The first quarterfinals series was somewhat of a slaughter, ending in a decently clean 3-0 victory for DAMWON Gaming, mimicking the LCK Summer Finals from just a few weeks ago. DWG picked apart DRX, even when they fell behind a bit here and there in a couple of early games. While each DAMWON member deserves a shoutout, the biggest difference-maker for the team was none other than Jang "Nuguri" Ha-gwon himself.
Nuguri played Kennen in the first game, and as always, came in clutch for his team as the game went on, skirting through the fog of war, finding key flank positions to ensure a teamfight victory. They won the battle for the Rift Herald due to his ult, they won the Elder Drake fight thanks to his deletion of two DRX members, and he later split DRX in their final base defense as they took out the nexus.
In Game 2, DWG was down a few thousand gold, having lost most of the skirmishes and map rotations throughout the early game. But with Nuguri standing in front of his team, he engaged into DRX, CCing the team, splitting them up, and ensuring they could get four kills one after another propelling them to the lead. He continued that throughout the rest of the game, making it impossible for DRX to play out the late game fights, securing the second victory for DWG.
The final game was much of the same, but with a little more of the "assassin" part of Ornn's playstyle included. Despite having a Kindred, Orianna, Ashe, and Pantheon on his team, Nuguri dealt the most damage in the game across both DRX and DWG. No matter how disrespectful Nuguri gets in lane (he consistently tower dives early, and did so in both Game 2 and Game 3 of this series, giving up his life both times), he always finds a way to be the most useful person on the Rift out of the ten players who load in.
Again, it should not go without mentioning the overall fantastic plays from every DAMWON member. Cho "BeryL" Geon-hee was constantly roaming mid, top, and all throughout the jungle to catch out opponents and save his teammates. Heo "ShowMaker" Su had a Mihael "Mikyx" Mehle-like warding play, dropping a blue trinket directly in Hong "Pyosik" Chang-hyeon's path, forcing him to auto it to secure DWG a kill, and played well into Jeong "Chovy" Ji-hoon throughout the series. Jang "Ghost" Yong-jun stepped up in a big way, nullifying Kim "Deft" Hyuk-kyu and acting as another form of engage on Ashe and Jhin. And Kim "Canyon" Geon-bu fairly consistently out pathed Pyosik as well, finding more efficient routes and having a much better sense of the game state and coordination with his team to make plays throughout the early and mid game.
But overall, it was a Nuguri difference that made the teamfights so incredibly difficult for DRX to win, even when they found themselves in a favorable position, especially in Game 2.
DWG will face the victor of Gen.G and G2 Esports next weekend in the Semifinals. They'll either match up against yet another LCK powerhouse, or they'll have their chance at revenge in a rematch against G2 who knocked them out effortlessly in the Quarterfinals just last year.
All images via: Riot Games
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