HRX 2018 is coming up fast — and before you know it, the best SMITE teams from all over the world will be going head-to-head on the world championship stage from January 4-7. There’s going to be a lot of talent coming to this year’s event, but who should you really be on the lookout for? Is it Luminosity’s deadly hunter, BaRRaCCuDDa? Or Rival’s impenetrable guardian, KaLaS?
Well don’t worry your head any more. Your resident SPL experts, Hindu and Aggro, sat down and ranked all the NA and EU players coming to worlds so you’ll know who will be superstars, and who will be most likely to upset the bracket. These two have picked out the top players to watch for each role as we head into HRX — but for some rankings, they don’t exactly see eye-to-eye.
Let’s take a look at what they have to say, starting with their rankings for the hunter role.
Our two experts reached a consensus at the top of this list, agreeing that NRG member and two-time world champ Emilitoo is the hunter to watch during the SMITE World Championship. He’s been one of the best players in the league for two years, and even among a team of superstars like NRG he still manages to shine.
That’s where the consensus ends, though. Aggro puts NA hunters PandaCat (eUnited) and BaRRaCCuDDa (LG) in the second and third spots, while Hindu drops PandaCat down to fourth to give Jermain (Elevate) the #3 ranking. Jermain has been lauded by his EU peers and is usually a high-priority target for his opponents. Although Cherryo was an attention-grabbing name in Elevate’s roster throughout the season, Jermain is the one that enemy teams have really come to fear.
Let’s be honest, though — it’s the support players that makes these hunters look good. So let’s take a look at who our experts think will be the better half of the duo lane this year.
Once again, the top-ranked support is undisputed on both sides. EmilZy, the superstar support for Obey Alliance, is bringing a great strategic mind and top-tier mechanics to HRX. When it comes to picks and builds, EmilZy is constantly shaping the support meta and proving that guardians can make or break a game.
The only point upon which Hindu and Aggro disagreed was where to rank JeffHindla (LG) and iRaffer (NRG). According to Aggro, JeffHindla sits in a tier all his own for being one of the only pure supports in the SPL — playing selflessly for his teammates and viewing each death that saves a teammate’s life as a worthy trade. But Hindu seems to think that iRaffer will bring just a little bit more to the table for his team.
As for the last three spots, our casters are in agreement. It’s worth noting, though, that Aggro went on record saying that iRaffer, PolarBearMike (eUnited) and Dardez (Elevate) are all tied at third.
Up next, our experts broke down what Aggro considers to be the hardest role in the game — the mid lane. Here’s how they ranked all the mid laners coming to this year’s SMITE World Championship:
Much like the tierlist for the support role, our casters only disagree on one ranking among all the mid laners. PrettyPriMe is in the top spot on both lists, and for good reason. This has been his superstar year in a lot of ways, and his team has relied heavily on him to find success. Much of Obey’s top-tier status right now is thanks to Prime’s stellar performances.
NRG’s Yammyn takes the second spot, while Venenu (eUnited) and DeathPanter (Elevate) sit at the bottom. DeathPanter was ranked lowest because in spite of his outstanding play with hunters in mid, his performance with mages is sub-par.
In the middle two rankings, though, there’s some dissention as to whether Baskin (LG) or Wlfy (Rival) is the better mid laner. Aggro seems to think that Wlfy deserves the higher spot after stepping up and proving himself at the 2017 Super Regionals, but Hindu prefers the longer-standing excellence of Baskin throughout the SPL.
With our mid laner rankings out of the way, let’s take a look at the role that makes life hard for those players — the junglers! For this role, the top three spots were an easy agreement between Hindu and Aggro, but it’s all up in the air after that.
The #1 spot in this tierlist goes to Captain Twig, the jungler for EU powerhouse Obey Alliance. He’s been dominant in the jungle all year long, and there’s no reason to suspect that he’ll stop now. But for both casters, the rise of eUnited jungler Screammmm is the real story. This guy roams all over the map and loves teaming up with Benji to destroy anyone who stands in their way.
Cherryo took a higher spot in Aggro’s ranking, but didn’t get as much love in Hindu’s despite his impressive LAN showing. When considering overall playstyle, Hindu simply didn’t feel comfortable enough with Cherryo’s performance as a whole to rank him any higher.
Last but not least, let’s take a look at what these two experts had to say about the lonely island that is the solo lane.
For the first time, our experts disagreed over the top picks. It’s also the first time an NA player was given the #1 ranking for their role. Rival’s Deathwalker is at the top of Aggro’s list, and many other solo laners in the league agree that he’s a force to be reckoned with. Deathwalker had a blowout performance at the Super Regionals LAN that showcased both his insane mechanical competency and his cerebral mindset both in and out of game.
Though Hindu rated Benji (eUnited) as the #1 solo laner and dropped Deathwalker to #2, both are really neck-and-neck for best solo laner in the world right now. Benji has shown up over and over again for his team with some game-changing plays, and Deathwalker has an uncanny ability to take a losing matchup in lane and turn it into an advantage. It’ll be interesting to see what stops these two are able to pull out on the all-important SMITE World Championship stage.
How do you feel about these power rankings? How do they compare to previous rankings? Who got it right, who got it wrong, and who should have gotten more love? Tell us in the comments, or on Twitter @HiRezAggro, @HiRezHinduman, and @HiRezFinch.
We can’t wait to see how it all shakes out at HRX 2018. Be sue to tune in to our official HiRezTV Twitch channel to make sure you don’t miss any of the action. See you there!