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Damwon Gaming is sole Korean hope at Worlds

Gen.G Esports participates in a press conference after losing to G2 Esports on Sunday. (Riot Games)
Gen.G Esports participates in a press conference after losing to G2 Esports on Sunday. (Riot Games)

After European powerhouse G2 Esports swept Korean team Gen.G Esports 3-0 Sunday night, Damwon Gaming became the only Korean team left in the League of Legends World Championships, heading to the semifinals.

For Korean fans, the match between G2 and Gen.G on Sunday brought back nightmares of last year’s World Championships. G2, regarded as League of Legends Champions Korea’s kryptonite, took down Damwon Gaming in the quarterfinals and Korean team T1 with superstar “Faker” in the semifinals last year, extinguishing hopes of Korea’s return to the throne. G2 lost 3-0 to Chinese team FunPlus Phoenix at last year’s world finals.

As a result, Korea became the third best region, behind China and Europe, with Europe and China receiving one more seed than Korea going into the World Championships this year.

While G2’s performance throughout the tournament up to the quarterfinals had been questionable, its showing against Gen.G on Sunday proved it is still the best team Europe has ever seen.
G2 Esports poses for photos after taking down Gen.G Esports on Sunday. (Riot Games)
G2 Esports poses for photos after taking down Gen.G Esports on Sunday. (Riot Games)

The flexible playstyle of G2 playing around the map and the aggressive style of the Chinese teams were what the methodical Korean teams needed to learn from at last year’s worlds. Also, the Koreans had to accept that they were now challengers to the throne. What Gen.G showed on Sunday proved Korean teams -- with exceptions of Damwon and DRX perhaps -- still have a long way to go.

“I think the LCK has improved much already. We were quite confident, but since we lost, I don’t have much to say,” said Gen.G coach Joo Young-dal in the post-match interview.
Gen.G Esports’ “Ruler” plays in the quarterfinals against G2 Esports on Sunday. (Riot Games)
Gen.G Esports’ “Ruler” plays in the quarterfinals against G2 Esports on Sunday. (Riot Games)

“I definitely think that I could have performed better, but there were parts where I underperformed, so that’s really regrettable,” said “Ruler,” the star player of Gen.G.

Several players of Damwon, which plays G2 on Saturday, have expressed wishes to play against G2 to seek revenge for last year. Damwon swept the other Korean team DRX on Thursday 3-0 to head to the semifinals.

On the other side of the bracket, two Chinese teams face each other at the semifinals, guaranteeing that a Chinese team will appear in the Worlds finals for the third consecutive year. Whoever wins between G2 and Damwon will have a chance to take down China.

Korean teams won the World Championships from 2013 to 2017, while China won in 2018 and 2019.

As the Korean first seed and the only Korean team left in the tournament, LCK fans hope Damwon can take down Europe’s G2 and take back the throne from the Chinese teams.

By Lim Jang-won (ljw@heraldcorp.com)
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