We are less than two weeks away from crowning our season four champions here at the AVGL Collegiate Smite League. We’ve seen upsets, rematches barring different results, and teams rise among the ranks.
Two teams stand above the rest heading into the Grand Finals. The AVGL boasts the only collegiate Smite league and holds a unique quality unlike most collegiate events, allowing players to team up with each other across multiple states. With the regional based structure, it heralds the ability to form powerful rosters. Some teams join for the fun, others to gain experience, and for the select few, use the AVGL as a stepping stone to the big leagues. A few players have moved into the pro league after competing, including DayToRemeber, sam4soccer2, fineokay, and MandoWarrior. Now with the Grand Finals in sight, Tarrant County College and Indiana University Bloomington are hard at work scrimming and prepping for their chance to take the title and a portion of the $10k prize pool.
Tarrant County College, a team comprised of players spanning the south/southeast region of the United States. Tarrant is returning for their second straight championships but this time with a couple roster changes. Three of the five members are making their return to LAN. Captain and Hunter for the team, pucmm, has reformed his squad after losing DayToRemeber and Cardiac. Last season, pucmm made the move from Solo to Jungle when fineokay had been drafted into the Smite Pro League by Soar Gaming. This season he’s transitioned to the Hunter role to try and fill the hole left behind by DTR. Returning with pucmm is Tarrant’s Solo laner, Osath. Osath is now competing for his fourth straight championship, the only player left from our season one group. A victory here will solidify his mark in AVGL history as the only four-time champion, currently holding a tie with DTR as the three-time champs. The final returning member of Tarrant is Mid laner VVhyTry. While VVhyTry is not a member of the season three roster, he was a member of DTR’s Texas A&M squad back in season two. After a short break during our spring split, he’s back and stronger than before, just as eager to take his second title. New to the team is their Jungler, Glaivus. He’s new to the AVGL but is a well respected player from the Challenger scene. With a powerful god pool and adaptable playstyle, he’s fit right into the Tarrant squad and is looking to help lead his team to victory. The other fresh blood of the team is Support player, Rachetier. Rachetier is another well-known player among the community and is no stranger to the members of TCC.
Tarrant County finished their regular season with an 8-1 record. Their only loss came via technical forfeit. The remainder of their matches ended with 2-0 victories, all with relative ease. Their record guaranteed themselves 1st seed in the Egyptian Division heading into the Gauntlet. Tarrant’s only match in the Gauntlet was against Georgia Tech, in which TCC won with a swift 2-0. With their win in the Gauntlet they moved into the pre-semifinal round robin to face off with the three other Gauntlet Champions. There they played three best-of-one sets ending with a 2-1 record in a three-way tie with CUNY - Staten Island and Indiana University. Tarrant was awarded first seed in the semis due to the fastest completed victory in the round robin. Heading into the semifinals they faced off against Consumnes River College, the fourth seed team out of the round robin. After a grueling and rigorous five-game series, Tarrant County came out on top with a 3-2 record, clinching their spot at LAN for the second straight season.
Indiana University Bloomington are the new kids on the AVGL block. The Celtic Division champions are almost all competing for not only their first championships, but their first season of AVGL. Despite the team being new, these midwest region players are certainly not. Captain and Mid laner, Outlaw, debuted this season with a powerful roster of high level Challenger and former SPL players. Outlaw himself is new to the league but has already come out swinging. Solo laner, Wolfking, is a fresh player to the league but no stranger to the competitive and ranked scene. His quiet impact during his sets this season has helped to bring a strong frontline to the team alongside his fellow Support, Sabbeth. Sabbeth, much like Wolfking, is new to the league but well-versed in the scene. His defensive god pool has allowed him to act as a backline support, playing the role of peeler for his team. Fresh out of the SPL and into the AVGL, Hunter player, sops, is out to win. Having professional, competitive experience has allowed him to breeze through the competition with his wide range of gods. Last but not least is the Jungler, Sheyka. Sheyka is the only player returning to the AVGL on the team. After a Top 8 finish in season three, he’s looking for bigger and better. Sheyka played professionally as a Mid laner in the SPL but has moved to the Jungle to fill in the gaps for his team.
Indiana finished out their regular season undefeated, not even dropping a single game. With their perfect season, they clinched first seed for the Celtic Division heading into the Gauntlet stage. First seed allowed them to only need to play one set of games during the Gauntlet, in which they took the 2-0 over Lawrence Tech University. Moving into the round robin, they ended up 2-1 taking second seed behind Tarrant County due to the three-way tie-breaker ruleset. Indiana then faced off against CUNY - College of Staten Island, the team that defeated them during the round robin. Out for revenge, Indiana ended up taking their best-of-five series in just four games with a 3-1 record, snagging the final spot at our LAN finals.
This LAN is set to be the most competitive finals ever in the AVGL Smite Championship. With both teams hailing players of such high skill and competitive levels, this best-of-five set will be a long, hard fight for these teams. Tarrant County, fighting to hold onto the belt, is the team to beat. When it comes down to the match-up, the Junglers and Hunters will be the big deciding factors for these two teams. TCC’s pucmm and IUB’s Sheyka are in the same boat, holding the least experience in their respective roles. The drafting phase will be a large factor for both of these teams during the finals.
The Grand Finals will be held at the HiRez Studios Esports Arena in Alpharetta, Geogia, on November 12th. You can watch the action on twitch.tv/hireztv. Keep up with all updates on twitter: @AVGLOfficial and @AVGL_SMITE.
Article written by Justin ‘JMacTucker’ McClanahan