Only two teams remain standing as we approach the final stage of the 2021 League of Legends World Championship: South Korean defending champions DAMWON Gaming KIA (DWG KIA) and Chinese wildcards EDward Gaming (EDG).
These two teams will be battling in the best-of-five grand finals on 6 November. As the defending champions, DWG KIA will be looking to raise the Summoner's Cup for the second-straight year while EDG will be fighting to claim their first title.
Which team will raise the Summoner's Cup and become the 2021 League of Legends World Champions? Read on for a deep dive into this year's finalists and their chances of winning the ultimate prize:
DAMWON Gaming KIA
DWG KIA entered Worlds 2021 as the overwhelming favorites to defend their title and win this year's Summoner's Cup. The South Korean juggernauts have been as dominant as advertised, racking up a total of twelve wins against just two losses on their way to the finals.
DWG KIA cruised through the Group Stage, swept MAD Lions in the first round of the Knockout Stage, and then outlasted T1 in the semi-finals, 3-2, to come within reach of their second-straight world championship.
Only EDG stand in the way of DWG KIA from becoming only the second team to win the Summoner's Cup in back-to-back years since SK Telecom T1 did became the first to do so in 2015 and 2016.
DWG KIA's dominance has been fueled by the fact that it boasts some of the best players in the whole world in its roster, such as Kim "Khan" Dong-ha and jungler Kim "Canyon" Geon-bu, both currently considered the best players in their respective positions.
Of course, there's Heo "ShowMaker" Su, DWG KIA's star player in the mid lane. ShowMaker has proven he can be the difference maker in a tight series, as exemplified by his stunning plays that fueled his team's victory over T1 — arguably their most formidable opponent thus far, EDG included.
But more than just the sheer amount of talent on their roster, what has set DWG KIA apart from the rest of the competition this year is their exceptional communication and coordination.
Their movements are as coordinated as they are impeccable, allowing them to quickly punish their opponents' blunders and make comebacks when required. Add that to the starpower they possess and DWG KIA seem almost invincible.
With their excellent strategy and playstyle flexibility, the defending champions are heavy favorites to defeat EDG and claim their second-straight Summoner's Cup. While off-meta picks may catch them by surprise and cost them a game or two, DWG KIA will just adapt and figure EDG out over the course of the series en route to their victory.
DAMWON Gaming KIA roster:
Kim "Khan" Dong-ha
Kim "Canyon" Geon-bu
Heo "ShowMaker" Su
Jang "Ghost" Yong-jun
Cho "BeryL" Geon-hee
EDG are coming into the finals as a wildcard. While they came into Worlds 2021 as China's first seed, not many expected them to make it past the first round of the Knockout Stage. After all, EDG bombed out of their five Worlds appearances since 2014 in the quarterfinals or earlier.
Everything changed this year. EDG made it past the Group Stage by the skin of their teeth before winning their first-ever Worlds quarterfinal match in a 3-2 slugfest against fellow Chinese team Royal Never Give Up (RNG).
But they weren't content with just surviving the quarterfinals, as EDG outlasted Gen.G Esports in another 3-2 brawl to advance to their first-ever Worlds grand finals.
The team demonstrated incredible resilience in the semi-finals, with Park "Viper" Do-hyeon's aggression in the bot lane overwhelming their opponents while Li "Flandre" Xuan-Jun's clever split-push tactics and Lee "Scout" Ye-chan's versatility being the difference-makers in their close wins.
With that said, EDG have also committed blunders aplenty; which is why their matches against RNG and Gen.G have extended to five games. DWG KIA can readily spot and punish faults.
Therefore, EDG will need to tidy up their play so that their South Korean opponents have no opportunity to punish them. Innovative picks will also be a key factor should EDG upset the defending champions.
T1 have shown that DWG KIA is not invincible. EDG will have to sniff out any weaknesses in their opponent's strategies and hope such windows of opportunity stay open long enough to be exploited.
It goes without saying that EDG are the clear underdogs against DWG KIA, though that doesn't mean that they don't have the potential to cause arguably the biggest upset in Worlds history.
EDward Gaming roster:
Li "Flandre" Xuan-Jun
Zhao "Jiejie" Li-Jie
Lee "Scout" Ye-chan
Park "Viper" Do-hyeon
Tian "Meiko" Ye
DWG KIA and EDG will face off in a best-of-five series on 6 November at 8:00 PM SGT, following the Worlds 2021 Finals Pre-show, which begins at 7:00 PM SGT.