One year has passed since the final 3V3 Vainglory World Championship in Singapore, where the unlikely wild card team from NA, Tribe Gaming, was crowned world champions. Since that time Vainglory has seen numerous changes: many familiar faces moved on to pursue other opportunities, the available hero pool increased from 37 to an impressive 46, and the competitive landscape switched from the Halcyon Fold to Sovereign’s Rise. Vainglory Worlds 2018 brought four of the best teams across the globe together in Los Angeles to compete for the ultimate world champion title. We have you covered with a full breakdown of each match from the tournament as well as details of other major topics from the event!
Meet the Teams
Before any matches kicked off, the analysts and casters were asked to make their predictions for Day 1.
Invitational Format & Prize Pool
The format for the Vainglory 2018 World Invitational was double elimination. The bracket and first round matchups can be seen below. Each series played was a best of three.
The prize pool for the event was a total of $30,000 USD. This was split between all four teams, with the amount awarded dependent on the teams’ placement. The breakdown of prizes is as follows:
Tribe Gaming Vs. Ace Gaming
The first semifinal of the day was a rematch of the Vainglory 2017 World Final matchup. Right off the bat, both teams placed an emphasis on taking away captains during draft. ACE started to gain momentum quickly, securing first blood and destroying the first turret of the game. A pause was called after Tribe’s MaxGreen experienced device issues after giving up ground and a second turret to ACE. ACE had control of the map by the 5:30 mark, pushing into Tribe’s half of the map relentlessly. Both teams had hero compositions that scaled well into the late game, causing minutes 6-12 to be relatively uneventful while both teams farmed up. There was a second pause in the match, where MaxGreen switched devices after continued technical problems. ACE took Blackclaw uncontested, allowing them to split and push their bottom lane, while Blackclaw marched down middle lane. ACE took game one in a quick 15:45 after securing a 4-1 ace in a teamfight.
Game two saw the draft follow a similar pattern to the first game with many captains being banned away. Tribe elected to draft Celeste for chuck, even though she did not see much success in the first game. This time around, the game started off much better for Tribe, picking up first blood at the 1½ minute mark. ttigers quickly followed this up by setting up two more kills and finishing off by trading bottom lane turrets. Through the early game, ttigers and Oldskool kept constant pressure against ACE’s top lane. On ACE’s side, they maintained vision control through the whole match, allowing them to make quick and decisive rotations around the map. By 8 minutes, Tribe held a 3,000 gold lead, which forced ACE away from Ghostwing. This eventually led to Tribe capturing Ghostwing around the 9:15 mark, but they gave up a turret in the process. A few minutes later, Tribe won a teamfight, but T4SA stole Ghostwing. From here, the match snowballed in ACE’s favor, leading to an ace, Blackclaw capture, and ultimately a 2-0 series victory in just under 20 minutes. After the series, Lucy Mae had a short interview with T4SA, where he talked about how good it felt to beat Tribe after the defeat at 2017 Worlds, adding that they came prepared for the long road ahead of the team.
Nova Esports Vs. Qlash Gaming
This series started off much slower than the first. It took Nova 3 minutes to secure both first blood and the first turret of the game. In a common trend for the day and Update 3.9, viewers saw both teams pushing their bottom lanes hard, utilizing Minion Candy to strengthen their waves. Throughout the game, Nova looked strong in the different lane skirmishes, but as teams came together in larger teamfights, Qlash seemed to hold the upper hand. Nova captured Ghostwing twice quickly through the mid game. However, Qlash took a teamfight around Blackclaw, finishing it off with a capture. Nova did a good job to recover and prevent Qlash from gaining much in return for capturing Blackclaw. At 15:45, Qlash secured Ghostwing, but they were left retreating as Nova pushed hard down the middle lane to destroy two turrets. Despite this surge, Qlash continued to perform well during teamfights, allowing them to eventually capture each dragon once more. Qlash played very patiently and controlled, never overstaying their welcome, to give Nova an opportunity to turn the game around. Qlash eventually took game one.
Game two started off with both teams playing relatively passive, trading turrets around the 4 minute mark. 7 minutes into the match, each team had picked up one kill before returning to farm up and position across the map. While Qlash captured Ghostwing, the first dragon of the match, Nova proceeded to trade for two of their turrets. Qlash secured a second Ghostwing but lost the ensuing teamfight, giving up the ace and allowing Nova to capture Blackclaw. Nova grouped up in the top lane, pushing simultaneously as Blackclaw marched down the middle lane. This game, it was Nova’s turn to show patience on their way to victory in 17½ minutes, tying the series at 1 apiece.
Before the third game kicked off, several members of Nova looked visibly upset and disgruntled during the draft. Despite this, they started the game quickly, taking first blood before the game reached one minute. Nova’s coach LeftSpectrs dispelled any fears for Nova fans in a short interview during the opening minutes of the match, chalking reactions during draft up to a small miscommunication that was quickly handled. Nova maintained their hot start, going up 5-1 in kills and taking a slight gold lead. Nova seemed to be in control of the match, lead by Starting on crystal power SAW, executing several members of Qlash with the “dank shank” on multiple occasions. Similar to the second match, Qlash captured Ghostwing but paid dearly for it — giving up three kills shortly after. Through the mid game neither team was able to take a clean teamfight, with both teams losing members each time. Qlash grouped up quickly to capture Blackclaw, as Nova was spread out through the map clearing different lanes. This allowed for Qlash to march down the lane to take the upset victory of Nova, moving them on to face ACE Gaming in the next round. The victory by Qlash also made sure that there could not be an NA vs. NA final for the invitational.
ACE Gaming vs. Qlash Gaming
After a short break, the action kicked back off with ACE and Qlash facing off for a spot in the finals. ACE destroyed the first turret of the game around 3 minutes into the match. Qlash followed this up 30 seconds later by taking a turret of their own. First blood went to ACE in the bottom lane where KraQz went down against a 2v1. sweetbox performed well on Glaive in the top lane, taking two turrets in a solo push while Qlash was responding to other threats across the map. ACE grouped together in the middle lane, taking their front turret and followed it up with a Ghostwing capture. From here they methodically pushed lanes, continuing to take turrets away from Qlash. ACE began capturing Blackclaw to draw Qlash in, turning quickly to win the teamfight before finishing the Blackclaw capture. ACE once again employed split lane pressure to allow Blackclaw to move down the middle lane on his own. Qlash momentarily opened a window for a comeback, picking off two members of ACE on the way to capturing Ghostwing. Minutes later, it was Qlash’s turn to start capturing Blackclaw, before ACE jumped in to win the teamfight and secure the ace. This allowed ACE to quickly finish the game, taking the first match of the series.
The second game got off to an extremely slow start, with both teams farming and playing for the late game. Qlash gained the upper hand, taking first blood and two bottom lane turrets while only surrendering one turret to ACE. At the 9:15 mark, each team traded a kill before going back to farming. ACE played very methodically, grouping up to take objectives and fend off pressure from Qlash. In a split-second decision while Qlash was capturing Ghostwing, ACE made a move to quickly capture Blackclaw, turning the situation into a relatively even trade. With Qlash hiding in a bush on ACE’s side of the map, Munchables introduced viewers to Dude Potential — “every brush you don’t know about, you have to figure out how many dudes could be inside it.” Qlash maintained strong objective control, capturing both Ghostwing and Blackclaw at 18:15 and 19:30, respectively. Qlash made a critical mistake by overstaying their welcome and giving up the ace. ACE took advantage of this by taking Ghostwing and stealing Blackclaw. ACE continued to capitalize on Qlash’s mistake, pushing quickly to end the game and take the series 2-0.
Nova Esports vs. Tribe Gaming
In the first elimination series of the day, both North American teams squared off, fighting to keep their hopes of winning the tournament alive. Nova got off to a hot start in game one, taking an early first blood. Nova went on to take the first turret of the game around 4 minutes into the match. They were able to keep up the pressure by capturing Ghostwing just before the 7 minute mark and amassing a 4.5k gold lead by 8 minutes. Tribe continued to struggle, unable to take a turret until 16 minutes into the match. By then it was too little too late, with Nova being in full control of the game. Nova was able to take an ace and finish game one easily in dominating fashion.
In game two, Tribe finally elected to take chuck off of Celeste after having no success with the pick through all of their games prior. Game two started much slower for both teams, with Nova eventually taking first blood from CozZ’s successful Quibble on Phinn. Despite giving up first blood, Tribe was off to a much better start this game. The combination of Oldskool and ttigers was enough to take down TruthOfLight, which led to the first turret of the game for Tribe. Nova pushed Tribe off of Ghostwing, winning the teamfight but overcommitting on a turret run. Tribe capitalized on this by taking down several members of Nova and moving to capture Ghostwing. Tribe continued to apply pressure, trading 4-2 in a teamfight, starting to show how strong the team really was after struggling through early matches. Oldskool on Silvernail began capturing Blackclaw solo, taking the dragon down to under half health before the rest of the team joined him to finish the capture. Tribe moved with Blackclaw down the middle lane, taking game two in 18:37 and tying up the series.
The third match of the series kicked off with Tribe taking the upperhand, claiming first blood and taking down a top lane turret while almost finishing off the first middle lane turret. ttigers was again a major factor for Tribe, relentlessly pushing turrets with Skaarf and rotating to multiple lanes across the map. Nova took their first turret at the 4:20 mark in the bottom lane. Minutes later, Nova utilized Flicker’s Mooncloak stealth to quickly position in the bottom lane, enabling them to take both the outer and base turrets of Tribe. Shortly after this feat there were several long drawn-out engages in the middle of the map, where Tribe eventually destroyed Nova’s middle lane turret. While Nova was distracted pushing two turrets in the top lane, Tribe captured Ghostwing with no contest. Taking full advantage, Tribe followed this up with a Blackclaw capture, turning the game in their favor. They rushed down the lane with Blackclaw in one major push to take the series 2-1, eliminating Nova from the competition.
Tribe Gaming Vs. Qlash Gaming
The first game of the series to determine who would face ACE in the finals got off to a slow start, with both teams farming and applying pressure in their bottom lanes. Tribe took the first turret of the game at around the 3½ minute mark. Qlash countered this by taking down chuck in the middle lane when he was ambushed by Inara for first blood. Qlash continued to pressure chuck in the middle lane, taking him down for a second time. Tribe fell back on the duo of Oldskool and ttigers in bottom lane, destroying the second turret. Tribe took the next team fight 4-1, eventually taking down tetnoJJ on Celeste, but not in time for the ace. Following this, Qlash was able to capture Blackclaw, taking down two middle lane turrets on the push. A few minutes later, Tribe captured Ghostwing and quickly followed it up by taking Blackclaw. Qlash fended off the push from Tribe, letting both teams reset. Tribe secured their third Ghostwing of the game at 23:15, but Qlash turned the ensuing teamfight around, allowing them to push to the Vain crystal, taking the first match of the series and placing themselves one step closer to the finals.
With their tournament hopes on the line, Tribe was off to a good start in the second game of the series. They took two early kills on efficient rotations and Qlash’s first top lane turret. It took Qlash 8½ minutes to answer, when Hundor managed to take down their first top lane turret. Following this, Tribe quickly moved to take the middle lane turret and faked a Ghostwing capture, turning quickly to engage onto Qlash. They successfully finished capturing Ghostwing, rotating to the top lane to take down two turrets and almost opening up the base of Qlash. Minutes later, Tribe started to capture Ghostwing again and Qlash took the opportunity to capture Blackclaw uncontested. They pushed this advantage but stayed in Tribe’s base too long. Qlash rallied during the next teamfight to take the ace and another 2-0 upset victory over a second North American team. This victory set up Qlash for a rematch with ACE after falling to them 2-0 earlier in the tournament. For this year … EU>NA.
PC Vs. Mobile Exhibition Match
Toward the end of 2018, Super Evil Megacorp announced its plans to expand Vainglory across all platforms in 2019. One of the goals of this feat is to achieve competitive parity, meaning that you will be provided with an equal playing experience no matter the platform that you prefer to use. Check out our recap on Vainglory’s cross-platform and Update 4.0 plans so you don’t miss out on what’s to come in 2019!
To showcase their first cross-platform foray, an exhibition match was played, with one team competing on mobile devices and the other on the PC client. The teams were captained by the two casters of the World Invitational: Munchables leading the mobile players and Humanist siding with the PC team. The rosters were filled by members of Nova and Tribe.
The game was carried out in good fun, with both captains being interviewed during the middle of the match. Both resorted to their natural state, completing the interview in caster style and taking a few lighthearted jabs at the other team. Before his interview was over, Humanist mentioned that the PC client was intuitive and his previous experience with other MOBA genre games helped him pick it up quickly. By the end of the match, the mobile team took the upper hand and gave Munchables bragging rights for the time being.
ACE Gaming Vs. Qlash Gaming
In a rematch of the semifinals from earlier in the tournament, Qlash attempted to pull off the cinderella story upset over the ACE Gaming team that had looked dominant all tournament long. ACE did not waste any time in game one, taking first blood by 2:30 and the first turret of the game one minute later. Qlash answered shortly after by taking ACE’s first bottom lane turret. The next major milestone came when Qlash captured Ghostwing around the 6:45 mark. The teams traded their second bottom lane turrets over the next several minutes. ACE was able to catch Qlash’s top laner KraQz out when he overextended into their jungle; despite this mishap, Qlash carried a small gold lead of 1,500 into the late game. ACE turned the game in their favor by baiting Qlash into a fight around the Ghostwing pit that ACE took handily. They followed this up by capturing Ghostwing. Shortly after, ACE secured three kills and captured Blackclaw. With the help of Blackclaw, ACE swept the full middle lane, taking all three turrets, armory, the Vain crystal, and game one of the series.
Game two got off to a similar start, with ACE taking an early lead, destroying all three of Qlash’s first turrets quickly. ACE kept up the pressure on Qlash, securing 5 different objectives across the map 9 minutes into the match — all without claiming a single kill. Through the mid game, Qlash attempted to make a slow recovery, eventually capturing Blackclaw. Several minutes later, ACE captured Ghostwing at 15:45 and Blackclaw shortly after. ACE successfully pushed all the way into Qlash’s base in the top lane and almost opened up the middle lane as well. In an amazing feat, ACE was leading in the second game but still had no kills by the 20 minute mark of the match. This streak came to an end at around 21 minutes when they killed two of Qlash’s members. They used this opportunity to take the middle armory of Qlash but opted to back off, showing great patience. ACE then had two members posture around Blackclaw, baiting Qlash into a trap to buy time. The remaining 3 members of ACE purchased Teleport Boots in an amazing play to backdoor and destroy the Vain crystal, winning the series 2-0. After defeating Qlash for the second time during the tournament, ACE was crowned the 2018 World Invitational champions!
Picks, Bans, & Strategy
The Vainglory 2018 World Invitational was played on Update 3.9. The teams and their coaching staff only had a few short days to prepare to play on the new meta. Some of the biggest apparent takeaways from the tournament were:
- Minion Candy was a necessity to apply pressure in lane
- Teams placed an emphasis on banning captain heroes during draft
- Malene garnered a 75% win percentage over 8 total games
- Kinetic was picked in every game played during the tournament
- Several heroes saw a 100% pick/ban rate, including Anka, Ardan, Lorelai, and Yates
The 2018 World Invitational was a much needed event for Vainglory esports. The invitational brought together teams from several different regions around the world to showcase the best talent. The event also gave Vainglory the opportunity to broadcast some of their initiatives for 2019. If you missed the stream, you can watch the full VOD on Twitch. Congratulations to ACE Gaming on an excellent performance! We look forward to an exciting 2019 for Vainglory in all aspects of the game.
Still itching for more esports content? Another tournament, WESG, is set to take place in March, featuring team representation from all six regions. Check back on Broken Myth frequently for more details — we’ll be sure to cover them as soon as they become available.