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 Gen.G Worlds 2021 Spotlight.
Top: Kim “Rascal” Kwang-hee, Noh “Burdol” Tae-yoon
Jungle: Kim “Clid” Tae-min, Ko “YoungJae” Yeong-jae
Mid: Gwak “Bdd” Bo-seong
Bot: Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk
Support: Kim “Life” Jeong-min
Head Coach: Ju “oDin” Yeong-dal
Regular Season Placing: 2nd
Playoffs Placing: 3rd
Since the organization joined the LCK, they have been playing second fiddle. In 2018, they did not reach a single domestic final and barely qualified for Worlds via the regional gauntlet, to then be the first Korean team since 2013 knocked out in the group stage. In 2019, the team struggled to even qualify for the LCK playoffs and did not make Worlds. In 2020, they reached finals for the first time in spring and were slapped down 3-0 by T1, and in summer, they lost controversial semifinals featuring a mid-series patch change against DRX. While they qualified for worlds and topped their group, GEN was knocked out in the first round of playoffs by G2.
In 2021, it seemed like nothing was going to change. GEN placed second in the regular season and playoffs in spring, right behind a dominant DWG KIA, but it seemed like the script was changing in summer. While DK was having a post-MSI slump, at least by their standards, GEN was flourishing. They held the top spot in the regular season multiple times. Although the regular season ended the same as summer, 2nd place right behind DK, the circumstances differed slightly. In spring, DK seemed like an unstoppable force for GEN, but in summer, they tied DK in match record, 12-6, and only lost out on the head-to-head. LCK Playoffs still seemed full of potential for GEN, but a resurging T1 forced them to be content with a 3rd place finish and the LCK 2nd seed at Worlds 2021.
Players to Watch:
The Rightful Ruler
Currently, Ruler is one of the few World Champions that have yet to win a domestic title. It is a chip on his shoulder that people bring up to criticize his placement among the best bot laners in history. However, if Ruler can win a second world title, he can silence the critics. The last time Ruler won worlds was during the Ardent Censer meta, where bot laners could single-handedly carry games. While the Worlds 2021 meta is not as bot-centric as the Ardent meta, we saw the carry potential and game impact of bot lane from players like Doggo during Play-Ins, and if there is any bot laner that can 1v9 carry his team, it is Ruler. If GEN is going to succeed at Worlds, Ruler will be the lynchpin to their victories.
Make or Break: Clid
In 2019, Clid looked like one of the best junglers in the world. He had explosive early games, constantly looking for gank and engage opportunities. However, since joining GEN in 2020, it feels like Clid has mellowed out and lost the edge that made him so dangerous to play against in 2019. Although his change in play meshed with GEN’s playstyle and worked well enough in the LCK, it will not be sufficient against international competition with more active early games. We saw last year how G2 punished GEN’s uncreative level 1 starts and early game. While all the teams in GEN’s group are not the same caliber as G2 of old, they will eventually face stronger competition if they progress further through the tournament. If GEN is to avoid a repeat of 2020 Worlds, the 2019 SKT Clid must make a return to protect their early game.