A big rematch from last year’s 2019 World Champion will take place in the 2020 League of Legends World Championship semifinals, and the outcome may not be the same this time around.
The Kings of Europe from G2 Esports will once again clash with Korea’s DAMWON Gaming at Worlds, this time in the semifinal round. The two teams met each other in the 2019 Worlds quarterfinals, where G2 came out on top 3-1. This year, DAMWON is the favorite and is looking to take its revenge.
The two first seeds will fight for a spot in the 2020 Worlds final. It would be G2’s second final in a row, while DAMWON would make its first Worlds final appearance if they manage to take the win. Both teams are hungry to take down each other, and also to fight for a Worlds trophy that would put an end to the Chinese era of dominance.
G2 might have beaten DAMWON at Worlds 2019, but the young Korean squad has improved drastically since then. In just one year, DAMWON has gone from being the new kids on the block and the third seed from the LCK to being the defending LCK champion and a first seed at Worlds.
DAMWON made a statement in the 2020 LCK Summer Split, where they crushed all of their competition. DAMWON went through the regular split with a 16-2 record and continued its dominance in the playoffs by sweeping DragonX in a convincing 3-0 fashion to take home the trophy.
DAMWON has improved a lot as a team during the past year, with only one roster change since Worlds 2019. DAMWON added bot laner Jang “Ghost” Yong-jun in February to replace Sin “Nuclear” Jeong-hyeon, and has been looking much better since.
With a new bot laner in place, DAMWON started to perfect a playstyle that goes against every norm in Korean League of Legends. LCK teams have been known for their controlled macro playstyle for years, but DAMWON is going against that by playing through strong lanes and effective skirmishing.
DAMWON had a similar playstyle at Worlds 2019, but has spent the last year mastering it. Mid laner Heo “ShowMaker” Su has adjusted his playstyle to better fit the teams’ identity by roaming more and engaging in skirmishes around the map. He is now considered one of the best mid laners in the world, maybe even the best, after just two seasons in the LCK.
These changes in playstyle make DAMWON scary as a unit, and they are never afraid to pick a fight. DAMWON will likely win lanes even in bad matchups, which makes it hard for teams to draft and to play an effective early game against them.
With DAMWON’s clear improvements throughout the year, G2 will be facing a harder task compared to last year. G2 has kept the same roster since Worlds 2019 and has developed further as a team, but despite that has still been looking shakier.
Some would say that G2 has clearly looked worse this year, but it might also be because of tougher competition. At Worlds, G2 has gone through a very similar journey compared to 2019 where they also lost a tiebreaker in the group stage and advanced to the playoffs as the second seed. G2 also faced the LCK first seed in the semifinals last year, where they took down SKT 3-1. This year could shape up to be a repeat of that performance.
The LEC champions have won two domestic trophies this year but had to go through the losers’ bracket in both splits. G2 is still a very experienced squad, proving time and again that they can perform under pressure. Danish mid-lane star Rasmus “Caps” Winther, Luka “Perkz” Perković, and the rest of the squad will have to do the same to overcome DAMWON.
Luckily for all European fans, G2 is still very confident in their ability to reach the second Worlds final in a row. The players have been very outspoken on social media that they believe in their own ability to beat yet another Korean team.
Even though DAMWON is the favorite this time around, G2 still has a real chance of overcoming the LCK champions. On paper, it’s a very exciting matchup that could end up as one of the most intense best-of-five series of the year. Most experts are predicting DAMWON to be too strong for G2, but FunPlus Phoenix mid laner Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang is not so sure.
In a recent video, Doinb talked about the matchup and mentioned that G2 has a decent chance against DAMWON after taking down Gen.G 3-0 in the quarterfinals. Doinb rates G2’s chances to be 40% or higher after they demolished Gen.G, who was considered to be a very tough opponent.
The meta seems to favor both teams. The meta at Worlds 2020 has proven to be very much centered around the jungle, with strong picks such as Graves, Nidalee, and Kindred coming through. Both G2 jungler Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski and DAMWON’s Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu are known to be strong on carry junglers and have been delivering thus far at Worlds.
Looking at the stats, Canyon is still the best performing jungler of the two with a total of 49 kills and a KDA of 10.6. He is topping the charts for all junglers at the tournament and is currently the true carry of DAMWON.
Jankos is sitting at 38 total kills and a 4.4 KDA, so he will have to catch up a bit, but it’s certainly not impossible. Jankos is a more experienced jungler and has other strengths that he can put into use. The Polish jungler has reached the semifinals or better at every Worlds event he has attended and he knows what it takes to play on the big stage.
The jungle will be the key matchup together with the mid lane, where Caps and ShowMaker will clash in a fight between two of the best mid laners in the world. That matchup will likely be heavily assisted by both junglers, so the middle of Summoner’s Rift should be where the most action happens.
To win, G2 will still have to put up its best performance of the year, while the young DAMWON squad needs to withstand the pressure that has been placed on them.