For the top eight teams competing in North America, it all comes down to this. The NA Autumn Live Finals begin on Friday, Dec. 4 at 3PM PST to determine the region’s champion.
This is the culmination of months of VGL qualification play across two massive tournaments to determine which teams made the cut and how they’d be seeded. The field features juggernaut newer teams such as VON and LiberationX alongside longtime favorites like GankStars and Nemesis. Let’s take a look at each contender …
MEET THE TEAMS
Eight teams qualified to compete live on the grand stage at the Santa Ana eSports Arena. Each of the eight teams is listed below, sorted by its seed for this tournament.
(1) VON Menace
The Cinderella story of the first VGL qualifier became the top seed and team to beat in the second qualifier. The only problem: No one could beat them. In fact, VON Menace only dropped a single match across the entirety of the 64-team bracket tournament, securing the No. 1 seed at the Autumn Live Finals. This team of Chinese players living in America go into the Autumn Finals as the clear favorites, but there are multiple teams capable of knocking them off if they can find a way to match VON’s level of play.
- Autumn Finals roster: LoveIce4ever, VONC (captain), PhoenIx
- One2Watch4: VONC
- They win if … they continue to flow effortlessly around the map as a three-man unit, seemingly always one step (and one level) ahead of the enemy and with incredible postioning.
- They lose if … opponents can hold map vision, preventing three-man rotations by always gaining the upper hand in jungle clearing. Otherwise, they’ll only lose if they run into a comp or tactic that breaks them out of their perfected hive mind and causes confusion or disorganization. This has only happened once (against Ardent Alliance in the Preseason Qualifier finals), and VON instantly learned from that mistake.
Nemesis defeated arch-rival GankStars 2-1 in both VGL qualifiers, intensifying an already fierce longtime feud. Despite falling to VON, Nemesis Hydra overcame multiple challenges and adversity throughout the tourneys and distinguished itself as a dangerous team that performs under pressure. But … Nemesis star jungler iLoveJoseph is not traveling to the live event in California. This will allow Koedz and hardek (both phenomenal players) to return to their natural positions in lane and jungle, respectively, but they lose the punch of one of the region’s nastiest junglers. On the flipside, Hydra’s hero pool is actually much larger with their present player lineup.
- Autumn Finals roster: Koedz, hardek (captain), LostBoyToph, Stussy
- One2Watch: hardek
- They win if … their jungle pair is able to make plays and lessen the pressure from lane.
- They lose if … they make early-game mistakes and their early aggression fails to pay off. Since they usually pick early jungle comps, they cannot make any mistakes in the first few levels. Losing jungle pressure and vision will take a toll on the whole team.
GankStars is one of the most competitive Vainglory organizations in the world and is now paying all their players with pro contracts. GankStars Sirius won the most recent VIPL, and GankStars Vega is looking to follow in their footsteps by overcoming the top teams on the grand stage and besting their qualifier performances. GankStars Vega is the only team in the field with a prior history of live tournament play, as this exact roster played as Team Fusion in the Vainglory World Invitational on OGN television in Korea.
- Autumn Finals roster: FooJee (captain), Oldskool, R3cKeD
- One2Watch: Oldskool
- They win if … they are able to stay focused and perform to their ability. Gaining an upper hand in drafts and making smart plays throughout (while minimizing mistakes) will be critical.
- They lose if … their team-wide rotations are too predictable, giving preemptive teams the one-step head start to gain better outcomes.
LiberationX is a matchup nightmare because of the individual talent of Statusbaked. As the No. 1 player on the NA leaderboard, his personal ability is something only a dedicated, cohesive team can contain. LBX ran over all comers in the Autumn VGL qualifier until slamming into immovable object VON. With teammates also holding top spots on the leaderboards, LiberationX will be well equipped to exact vengeance on Menace and the rest of the field.
- Autumn Finals roster: DawnEclypse, Chicken123, Statusbaked (captain), martohhh, exhail, Ttigers*
- One2Watch: Statusbaked
- They win if … they can draft a comp that complements their strengths: either early lane or early jungle. By focusing and making smart plays, these guys can definitely take it all the way.
- They lose if … over-aggression is the evil temptation for these players. Falling into this trap is likely the only way they can lose, as many teams are smart enough to capitalize from such mistakes.
- Special win condition: ttigers, arguably the best laner in North America, was unable to attend this tourney from the outset because he has to take the SATs on Saturday! It’s a tough break for him, but there’s a chance that if LiberationX makes it to the semifinals that he could hop on a flight and make it just in time. Should ttigers swoop in for the final few matches, it will be much more than an emotional lift. This is a player capable of dominating lane every game and tilting matches by himself.
Frame Perfect is one of only two teams to make it to the Autumn Finals despite not being seeded in the top 8 of the qualifiers. Frame Perfect’s experience and leadership proved to be a potent combination, punching their ticket for California. Frame Perfect’s success is inexorably linked to the performance of team captain (and fake hero enthusiast) corpus.
- Autumn Finals roster: Corpus (captain), AI3X, ITI, skipper587
- One2Watch: Corpus
- They win if … they orchestrate a draft comp that suits their passive play. They can continue to achieve by preventing jungle aggression and capitalizing on any mistakes.
- They lose if … the enemy team breaks through its defenses and pressures the jungle. Forcing Frame Perfect to lose gold stability and play from behind will be its ultimate test.
Ardent Axiom boasts one of the most cerebral teams in the field, which is generally an Ardent hallmark. Axiom was a controversial 4-seed in the Autumn VGL Qualifier but silenced those critics by knocking off a very dangerous Chubby Bunnies team 2-1. Ultimately, Axiom was steamrolled by LiberationX, joining a large group of victims.
- Autumn Finals roster: Jajajack, wailmer (captain), Prayse
- They win if … they pick a strong jungle comp, which will help them hold the pace of the game by playing to their strengths.
- They lose if … the enemy applies early-game pressure and successfully snowballs the match. Playing from behind will prove a challenging test against all these top teams.
Vertigo Black had the spectators speechless when they stole the first game of their series against VON Menace in the VGL quarterfinals. BestChuckNA’s scaling on Skaarf was ludicrous as Vertigo Black handed VON their only loss of the tournament. Expect big performances out of BestChuckNA as Vertigo Black fights its way through from the 7th seed.
- Autumn Finals roster: xBEOWULF11x (captain), JoshOnVertigo, RiiKzZ, BestChuckNA
- One2Watch: BestChuckNA
- They win if … they continue to play with that same synergy displayed during qualifiers. While their positioning is excellent, it’s now time to see individual mechanics soar.
- They lose if … they are not able to match the rotation times of their opponents. Getting out-manned will cause devastating results.
The only organization sending two teams to the Autumn Live Finals, Nemesis Titan will need to rise above the in-house competition and set their sights on the larger stage where higher-seeded teams await. They conquered Team Snipe in the VGL, but can they beat the best of the best at the Autumn Live Finals?
- Autumn Finals roster: LovingEman (captain), Inane, DragonDagger
- They win if … they gain the upper hand during picks & bans since they have a large hero pool.
- They lose if … they play too passively while not using their comps scaling to their advantage.
The tournament follows a double elimination format. Each round of matches is a best-of-three series. The final will be best-of-five.
3:00 PM PST – VON Menace vs Nemesis Titan
4:15 PM PST – Nemesis Hydra vs Vertigo Black
5:30 PM PST – GankStars Vega vs Ardent Axiom
6:45 PM PST – LiberationX vs Frame Perfect
10:00 AM PST – Loser of Game 1 vs Loser of Game 3
11:15 AM PST – Loser of Game 2 vs Loser of Game 4
12:30 PM PST – Winner of Game 1 vs Winner of Game 3
1:45 PM PST – Winner of Game 2 vs Winner of Game 4
3:00 PM PST – Winner of Game 5 vs Loser of Game 7
4:15 PM PST – Winner of Game 6 vs Loser of Game 8
10:00 AM PST – Semifinal #1: Winner of Game 7 vs Winner of Game 10
11:15 AM PST – Semifinal #2: Winner of Game 8 vs Winner of Game 9
12:30 PM PST – Third Place Decider Match
1:45 PM PST – Finals (best-of-five)
Watch the NA Autumn Live Finals on twitch.tv/vainglory starting this Friday at 3PM PST!