/VCS Spring Split 2020: Hot Takes #1. Is GAM Esports weaker than GAM in 2019?

VCS Spring Split 2020: Hot Takes #1. Is GAM Esports weaker than GAM in 2019?

Nguyen Anh Thang
GAM Dia1 (Source: VETV FB)

With the VCS Spring Split already being two weeks underway, we can take a look at several teams on what they accomplished in the competition. In this series of “Hot Takes” I will ask several VCS experts on controversial opinions that happened in the last two weeks of the competition. The five experts on the desk are:

Yulwei, English VCS colour caster on the unofficial VCS broadcast.

Propaganda Panda, VCS article writer on /r/VCS.

Namieee, VCS Discord moderator.

Cide, VCS Discord founder.

LuckyVinnie, VCS Analyst expert.

On the ninth of February, Team Flash managed to surprisingly upset GAM Esports by beating them two to one. Seeing most of the fans favoring GAM Esports as title contenders, would Team Flash now be considered as favourites?

Yulwei: “Can? Yeah. Will? GAM is still favourite.”

Propaganda Panda: “No. GAM is still the big favourite and will win the split. They are often kind of shaky in the Regular Season, but always shape up in the end, and even this week, they should’ve won if not for some epic throw in G3. YiJin has arguably outperformed Levi last series, but if we look at Summer 19, he faltered against Levi when it mattered and got hard stomped. I don’t see FL winning if they can’t overcome GAM’s strong mid to jungle, and I also don’t see a world where they can do this over a five-game series, so…”

Namieee: “No. GAM will still win it. Flash will secure a spot in top 4 no matter what. GAM still outclassed everyone in term of skills, tactics, champion pool, ban pick”

Cide: “Absolutely! After a rough start Week 1, they have for sure redeemed themselves in being able to figure out some great counters to what GAM threw at them in Week 2. Keeping this trend up I actually remain confident flash will #1. It is of course early to tell, but I predicted before the split started that Flash would be stronger on paper.”

LuckyVinnie: “Can absolutely. I wouldn’t bet on it but they have a higher chance than most”

FTV Esports had a rough start of the season. With already being zero three in series and not a single game win, things look rough for the squad. The roster shuffling already began, and in their latest match against Dashing Buffalo their main jungler in Kuroko started as support. Could FTV go zero sixteen in Spring Split 2020?

Yulwei: “Unlikely. I think someone will throw eventually.”

Propaganda Panda: “Number 0–14 is unprecedented, and some other teams (V Gaming Adonis, CERBERUS Esports) have just too many holes themselves, FTV Esports will get one or two wins on a good day although they are the hottest contender for 8th place for sure. In my opinion, they have had big problems with the new patch and don’t utilize Aphelios, Senna and Sett very well or simply can’t play them. Once they adapt, they will win some games through their botlane, although their volatile support situation is concerning. In the end, even Hall of Fame and Vikings didn’t manage to go winless, and those teams were much worse than FTV Esports.”

Namieee: “No, they will manage to find 2 or 3 win as always, on a good day, they can beat GAM Esports.”

Cide: “No. Their first 3 matches has been versus LK, Flash and DBL. These teams ended 2nd, 3rd and 4th last split. I think it’s harsh to judge them out so early after facing only top teams. Initially I put them on 5th, hoping they would break their 6th place curse, but I think they might be doomed to end 6th again possibly. Meaning 2 teams would have to be worse.”

LuckyVinnie: “Again not likely because anything can happen but I wouldn’t be shocked if it happens.”

GAM Esports in Summer Split 2019 was a force to reckon with. No other team could even compete with the team as they swept the play-offs and went to worlds in 2019. The GAM Esports of today looks more vulnerable, as they lost against Team Flash and were making weird mistakes. Is the GAM Esports of summer 2019 stronger than the current iteration of the team?

Yulwei: “So in my opinion versatility, carries in multiple lanes and an adaptable draft are very good things to have. And they decide games and series between the best teams in the world. BUT a minor region team does not to have all these things. If we had a great and adaptable team that is able to play through every lane and have multiple people step up to carry games this team at the international stage would either: 1. Prove to actually be amongst the best teams in the world or 2. Be a worse version of the best teams from the other region. I believe option 2 is waaaay more likely. And let´s be honest. GAM is not trying to diversify their strategy to win VCS. they were able to stomp everyone with their limited playbook. In my opinion having clear strengths that are defined but also potentially better practiced than in any other teams can give even a minor region team win conditions over major region teams. 2019 GAM at their best were very hard to deal with. Your team needed to win the skill-check in top jungle or stomp the other two lanes, which are very used to playing without much assistance. Refining that style, plus outstanding form for the star players at one tournament could have elevated GAM from merely a minor region team to a real force to be reckoned with. I dont believe that it is possible to build a well-rounded VCS team that can compete with the major regions right now, so I would rather have a that does not follow the rules and has its own very distinct playstyle.”

GAM Levi (Source: VETV FB)

Propaganda Panda: “No. I truly believe this line-up will be better than the 2019 iteration. They lost a big star in Zeros, but his playstyle also forced GAM to play around him. Combined with Kiaya’s shallow champion pool in the mid lane and Zin’s weak laning, 2019 GAM was utterly one-dimensional and predictable. This year, all GAM members boast large champion pools. Dia1 matches Zeros in individual talent, but is more stable and flexible, whereas Palette is a very decisive playmaker, something GAM was in desperate need of last year. I don’t know whether they can reach their ceiling, but if they do, I think this line-up will slightly exceed last year’s team in raw strength while also being much more versatile and fundamentally sound.”

Namieee: “No. Kiaya plays a lots more solid than Zeros, he is not overaggressive and can play tanks. Dia1 and Palette is definitely an improvement, sharing the shotcalling role with Levi. Blazes must has bigger champ pool than Zin, and over the last 2 weeks, his performance is quite remarkable.”

Cide: “Only real change is Dia1, Blazes to replace Zin and Palette to replace hieu3. Kiaya has been holding up fine top, just like he did mid. Dia1 is an upgrade midlane and Palette upgrade support. Blazes seems ok, but I am not entirely convinced he is a better bot than Zin. Losing Yoshino and Zeros hurt, but not having top/mid share so many picks is a big buff.

Overall, I would say the good weigh over the bad. On paper, 2020 GAM would be better than 2019 GAM, but I think there’s some structural issues that needs working on. GAM still show they don’t have to try their hardest in games. They mess around, play with experimental picks, don’t take stage games too seriously since they got too comfortable just sweeping the splits in the past. This has lead a lot to them dragging behind more while other teams are improving and is ultimately making them worse in relation to other VCS teams.

TL;DR, comparing 2020 GAM with 2019 GAM, 2020 is better. Comparing 2020 GAM with 2020 VCS teams and 2019 GAM with 2019 VCS teams, 2019 GAM is better.”

LuckyVinnie: “This team has the higher ceiling but I think certain players aren’t quite showing up at this point in time. But overall I disagree.”

Strong and consistent performances is what we see out of the mid laner of GAM Esports. Dia1 is hands down the best mid laner of the VCS. With the most kills, GPM (gold per minute) and GD@15 (gold difference at fifteen) the young mid laner looks like the top contender for MVP of the split. Will he be consistent throughout the split and earn himself the MVP?

Yulwei: “Hard to tell. Dia1/Sorn/Naul are early candidates. If Flash wins then Yoshino.

Propaganda Panda: Yes, based on what we’ve seen so far, he is the best-performing player this split. In my eyes, Dia1 is a true star and a complete mid laner, whether it comes to laning, teamfighting or map play. That said, only two weeks have passed, and in the end, he is still in the same league as Levi (who obviously remains the best VCS player, at least as of now), so the biggest competition will be sitting in the chair next to him.”

Namieee: “Most likely Dia1 or Levi, but we have to wait for the meta in future patches”

Cide: “Yoshino is the best technical player in the VCS. EVOS seems really strong, but it’s more of a team effort than an individual one. Even if I may not 100% agree with it, Dia1 could very likely become the MVP of the split.”

LuckyVinnie: “Way too early to tell but he’s tracking.”

A lot of VCS drafting has been rated questionable by a lot of viewers. However, Violet of EVOS Esports has been super in control in his drafting and it seems to be taken into notice. Their major successes have been through drafting and the team looks like a well oiled machine. Has EVOS Esports the best drafting the VCS house?

Yulwei: “Team Flash versus GAM Esports had great drafts, but overall yes.”

Propaganda Panda: “Way too early to tell. But no, or have we forgotten Kindred and Sejuani already? Drafts can never be judged in isolation but are heavily dependent on champion pools, so those things are tied together. Therefore, one has to ask oneself whether this is limiting EVOS, as capable as Violet is as a coach. Although Sorn had a strong start and has surprisingly become a god at Jarvan IV, he has always struggled to play meta champions, and I also worry about Aphelios; a champion EVOS has began to ban on blue and red side as Divkid doesn’t seem to be comfortable on him.”

EVOS Esports with coach Violet (Source: VETV FB)

Namieee: “I won’t say they’re the best because it is too soon to tell but top 2 for sure. Consistent, but GAM and FL are just behind”

Cide: “While I am willing to agree that Violet is amazing and EVOS has had among the better drafts so far this split, I want to try to raise a vote for Hope without sounding too biased. I think the drafting has allowed VGA a lot of benefits in their games which has put them where they are. It’s no mystery that they don’t have the strongest team. They have four rookies, two players who only played 2 splits in VCS as well as 3 more supports we are yet to see something from (2 of which are rookies and 1 is a veteran we haven’t seen since 2017). Within mind how well they have played these first two weeks compared to other teams with similar pre-conditions, I think a lot of what does it is great drafting.”

LuckyVinnie: “I’d be more willing to give that to DBL or VGA at this point”

So you want to watch the next VCS match? Join us on the live broadcast on either the official Vietnamese broadcast or the English broadcast! Starting next Friday on 11AM, the first match that will be played is going to be CERBERUS Esports versus. FTV Esports.

You can also join our VCS English Discord to discuss even more about VCS.

I hope you had a wonderful read about hot takes in the VCS, and on every Tuesday I will post an new article which features various things about the VCS as well. So stay tuned!

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