Xavier Smite Team Seeks to Lengthen Its Undefeated Record


By Hyun Lee, Editor-In-Chief

The Xavier Smite team made its debut in the 2019-2020 school year, joining the ranks of Xavier’s two other esports teams: Rocket League and League of Legends. After failing to establish the Smite team the previous school year, captains Steven Pepler ’20 and Jakob Slason ’20 managed to recruit three other seniors (Emad Cheema, Hyun Lee, and Terence O’Brian) to cap off the starting lineup, with Fabian Morales ’20 as a substitute. Aidan Lynch ’20 was the team manager.

The Smite, Rocket League, and League of Legends teams are all a part of their respective PlayVS leagues. PlayVS is a startup company established in 2017 by Delane Parnell. Dedicated to erecting infrastructure for high school esports, it provides an official platform through which esports athletes can form teams and take part in competitions. Through PlayVS, Parnell taps into the fastest growing high school sport, aiding its rise to new heights. In the upcoming spring season, PlayVS will add Fortnite to its list of esports leagues, having signed an agreement with Riot Games, the developer of Fortnite.

Smite is a free-to-play, third-person multiplayer online battle arena video game developed and published by Hi-Rez Studios. The playable characters are gods and mythological beings from a highly diverse array of pantheons. The main game mode, Conquest (in which the PlayVS matches were played), consists of three lanes: Solo, Mid, and Duo. The five roles are Solo (Lee), Mid (Cheema), ADC (Pepler), Support (O’Brian), and Jungle (Slason). The two teams start on opposite sides of the map. Both sides of the map consist of three tier one towers (one in each lane), three tier two towers, three phoenixes, and one titan, in order of closest to the middle to the farthest out. The object of the game is the destroy the opposing team’s titan. Strategies involve builds (buying items to obtain an advantage), counter-builds (buying items that counter the affects of enemy builds), warding (to see enemy movements on the map), and securing objectives like towers and the Fire Giant, all of which contribute to the intricacies the game.

The fall season for Smite began in late November with 52 competing teams from all over the Eastern United States. Each match-up consisted of two to three games (best of three), averaging slightly over 20 minutes. Despite the fact that this was the Xavier Smite team’s first season, and that two of the seniors had never even played Smite until recently, the team surpassed expectations and entered playoffs undefeated and in the top seed. Playoffs was a single-elimination tournament, where the loser of each match-up is immediately eliminated. The first game of playoffs was on Thursday, January 9, 2020, against dogChamp of Denmark High School, located in Denmark, Wisconsin. After securing their first win in playoffs, the Smite team eventually made it to finals, which took place on January 30. Finals were against Cheshire High School; coincidentally, both teams in the final were from Connecticut. Marking the conclusion of what could possibly be the latest “fall season” of any sport, Xavier finally emerged as the Fall 2019 Eastern Smite Championship winners, boasting an undefeated season with a record of 16-0.

The Xavier Smite Team is eager to defend their reputations in the upcoming season. The first game of the Spring 2020 season will take place on February 27. As it was in the fall season, all games will take place Thursdays at 4 PM, in the computer lab located on the second floor of Xavier High School.