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David vs Goliath: EDG and Damwon KIA (Worlds 2021)

David vs Goliath: EDG and Damwon KIA (Worlds 2021)

    Last Updated on June 28, 2024

Edward Gaming faced significant doubts during the 2021 League of Legends World Championship due to internal issues and inconsistent performances. Analysts and fans alike favored other LPL teams such as FunPlus Phoenix (FPX) and Royal Never Give Up (RNG) over EDG, questioning their status as the top team from China.

EDG’s inconsistent showings during both the group stages and playoffs raised concerns about their ability to consistently perform against top-tier opponents. Specific scrutiny was placed on players like Jiejie in the jungle, whose early-game impact and decision-making were often called into question.

Moreover, the grueling tournament format, which required EDG to play a significant number of games, tested their wits and strength on the international stage. These factors collectively cast doubt on EDG’s capability to secure the championship title despite their storied history and reputation within the scene.

The Goliath Damwon Gaming KIA

Heading into the 2021 League of Legends World Championship, Damwon KIA (DWG KIA) was heavily favored over Edward Gaming (EDG) for several reasons. As the defending champions, DWG KIA boasted a roster of star players known for their exceptional skill and teamwork, consistently dominating in both group stages and playoffs.

They had a strong track record against LPL teams, renowned for their competitiveness, and players like Canyon and ShowMaker were widely regarded among the best globally in their roles. These factors positioned DWG KIA as clear favorites among analysts and fans, highlighting their formidable status heading into the championship clash with EDG.

Game 1

Looking at Damwon Gaming’s draft, there are clear issues with their composition, heavily focused on engaging against EDG’s backline-centric strategy. With limited sustained damage to threaten Jiejie on EDG’s frontline, DK faces a challenging task. Meanwhile, EDG’s composition revolves around Meiko’s accuracy with stuns and enables Viper’s aggressive plays with Time Warp.

The series began quietly as EDG initiated with a Realm Warp gank bot, securing First Blood on BeryL. Shortly after, DK capitalized on a Rift Herald skirmish, gaining plates after a pick. At 13 minutes, BeryL retaliated with a successful mid lane gank, taking down Scout. Moving into the mid game, the match was evenly poised until EDG’s pivotal team fight win at 15 minutes over the second Herald, where they eliminated three DK members and secured it, along with the First Tower bonus. Concurrently, EDG started stacking dragons in preparation for Ocean Soul.

At 24 minutes, DK’s Baron attempt resulted in a trade, briefly stalling the game. However, with the EDG Soul dragon spawning at 29 minutes, DK made another Baron play. EDG responded decisively, wiping out all five DK members without casualties, securing Baron and Ocean Soul buffs. They then methodically dismantled DK’s defenses, taking all three Inhibitors. A final team fight resulted in an ace of DK and the destruction of their Nexus, granting EDG an early series lead.

Damwon KIA struggled with scrappy teamfights where they failed to capitalize on their Grand Entrance to Mega Inferno Bomb combo. Their engages lacked coordination and fell short on delivering sufficient damage. Additionally, expectations for mid to late-game damage from Khan were dashed due to effective shutdowns by Flandre and Jiejie during the early game.

Game 2

Damwon KIA strategically picked Malzahar for ShowMaker, aiming to limit EDG’s mobility and disrupt their engagements. Meanwhile, EDG opted for a composition centered around initiating fights with champions like Kai’Sa. The matchup raised questions about whether EDG’s damage output from Irelia and Kai’Sa would suffice against Damwon KIA’s lineup, especially if they’re always down one. 

In Game Two, Damwon KIA swiftly rebounded after their Game One loss. ShowMaker’s Malzahar proved pivotal, stifling EDG’s mobility and initiation potential. Despite a slow start, DK secured early objectives and punished EDG’s missteps. At 12 minutes, ShowMaker secured First Blood by catching Scout with his ultimate, aided by Canyon.

DK maintained pressure through the mid game, dominating team fights and objectives. At 22 minutes, a decisive fight around the dragon allowed DK to secure kills and transition to Baron. Although Jiejie stole the Baron, DK capitalized with more kills and objectives. By securing subsequent dragons and middle inhibitor, DK further solidified their lead. They secured another Baron and aced EDG in the final fight, sealing their victory and tying the series.

Canyon and ShowMaker were incredibly impactful in Game 2, using their ultimates to secure key kills against EDG. This put EDG on the back foot early on, making it tough for them to navigate the game despite their strong composition.

Game 3

In Game 3, EDG took a cautious approach with picks like Leona and Twisted Fate aimed at early advantages but struggled with late-game scaling. Meanwhile, DK leveraged Aphelios to secure a strong late-game presence. Their composition, bolstered by champions like Lee Sin, Gragas, and Braum, focused on protecting Aphelios and enabling him to carry fights effectively.

With the series tied at 1-1, Game 3 carried immense weight towards moving to match point. The early game was relatively quiet until EDG secured First Blood by catching Khan out in a side lane at the 10-minute mark. DK responded by claiming an Ocean Dragon and winning a skirmish top lane. However, EDG struck back by eliminating Khan again and securing the Rift Herald, along with another kill

After EDG claimed the First Tower bonus, DK found a kill on Flandre, setting up a period of skirmishes without a clear advantage. DK maintained dragon control and reached Soul point by 22 minutes. EDG attempted to contest the Infernal Soul dragon, but DK’s superior team fighting led to a decisive victory, killing four EDG members and securing the buff.

With the Infernal Soul, DK gained significant momentum and capitalized on a Baron play at 32 minutes, wiping out four EDG members again and securing the objective. The subsequent Elder Dragon fight solidified DK’s lead with another four kills, allowing them to push mid and close out the game decisively.

In Game 3, DK’s front-to-back composition, focused on protecting Ghost’s Aphelios, proved unstoppable. EDG struggled to disrupt DK’s strategy and secure kills, ultimately leading to their defeat due to a lack of sustained damage.

Game 4

The draft in Game Four showcased an unconventional approach from both teams, emphasizing damage dealers over traditional front lines. The absence of sturdy front line champions meant that whichever team secured the first kill could leverage their advantage effectively. The surprise Orianna last pick by DK raised eyebrows, as it contrasted with expectations that EDG would avoid grouping tightly during team fights.

In Game Four, EDG faced the daunting task of staving off elimination, and they started strong by catching Khan out of position early on, securing a crucial kill and early objectives like Rift Herald and Infernal Dragon. Despite DK’s retaliation with a well-executed bot lane dive that netted them kills, EDG remained resilient. They struck back decisively at 14 minutes by taking down the first top lane tower, eliminating Canyon, and claiming another Rift Herald.

As the game progressed, EDG focused on objective control, securing three dragons and positioning themselves for Mountain Soul. When the fourth dragon spawned, DK attempted to rush it, but Jiejie’s impeccable Smite steal denied them and granted EDG the powerful Mountain Soul buff. 



Empowered by this advantage, EDG swiftly secured Baron at the 30-minute mark, gaining momentum that allowed them to breach DK’s defenses, destroy Inhibitors, and ultimately close out the game with a pivotal mid lane team fight. 

EDG’s strategic focus on scaling their four damage dealers paid off so well in Game Four. By denying Canyon’s Talon early-game opportunities and securing the Baron buff and Soul, they swiftly overwhelmed DK in the last team fight, securing their win. This in turn was a Silver Scrapes Finals for the first time in a long time since 2016.

Game 5

ShowMaker’s selection of Syndra, his signature champion, alongside Scout’s choice of Zoe, a champion ShowMaker previously used against T1 in the semi-finals, sets the stage for a legendary showdown.

In the decisive Game Five, EDG and DK fought tooth and nail from the start. Early skirmishes favored EDG, securing First Blood during a Rift Herald contest, though DK secured the objective itself. Despite DK’s efforts with the Herald for early advantages, EDG punished Khan multiple times in the top lane, limiting his impact as a damage threat. As the mid game approached, EDG maintained pressure, accumulating dragons while DK struggled to match their pace.

At 22 minutes, a pivotal team fight erupted in the jungle, where EDG decisively won a four-for-one trade and secured their third dragon. DK attempted a comeback with a Baron sneak by Khan and Canyon, but EDG quickly turned the tide, acing DK in the subsequent dragon fight and securing the Ocean Soul.

With DK out-scaled, EDG capitalized on their buffs at 35 minutes, winning another crucial team fight and securing the Elder Dragon. Empowered, EDG swiftly dismantled DK’s defenses, destroying all three Inhibitors and closing out the game to claim the World Championship title.

EDG Made sure that this is the REAL Grand Finals by winning

Edward Gaming decisively defeated Damwon KIA in the 2021 League of Legends Finals, proving that even giants can fall. Led by standout performances from Scout and Viper, who consistently outplayed their opponents, and bolstered by Meiko’s crucial shotcalling, EDG demonstrated their ability to excel under pressure.

Despite initial doubts surrounding their performance, EDG’s determination and skill prevailed, highlighted by Jiejie’s critical objective steals that turned the tide in their favor. This got all the fans surprised and made them believe that the doubters would just make a team stronger and EDG just wow-ed everyone with that performance

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Written By
Michael Cruz

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