The Arena of Valor International Championship (AIC) 2020 can be considered as one of the most successful international tournaments in the history of AoV Vietnam, especially with three representative teams reaching the semifinals.

With AIC 2020 now more than halfway through its competition schedule, one of the Vietnamese teams that have emerged is Team Flash. At this point, they were “no longer themselves” — but in a positive way, always changing and adjusting to create their own identity.

During the Arena of Glory (AOG) Winter 2020 tournament, long-time AoV fans did not recognize Team Flash when they “catastrophically” changed. Many of their main players changed positions, resulting in an unstable performance for the squad last season. Stars like Trần “ADC” Đức Chiến and Đỗ “Elly” Thành Đạt started showing signs of wavering professional resolve and mental toughness.

Entering AIC, the expectation for Team Flash was still very high, but the team announced that they will just be YOLO-ing (you only live once) the competition regardless of the results. Unexpectedly, this more laid-back mindset has helped them get through the AIC 2020 Group Stage, even taking the lead in the process.

To regain the full trust of their fans, team captain Phạm “Gấu” Hồng Quân announced that Team Flash will create a new meta for Arena of Valor.

Looking back on Team Flash’s journey so far, it seems that they’re on track towards achieving that goal. Their inspiration is being generous when it comes to their play style — it’s not about going on a heavy defense or being keen on map control. While Team Flash always led the way in dragon kills in AOG Winter, they no longer care about it now.

Heroes like Volkath and Valhein have always been brought in by Trần “ProE” Quang Hiệp in tournaments since supports often impact the early game and can even hard counter opponents. ProE even uses the marksman hero Violet in his ranked games, taking advantage of her ability to shoot for long-range attacks. This play style makes Team Flash snowball faster, making a big difference in the early game.

This strategy is not always effective though. It is potentially risky because Team Flash choosing their cards means they are forced to actively play on the attacking side. Their opponents can snowball bigtime if Team Flash executes this the wrong way. Case in point: in the quarterfinal match against MAD Team, Team Flash lost when they gave Lu Bu (Game 1) and Valhein (Game 2) to ProE. 

However, with their experience, Team Flash is no longer afraid of encountering difficult situations. Instead, they always rely on fights to win. They may lack a proper AD carry in their lineup, but they never pass up on powerful cards. Maloch, Superman, Wonder Woman, Lorion — these heroes help Team Flash break the pressure of a standard meta formation, as long as they handle them correctly.

One good point in Team Flash’s unique play style is that they no longer depend too much on their jungler. The ADC still shines when needed but the burden has been reduced for the rest of the team. Meanwhile, Abyssal Dragon laner Nay “Daim” Thành Trung can now play tanks and gladiators from being a hard gunner, while Trần “XB” Xuân Bách and ProE are still the “machines” when it comes to game-changing plays. 

A new meta was not clearly defined, but at least AOG’s own identity was created. In order for their style to be more widespread, Team Flash had to improve a lot, reduce risk ratios, and explore more powerful lineup combos. They’ve been trying to do that by getting some defensive equipment during the early game like the Medallion of Troy.

Each region — even each team and player — needs to have its own distinctive playstyle if they want to be remembered. ProE took note of this in a recent livestream, commenting on BOX Gaming’s play style.

“BOX Gaming’s fighting style is no different from MAD Team,” ProE claimed.

Credit: Garena

If you can’t be at the forefront of shaping the meta, you have to at least create your own identity. BOX can fight well and create the same impression as Team Flash and Saigon Phantom, but they are still considered as the weakest team in AOG Vietnam. BOX’s flexibility and creativity are almost nonexistent, the team is just trying to play by the books. 

Meanwhile, Team Flash has been stepping up and changing its gameplay. Teams cannot have their preferred heroes all the time, which is why they have to research carefully or learn how to improvise during a match. Once Team Flash has completely mastered their new style, they don’t need to worry too much about their opponents. What they need to focus on is maximizing their strength, using their essence as a team to defeat their opponents. 

Credit: Garena

Of course, in the beginning, experimentation can lead to failure. Fortunately, Team Flash has not faced any major consequences in their AIC campaign this year. Still, some of their cards have already been countered and are longer working as effectively as they originally planned.

Opponents can freely use AoE heroes to hold Valhein, or play assassins to capture Ignis. These are also the two heroes that ProE is particularly fond of.

There is still a long way to go for Team Flash towards the goal that Gấu aspires for. What they need to think about now is finding a way to beat Saigon Phantom, another team that is also trying to prove its own identity. The success or failure of “Meta Flash” depends on a lot of the results on this year’s AIC. They have to prove to the tournament how effective their playstyle is and continue to build on it in seasons to come.

READ MORE: These are the MVPs at each position from the AIC 2020 Group Stage