Unlike Mobile Legends Professional League (MPL) Singapore regulars, Vanguard are probably a team you may not have heard about before.
It’s a new squad, formed from MPL veterans that previously participated in prior seasons with other teams such as Bleed and Zion.
And like other Singaporean teams at MPL SG this season, Vanguard will also feature foreign talent, in the form of ex-DNS Hammersonic Romeo players from Indonesia.
“We both decided to come to SG cause we were approached by the team to play in MPL SG and really wanted to develop our esports careers. We came with high hopes, but without much expectations,” said Gilby “Chood” Shane Paul Pangemanan, Vanguard's new midlaner, in an exclusive interview with Yahoo Southeast Asia.
Chood, who was previously at DNS Hammersonic Romeo, added that the team is "grateful that we made it through the qualifiers and got a slot to MPL SG.”
Following him to Singapore is Geovani “Slowly” Moniung, his teammate who plays in the jungler role, who said that he wanted to find a “new atmosphere” and make a name for themselves as professional players.
“We heard many good things about Singapore’s esports scene so we wanted to try it for ourselves,” said Slowly.
And interestingly enough, both players are bunking in with Brandon “Luxion Stain” Wong Yip Hung, who’s already gearing himself up to make a return to MPL SG in his preferred role as a gold laner. Luxion Stain skipped out on S5 as he was so busy with his internship that he just wanted to take a break from the game and watch anime.
“I had limited opportunities to train in Mobile Legends, but it's a different story this season. The team has been grinding together and I think our performances show that. I’m eager to square off against Stellark, and determined to demonstrate that had I been in the lineup last season, the outcome would have been a different story altogether,” said Luxion Stain.
Joining him from Revival is Ryan “Super Ryann” Chen Jia Hao, Vanguard’s EXP laner. Like Luxion Stain, he’s excited to have made it back despite only joining the team just days before the qualifiers.
“To be honest, I did not have high expectations, and we are still getting used to each other’s playstyles,” said Super Ryann.
He added that while the team is still training and getting to know each other, they all hope to achieve Top 3 in their debut season.
Leading the team into battle is Nicklaus “Nick Stain” Du Jing Yun, who left Bleed to grow and improve. Despite being the youngest in the squad at 18-years old, the team is looking to his leadership skills and mechanical skills as a roamer.
“Bleed was a good learning experience for me. I made quality friendships throughout my entire year with the team and learned valuable lessons, such as teamwork,” said Nick Stain.
Nick Stain also added that he is hoping that his teammates will be able to tell if he’s the right fit for the captain role, though he said that they tease him by calling him Coach and giving him “cheeky smirks”.
“They respect my calls and I am grateful to them. I will continue to put in my best to achieve the best results with the squad to justify their faith in me.”
Last, but not least is Vanguard’s substitute player, Joyce “Tsunnie” Tan. She’s one of the rare female players to compete in MPL SG’s male-dominated scene, and will play in the mid or roaming role. MPL SG S6 will be her first foray into the pro scene, having only been playing in grassroot level competitions.
“I'm really excited and nervous. While my role might be as a sub, there is quite a lot of pressure on me as I will need to be ready to step up at a moment's notice. I actually really admire female pros who have come before me, such as Hun x Love; she was also a sub with Team Almighty back in Season 3,” said Tsunnie.
Her call up was also unexpected – Vanguard was looking for a sub and Luxion Stain decided to invite her to join. While she was hesitant at first, she decided to go for it seeing as how opportunity doesn’t knock twice.
Tsunnie also wanted to tell other potential female professional players to “keep on focusing on your goals and the progress you’ve made” and that each step forward “brings you closer to success”.
“Believe in yourself and your abilities, because you are capable of achieving remarkable things. Keep pushing forward, and you'll surprise yourself with what you can accomplish,” said Tsunnie.
MPL SG S6 will take place every weekend this September and features eight teams battling it out for a share of the S$100,000 prize pool and a chance to represent Singapore at the M5 World Championships taking place in the Philippines in November.
Aloysius Low is an ex-CNET editor with more than 15 years of experience. He's really into cats and is currently reviewing products at canbuyornot.com