Esports VaingloryLeague

2016 Winter Season EU Championship: Meet the Teams

With the EU Championship beginning, it’s time to brush up on the eight championship teams. To help out, here’s quick rundown of each team. Over the course of next three days (March 18-20), expect to see the top players in EU push themselves to the limit. It’s bound to be an exciting weekend.

SK Prometheus (1)

Roster: Raph29 (roam), jetpacks (jungle/roam), WalDeMar (lane), Bayu (sub)

Stacked with household names and with their roots going back further than Vaingloryleague itself, SK Gaming have spent a long time at the forefront of the European competitive scene. Not everyone will be aware, but SK Prometheus have secured the #1 seed twice now, but unfortunately couldn’t attend the Autumn Live Finals. With their attendance at this season’s finals the competition has certainly been forced up a notch. Bayu boasts experience playing in the VIPL in Korea and is arguably the best Joule player in Europe; Jetpacks and WalDeMar are from the SK Chimaera roster that finished fourth at the last live finals; and Raph’s name can be found as far back as the first ever VGL 1v1 tournament. All of these players could warrant targeted bans in their own right so expect them to come out of the drafting phases strongly.

Team Secret (2)

Roster: Mowglie (roam), Palmatoro (jungle), KValafar (lane), cOucOu (sub)

Current European Champions, Team Secret (formerly Media Pixel eSports) are returning to defend their title playing as a much higher seed. They currently rank among the highest players in Europe with Mowglie, Palmatoro and KValafar all reaching Vainglorious Silver this season. Some notable hero picks to look out for are Palmatoro’s Krul, KValafar’s Skaarf and Mowglie on Phinn, the latter which somehow leverages an almost untouched support to make a bigger mark on matches than the footprint of Phinn’s Polite Company. Not only do these three power-picks synergise incredibly well together, but they have successfully demonstrated deep hero pools all around showing their commitment to personal – as well as team – improvement. Their signature ‘SAW Push Comp’ may not see as much screen time due to their first defeat using it in the last qualifiers to SK Prometheus, but it certainly remains a looming threat to any underprepared opponents.

G2.Kinguin (3)

Roster: DarkPotato (jungle), D1ngo (roam), Reddix (lane), Tesfaye (sub), TetnoJJ (sub)

G2 have come back fighting after their strength was called into question during the roster split period. This original roster, with the addition of TetnoJJ from SK, seems to be the way forward for G2. The jungle duo of D1ngo and DarkPotato paired with the strong lane presence brought by Reddix is the combination that has taken them the furthest previously. Backed up with such a strong substitute player in their lineup, they have first class teams lined up with whatever combination they choose to play. This could be vital as we have seen roster changes prove invaluable by the likes of LiberationX during the NA Winter Live Final. One concern is how long they have had to gel as a team under different setups – meddling with a good thing in the past has been G2’s downfall. Expect some flexible jungle picks coming out of everyone’s favourite (Dark)Potato and some strong synergy in the jungle. Depending on who the starting laner is, expect Reddix to secure Skaarf or TetnoJJ to be looking for a Ringo pickup as their strongest heroes.

SNOW Tsunami (4)

Roster: lookatme (jungle), Sosiska (roam), PTLam (lane)

SNOW have quickly become top contenders in Europe since seasonal play began last autumn. They were often cited as the most feared team in the Autumn Live Finals by other teams and casters; however, they placed a disappointing joint fifth/sixth due to lack of flexibility in their draft. We’ve seen their compositions repeatedly focus around the same heroes once again during these qualifiers, but it seems to be working for them with some high placing finishes in both qualifiers. Krul has been a regular pick for lookatme, proving incredibly difficult for all but the best teams to deal with. With the support of Sosiska coming over from the old ‘BlackHawk’ team there seems to have been strong synergy established across the entire guild. PTLam is a mechanically gifted laner but is the only player between the two SNOW rosters not to have experience on the stage so may need some time to settle. However, I feel that if they can replicate their play from the qualifiers and show us some new tricks in their drafting we should definitely see them do well.

SNOW Avalanche (5)

Roster: Bashn (roam), Kentysik (jungle), araxi (lane), ColdICE (sub)

The Avalanche roster is split 50:50 between the old SNOW and Black Hawk teams who both had strong showings and have continued to improve. Black Hawk finished strongly in third place the previous Live Finals, and as mentioned previously, merging with their fellow Russians ‘SNOW’ and settling into two mixed-roster teams seems to have really helped their success, proven by the appearance of both teams again this time around. Qualifier 1 saw both SNOW teams through to the semi-finals, almost guaranteeing their place here in London. They have had plenty of time to practice and research their opponents, but with the first match being SNOW v SNOW there will definitely be a tougher journey for one of these teams, and the lower seeded Avalanche might be feeling that pressure. Bashn is arguably one of Europe’s best supports and has been known for a very strong Ardan which should be on everyone’s mind. Another top combination to look out for is araxi on Ringo as his aggressive playstyle can shutout even the strongest enemy laners. However, don’t be surprised to see him play Blackfeather who has shone recently in lane and suits araxi’s playstyle of lane control. Patch 1.15 has been both cruel and kind to their starting jungler Kentysik who previously favoured Koshka in many games. However, he is no stranger to Krul who will undoubtedly remain a highly contested pick.

Rebirth of Empire (6)

Roster: GreatkhALI(jungle/lane), nettetoilette(roam), MrKCool (lane/jungle)

A regular top-three finisher, Rebirth of Empire have always hung on the periphery of everyone’s vision until recently when they claimed a title of their own by winning the VMS EU and breaking their apparent ‘second place curse’. With UpFyr unavailable they have reached out and brought in a new addition, MrKCool, who will definitely have a lot to prove jumping into a roster built around synergy and flexibility, which has never changed until now. Rebirth are known for accomplishing their greatest successes with strong scaling comps. They prefer to maintain a consistent presence throughout the game to guarantee a smooth sail through the late game when their heroes are most powerful and will likely have to fend off a lot of early-game pressure to continue to pull this off successfully.

G2.Kinguin 2 (7)

Roster: Pips (roam), majestiC (jungle), TaisukeSan (lane), Zynthox (sub)

G2.K2 are the freshest faces to the scene, created after G2 qualified for VIPL last season. Pips and majestiC have experienced a sharp rise to success after appearing on the competitive scene, while TaisukeSan is a much more established name, previously going by the name ‘REDemption’ – another player with international experience under his belt. G2 have definitely come back strong from their slump and will be looking to place well with two teams among this small field of eight. It’s down to these players to make themselves noticed if they are to succeed these Live Finals. Going in from a low seventh seed means they have the benefit of being the underdog which could be a detrimental mistake to any opponents who underestimate them because these guys definitely deserve to be here.

Angry Pandas Black (8)

Roster: LeyaLeya (lane), TonyLuo (jungle), XuanXuan (roam), HCYekun (sub), LittleDroplet (sub)

With the withdrawal of RebelTigers, a space was opened and a serious contender for the finals was lost. In their place, the Angry Pandas Black team who were sitting in joint ninth place were invited. Making it through to the RO16 in both qualifiers they will be coming in as the eight seed. Under normal circumstances this would be a no-pressure situation with low expectations. However, Team Secret were in the same situation for the Autumn Live Finals and successfully stole the show with an almost unbeaten run to take first place and the grand prize. With this in mind, the Angry Pandas Black have a lot to prove and with their volatile run of form they could certainly provide some upsets as they are known to manage in the past if they bring their ‘A-game’. Finishing in joint fifth/sixth position at the Autumn Live Finals some of their roster being sent are certainly not newcomers to the stage and will be aiming to bring that experience to the table. The upbeat XuanXuan with his widely adopted ‘carry-support’ Ardan returns with LeyaLeya to bring us their happy-go-lucky attitude. They are joined by EU’s famous Tony ‘Taka’ Luo who was unable to attend previously and two new additions to bolster their roster.

All the action will start March 18 at 5pm GMT and will continue on Saturday and Sunday starting at 1pm GMT, respectively. All seating for this event has been sold out, but you can still watch all the action take place live on Twitch. You won’t want to miss this.


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