By 10:30pm on Saturday, longstanding Labor premier, Jay Weatherill had conceded defeat ending Labor's 16-year-old Labor government and handing power to a resurgent Liberal Party and its leader Steven Marshall.
Mr Weatherill attracted praise from all quarters for a generous concession speech to supporters, advising that he had rung Mr Marshall to concede and to wish him the very best as the state's new premier.
Arriving to a rockstar welcome before his jubilant supporters shortly after, Mr Marshall thanked his predecessor as he spoke of a 'new dawn' for the state.
While the election was historic for ending Labor's best ever run in SA politics of four consecutive terms, it was also notable for the rise and eventual non-delivery of the Xenophon challenge.
The fledgling party had proposed inserting itself in the middle of the spectum, performing a king-maker or balance of power role at least, but looks to have failed to secure a single lower house seat.
Despite attracting enormous media attention, and substantial voter support in the period before the formal election campaign, South Australian voters cooled on the man dubbed the X-man as the election neared with his primary vote steadily dropping from a high according to one poll of 32 per cent to more like 14 per cent according to the early counting on election night.
Mr Xenophon's SA Best party fielded 41 candidates including 36 in the 47-seat House of Assembly as optimism grew in the new party that it could install as many as a dozen MPs giving it balance-of-power leverage.
But as the votes were tallied on Saturday night, it appeared the biggest immediate impact on the election was in slowing the counting process where the standard two-party-preferred calculations had to be adjusted for three-cornered contests.
SA Best featured in many seat-by-seat contests but fell short of the support needed to win any of them, although counting in the Adelaide hills seat of Heysen could yet see that seat fall its way.
Labor's statewide vote after preferences actually improved by more than a percentage point on the 47 per cent share it secured in 2014 but a redrawing of electoral boundaries had made its task significantly harder in 2018.
The Liberal Party won 24 seats - sufficient for a majority in its own right - with two more still in doubt, while Labor was reduced to 18 with three independents.
Addressing candidates and supporters in the city, Mr Xenophon acknowledged that the results for the party were not coming in as hoped, but claimed a victory of sorts through making the major parties pour resources into safe seats they would otherwise take for granted.
'So far some of the figures have been encouraging,' he said.
'We have come second in a whole swag of seats, so for the first time, instead of seeing two-party-preferred Liberal-Labor, its going to be two-party-preferred Liberal-SA Best or Labor-SA Best, so that's pretty good, that's a pretty good foundation to build on .... The fact is we are now in contention.'
'The fact that the major parties put all their resources into these seats that were previously safe, in Labor and Liberal seats means we've shaken up the political system.'
South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill told supporters he had failed in his bid to secure a fifth straight win for Labor in the state.
'I'm sorry I couldn't bring home another victory, but I do feel like one of those horses that has won four Melbourne Cups. I think the handicap has caught up with us on this occasion,' he told Labor supporters at the West Adelaide Footy Club.
He has called Liberal leader Steven Marshall to pass on his congratulations.
'I wished him all the best on his endeavours to really take that role and make it his own.'
'Thank you so much for the extraordinary privilege of being your premier, it's been one of the great joys of my life and we'll just give you one pledge - we'll be back.'
Steven Marshall and the Liberal party are likely to win at least 24 seats, enough to govern in their own right.
'It's been way too long between drinks for the Liberal Party in South Australia,' a jubilant Mr Marshall, who fell short of winning the 2014 election, told the cheering crowd.
'Now, we have been given a wonderful opportunity by the people of South Australia.'
He acknowledged Mr Weatherill, who shortly before had called him to concede defeat.
'I would like to thank him for his service, to the people of South Australia, and for his six years as premier of this state,' he said.
'It is a tough job but I tell you what, I'm really looking forward to it.
'A massive thank you to the people of South Australia who have put their trust, their faith in me and the Liberal team for a new dawn, a new dawn for South Australia.'
Labor insiders were philosophical about the loss noting that a hostile redistribution of electoral boundaries had meant the Weatherill government needed a three percentage point swing towards it just to hold its current seats and even then it was still short of a majority.
They pointed to the swing against the Liberal Party and to Labor's apparent retention of potentially all of its heartland seats despite the party's extended period in office and despite the spirited challenge from the SA Best phenomenon.
The Liberal win, lauded by the state's most senior Liberal, Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne as an outstanding result, is a significant morale booster for the Liberal Party and follows the strong result achieved recently in the Tasmanian state election.
It will also have implications in Canberra where relations between the Turnbull government and the SA state government have been explosive - particularly over energy and the state's ambitious renewable energy policies.
Mr Marshall, 50, is expected to reverse Mr Weatherill's strong opposition to the Turnbull government's National Energy Guarantee clearing the way for the nationwide energy policy to become a reality.