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The League of Legends World Championship has been off-limits to the VCS for three years. The brilliant players from Vietnam have been forced to watch the greatest international tournament from a distance because to the challenges associated with flying due to COVID, not knowing when they would be able to return.

GAM Esports, the team that has dominated the Vietnamese scene for almost two years and earned their status as the region’s top seed, made their successful return to the Worlds stage today. Unfortunately for GAM, the second-seeded team in the LPL, Top Esports, gave them a wake-up call in their opening match, defeating them.

Welcome back to Worlds

Saigon Buffalo, not GAM Esports, represented the VCS in this year’s MSI, which marked their formal return to international competition. GAM had a lot to prove to the world in their opening Worlds match because they haven’t been seen in public since competing for the VCS at Worlds 2019 and failing to advance past the group stage.

GAM aimed to imitate TES’s steady, systematic playstyle that helped the team place first in the LPL. But as soon as GAM team members had access to their ultimates, they quickly changed their approach and banded together to ambush the LPL representatives in their strategic blind spots. But the squad was jolted back to reality as they jumped right into a W from Tian’s Poppy, giving TES four early kills and a virtually unbeatable snowball advantage.

Even when GAM launched a teamfight with a powerful engage, TES always won. While Tian’s Poppy made sure that Bie’s Rell’s attempts to confront them would be fruitless and would even backfire for the VCS reps, Mark’s Yuumi alternately bouncing between the members of TES kept them healthy enough to run through all of GAM’s players.

Despite the fact that this was only GAM’s opening game of the competition, they now have a steep uphill fight ahead of them because they will soon have to compete against some of the greatest players the LEC and LCK have to offer. Although this game demonstrated their team’s great communication, committing to those moves effectively can help them advance to the next stage.

Ice, ice baby

One Everfrost was insufficient to quench TES’ thirst for victory. Mark constructed an Everfrost on Yuumi rather than choosing a typical Mythic item like Moonstone Renewer or concentrating more on damage with Luden’s Tempest. This unconventional Mythic item allowed the TES support to further crowd control his foes outside of the slow on his Q and root with his ultimate, regardless of which carry he linked himself to.

No GAM player could get by the heavy CC while tied to Knight’s Ahri in the mid lane, who had also constructed an Everfrost. When paired with a little more damage and healing from Yuumi, this mix of damage, mobility, and CC made Knight into a one-man wrecking ball who could start and end fights as soon as he joined them.

Due to this help from the Magical Cat, TES’ carriers finished the game in under 25 minutes with a combined 17/2/25 KDA, whereas Mark finished with a score of 3/0/20, even out-damaging several players from both sides.

Every team playing in the Worlds group stage has now played in at least one match as of this contest. Each LPL participant has at least one victory under their belt, and they are all poised to finish the first weekend of groups at the very top of their respective divisions. Tomorrow, GAM will square off against Rogue, and TES will play DRX to round off the competition.