Mastering Roam & Getting Ready For Worlds in Only 8 Weeks
FlashX of Team Solomid
I want to preface this interview with letting you know that this piece is entirely about performance. I Wanted to encapsulate the essentials of what it takes to be a great player in the Vainglory pro scene. I appreciate FlashX taking the time to answer questions that will no doubt improve your game and mine as well. So without further adieu, here is my interview with TSM FlashX
When did you start playing vainglory; And how did you come to be one of the most dooooominant roams in the scene?
I first started playing Vainglory around October/Nov of 2014. I didn’t really start out playing a specific position but rather just started playing a specific hero, Adagio. There have been A TON of changes not only to Adagio as a hero but Vainglory as a whole since then. But when I first started playing he was actually really strong as a roam; and you would just build straight defense, and only complete 2–3 tier 3 items by the end of a game.
At that time I was part of Team Venom and I would play with 2 guys, johnstamos and cWhit, who played Skaarf and Glaive respectively. Draft didn’t exist then so the best players really only played 1–2 heroes, most of the time just 1. Just a short time later Super Evil Mega Corp (SEMC) made a change (I don’t remember exactly what it was) but Adagio started being played in the lane as a weapon carry.
Because there wasn’t really much of a competitive scene back then, I just naturally transitioned into the lane; and I was actually the laner for a little bit before SEMC changed Adagio back into a roamer again. At this time my teammates had kinda fallen off as competitive players so I went to Gankstars and was the roam for IraqiZorro. I’ve been roaming ever since, I didn’t choose the roam life, it chose me :P
So cliched xD, since the MOBA gods decided to bless you with the gift of roam, what do you think makes a great roamer?
Basically the biggest factor that separates really great roamers from the best roamers is their ability to crucible certain abilities (forced accord or blast tremor being the 2nd most important) and their timing of fountain. There’s a very fine line between using fountain too early and too late and knowing exactly how to navigate that line is really important. Getting this down pack just comes from a lot of experience, because every fight is different.
To get better you really just need to practice more. Go into a ranked game with the specific focus of working on crucible, even if that means it takes a toll on other things. If you learn how to use crucible first, then you can start mixing it with gameplay and slowly work your way towards doing both at once.
Sometimes I go into a 1v1 lobby with other roam players and just practice using crucible. One person goes Phinn, the other goes Catherine. Farm up CDR items (contraption, clockwork, stormcrown) until level 12. Then just practice trying to pull/silence the other person. You can make it a game where if you successfully land a pull or a silence you get a point and the first person to 10 points wins.
Hmmm I see Mr Miyagi I seee. Outside of specific positions, what do you think is the best way to improve someones game generally?
The saying monkey see, monkey do, is true. The best way to improve your own game, is to watch professional players. Tons of pros stream on Twitch or Mobcrush and are really good examples of how to optimally do something.
They do sometimes like to just have fun and do some things that are off meta but a lot of times they’re still trying really hard, and a new player can learn a lot from them. Watching Evil 8, which is the professional league for both NA and EU, is also another really good tool. And if you like reading then checking out VaingloryFire guides specifically done by pro players is another good tool as well.
You mentioned meta picks, while we have that going for a second. Are there any heros, who have been able to stay consistent throughout an ever changing meta?
As you said, the meta is always changing. SEMC intentionally (and i think this is a good thing) rotates which heroes tend to be stronger so that you don’t see the same heroes being played from patch to patch. If there is a consistent hero it would probably be Adagio. But he hasn’t stayed consistent in a specific role.
Most of the time his balance changes just shift him from one role to another. I would say in update 1.23 that he’s creeping back towards being better as a roamer, but ultimately is still more viable as a laner. Ardan for the most part has been viable for a long time but not necessarily always in the meta.
TSM id the super team of Vainglory with you, VONC, and BesChuckNA. We both know teamwork makes the dream work. You have any guidance on picking good team mates?
Hm I think there are 3 things people should look for in teammates.
1. Willingness to learn. Unfortunately, there are some players who just think they know everything and think they are always right. Teams can always improve but if a player isn’t willing to try a different strategy, then its going to prevent growth.
2. Positive thinking — all teams are going to go through struggles. Some worse than others. But if players are able to maintain a healthy mindset, and can turn a negative into a positive, then thats a really good foundation for long term growth. I personally try and transform what some people would call “losing” into a “learning experience”. While in the literal sense we did lose, I try to not focus on the result, but rather what we can learn from the result to improve future performance.
3. Communication — Communication is an essential part of every team sport. I’ve had teammates in the past who don’t say a word and it has been really detrimental on our performance. Saying when you’re going to use an ability, or how much longer the cooldown is on an item, and who is the focus of a teamfight are all incredibly important. It’s natural for some players to speak more than others, but it is important that everyone is contributing
Given all that GNAWLEDGE you just shared,I have a challenge for you. Lets say right now I somehow magically got drafted to a PRO team. The kicker is…I’ve got only 8 weeks to get ready for worlds. What would have me focus on?
If you only had 8 weeks to prepare for Worlds, I’d tell you to pick 3–4 (probably 4) heroes and only play them to try and achieve mastery of those heroes. Mastery of a hero takes a ton of time but if you play 10–12 hours a day straight for 8 weeks then I definitely think it’s achievable. You would want to pick 4 so that it would be nearly impossible for the opposing team to take you off of those heroes. Then just working with your team on a every day basis to try and improve would also be really important.
Gooood, goooood, now I have all I need to beat you! one last thing though. You’re 24 now, and as we both know there are some preconceived notions of an eSports pro’s lifespan. These can, and tend to discourage players not in their teens from trying the pro circuit out. What do you have say that?
Clinton Loomis played at the highest level of professional Dota 2, The International (which is the single largest eSport event in the World- 19 million dollars) until he was 27 years old. If he can do it, there’s no reason I can’t, you can’t, anybody can’t either. You also have players like SuiJeneris or Foojee (currently not competing) that played professional Vainglory for a very long time and they are both in their 30’s I think (foojee might be very late 20s).
So if you’ve gotten the pro-itch, and you’re a older player, just go for it. Fight your way to Vainglorious, find some teammates from streams, forums, twitter etc. Register for a split come next season, and just see how far you’ll get. If you put in honest effort, you might be surprised at what you can achieve :).
Also if you enjoyed this read, leave a comment on who you want me to interview next, and to heart it to so some love. If you have any else follow me on on twitter over at @gabeolivero