The Odyssey was an amazing way for Hi-Rez Studio to hype the first SMITE World Championship while simultaneously increasing the prize pool for pro gamers. That simultaneously made #SWC more attractive as an eSports draw to everyone, gamer, reporter and viewers. By contributing the community was awarded with unique items, from ward skins to icons and character skins. The community didn’t miss a beat far surpassing the aspirations of a $2 million that Todd Harris hoped for at the North American Championship.
Cognitive Red beat out sister team Cognitive Prime to enter the World Championship with the #1 North American seed. Latin America and China come into the first championship at a severe disadvantage thanks to the game only recently releasing in the respective territories. SK Gaming, on the other hand, is as experienced as any team and secured itself the #1 seed from Europe. Eight teams entered today’s round robin vying to win the first match and guarantee a spot in the quarter finals. Two of them failed and were ultimately eliminated from play. A further two teams moved into the semifinals undefeated and with a bye. The other four remaining teams will duke it out in the quarterfinals after a 1-1 start.
Continue after the cut for match-by-match breakdown, synopsis and expectations. The #SWC has already produced far more aggressive play than the NA Championship matches.
Cognitive Red vs. Daoge Is Dog (DID)
Cognitive Red came into the match as a heavy favorite over the relatively inexperienced team of Daoge is Dog. DID, featuring just one player with over a year of SMITE under his belt, popped Snoopy for an early and aggressive First Blood. It was the team’s last kill of the game. DID opted for unusual strategies, including a Cabrakan mid lane, that enabled Red to go on to dominate the map for the rest of the map. In a further unprecedented tournament move, DID surrendered to Red after getting down 25-1 with little hope of a late game comeback dashed by selections.
SK Gaming vs. We Love Bacon
Favored, but not quite as heavily as Cog Red, SK Gaming opened its tournament against We Love Bacon, a Brazilian team with a load fanbase in Atlanta. The experience of SK Gaming put them out in front early 4-0 and up 2,000 gold around the 7:30 mark. The European squad forced its will against We Love Bacon through smart trades and map rotations expanding its advantage. Speed buff after speed buff was claimed by SK securing map dominance and a quick victory.
— Lore Hound (@LoreHound) January 9, 2015
Oh My God (OMG) vs. Titan The strategy of Oh My God was obvious to any casual Conquest player out of the gate. Selecting Anhur, Isis and Odin, the team was focused on burning Titan early to establish a lead. Ideally ending the game early to avoid the team composition of Titan, featuring more balanced and ultimately common picks, to come to fruition. Out of the gate OMG did executed well, grabbing First Blood and two quick Gold Fury kills. But they came at a cost. Feeding Titan kills that kept the ratio close. Even with four Gold Fury deaths to OMG’s credit the early game advantage began fading by the 20 minute mark. Each ensuing team fight swung to Titan until the #2 European seed swung every metric in their favor as they closed the game with a better than 2:1 KD ratio in the most exciting placement match. Cognitive Prime vs. 404 Name Not Found Cognitive Prime was set on redeeming its NA Championship loss against the Latin American qualifier in 404 Name Not Found. A 2-0 start for Cog Prime inside the first minute of play set the stage for the most lopsided win in the placement round. Yes, Prime even outdid the 25-1 trouncing that Red placed on DID earlier in the day through constant pressure, consistent aggression and absolute dominance of lanes and jungling. Round 2: Losers Bracket Winners stays, losers walk away with a paltry ~$32,500 depending on the final Odyssey counter. DID vs. We Love Bacon Taking a page out of Oh My God’s strategy book, DID came into the win or go home best of one match with a radical fixation on dealing burst damage. Like with OMG, the move paid off early with an easy First Blood and early 4-0 lead as the Gold Fury became a possibility. We Love Bacon wasn’t about to let a harpy get them down asserting its team camaraderie to snag five unanswered kills yet remain down 900 gold by the 10 minute mark. WLB’s Rama continued anemic play. Using his ultimate as a defense mechanism after getting caught out of place by Bakasura numerous times. WLB didn’t look back at this point securing team fights and smartly following those victories up with map objectives. Smart initiations and retreats kept DID from ever coming back as they fell further and further behind.
OMG vs. 404 NNF
OMG was the only team in the loser bracket to give their placement match any kind of lasting competition. NNF on the other hand was dispatched with seeming ease by Cog Prime. Both with something to prove, and OMG hoping to keep China alive in the World Championship, the teams allowed the first Serqet pick of the tournament. OMG and Serqet came out aggressive, but even conservative play kept the First Blood from coming until four minutes in. Back and forth the game went with the KD ratio often conflicting with gold and experience metrics. Mid-game mistakes began piling up for NNF, including poor team fights, fighting alone and over pursues that ultimately handed OMG entry into the quarterfinals.
— Lore Hound (@LoreHound) January 9, 2015
Round 2: Winner Bracket
Winners stay and earn a bye to the semifinals, securing at least $260,000 in a fourth place finish. Losers return to the quarterfinals for a best of three series for two additional semifinal spots.
SK Gaming vs. Cognitive Red
Two teams that handily defeated their opponents in the placement round makes for an interesting match up. In addition, these two are no strangers to each other. Their mutual respect showed throughout the match, returning the Championship matches to a more conservative, even routine play style. It took ten minutes for position to be jockied before SK Gaming downed the first Gold Fury. Map control in their favor, the European favorite remained behind in kills and experience, but up in the riches department. Methodical laning by Divios gave an encroaching lane advantage that set up huge team fights in mid and in the jungle. Gold difference ultimately lead to Cog Red’s downfall after getting down 12k gold in the 24th minute. A further lopsided team fight sealed Red’s fate in a low killing, conservative match.
Cognitive Prime vs. Titan
The two second seeded teams from the most dominant regions enter the winner bracket with easy victories. Prime took a risk on picks, assigning Ah Muzen Cab to their expert hunter Barraccudda, to minimize the tri-healing of Titan. Careful play all around kept the match slow going. Team fights often ended after a single kill, if any. That’s until MLCSt3alth began dominating with Scylla. By the thirteenth minute St3alth wa sa force to be reckoned with that Titan didn’t have the midichlorians for. Titan extended the game for another twenty minutes thanks to a glimmer of hope after Ah Muzen Cab was put out of the picture for a moment. Cognitive simply turtled for his return and rode the massive gold difference to victory.
Day 1 Standings:
- Cognitive Prime (2-0)*
- SK Gaming (2-0)*
- Cognitive Red (1-1)
- Titan (1-1)
- We Love Bacon (1-1)
- Oh My God (1-1)
- Daoge is Dog (0-2)
- 404 No Name Found (0-2)
* Earns a bye to the semifinals