4 Prominent Korean Teams in the 2021 League of Legends World Championship

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As the season turns into autumn and the year enters its last few months, the eSports and gaming world is reaching its final tournaments. In particular, it’s finally the time for the 2021 League of Legends World Championship. If you’ve read our past blogs about the Korean gaming industry, then you’ll know just how popular League of Legends (LoL) is in South Korea. Not only are there a lot of Korean teams dedicated to LoL, but there’s also a ton of tournaments. You can check out our blog about the gaming tournaments that occurred in South Korea during 2021 here!

But if you’re looking for the four Korean teams that have dominated the LoL World Championship this year, then keep reading!

What is the League of Legends World Championship?

If you’re new to eSports or LoL—or perhaps you stumbled upon this article by accident—then here’s everything you need to know about the LoL World Championship (particularly in 2021).

The LoL World Championship is known as the “crowning event” for LoL eSports at the end of each year. By this, it means that this is the championship of all championships. All of the smaller LoL tournaments throughout the year lead up to this—various tournaments within each country occur to choose the top teams to send to the overall World Championship.

How the LoL World Championship is Set Up

The tournament welcomes a total of twenty-four teams from across the world, separating them into two groups. The first group, known as the Group Stage Teams, includes the twelve best teams from around the world that don’t need to battle for their spot in the overall tournament. The second group, known as the Play-In Teams, includes the remaining twelve teams that must survive a couple extra rounds to claim their spot.

Unfortunately, due to travel restrictions, the two teams from the VCS (Vietnam Championship Series) could not participate. So there were only ten teams in the Play-In group this year.

Play-In Rounds

For the first Play-In Round, all ten Play-In teams were divided into two groups. The teams played a best-of-one situation, where whoever won one round was crowned the winner. The team at the top of their group when all matches were complete advanced straight into the Group Stage. The teams that came in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th advanced to the second Play-In round. And, sadly, the team that came in last for each group was eliminated.

For the second Play-In round, the remaining six teams battled it out amongst themselves to earn their spot in the Group Stage. Out of all six teams, only two of them could advance whereas the remaining four were eliminated.

Group Stage Round

In the Group Stage round, sixteen teams (twelve who were from the Group Stage group and four from the Play-In group) were divided into four groups to battle it out best-of-one style. The top two teams from each group advanced to the Playoffs and the bottom two teams were eliminated.

Playoffs

When the remaining eight teams stood, they entered the elimination bracket. Unlike the other rounds, these teams play best-of-five matches where the winner has to win three of their games against a particular team. Also unlike the other rounds, if you lose one match you’re instantly eliminated from the tournament.

To read more about how the 2021 LoL World Championship is set up and to find the results for each round, you can check out the updated page on liquipedia.net—a place where you can find all of the updates you need about the eSports industry.

How the Korean Teams Entered the Tournament

As briefly mentioned before, the teams within the 2021 LoL World Championship had to go through their own individual tournament to get there. In South Korea, there are a handful of tournaments for LoL throughout the year for each team to accumulate points.

The first tournament, the LCK (League of Legends Champions Korea) 2021 Spring Tournament, took place from the middle of January until the end of March. Ten teams battled it out until the top six advanced to the Spring Playoffs.

The following tournament, the LCK 2021 Spring Playoffs, took place from the end of March until the beginning of April. The six teams that participated in this tournament were competing for the LCK title and 2021 MSI (Mid-Season Invitational) qualification.

The MSI 2021 occurred throughout May. Twelve teams from different regions around the world competed. The winner from the LCK 2021 Spring Playoffs—DWG KIA—was the sole Korean team playing in the MSI 2021 Tournament. They took second place in this tournament.

The next major tournament in South Korea was the LCK 2021 Summer Tournament. It took place from the beginning of June until the middle of August. Similar to the Spring Tournament, ten teams participated and only the top six moved on to the Summer Playoffs.

The LCK 2021 Summer Playoffs took place throughout August, six teams fighting it out to earn the Summer Champion title and an automatic qualification for the 2021 Season World Championship. Depending on what position they came in, the other teams earned a select amount of Championship Points as well. DWG KIA won this tournament.

Korean Teams Participating in the 2021 LoL World Championship

Out of the twenty-four teams participating in the 2021 LoL World Championship, four of them are from Korea. These four teams qualified for the LoL World Championship through the Championship Points they earned throughout the Korean LoL tournaments during 2021.

DWG KIA automatically qualified for this tournament because of their win in the LCK 2021 Summer Playoff. But the other three teams qualified through their points. Including DWG KIA, three Korean teams were a part of the Group Stage group. Only one was left to battle its way through the Play-In group.

Of course, no one is surprised that these four teams made it into the 2021 LoL World Championship as they’re by far the top teams in Korea right now. A couple of months ago, we even wrote an article about the top three Korean gaming teams at the moment. Let’s just say that these teams were already included in that list.

Here’s some more information about each team and their standings in the 2021 LoL World Championship!

DWG KIA (also known as DAMWON Gaming)

As the automatically qualified team, it’s only right that we talk about DWG KIA first.

Throughout 2021, DWG KIA has had an impressive track record. Starting with the KeSPA Cup—which began at the end of 2020 and ended on January 2nd—DWG has taken first or second place in every tournament this year. If we look back to 2020, the team also took first place in both the 2020 LCK Summer Tournament and the 2020 LoL World Championship.

In the 2021 Spring LCK Tournament, DWG KIA came in first place after winning against Gen.G 3-0. A month later, though, they took second place in the 2021 MSI with a 2-3 loss to the Chinese team Royal Never Give Up. For the 2021 Summer Tournament, they took first place once again, winning against T1 3-1. This last win gave DWG KIA the automatic pass into the World Championship.

How did they do in the 2021 LoL World Championship?

Currently, DWG KIA is in the semifinals of the 2021 World Championship. They were part of the Group Stage group, meaning they didn’t start playing games for this tournament until October 11th. These best-of-one matches were completely swept by DWG KIA. They went 6-0 in their group, the only team in group A that didn’t have a 2-4 record and the only team throughout each group to have a 6-0 record, beating every team they went against.

After winning their group, they entered the Knockout Stages. Their first game in the quarterfinals was against the Spanish team MAD Lions. They won 3-0 and moved to the semifinals where they faced T1. As expected, the semifinals were a tough battle. However, DWG won against T1 3-2 and made it into the finals against the Chinese team Edward Gaming. Unfortunately, the ended up losing 3-2.

T1 (also known as SK Telecom T1)

The next team we should talk about is T1.

If you’ve heard anything about Korean eSports teams, then you’ve definitely heard about T1. We’ve personally mentioned them in just about every blog we’ve written about gaming. T1 is one of those teams that everyone has kept their eye on for the past few seasons. This is mainly because of their popular players, including Faker, Canna, Oner, Gumayusi, and more.

Faker is the top LoL player at the moment, not only earning the highest reward amount but truly playing the best out of other Mid-Laners. He holds a lot of the attention for T1. But, of course, not everyone will like him. But they can’t deny his skills as a gamer.

Throughout 2021, T1 has placed in the top four for each tournament they participated in. In the 2021 LCK Spring Tournament, they took fourth place with an 11-7 record. This place gave them a pass to the Spring Playoffs where they came in fourth overall after losing 3-0 to Gen.G. Similarly, they placed fourth with an 11-7 record in the LCK Summer Tournament and made it into the Summer Playoffs. In the Summer Playoffs, they ended up in second place after losing 3-1 to DWG KIA.

However, T1 earned enough points throughout each of these tournaments to be qualified for the 2021 LoL World Championship.

How did they do in the 2021 LoL World Championship?

Overall, T1 made it to the semifinals in the 2021 LoL World Championship.

Like DWG KIA, they were a part of the Group Stage group, meaning their first match was on October 11th. Out of the six games they played, T1 won five of them and was the top seed team for their group. They entered the quarterfinals with high expectations.

The first team they played against in the Knockout Stage was another Korean team—Hanwha Life Esports. For this game, watchers predicted 95% in favor of T1. So, it should’ve been of no surprise that T1 ended up winning their match 3-0. This win brought them to the semifinals against DWG KIA, which we’ve already mentioned earlier—they, unfortunately, ended up losing 2-3. They officially took third-fourth place alongside Gen.G Esports.

Gen.G Esports

The next Korean team in the 2021 LoL World Championship that we’ll be talking about is Gen.G Esports.

Gen.G is another powerhouse team from Korea, they’ve taken the world by storm throughout the various games they play. Granted, Gen.G is also one of the youngest teams for Korea right now, being established only a few years ago in 2017.

Throughout their career, they’ve won a handful of global championships and battled against some of the toughest teams and came out victorious. In the 2021 LCK Spring Tournament, they came in second after losing 0-3 to DWG KIA. However, they beat out the other two teams on our list—T1 and Hanwha Life Esports. And in the 2021 LCK Summer Tournament, Gen.G came in third after losing 1-3 to T1. Similarly, though, they did win against Hanwha.

They’ve consistently placed in the top five of each tournament they’ve participated in, so their fans held high expectations for them in the 2021 LoL World Championship. Of course, they haven’t disappointed.

How did they do in the 2021 LoL World Championship?

As we mentioned in the T1 section, Gen.G ended up in third-fourth place alongside T1. But they had quite the impressive trek throughout the tournament.

Like T1 and DWG KIA, Gen.G began their games with the Group Stage on October 11th. They played six games within their group, ending with a 3-3 record. However, the rest of the group also held 3-3 records, so they each had to go into tiebreakers rounds. Gen.G played two extra games—winning both of them—to claim the top seed for their group and continue on to the Knockout Stage.

The first team they played against in the Knockout Stage in the 2021 LoL World Championship was Cloud9—an American eSports team. Gen.G beat Cloud9 3-0 in the quarterfinals and moved up to the semifinals. In the semifinals, they faced against the Chinese team EDward Gaming—who they, unfortunately, lost 3-2 against. However, it was a close battle that they fought until the very end.

Hanwha Life Esports

The last Korean team to participate in the 2021 League of Legends World Championship is Hanwha Life Esports.

Though Hanwha hasn’t always been one of the better Korean teams, they’ve recently gone through lineup changes. At the end of 2020, they revealed their new line-up and ended up coming in third-fourth place at the 2020 KeSPA Cup.

In the 2021 LCK Spring Tournament, they took third place after losing 0-3 to DWG KIA. Because of their Championship Points, Hanwha was eligible to participate in the LCK Regional Finals to battle for one of two spots. While T1 ended up winning that tournament—getting a qualification for the Group Stage—Hanwha came in second and earned a spot in the Play-In Stage at the 2021 LoL World Championship. They lost against T1 2-3 in the knockout stage, a pretty close game!

How did they do in the 2021 LoL World Championship?

Compared to the other Korean teams in the 2021 LoL World Championship, Hanwha had a lot more games to play through. Since they were in the Play-In Group, they started their games on October 5th in a best-of-one fashion. In Play-In Round 1, Hanwha won three games and lost one. They came in second for their group, giving them a bye to the finals for the Play-In Round 2; they played against the Taiwanese team Beyond gaming, winning 3-0.

This qualified Hanwha to play in the Group Stage. In the Group Stage, Hanwha went 4-2 in their group, giving them a pass into the Knockout Stage. Unfortunately, their first match in the Knockout Stage quarterfinals was against T1—a team that fans predicted to win by 95% against Hanwha. Like we mentioned earlier, T1 did end up winning 3-0. Thus, Hanwha was officially knocked out of the tournament in fifth-eighth place (in tournaments like these, teams are typically getting eliminated around the same time, so there’s no true defining who’s fifth place versus who’s eighth place).

Overall, Hanwha put on a pretty big fight throughout the entire tournament, battling their way into the quarterfinals with the other three Korean gaming teams.

More to Come from These Korean Gaming Teams!

Of course, it’s already amazing enough that all four Korean teams made it to the quarterfinals in the 2021 LoL World Champion and that one team made it all the way to the finals. Truly, Korean eSports teams are on another level. And they’ll keep proving this tournament after tournament.

Though the 2021 LoL World Championship is over now, there’s still plenty of gaming for you to keep up with! Be sure to check out our blog on 2021 eSports Tournaments to see which one to expect next. And, of course, feel free to scroll through our Gaming Category to dive even deeper into the Korean eSports industry. It’s always exciting; whether it’s another World Championship win or another amazing team taking the spotlight, you won’t be bored if you decide to dive a little deeper.

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