Esports VainGlory International Premier League

[VIPL2] Wild Card Round Preview: The Fight for Semifinals

All three of the teams entering the wild card round have earned second place in their respective groups and are now hungry for a second chance to get into the semifinals. The first place teams from each group confidently secured a spot in the semifinals with three wins a piece and no losses. The question remains: which of the second place teams in this wild card round will prove worthy to enter the semifinals against one of three undefeated titans?

WILD (2-1, Group A)

As returning veterans of the previous VIPL, Korea’s WILD managed to earn a spot in this wild card round after winning a 28-minute match against their Korean rivals, PHOBIA. Conversely, they were also beaten soundly (in ~15 minutes) by Group A frontrunner, GankStars. To be fair though, GankStars is the #1 seed coming into this tournament, so it was probably the toughest match WILD (or any other team) could possibly face.

Draft pick history:

  • KnightRay (Lane): Ringo, Skaarf (x2)
  • Zeratul (Jungle): Adagio, Celeste, Petal
  • MonG (Roam): Ardan, Catherine (x2)

Overall, WILD has proven to leverage a variety of heroes, particularly in the jungle. KnightRay has shown some favoritism towards Skaarf, but this is a detail we knew before the season started.

Hunters (2-1, Group B)

China’s Hunters are also returning VIPL veterans and they’ve proven to be even better than before. Entering into this season, they were placed into Group B, affectionately coined the “Group of Death” due to the other powerhouses they had to compete with to stay in the running. In the end, it came down to a single game between Hunters and Ardent to decide who would secure a guaranteed spot in the semifinals and who would be entering the wild card round.
Draft pick history:
  • Wands (Lane): Celeste (x2), Skye,
  • Sudons (Jungle): Glaive, Koshka, Petal
  • QUEEN (Roam): Ardan (x2), Fortress

Surprisingly, we’ve seen a lot of double CP (crystal power) team compositions this season and Hunters has been one of the more successful teams with this strategy. With the exception of the match against Ardent, Hunters has run exclusively with CP carry builds. In particular, it seems that if Queen can get an early draft pick for Ardan, Wands will run with Celeste. However, when Ardan isn’t available to help with repositioning and protecting Celeste, Wands would rather go with the innate mobility and repositioning of Skye instead.

WEV (2-1, Group C)

As a second Korean team in the wild card round, WEV has proven to be somewhat of a dark horse; there is very little information available on them prior to the current VIPL season. They’ve since earned a spot in the wild card round and even gave the Group C frontrunner, Invincible Armada, some serious competition that spanned a lengthy 30-minute game.

Draft pick history:

  • Liege (Lane): Ringo (x2), Skaarf
  • Mango (Jungle): Celeste, Koshka, Skye
  • Puhet (Roam): Ardan (x2), Adagio

Coming into this season, we knew that Ringo was a favorite of Liege, so not much of a surprise there. Conversely, it’s notable that WEV consistently tries to make sure Mango gets first pick. There’s been too few games to form a conclusion on this, but this could mean anything from feeling Mango is their best carry to Liege preferring last pick so that he can counter his laning opponent.

Thoughts and Predictions

In general, I feel Hunters is probably the strongest contender in the lineup; however, I’ve noticed a trend where they often make a significant strategic mistake in each game, so my confidence is a little weak at the moment. I’m also still treating WEV as a potential secret weapon in this tournament and expecting they’re going to give Hunters some solid competition. Lastly, while I feel WILD is probably the weaker of the three, they’ve had over a week to make some preparations and I’d really like to see them give the other two teams a good fight.

Match 1: WILD vs. Hunters 

The win will go to Hunters

Match 2: WILD vs. WEV

The win will go to WEV

Match 3: Hunters vs. WEV

This could go either way, but I’m leaning ever so slightly towards the dark horse, WEV.

Don’t miss these significant matches! They will be streamed on the OGN Global Twitch channel on December 31 at 2am PST  (11am CET; 7pm KST). If you’re not able to watch the matches live, you can always watch them on OGN’s past broadcasts page. Enjoy!


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