Even the most hardcore League of Legends esports fans find keeping track of every region, including the minor regions, a tall task. As a result, the majority of fans will be unacquainted with many of the teams and players attending the most prestigious LoL Esports event of the year. So Worlds Spotlight was created to help educate and inform the fans of the stories and narratives surrounding these players and teams. Welcome to our DWG KIA Worlds 2021 Spotlight.
Top: Kim “Khan” Dong-ha
Jungle: Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu
Mid: Heo “ShowMaker” Su
Bot: Jang “Ghost” Yong-jun, Cho “Rahel” Min-seong
Support: Cho “BeryL” Geon-hee
Head Coach: Kim “kkoma” Jeong-gyun
Regular Season Placing: 1st
Playoffs Placing: 1st
Although DWG KIA returned from MSI after a close 2-3 loss to RNG in the finals, people expected them to continue their domestic dominance. Surprisingly, after a close 2-1 opening series against T1 and an 0-2 loss to KT Rolster, DK chose to make a startling roster swap. They took Ghost out from the starting roster, moved Showmaker to bot, Canyon to mid, and brought Malrang to play jungle. This new roster played for two weeks, going 3-1, before getting Ghost back to the lineup. Throughout the majority of summer, DK played second fiddle to the likes of Gen.G, Nongshim Redforce, and Liiv Sandbox. It was not until the last week of the split that DK secured first place in the regular season and a bye for playoffs.
DK ended the regular split dominantly despite their early summer woes, winning their last four series without dropping a game. As a result, they were considered a heavy favorite coming into playoffs, and DK certainly delivered those expectations. They smashed the summer upstarts NS in a quick 3-0 before winning the finals 3-1 against T1, earning the team’s third domestic championship and the LCK first seed at worlds. Now, DK is looking to avenge their loss at MSI and becoming the second back-to-back winner of Worlds.
Players to Watch:
Closest to the Throne: ShowMaker
Since the fall of the Unkillable Demon King in 2017, many players, even Faker himself, have been chasing for the mantle left behind in the Bird’s Nest that day. With DK’s summer split championship, Showmaker seems the closest to grabbing it. He is now the only mid-laner apart from Faker in the LCK to have won three consecutive domestic splits in a row. At Worlds 2021, he could be the second mid-laner to win a second successive world title, only matched by Faker.
We can safely expect ShowMaker to have a strong, if not exceptional, performance at Worlds. However, if ShowMaker wants not just to match Faker’s legacy but surpass it with his own, he must go beyond that. With even stiffer competition than ever and DK not being the same favorites as last year coming into the event, Showmaker’s performance could be the defining factor between DK being one of the best and being the best in the world.
Soldier's Final Campaign: Khan
Since his breakout performance with Longzhu in 2017, Khan has attended two Worlds and three MSIs. At all of them, Khan’s team was considered a favorite to win it all, but Khan has yet to earn a single international gold medal. Worlds 2021 is his last chance to finally achieve international success because he will be attending mandatory Korean military service next year and likely retiring afterward. In his past international appearances, Khan rarely showed the same level of dominant play he was known for domestically. However, with the tough competition and the level of top laners coming from the LPL, the main obstacle to the trophy, Khan’s performance, is vital to DK’s success. If he can return to that 2017 LCK Summer form, Khan may finally be able to find international hardware and retire in peace.