Smite and Paladins 2017 World Champions Crowned at Hi-Rez Expo
They sure had themselves an esport.
The 2017 Hi-Rez Expo has come to an end after four days of intense competition, and fan celebration of all things Hi-Rez Studios.
Over the course of the weekend three major tournaments were played: The Smite World Championship for PC and console, and the inaugural Paladins Invitational. The Paladins Invitational was the first time Paladins teams have come together for an intercontinental competition, paving the way for a world championship to be organized in the future once the game has made it out of beta and into final release.
Paladins made for a tense and complex spectator game in its first major LAN tournament, with matches often coming down to the wire. Eventually team Burrito took home the grand prize of USD$75,000 in a close final against fellow European team District 69. Australian team Abyss eSports made a name for themselves, surprising spectators, commentators, and analysts alike by dominating in the early stages, only to be knocked out by Burrito in a nail-biting overtime decider.
The Smite World Championship also came down to a pair of European teams for the first time, with Obey Alliance and NRG Esports competing for the right to raise the Thor's hammer trophy aloft for 2017. Reigning champions NRG successfully defended their position against Obey, securing the USD$500,000 first prize. Another surprise performance from an under-represented region came from Latin American team LichT eSports, taking third place.
Hi-Rez Expo brought more than 4000 attendees to the Cobb Energy Center in Atlanta, Georgia, and boasted more than 100,000 concurrent viewers on livestreams.
Over the course of the expo, Hi-Rez announced a series of updates to Smite and Paladins, a new mobile game in Smite Rivals, and a closed beta for its new strategy/card game Smite Tactics.
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