Worlds 2021 knockout roundtable: Picks for T1 vs DWG KIA
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What may have been the most anticipated best-of-five of the 2021 League of Legends World Championship quarterfinals ended in a lopsided victory for Gen.G. After getting swept 0-3, Cloud9 are officially out of Worlds 2021, leaving NA fans sitting and hoping for what could be in years to come. But with that series wrapped and the exciting matchup between T1 and DWG KIA creeping up this Saturday, Upcomer’s staff got together to share their thoughts on the match and look ahead to the Worlds 2021 semifinals headliner between the two South Korean titans.

Who’s your pick for Saturday’s matchup between DK and T1?

T1’s Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok competes at the League of Legends World Championship group stage on October 16, 2021 in Reykjavik, Iceland. | Photo by Michal Konkol for Riot Games

Tom Matthiesen: Before getting into the analysis, I’d like to mention that this might be the most exciting series we’ll see at Worlds 2021. T1, led by the legendary Faker, hunting for his fourth title, takes on the reigning LCK powerhouse DWG KIA. It’s the perfect ‘old guard’ versus ‘new guard’ clash, even if T1 play with a bunch of new era talent on their roster. Faker versus ShowMaker for a spot in the grand finals is worth a full chapter on its own. I am convinced that whoever wins the series will be crowned world champion on Nov. 6.

That said, I think DWG KIA are the favorite in this series. Though both teams barely broke a sweat against their respective opponents in the quarterfinals, the overall shape DWG KIA are in is just phenomenal. Their bot lane is supposed to be the weak side of the team, but they’ve been rock solid. Against T1’s bot side, DWG KIA will face a tougher battle. Still, the versatility of the reigning world champions combined with their ludicrous team fighting skill is something I don’t see T1 overcome.

DK 3-1

E.G “Megalodontus” Kant: After the RNG/EDG series, I think this is now the hardest series to predict, personally speaking. As I mentioned in what I expected for this series in the previous roundtable, this is the narrative series due to the matchup of ShowMaker and Faker in the mid lane. Is the defending champion warming the seat for Faker’s return, or will he say “Nah,” and move on to potentially win a historic second World Championship back-to-back?

Worlds narrative aside, I think T1 really have a shot to take DWG KIA down. T1 have been on fire and are really thriving on this patch. I believe this is the best time for both these teams to meet and I expect an incredibly competitive series. I do believe that DK have the slight edge, though, and their form coming into this match has been impeccable. I’d be happy to be proven wrong, but for now, I’m favoring DK to make the finals.

DK 3 – 2 T1 

Nick Ray: For me, this game is the real finals. If I wasn’t working the event, I’d already be organizing with my friends for some type of online watch party or even a small in-person meet up. T1 and Faker are fighting to prove they can win Worlds once again while DWG KIA are hungry to usher in a new dynasty in professional League of Legends.

My personal excitement aside, DK will take this series — but it’ll be close. T1 have looked stellar all tournament, but DK haven’t thought about dropping a game at Worlds, let alone a series. Their topside is also performing at an incredibly high level. It’ll be a Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu diff on Saturday.

DK 3-2

Rahidat Jimoh: This is really difficult because, for me, this could easily be a series for the finals. Both teams, especially T1 have such a long history when it comes to Worlds, and it makes this semi finals even more exciting. They also have the best players in every single lane possible to help them lift the Summoner’s Cup.

While it will definitely be an intense series, I still favor DWG KIA to come out on top. The reason for this comes down to what I have seen so far from DK. Even though their bot lane is known as the weakest link of the team, they are still undefeated with that bot lane. Moreover, they beat T1 with that same bot lane in the LCK summer finals.

DK 3-1 T1

Did C9 vs. Gen.G meet your expectations?

Cloud9’s Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme reacts at the League of Legends World Championship quarterfinals on October 25, 2021 in Reykjavik, Iceland. | Photo by Lance Skundrich for Riot Games

Matthiesen: Absolutely not. I had predicted a Gen.G victory, but I had hoped that Cloud9 would at least bring a semblance of competitiveness to the series. This was a complete demolition of the LCS team. Even when Cloud9 had advantages on the map, they seemed to have no clue how to play with them. Gen.G waited patiently for their opponents to mess up and Cloud9 inevitably made those mistakes. Props to Gen.G, though, for stepping up their overall play drastically in the Knockout Stage. I thought that Edward Gaming would have an easy time against whoever they’d face in the semifinals, but Gen.G in this shape can put up a good fight.

Megalodontus: Well, 50/50 I suppose? Me not inhaling the NA hopium or copium aside, yes, I predicted Gen.G to win. But based on their form, I expected Cloud9 to at least take one game. Sure they almost did in Game 3, but sure as NA will do NA stuff, they threw the lead spectacularly. It was disappointing to watch. I expected Gen.G to look better this series, but I did not expect a 3-0. With Gen.G’s form, I do expect a lot more now for their series against EDG, and I do hope it won’t be a straightforward 3-0 for either team.

Ray: I’ve made as many anime memes as possible before this series trying to bless Cloud9 and it was absolutely not enough. I’ll admit that after their miracle run to qualify for quarters after a 0-3 start in groups, I bought my fair share of hopium stonks, and it’s not like this was ever supposed to be an easy matchup for C9, but I didn’t expect the 0-3 at all.

On a lighter note, I’m so happy for Gen.G. They’ve fought hard all year to defy the narrative of them being a stale team that’s reluctant to experiment and they showed today how they can make their style work. Good luck to them in semis against Edward Gaming; that’s a matchup that’s bound to be way more interesting.

Jimoh: In a way, it actually did because I always felt like Gen.G had more to show than their current performances at Worlds. While I did not see a 3-0 coming, I knew if Gen.G stepped up and became more proactive, they would take down Cloud9. The only thing that really surprised me was how laid back C9 were in the third game after getting a 5,000 gold lead. It just felt like they were scared to do anything at that point and waited for Gen.G to ultimately take matters into their own hands.

Who was your C9 vs Gen.G series MVP?

Gen.G’s Gwak “Bdd” Bo-seong poses in the press room at the League of Legends World Championship quarterfinals on October 25, 2021 in Reykjavik, Iceland. | Photo by Colin Young-Wolff for Riot Games

Matthiesen: Heading into the series, all eyes were on the mid lane as Luka “Perkz” Perković took on Gwak “Bdd” Bo-seong. When the quarterfinals were drawn, Perkz excitedly said he’d be up against “the worst mid laner” left in the tournament, and that he’d have to be the one to carry Cloud9. Rarely have I ever seen someone eat their words so brutally. Bdd heard Perkz talk s*** and came with swift revenge. The South Korean fused brains with his jungler, Kim “Clid” Tae-min, to wreak havoc on Perkz and transitioned those leads with deadly precision across the map. Bdd was a monster this series, and there is no doubt in my mind that he deserves the MVP award.

Megalodontus: It would be easy to pick Bdd, but in my opinion, Clid is my MVP. His movement around the map throughout each phase of the game, his teamfight positioning and his decision making, especially on Lee Sin, were incredibly good. But also, I do think Gen.G as a whole played extremely well in tandem with one another to make this work, and massive props to Gen.G for their teamwork this series.

Ray: I agree with E.G. that Bdd would be an easy pick for series MVP, and that’s because he played a phenomenal series. His Kill/Death/Assist record across the entire series was 4/6/32. While that may not seem super impressive at first glance, that scoreline does a great job characterizing the role he was able to play for Gen.G, especially when you consider his champion picks this game: Aatrox (as a known Yasuo counter), Syndra and Zoe. He got to have his fun game one and then pivoted to picks that could better help secure priority around objectives. A real class act and team player, that Bdd.

Jimoh: Tom and Nick have already mentioned Gen.G’s Bdd here and I do not think there is another choice for this. My best moment from him was Game 3, because of the way he chose to play. Even though the Zoe fell behind early on and isn’t really a meta pick, it didn’t bother the mid laner. He just stuck to it and unleashed his Zoe bubbles onto C9, which helped secure his team the dragon soul and led them to win the entire series.

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