This is the most excited I have been for the professional scene to date. Summer Season will hardly have a lull as we blast through the hot months. There is also a feeling of a molting within the world of VG, shedding old skin and bursting forth to a whole new form. Not the final form, mind you, that takes many episodes worth of powering up to achieve.
Evil Eight Week One
After seeing the first week of this new Evil Eight format play out, I hope we never go back to way things were. Just as promised, the opening volley of matches felt like a championship tournament as all the top teams competed in elimination brackets in order to be crowned weekend winner.
Just in case this wasn’t already apparent from the recent season, the biggest threat to Team Secret’s throne is GankStars Cerberus. The addition of IraqiZorro to the GS EU franchise has synergized well with tiny phenom L3on, so much that Baewitch Celeste isn’t the only one with a broom because this team swept their way through week one.
Looking at the rest of the field, the EU scene may be a bit tighter in competition than we have in the states. Relative underdogs LemonandLime had a real tough go of it starting off against Mousesports. Maybe next time they won’t let GreatHALI have Skye both times, but otherwise I really feel like this is a team to watch. They surprised a lot of players when they first arrived in the Winter Season and L&L has a penchant for some clever off-meta play. They may just need to work the kinks out this early in the season.
Snow Tsunami is another team I enjoy watching. Particularly araxi looking very comfortable on jungle Melee heroes (Krul and Glavie this weekend). Working a very straight forward front-line / back-line composition, Snow Tsunami has consistent play that can cut off unusual lines some teams try to create and aim right for the throat.
In short, the EU teams utilized mobile carries around tanky roams. Skye and Vox seeing a lot of play, as they usually do, but also a good amount of Kestrel and some Taka. Phinn, Lance and Ardan (pretty much in that order of frequency) provided invaluable crowd control to allow their damage dealers to get in and out with the pain. The EU meta is still centered a bit more around sustained combat we saw ALOT of in the last update. A point to watch moving forward to see how things may evolve.
Things are different, things are the same. So many roster changes led up to this season’s start that I honestly can’t name them all right now, but the energy and power has remained focused in a few central locations. Team Phoenix Reign and Hammers eSports Velocity both proved once again to be mighty forces here in the states, but it was Reign that earned top honors this time.
Phoenix Reborn made a splash with a thrilling series over Hammers Kinetic. Both teams are sporting some new powerhouse members that know each other quite well, CullTheMeek and MICSHE. These TSM alumn are looking good in their new colors and did not seem to falter. Reborn had a real fight on their hands with PONtheOriginal’s SAW and MICSHE’s Skaarf, but proved capable when Cull settled back into Glaive in games 2 and 3. Kinetic will be back in a big way, MICSHE and PON being able to switch roles is just one example of teams innovating their strategies to always keep the enemy guessing in draft.
Team SoloMid showed up in interesting form, particularly VONC’s drafting. Game 1 and 3 had Lance and SAW running jungle carry, both fun off-meta picks but a bit too underpowered when you have arguably the best jungler in NA, StatusBaked, opposing you on solid heroes like Taka and Glaive. TSM have great potential with the sheer amount of talent on their team, organized by the cerebral FlashX. It’s also wonderful to see BestChuckNA back in a lane carry role as I always felt he struggled with Roam position.
A little preview to what you may expect in an upcoming BrokenMyth tier list (hint hint), Taka has been seeing a lot of play in the jungle. There were plenty of Lyra picks and bans in this half of the weekend as well, the new Mage looking right at home in Lane position. Roam role seems dominated by Lance and Phinn, of course Lyra when applicable. There’s no getting around how satisfying it is to hold your enemies in place and slap them around.
Hop on board, because the season is just starting to cook!
Vainglory World Launch Anniversary
No, you’re not losing your mind (Brian), Vainglory celebrated “another” first anniversary this week to commemorate when the Fold took over the world with global and Android launch. Especially coming off the heels of the Amazon announcement and the start of the newly renovated professional scene, it’s wonderful to see how far this game and community have come. Skaarf and Reim were dished out to lucky winners of a Twitter contest. You could also win their skins and a sweet Vainglory hoodie. My only complaint from the celebration is there aren’t more reasons for fun art like this on a regular basis.
Sylvan Kestrel Lore
This issue of “Alternate Fates” thrusts the reader into a elvish fantasy world full of linear problems and a clear hero in our very own Kestrel. I say this with no sarcasm whatsoever as this story reminds me of folktales I enjoy where the problem is obvious and the protagonist must buck social convention to save the day. Despite the corruption of a sacred well, this is a light departure from the complex canon lore we normally get. I will gladly look forward to more journeys to the Tangled Wood.
Fan Art Friday
A nice nod to our bustling community, @TwitterGaming acknowledged this picture from killjoykitty of “War Chieftain Kestrel”. Synonymous with the release of Sylvan Kestrel, this is a friendly reminder of all the great stuff happening everyday in our world. @vainglory is really good about retweeting great fan art, but it doesn’t hurt to know other channels are taking notice.
Fan Made Guild Rework
Popping up on the forums after (I assume) endless hours of work, this proposal for guild and player profile rework by Xhaos is damn impressive. There are several ideas here that could blend the out of game guild management seamlessly with the in game experience. Match history is something that has come up numerous times on Reddit and Forums, players longing to see their history of triumphant victories and defeats that were definitely not their fault. I sincerely recommended taking the time to go through this, a TL;DR wouldn’t really do it justice.
I’ve gathered another little cluster of videos, shorter than some games of Battle Royale, with fun moments and great play. Watching entire games can get a little tiresome, here’s your alternatives:
RoamBoxFox has his share of ranked play videos, but also some really slick montages starting with a refined intro.
Cyeye has started his own episodic series with random LOL (laugh out loud, not League of Legends) moments in VG.
Absorbat gives us a multi-layered experience complete with superimposing Vainglory heroes onto other clips and even calling in Peppy from Star Fox to help Lance escape danger.
It looks like JoeMiner4501 is just starting a series of videos with MobCrush highlights, the video quality alone has me coming back for more.
Give these guys a subscribe and see what they have in the future!
Know Your OP History: Stormguard Banner
While the usefulness of this particular item is currently a point of contention amongst players, there was a day when Stormguard Banner, and its subsequent Warhorn, ruled the Fold with a mighty push. Clever little players discovered a bit of an oversight in the make-up of these items that allowed the benefits to be utilized by all three players on a team simultaneously in devastating fashion. It rocketed through the channels and soon became known as the infamous “Poop Strat”. In case it’s not clear, the name signifies that this strategy is so cheap you have to be a real poophead to take advantage. Poopheads aplenty did, because elo is the ultimate fool’s gold in Vainglory.
During update 1.8, it was discovered that Stormguard Banner’s passive could be used to push down turrets with lightning speed. As it stood, attacking non-heroes granted 3% of the target’s max health per second as true damage with an additional 30% bonus to that damage vs jungle bosses, Kraken and structures (3.9% total) when finished into Warhorn. The passive had no governor in regards to other heroes also using the SBG or Warhorn, meaning that all three members of a team could have it and deal 11.7% of a structure’s max health per second. Coupled with a Blazing Salvo, a team could burn through turrets and finish most games in under 10 minutes, some as low as five.
Deaths didn’t matter, as the timers weren’t high enough to hamper the attackers. Defending players could valiantly destroy the pushers, only to have them come back and resume focusing the turrets. So early in the game, defending players usually did not have enough gold to mount a serious threat, especially when all three would be forced to hover around their turrets in a futile attempt to keep them standing.
A hotfix was necessary and implemented soon after this became rampant. SEMC shut off the passive bonus for more than one Stormguard Banner, effectively putting a stop to this game-breaking push. Further tweaking to SGB in recent updates and the removal of Warhorn (now split between War Treads and Stormcrown), has vastly altered the SGB we once knew. In short, it now provides a flat 75 true damage bonus to auto attacks (20 to heroes). While it may be necessary for Roam heroes to assist properly in objective control, there are now other options in the ever-evolving Roam build that can offer more reliable damage.
Thus concludes another look back to a simpler, much simpler, time when you could focus on one tactic and almost guarantee victory. On that note, one day I know I will be writing this section about Lyra.
We will be back this week with that all-important tier list and more! Love you Resonance refreshes and Krul tank-top meshes.
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