Esports OGN World Invitational Vainglory News 3

Pro Strategies: Misdirection, A StanSmith Story


StanSmith had a plan for the Vainglory World Invitational, and his quarterfinal opponent Team Fusion fell right into his trap. The “Divine Brothers”, which includes StanSmith and the real life brothers, Dejiwo and Slashmoon, did battle in the Vainglory World Invitational against the North American Team Fusion. There was little known about this East Asia server team, and StanSmith had a plan to use this to his advantage.

Android Launch Event

It began at the Android launch event held by SuperEvilMegaCorp (SEMC) at Twitch HQ on July 2nd. Top players from around the world were invited to take part in this massive event, including StanSmith from Japan. It was revealed that he was a Vainglorious player on the EA server.

Many exhibition matches were played between the high level players, in particular this match against the developers, which was broadcast all over the world. StanSmith chose his favorite hero, Taka.

At this event, throughout many conversations with the SEMC developers and other high level players such as FooJee and PwntByUkranian, StanSmith always replied that he was a Taka main.  In his own words, “日本に関係性のあるヒーローのタカ(忍者)は確かに得意ではある” (Of course,  we are proud of the Ninja hero Taka that has a strong connection to Japan). He capitalized on this notion and continued his efforts to plant more seeds.

Then, on July 10th, StanSmith wrote on his Twitter account: practice taka & taka & taka.



Vainglory World’s Invitational

A week and a half had gone by and the day had finally come. On July 12th, the Divine Brothers were matched against Team Fusion (FooJee, Oldskool, and R3cKeD) in the quarterfinal match. Even the announcers were talking about StanSmith’s Taka. All of StanSmith’s hard work had come to fruition when Fusion announced their ban for the first match.


It was Taka. StanSmith’s master plan had worked.

Interview with StanSmith

I had a chance to interview StanSmith when I was conducting research for my meta around the globe article. It was during this interview that he revealed his long con to me. “I went to the Android launch event. I always used Taka,” said StanSmith.

“It was a bluff.”

“EA Server players said StanSmith’s Koshka is so scary.”

I couldn’t believe it. He actually was a Koshka main this whole time.

“I love Vainglory players. I respect all players… Please forgive me for telling a lie.”

Stan wanted to make sure that message got across. He didn’t do this with any ill intent, it was purely a competitive, tactical move. He has the utmost respect for Team Fusion and all of the players of Vainglory. He goes into full detail about his plan here (article is in Japanese).

FooJee’s response

“I wasn’t aware of this master plan” said FooJee. “It’s easy to sell a lie when no one knows much about you. But Stan didn’t just deceive Fusion, he did it to everyone, SEMC included (because all they talked about was Taka haha)”

“Stan very well may have helped pioneer the first Vainglory successful mis-truth that changed ban focus…” Ultimately, you could tell that FooJee wasn’t offended by this strategic gesture when he said, “By the way… I like Stan Smith a lot – he’s a good player and he respects me as well.”

Competitive Advantage

It is clear to me, with the World Invitational, Vainglory is now a competitive e-sport. We are seeing a level of competitiveness on par with games like League of Legends. This form of misdirection reminds me when Moscow Five selected Shyvana in champion select, typically used as a jungler. Their last pick was also a jungler, and they used Shyvana in Lane to surprise and catch their opponent off guard.

With this level of competition, bans play a very important role, especially for teams that do their homework. “Stan himself said that he studied us a lot… The brothers too – in fact they were watching our VGL videos while we were getting makeup and pictures done on the first day” said FooJee.

There certainly was a lot of footage for them to review with FooJee’s twitch stream, VGL, ESL and other past tournaments.  “It’s also obvious that Oldskool plays Vox really well… So that ban hurt us pretty badly,” said FooJee.

Likewise, in Invincible Armada’s match against Gankstars, they banned Glaive because they knew that CullTheMeek plays an incredible Glaive.

StanSmith’s master plan directly led to Team Fusion banning Taka in the first game. Did that give the Divine Brothers an advantage? Did it help them secure the victory? What do you think? Let us know in the comments!


  • Reply
    Aug 04, 2015 5:32 pm

    I am extremely discouraged by the fact that Armada banned CullTheMeek’s Glaive twice. That screams anticompetitve, cheesy. One ban per hero per match. Deal with it. They don’t ban players in sports. they deal with it.

  • Reply
    Aug 04, 2015 10:19 am

    That’s kind of awesome, but also exposes an underlying issue with Worlds. The information imbalance between the teams was so significant that it really does not seem fair. There is so much footage out there of the European and North American teams that allowed their opponents to prepare. I’m enjoying watching the matches, but I think it would be nice to see high-level matches where both sides have more roughly equivalent levels of intel on their opponents. Hopefully there won’t be quite so many unknown dark horse teams at the next Worlds.

    • Reply
      Aug 04, 2015 8:38 pm

      I believe in future world tournaments, they will also institute a draft pick method similar to the one recently used in the VGL NA-champion competition which I believe fusion won. That was very interesting and unique to watch, and will continue to facilitate more complicated matches going forward as I’m sure it will be used much more.

      Method for our readers:
      Coin toss by show-runners. Winner gets first ban and first pick for the first match.
      First ban (coin winner)
      Second ban
      First pick (coin winner)
      Second and third picks
      Fourth and fifth picks (coin winner)
      Last pick

      The second match the first ban/pick is given to other team. The third match in a best of three (if it gets that far) is then a free-for-all blind pick no bans.

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