Editor’s Note: MoEsport would like to extend a warm welcome to Jason from the Vainglory Masters Series, who will be contributing exclusive content on Vainglory to our site! As one of the most active members of the Vainglory community, Jason will be sharing not only his insights and opinions, but also his meaningful dialogues with the many influencers of the community. For his first article, Jason had a chance to chat with FlashX, Captain of Team SoloMid.
TSM was bursting out of the competitive Vainglrory scene with a meteoric rise that left fans with high expectations. However, due to recent struggles and roster changes, fans have begun to question the direction that this team is headed. This is the premier of a series of interviews that will take an in-depth look at the players and organizations of the mobile MOBA game Vainglory. To start the series we delve into the psyche of FlashX, the captain of TSM.
Jason: It’s been a hectic year for you and TSM; have you had a chance to soak it in?
FlashX: Yes, it has been very crazy. I haven’t really had the chance to sit back, everything is moving so quickly. I’m always preparing and getting ready for the next tournament.
Jason: With the Team SoloMid brand behind you, how do you handle the pressure and expectations that come with the Team SoloMid backing?
FlashX: TSM took a huge leap of faith on us. They are (currently) the only major competitive eSports organization in North America to have invested in a Vainglory team. I don’t see it as pressure, but motivation to continue to improve. I want to be successful, but I mostly want to be successful for TSM. As far as expectations, it is only natural in a competitive sport to have high expectations.
Jason: Some people say “I can do what FlashX does? It’s easy and I can do better? ” Tell us how much time and preparation it takes to get ready for a major tournament – is it that easy?
FlashX: eSports are both very similar and different from active sports, say for example basketball. The time and preparation it takes for a game or match are very similar. Hours are dedicated dissecting game footage, game planning and strategy. A basketball player cannot physically practice for 8 hours, but with eSports some teams or players will go 8-10 hours straight. When I was in Korea for the second season of VIPL there was not much to do but play Vainglory. We would practice for a total of 6-8 hours a day, then some of us would stream or just decompress. So, a lot of pro players/teams do something called bootcamping a week or two before a tournament or league. Bootcamping is where all you do is practice and play: some players put in 14 hours straight. Right now my schedule is to wake up at 7:30 am, go the gym, start practicing in solo que at 11:00, then from 12-4 we have team practice. Take a couple hours to decompress, and then have some dinner. Depending on how practice went I will go back and touch up on things that I missed and/or review footage.
Jason: So basically you are telling me its a full time job?
FlashX: (laughs) Yes.
Jason: Let’s talk about the Summer season; as a brief summary I would say is the season of roster changes in the Fold. TSM is one of the teams to see major changes. What does VONC and BestChuckNa bring to the table that is different from MICSHE and CullTheMeek?
FlashX: All four are tremendous top players in Vainglory. The main difference I would say is VONC has a deeper hero aggression pool than Cull. Cull has a specific signature hero pool that he is aggressive with, whereas VONC will has the same aggression and is willing try new things – for example jungle Saw.
As far MICSHE and Chuck, they approach the game differently. MICSHE is analytical and numbers oriented. If MICSHE fell behind in CS, he would be aggressive to make sure he caught up. Chuck is strategic with his movements and goes with the flow of the match.
Jason: TSM has had early success, but the team also had some recent struggles. Does that have to do more with the large influx of talented teams/players then teams “figuring” TSM out?
FlashX: The level of competitive players/teams has obviously risen. At this time, any team can beat another team – it depends on who executed their game plan better. I wouldn’t say people figured us out; I would say we let outside factors affect our performance. You can practice and prepare all you want, but mentally if you aren’t aligned with each other it will affect the outcome.
When TSM first acquired us we didn’t negotiate a support staff, so all the analytics, stats, and game planning is done by me or as a team. It does take hours to go through numbers and footage, so I can see in the future we will be adding support; as a team we can then focus our time on executing and playing.
Jason: You are a roam main and SEMC has put a lot of focus on the roam position in these last patches. What are your likes/dislikes so far?
FlashX: Due to the ambient gold, it opens up for roamers to have that extra gold for that fourth item that usually you wouldn’t normally have the gold for. Now you are seeing that fourth item depending on the roamers style and situation. It is always nice to have extra gold- it makes it so the roamer has to be hitting his actives and landing your abilities. The change I don’t like is the change to Stormguard Banner: roams no longer are doing any damage late game or to objectives. As far as the new contracts… I do not personally buy the contracts. The only contract that I would buy would be the iron-guard contract, and that’s only situational. As far as the new roamers I like where Lance is at – overall solid roamer and not overwhelming if built WP. Lyra is just too strong either way as a carry or roamer; her Bright Bulwark counters too many heroes and heal is too strong.
Jason: What you like to see SEMC adopt of change?
FlashX: I feel that Vainglory does have enough heroes where we can implement a two hero ban system. This would add more strategy to the drafts and see more unique comps during competitive play. I would also like see a clearer and definite build path for heroes. So if a new hero is a support we can make the build path dedicated towards that and lessen the carry potential.