China’s last hope: EDward Gaming vs. Gen. G in the 2021 World Cup semi-finals

Source: Lance Skundrich / Riot Games

Like many other world championships throughout League of Legends’ long history, Korea has dominated this year. The only Korean team that has fallen so far was Hanwha Life Esports, and they were the 8th place team at LCK Summer Split 2021. It’s a strong region, and Korean teams have rarely been ahead in the league. World Scene.

Today, EDward Gaming is the last team in a region outside of South Korea, and they are hungry to continue their record of unprecedented international success for the organization. As Gen.G reaches the pinnacle of this tournament, what are EDG’s chances of qualifying for the final?

Door duel

These two teams have one great thing in common: their ADCs are a crucial part of the way they play, and the bottom lane game will be one to watch. They both wear games, but their methodology couldn’t be more different.

Source: Lance Skundrich / Riot Games

Being a former World Champion, Ruler’s tenure and history of solid performance make him a man to be feared on the Rift. He tends to play late-game carry scaling champions like Aphelios, Jhin, and Jinx. He’s been at the heart of Gen.G’s damage in most of their big wins, and he always has a target on his head as a result. However, Ruler is no stranger to dive management.

Ruler has had a few moments of relaxation, but his greatest strength this tournament is his ability to deal a ton of damage in situations where most of the other CDA players would be dead. Ruler isn’t as worried about winning the lane as he wants to reach the end of the game with as much firmness as possible. Ruler only focuses on himself because he knows he can carry games.

Even though he is in deficit, Ruler has a reputation for flipping team fights and showing up when it matters most. Ruler doesn’t need to be facing enemies’ faces to have an impact, and his ability to play long-range combat gives him an advantage over most ADCs.

This style of play is also supported by Kim “Life” Jeong-min, as he tends to focus more on keeping his ADC alive and stable during the lane phase than the other support players remaining at Worlds. Life then passes to wreak havoc in team fights as Ruler eliminates the entire team from a distance. He has taken a liking to champions like Rakan, Lulu and Yuumi who excel at keeping Ruler alive.

Source: Colin Young-Wolff / Riot Games

Viper is a carry that lives on the limit. He is a player who knows his limits well and plays with them. But, he’s also not afraid to push himself to the max and play team fights unlike any other ADC.

The kinds of things Viper does is wonderful to watch, and he’s not afraid to play. It’s common for Viper to spin early, which is very much in line with EDG’s general playstyle. They want control of the map whenever they can get it, and in cases where someone like Ruler is busy farming safely, Viper is with his team trying to find some perks.

It should be noted that due to EDG’s top laner Li “Flanders” Xuan-Jun’s recent affinity for squishy champions, it seems difficult for EDG to keep Viper alive if he doesn’t play an ADC with him. some mobility in their kit. But when Viper lives in fights, he thrives.

Viper had the freedom to put as much DPS into RNG as he wanted, and the amount of hits he was able to land in that fight sealed RNG’s fate in the last match of their BO5 set. It’s important to note what the gold graphics looked like after this fight.

Source: Riot Games

Despite such participation in killing, Viper was still behind GALA the day after this fight. His rotations and pressure on the map cost him the farm, but Viper’s presence gave the rest of his team the edge. EDG prioritizes control and goals, and Viper isn’t afraid to take a hit in his earnings if he can put his entire team ahead. EDG Support Tian “Meiko” Ye has a similar mindset, and he tends to get out of the way starting at level 3.

Ultimately, this is a battle between two different styles of play. Ruler is selfish and focused on securing late-game wins, while Viper hits the rift hard and focuses on finding advantages out of the way. That said, being selfish isn’t a bad strategy for Ruler, albeit predictable. Much of this set will depend on whether or not EDG is able to play early enough in the game to prevent Gen.G from arguing. Otherwise, Ruler will have the opportunity to wear.

There is one player on Gen.G who has lived up to the challenge time and time again. At least, at the 2021 Worlds.

The rise of BDD

Gen.G mid laner Gwak “BDD” Bo-seong’s international performance at the Worlds has its roots in the summer. BDD started 2021 playing very well with a small group of champions. He would play Azir, Syndra, Zoe and Orianna well. In the summer, BDD injected flavors into its swimming pool. He had a good track record over Akali (71% WR) and Sett (66% WR), and he had mixed success with a few other picks. While BDD was consistent across most games, it never stood out. He always did well, but never great.

Source: Colin Young-Wolff / Riot Games

The 2021 World Cup was another story.

BDD has taken its limited champion pool and made it into a force. Where champions like Ryze and Twisted Fate are a very important part of the intermediate champion pool for most of the top teams, BDD plays the game their way and chooses what they want. In other words, Gen.G can target the enemy mid laner’s choices without stepping on its own toes. On top of that, BDD showed he has a few pockets up his sleeve.

Even when Cloud9 chose to ban BDD mid laners, it chose to choose Aatrox instead. Gen.G top laner Kim “Rascal” Kwang-hee has had enough damage to keep Kennen going, and Ruler… is Ruler.

The important thing to notice in this clip is how well BDD created the space for his team to secure the lens. C9 had no chance to get in, and BDD proved he knew how to position himself as a murderer by being such a menacing presence on the first objectives. He might not have had a pop off performance this game, but BDD conceded his place as a carrier so he could fill the role his team needed.

Source: Lance Skundrich / Riot Games

Scout domination

Edward Gaming mid laner Lee “Scout” Ye-chan is a bit more meta-prone than BDD. He enjoys ultimates and global utility, as well as champions who go into battle and make a splash when it comes to team fights. He’s a very ingenious mid laner and somehow manages to use every part of his kit well. If he plays Ryze, Realm Warp will be an essential part of EDG’s strategy. If he chooses Sylas, he will have an ultimate in mind for each situation.

Pieces like this show how well Scout is in sync with his team, and his long tenure on EDG is clearly illustrated by the timing of this team. Scout’s shots on goal and rotations are a key part of EDG’s skirmishes, and he tends to outperform his competition. When EDG takes 5v5s, Scout knows exactly where it should be.

Even in one of EDG’s losses, Scout managed to stay relevant and made a big impact in team fights. He patiently dealt damage to important targets and systematically dismantled the RNG in this fight. If BDD is to prove his dominance and bring Gen.G to the final, he will have to find a way to exclude Scout from the game. Scout has shown its ability to carry games for EDG, and it’s up to BDD to prove that its improved performance is a permanent change rather than a flash in the pan.

Channeling their LPL roots

EDG’s playstyle appears to have been created to counter the aggressive playstyle China is known for. EDG almost only plays around goals, and they rarely fight unless there is a big advantage to be gained. While their strategy has worked in China, it’s possible that Korean teams may be able to outperform macro EDG and play around a much stronger endgame strategy. And, if EDG can’t defeat Gen.G, they don’t stand a chance against DWG KIA or T1.

Gen.G’s front-to-back playstyle can be predictable, but they’re really good at taking on team fights no matter how far behind they are. Meanwhile, EDG must find a way to take such a lead that Gen.G will never be able to return. Flanders is usually content to block the top lane with safe choices (although it would be a surprise if his graves aren’t off target), and Jiejie tends to work around his team rather than playing his own games. While there is potential for Rascal to trample the top lane and for Clid to make a winning setup play, the topside is not the primary focus of this game.

It will be EDG’s mid and bot lanes to win the series for them. We have to see the aggressiveness that other Chinese teams are known to come out of EDG for so that they take the advantage in this series. It’s up to EDG to prove that China still has a place in the conversation for LoL’s strongest region.

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