When Top Esports and Suning were matched against one another in the semifinals of the 2020 League of Legends World Championship, it guaranteed that for the third year in a row a Chinese team would be in contention to win Worlds like Invictus Gaming and FunPlux PhoeniX had done the previous two LoL esports seasons.
Now that DAMWON Gaming has solidified its position in the Worlds 2020 finals after defeating G2 Esports, let's see which of the two teams from the League of Legends Pro League is most likely to win the all-Chinese semifinal and proceed to the grand finals.
Top Esports entered the knockout stage after a 5-1 1st place finish in Group D and was placed against Fnatic, who was the 2nd seed from Group C. TES came into Worlds 2020 as a favorite, but its dominance in the group stage was surpassed by the clinical nature of DAMWON Gaming.
DAMWON Gaming went 6-0 in Group B and established itself as the best team at Worlds 2020, a truth that only became more apparent as TES had trouble with Fnatic, falling down 0-2 before winning the quarterfinal between the two teams in the first reverse sweep in the history of the World Championship knockout stage.
Top Esports was exposed by Fnatic primarily in the bot lane. AD carry Yu "JackeyLove" Wen-Bo more than held his own individually, but the former world champion's rookie support Liang "yuyanjia" Jia-Yuan was exposed by Fnatic's veteran bot lane of AD carry Martin "Rekkles" Larsson and support Zdravets "Hylissang" Iliev Galabov, setting a record in the second game of the series by becoming the first player to die 5 times before 15 minutes of a Worlds game had passed.
Despite its struggles in the quarterfinals, Top Esports comes into the semifinals against Suning every bit the championship contender it was predicted to be leading up to the event. However, Suning has exceeded pre-event expectations and will certainly prove to be a tougher opponent than originally considered based on its 3rd seed status from China's League of Legends Pro League.
When LGD underwhelmed in the Worlds 2020 play-in and then failed to escape the group stage of the main event, the question of whether the LPL deserved 4 worlds seeds came into place. JD Gaming and Top Esports had battled atop the pile of bodies at the end of both the spring and summer post-season in China, but like G2 Esports and Fnatic, it was called into question whether the rest of the region past its two top teams was up to par.
Suning answered those expectations with a resounding yes by making Group A a far more competitive group than expected at Worlds 2020. After securing Group A's 1st seed over G2 Esports, Suning went head-to-head against LPL 2nd seed JD Gaming and proved itself superior by defeating China's spring champion 3-1.
Former Flash Wolves support Hu "SwordArt" Shuo-Chieh will look to appear in his first Worlds final after a storied international career, and will have to face off against his former Flash Wolves teammate in TES jungler Hung "Karsa" Hao-Hsuan. The history between the two players speaks to a larger dynamic present in the series - TES is the on-paper favorite in the best-of-five series, but Suning possesses the familiarity and tools to dethrone China's king.
The bottom line
Regardless of the result of this series, it's impossible to call Suning's Worlds 2020 anything but a success. The team far exceeded the expectations of a LPL 3rd seed and established itself as a true top team as opposed to its best-case scenario of dark horse prior to the start of the event. However, when all is said and done, Top Esports will win and face off against DAMWON Gaming in the grand final of Worlds 2020.
Suning has been exceptional, particularly in the case of SwordArt and jungler Lê "SofM" Quang Duy, but barring complete and total collapse TES simply possesses too much firepower.
Karsa has been excellent all tournament and is one of the few junglers at Worlds 2020 to show he can keep up with the tempo set up by SofM, and the individual talent of the rest of TES' roster should be enough to compensate for the gap between yuyanjia and SwordArt. Top Esports is far from perfect at Worlds 2020, so look for Suning to take one game but no more as TES punches its ticket to the finals against DAMWON Gaming in a 3-1 victory.
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