In a pleasant surprise, Singapore’s homegrown team Impunity (IMP) made it past the group stage in the 2017 Vainglory World Championships, even taking one game off reigning champions ROX Armada in the best of two.

As game one progressed, the crowd at Kallang Theatre cheered harder and wilder. No one expected the Singapore team to get out of groups, what more slaughter the South Korean squad in a clean 14-minute game. While game two wasn’t perfect, IMP fought hard and were merely a few attacks away from victory at their opponent’s exposed Vain Crystal.

Tania Mae caught up with Impunity’s jungler Jing “deftQ” Yu Tan before their quarterfinal matchup to find out what was it like playing against ROX and being a young esports player in Singapore.

TANIA MAE: First of all, congratulations on getting out of groups. How’s the team feeling, and what’s the mentality going into the next round?

We felt really great because the teams in our groups were really, really strong. We tried our best and got out of groups. We’re planning to at least make it to the semi-finals, and try out best to win it all.

You had a very decisive and clean game 1 against reigning world champions ROX Armada yesterday. This is a matchup which everyone thought would be in South Korea’s favour. What kind of preparation did the team do, knowing that you were going up against them?

We did not really prepare [any specific] against them. We just played what we normally play. It was quite surprising to win them hands down like that for the first game.

Second game… the draft wasn’t that good because both their heroes countered ours. It was actually quite surprising for us to get so far to almost end the game.

IMP deftQ

What were the calls made during that back-and-forth period in the late game?

I think Kestrel, our laner, couldn’t end the game because when he was walking towards the Vain Crystal he took a few CS. He could have used that auto to end the game, I think.

After they died, I couldn’t really defend the turret on my own, so I had to try to distract them [on Koshka] until my two team mates were up.

International tournaments tend to develop its own meta. Impunity as a team is known for its innovative drafting. What’s your take on the meta so far and where do you see it going?

For now I think the teamfight comps are quite strong. It’s the early rotations which will cost the game for everybody. Teams like Tribe, their rotations are really good.

Competing in esports in Singapore is not easy. How’s your daily schedule like, balancing studies and gaming? 

Normally during school period, I’ll go to school and end around 5pm. Training is around 8pm to 11pm plus, so I have to do it every day. In school, I must pay attention since I can’t really study at home. Not much time.

Impunity discussing during picks and bans on stage, Day 1 Vainglory World Championship 2017

 

Impunity is one of the more established teams in the esports scene. What kind of support have you received?

Coaches and analysts help us watch other games and tell us about our opponents, and mistakes we make. They provide training facilities for us. They also paid for our boot camp. We had a boot camp one week before Worlds. Our whole team stayed together and trained together.

What was that experience like, living together?

It’s not just about gaming. We get to understand each other better and bond together. We went out for exercises. That was quite fun.

What’s been the reaction like from your family? Were they open to your decision to compete in VG esports?

Family wise, they were quite open for me to play competitive since last year. Last year, I went to Worlds in Hollywood. They supported me and allowed me to go. They understood what I wanted.

How did they feel about you travelling overseas to compete?

They were very concerned. They kept asking ‘normal parents questions’. Actually, normal parents wouldn’t even let me go overseas on my own, but they were supportive. They wanted me to have a balanced lifestyle. Even though I keep playing games, I still have to study hard for them.

We’re proud of having a team represent not only SEA but also our home country, Singapore. The audience was cheering very loudly when you played on stage against ROX. How did that make you feel and what does it mean for you to be playing on this stage?

It feels really great to represent Singapore. Plus, we got out of groups, that’s even better. It’s good to make Singapore proud because everybody thinks we weren’t going to get out of groups. Hopefully the crowd continues cheering because it’s good to know that they support us!

Would you have any advice for aspiring Singaporean esports players? 

No matter what they will have to balance their lifestyle and still study. If they really want to go into competitive gaming, it’s better to find a team because most games are team based.

Always blame yourself before blaming others. Learn from your own mistakes. If you can improve yourself to be that good such that you don’t even need your team then, yeah that’s even better. But also keep a healthy lifestyle, not just play games all day ^^

Vainglory Worlds continue on as we head into the elimination rounds. Catch the live stream on the Vainglory Youtube channel or Twitch.

Hang tight for the unveiling of Vainglory’s first ever 5v5 on Sunday, 17 December!