No one expected this. At Cybergamer’s Oceania eSports Masters for SMITE (PC) Avant Garde, the last seed of the four teams, took it all in a terrific show of spirit and skill. With this epic performance the team has earned themselves the title of champions of the Oceania Pro League (OPL) for this split as well as the $13,000 prize that goes with it. The tournament ran over the weekend at Sydney’s Australia Technology Park.
When Avant Garde finished the ten-week regular season in fourth place with a less than stellar 3-2-5* record they were placed in the difficult position of playing the first ranked team in the semi-final playoff bracket. The team also had to deal with the fact that they hadn’t been able to take down the teams above them in the standings, let alone the eventual first seed Legacy Esports who dominated the standings with an 8-1-1* record. Despite that, when asked about the match, Avant Garde’s Hunter, Robert “Robdigidy” De Jong, cheekily responded with, “I’m more worried about our Grand Final match tomorrow”. Despite their apparent confidence in the matchup, in terms of the stats, Avant Garde were seemingly outclassed by Sam “OnlyGoodAtSolo” Wouters’ Legacy squad. Surprising everyone, Avant Garde backed up Robdigidy’s words and swept the Legacy lineup with a clean 2-0 that Saturday morning.
On the other side of the bracket, there was a more tightly contested match between the second and third seeded squads, Incite and Team Pandamonium respectively. After a losing the first game in their set, Team Pandamonium eventually surged and took the next two games in succession putting the defending champions in place to retake their title which they claimed in Split 1 earlier this year.Subsequently, Incite defeated Legacy and earned themselves third place. With only an evening separating the semis and the grand final, neither of the remaining teams had much time for celebration or rest.
Sunday would see Avant Garde the underdog team looking to prove themselves in a best of five set against the most successful Oceanic SMITE team to date, Team Pandamonium. The odds were against them, but it did not seem to phase them. The clash was tense, the two were more evenly matched than the 3-0 match result would suggest. But a winning combination of decisiveness, teamwork and determination would see Avant Garde emerge victorious. Solo laner Joshua “ElChuckles” Bruce was commended for his performance, particularly in shutting down his opposing laner Pandamonium’s star player Daniel “Rowe” Rowe, earning himself the MVP award.
The Split 2 Champions of OPL are:
Solo, Joshua “ElChuckles” Bruce
Jungle, Nick “LiquidRenegade” Howlett
Mid, Cody “iDivine” Davies
Guardian, Alex “Gruff” Brown
Hunter, Robert “Robdigidy” De Jong
Congratulations to the player as well as the Avant Garde organisation on this milestone.
For more SMITE action tune into Split 3, the qualifier for the SMITE World Championship 2017. Split 3 begins on September 10th and runs for eight weeks where the top six Oceanic teams will face each other in a double round-robin format.
*Wins-Ties-Losses, in the ten-week regular split where best of two’s were played