The third weekend of the Vainglory Premier League preseason was a particularly interesting one with Update 3.2 going live on the tournament server. Many changes were coming to the Rise, but none bigger than Malene, buffs to Ghostwing, and faster minion spawn times. Malene was certain to never see much play time, as many find her hard to handle and very dangerous. She only made it past two drafts — where Slimy Salamanders seemed to think she wasn’t strong enough for a ban. While this may be true, they did drop both games in which the mid laner on Malene excelled. There were also a lot of roster issues over the third weekend, with players unable to show and unexpected subs filling in across both regions. This is bound to happen during a preseason where not much is on the line. With only two weeks of preseason left, teams must begin to finalize their plans, as season one is approaching fast. Let’s take a look at the current power rankings for NA after week three of competitive play.
1 — TSM (5-0)
TSM sits on top of the rankings and will continue to look down on the teams below. Tribe is looking toward week five already to dethrone TSM of their spot. TSM had two match ups in week three that they won handedly. TSM’s five games so far have averaged just above 15 minutes. They were relatively fast-paced games with the roster dominating the early game. Vision and Slimy Salamanders were no easy opponents, which shows how dominant Chuck and company really are.
2 — Tribe (4-0)
Tribe has been having some of the most interesting drafts so far in the VPL preseason and this weekend was no different. They drafted the ultimate survivability composition with Grace, Lyra, and Adagio all picked up. Tilt Rehab could neither stop the sustain coming from these three heroes nor find the answer to win. DNZio went on a Dragon’s Breath frenzy on Skaarf, which proved to be more of a distraction than a means to kill. Tribe will continue to look for ways to outplay TSM in week five.
3 — Nova (2-2)
Nova is our third team in the three total weeks to reach this spot in the rankings. Nova seems to be a hit-or-miss team that can play out of their minds if they are clicking on all cylinders. Delphi was back for this weekend, and you can see the synergy when all members are able to play for Nova. They played against an undefeated Slimy Salamanders on Saturday and ended up handing them their first loss after an interesting draft. With Iraqi at the helm of drafting decisions, he felt that Malene was not worth the ban and let her through. It didn’t play out as planned, though, with StartingAllOver showcasing Malene’s play making capability. This win moves Nova up two big spots. Nova’s coach praised the team after their big win.
I love it when something we worked on in scrims shows on the big stage ?
— LeftSpectrs (@LeftSpectrs) April 28, 2018
4 — Slimy Salamanders (3-2)
Coming into the weekend on a three game winning streak, Slimy was looking to extend their prowess. Having two tough matches scheduled against Nova and TSM, the team would have to be on their A game. As already mentioned above, Iraqi let Malene get picked by Nova in game one. After that did not turn out as planned, many thought that they would change their strategy against the stronger TSM. We were all wrong as they let Chuck pick up Malene. Iraqi took to Twitter to defend his decision behind letting Malene go unbanned.
Watching back the VOD of our game… Lmao Malene is so over hyped right now
Don't get me wrong; she's definitely strong. 100% top 3 mid laners, but it's funny watching plays happen that have very little to do with Malene herself yet still everyone will scream MALENE BROKENN!!@#$
— IraqiZorro (@ElDonIraqiZorro) April 29, 2018
He believes that Malene is undoubtedly a strong mid laner and a top three pick. Would they have won either of their games if they took the draft a different route? Probably not. Malene does have an early game advantage and can set up for some big plays. Also, if you look at Malene’s escapability, you can see that ShadedTalent never has to worry about keeping Chuck safe and could instead focus on two other squishy crystal heroes — Hami’s Lorelai and CozZ’s Samuel. Nonetheless, Slimy had other issues with Status being gone and swapping player roles. Their rough weekend drops them one spot.
5 — Vision (2-3)
Vision is another team that has struggled on and off this preseason. Vision came into the weekend against a strong TSM and a struggling Rogue. On Saturday, Vision had some roster issues as coach Dezey had to step in last minute. You already have a tough match against TSM, and now you have to throw your coach in the mix to avoid a forfeit? Tough break for Vision. They bounced back big on Sunday when PvPWarrior showed up to play on Vox. This team is starting to look rather interesting as PvPWarrior, LightningT, and NeonFire are forming some synergy. They move up one spot for now.
6 — Rogue (2-3)
Having a decent win over Hammers on Saturday, it appears that Rogue took a step back against Vision on Sunday. They are still having issues with their mid laner, eVoL, as he makes his transition to be a crucial part of the team. There could be a lot happening behind the scenes besides mechanical issues; maybe some shot calling issues if eVoL isn’t as comfortable making those outside of the captain position. Their main captain was also gone with sub martohhh stepping in to fill. The loss against Vision hurts them for sure. Either way, Rogue has time to figure things out with two weeks left in preseason. Their one win over Hammers wasn’t enough to keep them as high as fourth, so they drop two spots to sixth.
7 — Tilt Rehab (0-4)
Having one of the most difficult schedules coming into preseason, Tilt is still looking for that first win. After talking with Pajama and AllyPeterson on the Time For Rolling Esports Podcast, it was revealed that their previous mid laner, Jazville, will no longer be part of the team as he has some life responsibilities to attend to. It hasn’t been the easiest transition, and the team looks toward sub Cenoo to fill his role. A prominent swap like this can be hard to execute, especially if you have already played the current top four teams. They fall this weekend to Tribe as they couldn’t manage their interesting draft picks. With their last three matches against weaker teams, Tilt has a strong opportunity to win out and finish 3-4.
8 — Hammers (0-4)
Hammers continues to sit at the bottom of the rankings as they struggle throughout the preseason. In the third weekend, the team was joined by two new players, BenZo and BlueStacks. It seems that Hammers is trying to find the right fit for their team before VPL season one starts up. They weren’t the only team with player issues the past weekend, and they continue to strive for their first victory.
Week four will continue the trends of the new meta. TSM and Tribe are snug at the top of the rankings, and must begin preparing to battle each other out again in week five. Tilt Rehab has an opportunity to sweep the standings now that they’ve played the tougher rosters. All NA action starts Saturday, May 5th at 12PM PDT on the official Twitch channel!