Team Rival walked away from the Xbox Summer Finals in third place. They would sweep Retribution, split with Most Wanted (eventual champs), and fall 0-2 to Team Eager (2nd place). Falling a single win away from competing in the final set themselves. They earned the respect of many of their peers but in the eyes of the players they fell short. Team Rival ran through Rapio during the Summer Split, who is regarded by many as the top jungler in EU and perhaps the top jungler between both regions as well. They got their first taste of action at LAN as a team and saw first-hand what they need to do to take the next step. Rival decided to go out and pluck the solo laner from Most Wanted away and bring him over. Watson sported one of the highest KDA's of any player in EU and along with Rapio considered the best player in EU. By doing this they killed two birds with one stone by making their team better as well as hurting the team who gave them the most trouble during the Summer Split. I sat down with some of the boys from Team Rival to get their take on the SCL, current Meta, and just random thoughts on SMITE in general.
They realize for them to also take the next step it isn't just going to be picking up a new player and changing some roles. They need to make it out of the Fall Split as a top team and then will be going once again up against NA teams at LAN. For Rival, they believe the biggest difference now is consistency and just being more well rounded in NA compared to EU.
HS: NA seems more consistent than EU teams. Just more well rounded and it is something we will need to work on.
Coming into this split Rival had to also decide on some role swapping after they brought Watson onto the team. Atonement would move from mid lane to ADC while Watson would take over in mid lane. overall this may hurt them early in the split but should create a stronger team by split's end is the hope. Atonement and Rapio had good synergy in their mid/jungle combo due to also playing on a team together in the past. Atonement attributed much of the success to Rapio saying go and him just going.
HS: I just listened to Rapio. I just run at people when he said to.
CL: We are both quite aggressive players anyway. So I make most of the calls. I call to jump on them and Atonement gets it done.
Watson and Rapio are looking to build that type of synergy between themselves. Atonement played ADC on PC so was pretty confident swapping to the role while Watson got his tryout at Mid literally the day before Team Rival played their first game of the split. It seems to be working out for the best as through 2 splits (4 games) we have seen the mid/jungle combination go 40/15/59 as well as Atonement 13/6/23 and showing some great work on Chronos specifically. Although rumor is we may not see Freya mid again anytime soon.
Yeaaaah not gonna be picking Freya mid again, kinda got forced into it. That bitch is mine next time. Gg's to @CycloneGG. Good competition:D— Rapio (@RapioSmite) September 13, 2016
Meanwhile, Atonement has team captain and support player Zenborne with him in that duo lane as well. Zenborne often being referred to as the player who is constantly positive by his teammates. Zenborne is the heart and soul of the team as far as the emotional leader and responsible for putting together the roster from the beginning with a player named Hydra who is no longer with the team. As many support players know sometimes you end up being the sacrificial lamb and your team hangs you out to dry. Some teammates more than others. While Zenborne didn't throw any of his teammates under the bus specifically I felt the laugh from Rapio during this question might have given him away as the culprit.
DP: Favorite God for me at the moment is Fafnir. Easy decision. As far as who leaves me in the team fights when I go in? pretty much everyone. In all seriousness we sometimes make mistakes and miscommunicate. Usually though we are on the same page but if not sometimes I end up being a bit more aggressive than I should be.
Like any esport team, sometimes games do not go your way. A part of playing competitively is not going on tilt and trying to stay positive during even the tough games. Most players on the team agreed Rapio is the saltiest when matches are going bad but Rapio also knows his team is there to keep things positive.
CL: I think Zen is the most positive overall. When we have rough games and I am beating myself up it will usually be Atonement who will lift us back up or Zenborne. Gnome kind of just sleeps and doesn't say anything.
Atonement was quick to point out that Rapio was referring to physically beating himself up and not mentally during this matches. One role that has not changed on Rival is the solo lane with Gnome holding down that lane once again this split. During the Summer Split, only Watson sported a higher KDA out of EU solo laners. Now with his biggest rival becoming his ally Gnome's job in the solo lane has gotten a bit easier. While Gnome has always been a talented Solo Laner in EU he seems to have taken the next step so far this split. Through four games he has died more than once in only a single game. In the other games, he is sporting a 13-3-32 KDA and has been able to cause havoc in opponents backline and draw the opposing team towards him while allowing his team to get damage off cleanly in fights. Gnome is the quiet one on the team that just goes with the flow and does his job. Never one to really praise himself as he always is looking to improve.
AG: I have a lot to improve on. I also make some weird errors sometimes. I used to struggle somewhat against Guan and Odin but not as much anymore. Guan not necessarily for his laning phase but his heals can just get annoying in team fights.
Gnome was actually tested in the first game of the split against an Odin. At least the first test of the season went well as 2 of the teams first 3 kills went onto the Odin with one being a solo kill from Gnome on Sun Wukong. Overall though the boys from team Rival are off to a 3-1 start and tied for first place so far this split. I ended the interview by asking each of them if they could change one thing in SMITE what would it be. Gnome in typical Gnome fashion gave the quickest and shortest answer of all. What do you guys think of Rivals answers?
AG: Remove nemesis
HS: Buff anubis. Let him run around using his one. Actually double his sensitivity on his ult so you can just have a spinning lasers. That would be funny. But yea buff Anubis.
CL: Stop Au Kuang's ult from being cleansed.
DP: Sylvanus heals minions again or a Khepri buff. I would like to see a Khepri buff.
With the Fall Split just starting, Team Rival realize nothing is won in the first 4 games. They have been in this situation before during a Split. While they need to continue improving to secure their spot at LAN, They have much bigger goals than just making it to LAN this split. They want to win it and with the current changes to their roster, they are putting the rest of the SCL on notice as well. Zenborne recently showed the SCL a glimpse of some of the "In Depth" theory crafting going on for Team Rival.
I would like to thank the players from Team Rival for taking the time to talk to me. Truly a fun bunch of guys who seem to just enjoy doing what they love with friends. You can follow Team Rival here as well as SMITE's SCL action on their esports webpage .