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With Worlds 2021 on the horizon, the first seed representatives from the League of Legends Champions Korea, DWG KIA, are one of 22 teams from across the globe that are gearing up for their biggest and most important event of the year. The 2021 League of Legends World Championship will feature each region’s best players, all fighting for the same goal: to stand atop the mountain and hoist the Season 11 Summoner’s Cup.

DWG KIA are heading back to  Reykjavík, Iceland, after a rough patch in the summer split. DK proved throughout the majority of 2021 that there is no team in their region on their level and hope to show the same at Worlds as they look to avenge their Mid-Season Invitational finals loss to Royal Never Give Up as well as defend their world championship on the backs of the 2021 Worlds main character and their superstar jungler.

DWG KIA (LCK) Worlds 2021 starting roster breakdown

  • Top: Kim “Khan” Dong-ha | Signed in November 2020. Formerly a member of FunPlus Phoenix
  • Jungle: Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu | Joined in September 2018.
  • Mid: Heo “ShowMaker” Su | Joined in November 2017.
  • Bot: Jang “Ghost” Yong-jun | Signed in Febuary 2020. Formerly a member of Liiv SANDBOX
  • Support: Cho “BeryL” Geon-hee| Joined in May 2017.

How they got here

The reigning World champs entered the 2021 season with a change in the top lane. DWG KIA and LPL powerhouse FunPlus Phoenix decided to swap members in the top lanes with Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon heading over to FPX and Khan coming back to the LCK. The rest of the roster remained intact as DK prepared to defend their title.

DK looked flat-out unbeatable during the 2021 LCK spring split and posted a 16-2 regular-season record with newcomer Khan showed picking up LCK All-Pro honors in the top lane. Superstars Canyon and Showmaker also picked up All-Pro honors with Canyon taking home the MVP award as well. The spring playoffs were a cakewalk as DK didn’t drop a single game en route to an easy MSI trip as South Korea’s representatives.

DWG KIA Worlds 2021
DWG KIA finished second at the Mid-Season Invitational and will look to do one better at Worlds 2021. | Provided by Riot Games

At MSI however, DK got a wake-up call. Even though they went 5-1 in their opening group, they suffered an embarrassing loss to North America’s Cloud9 and came one fight away from dropping a game to Japan’s DetonatioN FocusMe. After cleaning up their sloppy play against lower-level opponents in the Rumble stage, DK still struggled against the top tier. Their two losses in the Rumble stage came against LPL’s Royal Never Give Up. In the knockout stage, they needed all five games to put away Europe’s MAD Lions. In the finals against RNG, they finally looked competitive but ultimately finished in second place.

DK’s shortcomings continued in the LCK summer split, particularly in the bot lane. With Ghost underperforming and a 1-1 start to the split, DK announced role-swaps for their two superstars, Canyon and Showmaker. Showmaker was DK’s new bot laner with Canyon taking over for Showmaker in the mid lane. These changes lasted a couple of weeks with mixed results. The experiment ended after Week 3 with DK sitting in second place in the standings.

But with Ghost coming back in after a two-week absence, DK still struggled to pull away from the pack. In their final four matches of the summer split, though, DK showed signs of their spring form. They ended the season on an eight-game win streak, which let them grab the first seed in the summer playoffs. DK rode that momentum into the postseason, where they swept Nongshim RedForce and took down three-time world champion T1 to earn a third-straight LCK title and No. 1 seed at Worlds.

Players to watch

There is a reason why Showmaker was the main character in the 2021 Worlds music video, Burn it All Down. Showmaker has earned the right to call him one of the best, if not the best mid laner entering Worlds 2021. Showmaker had a fantastic 2021 season picking up first-team LCK All-Pro honors in both the spring and summer splits. He led all mid laners in the LCK summer split in kills/deaths/assists ratio, damage per minute and gold per minute. DK’s mid laner looked even better in the playoffs as he once again led all mid laners in those same statistics on his way to picking up LCK Playoffs MVP honors.

Canyon looks over his computer on the MSI stage
Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu, the Worlds 2020 finals MVP, will likely be a difference-maker once again this year. Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Provided by Riot Games

Although not shown in the cinematic, Canyon is arguably even better than DK’s movie star Showmaker. Although Canyon settled for only second-team LCK All-Pro in the summer split, he was still the LCK MVP in the spring split. Even though the first-team honors went to Nongshim Redforce’s Han “Peanut” Wang-ho, Canyon was neck-and-neck with Peanut in virtually every statistic among junglers in the summer split, including beating out the summer split MVP in damage per minute and gold per minute. Canyon is also entering Worlds as the reigning Worlds finals MVP as he looks to show off his clutch play once again.

How DK can succeed at Worlds 2021

The top side of the map for DK is a real boon for the LCK champs as they pretty much beat every other team on paper when it comes to the first three positions. The issue is their bot side. Ghost and BeryL were the only two players on DK to not make at least one first-team All-Pro team in 2021. They both were left off the all-pro teams completely in the summer split. But even with their glaring weaknesses, they are still a heavy favorite to make it back to the finals thanks to having two top three players in the World. With that said, their Group isn’t a cakewalk despite them being one of the favorites to make it out. They will have to face off against FPX in a Nuguri vs Khan reunion. The DK vs FPX matches could very well be a finals preview but for DK to make it to the finals, they are going to need to have their bot lane to not be a liability. If it is and DK runs into RNG or EDG in the knockout stage, DK can very well bow out of the tournament in the quarterfinals. But if Ghost and BeryL show they can compete with the World’s best, then DK can very well walk out of Iceland with their second straight World Championship.

ASU alum with a B.A in Sports Journalism, Warren is one of the premier TFT Journalists in the scene and is a decent TFT player as well who has peaked Challenger and has had multiple accounts in Master+ over all sets. Warren also specializes in other esports content including League of Legends, Valorant, Smash Bros, and more.
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