League of Legends World Championships Quarter Finals – The Story So Far
Things are quickly heating up at the 2020 League of Legends World Championship quarter-finals which began September 25th in Shanghai, China (and it could be the last tournament of any kind in China after what they did to the world with their virus). After the play-in and group stages, we are now firmly moving towards the endgame in the knockout stage with the quarter-finals and if the action so far has been any indication, we are in for a treat as the tournament finale approaches.
So far, the two quarter-final bouts have brought to the table certain surprises, exciting gameplay, and the coming of age of quite a few players who have now firmly cemented their eSports legacy.
Let us take a quick look at the story so far by analyzing the two quarter-finals- DAMWON Gaming vs. DRX, and JD Gaming vs. Suning.
DAMWON Gaming vs. DRX
The first quarter-final match shaped up between DAMWON Gaming and DRX – a virtual rerun of the 2020 LoL Championships Korea Finale. As the luck of the draw would go, DRX was slated to face DAMWON, and a lot of people considered their chances in the tournament to have become as good as nonexistent.
In the previous summer finals, DAMWON swept DRX 3-0 with relative ease. The play was not really competitive as DAMWON showed a clear superiority with individual play, trading, and setups. In the Worlds thus far, however, DRX clearly showed signs of being a much-improved team. Unfortunately, that did not stop DAMWON from perfectly replicating the earlier results against DRX this time as well.
DRX was further hindered due to a back injury to their bot-laner Deft and their overdependence on seasoned mid-laner Chovy. Overall, DRX did not manage to even take a game off DAMWON. They came close in the second game, but excellent clutch play from Nuguri ensured that DAMWON left with the prize.
In all three games, the stronger objective setups of DAMWON and occasional flashes of individual brilliance were enough to take things to the finish line in a relatively tame fashion.
For DAMWON, the prospects look solid going forward. Moving on to the semis, they would either face South Korean compatriots Gen.G or the team that did them in last year in the Worlds, G2 eSports. In either case, DAMWON looks like a strong contender to win not just the semis but the whole tournament if their strength and form thus far are any indication.
The key takeaway for DRX would be the evolution of mid-laner Chovy who has been a proven matchwinner for them and the coronation of two excellent young prospects, Keria and Pyosik.
JD Gaming vs. Suning
If the first quarter-final was somewhat anticlimactic, the second made up for it in spades. The last time JD Gaming met Suning, the former emerged victorious with a clean sweep, utilizing a strategy of astute vision control and flank play from expert top-laner Zoom and mid-laner Yagao. Of course, Suning was still in the first stage of building a strong team which is currently at work in the Worlds.
In this quarter-final, an approach similar to the previous matchup was expected from JD Gaming. While Suning has looked particularly good in the tournament so far, most experts would have conceded that JD Gaming had the upper hand coming into this matchup.
However, in a major upset, Suning conquered their rivals with a standout performance from up-and-coming bot-laner Huanfeng. The focus has been on this rookie since an LPL interview. However, this is truly a coming-of-age story with Huanfeng making a difference in all the important junctures of the match.
Of particular note was his Jhin play, especially his pristinely executed ult from inside the JD Gaming base in the second game of the match. A clip of this play has already gone viral on multiple social networks.
Suning also benefited from the exemplary leadership of seasoned vets SwordArt and SofM, something that rookie top-laner Bin has cited as the main source of their current strength as a team.
The match ended up with Suning winning 3-1 with many hard-fought battles fans would cherish. The first game went in JD Gaming’s favor in spite of a Suning scaling advantage thanks to the prowess of Zoom and Zoe in the midgame. The second game, mostly due to the heroics of Huanfeng, ended with the teams level at 1-1.
From there, Suning bagged the next two games to finish the match at 3-1. While the third game was not really competitive, the final game of the match came down to the wire. JD Gaming held the early advantage in the game but Suning bounced back remarkably well with more Jhin wizardry from Huanfeng and better dragon setups.
JD Gaming, in spite of having to take this loss, should take pride in their performance. They have consistently been recognized as one of the best LPL teams. Their coordination, drafting, and 5v5 team fighting prowess have been hallmarks of their performance this season. Even during their loss here, they had much better group engagements in large portions of the match. A lot of the exchanges that they could have clearly won went against them to finally hand them the loss.
The quarter-finals are about to get more heated and interesting with Topsports taking on Fnatic and Gen.G going up against G2 eSports in the coming days. The stage looks set for a thrilling finale which is slated to take place on October 31st – Halloween! You can where your masks all night during Halloween!
There has also been exciting news recently about the finale. Reportedly, the finale, taking place in the Pudong Soccer Stadium on October 31st, will be an event with a live audience. The operator announced that strict social distancing norms will be followed as they look set to welcome an audience of 6,312 people in the stadium for the final.
Riot Games would distribute free tickets for the event to people who register to attend. Chosen members would be notified and asked to pay a deposit to attend the event.
With the dominance of DAMWON and the evolution of Suning into one of the most exciting teams of the tournament, the League of Legends 2020 World Championship looks poised to enter its most exciting stage where new heroes might be crowned and stunning upsets recorded as the tournament progresses to the semi-finals and final.