In one of the most anxiously awaited matches of the VIPL, the American powerhouse, Gankstars, matches up against the undefeated Korean juggernaut, pQq. Both of these teams have impressive tournament records and experience in the Vainglory competitive scene, but certain key factors will decide this series.
The two superstars of these teams will square off in our first semifinal match, and I can’t emphasize enough how important this lane matchup will be. I’ve run some numbers so that I could show you where these different players are at certain stages of the game. Here are average stats for these competitors for their first three group stage games:
Another impressive statistic was IraqiZorro’s Tension Bow purchase time, averaging 3:15 into the game. Also, he posted higher creep score at both the 5 and 10 minute mark, despite the fact that in one of his games he played in the jungle rather than the lane.
Based on the talent levels of IraqiZorro and Druid, I expect to see bans targeted specifically at lane carries. IraqiZorro has played Ringo in two of Gankstars’ wins, and Druid has played Vox in each of pQq’s victories. The pick and ban phases of these games have the potential to steal a win for the team that does their homework and plays the situation properly. If the laners are target-banned, this would open the door for CullTheMeek’s Glaive and Rain’s Krul.
Both CullTheMeek and Rain have diverse jungle hero pools, with CullTheMeek favoring Glaive and Koshka, and Rain depending more on Krul and Taka. This is a scenario that bodes poorly for Rain. Gankstars have historically run heroes with very early power spikes (Note: remember the 3 minute Tension Bow), and Rain plays a slow-scaling hero like Krul.
To make matters worse, Krul and Taka both match up poorly against the likes of Glaive and Koshka. Rain needs a backup plan otherwise we can expect clear skies on the Fold, with very little chance for Rain.
Mauloa has shown some of the most promise of any support in the VIPL, usually helping to round out the composition of pQq. His expertise will be even more necessary against the dominant pressure that Gankstars likes to exert early.
Gabevizzle has shown that he knows how to start fights and avert aggro from his allies. This is one of the strongest abilities as a roaming hero type; the ability to distract any amount of damage from hitting your carries into hitting you. His Adagio play is easily some of the best in the VIPL, and possibly in the world. His support play becomes such a threat that it must be answered.
This being the first best-of-three series, I expect to see Gankstars play their game, picking an aggressive early-game composition and relying on their mechanic skill and Tension Bow to snatch the first game away. When pQq tries to counter with a Ringo or Glaive ban, Gankstars will have Koshka and/or Vox ready, and won’t miss a beat. If they run the triple dive composition again, pQq will wish they could get their ban back.
If pQq gets a chance to let their Vox scale, Gankstars might have a hard time closing games out. In the VIPL, pQq didn’t manage to go undefeated because of luck. They beat Invincible Armada in the group stages, all while posting impressive creep scores and KDA’s. They wanted to play against Gankstars, so perhaps they have something up their sleeve, or a special strategy planned for these games. There’s only one way to find out!
You won’t want to miss these games! Be sure to check out the live stream on OGN’s official global Twitch.tv channel. I’ll be covering the games, but I’d hate for you to miss them. This could be the Vainglory matches of the season, so be sure to tune in and see if Gankstars can force an international final!