2021 LoL Worlds Quarterfinals | T1 vs. Hanwha Life Esports Match Preview & Betting Tips

The 2021 LoL Worlds quarterfinals are finally here, and, needless to say, we’re hyped beyond measure! However, the first match-up is probably the least exciting of the four, but it’s still more than worthy of our attention — hence this preview!

T1 vs. Hanwha Life Esports is bound to deliver, even though it’s a fairly “pedestrian” Korea vs. Korea match-up that probably won’t excite those who’ve been tuning in to the LCK throughout the year.

Now, most folks will side with T1 on this one almost by default, but there’s a whole lot more beneath the surface, and it definitely warrants a mention.

First of all, T1 and HLE were separated by the slimmest of margins throughout the second half of 2021. They went 1-1 in the regular portion of the split and had then gone the five-game distance in the regional finals. We’re talking about two exceptional teams here that always went blow-for-blow whenever they spawned on the Rift.

And that, in short, should be no different this time around.

The odds, however, don’t really reflect that with Hanwha Life Esports being a +260 underdog. Now, whether they’re better than T1 is heavily up for debate, but they’re a lot closer in terms of strength and potential than the odds would lead you to believe.

T1 vs. HLE Preview & Betting Tips | A Tale of Growth

If there’s one thing that simply has to be highlighted, it is the fact that HLE have grown tremendously throughout the last few weeks. The Hanwha Life we saw in the Play-Ins isn’t the Hanwha Life that ran circles around Fnatic, PSG Talon, and Royal Never Give Up last week.

They’ve evolved in the most important of ways, which makes this particular match-up a lot harder to predict.

Their drafts have improved, they’re playing with a lot more impetus and urgency, their play is more refined, they’re willing to fight early and engage as often as possible, and have displayed admirable macro in all four of their recent games, with noticeably better mid game calls than their opponents.

Last but certainly not least:
Their teamfighting is sublime, perhaps even deceptively so. Hanwha Life thrive in chaotic fights in which you can barely discern what’s happening — much akin to a top-tier LPL team, and it’s a surprise, really. Even their tiebreaker against RNG (the one they eventually ended up losing) was a spectacular showcase of their early game prowess and decision-making. And, one could argue, the only reason they had lost was because RNG had more tools to work with in the late game — a hugely important “element” of the equation that had rendered HLE’s gold lead meaningless.

HLE is a top-tier team. There’s no doubt about it. But they’ll face quite a stiff test once they step foot on stage to face T1, an organization that instills fear and admiration in almost everyone who happens to be competing in the world of competitive League. This might not be the T1 we all remember, but they’re darn good at the game and have made it very clear with their many dominant performances in Group B as well.

T1 — A Legendary Giant Returns

We’d be remiss if we didn’t say that T1 looked a bit… pedestrian in their last few outings. And by that, we don’t mean anything bad or negative in general. In fact, they had done what was necessary and got their hands raised more often than not, but the fashion in which it all went down wasn’t exactly all that impressive.

Their game against 100 Thieves, for instance, was “by the book,” but they should’ve outclassed the North American champions with a lot more ease. Instead, it was a fairly competitive affair in which 100 Thieves simply bled out and eventually couldn’t defend their base. Nothing more, nothing less. Now, it’s not T1’s fault for facing such a passive opponent, but you’d still expect someone of their caliber to dominate and win a bit more emphatically.

They were a fair bit more proactive against EDward Gaming, but it didn’t exactly result in an entertaining early game. Two turrets had fallen, and just a single champion had died by the fifteen-minute mark. Hardly a barnburner. Still, once the going got rough, T1 made the right outplays and did their job. It was a quintessential LCK showing, one that was devoid of any frills and mind-blowing developments.

How will they fare once they face a team that is much more adept at today’s hectic, skirmish-heavy meta?

Would they still be able to play in such a reserved fashion against, say, Royal Never Give Up or DWG KIA? We’d have to go with a fairly resounding “no,” but we really shouldn’t get too far ahead of ourselves — they first have to go through Hanwha Life which will surely prove to be a much more challenging test than most folks expect.

The only question now is:
Have HLE grown enough for it to matter against T1? Have they diversified their arsenal along the way, perhaps picked up a few new strats and “weapons” so as to stand a better chance against the perennial LCK giants?

We simply can’t know at this point in time, but they definitely have a puncher’s chance and are surely motivated beyond belief to avenge their loss from the regional finals and advance further into the tournament. They’re well-equipped for the job, too, although it’ll all boil down to how well they can harness their talents on the day.

In any case, the odds of them winning are simply too good to pass up.

They’re not favored by any means, but they’re more than capable of getting the job done and are not to be underestimated. Still, if you want to go the safe route, betting on T1 would definitely make a bit more sense at this point in time.

T1 vs. Hanwha Life Esports Preview:
Hanwha Life Esports!
Elias Andrews / Author

Elias identifies as more of an esports geek rather than a sports geek. While he enjoys playing tennis and enjoying the outdoors once in a while, he’s most comfortable in the darkness of his self-proclaimed “man cave.” When Elias isn’t partaking in anything himself, he enjoys writing about the nuances of the esports betting world, including covering controversial takes, where esports might be headed, and why bettors should get in on the industry while it’s growing.

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