With the Spring Split coming to a close, it’s time to see our first LAN of Season 4. The top two teams from each region—Eager and Luminosity from NA, Obey and Dignitas from EU—have claimed their spot in the Spring Finals. Everybody else will have to go through the Spring Gauntlet to try for the last two spots at the Finals LAN.
If you don’t know how the Gauntlet works, it’s a rather simple style of tournament. Both regions have separate tournaments, and only one person can come out of each a winner. The top Challenger Cup teams from the spring will face off in a best of 3 set against the 8-seed from their respective regions. The winner of that will then face off against the 7th seed, and the winner of that will face off against the 6th seed. The matches continue like that until whoever is left plays against the 3rd seed team in each region, with the victors of those two sets claiming the last two spots at the Spring Finals. The layout can be seen below. Both regions are looking like they will be highly competitive and it should be a good weekend of Smite play. Let’s get into it.
NA Spring Split
The Spring Split was definitely a story of ups and downs for many of the teams in North America. eUnited and SoaR both started out the split looking fairly weak (although some may say differently due to the fact that they both had a relatively hard starting schedule) and then improved dramatically after some changes were made. eUnited could have even potentially stolen a top seed from Luminosity but ended up falling short and placing as the top seed for the upcoming Gauntlet. In Memory of Gabe started out strong but started to fall apart as they went into the later parts of the split. Noble and Allegiance both took games off of higher tier teams but weren’t able to pick up very many wins. Oh, and Flash Point won a couple games as well. The only teams who maintained a relatively consistent performance were the top two teams, Eager and Luminosity. LG has a couple splits, but that was more due to their poor drafting than performance. Overall, the region was a close battle throughout and any one of these teams could show up at LAN.
EU Spring Split
The EU side of things was a bit more separated with the top 4 teams doing significantly better than the bottom 4 teams. NRG had their first rough split in a while, splitting 3 times and losing their first set (against Obey) since the end of Season 2. Dignitas and Eanix (formerly Valance Squadron) were fighting for second seed throughout the whole 6 weeks with Dignitas coming out on top. Obey absolutely dominated the entire split, only dropping one game (in which they drafted He Bo jungle). In the lower half of the standings lies Rival, Elevate, Lion Guard, and Sanguine. The former 3 all had a few good games but weren’t able to maintain a relatively good performance, although Elevate started to bring it back near the end of the split with their new roster. The latter, Sanguine, wasn’t able to win a single game, despite almost closing out a couple different games in their favor. I don’t expect any of these 4 teams to be able to make it past Eanix or NRG in the Gauntlet, but crazier things have happened.
In this section, I’m going to analyze each of the teams in the Gauntlet and talk about their chances of winning.
Flash Point: FP has not done well in the spring split, but they’ve started to pick it up in the last couple of weeks. It’s not likely that they will go far, but they could potentially make it past Noble or even Allegiance.
Noble: Noble has been one of the more inconsistent teams in NA. They seem to play up to harder opponents and down to easier opponents. This means they could be one of the finalists or they could lose their first round. It all just depends on how they play. I’m betting on them not making it past IMOG though.
Allegiance: Another team that has been extremely inconsistent. To add on to their problems, PolarBearMike has stepped down from his position as support due to conflicts within the team. They do have more LAN experience than others, but with such short notice to gain team synergy, it’s not likely they’ll win their set.
In Memory of Gabe: IMOG started out strong but started to fall off as the split went on. This isn’t a great sign for them, but they do have multiple LAN veterans who know how to handle the pressure well. Realistically, it will be either them or SoaR against eUnited in the final round.
SoaR: This team is kind of a toss-up. They started out just plain bad, but have risen to success as of late. If they show up, which I expect them to, they could easily be a finalist, and even win the entire thing depending on how eUnited plays. They’re also likely to have gotten the LAN jitters out by the time they play against eUnited for the top spot, which could benefit them. They have to beat IMOG first though.
eUnited: The likely victor. They’ve been unstoppable in the last part of the split, and I expect them to continue their hot streak into the Gauntlet.
Sanguine: There’s not much to say here. They didn’t win a single game online and they face a fairly good team in their first round. They also have a new roster that isn’t going to have much time to get acclimated to their new roles. Not exactly a recipe for success.
Lion Guard: These guys could lose in their first round, or they could go up against Eanix. It all just depends on how good they’re playing. It also depends on how Elevate and Rival play, but Elevate is looking pretty good right now, so they likely won’t make it too far.
Elevate: Elevate could potentially be the dark horse of the tournament. They’ve been looking pretty good after their roster changes, and they improve every day. My guess is they’ll beat everybody up to Eanix. They could give Eanix a run for their money but Eanix has more experience on their side.
Rival: Another team that really depends on if they show up or not. They’re up and down but have been doing pretty well recently. They could win but I still think Elevate is just too strong right now.
Eanix: The team that was second for a good portion of the split. They should be able to beat anyone from the previous games, but there’s always a chance that they have a bad day. If they’re on their A-game, they could also potentially beat NRG.
NRG: The world champions haven’t really looked like themselves recently. Is it just the new season causing problems or is the team really starting to fall off? They’ve started to get back into the groove of things recently, and they dominate every LAN they go to, so my guess is they should win this one too.
The Gauntlet will be a fun one to watch, but the top seeds from each region should come out on top. eUnited has looked too good recently, and the NRG boys are LAN monsters. Nevertheless, they will definitely have to work for their wins, especially eUnited. Realistically, any of those NA teams, except for maybe Flash Point, could win out if they can perform. NRG will have less competition with Eanix and Elevate (maybe) being their toughest opponents, but it won’t be a walk in the park for them. Just remember, anything could happen.
Be sure to watch the tournament on April 14th-16th at www.twitch.tv/hireztv
Wyatt Hall is a lover of video games, politics, and especially esports. You can find him on Twitter at @thewyatthall15, on reddit as /u/Skyhall, or in-game as Skyhall.