DWG KIA will once again return to Worlds as LCK’s third seed. They earned their spot after a 3-1 victory against Liiv Sandbox in round one of the LCK Regional Qualifiers 2022.

However, their qualification happened only after new roster changes were made during the LCK Summer 2022 playoffs and during the Regional Qualifiers.

There was a sudden shift in DWG KIA’s top lane strategy, which perplexed both LCK fans and viewers alike. 

Noh “Burdol” Tae-yoon, who started in Spring then moved back to DK’s Challengers team in Summer, was promoted, taking over Yoon “Bible” Seol’s substitution on the main lineup, alternating with veteran top laner Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon. This is a surprising shift, for Nuguri was the sole starter throughout the entire Summer Split regular season.

DWG KIA head coach Daeny and Burdol elaborate on what’s going on the behind-the-scenes

DWG KIA at the LCK Regional Qualifiers 2022
Credit: LCK

At a press conference after their victory against Liiv Sandbox at the regional qualifiers, head coach Yang “Daeny” Dae-in explained why he made the swaps. “It’s for strategic reasons,” he said, explaining that Burdol is usually subbed in when they’re on red side so that they can counter-pick opponents.

While researching which champions could be used at the top lane to counter-pick specific opponents, Daeny realized that Burdol is capable of competing on specific champions that align with their new strategy. This is how the team prepared for the playoffs, and they decided to stick with it. 

Burdol elaborated on this strategy in an interview with Kuki News, highlighting that he’s usually subbed in to play champions that Nuguri does not, such as Yone and Azir.

In the same interview, he further expressed regret for letting the team down with his recent performance. He apologized for his inability to lane well, getting solo killed, and allowing the opposing team to take Rift Heralds despite DK having the stronger team composition.

He added that when coach Daeny asked him to play in place of Nuguri, he agreed, but once he was in the arena, the pressure mounted. When he is anxious, he tends to bite the skin around his nails, and the bleeding around his thumb was clearly visible during the match against T1, he told Kuki News.

He was also sympathetic to Nuguri, who was able to lead the team to victory numerous times, while he felt he was a burden to the team.

DWG KIA head coach Daeny speaking at a press conference at the LCK Regional Qualifiers 2022
Credit: LCK

However, this isn’t the end of Burdol’s story. 

“Nothing has been set yet,” Daeny replied, when asked if he would continue to sub Burdol in for Nuguri, despite the fact that Nuguri played on the red side in the last game of the match against Liiv Sandbox.

The head coach pointed out that the team’s decisions on substitution will only be made on the patch 12.18, the Worlds patch, even though he recognizes Nuguri’s strong ability to lane effectively.

With the Worlds in Mexico and the United States a few weeks away, Burdol and DWG KIA will have time to finalize their strategy.

Worlds 2022 starts on September 29 at the Arena Esports Stadium at Artz Pedregal in Mexico City, Mexico.

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