Phong Vũ Buffalo made their stand at the League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational Knock-Out Stage today and snatched the series from Vega Squadron 3-2. With this win, PVB has secured the final seed going into the Main Group Stage, but that’s only the first step.
Since the first ever Play-In Stage at MSI back in 2017, the Vietnam Championship Series has always succeeded in placing their representative into the main event. Gigabyte Marines, EVOS, and now PVB all know what it’s like to play against the best teams in the world. GAM and PVB even attended the World Championship in 2016 and 2018.
Merely escaping Play-Ins is no longer a huge success for VCS — it’s an expected result. PVB have the potential to be a legitimate threat in the group stage. But to do so, they’ll need to play much cleaner than they did today.
Their match against Vega Squadron had all of the workings of a reverse sweep. PVB started off incredibly strong and completely shut out Vega in games one and two. Both wins included dominating carry performances by mid laner Võ "Naul" Thành Luâ, who went 14-1 between the two games. Once they were on the brink of a clean 3-0, however, Vega was able to answer back in games three and four before ultimately falling to PVB in game five.
PVB came out on top in this close series, but this isn’t the first time we’ve seen them lose momentum when it counts. In their match against Team Liquid on May 6, they amassed respectable leads in games one and two before throwing, and possibly could have won those games if not for a few crucial errors.
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In their matches against TL and Vega, PVB exhibited two major weaknesses. They tend to overstay after neutral objective skirmishes and commit excess resources to high-variance plays. This game-changing fight around dragon pit in their series against Vega was a perfect example of these issues.
For a team that benefits from getting ahead early on and running away with the lead, these flaws must be ironed out in order to have success against stronger teams.
The Main Group Stage begins on May 10, and PVB are thrown straight into the fire against tournament favorites Invictus Gaming. After that, they close out the day with a rematch against Team Liquid. If PVB can harness their aggressive playstyle to push whatever leads they create in the early game, we may see some upsets this Friday.