Saigon Buffalo have clutched out their first victory at MSI 2022. Against LJL champions DetonatioN FocusMe, the Vietnamese squad bounced back from a shaky early game and brute-forced their way to a win with relentless aggression. With a 1-1 score, the young squad still has every opportunity to make their way to the Rumble Stage.
After the win over DFM, Saigon Buffalo mid laner Bùi "Froggy" Văn Minh Hải spoke to Inven Global. He reflected on the somewhat chaotic game and elaborated on the team's early game struggles. Froggy also weighed in on the pressure he feels being the first VCS representative on an international stage in 2.5 years, and what he aims to prove in Busan.
Welcome, Froggy and congrats on a victory. That was a very chaotic game — what do you think of it?
So actually, I'm feeling quite excited and pretty high because I proved the expectations wrong that DFM is stronger than Saigon Buffalo.
Do you think that expectation of DFM being stronger was there before the tournament already, or is that something that you saw after yesterday where DFM won and you guys lost?
So I found that explanation comes from the fact that we are the second seed of the VCS. We are the only team that did not win our championship to qualify for MSI, so that's why they did not put so much hope into it.
Talking about the game itself. In the early game, it still seemed a little bit shaky and it seemed that you guys were on the backfoot. What do you think caused this in the game and how do you evaluate that position?
I think the reason was that our teammate, Hasmed, today has not been playing very well. That allowed the other top laner Evi to exploit him. And I think that TF, their mid laner, also had some good decisions to continue to roam in order to exploit Hasmed and to get an early advantages for the team.
"We are strong and we are on par with other regions"
At what point did you feel okay, we're actually back in the game and we're going to be able to win?
So after Hasmed being exploited, we said to him that it's okay, stick to the plan. And after a few skirmishes for combat, we said to ourselves, we're getting stronger and we think like we can get better now.
It’s the first time in two-and-a-half years that the VCS is at an international event. What are your expectations?
The goal for me is to showcase Saigon Buffalo's capabilities and to show the world that VCS is not a weak region. We are strong and we are on par with other regions as well.
Do you think that you have something extra to prove now, after being away for so long?
I think this is the biggest opportunity by far to show the world that we are coming back. That the VCS is coming back.
Saigon Buffalo is a very young team, the youngest on average at MSI. What does it mean for you to be with such a young squad amongst all these veterans who've been to the international stage before?
I feel this is actually a very exciting challenge for us because we can show them that, even though we're young, we are not far behind the more experienced teams.
Do you think your youth can give you and advantage?
I think that it could be an advantage public opinion-wise, because they could be a bit more forgiving if we don’t perform very well the first time.
"I want to face off against the very best. Xiaohu on RNG and caPs on G2."
What about in terms of playing the game?
I feel like gameplay-wise, when you go to Summoner’s Rift, there is no age difference. You play your game, capitalize on the opponent's mistakes and defeat them.
You've obviously played against Faker, which is a very respected mid laner. But are there any other players or teams that you're looking forward to facing if you do make it to the to the Rumble Stage?
I want to face off against the very best. Xiaohu on RNG and caPs on G2.
To round up, do you want to say anything to the VCS fans and to the international fans who are celebrating your first victory at MSI?
So, the last thing I want to say is: thank you so much for fans, international VCS fans, for always supporting us. And what I want to say to you guys as well: wait for us to show more exciting and more surprising performances in the next few days.
Storyteller by heart. If something is competitive, I am interested in it.