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VGL NA Upset: Previous Season Champion Gets Swept by 8th Seed

In a shocking turn of events this weekend, Team Smurf Vainguard, the 8th seed in the Adagio Bracket, beat Liberation X, the NA Autumn Live Finals champions and first seed in the bracket, in a 2-0 sweep. Famegloryapp collected the data from games’ screenshots and have it uploaded here.

There are two questions on everyone’s minds after this enormous upset: who is Vainguard, and how did they beat Lib X? The fact that the games weren’t streamed has only made everyone more curious. We hope this article will answer these questions.

What Happened?

The draft has a huge impact in every game, and these games were absolutely no exception. Team Smurf Vainguard’s MrTouchnGo gives us the rundown:

We knew that Liberation X loved playing aggressively and snowballing into a comfortable lead. Statusbaked was known for his monstrous Skye and Glaive, as well as an aggressive, extremely dive-heavy playstyle. To counter this, we focused in the draft on heroes that are strong mid- and late-game and focused on having hard CC to counter turret dives.

In the first game, Vainguard had first pick and ban, so they banned Skye away from Statusbaked (Lib X jungler), with a Kestrel ban from Liberation X in response. Vainguard picked Blackfeather; Lib X drafted Ardan and Vox. Vainguard predicted a Glaive from Statusbaked, so they finished their draft by choosing Celeste and Catherine, giving them two stuns to handle the dives from Statusbaked’s Glaive as well as a powerful mid- and late-game. Drafting Celeste away from Exhail (Lib X laner), for whom the mage is a comfort pick, was also a huge bonus. Lib X, as predicted, picked Glaive.

The first game started off in a less than stellar manner for Vainguard, with Lib X in the lead with excellent mechanical play and aggression. However, as anticipated, Lib X’s Statusbaked dove very aggressively, allowing Team Smurf Vainguard to get some gold back fairly easily by chainstunning him repeatedly for massive gold bounties. This allowed an enormous comeback, changing the momentum of the game as Blackfeather picked up the gold and items necessary to start dominating the Fold. Once Team Smurf started winning teamfights, they didn’t let up, shattering the Vain after a fairly long 23-minute game. We asked Josh1213 (Vainguard jungler) how he felt about the rocky start:

Even though we were behind, our confidence never dropped. After our first ace, we knew that we could take them on again and come out on top with our late-game comp. 

As was customary, Liberation X got the first ban and pick in the second game. After a strong Blackfeather performance from Josh1213, they seemed to not want to deal with the smooth-talking fencer, and decided to ban Blackfeather. Team Smurf Vainguard banned Skye once again and predicted that Liberation X would grab Kestrel, who is widely seen as the strongest early-game hero in 1.13. After the prediction came true, Team Smurf Vainguard knew that if available, Exhail would likely choose Celeste, giving Liberation X a double squishy comp. In order to counter this, they chose Glaive and Catherine, with a CP Joule waiting as a last pick. Once again, the predictions came through, and it was clear that Liberation X was completely thrown off by the Joule choice.

Not knowing how to handle the surprising team comp that Team Smurf Vainguard came out with and still taken aback from their loss in a game that was supposed to be an easy win, Liberation X was rolled over in the second game. Team Smurf smartly avoided early engagements against the extremely powerful Kestrel pick, then started fighting once they were confident enough in their item pickups and levels to come out on top. Every engage was a hard, full-on engage with Blast Tremors, Afterburns, and enormous Big Red Buttons to completely annihilate the enemy team. Jajajack (Vainguard laner) explains where the idea for CP Joule came from:

I was shown CP Joule one day as a counter against squishy heroes like Kestrel and Celeste, and it was the unpredictable pick that we needed to pull off a win.

Of course, ttigers, one of the world’s best laners, was noticeably absent from both games. This undoubtedly gave Team Smurf Vainguard a small confidence boost and changed how Lib X approached the game. We asked Cynical7 (Vainguard roam) how he felt when he learned ttigers wasn’t playing, and he responded with:

We were discussing as a team how we were going to draft before the series. ttigers‘ absence simplified our draft strategy by helping us focus more on drafting Statusbaked into less of a comfort pick.

Clearly, that strategy worked in their favor. We’re excited to see where Team Smurf Vainguard goes in the future after this huge upset!

Who is Vainguard?

Vainguard is one of Team Smurf’s competitive teams. Team Smurf is a guild in North America that started off on the /r/vainglorygame subreddit as a casual group of players who just wanted to play and have fun. Since then, it has expanded immensely, picking up fantastic players as well as seeing huge improvement in longtime guild members. If you’re interested in applying or finding out more, you can take a look at the guild website.

The current roster for Vainguard is Cynical7, Jajajack, Josh1213, MrTouchnGo, TacoBoy, and WSBowman. Some of these names may be familiar – Jajajack played in the NA Autumn Live Finals under Ardent Axiom, and MrTouchnGo writes for Broken Myth. We’ve asked the players to spout out a quick blurb at us and tell us what they’re all about.


I started playing Vainglory in December of 2014 with Vainglory being my first MOBA. I joined Team Smurf in May of 2015 and wasn’t too competitive when I first joined. As I played the game more I got more and more into the competitive side of things and was asked to help lead the competitive squad alongside Jajajack. I play all the roles, but mostly Roam. I prefer Cath and Ardan but I am comfortable with Adagio and Fortress as well.


I’ve been playing for a while now, but I’ve always been pretty meh until recently I had a reasonably successful season and got to play in the NA Live Finals with Ardent Axiom in Santa Ana. Although we lost our games, I learned a lot about the mathy side of Vainglory from Wailmer and looking at the game from that point of view has greatly helped me improve.

Against LibX, there was no question that we were outskilled by them (with or without ttigers) not to mention that we’ve hardly played together as a team lately because of conflicting schedules. Because of this, we had to play a game that took advantage of gold bounties and then play an unexpected pick in the other game to have a chance at winning. Our team gets along and jokes with each other constantly, and the positive environment that we maintain undoubtedly has a positive effect on our games.


I first started playing Vainglory in February of 2015. It was my first ever experience playing a MOBA and I instantly fell in love.  That same month I got into a match with Tsar_Maple (Leader of Team Smurf) and MrTouchnGo.  After the match they complimented me on my play and invited me into the guild. After a period of not being super involved, I started dedicating much more time to the game and got an opportunity to join the competitive scene, and took the opportunity instantly! My preferred position is jungle and my favorite heroes are Rona and Glaive.

Getting the opportunity to play the Autumn season VGL champions was a great privilege and experience.  I think the fact that we won shocked most, including me. We will continue to work our butts off the rest of the tourney and hope to have the support of the community behind us on this journey!

Fun Fact: In the round of 64, Team Smurf Vainguard vs. Wicked Kemosabe, Josh1213 did not die a single time.


As a first-time MOBA player, I discovered Vainglory in December of 2014 and fell instantly in love. I had no clue what I was doing when I started, but since then, I’ve come a long way! I’m extremely active on the Vainglory subreddit and I co-founded Team Smurf with fellow Redditor Tsar_Maple on February 22, 2015 and I’ve been a co-leader here since. I can play any position, but generally prefer lane. I love playing Petal (RIP) and Vox, but I also enjoy playing new heroes as they come out. In case you didn’t know, I’m a writer for Broken Myth! You can check out my articles here!

Although I didn’t play against Lib X, I was listening to the team talk on Discord, and the energy and hype was unbelievable. It was also a very fun experience playing against Wicked Kemosabe on the first day.


I first started playing Vainglory in December, 2014 and as this was my first MOBA, I only seemed to be able to play Taka.  Later, in the spring of 2015, I joined Team Smurf as a casual player.  Eventually, I managed to work my way into our competitive program and am very proud to be a part of Team Smurf Vainguard.  Currently, my preferred position is in the lane and my favorite heroes are Skye, Kestrel, and Blackfeather. I was a junior olympic champion in an obscure sport that begins with the letter ‘s.’

Our victory over the VGL Autumn Season champions was certainly a surprise to most, I think.  Having said that, Jajajack, Josh1213, and Cynical7 are all extremely talented and experienced players with large hero pools and very savvy playstyles.  I think that that all six of us have fantastic synergy together and we hope to go far in this VGL.

TacoBoy was not available to comment in time for this article to be published.

Here’s a complete listing of the current VGL NA standings.

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