A closer look at how DAMWON Gaming won the Worlds 2020 championship

Amanda Tan
·8-min read

The League of Legends Worlds 2020 final concluded on 31 October at the Pudong Football Stadium in Shanghai in a thrilling best-of-five series between LPL’s first seed DAMWON Gaming and LPL’s third seed Suning. Both teams were tied 1-1 a piece, before DAMWON powered forth for a 3-1 victory for the Worlds 2020 Championship.

This is the first time since 2017 that an LCK team has played in the final and won the coveted Summoner’s Cup. Previously, the LPL dominated the scene in 2018 and 2019, with Invictus Gaming and FunPlus Phoenix taking it home.

Interestingly, the last time the LCK won the championship was also in China, when Samsung Galaxy defeated SK Telecom T1 in the 2017 World Championship final at the Bird’s Nest national stadium in Beijing.

DAMWON Gaming were favorites to win Worlds since Summer, after a dominating performance in the regular season (16-2) and sweeping DRX 3-0 in the playoffs for the domestic title. To get here from Challengers Korea in 2018, to qualifying for the LCK in 2019, reaching the Worlds 2019 quarterfinals, playing through 2020, it took DAMWON two years to finally win the championship.

In their Worlds 2020 run, they topped Group B, only dropping one game to LPL’s second seed JD Gaming. In the quarterfinals they swept DRX a second time, and went on to win their series against G2 Esports 3-1 in the semifinals. In prime form, the majority of analysts, casters and fans predicted DAMWON Gaming to take this series 3-0 or 3-1.

A key factor that influenced picks and bans this series was the fact that Chen “Bin” Ze-Bin can only play carry champions in the top lane. The one time he played Ornn this Worlds was against Top Esports in the semifinals which resulted in a loss. As such, Ornn fell through the draft, for Suning was almost guaranteed to let go of this overpowered tank that has a 90.8% presence (picked or banned) at Worlds,

This resulted in top laner Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon playing Ornn in three out of the four games, which was a clear advantage for DWG.

Game one

Worlds 2020 final: DWG vs SN game one draft<br>Screenshot by Amanda Tan/ONE Esports
Worlds 2020 final: DWG vs SN game one draft
Screenshot by Amanda Tan/ONE Esports

You’ll also notice that due to Suning’s penchant for drafting non-standard team comps, DAMWON managed to put together an extremely strong meta comp in game one. All five of their champions — Ornn, Graves, Orianna, Ashe, and Pantheon — were S-tier. They scaled, and even though Suning had Azir and Ezreal for late game, DWG packed extra ‘Ornnaments’.

Suning’s response to Graves was Lê “SofM” Quang Duy’s jungle Shen, which worked against Top Esports the previous round, but did not find the same success against DWG who knew how to punish the pick.

Likewise, even though Wukong could out-farm Ornn, it was harder for Suning to win in head-on 5v5 team fights due to DWG’s multitude of hard CC and zoning control.

Game two

Worlds 2020 final: DWG vs SN game two draft<br>Screenshot by Amanda Tan/ONE Esports
Worlds 2020 final: DWG vs SN game two draft
Screenshot by Amanda Tan/ONE Esports

After putting themselves one up in this series, DWG took a risk by opting for Evelynn jungle for Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu. Taking everyone by surprise, Suning countered this with Rengar.

Explained by Fnatic top laner Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau, Regnar is considered a counter because he reveals Evelynn and completely negates her core mechanic. On top of this, SofM built a super effective tank Rengar, the same item build he uses on Lee Sin and Jarvan, buying Knight’s Vow (which he used on Fiora) and Spirit Visage.

Last picked on red side, Fiora as well is a counter to Ornn because she does true damage and percentage max health damage thanks to her passive, Duelist’s Dance. This means that even though Ornn can stack health and armor, Fiora can still cut through his defenses.

By mid to late game, Bin’s Fiora maintained a perfect KDA and no one could match him in a side lane. With one Cloud dragon and eventually Cloud Soul, Rengar’s ultimate was on a low cooldown, which rendered Evelynn useless. Playing out their team composition according to the game plan, Bin teleported in mid lane and pulled off the first ever pentakill in a Worlds final.

Mechanics: Bin's Fiora Pentakill

"…THE PENTAKILL FOR BIN!"Take a closer look at the first Pentakill in Worlds Finals history! #Worlds2020

Posted by LOL Esports on Saturday, October 31, 2020

Game three

For the first time in this series, DWG found themselves on red side. Trading Nidalee for Graves, they denied Huanfeng Jhin which he exceled on in the quarterfinals against JD Gaming.

Since Suning left Syndra open as well, DWG picked up the S-tier mid laner. Despite opting for Xiang “Angel” Tao’s Akali into this matchup, DWG were better at utilizing Syndra’s mid lane priority and wave clear, which unlocked Canyon in the jungle.

Worlds 2020 final: DWG vs SN game three draft<br>Screenshot by Amanda Tan/ONE Esports
Worlds 2020 final: DWG vs SN game three draft
Screenshot by Amanda Tan/ONE Esports

Third-picking Jax in the top lane, Suning dared DWG to take Ornn. Instead, they put together a full AoE zoning team composition that had equal capacity to engage, disengage, and reengage with ultimates from Kennen, Braum, and Jhin.

Utilizing bot and mid lane priority, DWG secured every dragon in the game, benefitting greatly from the movement speed and cooldown reduction from Cloud Soul. Even though Suning led slightly in gold after taking Elder Dragon away and holding on to CS leads, one last Baron fight sealed the deal for the South Korean team.

Game four

Back on blue side, this heavily favored DAMWON Gaming, who had a 100% win rate on blue side in LCK Summer regular season and playoffs. They’ve only ever lost twice on blue side at Worlds, once in this series, and once in the semis against G2.

Worlds 2020 final: DWG vs SN game four draft<br>Screenshot by Amanda Tan/ONE Esports
Worlds 2020 final: DWG vs SN game four draft
Screenshot by Amanda Tan/ONE Esports

In a strange turn of events, Suning opted for a full-scale team composition that didn’t seem to fit their playstyle. Aphelios, Orianna, and Gangplank require time to come online. As such, it was on DWG to make early game moves, and close out by mid game, or risk getting out-scaled.

On the opposite side, DWG had the same three cores of Syndra, Pantheon support, and Ornn. Since Suning secured Graves, they matched him with Kindred. In the bot lane, they smartly denied Huanfeng’s two strongest picks by banning Jhin on blue side. In the second ban phase, they also banned out Ezreal, which forced Suning to fall back onto a nerfed Aphelios.

Knowing they were on a timer, this was Canyon’s game to shine. After he secured the first Mountain dragon, he thwarted a top river fight for a double kill. His third and fourth kill was on Bin’s Gangplank, who was in a vulnerable spot due to the choice of champion and lane states across the map.

Running away with the game, DWG secured every dragon in the game and nabbed an Infernal Soul, all on the back of a perfect 8/0/7 KDA Kindred in the shortest game of the series at 26:59 for the Worlds 2020 championship.

For his commendable performance in the final, snowballing his team from early to mid game on carry junglers, Canyon was named the MVP of the final.

With that, DAMWON Gaming turned Pudong Stadium into a library, silencing the crowd that was supporting their home team. Back at the top after three years, DAMWON proved that LCK is still one of the best regions in the world.

READ MORE: Deep Dive: A closer look at the way Suning adapts their drafts at Worlds