From up-and-comers in Challengers Korea to the Finals of the League of Legends World Championship, DAMWON Gaming have taken down Suning and secured their position in the history books as champions of Worlds 2020.
Although Suning did manage to keep it close throughout the four game series, they simply didn’t have an answer to DAMWON’s disciplined macro play and authoritative objective control.
This was evident straight away in the first game of the series. DAMWON played a passive-yet-intelligent style that forced Suning to make concessions around the map. It was clear that DAMWON’s macro play was far superior to Suning’s, as the latter struggled to make plays while being suffocated under the intense map control and pressure. Before their opponents knew what had happened, DAMWON had three dragons to Suning’s zero.
The decisive fight in Game 1 came at the dragon pit, where DAMWON were able to hold off Suning’s advances and secure the Dragon Soul.
What started off as a great setup for Suning turned into a disaster for the young Chinese squad. Mid laner Xiang “Angel” Tao and support Hu “SwordArt” Shuo-Chieh were cut off from the rest of their team and were unable to contribute to the fight. DAMWON top laner Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon played a massive part, further zoning out Angel and SwordArt.
As a result of DAMWON’s incredible objective control, the Korean team was able to clean up the Suning members and take the Dragon Soul. With the Soul in their pockets, the slow suffocation of Suning began. DAMWON’s objective control was further put on display with their management of the baron pit…
… and again minutes later with their control of the Elder Dragon.
The way in which they suffocated their opponents will be a defining memory of DAMWON’s utter dominance in 2020.
Although the majority of the series was in DAMWON’s favor, Suning managed to make it difficult for the eventual World Champions to claim their crown. While DAMWON clearly had the advantage in macro knowledge, Suning did look like a more talented team when it came to teamfighting.
Whenever it seemed as though DAMWON was about to close out the game, Suning would find the opportune fight to keep themselves alive.
With the commanding supremacy that DAMWON showed over their opponents all throughout the tournament, Suning is one of the only teams in the world that can say that they made it difficult for DAMWON.
While they had many impressive fights, the Suning members also looked sloppy at times. Overextending and getting caught out were big problems for them, and many of those picks only made it easier for DAMWON to control the objectives. It’s very possible that if Suning played the matches slightly cleaner, the series might have gone very differently. The team’s young nature and inexperience on the international stage was prevalent.
On the other side, it was an all-around team effort from DAMWON. Bot laner Jang “Ghost” Yong-jun, the roster’s unsung hero, was reliable and consistent all tournament long. His laning partner, support Cho “BeryL” Geon-hee created plays all over the map and his impact was felt in every lane.
Nuguri, along with mid laner Heo “ShowMaker” Su and jungler Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu all had their carry moments and were all worthy of the MVP award. Canyon was the one to take home the honors, as his dominance in Game 4 ultimately led to the series victory.
Although this loss is heartbreaking for Suning, they have a lot to be proud of, as well as a lot to look forward to. They actually share a lot of qualities with the DAMWON team of last year. Both squads were young, full of talent and promise. Suning made it all the way to the Finals with two rookies, and four players who had previously never been to Worlds. In DAMWON’s 2019, as a pretty much all-rookie team themselves, they were eliminated in the Worlds Knockout Stage as well after a heartbreaking loss to G2 Esports.
Suning’s improvement throughout 2020 was near mind-boggling. From an 11th place finish in spring, missing out on playoffs, to a third place finish in summer, to being the second-best team that competitive League of Legends has to offer and going toe-to-toe with the best of the best, Suning’s accomplishments in 2020 cannot be understated. The young team has one of the best stories in League of Legends esports, and the future is incredibly bright for them.
It’s ironic that the theme for this year’s Worlds was “Take Over,” because in two short years, that’s exactly what DAMWON did to League of Legends.
For the first time in three years, the LCK lifts the Summoner’s Cup. However, that’s not the main story. DAMWON’s utter dominance over the world will be how fans and analysts remember Worlds 2020.
As a homegrown, through-and-through Korean team of all-stars, DAMWON embodies a new age of Korean League of Legends. Just two years ago, DAMWON was only starting to make a name for themselves as up-and-comers competing in Challengers Korea.
To witness DAMWON make the journey from young potential talent to one of the most dominant teams in League of Legends history was truly something special. From the start of the Group Stage, it just seemed as though this was DAMWON’s tournament to win. Their play was overwhelmingly dominant, and their understanding of the meta was far better than anyone else’s. DAMWON started strong and finished even stronger.
DAMWON Gaming will be remembered as the champions of 2020, and they’ll be respected as one of the most dominant teams in the history of League of Legends.