The League of Legends 2021 Mid-Season Invitational is around the corner. Unfortunately, Vietnam Championship Series (VCS) winner GAM Esports won't be able to take part in the live event due to their country's COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Through their official esports website, Lol Esports, Riot Games announced earlier today that:
"The Mid-Season Invitational is just around the corner, and we are excited for teams all over the globe to come together to compete in Reykjavik, Iceland starting May 6, 2021. While it was our hope that the top team from each of our 12 regions would be able to join us, due to national travel restrictions related to COVID-19, the team from Vietnam (VCS) will unfortunately not be able to participate."
Tom Martell, Director of Operations at Riot Esports, expressed his disappointment at not being able to include GAM Esports in this year's MSI by any feasible means. He said:
"We explored numerous solutions that would allow the VCS team to compete in Iceland, but we were unable to find a way to make this happen. We are deeply disappointed to have to continue without one of our most passionate leagues."
Martell also confirmed that GAM Esports' unintentional exclusion from the tournament wouldn't replace the experience for them. The organizers will be awarding the Vietnamese Champions their full share of the prize pool once the event concludes.
VCS region marks second straight miss from international League of Legends tournament; Riot keeps MSI format unchanged
It's the second straight time the VCS region is missing out on an international League of Legends tournament. Last year, Team Flash missed the World Championships due to Vietnam's foreign travel restrictions. This time, it is GAM Esports missing the Mid-Season Invitational.
Following Riot's official MSI 2021 format, GAM Esports was scheduled to play Stage 1 in Group A alongside Royal Never Give Up, Unicorns of Love, and Pentanet.GG.
But with the unfortunate exit of VCS's Summer Split champions, the group will see just three teams in action.
Riot did not change the tournament's format and has confirmed that the top 2 teams from Group A will proceed to the 2nd stage. The teams participating in Groups B and C will be unaffected by this minor tweak.
"Despite having to continue with one less team, the format of the tournament will not change. VCS was slated to start in Group A along with the teams from the LPL (China), LCL (CIS), and LCO (Oceania). This group will now begin the tournament with the remaining three teams, and the top 2 will advance to the next stage of the competition as originally planned. Groups B and C will remain unaffected."
GAM Esports secured an impressive score of 32-7 in the League of Legends 2021 VCS Spring Split and was hugely backed by their fans being a serious contender for the MSI trophy this year.
Now they need to wait another year to showcase their potential on the international stage.
The Mid-Season Invitational will begin from May 6th as per schedule in Reykjavík, Iceland, with 11 participating League of Legends teams.