The LCK Summer 2022 semifinals match between LCK Spring 2022 champions T1 and Worlds 2020 winners DWG KIA was one of the best series in the playoffs so far for so many reasons.
Finishing second in the regular season, T1 was seeded into the second round on opposite sides of the bracket across league leaders Gen.G. DK won their first best-of-five series against KT Rolster 3-2 before advancing to meet T1.
Baron steals, surprise off-meta champion picks, and top notch mechanics, this five-game semifinals series totally delivered. Both teams drafted standard compositions in the first two games, with T1 getting the better of DK.
Down 2-0, DK’s backs were against the wall. Game three onwards was when both teams started to innovate and get creative with their drafts.
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Canyon steps up on Morgana jungle
Season 10 was when Riot Games buffed a bunch of non-jungle champions to be viable in the jungle, including assassins like Zed, Talon, and Qiyana, as well as mages like Brand and Morgana. Much has changed since then, and despite making them viable, they were never strong enough to dominate pro play.
Played twice in the LCK Summer 2022 regular season by Gen.G’s Han “Peanut” Wang-ho, Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu surprised by picking Morgana jungle in game three against a T1 composition comprising mid lane Lissandra and support Amumu, two champions that Black Shield is effective against.
At the 24-minute mark, DK was leading marginally by 4,000 gold. At Baron, Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok’s Lissandra was looking for an opening to engage, but Heo “ShowMaker” Su’s Swain was faster, catching him out with Nevermove, chained into Morgana’s Dark Binding and other crowd control that allowed DK to turn it into a 4v5 and comfortably secure the buff.
During team fights, Canyon prioritized Black Shield on AD carry Seo “deokdam” Dae-gil whilst catching out stray targets with binding, and zoning with Soul Shackles and Zhonya’s Hourglass. Winning one last team fight at T1’s base 37 minutes in, DK held onto their tournament lives.
Yone top for DWG KIA, while T1 take a chance on Sejuani support and Nilah bot
Still in the red, DK had to win game four to stay in the series.
Even though Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon was subbed in for game three, DK brought back Noh “Burdol” Tae-yoon at top, who played Yone in game four. T1 also took risks, swapping Sejuani to support instead of top, while Lee “Gumayusi” Min-hyeong brought out Nilah for the first time in competitive play.
From early to mid game, the gold was largely even, but Burdol got ahead after outplaying and profiting from a 1v2 dive that got him a double kill. Deokdam’s Zeri also had a gold bounty after he earned two kills in the laning phase.
Once fights around objectives started to intensify in the late game, that was when Burdol’s Yone shone. Using Soul Unbound, he entered fights from different angles and juked out ultimates. Even though his kill count didn’t increase, he was a slippery target that T1 could not pin down, which created space for DK’s AP and AD carries to get ahead, evening out the series.
DWG KIA risks it all on completely off-meta Heimerdinger bot, Azir top, and Yasuo mid
Stepping even further from textbook drafts, DK earned the respect of the League of Legends community by picking Heimerdinger bot, Azir top, and Yasuo mid in the deciding game five.
At the same time, they also received criticism for the draft because though bold, it was lacking reliable engage. Poppy and Azir struggled against T1’s beefy frontliners Gnar, Wukong, and Galio, and Yuumi who provided disengage, peels, and heals. What’s more, AP Galio’s Winds of War could wipe out Heimerdinger’s turrets with one cast, rendering them ineffective in team fights.
33 minutes in, the game was still neck and neck when DK started Baron. Because they lacked frontline, ShowMaker’s Yasuo was the one drawing T1’s attention away from Baron, which was at half health. This resulted in a situation where only two of DK’s members were left in the pit: Heimerdinger and Poppy.
Fighting 5v2, Ryu “Keria” Min-seok’s Yuumi miraculously stole the buff, which forced their opponents to flash out and run for their lives. DK’s team composition continued to struggle in full on 5v5 fights at subsequent objectives against T1’s front to back standard team composition, eventually falling.
Winning 3-2 against DK, T1 qualifies for Worlds 2022 and advances to the grand final for a rematch with Gen.G, whom they previously defeated 3-1 in Spring. DK will go up against Liiv SANDBOX in the regional qualifiers for a chance to nab a spot at Worlds.
Watch the final on August 28 on the official English and Korean Twitch LCK channels.
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