The Rift Rivals: LCK/LPL/LMS/VCS is set to take off on the 4th of July. Unlike last year, this year's iteration of Rift Rivals: Red will have VCS competing alongside the LMS, teaming up against the two major regions, LCK and LPL.
Although most of the fans' attention is currently centered around the rivalry between the LCK and LPL, fans who were impressed by VCS' Dashing Buffalo's performance at MSI are more than excited to see them in action again. The team's former top laner, Zeros, is no longer a part of the team, but Dashing Buffalo stayed true to their aggressive nature and kept their aggressive playstyle intact.
A few days before Rift Rivals, our team met with the DBL players who were both humble yet confident, to hear from them about their resolution regarding the tournament.
Nice to meet you! It's your second time here in Korea. How do you like it here?
Palette: I'm really interested in skin care, and I was in awe at how great Koreans take care of their skin. Also, I'm a fan of IU. My Summoner name is actually based off of one of her songs.
Naul: I'm really into K-pop. I'm a fan of Black Pink - she's really popular in Vietnam. I'm also really liking Korea's weather.
Meliodas: I'm a fan of BTS. They're awesome!
Bigkoro: I really enjoyed trying the different Korean dishes. Bibimbap was delicious.
Raizo: I tried Kimchi and it was just my style of food as I like spicy food. I ate so much Kimchi yesterday that I spent all morning in the bathroom today...
Most players on Dashing Buffalo are really young. What made you become professionals? Do you have a role model player?
Naul: Before I became a professional gamer, I used to work a job that makes fishing nets. One day, I saw a match between Saigon Jokers' Optimus and qtv. I thought to myself, "I could do the same." I moved to Ho Chi Minh City afterward and tried out for a team.
As for my role model, I really like Faker, Bdd, Chovy, and fofo.
Raizo: I used to be a bot laner, so I have a lot of respect for SKT Teddy.
When I was training for Dashing Buffalo as the team's sub bot laner, Zeros left the team. DBL was then forced to quickly find a replacement top laner. At the time, there was no notable top lane free agent in the VCS. When the coach asked me to play as the team's top laner, I seriously thought that he was joking. (Laughs) When I found out that he was serious, I felt very pressured.
The most difficult thing for me when transitioning from bot lane to top lane was the usage of teleport, as looking for the perfect opportunity to teleport requires a lot of time and practice to master. As for picks, I had no problem playing top lane champions as I used to play a wide range of champions before I became pro. I have no problem with wave control in the top lane as well.
Palette: I used to be a mid laner, so I have a lot of respect for Optimus. He's one of the most popular players in Vietnam.
How is the career, 'professional gamer' viewed by the people of Vietnam?
Naul: It's accepted as a great job in large cities such as Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi. However, in the other regions, not so much. For example, a lot of Vietnamese gamers play at paid pc cafes, and some of them steal money just so that they can play. Some Vietnamese people link gaming to criminal activities.
Due to your fiery performance at MSI, you gained a lot of fans from around the world, including Korea. Did you know that?
Bigkoro: Not at all. I didn't know the Korean fans had interest in us. I'm both amazed and happy to hear that. I'll do my best to show similar performance at Rift Rivals.
Can you tell us what kind of a league VCS is?
Meliodas: The gap between us and the other VCS teams used to be very big. But nowadays, the other teams are getting much better. I believe that the VCS is right under - if not just as strong - as the major regions.
At MSI, you defeated the eventual champions, G2, twice. Why do you think that happened?
Naul: I honestly don't know. (Laughs) I want to ask the same question. But for some reason, I think we are capable of defeating them if we are to meet again. G2 is an amazing team that can win against anyone, but also lose to anyone.
Palette: During MSI, we scrimmed G2 twice. Each game was a bloodbath... about 80 total kills per game. Because of this, I didn't feel much pressure when playing against G2. Although we lost both scrims, we had confidence playing them on stage.
At the Rift Rivals, you'll face LCK's Griffin and LPL's JD Gaming.
Raizo: I'm confident playing against JD Gaming. However, I'm kind of nervous about our match with Griffin... It'll be 50-50 at best.
Meliodas: I don't think JD Gaming has anything too special. On the other hand, Griffin has Tarzan... a great jungler. It feels like Tarzan thoroughly understands the limits of every champion that he plays. He's also very talented at finding the perfect gank opportunities.
Aside from Griffin and JD Gaming, which teams do you want to face at Rift Rivals?
Naul: IG and DAMWON. The players from both teams are very skilled mechanically. I want to play against them and see how we'll do against them. I've also watched a lot of DAMWON's games. Nuguri is really impressive.
Palette: I want to play against SKT T1, more specifically, Teddy and Mata. I want revenge for what happened at MSI! (Laughs)
How's Korean solo queue?
Naul: I used to play a lot of Korean solo queue even in Vietnam. The KR players are a lot more serious when playing. Also, a number of LCK teams have agreed to scrim with us. I'm very thankful and glad that they approached us so kindly. We didn't scrim yet, but I'm a bit nervous that we might lose. (Laughs) Even if we lose, I want to give them a good game so that they'd continue to scrim with us in the future.
Raizo: I played a game of solo queue with Teddy, a player that I really respect. Although I lost the game, I was very happy to play with him.
Lastly, is there anything that you want to say to your fans?
Naul: We were given an opportunity to play against some of the best teams from around the world. I want to learn as much as I can from them. I'll also do my best to show the fans that we aren't a weak team.