The Future of VCS Esports in League of Legends

VCS Esports has been one of the most competitive regions in League of Legends history with their teams standing toe-to-toe with the major regions of the world. However, due to the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Vietnamese scene has lost all of its presence in international competitions which poses a risk to the standing it has worked so hard to achieve. What future lies in wait for the Vietnamese Championship Series after missing so many important tournaments these past 2 years?

History of the VCS Esports

Vietnam was initially part of the GPL but later broke away from the region alongside what would be the LMS. The VCS esports scene was highly competitive and they had their own unique playstyle that was known for being the bloodiest among all of the regions since they would average 20-30 kills each game in their domestic tournaments. They also earned a reputation for having creative cheese strategies including the infamous Turbo Nocturne tactic at Worlds 2017.

GAM Noway playing at Worlds 2017  - VCS Esports
The VCS Way

While the region itself hasn’t had any success regarding getting out of groups in both MSI and Worlds, fans around the world still found a level of respect for the VCS since they proved that underestimating them can be deadly. Players like Levi have been in the limelight ever since their debut at Worlds and have managed to attract the attention of the western orgs. However, after their successful 2017-2018 run, the region fell into the abyss as they would fail in every tournament thereafter.

The Struggles of the VCS

After the Gigabyte Marines’ Levi was recruited to play for the LCS, the VCS esports scene lost a lot of their star players and found themselves being a weaker region overall. Regardless, their past achievements have earned them a place as an intermediate region so they qualified for the main stage of every international tournament they joined with 2 seeds. Unfortunately, the increase in seeding would only prove to showcase their struggles during their great rebuilding process.

VCS Esports Phong Vu Buffalo losing to Afreeca Freecs
A period of uncertainty

The region still managed to retain its identity as an aggressive region but they lacked the creativity to use their aggression in ways that actually work out to their advantage. Their playstyle was far from the way it used to be as it only came out as reckless aggression. Every Worlds, the region would continue not making out of play-ins and group stage, often placing last in their group.

The Great Rebuild and The Grand Return

Despite the team struggling horribly after the loss of its star players, the region didn’t give up and gave opportunity to younger talent. Organizations like Team Flash and the newly rebranded GAM Esports (formerly Gigabyte Marines) found fresh talent that would prove to be worthy investments. Their rebuilding process paid off and the region would once again look really threatening in addition to some names finally making a return to their beloved home region.

GAM Levi playing at Worlds 2017
The Legend Returned

Levi, who was undoubtedly the greatest player in the VCS, had just come back from the LCS after playing as an Academy player for 1 year. He had rejoined GAM Esports as their starting jungler and was looking like he has been hungry to compete in the main stage after being sidelined for so long. The region was on the brink of greatness but before they could showcase the revitalization of their region, the Covid-19 pandemic had prevented them from returning to the international stage.

Amidst the International Pandemic

Vietnam had adapted very strict protocols to control the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic throughout the country. One of the policies involved stricter travel protocols which would give individuals that left the country an extremely difficult time going back in. This meant that the organizations would risk a lot if they were to send their teams to a tournament outside their country, meaning both the organization staff and VCS officials opted not to send their representatives so that the young players don’t end up getting stranded outside the country.

Phong Vu Buffalo's Zeros at Worlds VCS Esports Reps
Away but not out

This continued for both Worlds 2020 and MSI 2021. After the failure to join MSI 2021, the region seemed to have lost hope and the organizers seemed to have agreed not to hold their Summer Season domestic tournament but still showed interest in joining Worlds 2021 with their Spring 2021 finalists if they were allowed to go. Unfortunately, the country’s policy had remained intact and meant that the VCS esports teams would once again fail to make it to Worlds despite working with Riot Games to find a way to send their teams.

The Future of the VCS Esports Scene

Every esports player knows that being away from the competitive scene for a prolonged period of time will only cause some sort of deterioration in their performance. The reason why players need to practice for an extended period of time and only take very short rests with the more competitive regions only having 1-3 rest days per month. For an entire competitive region to take a break for an entire season is devastating and might take them an extended duration to adjust.

Fans shouldn’t worry about the VCS esports scene disbanding completely because of the effects of the pandemic. However, there is a possibility that the region might take an extended hiatus if the country continues to prevent them from attending international events. We will see the region continue playing with the rest of the world in the future but that might not happen sometime soon. There’s a chance that a lot of your favorite VCS players might retire because of the extended hiatus so be prepared for such announcements.

Is the VCS disbanding?

The VCS has not announced any news about disbanding nor is it likely that they will do so in the near future. However, fans can expect the region to undergo a prolonged hiatus without any news on when they will be continuing their tournaments. Some organizations might also disband due to economic loss brought about by the lack of events.

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