Upsets! Upsets! Upsets! With the VGL Finals Qualifier round of 8 wrapped up, we move into the semifinals with the least expected lineup of teams. A few days ago, during the round of 8, we experienced what may go down in history as the biggest day of upsets in Vainglory eSports. Europe’s top three seeded teams; Chimaera (1), SNOW (2), and AngryPandas (3) all dropped in the quarterfinals of the tournament. Underdogs of the round, BlackHawk, RebirthOfKingdom, RebelTigeR, and projected champions Prometheus all move on to the semifinals.
In the next matchday, Prometheus takes on BlackHawk with hopes of taking revenge for first seed and sister team Chimaera. On the opposite side of the bracket, RebelTigeR takes on RebirthOfKindom, with the aspirations of continuing their cinderella run through the qualifiers. Here are the details for each matchup.
The first set of the day is going to be R3Dgaming’s (now SK gaming) Prometheus against unexpected stars BlackHawk. It can be said that Prometheus is the obvious victor of this set, but I get the feeling that BlackHawk can’t be counted out just yet, especially after a convincing win over first seed Chimaera; where they were also considered the obvious underdog.
“I can’t really tell which teams will be able to move on to the finals. All teams in the semifinals are good and huge contenders for the first seed at the live finals. In my opinion, it is unpredictable. We shall see if Prometheus can keep the R3D [SK] pride alive and get revenge for our sister team Chimaera.”
— RoccoS, captain and player for SK Prometheus
From an analytical standpoint, I’d have to give the set over to Prometheus 2-1. They have proven to be one of the more mechanically gifted teams in Europe, with a plethora of young talent on their roster. They also have one of the most developed draft phases in the VGL and it shows. From my point of view, they have yet to lose in the draft mode mind games. On the flip side, although BlackHawk managed a 2-0 sweep on Chimaera, it had nothing to do with the draft phase. It can be said that Chimaera won both drafts in the set and that BlackHawk just managed to outplay Europe’s first seed.
Outside of draft picks and on the battlefield, Prometheus has the advantage. Every single player for this roster is in the top 25 of Europe’s Elo ladder. As for BlackHawk, some of their members barely scratch the surface of top 50. The biggest discrepancy in skill for these two rosters is in the lane. TetnoJJ is considered to be one of Europe’s top five laners and is farther ahead of BlackHawk laner HFguy in terms of achievements, tournament showings, and rank.
The next set is one that I am especially hyped for: RebirthOfKingdom vs RebelTigeR, sister team to RebelLions. Both of these teams had to break through huge competition to get to where they are now: RebirthOfKingdom against AngryPandas, the third seed in VGL EU, and RebelTigeR against SNOW, the second seed and previously projected finalist of VGL EU.
RebirthOfKingdom is built on the foundation of a previous powerhouse guild, Kings&Queens, who recently disbanded due to an unfortunate slew of players moving to other rosters, leaving the guild low in numbers. They also managed to gather up some worthy soloQ talent like that of KaiM, an up and coming lane player in Europe who’s been tearing up Europe’s Top 5 recently. Definitely a roster with a lot of potential and talent.
“I think the upcoming VGL EU semifinals is something to look forward to as we are going to watch the battle of the underdogs, seed eight BlackHawk vs seed five Prometheus and seed ten RebelTigers vs seed six RebirthOfKingdom. Being the lowest seeded team in semifinals, I hope RebelTigeR will be able to keep up the good work. I always told them ‘nobody is unbeatable no matter how high the skill tier is, no matter how high the seed is’, and they’ve proven it right by reaching the semifinals despite being seeded as tenth.”
— Ikky, captain for Team RebelTigeR
Their opponents, Cinderella.. err I mean RebelTigeR have gone through one hell of a bracket. First, they took on seventh seed MediaPixel T1, and won in a 2-0 set. Next, they went up against second seeded team SNOW, also winning 2-1. In one weekend, tenth seeded Cinderella princesses RebelTIgeR managed to pull off two upsets. Their roster is compiled of old names and legends such as jungle player Arkane08. Arkane08 regarded as Europe’s best Koshka player, was previously a member of R3Dgaming, as well as Kings&Queens. With his immense experience in competitive Vainglory and shot-calling prowess, he has been the key factor in RebelTigeR’s overwhelming success. He will also be the main factor in their upcoming set against RebirthOfKingdom.
For this set, I predict that RebelTigeR take it home 2-1. Even though they are the lower seed, they have a much stronger team dynamic than that of RebirthOfKingdom. RebirthOfKingdom is still a fresh roster and, unfortunately, can’t compare to the synergies owned by the other semi-finalists. Their games have been sloppy and have shown that their winning conditions usually rely on brute force outplays. In comparison, RebelTigeR has won every game with superior team fighting and rotations around late-game Kraken spawns, constantly baiting and disengaging battles on cooldowns.
In the head-to-head, RebelTigeR also has the advantage. Their brute force style of comps and single target damage is a direct counter to the disjointed talent owned by RebirthOfKingdom. Without superior teamwork, you can’t outplay a full team of three who are focusing all of their CC and damage. RebirthOfKingdom will take a game in this set primarily because of the inconsistency RebelTigeR have shown. When given everything, they more often than not manage to do nothing. If RebirthOfKingdom capitalizes on this tiny flaw of theirs, then they surely can pick up a game.
“I’m hoping that R3D Prometheus and RebirthOfEmpire will play against each other in the finals. Reason being that I want the old members of Kings&Queens to play in the fold together once again: TetnoJJ, Upfyr, L3oN, KillerAli44. To fulfill this hope, RebirthOfKingdom will do our best against RebelTigeR, who are also extremly worthy opponents.”
— Upfyr, captain and player for RebirthOfKingdom
With the live finals coming in December, the teams now remaining in the semi-finals are sharp to prove themselves early on and achieve the highest seed possible for the event. VGL EU has once again been an outstanding event so far and has shown what Europe is all about. Every team has shown to be a top contender, and no one can be counted out. I look forward to this weekend, as we finally crown Europe’s first seed heading into the live finals.
These games will be aired live on VGL’s Twitch channel at http://twitch.tv/vaingloryleague. Coverage starts at 19:50 CET on Saturday, November 21st. Let us know who you think will win and why!