Avant Garde have had an interesting second split in the SMITE Oceanic Pro League. The team has a veteran roster and plenty of potential, but they only barely made it through to a position at the LAN finals. Fourth place on the ladder is enough to get them in range of the top spot, thanks to a week ten win against Alpha Sydney, and according to Nick ‘LiquidRenegade’ Howlett, the team is only getting started.

The LAN finals for split two is where everything is on the line. Nick said their current preparation extends beyond just the local scene. “We have been watching the North American and European Split 3 relegation and the Epsilon Invitational to see what the top teams from other regions have been playing to give us some ideas,” he noted.

“see what the top teams from other regions have been playing to give us some ideas”

The usual scrims against local OPL and Challenger Cup teams have also been useful to a team looking to ensure improvement. Besides simply playing, these matches have given them the opportunity to “review our games to understand where we each went right or wrong as an individual and as a team to improve ourselves,” he said.

Avant vs. Corvidae OPL Highlight

Roster changes across the season, especially the replacement of Maus by the return of iDivine after eight weeks off. This looked shaky for communication even after pulling through when it’s needed most – a fact Nick is well aware of. “Our team’s problems came from lack of concentration at times which caused us to just play without thinking,” he said.

“Our team’s problems came from lack of concentration at times which caused us to just play without thinking,”

“We tend to go a little quiet at times,” he noted. “Both of these issues have been our worked on considerably and have been a main focus for us in scrims to work on and make sure we get right on the main stage.”

This has done little to diminish the spirits of a team that has a lot of pressure to succeed. There’s an undying confidence within Avant Garde that has carried them this far. “Our line-up is as strong as ever, the current bonding has been fast to get as the latest player brought in had already been on a team previously,” noted Nick. “We already had some synergy, but it is still growing each time we play as a full 5 man unit,” making the friendships between members and overall synergy a huge part of how the team plays.

Avant vs. Corvidae OPL Game Replay

Wins or losses at the LAN this weekend, the upcoming matches will set a precedent for SMITE in the Oceanic region moving forward. “The game’s’ growth has been excellent over the last year with lots of new players coming to the game and making their way up into the OPL.” This is important to further the scene as it’s reaching a make or break point. New blood stops the same thirty people cycling through the league and developing the local meta and skill, so this change is good to see.

“The game’s’ growth has been excellent over the last year with lots of new players coming to the game and making their way up into the OPL.”

But Nick suggests there’s still plenty to be done to get the Australian scene into a dominant position. “I would like to see is more commitment to those that are playing at the highest level in terms of giving back to the community by creating content to help new players get into the game.” It’d help on an international level too, given that the Australian region was the only region not present at the Dreamhack Summer event. The more people playing, creating and supporting SMITE in Australia, the better the level of competition.

The SMITE Oceanic Pro League (OPL) is on this weekend (20th-21st August) at the Australian Technology Park in Sydney. For more information about the event, visit here.