Vainglory just got bigger.
Super Evil Megacorp made its mobile MOBA into one of the leaders in its genre by concentrating on 3v3 matches that took many of the aspects people would expect to find andreducing them down to better suit touchscreen devices. But phones and tablets have come a long way since the game first launched, and gamers' expectations have risen as well.
Thus, Vainglory 5v5 is now a thing. Designed with extensive feedback from the game's community, the idea is that it builds upon what players already like and adds an extra layer of strategy and excitement. Super Evil has already made it clear that the new mode is the future of competitive play, so even though 3v3 is sticking around, everyone will want to brush up on the newer, bigger gameplay.
While we're certainly no Vainglory pros, we've been in enough matches to help you get the lay of the land. Here's a quick overview of everything you need to know about 5v5.
Three lanes instead of one
While the object of a 5v5 match remains the same, to destroy the Vain Crystal in the other team's base, the new map is much different. Where the 3v3 map had only a single lane guarded by turrets and the jungle below it, 5v5 play features a map, Sovereign's Rise, sporting a more traditional MOBA layout with a top, middle and bottom lane. The jungle areas lie between the lanes, with a river running through the lmiddle of the map from top to bottom to divide it in half.
Each lane has three turrrets guarding it before you even reach the Vain's defenses. As well, when you select your hero before a match, you can now signal to your teammates whether you plan to focus on the top, middle or bottom lane.
Here there be dragons
Yep, that's right. Not just one dragon but two show up during your 5v5 matches, each of which can be turned to your side if you and your teammates are able to reduce its health to zero. Call it some unfriendly persuasion.
The first dragon on the scene is Ghostwing, who arrives on the lower half of the map. She doesn't fight herself, but instead grants a buff that consists of a regenerating barrier plus health and energy restoration when your hero is not in combat. Ghostwing;s buff is powerful enough to make picking fights with the enemy right away a good idea.
Blackclaw takes longer to arrive but gets in on the action himself if you defeat him. Breathing fire and swiping at unsuspecting targets, Blackclaw makes a beeline for the enemy down the middle lane, so you have the choice of either fighting alongside him or launching attacks on the top or bottom lane while the opposing team is worried about an angry dragon in the middle.
Scout cams and teleport boots
Many of the items you can buy during 5v5 matches will be familiar, but two stand out as things that can help turn the tide of any battle if used correctly. The first are scout cams, which can be set up in any area of the map and allow you to see enemy heroes as if you were in that area yourself. The cams last only a limited time and can actually be targeted and destroyed to get rid of them sooner, but there are boosts available in the in-match shop to help them last longer and see more.
Teleport boots are just what they sound like: boots that let your hero teleport directly to a turret, minion or scout cam that belongs to your team. Tapping the icon for the boots makes your hero channel for a few seconds and then bam, there you are. As an added bonus, during the channel phase, the target of the boots receives a protective barrier, so it's really handy for buying your turrets a few more seconds before you appear to save the day.
And if an enemy hero suddenyl shows up and surprises you unexpectedly, just remember that they can buy teleport boots too.
A tougher target
The Vain Crystal is a lot more capable in 5v5 matches than you might expect. For starters, it has its own two-fisted defense punch, consisting of missiles that lock on to damage and slow heroes, as well as explosions that damage and stun.
It also has armor in the form of shields that can only be disabled by destroying the three smaller armory crystals that lie at the end of each lane. That's crucial to keep in mind before you haphazardly try mounting an assault on the Vain Crystal.
5v5 team composition
While the additional strategic possibilities in 5v5 play could easily fill up additional articles on their own, the recommended team build when you're in casual matches is to have one hero dedicated to each lane, as well as a dedicated jungler -- especially in the early game. The fifth player usually takes on the captain's role, supporting any lane as necessary.
However, Vainglory's own tutorial suggests that the captain support the middle lane as a default until help is needed elsewhere. Why? It has to do with the river, which flows from the middle lane toward the top and bottom. If you run with the current, it gives you a speed boost, so it's easier to get from the middle out than vice versa.
This should be enough to get you up and running in Vainglory 5v5 without serving as a serious detriment to your team. For more advice and tutorial videos in-game, just tap on the graudation cap icon in the upper-right corner of the main game screen, then select '5v5' from the Academy. Good luck!