Vainglory will soon complete its winter competitive season, as the top eight teams in North America fly to California for the Winter Season 2016 Championship. They will be competing for a prize pool of $25,000 during a three-day event in March, broadcast live from the Red Bull eSports studio. If this plays out similar to the Autumn Season Championship, there are bound to be upsets, dark horses, and more. However, the next couple of weeks will be critical - only three teams have earned a guaranteed spot in the top eight, leaving five spots still up for grabs.
A Battle of Titans
This grand finale to the Winter Season has been two months in the making as 64 of the most talented teams have been competing in the Vaingloryleague (VGL) over the course of eight weeks and two qualifiers. Here are three teams you should keep your eye on.
Liberation X entered the Autumn Season as an unknown team with several highly skilled players. After securing a spot in the autumn championships, they surprised audiences by earning the title of best team in North America. However, despite entering the Winter Season as first seed, they were a victim of one of the biggest upsets Vainglory has seen to date, getting eliminated early by a much lower seed. Entering this second qualifier with no points, Lib X is hungry and must earn at least fourth place if they wish to earn a chance to participate in the North American Championships in March. Suffice it to say, there will be some tense moments for these former champions as the quarterfinals kickoff this weekend and they fight for survival.
Probably the most renowned team in North America right now is GankStars Sirius. Their fame began when they became the champions of the first-ever tournament of the Vainglory International Premier League (VIPL), an international aggregation of the top teams from around the globe that is hosted by OGN in Korea. Since then, they took second place in the most recent VIPL and currently lead the North American winter season, having taken first place in the first qualifier and securing a spot in the upcoming winter championship.
Nipping at the heels of GankStars Sirius is another team of Vainglory pros, known as Alliance. They entered the second VIPL as rookies and managed to become world champions, concluding in an epic match against reigning champions, Gankstars. Most recently, in the finals of the Winter Season qualifier, they faced off in a grudge match against GankStars and lost in a 3-0 sweep in a best-of-five, leaving us wondering who is truly the better team. There is a high likelihood we can look forward to seeing these teams play against each other again by the end of this qualifier and again in the winter championships.
Even though we’re down to only 16 teams in this final qualifier of the season, there’s still plenty of room for surprises. Any team who takes one of the top three spots will be guaranteed a spot in the Winter Championships, with the first place team earning the honor of being the first seed.
Announcing the Championship Venue
The Winter Season Championship live event will take place at the Red Bull eSports Studio in Santa Monica. Heini Vesander, Marketing & Communications Director at Super Evil Megacorp (SEMC) had this to say:
We’re very excited to organize our Winter Season Championship live event to the Red Bull eSports Studio in Santa Monica, California. We’re expecting three great days of thrilling matches between the best teams in North America. We cannot wait to meet with our community at the Championships! We hope as many players as possible attend in-person at Red Bull’s state of the art studio.Heini Vesander
This Saturday will be the round of 16 for the second qualifier, with the quarterfinals following on Sunday. All matches will be streamed on Twitch, starting at 1pm PST both days. The qualifier will come to an end the following weekend, with the semifinals and finals being streamed at the same times and location.
The finals will be held on March 11-13th - for those who wish to attend, tickets to the live show are available here.
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