Although Saigon Buffalo return home at the end of the MSI 2022 Rumble Stage, the Vietnamese team leaves with their heads held high. The team, who finished their VCS split in second place but made it to MSI after VCS champions GAM Esports decided to play in the Southeast Asian Games, had a lot of pressure on their shoulders. They were also the first Vietnamese representatives to attend an international League of Legends event since 2019, with the travel to and from the country heavily restricted due to COVID regulations.
With the youngest lineup at the tournament, Saigon Buffalo brought Vietnam's trademark aggressive playstyle to MSI. At the end of the Rumble Stage, support player Đinh "Taki" Anh Tài spoke to Inven Global about his time in Busan and how he felt about his performance on the international stage.
Welcome, Taki. It's the end of the tournament for you, but you did manage to pick up a win against G2 to round it off. With that in mind, how do you feel about your final day?
I'm feeling very happy, especially about the win against G2, but I think I would be even happier if we would have won against T1 as well.
You were mathematically eliminated from the tournament on the fourth day of the Rumble Stage, so with what mindset did you head into the day?
We came into today with a very determined mindset to win these games. We really wanted to kick G2 out of the top four.
Why did you want to kick them out?
Because Jankos, or Giang Văn Cốt, has betrayed his Vietnamese family! [Laughs]
"We left a very good impression of Saigon Buffalo and the VCS on the international stage."
[Laughs] I love the determination. Obviously, they struggled in the latest games, but overall they have been performing well and you did lose to them once. How did you prepare against them?
I feel like coach Ren really helps us a lot by giving us comfortable picks. We also get surprising picks, like Gwen going to the jungle, which really gets the game going for us.
It worked out well for you guys. I think, throughout the tournament, Saigon Buffalo have played progressively better in each game. How do you view your team's development throughout MSI?
I feel that very strongly. Regardless of winning or losing, we were learning a lot throughout every game in the tournament.
You have a very young lineup compared to the rest of the competitors. In what ways did you notice this difference in experience?
Before going to Korea, we were actually a bit concerned about that. But when we were in the game, our heads were set. We just focused on winning the games.
There were mixed expectations for Saigon Buffalo heading into MSI. People were excited for the return of the VCS, but at the same time noted that you are their second-best team. How do you feel you've performed in light of those expectations?
I feel like we have a very solid, a very good performance in this tournament. I understand that there are mixed feelings and mixed expectations about our team, but we just ignored that and focused on the game. I feel like, compared to VCS teams that went to international events years ago, we had a solid performance. We left a very good impression of Saigon Buffalo and the VCS on the international stage.
"We are very confident, but we are still very inexperienced."
You and Shogun received a lot of praise for your performances. What do you think of your own performance?
We are very confident, but we are still very inexperienced. I think this is just the start of a learning experience for us to get even better.
I also want to talk about your MSI experience as a person, not as a competitor. How was it to travel to Busan, and what will you treasure from the experience?
Personally, I like Korea a lot. I'm really excited that I got to make this trip. I got taken care of very well, the food was superb, the city was beautiful... It was a top-notch experience.
To round up, Taki, is there anything you'd like to say to the VCS fans and the international fans that have supported you?
Even though we are still very young, and we are still a bit stubborn like a buffalo, I sincerely hope that you will always cheer for us. We will try our best to become even better and come back to the international stage to give you the spectacular plays from Saigon Buffalo in the upcoming tournaments.
Storyteller by heart. If something is competitive, I am interested in it.