Amateur circuits are a vital part of the SMITE esports ecosystem. The SMITE Combine in 2019 was an introductory-level competitive circuit that we intended to be an easily accessible path for aspiring players to get a taste of esports competition. But as we head into 2020, we think we can create a bigger and better amateur scene that will foster more competition than ever before.
For our next amateur season, we’ll be making a significant number of changes to how our entry-level circuit is operated in order to encourage stronger competition and create a better progression path into other leagues like the Challenger Circuit.
What’s Changing for the SMITE Combine in 2020
To put it simply: everything.
The SMITE Combine as we know it is being replaced in 2020 by the SMITE Open Circuit — a new open-entry amateur circuit where anyone has the opportunity to compete, regardless of skill level. If you can find four friends across PC or console, then you have the chance to compete and qualify for a LAN with a big prize pool! This redesigned entry-level circuit is also intended to integrate with our upper-level Challenger circuit in order to create a complete amateur ecosystem with a clear progression path between the two leagues.
The SMITE Open Circuit will be an open competition intended for players of all skill levels who are currently not competing in any other official SMITE esports league.This circuit will also feature three playoff LAN events throughout the season, where the top teams in Europe and North America will be invited to compete against the best Challenger Circuit teams in the Circuit Playoffs.
Here’s a quick overview of what the SMITE Open Circuit will look like in the 2020 season:
- Full crossplay support, including Nintendo Switch. Any player can compete, regardless of what input they’re using. (Console players will have the option to use KBM.)
- NA and EU regions, but no region locking; all international players who can compete on NA or EU servers will be allowed to participate in the Open Circuit.
- Four phases of open bracket tournaments throughout the season, with four weeks per phase (three weeks of open bracket + one week of closed finals)
- Top team per region (one NA, one EU) will qualify for the Circuit playoffs each phase, as well as the Challenger Circuit relegations, where they will have a chance to qualify into the Challenger Circuit for the next phase.
- $6,250 in combined prizing per phase (across both regions), with the opportunity to earn higher prizing at the Circuit Playoffs
- 1st-4th place teams from each phase of the open circuit will receive this prizing
As mentioned above, there will be relegation opportunities at the end of each phase so that top-performing Open Circuit team have a chance to qualify into the Challenger Circuit.
Open Circuit Format
There will be a total of four phases in the Open Circuit. Each phase will last four weeks, with three weeks of open play followed by one week of closed bracket play in the final week. Here’s a timeline overview of the 2020 Open Circuit season:
- Phase 1: March 7-28, 2020
- Phase 1 Circuit Playoffs: Spring 2020
- Phase 1 Relegations: May 9, 2020
- Phase 2: May 17 – June 6, 2020
- Phase 2 Circuit Playoffs: July 10-12, 2020
- Phase 2 Relegations: July 18, 2020
- Phase 3: July 25 – August 15, 2020
- Phase 3 Circuit Playoffs: September 11-13, 2020
- Phase 3 Relegations: September 19, 2020
- Phase 4: September 26 – October 17, 2020
The online portion of each Open Circuit phase will follow this format:
- Single-elimination bracket
- Best-of-three (Bo3) matches
- Top two teams in each region will qualify for Circuit Playoffs
- Top two teams in each region will be placed in Relegations after each phase
More details on how to participate in the Open Circuit will be made available closer to the start of the season. Pro League players and current Challenger Circuit players will not be allowed to participate.
Open Circuit Playoffs
The biggest change we’re bringing to our entry-level amateur circuit is the addition of three LAN events: the Circuit Playoffs! These playoffs will culminate Phases 1-3 of the regular season, and will be played live from our esports studio. These three-day events, which will feature a mix of Open Circuit and Challenger Circuit Teams, are intended to give amateur level players valuable LAN experience and allow entry-level players to test their mettle against competitive teams outside their own league.
Only two teams from each phase of the Open Circuit will qualify for this event:
- #1 EU Open Circuit Team
- #1 NA Open Circuit Team
These Circuit Playoff events will be formatted as follows:
- Single-elimination bracket
- Best-of-five (Bo5) matches all the way through
- $100,000 prize pool, broken down as follows:
- 1st Place: $30,000
- 2nd Place: $20,000
- 3rd Place: $15,000
- 4th Place: $15,000
- 5th Place: $10,000
- 6th Place: $10,000
Last season, we chose not to broadcast any SMITE Combine matches on our official channels. We realize that this was not the best decision for our amateur league, and this year we’re excited to announce that we will be broadcasting the finals from every week of the Open Circuit. We feel it’s important to showcase teams at all levels of competition, and we’re excited to see what these up-and-coming teams can bring to their broadcast matches.
Each week, the Open Circuit Finals will be broadcast on Sundays at 1:00 PM ET, prior to the Pro League matches scheduled for that day. If community members or community groups are interested in casting the sets we choose not to air, we’re exploring solutions to provide them with the resources to do that.
For Season 7, all levels of SMITE esports will be totally platform-agnostic, and you’ll be able to watch the matches on any of our official streaming channels:
That wraps up our announcements for the SMITE Open Circuit. We’re very excited to see how these changes reinvigorate our amateur scene. Be sure to check out our other announcements for the SMITE Challenger Circuit and the SMITE Pro League in 2020, or read our blog post regarding sustainability for SMITE esports in 2020 and beyond . And follow us on Twitter @SmitePro for more updates as we get closer to kicking off the Open Circuit!