T1, EDG emerge victorious in LoL Worlds 2021 Playoff openers

(Photo: LoL Esports, Riot Games)
T1 midlaner Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok and Edward Gaming top laner Li "Flandre" Xuan-Jun. (Photo: LoL Esports, Riot Games)

The 2021 League of Legends World Championship Playoffs are finally underway, with South Korean powerhouse T1 and Chinese team Edward Gaming (EDG) emerging victorious in the first couple of best-of-five quarterfinal matches.

T1 3-0 Hanwha Life Esports

(Photo: LoL Esports, Riot Games)
(Photo: LoL Esports, Riot Games)

T1, led by legendary midlaner Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok, kicked off the 2021 Worlds Playoffs with a resounding 3-0 sweep over fellow South Korean team Hanwha Life Esports (HLE) on Friday (22 October). The matchup notably featured a showdown between Faker and HLE's star midlaner, Jeong "Chovy" Ji-hoon, with Faker continuing to defend his title as the best player in the world to help pace T1's dominant showing.

But while all eyes were on the showdown between Faker and Chovy, the rest of T1 also shined to pace their team's dominant showing. Support player Ryu "Keria" Min-seok's excellent play on Thresh fuelled a 33-minute win for T1 in the series opener, with his well-timed rotations practically winning all three lanes for his team and allowing them to snowball to an easy victory.

Game two saw Kim "Canna" Chang-dong's Gwen take the spotlight, as he confidently tanked and dished out damage in fights as T1 routed HLE in just 29 minutes and took a commanding 2-0 series lead.

The T1 juggernaut only continued to be a well-oiled killing machine as they decimated HLE in game three to secure the sweep. Canna and Moon "Oner" Hyeon-joon were instrumental in singling out members of HLE and shutting down any potential damage dealers. After HLE failed to contest the Baron, Lee "Gumayusi" Min-hyeong continued to spearheaded T1's final assault as they secured a spot in the semi-finals.

Keria was notably awarded the match MVP award for his excellent support play throughout the series.

Edward Gaming 3-2 Royal Never Give Up

(Photo: LoL Esports, Riot Games)
(Photo: LoL Esports, Riot Games)

This year's second quarterfinals was a showdown between Chinese powerhouses EDG and Royal Never Give Up (RNG). EDG outlasted their regional rivals in a 3-2 thriller to advance to the semi-finals for the first time after their last five showings in Worlds saw them make an early exit either in the Group Stage or the first round of the Playoffs.

RNG started the series strong with a 29-minute win in game one, but EDG were able to bounce back and take the next two games behind strong performances from midlaner Lee "Scout" Ye-chan and bot laner Park "Viper" Do-hyeon. EDG jungler Zhao "Jiejie" Li-Jie stole the show in game three, scoring two pivotal Baron steals to help give his team a 2-1 series lead.

With their backs against the wall, RNG jungler Yan "Wei" Yang-Wei shut down both Scout and Viper in a 28-minute game four, thus forcing the series to a do-or-die game five. Both squads trod carefully in the series decider, each hungry for a chance to make the semis and continue to fight for their first Summoner's Cup.

EDG wisely picked off Wei to prevent him from having the same impact he had in game four. A five-on-five clash at the bot lane allowed EDG to ace RNG, which allowed EDG to push ahead. It was a walk in the park for EDG from there, as they dove into RNG's towers to secure the 3-2 series win and punch their ticket to the semi-finals. Jiejie took the match MVP award for his two show-stopping Baron steals in game three.

With their victories, T1 and EDG are one step closer to raising this year's Summoner's Cup. T1 will be facing the winner of the quarterfinals match between DAMWON Gaming and MAD Lions while EDG will be matched against the winner of the showdown between Gen.G Esports and Cloud9.

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