The quarterfinals of the 2021 World Championship begins this Friday. With half of the teams being LCK representatives, it seems like 2021 Worlds could be LCK Autumn once again. Thankfully, we may have been saved by Lady Luck, presenting a bracket with a chance for NA’s first-ever finals appearance. Or we could see RNG making their first Worlds finals since 2014. Or we could see the beginning of the reign of Damwon. But before any of that can happen, the matches have to be played. Without further ado, let’s jump right into the T1 vs. Hanwha Life Esports quarterfinals matchup!
Canna vs Morgan
The champion pool and role of these two players could not be any different. Canna is a significant damage threat and side-laner for T1. The T1 top laner is top 5 among top laners in laning stats and top 3 in damage stats. While his champion picks (Graves, Jayce, and Kennen) and support from his team are a major cause of these high numbers, it should not downplay Canna’s ability to deliver with these resources. His control over his lane is vital for T1’s penchant first herald rotation, and his damage output is crucial in mid-late game teamfights when Faker is on utility champions like Twisted Fate.
On the other hand, the HLE top laner sits around the bottom in both laning stats and damage stats. Morgan usually holds down the fort in the lane and plays for his team, invading with his jungler or teleporting bot lane. We could attribute this to the fact that his team does not give him as much attention as Canna and his champion pool. Morgan has exclusively played melee bruisers so far (besides one Kennen game). When the meta bruisers are banned out, he resorts to non-meta bruisers like Renekton and Aatrox. However, even on these picks, Morgans fulfills his role for his team and performs respectably in teamfights.
Despite Morgan’s solid performances so far, we have seen him collapse to a team’s attention around the lane like against RNG, so with T1 playing in a similar manner, I give Canna the edge.
Oner vs Willer
Both junglers are in their rookie year in professional play. Both debuted on their academy team and were subbed into the LCK team’s starting roster in the middle of the summer split. Coming into Worlds 2021, they had less than one year of professional experience, but both have played respectably well so far.
Compared to his domestic performance with HLE, Willer appears much more in sync with the rest of his team. He is second in FB% and fourth in KP% among junglers in the group stage. He has had reasonably active early games, getting his laners ahead at the expense of his lead. In terms of champion pool, Willer has fallen back to his comfort Viego pick with no games on flavor of the patch picks like Talon and Qiyana.
Oner has been solid throughout the tournament for T1. He has shown the ability to make proactive and reactive plays. When the enemy jungler makes a play, the T1 jungler answers with a counter gank or trading across the map with an objective, counter jungling, or a gank of his own, contributing to him being first in [email protected] and fourth in [email protected] His champion pool has been very flexible, only playing one champion, Poppy, more than once and including new meta picks like Talon and Qiyana.
Because of his champion pool flexibility and ability to answer plays around the map, I give Oner the edge over Willer.
Faker vs Chovy
If we only looked at the stats for this matchup, it seems like a one-sided slaughter. Chovy is first among mid laners in every laning stat at 10 minutes and every damage stats. On the other hand, Faker has only middling numbers for laning stats, and surprisingly, his damage stats are at the bottom among mid laners, a far cry from his previous performances at Worlds. However, we should note that Faker is last in terms of gold share among mid laners, while Chovy is sitting at the top of the table.
These stats speak volumes about the role of each player in their team. Since T1’s resurgence in the summer split, Faker has been outspoken about playing a facilitating role for the younger players on the team. On champions like Twisted Fate and Orianna, Faker continues to play for his team by setting up plays across the map with globals or teamfights with huge ults at the expense of his stats.
Conversely, there is a reason why HLE is often dubbed Chovy Life Esports. While his teammates have stepped up, Chovy is still the primary carry of the team. Even on a champion like Twisted Fate, he looks to dominate his lane opponent and use his lead to establish autonomy in side lanes and win teamfights. At times, this method is enough for Chovy to brute force carry games, but we saw the downsides of this playstyle as well, most prominently in HLE’s tiebreaker match against RNG. Despite playing a champion like Twisted Fate, we saw Chovy taking priority over Deft’s Aphelios in taking mid-lane farm, which led to Deft falling excessively behind despite the team being ahead overall.
Despite Faker’s advantage in experience and mid-late game shot-calling, I believe Chovy’s early game prowess and carry potential more than makes up for the difference.
Gumayusi vs Deft
Deft is one of the most veteran players left and still playing at an elite level, and Gumayusi is one of the most hyped-up Korean prospects since his lane partner Keria. Both players have played very well at Worlds 2021 so far. Both bot laners are at the top end in laning stats (only Gumayusi’s [email protected] is somewhat lacking). However, there is a stark difference in their damage stats. Deft is 1st in DPM and 3rd in DMG% among bot laners, while the T1 bot laner is not even close to Deft in those stats. However, this difference is less likely a gap in skill between them but a difference in team play styles. T1 has the fastest game times, and lowest champion kills per game among the teams at Worlds, preventing Gumayusi from padding his stats like Deft, whose team has bloodier and longer games.
Both bot laners have Aphelios as their most played champion at Worlds, but both have shown proficiency on the counter picks like Ziggs. In addition, both players can play picks like Draven (especially Gumayusi since he was a well-known Draven OTP) to counter the Lucian-Nami combo that is so popular currently. As a result, neither player has the edge over the other in terms of champion pool.
Both players are exceptional in their own right, but I give the edge in this lane the HLE bot laner because of his experience on the knockout stage.
Keria vs Vsta
Keria is often heralded as one of the best supports in the world in terms of mechanics. Yet at Worlds 2021, four out of his six games have been on either Lulu or Yuumi. On the other side, Vsta has favored chiefly the tanky engage supports, like Leona and Thresh. Despite the difference in picks, both players are very close in many stats, including below-average KP% accompanied by high gold and experience differentials. However, there is one stark difference between the two players, which is their vision stats. Vsta sits at the top end in wards placed and cleared per minute, but Keria sits second to last in both stats. While the different champion pools contribute to this, it could also have a deeper insight into each player’s role in their team.
While it is tricky to give either side a considerable edge based on their Worlds performance so far, I will cede it to the T1 support because of his highs as recently as summer.
T1 vs Hawnha Life Esports
Both teams have powerful early games. They rank around the top in every single early game stat. The way these two teams attain their lead is somewhat different, with T1 preferring camping and snowballing through the top lane while HLE favors using Chovy’s lead across the map. However, a noticeable difference between the two is their average game time, and champion kills per minute. T1 has the lowest AGT and CKPM among all teams in the group stage, while HLE has the 4th longest and bloodiest games. From these stats, along with their in-game performance, T1 is much cleaner about utilizing their lead to close out games compared to HLE. However, this difference can be deemed insignificant due to the difference in competition in their groups, where HLE had the relatively more challenging group.
Final Verdict: T1
T1 is my favorites to win this matchup. They certainly do not lack the star power to match HLE’s carries, and they are simply a better overall team than HLE. As long as T1 keeps up the same form they showed in Week 2 of groups, they should comfortably beat HLE in this LCK civil war.