What was expected to be a very close match between two of the top teams in the Smite Pro League ended up being completely one sided.
Winner – TSM: 19 Kills/71.8k Gold
AFK Gaming: 6 Kills/60.9k Gold
Game one saw nearly complete dominance from Team SoloMid. With mid laner TheBoosh having 7 of the team’s 19 kills, SoloMid easily outpushed KikiSoCheeky in the middle lane, establishing severe early game dominance. The Isis/Poseidon matchup ended up working out favorably for TheBoosh as Poseidon’s whirlpool crippled Isis in her wing gust, preventing her from using that ridiculous early game clear and establishing lane dominance for TheBoosh, as Kiki was forced to farm under tower.
In the jungle, we didn’t get to see DaGarz play his signature Thor or Weak3n play his signature Serqet, but we did see Hun Batz for DaGarz and Arachne for Weak3n. Arachne doesn’t see a lot of top tier play because if the enemy team shuts down her early farm it can be very difficult to come back due to Arachne being one of the worst gods to play while behind in gold and experience. DaGarz established early dominance with Hun Batz, and managed to pick up 5 kills.
We also saw an unusual pick in the solo lane from TSM’s Divios who rocked some Athena solo. They traded having a high-damage brawler like Hercules (who wasn’t banned out) for having the ridiculous map presence that Athena has with her ultimate. Clearly it worked out as Divios picked up 11 assists for his team. AFK Gaming’s solo laner CycloneSpin who is known for picking unusual gods in the solo lane picked Kali, who has absolutely awful early game until you get her attack speed online. Cyclone wasn’t able to contribute much thanks to the tankiness that Divios brought to the solo lane with Athena, which helped shut down Kali’s crazy strong late game kill potential.
Winner – TSM: 26 Kills/63.1k Gold
AFK Gaming: 4 Kills/42.8k Gold
This was a brutal game to watch. Snoopy, TSM’s AD carry, pmanaged to picked up Anhur, who just had a major buff (or un-nerf if you want to be technical) and picked up 11 kills. Paired with Eonic’s Geb, AFK Gaming’s duo lane Incon and Allied were shut down hard early which was a smart decision on the part of TSM. AFK’s ADC Allied grabbed Rama, who has one of the best late games thanks to his powerful attack speed steroid. He was paired in the duo lane with Bacchus who was played by AFK Gaming’s captain, Incon. Bacchus received a buff recently to make him more viable, but Bacchus needs to get to late game for his insane damage to come online and Snoopy’s 11 kills made sure that wouldn’t happen.
We saw DaGarz pick up Serqet who played a flawless game. He went 8/0/11 against Weak3n who picked up Bastet and went 1/3/1. Knowing that Bastet has one of the best early games in all of Smite thanks to her kitty cat ultimate, they made sure to not give her the opportunity to farm early kills and get ahead. Once DaGarz started getting ahead in farm and experience he was able to freely roam the map and secure kills for his team and really start giving TSM the substantial lead that would carry them to the end of the game.
TheBoosh once again completely shut down KikiSoCheeky in the mid lane, with Isis completely destroying Kiki’s Ra. Using the silence and debuff ability, TheBoosh shredded Ra’s protections, making his already high damaging combo that much more lethal. While TheBoosh went 5/0/14, he held Kiki to 0/5/1.
I expected a much better matchup, but TSM completely outplayed AFK Gaming this time around. The picks and bans were not necessarily bad on either team, and the matchups weren’t awful either. It seems that this time TSM did all the right things at exactly the right time and outperformed one of their biggest competitors in the SPL. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with both teams next weekend.