With great momentum and confidence stemming from the 2020 World Championship, DAMWON managed to secure another trophy before the 2021 season starts. This is the third trophy in a row for DAMWON and this time it came with new top laner Kim “Khan” Dong-ha. DAMWON took down the new LCK upstarts from NS RedForce in a 3-0 sweep in the final, ending the 2020 season on a high note.
[2020 KeSPA Cup FINALS Champion]
담원게이밍이 퍼펙트 스코어로 우승을 차지하며 또 하나의 업적을 달성하였습니다!
— DWG_Official (@DamwonGaming) January 2, 2021
DAMWON started out by dominating group A, where they went undefeated by beating Liiv SANDBOX, DRX, Afreeca Freecs, and NS RedForce. At that point, it was clear that DAMWON came to play at the KeSPA Cup 2020 and they didn’t slow down in the semifinals.
The semifinal was against Hanwha Life Esports, where Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon and Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu were ready to stop the DAMWON train. Sadly for Hanwha Life, this was close to an impossible task as they lost 3-1. Even though DAMWON took the win, Hanwha Life managed to take one game off the world champions, and was the only team to do so at the tournament.
Fans were hoping for an exciting best-of-five final, but DAMWON closed out the tournament in just three games. There was never a chance for NS RedForce to become a real threat in the final, which allowed DAMWON to close out the 2020 season in style. With this win, DAMWON concludes the year with a 61-9 record since last summer and is looking to continue that pace in 2021.
NS RedForce might not have won its first trophy, but is still looking like an LCK dark horse.
Despite playing with Khan as the new top laner, the overall teamwork and synergy between the DAMWON members remained strong. Taking down DAMWON when the 2021 LCK Spring Split will be hard, but fans are yet to see the new T1 and Gen.G main rosters in action.
Khan is a 25-year-old top laner from South Korea. He started his career on Prime Optimus back in 2013 and has since then played for some of the biggest esports organizations in the world. Khan made his big breakthrough on Longzhu Gaming in 2017, where he won the 2017 LCK Summer Split final against SKT. Since then, Khan has won three other LCK trophies, two of them coming while playing under the SKT banner. Despite his great domestic success, Khan has never won an international trophy.
After a disappointing 2020 season, Khan and FunPlus Phoenix parted ways. Khan played for FPX for a total of two LPL splits, placing third and eighth respectively. To replace Khan on FPX is former DAMWON top laner Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon. To address this loss, DAMWON picked up Khan, returning the top laner to the LCK.
Looking at the past six months, there is no reason not to think that DAMWON will be able to win the upcoming Korean splits in the 2021 LCK. Starting out with the 2021 LCK Spring Split, DAMWON will without a doubt enter as the big favorite to win it all. This is the first time DAMWON is the clear favorite for an LCK title, so fans might see a different team depending on how it handles the pressure. There are still interesting teams such as T1 and Gen.G who could create an upset if DAMWON doesn’t perform up to its standards.