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Looking back at the exceptional SMITE World Championship

Hans Oelschlägel
Editor / Content Manager
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SMITE has been on the competitive gaming radar for a while now, but with its US$2.6 million World Championship having successfully concluded in Atlanta, USA, the third-person MOBA has made a massive stamp on the esports scene. From January the 9th to the 11th, the eight best SMITE teams in the world competed for the US$1.3 million first place prize, which exceeded the payout of any League of Legends competition to date. In addition to this, the grand finals between Titan and COGnitive Prime went on for the complete best of five series, resulting in an exceptionally tense and exciting final matchup.

SMITE has been on the competitive gaming radar for a while now, but with its US$2.6 million World Championship having successfully concluded in Atlanta, USA, the third-person MOBA has made a massive stamp on the esports scene. From January the 9th to the 11th, the eight best SMITE teams in the world competed for the US$1.3 million first place prize, which exceeded the payout of any League of Legends competition to date. In addition to this, the grand finals between Titan and COGnitive Prime went on for the complete best of five series, resulting in an exceptionally tense and exciting final matchup.

COGnitive Prime came into the grand finals as the big favorite. The team surrounding captain and jungler Andinster was undefeated in the tournament, only dropping a single map over all matches leading up to the deciding final series. They brushed away 404 Team Not Found in the first round and beat to-be finalists Titan in next round, sending them down to the loser’s bracket. Their only setback came against fellow COGnitive Gaming team COGnitive Red in the semifinals, who managed to take a game off them, but Prime then went on to win the series 2-1, securing their spot in the grand finals.

For Titan, the path to the grand finals was a little more rocky. The team previously known as Team Aquila during the European Regional Qualifiers managed to get out of the first round against Chinese contestants OMG only to bump into COGnitive Prime. The Americans proved to be too much to handle for the underdogs, forcing them into the loser’s bracket. There they ended up battling fellow Europeans SK Gaming for a slot in the grand finals, sweeping them 2-0. This made way for a rematch in the million dollar game against COGnitive Prime.

The grand finals themselves had it all, resulting in a thrilling rollercoaster of emotions for both sides. The first two games of the series, however, made it look like a one-sided affair. Prime’s drafts got the better of Titan and on the back of Thor, the American squad took games one and two convincingly, pressing their map advantage after winning early engagements. Thor would make the difference in game three as well. However, it was Titan who secured the God of Thunder with a first pick and then proceeded to bully Prime with early-game aggression, showing off their skills, eventually winning the game and avoiding a 3-0 sweep against them.

But that wasn’t enough for Titan. With newfound confidence, belief and a stellar performance by KayneLife on Ares in game four, Titan managed to pull the series back to even terms. Prime criminally underrated the God of War in the banning phase, and in combination with Athena the Europeans were on track to achieve a miracle comeback win in the grand finals after being down 2-0. However, Prime learned from their past mistakes and banned out Ares for game five while picking up Ao Kuang themselves, one of Andinster’s signature heroes. After gradually taking the kill lead and map control, it became apparent that Titan had no way back into the game without the Ares pick they so badly needed, paving the way for Prime to become the first ever SMITE world champion.

With COGnitive Prime thwarting Titan’s fairytale comeback in an epic five game grand finals series, the SMITE World Championship was a rousing success - not only because of the insanely large prize pool, but also because of the breathtaking and exhilarating gameplay. This leaves us all wanting more, and the next edition of the SMITE World Championship can’t come soon enough.
If you want to rewatch the grand finals (or indeed any of the other matchups), be sure to check out the official VOD playlist.

Images courtesy of @SmiteGame.