Taking over the world
~Felix Phommachanh, Managing Editor of CNUTV~
Late last month on Halloween day, the League of Legends (LoL) 2020 World Championship was held in Shanghai, China. The two teams competing for the world’s championship were Suning (SN) and Damwon Gaming (DWG).
Now, being that we are in a pandemic, how could a championship be held? Especially in China. Well, like the National Football League and the National Basketball Association, all teams that participated in the World Championship played in a bubble. The players received weekly health check-ins, maintained social distancing, wore masks and followed all national guidelines. And unlike last year, they kept competition in one singular location, Shanghai, to limit travel for all teams participating. However, two venues were used. For play-ins, group match-ups, quarterfinals and semifinales, they played in Shanghai Media Tech Studio. There was no audience, and only the crew and the teams populated the building. The Finals were played in Pudong Football Stadium with a limited in-person audience of 6,312 for health and safety measures. The upside of esports is that it can broadcast across Twitch and Youtube for millions to watch from the safety of their homes.
SN is a Chinese esport organization, and it was formerly known as “T.Bear Gaming and Suning Gaming.” Their World’s lineup was Top Laner Chen-Zin Bin (Bin), Jungler Lê Quang Duy (SofM), Midlaner Xiang Tao (Angel), Bot Laner Tang Huang-Feng (huangfeng) and Support Hu Shuo-Chieh (SwordArt). During the 2020 season, SN placed eleventh in the LoL Pro League (LPL) 2020 Spring, came in fourth in the LPL 2020 Summer, third place in LPL 2020 Summer Playoffs and lastly first in LPL Regional Finals. During the 2020 World’s Championship, they beat JD Gaming (3-1) in the quarterfinals and Top Esports (3-1) in the semifinals.
DWG is a Korean esport organization. Their championship lineup consisted of Top Laner Jang Ha-gwon (Nuguri), Jungler Kim Geon-bu (Canyon), Midlaner Heo Su (ShowMaker), Bot Laner Jang Yong-jun (Ghost) and Support Cho Geon-hee (BeryL). During their 2020 season, they placed fifth in LoL Champions Korea (LCK) 2020 Spring, fourth in the LCK 2020 Spring Playoffs, fifth-sixth in the Mid-Season Cup and in the LCK 2020 Summer, they came in first in both the split and in the playoffs. During the 2020 World’s Championship, they defeated DRX (3-0) in the quarterfinals and G2 Esports (3-1) in the semifinals.
The LoL World Championship Finals is a best of five series, so whichever team wins three matches first wins it all.
In game one of the series, DWG won the match in about 45 minutes. The game went back and forth with both teams skirmishing against each other exchanging kills. However, with objective properties and teamplay, DWG gained the upper hand. Securing two Elder Dragons, three Barons and four Elemental Drakes, they pushed SN to their limits. So much so, they won the first game.
In game two of the series, DWG had a strong start, but SN came back quickly. Able to secure Drakes and a Baron, they pushed hard, but then SN Bin went off. They charged into the enemy and destroyed them with high damage, mobility and defense. At the end, he secured a pentakill, a first in any World Championship, and his team’s victory in the second game.
Like game one, game three began with back and forth gameplay between the two teams. One moment, SN had the lead, but DWG pressured SN Angel and caused him to fall a bit behind in the early game. Another major highlight in the match was SN’s ability to secure Elder Dragon when DWG started the fight. Yet near the end, DWG pulled through with a teamfight in Baron, securing the buff, and ultimately annihilated SN. DWG took the third game, giving them the lead to host the Summoner’s Cup, and, of course, be one game away from being crowned world champion.
Finally, in game four of the series, DWG brought their best. SN made their best efforts to push the series to another game, but with DWG’s superb teamplay and objective priority, they destroyed their opponents and took home the title. With DWG capturing the 2020 LoL World Championship, they won a 25 percent cut of the prize pool that reached $2.5 million. That’s not including in-game items purchased in support of LoL’s grandest stage.
Throughout the ten years since the start of the Championships in 2011, five of those titles have been claimed by Korean teams. Now, with DWG claiming the title, they continue the trend of bringing it back to Korea to usher in a new generation of Korean talent.