South Korea continues its dominance at the 2021 League of Legends World Championship (Worlds) Playoffs after defending champions DAMWON Gaming KIA (DWG KIA) and Gen.G Esports swept aside Europe's MAD Lions and North America's Cloud9 (C9) respectively to advance to the semi-finals.
DAMWON Gaming KIA 3-0 MAD Lions
Defending champions DWG KIA are inching closer to a second-straight title after they stomped MAD Lions in a 3-0 sweep on Sunday (24 October). The South Korean giants looked unstoppable and have racked up a streak of nine-straight wins thus far. MVP Kim "Canyon" Geon-bu's excellent jungler skills shone in their latest show of force over MAD Lions, racking up 14 kills and 31 assists against just four deaths in the series.
DWG KIA refined their vaunted bot lane strategy in the first game, averting a repeat of their 2021 Mid-Season Invitational losses to MAD Lions. The South Korean champs also put on a midgame masterclass as they meticulously covered all their bases, taking away the enemy's vision and preventing any comebacks, en route to a 29-minute victory in the series opener.
MAD Lions did not go down without a fight in game two, shutting down both Kim "Khan" Dong-ha and Heo "ShowMaker" Su in the early game. But while the Europeans took most of the objectives and dominated most of the early fights, DWG KIA patiently prepared for a comeback in the late game.
In the fight for the Baron, Khan turned things around, grabbing an opportunity for a flank through Kennen's ultimate to set up an Ace for his team. Then, with all of their champions outscaling their counterparts, DWG KIA completed their 36-minute comeback win and took a commanding 2-0 series lead.
Game three still kept everyone at the edge of their seats as MAD Lions tried to find wins on the side lanes, with a flank from İrfan Berk "Armut" Tükek keeping the Europeans in the fight. However, DWG KIA showed their ability to adjust their playstyle on the fly, as they aced the last hope of Europe over and over to secure the 3-0 series sweep and a spot in the semi-finals after 39 minutes of action.
Gen.G Esports 3-0 Cloud9
Gen.G Esports also triumphed in a 3-0 sweep against Cloud9 in this year's last quarterfinals match on Monday (25 October). While the South Korean team had been previously criticised for their risk-averse meta and predictable champion pool, they still proved to be the better team against an aggressive C9. Gen.G jungler Kim "Clid" Tae-min fuelled his team's dominance with his keen game sense and well-timed smites, earning him the match MVP award.
Gen.G was forced off their comfort zone in game one through targeted champion bans and counterpicks from C9. But despite the limitations, the South Koreans stuck to what they do best; steadily sweeping map objectives and punishing hasty plays from C9. Gen.G's measured play eventually allowed them to claim the opening game in just under 42 minutes.
Game two saw Clid snuff out all threats to Gen.G with his effective map rotations. First, he denied the top lane Ibrahim "Fudge" Allami's Malphite from growing before assisting the mid lane with ganks on C9 star player Luka "Perkz" Perković. Finally, the Gen.G jungler sniped C9's Jesper "Zven" Svenningsen during a crucial team fight, helping his team eliminate all enemies and secure the Baron before finishing the game in just 25 minutes.
At the start of the third game, the South Koreans found themselves in a bind, as C9's vision and map control allowed them to seize Gen. G's camps.
However, Gwak "Bdd" Bo-seong landed Zoe's bubbles expertly in a fight for the Mountain Drake, eliminating the opposition in a critical juncture.
Clid then sealed the gold gap after taking out Zven again and forcing a 4v5 with C9 in the mid lane to get the Baron. Gen.G then seized this opportunity to destroy mid lane turrets and eventually demolish the enemy Nexus after 34 minutes, thus securing themselves a spot in the semifinals.
The 2021 Worlds semi-finals will commence on 30 October, starting with a clash between defending champs DWG KIA and T1, led by the legendary Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok. Meanwhile, Gen.G will be matched against China's EDward Gaming (EDG) on 31 October.
The winners of those two matches will then face off in the grand finals on 6 November for the coveted Summoner's Cup and the title of 2021 LoL worlds champions.
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