The first series of the Knockout Stage went as everyone predicted it would. After a rocky start, Damwon regrouped and obliterated Lowkey for a 3-1 series win. The series showed different sides of Damwon and highlighted how hit-or-miss it can be.
While the team was the absolute king of the play-ins, it’s difficult to predict their chances in the main event.
Game one didn’t go exactly as Damwon expected. Lowkey decided to swap lanes early and put Nguyễn Phước “Celebrity” Long Hiệp in a two-versus-one situation. Damwon couldn’t respond to the swap in time, so Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon had to absorb the pressure from the enemy duo in the top lane.
Throughout the game, Lowkey funneled as many resources as possible into Celebrity. Tristana was the win condition and the main focus for the team. Damwon still found good picks and plays around the map, even though their scaling was heavily delayed by Celebrity.
Damwon found the opportunity to break into Lowkey’s base and they almost took the win. They overstayed their welcome and Lowkey reeled them into a prolonged team fight. Meanwhile, Celebrity used his TP to get to the top lane and push for the win. Damwon couldn’t recall in time and had to watch as their Nexus was destroyed.
The result of game one was a symptom of Damwon’s weak early game, a shortcoming that popped up in the group stage as the team gave up resources and sometimes let enemies get ahead.
Damwon corrected those mistakes in game two. The team drafted for comfort, and always went for the picks that allowed them to fight. The rest of the series followed a similar path, Damwon pushed the tempo early, got map control, and then slowed down the game. Once the Baron spawned, Damwon was online and ready to burst down every enemy on the map.
Going back to basics worked incredibly well for Damwon. The team had better vision control and was capable of slowly bleeding out the enemies. Lowkey ran out of options and started to struggle on every level. In the end, Damwon took the series with a 3-1 win.
Despite coming out victorious, the series raised a lot of questions about Damwon and their upside in the main event. Their early game struggles are easy to exploit, especially for the elite competition that awaits them. It also showed how vulnerable the team is to lane swaps and other unorthodox strategies.
Game one was a taste of what it is to come for Damwon when they face teams from the strongest regions. The team still has time to learn from that series and make the necessary adjustments.
Damwon will return to the stage on October 12 when the 2019 League of Legends World Championship main event officially kicks off.