▲ Source: Riot Games Worlds always brings the best of the best of the best players to one stage in an effort to entertain the masses and crown a King, and 2020 is no different (unless you leave Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok to home and the lack of an in-person audience outside of the finals). And despite the amazing players with a long international history – like Hung “Karsa” Hao-Hsuan, Rasmus “Caps” Winther, Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk, etc. – Suning’s Vietnamese jungler, Lê “SofM” Quang Duy, is by far the most influential of the event in his first participation. SofM has taken the tournament by storm. At the very beginning, people were interested in the jungler for its unique tank builds, especially its Knight’s Vow + Spirit Visage Lee Sin. But focusing on that specific detail greatly undermines what he does, and what he’s done, for the meta in both the LPL and the worlds. ▲ Source: Riot Games Fog of War? Not for Suning! Zooming out to get a glimpse of the big picture, SofM was making waves with its outrageous vision control by popularizing and perfecting the method of trading trinkets to abuse cooldowns in the summer of 2019. Essentially, SofM was switching between the protective yellow trinket and the jewel red sweep on its bases to take advantage of the red jewel’s lower cooldown, which was only half that of the yellow. In doing so, he could place twice as many rooms as other junglers, or a third as many rooms with just one use of the broom. Even when he was resting to heal, but wanted to keep his yellow trinket on, he would turn red during the 10 seconds there to gain extra protection ten seconds faster when returning to the map. He was meticulously efficient. Riot has since removed this mechanic, possibly due to SofM, and ultimately the rest of the high Elo and pro game, taking advantage of it too much. However, this remained a somewhat popular strategy early in the game, with junglers often placing early defensive protection and immediately supporting the Red Trinket to clear enemy vision or secure a sneaky early gank before their first base where they return. with yellow trinket. You can no longer continue to trade for reduced cooldowns, but trading is still important in some situations. Although this has been a popular strategy for over a year now, none of the apprentices have managed to overtake the captain. SofM had both the highest two quarters placed per minute of any non-support in the group stage, and had the second highest quarters cleared per minute of each participating player, including supports. I have spoken about his incredible vision control before, but it is clear that his efforts to provide and deny vision have been helpful to Suning’s success. In addition to 24/7 farming, SofM consistently places and denies the vision of controlling the map against Team Liquid. In their quarter-final series against JDG, SofM beat their jungler opponent, Seo “Kanavi” Jin-hyeok’s, a vision score of 77 in their first loss, then 75, 98 and 18 in their three wins. Additionally, he had the highest vision score in each of the four games, including supports from both teams. Beyond his influence on the map with his vision control, SofM inspired Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen to copy his Lee Sin tank and made Karsa think Jarvan IV was playable. He’s really embraced the whole “agricultural jungler meta”, often leaving his laners on an island while he is building up his CS. He is tied for first in the junglers’ CSPM and second in the CSD at 10 minutes, almost double third place. He even saw the flame of an enemy jungler in one of his games. Additionally, he also secures twice as many dragons for his team than he gives up, with 34 taken and 17 lost. He’s constantly on the map for something to farm, be it monsters, drakes, or beacons. SofM, the People’s Champion But his gameplay isn’t even what makes him influential – his real influence lies in his fandom and in his sole portrayal of the Vietnamese League of Legends scene. SofM is originally from Vietnam and played his early years there before moving to the LPL in 2016. He played for Snake Esports – now LNG Esports – for nearly four years before moving to Suning, struggling to find a real success. ▲ Source: Yicun_Liu Now, in its very first international competition, out of more than 100 players participating in the 2020 World Cup, SofM is the only Vietnamese player present due to travel restrictions prohibiting the two representatives of the VCS from taking their place in the tournament. It was heartbreaking news leading up to the Worlds. But as a small consolation, the region was represented instead by its biggest star ever produced, SofM. And his fans have come in droves to support him and watch him play. According to Esports Charts, most of the quarterfinal matches registered a maximum of 250,000 Vietnamese spectators. However, the Suning vs JDG match had a peak of 380,000 Vietnamese, drawing around 130,000 more people to those games than the other three. SofM is also a legend and role model for VCS pros, and its success propels the region forward. After MSI 2019, I spoke with a manager deeply involved in VCS, Nguyễn Vũ Đôn, who has worked for many of the most successful VCS teams including EVOS at MSI 2018, then Phong Vũ / Dashing / Saigon Buffalo at both at MSI and at the Mondial. He spoke about the influence of players like SofM when they leave the VCS to play internationally. “They’ll see that and think, ‘Someday, if I try hard enough, I could do 10 km a month! I can play in Korea, I can play in China, I can go anywhere in the world and change my life. ‘If they see this, if they see their model doing that and see this target, they will want it. Before, no one has done that, so no one ever thought that China would ever want the ‘one of us is playing for them, “he explained. . ▲ Source: Riot Games “It’ll make young players think it’s a serious career. Then they’ll have a name to show their mom and dad. ‘Look daddy! This guy plays 10k a month. I can be that, I’m that good. Let me try it. In a few years, I may be able to do it. It’s not like they just want to believe us, now they have a name to persuade them. It’s big enough to go to national television. And then we’ll have more players, we’ll have a much more competitive scene. It creates a more interesting league, and it attracts money, and that money changes the league over and over again. C ‘is a very proud thing to see, our player is going to compete in another region. “And his point is crucial, that the shortcomings of the VCS are not the player base and the skills, but rather the opportunities and the stability. financial – something that is fully taken care of if a player moves to the screen ger. This was reiterated in a later conversation I had with famous jungler and VCS legend Đỗ “Levi” Duy Khánh, after his time in the NA Academy and returning to Vietnam regarding the growth and shortcomings of the region. “We have more talented young players and more confidence in our region, but the average salary for pros is still very low compared to other regions, even other wildcard regions of the world,” said the jungler. “What we need is to make it higher someday so that our players strive to keep their place and we can also find more young talent.” Levi’s points prove the need for model players like him and SofM, and that’s why – with Levi’s return to VCS and their inability to travel to Worlds this year – SofM is incredibly important and influential. ▲ Source: Riot Games – Levi at Worlds 2017 Regardless of how fun he looks, beyond how he dismantles teams by controlling vision, and no matter how tanky his Lee Sin gets, the greater quality of SofM is its influence and representation of an emerging budding region that clearly needs it. It’s an utter and utter shame that GAM Esports and Team Flash weren’t able to make it to the Worlds, but it’s crucial that SofM made his debut and played there so well. Regardless of the outcome of the semi-finals, his career over the past several years and throughout this tournament has been incredibly influential, not just for the meta, but for the development, confidence and inspiration of an entire region. who so deserves it. ▲ Source: Riot Games Catch SofM and Suning in their semi-final against LPL top seed Top Esports on Sunday at watch.lolesports.com. For more information and content on LoL Esports, visit our section dedicated to League of Legends! Find full schedules, brackets and more for your favorite esports at Juked.gg.