The most intriguing storyline for Vainglory this season has been the added depth in competition. Previously, it seemed like Collegiate Vainglory was just an easy stroll for American River College, while the growing rivalry between University of Florida and University of California, Merced simmered underneath. This season, new blood has reinvigorated some of the competitiveness that had been lost, but there is still the unfortunate reality that many of these teams are struggling to keep their teams together outside of the Halcyon Fold, and it’s threatening their goals of championship glory.
“Our roster has had problems with [who] fits what position the best… and so we [have] been having some difficult games not necessarily with the opponents, but finding ourselves,” stated UC Merced’s Cruz4cross. “This resulted in our only losses coming from forfeits due to disagreement on positions.”
UC Merced, last season’s runner-up, is not the only school giving up games by forfeit this season, and it doesn’t appear to be a problem that is leaving any time soon.
“Although it is exciting to make it to the playoffs, it may be difficult for my teammates and I to continue playing in the matches due to us having to do things during the summer and affecting our match-up times,” said California State University, Fullerton’s Super64. “But, we are trying [to] figure out how to manage things to be able to participate in the matches.”
It’s an issue that plagues collegiate esports across a number of games and platforms. College is full of commitments and lifestyle changes, and not all of them can be juggled with proficiency. But, even with these struggles and the uncertainty of every matchup, there has been a lot of praise heaped upon competitors this season. Much of that has fueled the competitive spirit in Collegiate Vainglory teams.
There’s a lot respect between the competitors this season, with a lot of rivalries being deepened, drawing more and more of a healthy intrigue to standings and matchups. But, as with last season, there’s still a shadow looming over the upcoming playoff bracket.
“In [round eight], we play against LiberationX. What does everyone expect?” asked South Pacific University’s Sophie808. “LiberationX are professional Vainglory players. At some point, they were paid to play for organizations that competed in some of the top Vainglory tournaments. Even now, they are under Tribe Gaming and getting paid to play Vainglory. However, despite all of that, all we can do is try our best.”
LiberationX is still the giant, and there are certainly some out there that wish the forfeit plague strikes this group of professional players. However, there are also those that have looked up at the kings from last season and wanted nothing more than to test their might against them. The fact is that LiberationX isn’t ranked number one in their group; that spot is split between University of Utah and University of Toronto. While it possibly appears a moot observation to many, LiberationX being absent from the top spot is, at least visually, putting the spotlight on some new competition.
Group 2 is an animal house of all the top dogs taking games off one another while Group 1 is ruled by newcomers and a group of pros lingering in the middle. The goal for each of these teams is the path laid before them in the playoff bracket, where dedication to team and schedule is just as important as gameplay skill. When it comes to playoffs and single elimination: all bets are off.