There is a weird thing in eSports currently, where after big tournaments the major teams change a lot of their players. Recently the Dota 2 International 6 was held with a giant prize pool of over 22 million dollars. It was the biggest pool in eSports history. Right after, just like what has happened in the past, the teams started mass removing players from their teams. The most popular North American team, Evil Genius, won the International 5 just last year. In the past weeks since the International they have removed all of their players in what would seem as an effort to rebuild. People ask why they would want to rebuild after taking home the third place in the International 6. Other teams like TNC and Team Liquid have done the same by removing many of their players too.
The mass exodus these teams do is a common trend in eSports. This has been seen a few times within the Vainglory scene, mainly because their aren’t too many big teams around. This past season we saw Team Phoenix pull of some moves that definitely made waves within the community. It wasn’t that they got rid of a ton of players, but added some big names to their rosters. Grabbing players like long time streamer Xenotek, long-time competitive roamer R3cked, and getting CullTheMeek to join after he had just won the big world battle against Team Secret with his old team TSM. Add in e36 and StatusBaked who once belonged to original Live Finals winning Team Liberation. Along with StartingAllOver and OldSkool who have been with Team Phoenix for a while and you have some amazing teams. All of these announcements happened in the span of what seemed like a few days and we, the community, were excited to see what they were going to produce.
For these reasons I was really excited to catch up with the Team Phoenix players and see how they were acclimating to the changes. The first team I will cover is Phoenix Reborn. Reborn is the newer of the two teams which consists of Xenotek (Jungler), R3cked (Roam), and StartingAllOver (Laner). This team, according to Xenotek, was only able to practice together for a couple weeks before the Live Finals. Xenotek is probably the most iconic of all the players they have on the Team Phoenix roster and in most of Vainglory. He related to me a bit about his story of becoming a pro player.
“Basically, I just started playing and I got VG (Vainglorious) the fastest in the games history. So like, a week? After that GankStars picked me up right away. Which didn’t work out because of the talent they had with CulltheMeek, IraqiZorro and Gabevizzle. Which was totally understandable, they were a phenomenal team. Team Phoenix had talked to me for a while and I have a ton of respect for R3cked and StartingAllOver. I personally think that R3cked is the ‘Best Roam NA’ right now. Things then just came together”.
Xenotek expressed that his main desire is just to win the Live Finals. I asked how he feels like his stream affects his competitive gameplay to which he said, “Streaming is probably a hinderance [in competitive play] because I have to split up my time. But I’ll never stop streaming. Once I started streaming I can’t imagine myself ever stopping”.
I was super impressed with Xenotek and it’s always unfortunate when people judge a book by it’s cover because Xenotek was definitely the most courteous player I met at the Live Finals. Make sure to check out his stream and enjoy what he has to teach!
After I also sat down and watched a couple games with the rest of Team Phoenix and I was able to ask some questions to R3cked about the changes and his experience in the game.
“I first started playing Vainglory when I saw the Apple keynote event. I was actually playing Clash of Clans at the time and was looking for something new. I picked up Vainglory and got good at it quick. I met good people and the got me really into the game”. I asked him if he got to Vainglorious in solo queue, “Oh no, no, no. This scrub carried me to VG” He said pointing to Oldskool laughing. He mentioned that one of the real reasons that he learned to play this game well was Foojee’s (a long time player and streamer) stream. He would ask Foojee questions and just learn his builds.
In talking with the Reborn players I can see a lot of potential, but more time playing together is probably going to be the key. All of the players are really dedicated players and nice people. I hope they stick together and try for another Championship. But for now, make sure to check out their streams.