Team SoloMid: The Phoenix Rises Again

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While for most of us SMITE players “God” references one of the many playable characters in-game, the word has recently been used more and more to describe Evan “Snoopy” Jones from “Team SoloMid” in the SPL (SMITE Pro-League) Fall Split 2015.

Specifically casters such as Brandon “DMBrandon” Nance, Graham “Hinduman” Hadfield and Bart “HiRezBart” Koenigsberg have titled Jones as said deity, referenced to him as “machine” or jokingly claimed that he uses an “aim bot” to (often blindly) hit both his basics and snipes via ‘Astral Barrage’ on his favorite, most-played God, Rama. [1]

While Team SoloMid’s strong roster and high skills have (partially unexpected) won them the Summer Split of 2015, things have been going a little different during this Fall’s matches.

On September 4th, the team’s former coach Connor “Jigz” Echols announces, that the young Nicholas “TheBoosh” Lewis, TSM’s Mid player, will be leaving. Jigzs proceeded to explain, that he will be filling the role of Support, while Snoopy – who has been strongly disliking his position of ADC for years – would take over Boosh’s old spot and Sinjin “Eonic” Thorpe could be expected in Jones’ place instead. [2]

The announcement bred very mixed feelings among the fanbase and while some preferred for the single SoloMid members to be more at ease due to being in their more comfortable and preferred roles, others were afraid of what the future game results would look like.

While Nicklaus “Divios” Neumeyer and Peter “DaGarz” Gary were personally unaffected from any adjustments and Echols had plenty of practice on his new role as support already (He proceeded to master Khepri to Diamond shortly after his release!), Eonic was left having to step up to Snoopy’s “godlike” skills, certainly putting a lot of pressure and expectation onto the pro’s back.

Although teamwork has definitely not been a big issue for Team SoloMid since Lewis’ leave, at least outside of TSM’s slight weakness in defensive situations, the choice of Gods played by Echols and Jones haven’t necessarily been optimal.

Snoopy, who usually heavily influenced games with his – I almost dare say – perfect snipes, has been sticking to mostly Janus and – although coming with a lot of snipe potential – the inability to hyper-carry and pick off multiple escaping enemies at once (after all, our favorite Portal-God’s ultimate is static once fired and also can’t be divided up like Rama’s) has left the TSM struggling against the better teams of this split.
It might be advantageous to use Mages such as Agni, who offer a more Rama-like presence and multi-target potential and can thus contribute more in team fights. Time and practice will tell how this specific case will go and there were definitely signs of the “old Jones” during the first game against Enemy’s Ben “Saltmachine” McKinzey on Sept 6th, when Snoops in fact proceeded to get First Blood with a ‘Through Space And Time’ snipe.

Jigz, although very good with his Guardians, seems to often pick Khepri (75% VS 25% Sylvanus), which, while viable – especially with ‘Scarab’s Blessing’ – is more of a passive choice, compared to Gods such as Athena or Ymir and although he’s been doing a great job, more offensive characters could help turn games more into TSM’s favor, even more so when combined with a multi-target Mage such as Agni for Jones’ Mid lane.

Eonic, still being new to ADC and some of the Hunters, needs to become more secure in leaving the tower area, as well as rotating a tad more when ambushes break out. However, thanks to ‘Darkest Of Night’, Xbalanque seems to be a decent pick for him so far. The difficulty may lie in his passive ‘Dead Of Night’, since – with Snoopy switching – Thorpe currently lacks the skill to hard-carry. More confidence could help him fix that issue.

All in all, the team will obviously need more time to balance out their togetherness. It may not hurt to try different comps to achieve that because, unfortunately, the roster change came in the middle of the currently ongoing split, leaving the boys little to no time to practice after Boosh’s leave, and afterwards – although possibilities opened up – they also had to face America’s almost loss-less top team, AFK.

Be it as it may, SoloMid’s strengths lie, if they initiated them, in strong team fights, excellent presence of mind, good communication and map-awareness, as well as a whole lot of special talents from the single individuals:

Divios’ deep knowledge about his Solo Gods, being able to exactly predict when to leave a fight or tower after a dive, so he can still survive.

Garz’ set-ups for an ambush from the sky or from behind a Jungle obstacle, often resulting in at least one, usually even multiple ganks.

“Snoop-a-loop”‘s (Bart’s petname for Snoopy) well-timed, random rotations to even small fights and plays from behind with snipes, regularily ending up shifting the balance in favor of his team.

Jigz’ perfectly-timed revival ultimates and use of other supportive abilities, saving his mates more often than not, allowing them to keep a brawl going.

Finally, Eonic’s great sense of positioning, which will absolutely help him when playing in his new role as Hunter, telling him when to put himself where to stay safe, even when being pushed up all the way.

DMBranon has said that “TSM looks better than ever” after the roster change and – even though there are still a few small hiccups – one can clearly see that improvements are happening, as new comps and strategies are being tried out.

The Canadians are currently ranked second on the North American leaderboard and still have all the chances in the world to make this an exciting, thrilling Fall Split and at the very least maintain their present positioning.

Stay tuned and keep following them, as they will rise once again from the ashes of their recent adjustment, much like the phoenixes in-game.

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