Insane laneswaps by GIGABYTE Marines, upsets by Phong Vũ Buffalo, Zeros, Palette, Levi, Stark... since 2017, Vietnam has had a special place in League of Legends esports. They are known for their ability to bend the meta, all of their games are a pleasure to watch, and they continue to introduce new talents. However, for the last two years we were missing them.
Vietnam is the region that was most affected by the pandemic in League of Legends. In 2020, MSI was cancelled and they could not send their representatives to the Worlds event. In 2021, they could not send anyone to MSI, and on top of that, they couldn’t even play in the Summer Season.
What happened between 2020 and 2021 in Vietnam and how did they come back? Let’s take a look at what happened..
You can find the games, schedule and bet on VCS Winter at Luckbox’s League of Legends matches page.
History of Vietnam in League of Legends
Vietnam in LoL is known for its unique gameplay. We first met them at MSI 2017, they took the spot Turkey held for three years straight by defeating SuperMassive and played in the main event. GIGABYTE Marines (GAM) introduced a fast-paced lane-swap meta that the major region representatives struggled against. GAM was so good that they influenced other teams to adapt this tactic, leading to a structural change in League of Legends itself.
Same year, GAM came so close to passing the group stage at Worlds. 2018 was similar, with EVOS taking 2 games from Fnatic and Team Liquid at MSI and Phong Vü Buffalo finishing fourth in their Worlds group. However, PVB also won two matches, defeating G2 and Flash Wolves along the way.
2019 was the last year we watched Vietnam in international tournaments. Phong Vü Buffalo defeated G2 Esports twice, who eventually became MSI champions. Those two wins were their only victories. In the main event of Worlds, GAM Esports represented the region and received their worst group stage defeat in history with a 1-5 score.
The cancellations and missed international tournaments
Earth 2020, you know the story. The pandemic that Covid-19 brought upon us hit all industries hard including esports. Some of the leagues thrived by simply playing online, but international lan events were heavily affected as it is not technically easy for two teams on different sides of the world to compete online.
In League of Legends, Vietnam was affected the worst by these conditions. MSI 2020 was cancelled. For Worlds 2020, Riot Games gathered the teams in China and induced 14-days quarantine before the competition. However, the Vietnamese teams could not leave their country. The same story repeated atMSI 2021.
The summer season was a different kind of nightmare for Vietnam. They could not get the required licence to run the league, so teams could not even compete and players had to wait and bide their time, doing nothing, for a whole season. This would mean that star players like Palette, who was linked with TSM in 2020, would fall behind while their opponents in other regions could continue playing.
At the end of the year, Vietnam did not even have a representative who could at least claim the right to play in Worlds. There was some news of GAM Esports pushing to get themselves and Saigon Buffalo into the tournament, but they were too late to apply.
Vietnam is back on track at last
Just when we thought things were over for them, Vietnam and VCS proved that their passion for League of Legends and esports is strong. Vietnam has not accepted to fall behind and started the VCS 2021 Winter Season as soon as possible. It's the middle of the offseason, so most teams have to play their subs, but that only creates an even more competitive environment.
The substitutes are doing their best and taking this opportunity to prove themselves. So there’ll probably be more room for surprises than usual. Today Luxury and CERBERUS, teams we are not really familiar with, are leading the league, while old gems like Team Flash and GAM Esports are running behind. No one knows what might happen in the next split, but anything is possible in VCS Winter. We bet those are perfect conditions for some excitement.
If you want to bet on VCS Winter, you can visit Luckbox’s League of Legends matches page and find the games.