Between Saigon Buffalo getting knocked out throughout Play-Ins and GAM’s rocky begin to the Group Stage, Vietnam hasn’t had the very best luck at Worlds 2022. We requested GAM Levi concerning the power of his area and his first Worlds since 2019.
Vietnam is a area outlined by their daring strategy to each drafting and combating in-game. They combat to the very finish, and that spirit has carried by means of the event for each their representatives.
GAM had been type sufficient to allow us to interview Đỗ ‘Levi’ Duy Khánh throughout their “off days”. Positive, they weren’t competing, however all of the gamers had been nonetheless exhausting at work working towards. We’re grateful for the time he spent speaking with us forward of their remaining video games within the Group Stage at Worlds 2022.
The chance to speak with GAM throughout a small break of their observe gave us a view of what most individuals don’t see: their observe room.
It was a lodge room, reserved and modified for the only goal of being a observe room for the gamers. Gamers and coaches had been all in shut proximity, working collectively to enhance. Sticky notes had been plastered to the partitions and lampshades from fixed notes made for and/or by every participant.
Somebody circled in a chair that had a jacket draped over it, a jacket that learn: Levi.
GAM Levi drops the coaching weights at Worlds
Between scrims and different obligations, GAM has a packed schedule throughout their time right here. Levi chatted with us for a bit and went proper again to his PC to proceed working towards by means of the day. Even after speaking to us and enjoying solo queue, they’d a very booked schedule till at the least 10PM with scrims and crew conferences.
And, although Levi is a beloved participant by many for his glorious play by means of the years, he was adamant about the truth that everybody round him was exhausting at work to offer GAM their very best probability at profitable.
“As you recognize, for the crew to be on the highest of our area, we’d like lots of parts. We want everybody on the crew to pitch in and contribute, and I feel my share is barely a small contribution. We’ve got assist from the crew supervisor, and individuals who work behind the scenes as effectively.”
Exhausting work is an absolute necessity for Vietnam to compete internationally. Each crew has their very own hill to climb, however Vietnam’s break from worldwide competitors places them at a drawback in additional methods than one. There’s rather a lot working in opposition to every Vietnamese team on the subject of worldwide play.
Saigon Buffalo had been knocked out earlier in Worlds, and GAM are the one VCS crew remaining. Don’t let that confuse you into considering Vietnam is a weak area, although.
Levi’s has been all the best way to the highest of Korean Challenger, one thing that’s a feat all its personal. Nonetheless, there’s extra to it than that. Him and lots of of his teammates have persistently sat close to Challenger on Korean servers, even with excessive ping limiting their skill to play.
“Once we play in Korean solo queue, we get matched in opposition to the highest gamers from Korea and China, that does enhance our ability. However we additionally play in exhausting mode once we play on Korean servers.”
“In Korea, they’ve 8 ping or decrease. We’ve got 80. So we’re at a deficit already, and now we have to strive even tougher to win.”
At worldwide competitors, Levi and the remainder of GAM get to drop their coaching weights. They already play in opposition to the likes of Faker and Ruler in solo queue on 80 ping, and LAN occasions are a chance to stage the enjoying subject.
As soon as the jet lag passes, that’s.
“I really feel like, within the first 2-3 days we arrived, we had extreme jet lag. After that, our efficiency in scrims turned higher, and I feel we had first rate leads to scrims. However our leads to observe haven’t translated to our efficiency on stage but, and now we have extra to do.”
As if all that wasn’t sufficient, GAM has one other impediment to beat: The meta.
Sticking to their weapons
On the floor, meta learn doesn’t seem to be a giant subject for Vietnam. Their topside could be very effectively adjusted to supportive junglers and high laners that wish to commerce, and Kati is able to enjoying a fairly vast pool of mid laners. The issue comes from the assist meta.
In Vietnam, assist gamers principally persist with exhausting have interaction. They dictate the tempo of the sport and infrequently begin fights. Whereas enchanters could appear “simpler” on paper, altering all the crew dynamic in a single day isn’t potential.
“Our draft is probably not essentially the most appropriate to the meta. However it’s most fitted to our crew, our strengths. It’s nonetheless playable, however we’ve positively made some errors in-game.”
So, as an alternative of adjusting the best way they play and drafting for enchanters like Yuumi, they’re sticking to their technique and striving to excellent it. An strategy that has its fair proportion of advantages and drawbacks.
We requested Levi whether or not the VCS’ popularity for being an explosive league with fixed combating was a power or a weak spot.
“It is a double-edged sword in a approach. Due to this playstyle the place we combat rather a lot, the frequency of us having to make large choices will increase rather a lot as effectively. In all of those large choices, in case you mess up one, you throw the entire recreation.”
“If we’re capable of excellent our recreation and make higher choices in these key moments, this might change into a big strength for our region.”
Vietnamese groups haven’t had the time to chop their tooth on groups from extremely robust areas just like the LPL and LCK. Solo queue could be very completely different from scrims and stage video games.
Whereas GAM’s playstyle has lots of potential, it additionally comes with much more danger than working an enchanter and stalling fights. One incorrect transfer, and also you lose. One thing that’s occurred to GAM a number of instances on the event.
On paper, it appears like GAM obtained decimated in each recreation. In observe, they made one mistake in every recreation that put them extremely far behind.
And, even from that place, the person ability stage of every participant on GAM was so excessive that they made teamfights look shut. GAM’s place is a troublesome one to be in, however they’re dealing with the stress with grace.
Levi has performed all around the globe. From his time on 100 Thieves in North America, to a short stint on JDG earlier than coming again to GAM in Vietnam, his profession has made him a globe-trotting professional with extra expertise than most experts.
Even then, he might nonetheless have a look at esports as a fan. What began as a dream has change into actuality, and Levi was completely happy that he’s been capable of be part of it for thus lengthy.
“As a fan of esports who went on to play professionally, I’m actually completely happy and excited to see esports develop to this stage. As an expert participant, I really feel much more proud. I’m somebody who’s made small contributions to develop esports into what it’s immediately.”
GAM’s odds of constructing it out of the Group Stage aren’t nice. Even when they win all three of their matches, they’ll should drive a tiebreaker to have an opportunity at shifting on. However they aren’t going to make it simple for the opposite groups of their group.
Levi and the remainder of GAM have followers around the globe at their again, with “Captain Levi” getting spammed the second he walks on stage. And, for these followers, Levi dismissed his English and gave a direct, untranslated message to these supporting him.
“I wish to say to my followers around the globe: Thanks guys for cheering for us, and I hope you guys will proceed cheering for us this week.”
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