LPL’s EDG earned their first-ever Worlds Championship Title, breaking their long-lasting curse against former World Champions DK.
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EDward Gaming are the new Worlds Champions
EDward Gaming brought the Worlds Championship back to LPL, ending what could’ve been the start of a new era of Korean dominance. Despite being among the tournament favorites, EDG never gave the impression they were going to win it all. In the finals, though, the team stepped up.
After winning against RNG in the quarterfinals, EDG already broke their quarterfinals’ curse at Worlds. They had nothing to lose, as everything beyond that would’ve been a satisfying result. Not only EDG broke their own record, but they became only the second team ever in LoL Esports‘ history to win both a Mid-Season Invitational tournament and a Worlds Championship.
This trophy is all the more impressive considering DK’s run at Worlds. Following a perfect 6-0 group stage, DK easily swept LEC’s first seed MAD Lions in the quarterfinals.
It looked like it was going to be another dominant season for the LCK team until they met T1 in the semifinals. Faker and his team full of new youngsters forced DK to a 5-game series, as fans witnessed one of the best series of the whole tournament. Many thought that the Korean battle was going to be the peak of this year’s Worlds… Well, they were wrong.
Coming into the series, most fans expected a quick 3-0 series by DK, maybe dropping one game in between wins. Most fans were predicting DK in the LoL Pick’Em. The reality turned about to be the other way round.
EDG vs DK – Worlds 2021 Finals
EDG unexpectedly took Game 1 to lead the series. Both teams decided to stick to comfort: EDG’s Jiejie and Scout got their Jarvan IV and Ryze while ShowMaker got his Leblanc. DK was confident that they would win the early game through ShowMaker, but EDG held off the aggression and won through pure scaling. Thanks to the Zilean pick and a deathless performance by Flandre on Graves (4/0/7 was his KDA), EDG knew they could do it.
DK knew that Graves was going to be prioritized, so they chose the blue side again. The two teams exchanged their drafts from Game 1, making a few adjustments along the way. Flandre picked up Irelia to have early game pressure and force Canyon’s Qiyana out of the jungle. The crucial for this series, however, was Malzahar. ShowMaker responded to Scout’s Leblanc with the Prophet of the Void, and the strategy worked. His ultimate locked either Leblanc or Irelia who needs to constantly move around in fights, shutting them quickly from 100 to 0. Despite a Baron Steal by Jiejie, it became a very one-sided game, as DK won with a 13k gold lead.
Game 3 was probably the closest one of this series. EDG was able to gain a small advantage in the early game thanks to the early game pressure of Twisted Fate, Xin Zhao and Jayce.
Despite the lead, DK made a huge mistake in the draft. Not only they left open Canyon’s signature jungler Lee Sin, but they also let ShowMaker pick Sylas with Twisted Fate open.
The iconic jungle-mid duo turned around the game in their favor with their insane team fighting abilities. While EDG was busy watching Lee Sin’s movements, Sylas always found an opening to flank the enemies and Insec EDG’s members with Xin Zhao Ultimate’s Knockback. The LPL team had no tools to burst Sylas down and were on the back foot in the later stages of the game.
With DK going to match point, the two teams were taking Game 4 very slowly. Both were being extremely cautious, with only five kills on the board in the first 22 minutes. The pace dropped quite heavily compared to the first three games.
Nevertheless, EDG had a substantial 3-0 lead in dragons and had the Graves back in the top lane with his scaling. The crucial fight for the Dragon Soul proved to everyone why Jiejie is a world-class player: after stealing the Baron in Game 2, he claimed the crucial Mountain Soul for his team with Viego’s Ultimate. Despite having control over the dragon, DK failed to secure it and handed the win to EDG. Going into Game 5, the pressure was high.
EDG understood Canyon’s importance in the team and hard-targeted all his champion pool in Game 5. The Korean jungler was forced to pick Trundle that proved to be underwhelming in the latter stages. Despite DK sneaking an insane two-man Baron, EDG once again was able to secure the Dragon Soul. In the last decisive team fight, EDG claimed the Elder Dragon and the second Baron Nashor to close out the game and become the 2021 Worlds Champions.
This is the third time China lifts the Summoner’s Cup in the last four years. Is this still the era of Chinese domination, or did Korea catch up once again? Time will tell… but one thing is sure: EDG fully deserved to win it.