It’s been awhile since MSI completed and, just like at World’s, an International Wildcard team stole the hearts of millions. I’m not talking about NA internationally, but everyone’s favorite Vietnamese team Gigabyte Marines. Sure they weren’t able to take home the trophy or even break out of the group stage, but they looked incredibly impressive for a team that used a top laner that played on a 15 dollar keyboard and only having played on the team for a few weeks prior. What has the team that would make the Saigon Jokers of old proud been doing?
As many had heard, top laner Stark and ADC Slay left the team immediately following the conclusion of MSI. Only Slay is still in the VCSA (Vietnamese League), playing for Cantho Cherry, who are sitting at 2-4. Cantho have yet to see a game 3 in any of their series all season long by the way. Stark joined EVOS Esports over in Indonesia, but sadly isn’t playing in the league. EVOS, who had acquired the spot (and most of the roster) in LGS from Fortius, opted to not participate this season despite the team having played in the Garena Premier League’s tournament for MSI.
However, people weren’t swept off their feets by Slay or Stark. It was all on Optimus in the mid lane and even more so by Levi from the jungle. Both players, along with Archie, remained with GAM to see if they can recreate lightning in a bottle come time for Worlds. The odds of that are not as likely as you would have expected after their showing at MSI. Unless, of course, you were looking at how GAM played during the SKT game then maybe you would. Their raw, fast, crazy play style still lends into a weakness that they have been exploited a few times. Even losing a series recently.
In the VCSA, losing a few games or series might not actually be that bad of a thing, though. While before, GAM was far away the best team in all of Southeast Asia, Vietnam seems to have grown a lot more talent really quickly. Currently, four teams are sitting on only one series loss, including GAM.
Right on the heels of GAM is the rising stars ROG Friends led by QTV, the 2016 All Star mid laner representative of Vietnam. The only series that ROG has lost, in fact the only 2 games they have lost all season long, was to GAM back in week 1. With the season progressing forward, ROG has only been looking stronger and stronger.
For GAM, it has been a lot more hit and miss. Losing a series to another one of the top 4 teams of Young Generation is not a bad thing, but losing a game to the second to last team of LG Red and barely winning the series is something GAM needs to not let happen if they want to make it to Worlds. Whether GAM will be able to recreate their success is still up in the air. If ROG continue the path of domination they are on, the next time the two teams face will dictate the trajectory of GAM’s future flight.