Saigon Buffalo may have been knocked out of Worlds contention, but their presence internationally this year has certainly had an impact, especially for their young ADC Nguyễn “Shogun” Văn Huy.
Their international presence in 2022 started by slamming both DFM and Team AZE at MSI 2022, followed by managing to take a game off G2 and PSG Talon before bowing out in the group stage.
Keep in mind that Saigon were the second seed VCS team, and that GAM were supposed to be the representatives at MSI. And, though their Worlds run, they also managed to take a game off MAD Lions and made the set much closer than the 3-1 record would make you believe.
Nguyễn “Shogun” Văn Huy is the player at the center of the hype around Saigon Buffalo. He’s a hyper aggressive ADC player who isn’t afraid to take fights, and even earned himself a pentakill at Worlds 2022.
We sat with this 18 year-old ADC prodigy to ask about what he’s learned from playing internationally, Saigon’s fast and loose playstyle, and his plans for the future after becoming a world-renowned ADC so early on in his career.
Shogun bot diffs every game he plays
Shogun’s unfettered aggression can seem unbeatable, even for the best teams. MAD’s ADC, William ‘UNF0RGIVEN’ Nieminen, spent most of his time against Saigon playing very passive, long-range ADCs.
We asked Shogun about what it felt like trying to draft against MAD’s bot lane, and why MAD didn’t try to match his aggression.
“I think the reason is that MAD Lion’s bot lane, their AD carry, has a limited champion pool, so he cannot play meta ADCs. He had to pick champions that go even in lane and play for late game.”
Đinh “Taki” Anh Tài, SGB’s support, ran champions like Shen and Sett, aggressive and fairly off-meta support champions that really augment Shogun’s aggression. And those picks are relatively tame for this team; Taki even tried out Camille support earlier this year.
But it isn’t like these off-meta picks are a well-kept secret for Saigon Buffalo, picks that they practice for months to pull them out when they really need a win. Shogun’s answer as to their methodology on these support champs was… surprisingly simple.
“For the weird champ picks Taki has like Sett and Shen, we don’t practice those. Our coach instructed us to do so, and executing well is our winning strategy.”
According to Shogun, Saigon Buffalo just… pick whichever champions seem good?
It’s easy to see why Saigon Buffalo have so many fans. They really are just that unpredictable. Shogun explained this ideology further in a follow-up question about the bot lane meta.
“The meta in the bot lane is very diverse, very wide in this world championship. You can play any champion and you can still play well as long as you have a good matchup. That’s my take.”
Shen support? Sure, why not? Zac mid? Let’s do it! Vayne top? Not only will they pick Vayne top, they’ll destroy with it. Not to mention, Trần ‘BeanJ’ Văn Chính’s Pantheon jungle was almost good enough to take down MAD in Game 4.
There wasn’t any big secret behind Saigon Buffalo’s drafting, at least when it comes to the bot lane. They just pick what they think is good. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But it’s always fun to watch.
Shogun’s career is just beginning
Shogun’s position is a rare one. He didn’t even start his pro career until midway through 2021, yet he’s internationally recognized as one of the best ADC players in the world.
It’s rare someone gains so much attention in such a short time, but Shogun’s domestic and international performance has certainly left an impression on international audiences. Shogun is certainly grateful for all the recognition.
“I’m really glad that, because of my performance at these international events, international fans recognize my abilities.”
He’s learned a lot from his international experience this year, too. International teams are very different from those within the VCS according to Shogun.
“MSI was a big learning point for me. It was my first international experience, and I got to learn so much about the teams and about how to play bot lane much better. That is definitely a very big highlight.”
MSI was a big tournament for these players, especially since the VCS had been absent from international events for years. Considering the average age of the players on Saigon Buffalo is 19, this team is extremely young across the board.
They were definitely excited after their MSI 2022 run despite how it ended.
“As for the comparison between teams from around the world and the VCS, teams around the world play very solid, play their game very well. As opposed to the VCS where you engage in a lot of skirmishes and combat, fighting until the very end.”
Shogun, like Doggo before him, has gained a lot of popularity as an emerging ADC from a minor region that’s tearing entire teams apart.
However, Shogun didn’t seem so keen on going to another region and confirmed that he plans to stay in the VCS through 2023.
“At the moment, it’s not best for me to go abroad for another team for two reasons. The first reason is that I don’t have the experience yet. Second, and more importantly, is the environment.”
“The environment at the VCS like the players, the coach, everyone I know; when I go abroad, it’s a whole new environment I have to adapt to. For now, I think it’s best for me to stay in the VCS.”
Despite his desire to stay in his region, Shogun’s still aiming high for 2023.
“My current goal, my most immediate career goal, is to win the championship in the VCS. I’ve been the runner up twice, and I really want to get that trophy.”