Worlds 2021 Finals Preview – DWG KIA vs EDG
A full month after the 2021 League of Legends World Championship started, we have arrived at its conclusion. Reigning world champion and LCK champion DWG KIA goes head to head with LPL champion Edward Gaming, who appear in their first Worlds grand final ever.
Both teams have walked completely different paths to get to this point and for both teams, winning the trophy would mean something entirely different. Let’s take a look at each of these teams’ stories so far, and what we can expect from their clash in the Worlds 2021 final on November 6th.
Top: Kim “Khan” Dong-ha
Jungle: Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu
Mid: Heo “ShowMaker” Su
Bot: Jang “Ghost” Yong-jun
Support: Cho “BeryL” Geon-hee
Coach: Kim “kkOma”Jeong-gyun
The run of DWG KIA at the world championship has been nothing short of dominant. In their very first game, the much-anticipated clash between the 2020 world champions and 2019 world champions FPX, DWG KIA wiped the floor with the opposition. It was a statement game from the South Koreans. Though FPX would later fall from heavenly grace and exit Group A as fourth, it was DWG KIA who exposed all of their flaws and struck them down swiftly. Rogue and Cloud9 weren’t much more trouble for them.
In the quarterfinal against MAD Lions, DWG KIA didn’t face much opposition either. Only in the second game of the best-of-five did the Europeans pull ahead, but through immaculate team fighting DWG KIA bent the game back into their favor. Ultimately, MAD Lions wasn’t more than a pebble on the road for DWG KIA, who advanced to face T1 in the semifinal.
That semifinal turned into one of the best best-of-fives in League of Legends history. On one side, T1. The most successful organization in the game, led by the greatest player of all time: Faker, the triple champion. By his side, four younger, but explosive players. On the other side, DWG KIA. Current world champions and looking to be the next LCK team to establish an era. Four of the players on the roster still stand from last year’s success, with top laner Khan hunting for a last hoorah in his professional career and doing so convincingly.
T1 was the first team to truly contest DWG KIA at Worlds 2021. In fact, it was the first team to take games off DWG KIA at the tournament. It is in that series that we learned most about them. Bot laner Ghost struggled to get work done on the Draven, but it was mostly Khan who didn’t find his stride in the series. Trying to live up to the carry role he had fulfilled for his team thus far, Khan found himself in awkward positions repeatedly. T1 threw DWG KIA off their game with curveball picks that shifted the priorities around.
However, DWG KIA’s stamina and creativity were unmatched in the end. Canyon shifted to the Talon and decimated T1 with it, ambushing them at unforeseen moments through clever pathing. DWG KIA emerged victoriously, but they had to sweat for it.
Top: Li “Flandre” Xuan-Jun
Jungle: Zhao “Jiejie” Li-Jie
Mid: Lee “Scout” Ye-chan
Bot: Park “Viper” Do-hyeon
Support: Tian “Meiko” Ye
Coach: Yang “Maokai” Ji-Song
Edward Gaming’s journey to the Worlds final was far from smooth, although the team did get off to an amazing start in the Group Stage. They were undefeated in the first half of the Double Round Robin. Scout even went deathless throughout the first three games, with neither 100 Thieves, T1, nor DetonatioN FocusMe being able to take him down. Yet when the rematches came around, EDG started showing cracks. First T1 took them down, and shortly after 100 Thieves outclassed EDG. The LPL champions stumbled into the quarterfinals as the second seed of their group.
In the quarterfinal, EDG continued to fumble. Against their LPL brethren of Royal Never Give Up, EDG was put with their backs against the wall. Sloppy decision-making from both sides turned the series into classic LPL mayhem. Jiejie showed up clutch with a double Baron Nashor steal, arguably saving his team from early elimination. In their fifth game, EDG was unleashed and looked better than they had all tournament. They pulled ahead or RNG with early kills and never let go, and booked themselves a ticket to the semifinal.
Yet in the semifinal, against Gen.G, EDG once again showed its weak sides. This time, in particular, their drafts seemed to haunt them. Gen.G played to the strength of Kim “Clid” Tae-min a lot in the series, meaning they put him on his signature pick Lee Sin. It wasn’t until the fourth game, when Gen.G was up 2-1 in the series, that EDG started banning the champion. Although EDG’s comeback obviously didn’t depend on just one champion being banned, it served as a great indicator of what EDG seemed to lack: respect for their opponent’s strategies.
In the end, EDG pulled themselves together yet again for a dominant fifth game. With controlled aggression, they advanced on Gen.G step by step, closing out the series as if they’d never been on the ropes.
How do they stack up?
It’s safe to say that DWG KIA is the favorite going into the series. Every single member on the team has shown carry potential in the tournament, flexibility in their champion pool, and flexibility in their role within the team’s composition. Canyon and ShowMaker form the deadliest duo League of Legends has to offer at the moment, outclassing everyone else at Worlds. DWG KIA adapts to their opponent well and spots the tiniest opportunities to climb back into the game, and turns them into victories. Give them an inch, and they’ll take a mile.
Although the odds are heavily stacked against them, it doesn’t mean it is completely hopeless for EDG. Not at all. It just requires them to step out of their comfort zone more and start throwing curveball picks at DWG KIA; we’ve seen how effective that was for T1. In part, EDG should hope that Khan has another weak series, as he did against T1. Flandre’s carry capabilities are enormous, but prior to the T1 series, Khan was nothing but a formidable opponent. A more reliable strategy would be to let Meiko flex his champion pool and set Viper up for success through different off-meta support picks.
The grand finals sees DWG KIA trying to establish their era and it sees EDG trying to find success after many years of fumbling. It’s a David versus Goliath story, while at the same time sending two behemoths at each other’s throat. If anything, it will be a spectacle and a series to remember.
The Worlds 2021 grand final starts on Saturday, November 6, at 1 PM CET. You can watch it live on the official LoL Esports site.