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The Group Stage of the first-ever League of Legends: Wild Rift Icons Global Championship is about to begin.
Sixteen of the best teams from all over the world remain to compete to become the first Wild Rift world champions and claim the lion’s share of a US$2 million prize pool.
All four of Southeast Asia's representatives in Icons are still in the competition after Buriram United, Rex Regum Qeon, and Flash Wolves qualified for the Group Stage from the Play-ins last week.
The fourth and final Southeast Asian representative in Icons, Vietnam's Team Flash, have already secured a spot in the Group Stage by virtue of winning the Wild Rift SEA Champions (WCS) 2022.
Ahead of the Icons Group Stage, Yahoo Esports SEA spoke with Team Flash's Đỗ "Elly" Thành Đạt to know a bit more about the team, their journey to the WCS Championship, what they are looking forward to in Icons, and how they are preparing for the battles ahead.
Elly said that the team were very thrilled to win the WCS title because they believed they’d overcome themselves to prove to be the best team not only in Vietnam but also the best team in Southeast Asia.
“It gave me much more confidence to represent SEA. It’s not like we’re just representing Vietnam anymore, we are representing the whole of SEA [now]," said Elly.
"Coming into the Group Stage of the Wild Rift [Icons], I feel a little bit overwhelmed about it because we have had a little bit of a rough time last year. And coming into this year, we have a new squad and new members, and it proved that we are the best ones.”
Personally, Elly said he wished “there was more of a challenge so the adrenaline would be much higher.”
Team Flash have showed much improvement from last year.
After only finishing in 11-12th place at the 2021 Wild Rift Southeast Asia Championship, they rebuilt and went on to become the champions of the WCS this year.
“I guess we had a bit of luck finding new member[s] who have the same mindset as us and same playstyle as us. The one who is willing to improve with all of the constructive feedback,” he said.
And the key to the team’s improvement, according to him, is all about the chemistry of the members within the team.
“We got like two or three new members, but luckily, we got along with each other very well, so we can pull of amazing performances,” Elly added.
Team Flash also won gold at the Wild Rift Men’s event at the recent Southeast Asian Games, which was held in Hanoi, Vietnam.
“It wasn’t much of a thrill when we raised the [WCS] Cup, compared the SEA games where I can show my gold medal in front of everyone. It always feels good when you win something, but winning the SEA games is a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Elly said.
You also get recognition from the government and it would be a very good small step to raise awareness of esports in Vietnam.Elly on winning gold at the SEA Games
"I got all the attention from traditional media from all over Vietnam.”
Because of the schedule of the tournaments that they qualified for, Team Flash’s training schedule is quite tight.
"After each tournament, we take three or four days to rest to refresh ourselves and we come back straight to training because we are professional athletes,” said Elly.
The player also shared that he takes that time to stay at home, hang out with his family and his girlfriend, watch movies or play other online games with friends.
But after each break, Team Flash focuses on training for each tournament.
“We have quite a tough training schedule for every day. Before we jump into any match, we have specific ideas on how we are going to play and which champions we are going to pick,” said Elly.
The team studies every patch coming into the tournament to know its differences from previous versions. “We prepare every little detail when getting ready for the upcoming Icons,” he added.
That’s because Team Flash has the Icons Championship title in their mind. When asked what they’re looking forward to in the Icons, Elly quickly said they have their eyes set on “The championship. Always the championship."
We will do everything for [the Wild Rift Icons] Championship.
When asked what their keys to succeeding at the Icons are, Elly emphasized the brotherhood his team has, and he’s very confident with everyone’s personal skill and their team’s drafting.
“I think we are very comfortable with our ‘bromance’ and our personal skill. We had time spent together understanding each other to play very well together in the Summoner’s Rift,” said Elly.
They also said that they didn’t have a team leader, “because all of the members are good and our personalities mix well together".
"So whenever there’s an issue everyone will gather around and raise their opinion and raise the problem and we try to seek the solution together, so we don’t really have the actual leader, but we try to stay together as brothers,” added Elly.
With that said, Elly admitted that Icons would be on a "different level", as they would be playing against the very best Wild Rift teams in the world.
Elly said Team Flash would definitely try their best, but he thinks all of the teams in the Icons are equally strong compared to each other.
The player believes that there’s a 60-40 chance of beating them all, but thinks their brotherhood is their most powerful weapon.
When asked which team they’re looking forward to meeting, Elly said that it would definitely be FunPlus Phoenix from China.
“They are from one of the most established in the esports industries in the world. Fighting against them would give us a lot of experience," said Elly.
"We are from the small region and we are going to play against kind of the more developed region so it will give us a lot of experience and lessons on how we will run the other games."
Elly was also asked about his opinion about the other SEA teams and the whole SEA region as a whole.
“It’s very hard for me to say or make any judgment on the other teams from SEA because we only faced them 1 or 2 matches, maybe five to seven games in total,” he said.
“During the very short time, I don’t know if they have prepared or improved, but I just wish that we can do very well in representing our region in Icons.”
Elly is Team Flash’s Dragon Laner. Before joining Team Flash, he was with CERBERUS Esports as player for Arena of Valor (AoV). Elly then moved to Team Flash 2019 where he helped the team achieve five championship titles for the organization.
Looking for a new challenge, Elly moved to the Wild Rift roster of Team Flash in 2021. While the team had a lackluster performance in 2021 at the Wild Rift Southeast Asia Championship that year, Team Flash dominated Vietnam, the WCS region, and the SEA Games by winning all three championship titles.
Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.