Gen.G looks Great at Worlds 2023; Can they finally go all the way?
Worlds 2023 is now into its final stage. The top eight teams remain in a single elimination bracket where all matches are best-of-five. You only have one shot at the undefeated run to claim the Summoners’ Cup, League of Legends’ biggest prize. Of the teams still in the field, few have as much hype behind them as Gen.G at Worlds 2023.
What’s the Deal with Gen.G?
For those who are unfamiliar with the LCK, Gen.G is currently the reigning back-to-back-to-back Champions. Domestically, Gen.G are basically unstoppable. They’ve amassed an insane 61-11 record over the past two years of play. Gen.G has won three splits in a row and has now gone to two Worlds and an MSI as the first seed from Korea. As such, there’s been hype around them every time international competition comes around.
Despite this level of prestige surrounding them, Gen.G’s trophy aspirations outside of Korea have all fallen short. Their Worlds 2022 campaign was ended by Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu and DRX’s miracle run in the semifinals. MSI 2023 didn’t go much better. After losing a five-game series to regional rivals T1 in bracket round two, they got swept by the LPL’s Bilibili Gaming in losers’ to exit in fourth.
Gen.G easily has the strongest fundamentals and highest floor of any team in Korea. It quite often feels like they’re in a league of their own when they play to their potential. Yet, how is it that their international results over the past two years are only the third best among LCK teams? Even if they look this strong in the early stages of Worlds 2023, can they really capitalize on that form to finally take home an international trophy?
Who is Gen.G?
Gen.G’s core has been made up of the topside trio of Choi “Doran” Hyeon-joon, Han “Peanut” Wang-ho, and Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon ever since the start of the 2022 season. All of these players can have entire articles written about them and their history in the LCK, so we’ll keep it brief.
Mid laner Chovy burst onto the LCK scene with Griffin in 2018. This team quickly rose through the ranks, becoming a top contender. While every player on that team was a huge contributor, Chovy stood out especially. His mechanical talents and fundamental understanding of the game soon made him into a contender for best mid in the world.
Top laner Doran joined up with Griffin in 2019 to replace Choi “Sw0rd” Sung-won and was a notable improvement in the role. While this roster never won an LCK title, they left a legacy for their meteoric rise from unknown players to two-time LCK finalists in a couple years’ time. After that Griffin roster was picked apart, Doran bounced between DRX and KT Rolster before finding his way onto Gen.G.
Jungler Peanut has one of the longest LCK careers among active players. First starting in 2015, he quickly gained notoriety for being an aggressive jungler who was not afraid to make risky plays. Peanut has been a perennially great jungler for nearly a decade now. He’s made Worlds with four different orgs now, has six LCK titles to his name, and has been to three international finals (winning MSI 2017).
The New Blood
2023 Gen.G features a different bot lane from 2022. Their support is Yoo “Delight” Hwan-joong, a 2019-2020 Gen.G and T1 Academy prospect who is now in his third year of being an LCK starter. His standout performance on a struggling Fredit BRION squad caused Gen.G to take a chance on their former trainee, and the result has spoken for itself.
On ADC is Kim “Peyz” Su-hwan. Peyz is the youngest player at Worlds 2023 at just 17-years-old. He was also a Gen.G Academy prospect signed in mid-2020. Peyz’s potential has been evident from the beginning, and Gen.G made sure to keep him around. After two-and-a-half years in their system, it was time. With veteran ADC Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk leaving the team, Peyz finally got his shot on the big stage and did not disappoint.
Gen.G’s continued dominance in the LCK has been thanks to both the high-level veteran presence and the young talent development. There was tons of clear improvement in between Spring and Summer, leading to Gen.G’s current form. Chovy and Peanut are playing some of the best League in their careers, Doran is the rock in top that he always is, and Peyz/Delight is one of the most skilled bot lane duos in the world.
A Strong Start at Worlds 2023
Gen.G’s Worlds 2023 campaign has been one of dominance so far. They’ve only had to play four games so far since they started in the Swiss Stage and won every single game to escape as quickly as possible. The sample size for champions played and stats is low as a result, but they still look incredibly impressive.
Their Swiss results include best-of-one wins over GAM Esports and T1, followed by a best-of-three sweep against G2 Esports. Gen.G is the only team that is undefeated at Worlds 2023, giving them the lowest total time spent in game. This means that Gen.G has shown the least information on themselves, but more importantly, they’ll have the most rest going into the playoffs thanks to the new Swiss Stage.
Talking stats, Gen.G is all five of the top five KDA’s at Worlds. You read that right.
Sitting at the top is Peyz with an astronomical 15.67 KDA. Chovy is not far behind at 14.25. Chovy and Doran are also both in the top five in damage per minute. You can sort the stats table a number of ways and Gen.G remain at or near the top. However, there are a few stats that are honestly more telling of their dominance across the board.
Sorting by kill participation percentage reveals that Gen.G’s highest player in this metric is Chovy at 25th. They also don’t have a single player in the top 10 of kill share percentage (Chovy is at 14th). Many teams have most kills being shared by one, maybe two central players. Gen.G on the other hand has every player contributing to the carry power of the team. Fun fact, Gen.G has a total of six solo kills in four games, three belonging to Chovy, two Doran, and one Peanut.
Stiff Competition Ahead
We can talk stats all day, like about how Gen.G is first in kills per game and last in deaths per game by a wide margin, or how they make more Gold than anyone else. However, stats alone don’t get you a championship. Gen.G may be a favorite moving into the back half of Worlds 2023, but there are multiple teams that won’t be going down without a fight.
The biggest competition they have is the LPL’s first seed JD Gaming. In terms of domestic dominance, JDG is also the three-peat defending champions of their region. They’ve also won an international tournament with this roster, MSI 2023. A lot of the strengths Gen.G that Gen.G embody are also mirrored by the Chinese juggernaut.
Notably, JDG’s ADC for 2023 is none other than Ruler. After swapping regions, Ruler is looking for his second Worlds title and is ready to deny his former team in the process. In addition to their superstar ADC, JDG boast a stalwart top laner, an aggressive yet calculating jungler, and a mechanical menace in the mid lane. Quite frankly, this is the matchup that everyone is waiting for.
Obviously, upsets can happen. Favorites and first seeds have fallen early in Worlds before. However, Gen.G and JDG look so far ahead of the competition that a meeting in the Worlds Grand Finals is likely/
Before that, Gen.G’s biggest test comes against LPL second seed BiliBili Gaming. This matchup is no walk in the park. Despite BiliBili’s 3-2 record in Swiss, they are a strong team that went head-to-head with JDG in China. If they can win that, the matchup against Weibo Gaming is easier on paper, making a finals berth promising. JDG has a meeting against a struggling KT Rolster, followed by the winner of LNG Esports versus T1 which will be their main test en route to the finals.
Originally written November 3, 2023.