This year’s Mid Season Invitational is already off to a wonky start, and the event hasn’t even begun yet. On March 25, the LCL cancelled its Spring Split, due to the current war in Ukraine, and cannot attend MSI. On April 21, LoL Esports announced that the LPL representative will play the tournament remotely due to “ongoing pandemic challenges.” Then, on April 25, GAM Esports’ jungler Levi announced on Twitter the VCS champions would be skipping MSI in favor of SEA Games. Second place finisher Saigon Buffalo will take their place at MSI 2022.
Finished our spring split perfectly with 15-0 (31-3) record but we’re not going to Korea for MSI because GAM’s representing Việt Nam in SEA Games 31 which happens at the same time with MSI. (1/2)
— Đỗ Duy Khánh (@lolLevi97) April 25, 2022
Each of these revelations are painful to League of Legends fans, but GAM Esports completely missing the tournament as VCS victors is particularly unfortunate. Vietnamese teams have been unable to participate at international competitions since Worlds 2019, due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. GAM specifically qualified to three of the four tournaments in the last two years, but could not attend. While playing in SEA Games is surely something to be proud of, VCS fans domestic and abroad will miss their presence at MSI 2022.
VCS Out for So Long
To put into context—2017 Worlds was where GIGABYTE Marines made a name for themselves beating Fnatic and Immortals through carry jungler Levi. GAM narrowly missed qualifying for 2018 MSI, and fell off until Summer 2019 when Levi returned from playing in North America and China. Since the star jungler rejoined, GAM has won three titles and three second-place finishes. The international League of Legends community is missing out on another opportunity to see this team go up against the world’s best.
Hopefully, GAM Esports continues to play as well as they have, and they can travel to North America for the 2022 World Championship. Assuming COVID-19 transmissions remain low, Levi-and-company may finally get to return to the big stage. Missing them at MSI 2022 just adds to the list of unfortunate shortcomings for teams’ ability to attend the event.