Esports VainGlory International Premier League

VIPL Player Spotlight: druid (Invincible Armada)

The Vainglory International Premier League (VIPL) is where we witness international powerhouses vying for supremacy before throngs of cheering viewers. Yesterday, both new faces and old kicked off the second official VIPL in a spectacular series of three games. Among these, however, one player absolutely shone among his competitors for a perfect demonstration of gameplay mechanics and overall mastery of the lane. druid (Invincible Armada, Korea) has set a high standard that will prove difficult for his rivals to beat.

A little bit of background before we delve in: Vainglory, unlike a traditional PC MOBA, is different due to its unique 3v3 structure. Consequently, individual skill plays a much larger role since fewer players make up a team. And because the intellectual and technical burden that the game places on individual players is so great, high-level competitive play is simultaneously evolving at an ever-quickening pace to demand players who have both incredible mechanics and strategic mastery, but can still keep in sync with their teammates.

Enter druid.

A former laner for pQq, druid impressed viewers everywhere in the previous VIPL with his clearly above-average performance. He left VIPL with one of the highest average KDA ratios among his competition and outperformed almost every opposing laner he faced, including Invincible Armada’s former laner, Sangho. Unfortunately, his success with pQq was cut short when his team severely underestimated the strength of Gankstars Sirius’ CulltheMeek’s Glaive. Despite a crushing initial victory, pQq was beaten soundly by Gankstars and left with a third place finish as fans eagerly waited to see if they would make a comeback in the next season. However, in an unpredicted turn of events, druid left pQq to replace Sangho as Invincible Armada’s competitive laner.

Now, fans everyone looked to see if druid, with his new rivals-turned-teammates, would be able to push Invincible Armada to victory in their debut match of the second VIPL. The answer? A resounding yes. More specifically, in yesterday’s match against Infamous, there were two areas where druid excelled: farming and playmaking.


Although Invincible Armada as a whole performed phenomenally, druid showed us a completely perfect game on his part. One aspect of this remarkable perfection was his CS, or creep score. CS is a numerical representation of the number of NPC creeps you have farmed at any given point in a match; this score is especially important for laners, who must focus on maximizing the amount of creeps they kill and, by extension, the amount of gold they acquire in the lane (which yields more gold per minute than the jungle does).

If one laner is significantly more farmed – or “fed” – than the opposing laner, it equates to faster purchases of important damage-dealing items and faster (not to mention stronger) power spikes for said player. This is an important advantage to have in any competitive match; the team that moves quicker, secures power spikes first and capitalizes on those power spikes is essentially guaranteed a controlling stake in the game.

druid CS performance

Typically, a high CS standard used for laners is the 10-to-1 rule, or 10 CS per minute. If that 10-to-1 ratio is met, the laner in question proves they are adept at last-hitting and knowing when and how to push the lane. Most laners, even those in the VIPL, have trouble meeting this demanding requirement. It’s not difficult to see why; managing rotations between the lane and jungle and frequent participation in teamfights make sticking to a 10:1 CS rather hard. Even Wands (Hunters, China), who also impressed us with his spectacular Celeste plays in the second game of the day, had only 105 CS by the end of the 17-minute game. According to the high 10:1 benchmark, he should have had, instead, between 150 to 170 CS. Consequently, laners who can churn out 10 CS per minute are few and far between in the current competitive scene.

It isn’t a stretch, therefore, to regard druid’s 164 CS in a short 13-minute game as absolutely outstanding. Only one other laner so far (LiberationX’s ttigers) has a habit of overachieving in terms of CS; druid’s insane performance in terms of farming distinguishes himself as a great laner. This, however, was not just a result of sitting in the lane; on the contrary, it was the result of calculated expertise.

In the early game, druid smartly refrained from using continuous auto-attacks and Vox’s Resonance to clear waves of creeps quickly (as is the habit of many Vox players). Instead, he waited until the creeps got low enough in health for him to last-hit with a basic attack. At the same time, he made sure to damage the creeps just enough so that the entire wave wouldn’t always be pushed to his turret, which could have caused him to lose creeps to turret aggression.

This tactic worked beautifully, especially after Infamous made the decision to switch Skye’s position in lane with Rona in order to counter Wine’s aggressive Koshka in the jungle. druid made sure that the lane stayed on his side for very long periods of time while he carefully and efficiently farmed, stalling out the opposing laner. Consequently, Rona was incredibly underfarmed even after she moved into the lane; druid made sure to keep the lane on his side, leaving Rona with the difficult choice of either staying in lane to (one day) farm her waves while neglecting her allies in the jungle or rotating down to fight and completely yielding the lane to druid. As fights were won and druid’s teammates won the luxury of sitting in lane after clearing the enemy jungle, druid switched to an aggressive farming style by sitting very close to the enemy turret and riding on the looming presence of his team’s victories to shove the lane towards Infamous’ turret. By working in this way, he was able to achieve the remarkable 164 CS that played such an important role in deciding the game in favor of Invincible Armada.


A sky-high CS was not the only thing that propelled druid to victory. What was more amazing was his incredible ability to make plays with Vox by both initiating fights when his team wasn’t sure if they should commit to an engagement and ending fights that his teammates started decisively.

druid double kill-min

A great example of this play-making ability was when druid picked up a stunning double-kill at 6:30 in a 2v3. Infamous was trying to force a fight to turn things around in an aggressive decision that placed all three members of their team in the lane. Even though Wine wasn’t even there to assist, druid handled the situation with incredible observation and decisiveness. After positioning himself away from Infamous, he capitalized on their poor positioning by punishing them with his bouncing autoattacks. This beautiful play was only possible because he completely understood the amount of damage he could do to them as Vox and positioned himself perfectly for the follow-up aggression.

Druid bait-min

druid showcased his mastery as Vox in another fight at 11:20. Here, he began by poking Phinn hard with his autoattacks and then suddenly repositioning himself with Sonic Zoom. However, the genius behind this play that it drew out Skye and Rona for a few seconds- who were hiding behind their turret – for Wine to follow up with a devastating Koshka ultimate; by “pretending” to overextend in enemy turret range and dashing away at the last minute while taking little damage, druid baited the enemy carries out from the safety of their turret for his team to make the aggressive play they were itching for. He then followed up by using his ultimate on Skye and dashing back in once Wine had her locked down, cleaning up the teamfight with ease. In this way, druid consistently demonstrated his incredible play-making abilities as a laner by positioning himself for success, capitalizing on the mistakes of his opponents, and securing important fights for his team.

Overall, druid has firmly established himself to be one of the strongest laners in this VIPL with Invincible Armada’s spotless debut match. While the man may have been modest about his performance in the post-game interview, his gameplay tells a completely different story. Looking at both CS and mechanical ability, druid is clearly a laner that opponents facing Invincible Armada will have to watch out for. If he is telling the truth when he says that he hasn’t showcased his A-game yet, then I recommend the titans of this season’s VIPL to prepare for the terrifying cards that druid has yet to reveal.


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