A preview of Worlds 2021 finals
The World Championship (also known as Worlds) is the second of two yearly international tournaments in the League of Legends Esports scene, where players compete on franchised teams for fame, pride, a considerable salary, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash prizes.
22 teams from 12 regions (The Vietnam Championship Series couldn’t send their 2 teams due to covid travel restrictions) will compete for the ultimate prize in LoL esports, the 70-pound Summoner’s Cup. The tournament started with the play-in stage on October 5th, before advancing to the main stage groups, before eventually ending with the finals on November 6th.
The Semifinals wrapped up, and both series went the distance. We are set for a final between two storied teams, but the matchup may not be as close as it seems on paper. The first team to advance was…
Damwon Gaming KIA (LCK #1): A new dynasty in the making
Damwon KIA have far-and-away been the best team at the tournament for its entirety. It took until the semifinals with T1 (who was considered the 2nd strongest team at the moment) for them to drop a game.
Fortunately, the series between the new kings and the oldest legacy in LoL lived up to the hype. T1 pushed Damwon to their absolute limit in a tense 5 game series. But Damwon KIA were just too good. Every single player is peaking at the right time, and they look like the best in the world individually and as a team.
A title would mean many things. It would go a long way in cementing DK as the next great dynasty. Canyon and Showmaker are making claims for some of the best to ever play their roles, and more trophies for the cabinet would add to their legacy. Khan would get his first international title after so many years of being so good on so many different rosters but never quite getting there. It is also his final chance to do so before his mandatory military service. Damwon KIA were favorites for the title coming in and they have not only lived up to all expectations but surpassed them.
Their opponent is another team that has hungry players with a lot to prove…
Edward Gaming (LPL #1): Finally at the top of the mountain
This finals appearance has been a long time coming for Edward Gaming. Despite being around for so long and winning so many domestic titles, EDG would never get the job done at Worlds. Whether it was playing massively below expectations or just getting unlucky with the draws, EDG had yet to even make it past quarterfinals, much less make it to the big dance.
This year they finally broke the curse. It started out as the same old song and dance with a collapse in the 2nd round robin to finish below T1 and being set up for an LPL civil war with Royal Never Give Up.
That is where the old narratives end. EDG narrowly clutched it out over their bitter rivals to finally do what seemed to be impossible, and they ran with the opportunity as they won a closely contested series against Gen. G to put them in position for their first ever World Championship. Every player obviously wants to win Worlds, but there are 3 in particular one EDG who might want it more than anyone. Scout and Meiko have practically given their entire careers to EDG, but were never fully rewarded for it, always being stopped by someone before they can even reach the final hurdle. Now they are only one series away from making all the heartbreaking losses worth it. Their ADC Viper was forced to flee the collapsing organization that was Griffin and got his shot with one of the most storied organizations in China. He has breathed new life into EDG and can be the first of the Griffin prodigies to win the biggest trophy in LoL.
Matchups to watch
Showmaker vs Scout: One of the fastest rising mid laners in the LCK and one of the best mid laners in the world vs one of the faces of the franchise of the oldest organizations in the LPL.
These two players are some of the biggest faces of their organization and they have been some of the best players in the tournament. Showmaker has been one of the best mid laners for two years now while Scout’s Orianna and Zoe went deathless against Gen. G and his Ryze helped carry game 5 to get them to finals
Viper vs Ghost: This is quite possibly the most pivotal matchup of the finals.
Viper was the single most hyped-up player on EDG and looked absolutely incredible in domestic play, while Ghost was considered a weak point in the regular season. Now, the script has been flipped. Ghost has been showing up in a massive way all throughout Worlds 2021. He has held off some of the best bot laners in the world like Hans Sama and Gumayusi.
Viper meanwhile has been far from horrible, but he has not quite been transcendent. He has moments where he looks like his LPL self, but it isn’t consistent or always maintained. He will need to if EDG are to stand a chance.
Prediction: DK 3-0 It’s strange to think that one of the most predicted and likely matchups of a Worlds final is also being advertised as a complete stomp. These are the champions of the two strongest regions in the world, and these are two of the three tournament favorites. Yet one significantly outclasses the other in almost every conceivable way.
Almost anything Edward Gaming do, Damwon KIA do better. The top lane shouldn’t even be a contest. Khan has been having the tournament of his life while Flandre has been a weaker point of EDG. Jiejie may be good, and deserves props for being a big reason why EDG made it so far, but Canyon is a generational talent. There hasn’t been anyone better than him in his role since 2020 and he’s only gotten better as time has gone on. Scout is great, and one of the most storied mid laners in the LPL, but Damwon KIA have Showmaker, who needs no introduction. The bot lane might have been a strength for EDG coming in, but Viper and Meiko haven’t quite lived up to the lofty expectations while Ghost and BeryL are stepping up when it matters most. The EDG bot lane is far from terrible, but they need to be transcendent if they want to carry EDG across the finish line.
That pretty much describes the whole matchup. Edward Gaming are a very good team, with skilled players in every position. Against almost any other team in the tournament, they would be favorites and have beaten many skilled rosters. But Damwon KIA are just a cut above everyone. You can see this most clearly when you compare their semifinals matches. Both went 5 games against a lower seeded LCK opponent. The difference?
EDG had to go to 5 games against Gen. G, a team that was heavily criticized for being one-dimensional, was touted as the weakest 1st seed of the knockout round, and in the words of LCK analyst “never learn and get better because teams keep giving them games”.
Damwon KIA on the other hand, was taken to 5 games by T1. T1 were having one of their best seasons in years, had a very strong group stage and quarterfinals, and were being advertised as possibly the only team capable of beating the current form of Damwon. There is a reason that match was considered by some to be the “true finals” and if things go as expected, Damwon KIA will prove them right.
The finals will begin at 7 A.M tomorrow and will feature and opening ceremony beforehand. You can find the full schedule at https://lolesports.com/, and catch every match there, on the LoL Esports YouTube channel, or at https://www.twitch.tv/riotgames.