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Worlds 2021 Semifinals Preview: T1 vs DK

On one side, we have DAMWON KIA, a team seeking to cement their era. On the other, we have T1, an upstart team chasing for former glory. Whichever team that wins this matchup comes in as favorites for the finals. So let’s dive into this matchup to see our potential champions.

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Top Lane

Canna vs Khan

Both players have been major carries for their teams. They lead in damage and laning stats among top laners and receive the most attention from their team. Canna and Khan have adapted well to the tournament meta with their champion pools, featuring picks like Graves and Kennen.

Khan gained leads over Canna in the summer finals due to DK’s sheer amount of attention, while T1 left Canna on an island. Despite the camp, Canna held up reasonably well, often trading kills while being dove. With how T1 is playing around their top laner at Worlds 2021 so far, we will see how Canna will deal with Khan on even footing.

Verdict

Khan has the slightest edge in this matchup, only because of how dominant DK has looked. This matchup can really go either way.

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Jungle

Oner vs Canyon

Canyon looks like the best jungler, if not the best player in the world right now. He just does not make mistakes, whether they could be mechanical or decision-making. Against MAD, the DK jungler put up 14/4/31 series KDA, making successful early-game plays and coming up clutch in late-game scenarios. Facing him is T1’s rookie jungler, Oner. Oner has looked solid throughout the tournament, despite making his LCK debut midway through summer. However, he needs to step up to put a stop to Canyon’s rampage.

Verdict

Canyon has the advantage in this matchup by a wide margin because of his pristine performance so far. This is not meant to put down Oner, but even if he is playing at a 9/10 level, it is incomparable to Canyon’s 11/10. 

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Mid Lane

Faker vs ShowMaker

The T1 mid laner had some of the lowest laning and damage stats among mid laners during the group stage. However, Faker showed us he can still put up the numbers in the quarterfinals. ShowMaker also showed some dominant laning phases, particularly on Syndra. As a result, unlike some of the recent mid-lane matchups, this one won’t be defined and ended by laning alone.

Both mids play for the top lane, seeking roam timers to snowball their All-Star top laners. Both players have also shown they have counterpicks ready for meta picks, like Faker’s Lissandra and ShowMaker’s Kassadin. However, relatively, Faker has played much more selflessly to facilitate his rookie teammates. Comparatively, ShowMaker has been more likely to take matters into his own hands, roaming for his team and prioritizing his needs if the situation demands them.

Verdict

This matchup leans slightly in favor of ShowMaker due to the accumulation of many small advantages, like laning and available champion pool. In particular, ShowMaker has the Kassadin pick ready to make any of Faker’s early game sacrifices worthless. DK has shown their adeptness in playing around a scaling mid laner that can not force priority, while T1 seems to depend on Faker on playmakers.

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Bot Lane

Gumayusi vs Ghost

Although many forgot due to his terrible form at MSI, Ghost played very well during the LCK 2021 Spring Split. He was a late-game carry DK could fall back on and came up huge during teamfights. Spring 2021 Ghost seems to be back. He was playing weakside very well already, but we also saw him step up when his team needed him in the MAD Lions series.

Gumayusi is looking solid coming into this matchup. Despite being a rookie like Oner, it does not seem like his play is affected by nerves. He has been stuck on Aphelios duty, but this could be T1 hiding bot lane pick in preparation for their future matches. He has shown impressive laning phases, and teamfight decision-making, like the blast-plant play during the HLE series.

Verdict

Based on their play so far at Worlds 2021, neither bot laner has a meaningful edge over the other. Both have been solid and exceptional when needed for their teams, and unlike MSI and domestically, Ghost has no negative performances at Worlds to weigh against him in this matchup. 

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Support

Keria vs BeryL

Both players have been playing well this tournament. Keria and BeryL have shown us diverse champion pools throughout Worlds, showing proficiency on both enchanters and tank supports. Both supports roam to mid frequently to aid their mid laners so that, in turn, their mid laners can help the side lanes, usually top. However, a critical difference between the two is their role in their team’s victories. BeryL is at the bottom in terms of kill participation among supports. On the other hand, Keria is 2nd in KP% and 1st in FB%, symbolizing the difference in responsibilities of the two players. Keria is integral to T1’s early game and playmaking, while DK makes many plays without their support.

Verdict

I give the T1 support the edge in this matchup because despite being so much more important to his team’s success than BeryL, Keria has managed to consistently deliver and meet the needs of his team to help them reach the semifinals. 

Team

T1 vs Damwon KIA

These two Korean heavyweights have the best early games in the tournament. They rank among the top in most early game stats, including FB%, FT%, average number of tower plates taken, FH%, etc. There will be plenty of early game action if both teams show up in form for the semifinal matchup. However, a notable difference is T1’s general stubbornness regarding the first herald. In contrast, DK has shown they are willing to give it up for a traded objective across the map like a dragon. Almost always, no matter the situation, T1 will show up at the first herald spawn and duke it out for the scuttle crab’s bigger brethren.

Final Verdict: DAMWON KIA

DAMWON KIA is the favorite in this matchup. The defending champions look unstoppable so far at Worlds, and when they were not looking as dominant in some games, it seemed like they were playing with their food. T1 will most likely be their most formidable opponent of the tournament, but DK seems comfortable favorites to win even then.

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