relatively close through the first 25 minutes, but then paiN Gaming took control from there on their way to victory.
America’s number two seed, Enemy, also had an amazing day. Enemy essentially rebuilt their entire roster mid-season after their team captain, Louis “PainDeViande” Geoffrion, didn’t feel the team was playing at the level it needed to be.
So far, the results have been fantastic. Their first game saw them dismantle Australian’s Avant Garde (more on them later), which led to a showdown against European’s wildcard Fnatic.
eSports betting odds strongly favored Fnatic, who were the more seasoned and veteran team. While Fnatic started off strong, taking down multiple towers early on, it went all downhill from there. After both teams postured around Gold Fury, Enemy’s teamwork shined through, and they were able to pull off the upset against Fnatic.
The last upset of the day featured Avant Garde, the first Oceanic team ever to compete at the SWC. They faced QG, China’s number two seed, in the loser’s bracket. While most experts picked Avant Garde to win the matchup, QG came out to prove everyone wrong. Their communication and desire to win proved to be the difference, sending Avant Garde packing back to Australia.
As before, we’ve created a quick graphical depiction of our predictions, with more in-depth analysis below:
Knockout Stage (Quarterfinals – best of 3)
Matchup 1 – Paradigm vs. OMG.B
Europe’s number 1 seed, Paradigm, gets their first taste of action against China’s number 1 seed, OMG.B. Paradigm’s roster is essentially composed of former Team SoloMid and Fnatic members. It took some time for the team to come together, going 18-10, but they pushed through to upset Fnatic and Epsilon at the Super Regionals.
After seeing what Paradigm did in the Super Regionals, and watching OMG.B yesterday, the difference in skill level is apparent. It would take nearly a miracle for OMG.B to pull off this upset. If you plan on placing any eSports bets on this one, we predict Paradigm wins this matchup 2-0.
Matchup 2 – Enemy vs. paiN Gaming
Enemy has shown in the Super Regionals and in yesterday’s placement matches that they’re a team to be reckoned with. They’re playing at an extremely high level right now, and their team communication and mid-to-late game fights have been superb.
paiN Gaming has had a great run so far, but their skill level will be challenged here. Enemy is on a roll, and it’d take two perfect games to beat them. paiN Gaming just doesn’t look to have the assets or experience to currently perform at that level, however. We predict another sweep here, 2-0 in Enemy’s favor.
Matchup 3 – Cloud 9 vs. QG
North America’s number one seed, Cloud 9, starts their quest to win back to back SWC titles today. After a rough start to the year, going 6-8, Cloud 9 was able to pull it together in the Fall Split. Fighting for their playoff lives, the team ended up winning their next 12 of 14 games to take the 3 seed heading into the Super Regionals. They earned this 1 seed by beating COGnitive Gaming, Eager, and then Enemy.
It’s been a great run for QG, as many prognosticators didn’t even predict them to make it past the placement round. Unfortunately for them, their reward is a matchup against a hot team seeking to defend their SWC title. Cloud 9 should sweep this series, 2-0.
Matchup 4 – Epsilon eSports vs. Fnatic
This should be the most competitive and exciting matchup of the day. Both teams are from the European league, and both teams know each other well. Epsilon had a tremendous showing yesterday, especially considering the team hasn’t performed well in past LAN experiences.
Fnatic comes into this matchup after having lost to Enemy yesterday. Their confidence level will be tested quickly, and they’ll need to get back to playing at an ultra-high level again. Fnatic will be slight underdogs in this matchup, but both team’s skill levels are very close. This will be a really close series, with Epsilon winning 2-1.
Semifinals (best of 5)
Matchup 1 – Paradigm vs. Enemy
The first of two North American vs. European showdowns. Both teams should have had somewhat easy quarterfinal matches, and both teams will come into the semis having upset teams in their Super Regional qualifiers to get here.
Paradigm will be slight favorites heading into this best of five series, but Enemy has a penchant for pulling off the upset against higher skilled teams. We expect this series to go the full five games, with Paradigm winning 3-2.
Matchup 2 – Cloud 9 vs. Epsilon
It’s fitting that both of these juggernauts will battle it out to see who will go to the SWC Finals. Epsilon has performed amazing all year, minus their upset loss to Paradigm in the Super Regionals. Cloud 9 enters this tournament on a hot streak, and will be looking to defend their title.
As noted before, Epsilon sometimes falters on the big stage under high pressure situations. If Cloud 9 can start out fast, which they have been doing over the past four months, this could get ugly really quick. Epsilon will need to match Cloud 9’s immediate aggression.
They don’t need to win the first game, but they also can’t get blown out. We can see this series going all 5 games as well, with Cloud 9 taking it 3-2.
Smite World Championship Finals
Paradigm vs. Cloud 9
This one is for all the marbles (oh, and that $1 million prize). Another European vs North American finals, with bragging rights going to the winning region for the next year. Cloud 9 is just three wins away from being the first repeat champions in Smite, while Paragon looks to cap a magical run to end their year.
Just like last year, expect this series to go all five games. In the end, Cloud 9 has the experience at this monumental moment, and having been there and done that will help settle the nerves. Cloud 9 wins 3-2 and is crowned the 2016 Smite World Champions.