After five years of never even making it to the semi-finals, EDward Gaming (EDG) defeated Gen.G Esports 3-2 in their first-ever showing in the semis to advance to the grand finals of the 2021 League of Legends World Championship to face defending champions DAMWON Gaming KIA.
Both sides showed immense growth in this heated semis matchup, as they constantly sought out openings and made riskier plays in the hopes of a victory. In the end, it was EDG who figured out Gen.G, outplaying their opponents in the deciding game to break through to the finals.
The series opened with EDG establishing early bot lane dominance with the Lucian-Nami combo of Park "Viper" Do-hyeon and Tian "Meiko" Ye. Gen.G, on the other hand, found trades on the map and slowed down EDG with their double-support team.
During the Drake and Baron fights, Gwak "Bdd" Bo-seong's Seraphine ultimates masterfully landed on the EDG's members, setting up multiple kills for his team.
However, with a fed Viper threatening the mid and bot lanes and Li "Flandre" Xuan-Jun's Jax pushing the top lane, EDG held the split push edge. As Gen.G were distracted in a team fight at the Dragon pit, Flandre and Scout snuck into the enemy base to give EDG the opening win of the series in just 29 minutes.
The second game showed how Gen.G excelled in familiarity. With comfort picks like BDD's Azir and Kim "Clid" Tae-min's Lee Sin, they stole enemy camps and stomped the bot lane early. BDD constantly punished EDG in the fog of war, allowing his teammates to ace the enemy and nearly make it to the enemy Nexus.
But it was Clid that propelled Gen.G to victory, stealing the Baron that could have turned the game around before his teammates mopped up the opposition to secure his team's 30-minute win in game two.
Game three was a back-and-forth affair between the two sides. Gen.G snowballed their lead early with Clid and BDD unlocking all lanes for their team and earning a chain of map objectives along the way.
However, EDG cautiously stalled and farmed for the late game in the side lanes. As their champions scaled, Viper sniped Kim "Life" Jeong-min in a key team fight along the river, forcing Gen.G to reset the Baron and allowing his team to regain map control.
This was short-lived, though, as Kim "Rascal" Kwang-hee found an opportunity for a flank against Lee "Scout" Ye-chan, who carried most of EDG's team fights.
With the collapse of the rest of EDG's team members in the mid lane, Gen.G seized game three in 40 minutes and took a commanding 2-1 series lead.
In a do-or-die game four, EDG managed to find the answer to Gen.G’s tactics, bringing back bot lane's menacing Lucian-Nami duo and denying BDD his signature Zoe pick. Scout and Jungler Zhao "Jiejie" Li-Jie then shut down the growth of Gen. G's cores.
However, Clid continued to secure the Barons and Dragons for Gen.G despite losing team fights. Finally deciding they've had enough, EDG eliminated Clid before securing both the Elder Dragon and the Baron. With the destruction of Gen. G's Nexus at the 38-minute mark, the series was forced to a deciding fifth game.
Game five was a rinse-and-repeat of EDG's strategy from the previous match, with Scout expertly utilizing Ryze to inhibit BDD in the mid lane before unlocking the bot lane with kills and assists. With a sizeable gold lead and deep vision, EDG effortlessly won team fights and seized both Baron buffs and Dragon Soul uncontested.
Despite Gen.G's best efforts to defend, EDG simply overpowered them in one last team fight to secure the 32-minute victory and punch their ticket to the grand finals.
While Gen.G fought hard for a chance to redeem themselves of another title, they still fell short. Gen.G will finish Worlds 2021 in 3rd-4th place with US$178,000 in consolation.
Meanwhile, EDG will face defending Champions DAMWON Gaming KIA in a best-of-five series in the grand finals on 6 November.
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