The biggest League of Legends tournament of the year is heading to an exciting conclusion as a showdown between EDward Gaming and DAMWON KIA will determine the best LoL team of the year. Here’s everything you need to know about the showpiece event.
The action began on October 5 with the play-in stage featuring ten teams and players from all around the world vying for the coveted two spots available at the main event. These ultimately went to Cloud9 and Hanwha Life Esports, with both sides making it as far as the quarterfinals in this stacked tournament.
The group stage showcased just how close the margins are at this high level of play, with only two teams finishing with a record better than 4 wins and 2 losses in a double round robin format, not to mention Group D’s insane conclusion where all four teams finished in equal fashion and a shootout was required to break the ties, which would see Gen.G Esports and MAD Lions proceed to the playoffs.
Elsewhere, DAMWON KIA’s dominant 6-0 record was a sign of things to come as they’d power their way to the grand finals as EDward Gaming, the other eventual finalist, finished in second place behind T1 in Group B. Ultimately, three teams of the top four hailed from the LCK.
It’s been a tougher road for the LPL winners in the playoffs with both their series going all the way with a 3-2 scoreline both against Royal Never Give Up and Gen.G Esports. DAMWON KIA began their knockout stage journey by crushing MAD Lions with a flawless 3-0 scoreline, setting up the clash of the titans between them and T1 that went all the way to game five as they completed a comeback against their LCK rivals from 2-1 down.
Excitement and interest is at an all-time high for Worlds 2021, with the first semifinal peaking at just over 3.5 million concurrent viewers, an incredible new record (previously at 2.3 million courtesy of the DWG KIA vs MAD Lions quarterfinal match).
The event has been a topsy-turvy affair with many shocks and upsets, but one single person is still in the running for the perfect flawless pick’ems, and with it, all six Ultimate-tier skins on offer as a reward for their excellence.
Had Gen.G triumphed over EDward Gaming in the semis, this would have been the first time since 2017 that two Korean sides battled it out for the biggest prize in League of Legends esports. It wasn’t to be: instead, this makes it four years in a row that a team from the LPL made it all the way to the grand final (with two wins out of the last three attempts). For EDward Gaming, this is their first appearance in the final of an international tournament since MSI 2015.
The semi-finals were so exciting that it’s a real shame we couldn’t get any more of the action. Notable esports commentators have highlighted how the lack of a dual elimination bracket could hurt the Worlds viewing experience by denying fans those exciting rematch opportunities and legendary lower bracket runs that make things so memorable in games like Dota 2.
Instead, LoL Worlds remains committed to the same sort of best-of-one bracket you’d see at the FIFA World Cup and other such events, expanding the group stage play to double round robin League of Legends matches to reduce variance before heading into a blanket best-of-five playoffs stage with eight teams. It remains an ongoing discussion in the League of Legends community whether this is the best way to go with what is widely seen as the premiere esports product in the space.
The grand final of the 2021 League of Legends World Championship will pit Chinese side EDward Gaming against LCK Summer winners DAMWON KIA in a battle for ultimate supremacy. The Korean side’s victory would mark a landmark achievement of a repeat title on the biggest LoL esports scene.
The best-of-five match will take place on November 6, 13:00 CET. Side Selection Privilege will be determined by a coin flip.
DAMWON KIA are seen as the runaway favorites for this one, with odds offered at 1.28 for their win at the time of writing compared to EDward Gaming’s 3.38. A 3-0 win for the Korean side is offered at 2.35, which further goes to highlight how much of a dominant showing they’ve had at this year’s Worlds event so far. Of course, whether they can get it done at the most important match remains to be seen.