League of Legends Worlds 2021: Semifinals Predictions

Started by vodanhphd, 10-30-2021

League of Legends Worlds 2021: Semifinals Predictions
  10-30-2021, 12:03 PM
League of Legends Worlds 2021: Semifinals Predictions

At the 2021 League of Legends World Championship, only four teams remain in contention for the coveted trophy. Three of them hail from the LCK, suggesting the region’s return to dominance. They also all brandish a history of winning: fan favorites T1 have claimed the crown thrice; Damwon Gaming (DWG) are the defending titleholders; Gen.G’s old brand Samsung had been champions in 2017. Can LPL’s last hope, EDward Gaming (EDG), prevent an all-Korean finals? The Worlds semifinals clashes will be very close, so here are our predictions for each matchup.

Worlds 2021 semifinals predictions
T1 vs Damwon Gaming (DWG)
Prediction: T1 2-3 DWG

Some part of me wants to believe in T1, especially after Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok and co dispatched Hanwha Life (HLE) so handily in the quarters. But it’s hard to bet against Damwon whose 9-0 undefeated streak is just astounding to witness—despite the slightly shakier games against MAD Lions. DWG even fell as much as 7k gold behind in game two, yet they managed to claw their way back. While Kim “Khan” Dong-ha later admitted feeling nervous after going down 0-3, the Korean top laner had been so confident that they’d secure a semifinals spot.
Now the reigning champions will go up against more formidable opponents as they look to continue their title defense. Fans won’t have to look far back to see when these two sides last met. In the build-up to Worlds, the LCK Summer finals this year had gone in Damwon’s favor, taking care of T1, 3-1.

DWG head coach Kim “kkOma” Jeong-gyun and his players completely had his former team’s number, painting another interesting storyline for the series. The community widely regards kkOma as a major reason behind T1’s long stint at the pinnacle of competitive LoL to claim three World Championships and become the winningest org in the game’s history.
Many fans understandably felt disappointed when the two teams got drawn into the same side of the bracket, as they are arguably the two strongest contenders for the crown. It’s highly likely that whoever emerges victorious between T1 and DWG will go on to win the whole thing. Even Faker had hoped to meet Damwon in the finals instead, which tells you just how excitingly close the Worlds semifinals round is likely to be.

The mid laner remains one of the absolute legends of the game for sure, but his opponents are the men of the hour right now. On T1’s end, they’re happy to not be so reliant on Faker nowadays, with Lee “Gumayusi” Min-hyeong playing major roles in their wins of late. However, Heo “ShowMaker” Su has also been making a name for himself, touted as the Faker prodigy. He’s certainly capable of holding his own against one of League‘s most iconic names, and even outdo him to carry Damwon over the line.
As for the other solo lane matchup, Kim “Canna” Chang-dong is no slouch either, proving pivotal to T1’s best games during the quarters and group stage. As good as he has become, however, Khan might just be on another level, having the tournament of his life right now. The jungle matchup will also be crucial. Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu has been a fantastic enabler of both of his solo lanes, especially on picks like Lee Sin to get DWG advantages early. On the other hand, Moon “Oner” Hyeon-joon will try to match on champions like Talon, a similarly highly mobile, damage-dealing threat though perhaps a bit squishier.

There’s a saying in other sports that certainly applies to this situation: when you’re hot, you’re hot. Khan on form is absolutely daunting. Even when he fell behind 0-3 on Kennen against MAD, all it took was one perfect flank and Slicing Maelstrom to again emerge as the driving force behind his team’s victory.
Damwon has been on a tear the entire year—and even since last year. I don’t see the train screeching to a halt any time soon, and another title will be a proper send-off for Khan. The top laner has only as much as 10 games left in the tank before he bids professional play goodbye, and perhaps even as few as three if T1 miraculously knock DWG out that easily. Though unlikely, it wouldn’t be out of the question to see the defending champions just continue their utter dominance and carry on undefeated until they lift the Worlds trophy yet again.

EDward Gaming (EDG) vs Gen.G
Prediction: EDG 3-2 Gen.G

A bit of recency bias may make the matchup difficult to call. EDG scrapped their way through to the semis, holding off fellow LPL squad RNG in 3-2 fashion during the quarterfinals. Meanwhile, the Korean side is coming off a monstrous showing against Cloud9, sweeping the LCS representatives and executing one of their best series in a long time.

Still, it’s hard to hop aboard the Gen.G train and hope that Gwak “Bdd” Bo-seong keeps up his form. Even though they stomped C9, the LCK team still fell behind early in game three and also nearly let their opponents turn the tables in game one. On the one hand, it does allude to Gen.G’s late-game fortitude—which fans have always known to be their strengths anyway—but I don’t see it working enough times to clinch the series against EDG.
The mid lane head-to-head may prove pivotal as both Bdd and Lee “Scout” Ye-chan have had many up-and-down streaks in the past. With Scout facing RNG’s pocket pick Annie last round, he best prepare for more unorthodox picks like Bdd’s Aatrox. Not to mention, long-time fans will probably remember Scout not turning up on the day in EDG’s past Worlds runs.

But perhaps this year will be different. It already has been different: the fact that the Chinese side even reached semis in the first place, after crashing out of quarters so many seasons before. Indeed, EDG’s 2021 campaign has been shaping up to be a fantastic redemption arc with the return to the LPL throne—and now just two best-of-fives away from claiming Worlds glory.
Another important matchup concerns the teams’ bot lane duos. Park “Viper” Do-hyeon and Tian “Meiko” Ye are bound to do well for EDG. Even Gen.G’s duo, Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk and Kim “Life” Jeong-min, acknowledged their counterparts’ strengths. However, the LCK representatives rely on their AD Carry a fair bit more than EDG do. Fans will be all too familiar with the Ruler late-game win condition as the team’s fallback playbook.
In all fairness, that game plan certainly worked against C9, peeling for and protecting Ruler’s Aphelios in the first game. But it won’t be a walk in the park trying to repeat that in the semifinals, mainly owing to stylistic differences. EDG, like many other LPL teams, focus on lane dominance, while Gen.G like to take a more passive approach until they scale.
The two wins that the Korean squad could take this series would probably be one where Ruler gets to carry late and the other where the mid-jungle pop off. But if Kim “Clid” Tae-min and Bdd can carry the momentum from shutting down C9 and consistently neutralize EDG’s top lane talisman Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-Hao, then Gen.G could have a chance at swinging the series in their favor.
Whether the semifinals victors turn out to be all LCK representatives or China gets to make a final stand, the upcoming Worlds matchups will be sure to have fans on the edge of their seats. Even though it’s down to all Eastern squads, there’s no doubt about the caliber of players who’ll get to showcase their abilities, with some of LoL’s most legendary names taking the stage. Moreover, the games hopefully won’t be as lopsided as the quarterfinals matches, with there still being room for twists in the tale.
T1 will hope to do what no other team has done yet at Worlds 2021 and hand Damwon a loss when they face off on Saturday, October 30. EDG, meanwhile, have the opportunity to make history as they look to reach the finals for the first time ever at Gen.G’s expense on Sunday, October 31.

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