The Spring Split has come to a close, and a new champion has emerged. It was a long weekend of Smite, but it wasn’t boring. We saw the newer international teams put up a fight, we saw some upsets happen, and for the second big LAN in a row, we saw an EU vs EU final. It had it’s downsides, with snowball meta being rather prevalent, but we finally got to see Obey win the trophy they’ve been striving so long for.
International Teams on the Rise?
Out of the 11 teams at LAN, 4 of them were outside of Europe and North America. They mostly faced each other, but we got the treat of seeing LG Dire Wolves from Oceania face NRG along with Black Dragons from Brazil facing Eager. Most would chalk these two sets up to easy sweeps from the SPL teams, but that wasn’t quite the case. These two put up much more of a fight than anybody expected. Dire Wolves did end up getting swept but it wasn’t easy wins. They really showed how strong they can be against the defending world champs. Black Dragons on the other hand, actually took a game from the first seed out of NA, Eager.
Pair these matches back up with the Worlds set that Licht won against Allegiance, and this could be a sign of the international teams starting to catch up. This could be good because more diversity in regions allows for more viewership. Now, all we need is China or Korea to bring in the Asian viewership.
One thing that really showed up at Masters was the fact that Season 4 is definitely a snowball contest. There were very few games that weren’t decided in the first 5-10 minutes, with the team getting the first few kills winning out. This would result in extremely one-sided games that make it extremely hard to come back. These games are also less exciting to watch which could hurt viewership. The average game time was roughly 28 minutes. This has hurt later-game teams like NRG who can usually come back from being down around the 26-minute mark, but with games being over by then, it’s not giving them that chance.
The big problem with the current snowball meta is the fact that it can’t really be fixed until we get a new map. With the amount of XP and objectives close together on the map, if a team takes control it’s game over. They can roll from one thing to the next and make a comeback impossible. In Patch 4.8 they’re going to change some things related to XP and the Gold Fury, but it likely won’t be enough to completely get rid of the snowball. We’ll likely be stuck until Season 5.
EU is officially the Superior Region
Since the beginning of time, the big rivalry of Smite was North America vs Europe. The two regions have been at each other's throats for more than 4 years now. It’s always been pretty close and competitive but Season 4 might have changed that. Just watching the international LANs you can see a pretty significant difference in the play between EU and NA right now. Europe seems to have a quicker grasp on how to win in the Season 4 meta and it’s making all the difference. Out of 8 EU vs NA games, North America won one of them (Luminosity vs Rival Game 2). That’s a pretty substantial score line for Europe. Will EU continue to establish dominance against their NA counterparts? Or will NA find redemption on the EU’s home turf in Spain in July?
Rival vs Obey: This matchup was highly anticipated. Obey, the top team coming in, against Rival, the Cinderella story of the Gauntlet. We all knew it would be a good set and it lived up to the hype. The games were even for a good amount of time, but Obey finally gained the willpower to overcome the newer opposition. In all honestly, it seemed like the reason Obey won this set was due to their experience compared to Rival. Don’t forget their name though, as Rival will likely come back with vengeance in the Summer Split. They aren’t a team to mess with.
Eager vs Dignitas: This was it, North America’s last hope at victory. Dignitas saw this fact and decided to crush the dreams of any and all fans of the boys in blue. Seriously, this set was completely one-sided. It really seemed like Eager just wasn’t all there. They lose game one in pretty gruesome fashion and decided to run the same draft game two for some reason. At that point, they were just so tilted that game three was just as bad as the first two. When you listened into their comms, it was dead silent. There was no communication and no hope left. You knew that they felt defeated before game three even started. Hopefully, they can recover in the next few weeks.
Obey vs Dignitas: This was it. The two EU titans clashing head to head. Both teams had done fantastic all weekend, so this was a set to see who can hold on to that momentum. That momentum held on all the way to the last minute of the last game with the set going all the way to five games. All of the first four games had been complete snowball victories for either team, but game five changed that. It was time to crown a new champion and both teams wanted that title. They both played extremely well with the game going back and forth but eventually after a sloppy teamfight from Dignitas at fire giant, Obey was able to take the lead and strangle the last remaining hope out of them. This set honestly could have gone either way the entire team, but in the end Obey’s stronger synergy won it out.
New Champions: Obey
The champions of second place. PrettyPrime and Ataraxia have been looking to win a LAN for their entire careers, and they’ve never been able to get past runner-ups. That all changed this weekend. They’ve gone through countless roster changed throughout the last few years, but none have really done the trick. It seems they finally found the perfect team and were able to take their first big LAN win. Congratulations to the whole team of Obey Alliance, they all did fantastic and 100% deserve their trophy. I’m sure there will be many more victories from them to come. They are absolutely the best team in the world right now.
Obey are the champions of the Spring Split. EU is officially better than NA. International teams are finally getting good. So many game-changing things happened over this weekend. The summer should be extremely exciting, especially with the teams fighting for a chance to go to Dreamhack Valencia in Spain. This upcoming split should be fantastic to watch.
Wyatt Hall is a lover of video games, politics, and especially esports. You can contact him at his email: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find him on Twitter at @thewyatthall15, on reddit as /u/Skyhall, or in-game as Skyhall.