The fierce rivalry between North America and Europe is renewed this weekend, as the best 12 teams in the West battle in the first-ever Unified Western Live Championship at the O2 in London. Will tournament top seeds Team SoloMid (NA), Cloud9 (NA), G2 Esports (EU) and Team Secret (EU) set the pace, or will more Cinderella stories emerge as we crown a spring champion? See every minute, beginning Friday, May 19 at 5AM PDT / 8AM EDT / 1PM BST and running through Sunday, May 21.
WATCH LIVE (MAY 19-21)
DAY ONE: REGIONAL RIVALRIES
The Unified Western Live Championship takes place over three days. Day One features regional rivalries, as EU teams exclusively battle EU based on seeds, with the same happening on the NA side of the bracket. Spring season scores will be settled as the field whittles down.
(3) SK GAMING VS (6) MOUSESPORTS
Thirty-three health. That’s all that stood between SK Gaming and a top Unified Championship seed with a Day One bye. Instead, their closing push against G2 Esports in the final week of regular season of Vainglory8 play came up impossibly short, with G2 going the other way and securing the victory. Now, SK finds themselves in a fight against a scrappy underdog — in the region known for massive upsets and Cinderella stories from low seeds. Can the leader KValafar, rising star Tyruzz and legendary veteran Jetpacks make a statement in their first matchup, or will it be another huge surprise out of Europe?
- Captain: Jetpacks @jetpacks_VG
- Carry: KValafar @KValafar_VG
- Jungler: Tyruzz @Tyruzz_VG
- Sub: Bayu @B4YU77
(4) FNATIC VS (5) CYCLONE
Home team Fnatic is peaking at exactly the right time, gathering momentum following a successful London bootcamp. Meanwhile, Cyclone, which spent much of the season atop the table, fell off down the stretch and landed at the 5-seed. With two blockbuster rosters that are incredibly well-matched, this series is a pure pick ’em. Watch the play of Fnatic’s Palmatoro and Cyclone’s WalDeMar, two superstars who need to have a big tournament for their team to succeed.
- Captain: Bashn @bashwoo
- Carry: WalDeMar @WalDeMar_EU
- Jungler: radha
- Sub: PTLam @PTLamVG
- Sub: red-ABTION
(3) HOLLYWOOD HAMMERS VS (6) IMMORTALS
This will easily be the most unorthodox series of Day One, with both teams manipulating their rosters for the championship. All eyes will be on the teams’ traditional roamers, with Hammers’ player chicken moving to carry and Immortals’ Vains shifting to jungle. Expect off-meta picks as players look for comfort out of position with versatile heroes capable of shifting roles. Equally important will be the performance of each team’s playmaking star: Hammers’ TTigers and Immortals’ Zio.
(4) GANKSTARS VS (5) TEMPO STORM
GankStars’ XenoTek is playing the best Vainglory of his life, while roamer R3cKeD always steps up on the big stage — especially on Lyra and Phinn. Rounding out an incredibly capable roster is longtime standout IraqiZorro. It’s a potent GS roster ready to make a run to the Finals … but standing in their way is breakout former Challengers squad Tempo Storm. Both selena and Hide rose up a big way this season, with the team now anchored by one of the winningest players of all time, LostBoyToph. This series may turn on the play of the experienced roamers, who are both known for big, highlight-reel plays and innovative builds in huge tournaments.
- Captain: R3cKeD @VG_R3cKeD
- Carry: IraqiZorro @ElDonIraqiZorro
- Jungler: XenoTek @XenoTek_VG
- Sub: Xelciar @xelciar
- Captain: LostBoyTroph @LostBoyToph
- Carry: selena @vg_selenagomez
- Jungler: Hide @hideauzeee
- Sub: Poli5208 @Poli5208
DAY TWO: BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC
Day Two features a clash of regional metas, as NA teams exclusively battle EU teams. Which region will dominate, as North America’s hyper-aggression and early-game comps collide with Europe’s measured, conservative style, late-game scaling hypercarries and melee laners? Historically, NA has outperformed EU, whether in international friendlies or the World Championship, but Europe’s lineup of teams has never been stronger, and they’ve never been hungrier to take down their rivals in a battle of the Atlantic.
Day Two also introduces the top seeds from each region, who will play the survivors of Day One …
(2 NA) CLOUD9 VS HIGHEST-REMAINING EU SEED
Cloud9 brings to the championship one of the most dangerous rosters ever assembled in North America. Carry Oldskool — known as “Goldskool” for his dominant lane performances and farming skills — is a perfect match for veteran international roam star Gabevizzle, who thrives when his carry is equal in gold or ahead. It almost seems unfair that their third is iLoveJoseph, one of the most-feared junglers in the history of Vainglory esports, and a player who can secure a kill from anywhere, at any time, no matter how crazy it may seem. For the other tournament favorites looking to punch their ticket to the World Championship, Cloud9 is the team standing in the way … and if SK Gaming wins their first-round series, it sets up a Finals-worthy NA vs EU showdown with C9 on Day Two.
CLOUD 9 ROSTER
- Captain: Gabevizzle @gabevizzle
- Carry: Oldskool @C9Oldskool
- Jungler: iLoveJoseph @iLoveJoseph
- Sub: Azurenai
(2 EU) TEAM SECRET VS HIGHEST-REMAINING NA SEED
Sometimes, three players are greater than the sum of their individual parts. When ImtheDoom joined Team Secret for Split 2 of Spring season, something clicked that unlocked the full potential of the whole roster, softened the blow of L3oN being unable to travel and drew much-deserved attention to their rising talent out of the jungle. It’s rare that a two-seed could be flying under the radar at a major championship, but with most focused of Europe’s attention focused elsewhere, Team Secret is poised for a deep run, which would involve taking down some NA counterparts along the way. Warning to North America: Give ImtheDoom Samuel at your own risk.
TEAM SECRET ROSTER
- Captain: justman00 @justman00_vg
- Carry: Tr1cKy @TS_Tr1cKy
- Jungler: ImtheDoom @imthedoom
- Coach/sub: Mowglie @Meoowglie
(1 EU) G2 ESPORTS VS LOWEST-REMAINING NA SEED
Top-seeded European team G2 Esports could not have impressed more this regular season, with carry Hundor leading the international charge of Baron play, while also showing tremendous versatility on other carries. Roamer KeanuNakoa distinguished himself so exceptionally as to cause quality player D1ngo to shift to sub, and DarkPotato continues his strong play, especially on melee junglers that work to his personal strengths. The EU Vainglory8 was incredibly competitive this season, with Team Secret finishing only a point behind G2 in the standings, and five teams breaking the 20-point barrier. That level of consistently tough competition has prepared G2 for this moment; it’s now up to the players to perform when it most counts.
G2 ESPORTS ROSTER
- Captain: KeanuNakoa @G2KeanuNakoa
- Carry: Hundor @G2Hundor
- Jungler: DarkPotato @G2DarkPotato
- Sub: D1ngo @G2_D1ngo
(1 NA) TSM VS LOWEST-REMAINING EU SEED
Tournament favorites and last year’s World Championship runner-up TSM has practiced longer and trained harder than any other Vainglory team on Earth, and the Unified Championship provides their first major test of 2017. This squad expects to win, based both on preparation and cultivated talent, and they badly want another shot at Invincible Armada at Worlds. To get there, they’ll first need to secure an automatic berth against a murderers’ row of North American and European opponents. Everyone expects VONC to fearlessly dominate out of jungle, at a time when jungle play has never been more important in the meta. Everyone anticipates that Chuck will be infallable in lane, making almost no mistakes for entire tournaments at a time. Everyone presumes that FlashX will call all the right shots and marshal his team to commanding victories. But high expectations are also very weighty. We’ll see if TSM is once again up to the challenge.
DAY THREE: A CHAMPION IS CROWNED
Day Three features the semifinals and Grand Finals, as we crown a spring champion and decide an automatic bid to the 2017 Vainglory World Championship in December. All series are best of five games, so may the best team win. Following this weekend’s tournament, Vainglory’s Summer season will kick off June 24, with the second-ever Unified Live Championship moving across the pond to North America at the end of the season.