For a third straight year, the VCS has made it to the MSI group stages, this time led by Phong Vu Buffalo. The home turf champions qualified for the MSI 2019 top 6 by defeating Vega Squadron in five games.
The first two games of best-of-5 series gave indications that this could be a quick one. PVB outclassed Vega all across the board and punished LCL champions’ weak bot lane to carve out a 2-0 lead.
Games 3 and 4 were mirror opposites, however. PVB’s players started making rookie mistakes, such as failing basic over-the-wall flashes, getting into poor engagements and giving objectives to Vega for free. Vega had also figured out how to slow PVB’s strong early game enough to outlast them in the mid/late game. With both teams on match point going into game 5, fans and experts were worried that PVB and their bruised morale might not overcome the LCL representatives after all.
Vega kept to their out-of-the-box drafting and picked a top lane Cho’Gath and Vi in the jungle, but PVB had learned their lesson. Good initial ganks from Hoàng “Meliodas” Tiến Nhật’s Gragas helped PVB’s top and mid late get ahead. At the same time, Đặng “BigKoro” Ngọc Tài and Nguyễn “Palette” Hải Trung were standing their ground against Vega’s weak bot lane and PVB were now winning across the board.
The longer the game went, the harder it became for Vega to dodge all the skillshots coming from Buffalo’s Gragas/Jayce/Ezreal/Zoe poke composition. Without doing anything rash, PVB took over the map inch by inch, not even needing the powerful Elder Drake or Baron buffs. The series ended 3-2 in their favor and Phong Vu Buffalo took their place in the MSI group stage.
After GIGABYTE Marines and EVOS Esports, Phong Vu Buffalo are the third Vietnamese team to qualify for the MSI main event. The region has never made it past the top 6 however.
MSI 2019 will return with the group stage matches on May 10. Day one schedule is as follows (start time: 12:00 CET | 03:00 PST):