As the Vainglory World Championship draws closer, it’s time to take a look at the North American Junglers heading to Worlds. If you missed Part 1 of this 3-part series, you can click here to read about the purpose / goals of these articles as well as the initial NA Laners portion.
#1 – Status
Status (formerly known as Statusbaked) has been a competitive force in the Jungle for well over a year now. He kicked off his career in Liberation and officially made a name for himself during the 2015 Autumn Live Finals where LiberationX took the tournament as the very 1st North American victors in Vainglory’s Seasonal structure. Like many others, Status has been searching for a long-term competitive home, recently finding himself partnered with R3cKeD and Oldskool on GankStars Sirius – arguably his strongest team to date.
While it may be obvious that Status possesses strong mechanical skill and a deep hero pool, it’s his immense understanding of macro Jungle control that places him at the top of this list. To have a chance at winning on the international stage, a Jungler needs to be able to understand not only the timing of their Jungle camps, but also the enemy’s. Status often makes it a point to offset his own rotations in order to attempt Jungle camp steals during the early/mid-game. This sometimes means that he doesn’t always have the highest CS of a Jungle main, but he trades these numbers for experience advantage & economy denial. He also knows when to counter-jungle in situations where Sirius may have a weaker early-game jungle match-up or need to find ways to cut losses from mistakes.
In Autumn Split 1, Status finished 1st in kills p/m @ 0.35. In Autumn Split 2, Status finished 2nd to Oldskool in kills p/m @ 0.32 – showing that he is one of the most active and aggressive players in NA. While many translate kills into personal farm acquisition, Status usually transfers whatever Jungle advantage he gains over to Oldskool for late-game carry opportunities. This is a key display of trust in his teammate(s) as well as a humbled approach to filtering gold into the most efficient parts of Sirius’s team comps. With the Jungle providing the biggest meta swings every patch, Status will hold most of the weight when it comes to setting a winning pace for GankStars.
Point of Weakness
Sirius suffers team-wide whenever draft phases come through not according to plan, or opponents target comfort late-game picks for Oldskool & early power picks for Status. Because of this, if the win condition isn’t clear when the game starts, Status can struggle to find ways to win Jungle alone, disrupting the Lane duo. If Jungle falls behind, rotations becomes sporadic and the lack of predictability moves Sirius into the territory of scrappy team fights, which can ultimately end up causing the team to lose focus and disagree on priorities.
#2 – VONC
One of the most recognized & notorious players in Vainglory, VONC’s attitude and dynamic performances have defined him over the past year. Originally a Roam player known as ‘TheCatherine’, VONC would change both his IGN and position to compete with team VON in the 1st Autumn 2015 Season. VON would disband shortly after, leaving VONC struggling to find a team that didn’t conflict with his kill first, ask questions later play style. Eventually, FlashX recruited him into TSM in what seems to have been perfect gamble in realizing his full potential.
A solo-playmaker with kills as his #1 priority, VONC single-handedly changes Jungle meta picks and controls most matchups with FlashX by his side. Historically, VONC has never had a strong focus for macro and objective control, but on TSM he has worked hard towards turning his wild aggression into purposeful dominance. The “new” VONC that has come to fruition over the past months is an incredibly intimidating threat, and he will not hesitate on any opportunity to execute a play. This leaves opponents little (if not zero) time to react / plan accordingly to what TSM does next. This scrappy and quick-action play creates mayhem, opening huge windows for BestChuckNA to execute and making it very difficult for the enemy to understand what rotational strategy comes next.
While not typically topping any of the regular stat charts, VONC would indisputably take #1 in depth of Hero selection. His potential to play almost any pick with any offensive item path grants TSM an insurmountable number of draft opportunities, definitively one of their biggest tournament strengths to date. While in the regular season it’s tough to determine which off-meta picks will make the final cut, strategy runs deep within TSM because of the confidence in which VONC can pull off many of the one-time counter pick scenarios. When combining VONC’s tuned mechanics with pre-planned strategy advantages, sometimes an entire match can become the VONC show as he controls every aspect of the game.
Point of Weakness
With such a repertoire, why is VONC ranked #2? It’s because VONC can still be highly unpredictable at times, even for his own teammates. The trust that TSM places into VONC can either produce complete control or throw-away leads due to over aggression and poorly timed invades/rotations. While the language barrier isn’t particularly a high threat, when combined with his whimsical desires in-game, it can add up to TSM struggling unnecessarily. Essentially their biggest strength can quickly become their biggest weakness, especially if VONC is allowed to feel too confident in a matchup where he no longer respects the potential of his opponent.
#3 – Aloh4
Velocity has seen a wild ride of internal roster shake-ups over the past seasons. During the Summer Championships, Hammers improvised their lineup by placing Aloh4 in the Roam position, which was not only an impressive performance, but would also help lead them to a 2nd place finish. As Autumn kicked off, Aloh4 would however only participate in 3 matches of Split 1 and 7 in Split 2. What does this mean for Aloh4? It’s difficult to say, due to the nature of Velocity not pushing their hardest in the regular season and focusing on practicing out of the public eye. Hammers has seen great success since acquiring the original “Chubby Bunnies” team, but on the biggest stage ever Aloh4 will have a lot to prove.
In his time off in the past, Aloh4 has been working to increase his Hero pool and overall effectiveness as a Jungler. Worlds now being his 3rd Championship, he is certainly no stranger to the pressures of live-performance. Working closely alongside Zio and Vains, Aloh4 proves to be a steady bridge of concentration between the high energy of Velocity’s laner and the focused shot-calls of their Roamer. One of his biggest strengths is mental fortitude and the ability to play calm and collected when from behind. This trait in a player is of utmost importance, especially when your primary win condition comes from steady team-wide engagements that rely on late-game lane carries. (due to lack of game-attendance and role swaps, we won’t focus on any specific stat comparisons)
It’s critical that Aloh4 helps Vains keep Zio in a position of opportunity, otherwise this powerhouse trio crumbles. Aloh4 is adept at setting up plays and/or peeling off opponents whenever the action is needed. Reliability and consistency define him as a competitor, allowing for his team to always know what to expect from him. “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” might be the perfect identifier for Aloh4’s effectiveness, many times going unnoticed on impact, but still a complete necessity for victory. The Group Stage at Worlds will quickly tell us whether or not post-season practice has placed Aloh4 in a position to execute.
Point of Weakness
Under high pressure situations where Aloh4 is forced to perform solo, results are not always positive. Because his Hero pool is fairly small and predictable, teams can take advantage of naturally countering a Jungle pick while pressuring lane. Velocity’s strength is their team cohesion and synergy, but as individuals they can often make confusing calls. Due to the frequent role swaps & lack of competitive gameplay in Autumn, seasoned veterans should have a natural advantage, leaving Aloh4 with the task of surpassing expectations.
Thanks for reading through Part 2! The final installment of “Going to Worlds” NA Roamers will arrive early next week just before the competition kicks off.