Game publisher slaps global ban on League of Legend champ

By Hoang Nguyen   April 12, 2021 | 12:23 am PT
Game publisher slaps global ban on League of Legend champ
Zeros in SBTC eSports jersey. Photo courtesy of SBTC eSports.
Riot Games banned Pham “Zeros” Minh Loc from all competitions worldwide that involve its games for an inappropriate livestream statement.

Zeros made headlines recently after he was banned from all League of Legends (LoL) competitions in Vietnam by Vietnam Championship Series (VCS) for stating he hoped the Covid-19 pandemic in Vietnam would grow worse via his stream.

But it seems like dark days are not quite over for Zeros. Rumors have it the 21-year-old pro player might switch to playing Wild Rift, a modified version of LoL. However, Nguyen Tran Son, director of GS3 - VNG, the publisher of Wild Rift in Vietnam, refuted the information.

"Riot Games gave Zeros a global ban and it’s applied to all esports games of this publisher. Therefore, the chance of Zeros competing in Wild Rift is literally ‘zero’," Son said.

Zeros will also not be allowed to compete professionally in other Riot games, including the free-to-play hero shooter Valorant or collectible card game Legends of Runeterra.

This is one of the heaviest punishments Riot Games has given to a pro player.

Earlier this month, Zeros said on his stream: "I hope the pandemic would get worse so Vietnam could not attend the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) tournament."

The statement was made after his team SBTC eSports lost the chance to compete for the national championship since the team had placed outside the top four by the end of the group stage.

MSI is the second biggest LoL tournament of the year (after World Championship), with the participation of champions from all regions. The MSI 2021 will be held from May 6 to 22 in Iceland.

Shortly after VCS’s national ban, Zeros was also fired by his team SBTC eSports.

Zeros, 21, has played for many strong LoL teams in Vietnam and won three national championships. He also took part in MSI and World Championship before. During his career, Zeros has been fined by VCS many times for his inappropriate acts.

If Zeros wants to continue his career as a pro gamer, he would have no choice but to play for a team abroad that specializes in esports games other than Riot’s.

LoL is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) video game launched in 2009. Players control a 'champion' with special abilities and battle against a team of other players or AI-controlled champions in a pre-defined arena. The goal is to destroy the other team's 'nexus,' a structure located at the heart of base which is protected by other defensive structures.

The game is a hit in Vietnam, and its teams have risen in global prominence.

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