After a weekend of watching the best players from the US and Europe compete in Hi-Rez Studios' MOBA Smite , I could pick out the most amazing plays by the volume of the crowd. The thousand-seat Center Theater in Atlanta erupted for every kill and chanted for favored teams, but only the best ganks and jukes incited cheers that grew louder and louder and louder. Sometimes the plays were so precise, so obviously above the skill level of any normal player, that I was already writing them down as the crowd went wild.
At least one incredible play happened in every match I watched throughout Smite's three day launch tournament, and I put together a list of the moments that really wowed me below. Each one is embedded with a timestamped video from a Twitch livestream so you can jump straight into the action.
Smite has a great built-in spectator cam that floats above the battlefield, letting you see a large portion of the action. But here's an important fact to remember about Smite: unlike League of Legends and Dota2, Smite's action takes place from a third-person behind-the-back perspective. Every incredible play below was made by a pro player who couldn't see anything behind them or see over the walls of the jungle.
If these plays look hard to pull off when you can see a huge portion of the battlefield, imagine how hard they'd be from the limited behind-the-back perspective. This first clip is the perfect example: one of Dignitas' players dodges death for more than ten seconds, and for most of that time he couldn't see where any of the attacks he was dodging were coming from.
Note: some of the archived streams below are lengthy, so it might take about 10 seconds for the clip to buffer and jump to the proper timecode.
Team Dignitas' ShadowQ jukes SK Gaming for 13 seconds
In the middle of a chaotic team fight, Dignitas player ShadowQ is reduced down to almost no HP. A single basic attack will most likely kill him. Instead of running from the fight, though, he pulls off the seemingly impossible--he dodges, moving in circles around one member of SK Gaming long enough for a teammate to come in, drop a stun, and kill that member of SK Gaming. A second later, another member of SK Gaming comes in to take out ShadowQ, who still has no HP. And ShadowQ jukes him too, keeping him in the area long enough for two members of Dignitas to close in for the kill. ShadowQ gets away.
Dignitas' Lassiz jukes SK Gaming, too
Not to be outdone by his teammate, Dignitas team captain Lassiz uses Freya's ultimate to escape after a dicey tower dive. He runs out with no HP and SK Gaming should have him dead to rights, but upon landing from his ultimate he makes two quick, incredible dodges to escape.
Team Solo Mid's Gamehunter gets the tournament's only pentakill
...and the announcers lose their voices. Gamehunter shows why his nickname is Godhunter.
Team Solo Mid's Lawbster just won't die
Things are looking bad for Cognitive in their second semifinal game against Team Solo Mid. They lost the first and are down 5 kills to 10 in the second game. In an engagement on one of their own towers, you'd think they could pick up this kill against Lawbster, who's down to almost no health as the squishy Poseidon. Lawbster has other plans. He escapes the teamfight, dodges an ultimate from Cognitive's Barraccudda, trying to warp out to safety, then dodging another series of attacks as he's forced to abandon his teleport and juke his way to safety.
Team Solo Mid's TrixTank lands a kill on the enemy fountain
Like in most MOBAs, the fountain at the far back of the base heals friendly players and quickly nukes any enemies who wander within range. Not quickly enough, in this case--TSM's TrixTank blinks in to land a killing blow on the retreating MLCSt3alth before dying himself. The play doesn't do much for TSM tactically, but it it's the kind of kill that takes incredible split-second timing to pull off.
Cognitive's Barraccudda pulls out a miraculous 2:4 trade with Team Solo Mid
After that last engagement in the base, Cognitive is in rough shape, and Team Solo Mid knows it. They go after the Fire Giant buff, the biggest jungle camp on the map, which empowers players like League of Legends' Baron Nashor. Cognitive has no choice but to move in and try to stop TSM from getting the Fire Giant. Turns out, TSM mostly just wanted a fight. Almost every health bar dips down to the 25 percent mark—or lower—as this turns into a do-or-die fight. Barraccudda wins the fight for his team, but it's not enough to stop TSM from taking the match a few minutes later.
Team Dignitas shows off perfect teamwork
After losing to TSM, Cognitive went down into the loser's bracket to face off against Dignitas. In their first game, they pulled ahead with an early lead and a massive 5000 gold difference. Things start to turn around when Dignitas' Zapman gets a kill. Despite having low health, the other members of Dignitas rally around Zapman to keep him alive. They'll soon start to catch up to Cognitive.
Team Dignitas secures their comeback with a Fire Giant bait
Dignitas has already pulled ahead at this point, but they set up a perfect battle at the Fire Giant to take on Cognitive. Both Lassiz and Zapman drop to almost no health but survive, taking out three members of Cognitive and securing the Fire Giant Buff.
Dignitas' Zapman backdoors the Cognitive Titan for the win
This is easily the most exciting finish of the entire weekend tournament. Using the Fire Giant buff they picked up a few minutes earlier, Dignitas pushed down Cognitive's left-side Phoenix, exposing the Titan. Cognitive knows they have to get the Fire Giant buff to have a chance to beat Dignitas, so they hover around it, waiting for it to respawn. They make a critical mistake, however, leaving that left side lane open. Cognitive think they can win a fight and then retreat to defend their base. Zapman starts pounding away on the Titan all by himself, and the crowd goes absolutely insane.
Dignitas' Anatoliy snipes Cognitive from the jungle
After winning the first match against Cognitive, Dignitas loses the second. A spot in the finals is on the line. Instead of playing conservatively, Dignitas goes all-in on aggression, beginning with a balls-to-the-wall tower dive from Lassiz. It's Dignitas' Anatoliy playing Ra, however, who makes an incredible long-range snipe to kill a member of Cognitive and allow his team to take down a tower.
Anatoliy snipes TSM's TrixTank off his horse
If that last shot looked hard, imagine how much harder this one was. Trixtank is playing Guan Yu, who can leap atop a horse to charge in and out of battles in a hurry. As his health drops low, he retreats on horseback, but just before he can round the corner into the jungle, Anatoliy snipes him from way, way out in mid lane.
Team Solo Mid wins the grand finals!
Dignitas put up a great fight, but they just couldn't pull out a win against the might of Team Solo Mid. In fact, no one could--TSM dominated the entire tournament, winning every single match they played. They didn't have as many flashy plays as Dignitas, but their consistently great positioning in teamfights, smart team compositions, and skill won it all for them. At the end, team captain Lassiz takes out TSM's captain Youngbae, but it's not enough—TSM fells the titan, wins the grand finals, and walks away with a jumbo $100,000 check.