The VCS will be attending Worlds 2022 after Saigon Buffalo obtained all of their visas. GAM Esports could be close to follow them to North America.

Vietnam’s Championship Series (VCS) teams have missed the last two Worlds tournaments (since 2019) and MSI 2021, due to the Covid-19 situation limiting travel possibilities. Now it looks like history might be about to repeat itself as both of the VCS seeds face severe visa issues ahead of Worlds 2022.

Image via Saigon Buffalo Twitter
Image via Saigon Buffalo Twitter

Update 23/09/2022:

Saigon Buffalo will be attending Worlds. They have now secured all the required visas for their LoL roster to attend Worlds 2022 with the final member of the team securing his visa today (September 23rd).

GAM Esports have also secured more visas, meaning six of the eight members of the LoL team are now able to enter the US and attend Worlds 2022.

Who is at risk of missing out?

With six days to go before the deadline of all visas for Worlds 2022 attendees, the VCS first seed and second seeds, GAM Esports and Saigon Buffalo are still experiencing visa issues. The US, which is hosting Worlds 2022 this year alongside Mexico, has had strict visa regulation for many Southeast Asian countries for several months. This is a continuation of earlier visa issues for both teams.

The VCS reached their first international event in two years at MSI 2022, where Saigon Buffalo represented the region. This was because the first place team GAM Esports, who had also qualified for worlds, had Saigon Buffalo attend MSI in their place as GAM was attending a different regional event.

But with the clock ticking and no further official statements from Riot Games since September 10th on attempting to rectify the visa issues for both VCS teams, both teams are once again at risk of missing out on their third consecutive Worlds. September 10th saw an announcement from Riot stating that they were doing “whatever they could to get GAM to Worlds.” The reason for failure of both teams in obtaining visas was never publicly stated.

Image via GAM Esports Twitter
Image via GAM Esports Twitter

What is expected to happen?

Currently, GAM have updated their Twitter with promotional footage about their Worlds’ run. But there are no clear statements on whether their visas have been confirmed–Although a member of the team did confirm that the applications were going well on Reddit. This gives some hope to fans that their visa issues have been cleared up once and for all.

Unfortunately for Saigon Buffalo, the clock is still ticking and time is rapidly running out. The Twitter for the team updated today (September 20th) informing fans that “Froggy, Shogun, and BeanJ visas were denied previously and haven’t received any new update yet.” This means the jungle, mid and ADC of the team may not make it to Worlds at all. The top, sub mid, and support have obtained visas.

This visa issue is one that Riot has been attempting to fix. But as time slips away, it is unclear if Saigon Buffalo will make it to Worlds at all. If these visas don’t come through there is the additional issue of finding a substitute ADC, as the team already has two subs for mid and jungle

What happens if Saigon Buffalo (or GAM Esports) don’t obtain visas in time?

Put simply, it's currently unknown what will happen if the visa aren't processed in time. In previous years where the VCS was missing representatives from Worlds, the tournament was adapted to deal with the smaller number of teams.

However, there is the possibility of the slots being given to another region. Unfortunately, this creates even more questions, such as which region would get the slot? The LEC has additional slots this year (from the usual three to four teams), and the issue of fast tracking two other teams’ visas would add an even tighter timeframe than the one we are currently seeing.

Worlds 2022 begins September 29th with the play-ins stage in Mexico City, although whether the VCS will be there remains to be seen.