Depending on your point of view — and what you had expected coming into 2021 Worlds — DWG KIA vs. T1 is either a superb match-up between two perennial giants, or a clash that, simply put, isn’t all that exciting. Still, given the way things have developed thus far, it seems that we’ll be in for quite a show!
And, well, if this particular Best of 5 feels like a strange case of déjà vu, it’s probably because we had already seen it two months ago. It was a hotly contested series from which DWG KIA — as expected — emerged victoriously. And even though T1 made things a bit more competitive than expected, there was never any doubt at the moment as to who was going to get their hands raised.
Be that as it may, it was an interesting moment as DWG KIA were actually challenged. They obviously weren’t challenged enough for it to matter, but the point still stands. And that’s why this particular Best of 5 is so darn interesting: one cannot help but wonder whether things have changed now that we’re two months removed from that series and if so, have T1 found a way to solve the DWG “puzzle?”
An Insurmountable Challenge
Our gut answer is a resounding “no.” There’s just no other way to put it, really. DWG KIA have looked nigh unstoppable thus far, and they have more than enough mechanical prowess and experience to outclass their opponents — be that T1, Edward Gaming, or Gen.G.
— LoL Esports (@lolesports) October 25, 2021
To take DWG down, their opponents will not only have to be perfect in execution, but they’ll also have to come up with a truly original game plan — and then deliver three times within a five-game series. Beating DWG KIA in a Best of 1 is already a gargantuan task that almost no one has managed to pull off; beating them in a Best of 5 is, therefore, out of the question.
Then came MAD Lions, a team stacked with young, talented players, but also a line-up that has, in all fairness, underperformed ever since Worlds began. Or maybe they didn’t underperform at all but were instead insufficiently capable to truly compete on even footing with the who’s who of competitive League? Armut was outclassed from day one, Elyoya was both hot and cold, Humanoid was nowhere near as impactful as we had expected, and their bottom lane didn’t really leave much of a mark either.
Regions ranked after the #Worlds2021 Quarterfinals:
— LoL Esports (@lolesports) October 26, 2021
On a good day, they definitely made things competitive, but their good days were few and far between. They were incredibly inconsistent, and their drafts ranged from “pretty good” to “downright abysmal.”
The LCK Champs Are Just Built Differently
DWG KIA, on the other hand, were the consummate professionals. They showed up, drafted well, and executed on the spot. Were they perfect? Far from it, but they always found a way to win which is the only thing that matters. They played with 70% effort, and it was enough. Had they faced a much more dangerous opponent, they would’ve probably kicked things into high gear, but they weren’t really pushed to their limits — so why bring a gun to a knife fight?
They had looked relatively fallible throughout the tournament and had then outclassed their opponents in the grand finals with staggering ease. These teams have an insane amount of depth, and they’re not going to show more than what’s necessary to get the job done.
DWG KIA were on the backfoot throughout the entire second game against MAD and were still able to turn the tides in the most astounding way imaginable. They always find a way, an opening, a mistake to capitalize on, and it’s an incredible thing to witness in real time.
Most folks expected Khan to be a weak point, but it’s actually been the exact opposite. This seasoned Korean top laner has been dominant beyond measure and is, in fact, their best performer and biggest catalyst. The things he’s been doing on the Rift have been truly mind-blowing, and it’s quite bittersweet, too, seeing how he’s going to (involuntarily) retire in just a couple of weeks.
In fact, they’ve made it look easy. Canyon, in particular, styled over MAD with astonishing ease — his uncanny ability to find the right targets on Lee Sin is unmatched.
The sights of DWG running circles around MAD are still etched in our minds even though we’re nearly a week removed from that whole shellacking. DWG have an aura of invincibility around them, and even though T1 have improved across the board — and have a surprisingly stellar read on the meta — it’s just hard to visualize them beating a titan like DWG KIA. What’s their win condition or, rather, avenue for success? Through which lane should they play, what kind of strategy should they employ so as to make it more competitive than what was the case back in August?
If they couldn’t get it done back on home soil, why would anyone give them the benefit of the doubt this time around? It just doesn’t make any sense, and while they’ll surely make things competitive from start to finish, they’re bound to eventually succumb to DWG’s might.