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World 2021 Finals Preview - Edward Gaming vs DAMWON Kia

Image via Riot Games | Getty Images

Written by 

André González Rodríguez

Posted 

5th Nov 2021 16:55

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After one month of almost daily League of Legends play, the 2021 World Championships will finally come to its conclusion in the form of yet another China versus Korea final - in which defending 2020 champions from the LCK, DAMWON Kia will look to cement themselves as a monumental dynasty versus the LPL stalwarts, EDward Gaming.

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Both of these teams came into the tournament as their region’s number one seed and have showcased why that was the case.

Ever since they took the crown last year, DAMWON Kia have dominated every step of the way. Two first-place finishes in both the spring and summer splits and a close second-place finish after they fell to China’s Royal Never Give Up at the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) finals 3-2. This team has been the epitome of excellence all throughout the year and it continued at this year’s Worlds.

To start the tournament, the Korean powerhouse was placed in the Group Stage’s Grup A. This group was seen as a two-pronged group, with DAMWON Kia being one of the prongs. The group contained Europe’s third seed, Rogue and North America’s third-seeded Cloud9 who qualified through the play-in stage. The other prong was China’s FunPlus Phoenix, not only were they the 2019 World Champions, but they were seen as one of the favourites alongside DAMWON Kia. They consistently performed well through their region’s season and were on track to take the first seed if it wasn’t for some uncharacteristic play in the finals EDward Gaming.

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DAMWON Kia absolutely tarnished the group, going a perfect six and zero after both of the round robins. They showcased finesse, accuracy, and absolute dominant play over their opponents. And with a little bit of luck of having their rivals in the group, FunPlus Phoenix, having an absolute meltdown, DAMWON Kia was on track to between two-time world champions.

Image via Riot Games/Getty Images
Image via Riot Games/Getty Images

This level of play continued through to the quarterfinals in which they had to face Europe’s number one seed, MAD Lions. This wasn’t their first time meeting the Lions as at this year’s MSI, the European representatives gave them a good fight at that tournament’s semifinals. DAMWON Kia took that series 3-2. Past that, was the semifinals in which they had to face off against their Korean counterparts T1

Once again, DAMWON Kia weren’t strangers to their matchup to come, as not only have they faced off against them countless times during the regular season, they actually took the first seed by defeating the legendary organisation at the summer split finals. 

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In what was perhaps the most exciting best-of-series in all of the tournament, the dubbed "finals that should’ve been" or the "real finals", T1 took DAMWON Kia to the absolute limit. This wasn’t the T1 that showed up during the LCK season, it was a new T1. A T1, that alongside DAMWON Kia, were also dominating every opponent throw at them, almost having a 6-0 record themselves. Ultimately though, DAMWON Kia was able to take the close 3-2 series win, sending themselves to the finals.

On the other hand, EDward Gaming had a different path to the finals. A tenured organisation in League of Legends, that hadn’t seen glory at the World Championship, has finally begun to taste it. Up until this World, EDward Gaming had failed to make it to the semifinals a consecutive five times, and after missing the 2019 and 2020 World Championship, they were looking to break that curse and they did so.

Image via Riot Games/Getty Images
Image via Riot Games/Getty Images

As the Chinese first seed — surprisingly taking it over a FunPlus Phoenix team that was dominant in the summer regular season — EDward Gaming had a lot of pressure on their shoulders. China was no longer the region that would do just well enough. The two years that EDG missed Worlds were the two years that the region consecutively hoisted the Summoner’s Cup with Invictus Gaming in 2018 and FPX 2019 respectively. 

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At this tournament, EDward Gaming was placed in Group B with a familiar face in SKT T1, now T1, while also being accompanied by new ones in North America’s 100 Thieves and Japan’s DetonatioN FocusMe who had just made regional history, bringing Japan to its first-ever group stage.

The team finished at 4-2, taking second place. If it wasn’t for an uncharacteristic loss against the Thieves, they could have well fought in a tiebreaker versus the Korean team for the first seed. This put them against Chinese rivals, and reigning MSI 2021 champions Royal Never Give Up. In the only close quarterfinals at this tournament, EDward Gaming took a narrow 3-2 victory over RNG and qualified for the semifinals.

This type of scoreline wasn’t the only time the Chinese representatives saw it either. In the semifinals versus a Gen.G team that looked different compared to past years, EDward Gaming took another 3-2 victory. This set them up for their first-ever World Championship final.

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This is it, this is for all the marbles. Another China versus Korea final; the one seeds from each respective region. Will DAMWON Kia take the crown for a second time in a row, possibly beginning their ascension into dynasty territory ala T1? Or will EDward gaming bring China a third World Championship title in the last four years and their first as an organisation?

It will all be decided on Saturday, Nov. 7 at 8:00 a.m. ET/1:00 p.m. BST. See you there.

 

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Five Position-Specific Coaches: Golden Guardians Bring Something New To The LCS

Colin Young-Wolff | Riot Games via ESPAT

Written by 

André González Rodríguez

Posted 

3rd Dec 2021 16:44

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