There’s been a whole lot of professional Smite at Hi-Rez Studios this November for the Super Regionals. Six straight days of it! The 10 best pro teams from North America and Europe have fought a few one-sided matches and just as many down-to-the-wire best of fives as you’d expect with a trip to the World Championship on the line. From the matches that I watched, I’ve picked out some of my favorite moments—the ones that showed off an amazing team fight or star play, changed the tide of a match, or exemplified something interesting about professional Smite.
You don’t have to be a Smite fan to enjoy or understand most of these plays. If you’ve ever watched or played a similar MOBA, like League of Legends or Dota 2, you should mostly be able to follow what’s going on. One important thing to remember: Smite is played from a behind-the-back third-person perspective like an action game, rather than top-down. The spectator camera makes everything look much easier than it actually is on the ground, where abilities are setting off flashy effects, players can’t see over walls, and pretty much every attack in the game is a skillshot.
This is what Smite looks like from the ground. Situational awareness is tough.
Each video below is timecoded to just before the play kicks off.
Perfect Geb shield timing robs Cloud9 of a kill
Eager vs. Cloud9: NA Semifinals match four
In this matchup, second-seed Eager are behind third-seed Cloud9 two games to one. They need this game to force a fifth match in the series. They’re ahead here, but pull off a smart play that further cements their lead. When solo laner Omega is jumped by three members of Cloud9, Eager perfectly capitalizes on the moment by taking the Gold Fury to give their team a significant gold lead. The other two members of Cloud9 come in to try to kill Eager’s squishier gods, with high damage-dealing mage Zhong Kui. A perfectly timed shield from Eager’s support Geb, played by PolarBearMike, saves Isis (mid-laner Lassiz) from death. It’s an impressive shield, especially because Zhong Kui’s ultimate deals damage over time. PolarBearMike made a few clutch Geb shields in this match that helped Eager win and take it to a fifth, but things fell apart there.
Envy's Mercury and his fists of fury
EnvyUs vs. Enemy: NA semifinals
This fight doesn’t look great for EnvyUs; Enemy gets two kills almost immediately and Mercury is outside the fight, low on health and with most of his abilities on cooldown. Then Weak3n playing Mercury ults through the fight, which sets him dashing quickly along a straight line and injuring any god he touches. He gets a kill and run away, with Serquet chasing for what should be a sure kill. But with a tiny sliver of health, Mercury turns around and melee attacks Serquet, killing her at the last second with a single basic hit.
It’s more damage than you’d ever expect to see from a basic attack this early in the game, but the answer lies in Mercury’s passive ability, which builds up damage on his basic attacks based on how much he’s moved (0.1% per 1ft traveled). As he runs away from the fight, he builds up just enough extra damage to really clock Serquet.
Paradigm turns a tower dive into a Fire Giant into a win
Fnatic vs. Paradigm: EU Semifinals match one
This is how quickly a match can swing. It’s even, with Fnatic favored in the match, but a poor tower dive by Thor gives Paradigm a free kill. Suddenly the fight shifts to Fnatic’s tower as Paradigm goes on the offensive. Things cool down for about a minute, but then Paradigm’s Bacchus tower dives and sets Fnatic scrambling. The way this fight plays out is a testament to Paradigm’s communication. They smoothly and quickly switch targets to focus Fnatic’s Janus rather than diving in, saving one of their teammates and then moving over to the Fire Giant. They pull out the win a couple minutes later.
This match also exemplifies the pacing differences between NA and EU Smite. American teams tend to play a faster and more aggressive game, with more kills and teamfights throughout early and mid-game. European teams often wait until late game to rack up more kills, and a big teamfight in late game, with long respawn times, can end a match very quickly. As soon as Paradigm grabs a couple kills and the Fire Giant buff, this one’s over.
Paradigm says: Gimme that fuckin’ high-five, bro!
Fnatic vs. Paradigm: EU Semifinals match two
Paradigm are 100% energy, and somehow also coordinated at the same time. Paradigm was already ahead in this match and didn’t make an amazing play, but it’s a smart team fight during which we actually got to listen into the team comms. It’s a fun chance to hear how excited they are during the play and how they call their shots.
Fnatic says: “Fuck. Wildcard it is, boys.”
Fnatic vs. Paradigm: EU Semifinals match three
This was Fnatic’s game to lose, and they lost it. They’re ahead of Paradigm here, and make a fatal mistake by trying to grab Fire Giant while Paradigm is up and at full health. Then they overcommit to getting Fire Giant instead of pivoting to fight Paradigm and end up taking damage from both sources. It ends...badly. Paradigm’s win secures them a trip to the Smite World Championship.
EnvyUs passes on a ban!?
Eager vs. EnvyUs: NA wildcard match two
This is something I’ve never seen before in competitive Smite, or any competitive game, for that matter. EnvyUs has won the first game and only needs one more win to make it to the wild card match. At the beginning of the second match, during the picks and bans phase, they pass on a ban. This adds ambiguity and forces Eager to spend time during their pick phase guessing at which god EnvyUs is planning to pick for a jungler. Eager makes a sensible choice and bans EnvyUs’ previous jungle pick Mercury, so EnvyUs can get the God they really want: Hun Batz.
Or at least, that’s what it seems like. From the outside it looks like a smart, smart play, even if they end up losing the match thanks to an amazing performance by Eager’s Omega, as seen in the next clip.
World Champion Omega 2v1
Eager vs. EnvyUs: NA wildcard match three
Here Omega shows why he’s one of the best players in competitive Smite. Eager loses this teamfight, allowing EnvyUs’s Zhong Kui to escape with no health to his name. Thor whiffs an ult. Eager retreats, Omega returns to base, and EnvyUs stays around to take the Gold Fury. But then! Omega warps to a ward by the duo lane and comes up behind EnvyUs, taking them completely by surprise and killing the low health Zhong Kui. He then 2v1s EnvyUs long enough for his team to come in, clean up, and score the Gold Fury. Omega single-handedly sets Eager on the path to victory, and they secure the win 15 minutes later.
Paradigm’s Trixtank makes the smoothest steal of the tournament
Paradigm vs. Epsilon: EU finals match five
Maximum hijinks: activate. Paradigm and Epsilon each have two wins in the EU final match, so it all comes down to this--but they’re also both guaranteed a spot at the World Championship, so some unusual strategies and picks have come out this series. Paradigm’s Trixtank starts the final match by sneaking into the enemy jungle, blinking into the neutral camp as soon as they kill the red buff, and using Sun Wukong’s bird form to escape and flyyyyy away. You know Epsilon was pissed about that.
This is a standout cheeky moment in Paradigm’s battle against Epsilon, but the whole five game series is incredible. Epsilon has been utterly dominant in the EU scene, but Paradigm takes them to five games. And wins.
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