Vainglory 5v5: How will it affect Collegiate Esports?

It’ll be some time before our resident collegiate players get a chance to battle on the Fold again, so for the meantime let’s give a quick look over all the recent news that is almost guaranteed to shake up the competitive scene! Ignoring the usual drab of patch notes for a moment (which are still fun, mind you), and the unfortunate closing of the official forums, I’d rather talk about the new 5v5 map, Sovereign’s Rise, which just might kick the Halcyon Fold to the curve in the ‘Super Cool Names’ category. Well, not really. They’re both cool, but let’s move on!

Of course Sovereign’s Rise is a big deal, not just for the fact that any teams wanting to compete on the map would have to practically double their roster pool, but also because Vainglory simply hasn’t had such an experience before. While other MOBAs have been 5v5 only since the dawn of time with the usual forgotten 3v3 map thrown in (I’m looking at YOU, Twisted Treeline), Vainglory has always made a point to be different in execution. Being a smaller game, the reverse of this trend is much more interesting: It will be incredibly exciting to watch teams adapt to not only roster additions, but the expanded map size and match duration as well.

A snippet from Vainglory's preview of Sovereign's Realm

To add to this point, I was able to talk to Richard "DarthRick" Howard, one of the guys at California State University, Long Beach, the reigning CSL champions! Cal State Long Beach’s Miners have proven themselves to be some of the best the west coast has to offer for collegiate Vainglory, so let’s see their opinion on transitioning to the new map:

Considering we have little experience with 5v5, it will be interesting on how it will shape CSL.

But the map in general is absolutely GORGEOUS. They really made the game spectacular, as it competes with PC graphics. The intuitiveness of jungle camps, minion waves, and other objectives flows incredibly well. However, establishing positions will be difficult for most people. Yes, there are three carries, a jungler, and a support (in terms of meta), but each carry has a specific role. Depending on how the jungler and support rotate and decided to build, will determine where the ADC, mage, and tank will be. Also there is a potential to have only two carries and multiple tanks and utility heroes. The variety will be incredible, and different comps will be discovered as 5v5 becomes older and the main game mode for vainglory.

I will say that 5v5 will reinforce more teamwork than individual skill. You can be the most mechanically skilled ADC on your team, but be a limiting factor if you are not able to rotate properly, have proficient map awareness, knowledge of hero power spikes and drop-offs, etc… The teams who have more cohesive awareness will outperform a team full of ignorant All-Stars.

If there is one thing to take away from Sovereign’s Rise, it’s this: The competitive scene is sure to be flipped on its head as teams expand their rosters, test out new strategies, and more. Vainglory’s future is certainly bright, and it’ll be wonderful watching both the new map and the classic Halcyon Fold evolve as time goes on.

That said, I am getting ahead of myself with Sovereign’s Rise. Being just released, it is still up in the air how well the old 5v5 formula is taken by the community. Additionally, the Halcyon Fold will of course always be the designated hotspot for most Vainglory matches in general, but I am hoping to see the new map given a proper test run in the competitive scene. With how similar the map is conceptually to other MOBAs, you can see how that concern is legitimate.

With all that said, I can’t help but feel giddy for the next season of Collegiate Vainglory! There’s a lot to look forward to, so I hope you tune in when the season comes closer! See ya!

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