The race for the League of Legends World Championship is now heating up. There are four teams left standing after the thrilling quarter-finals last weekend – JD Gaming, Gen.G, T1 and DRX, the latter three representatives from the LCK – meaning Korea is guaranteed at least one spot in the grand final.
Rogue Esports, Royal Never Give Up, DWG KIA, and Edward Gaming didn’t make the cut.
European teams haven’t produced ideal results over the past couple of editions of the LoL Worlds – MAD Lions were knocked out 0-3 in the quarters last year, and G2 couldn’t get past the semi-finals.
Title favorites JD Gaming make short work of Rogue Esports
Rogue Esports were unfortunately destined to share the same fate this time around. They were lucky enough to slot into arguably the easiest group out of all four, and it set them up nicely as top seeds to contest the quarter-finals.
But LoL Worlds favorites JD are a tightly-knit, world-class unit on a golden run this season, and aside from a single dropped match against DWG in the initial group stages, have gone unbeaten. After securing the LPL title for the second time in their history back in July, they’re hungry to taste success on the world stage too.
The results were three one-sided and convincing victories, and Rogue were knocked out of the contest with relative ease. Superstar Jungler Kanavi accounted for a total of 13 kills, while Hope contributed nine. The first two games were done in around 29 minutes, the last took 33. It was a rousing display of dominance from arguably the best League of Legends team in the world at the moment.
T1 sweeps Royal Never Give Up
Next on the LoL Worlds schedule was a contest between T1 and Royal Never Give Up. It eventually turned out to be a 3-0 sweep by the LCK runners-up, but RNG put up a much bigger resistance than Rogue.
Things were pretty even for the first ten minutes of game one, but a slew of kills from TI, in addition to grabbing a rift herald and a dragon, gave them a lead that RNG couldn’t really come back from. Gumaysi accounted for an astounding 18 kills across all three kills, picking up 15 in the last couple of games alone.
RNG weren’t about to let the situation slide out of their grasp so easily. They focused their resource on the top lane in the second game and took control, while T1 were put on the back foot. RNG pushed on and came ahead in every team fight, picking up drakes as well while T1 struggled.
It was only 38 minutes in that T1 finally gained an advantage. All hope appeared lost for T1 with just three kills and one drake. A team fight, however, went in their favor, clearing four of RNG’s members off the map, which allowed them to grab the Elder Drake, and the second Baron of the game. This advantage set them up for a thrilling, totally unexpected 42-minute win, and a 2-0 lead.
Considering how the first two games had gone, you’d expect the third to be a slugfest with RNG needing to fight to stay alive – but instead, you could say the Royals, well, gave up. They rolled limply over and let T1 march ahead to the semifinals.
RNG’s tactics from the previous game – trying to single out Faker and push for early kills – weren’t a go this time because T1 were prepared. The young top-laner Zeus in particular enjoyed himself, accounting for eight kills in total, wiping his counterpart Breathe off the map twice.
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DWG put up a strong fight but Gen.G scrape 3-2 win
After two pretty one-sided contests, it was natural to predict a Gen.G sweep over DWG KIA, right? Wrong. DWG showed why they’ve managed to make it this far in the LoL Worlds 2022 by refusing to go down without a stiff fight. You’d expect the LCK Summer champion to breeze past its fourth seed, but Korea again proved why they have the best regional depth in the world.
A 2-0 lead put DWG in a desperate position, needing to win to keep their semifinal hopes alive. Heo “ShowMaker” Su, Kim “Canyon” Geon-bul, and of course, Seo “deokdam” Dae-gil were all sensational, accounting for 11 of DWG’s 15 total kills. They took a commanding victory in just over 26 minutes, which knocked the stuffing out of Gen.G.
The next one was dusted in 24 minutes, and DWG were now well and truly back in the contest after setting the scoreline even at 2-2. It was an unprecedented and magnificent fightback, and at the end of the fourth game, there was very little to choose between the two sides.
Fortunately, Gen.G finally managed to hold on to their nerves in the last one. The series decider went on for a marathon of 45 minutes, quite unlike the last two, and the competition was intense. Some early strikes from Peanut brought GG a rift herald and dragon within the first 15 minutes.
They continued to build up a slow and steady lead by repeated attacks on the top and mid turrets. A fierce team-fight around the 30-minute mark saw DWG pulling the game back in their favor, with Lehends, Chovy, Doran and Ruler all casualties. Ten minutes later, however, Ruler decided to take matters into his own hands. A tremendous quadra kill took out Showmaker, deokdam, Nuguri and Kellen, leaving Lehends and Doran free to go for the nexus.
DRX pull off reverse sweep to knock out defending champions Edward Gaming
The last quarterfinal, and perhaps the most gratifying and exciting of the lot, was between DRX and Edward Gaming. Neither side has been at the top of their game this year in their respective regional leagues, but both had an identical 4-2 record at the end of the group stage. The two looked pretty well matched on paper.
In fact, they were so well matched that the momentum swung like a pendulum. Defending Worlds champions Edward Gaming sealed the first two games after a confident display, and at 0-2 things looked dire for DRX.
Game three was a very even contest, with no clear lead for any team even after the 30-minute mark. After 35 minutes, however, DRX ran ahead after they took down four turrets, two inhibitors and a dragon. Deft killed Jiejie, meiko and Viper in quick succession, leaving the field clear for him and Pyosik to take down the nexus.
Game four and five were the Zeka show. The superstar mid laner made 16 kills across both of them, an incredible quadra kill about midway through game five setting his side up for an unforgettable victory.