Coming to America: Levi’s story
Little was known about star jungler Đỗ “Levi” Duy Khánh heading into last year. He had been an all star for the small region of Vietnam. Heading into last year’s MSI he helped put Gigabyte Marines on the map. His wide champion pool and unpredictable aggression sprung him to fame fast.
After the All Star event, he expressed his desire to come to North America to play. He believed it offered him much better competition to improve and to make a name for himself outside of Vietnam. The 100 Thieves have acquired Levi to play on their academy team. While it’s not an LCS position, it’s still a good chance for him to be eventually picked up by LCS teams.
100 Thieves have already used their two import slots on their solo laners so it will be interesting to see if he stays with the organization moving forward. Teams have already seen what he can do at Worlds and MSI so he’ll be one of the most hyped players in the academy league. If he performs well, a struggling LCS team may be able to acquire his services.
While Levi was named an All Star the previous season he didn’t really become well known until MSI. Before this, many were expecting Gigabyte Marines to be the typical wildcard team: cheese picks and close games with no late game macro. The Gigabyte Marines heavily defied expectations while nearly beating TSM in a best of five series and finishing the group 3-7.
Levi was a huge factor in their wins as a hyper carry style jungler. Gigabyte Marines didn’t care for the meta and weren’t afraid to play their own pocket picks. Levi’s aggression was calculative and impressive to see from a smaller region.
While their style was unorthodox, it worked well with what the team wanted to do. They knew they couldn’t beat teams in standard play, so they’d adapt their play styles to fit their team.
After MSI, many teams thought they knew what to expect from Gigabyte Marines. They had a sample to look at from MSI so there could be no cheese left. They were wrong. In the most interesting games ever played at Worlds, Gigabyte Marines had Levi play Nocturne. Nocturne wasn’t meta at the time, but with lanes swapped for longer lanes it was perfect. Levi was able to hyper farm to level 6 in five minutes. From there, his full lethality build prevented Fnatic from ever getting back into the game.
They would earn a three way tie for second place and barely miss out on making it out of the group. The world thought the hype for Levi had died down, but it was only starting.
Coming to North America
As Levi heads to North America he has the chance to improve his English and communication. If he can keep his hyper aggressive style there’s no telling where he could go. Many teams may look to acquire him if their LCS starters are struggling.
People have expressed how important communication is in succeeding in LCS. It will be vital to see how he can adjust to American culture, but the future looks bright for him. One can only hope he can keep defying expectations and playing like the monster that he has shown to be.
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Cover Photo by Riot Games