The 2020 League of Legends World Championship finals is set to take off this Saturday, at 3 AM PT. Kicking things off with an explosive opening ceremony act featuring K/DA, LoL Esports fans will watch a fiery match between the LCK and the LPL.
To discuss Suning Gaming versus DAMWON Gaming, Misfits Head Coach Alejandro "Jandro" Fernández-Valdés joined Inven Global’s Lara Lunardi for a quick chat.
Let’s start things off with your impression of Worlds so far: What have been the highlights of the championship?
The performance of Fnatic is worth highlighting, as they have gone from less to more over the course of Worlds. I feel like people really doubted them in the beginning, but they not only had a pretty good groups performance, but their series versus Top Esports in the quarterfinals was honestly one of the best series in the world so far, even though they had a hard time in the last couple of games.
I think we should be happy to have players like Selfmade, Rekkles, Hylissang in the EU, because they perform at the level they are expected to. I am happy for Fnatic and I think they have definitely been the highlight of the LEC at Worlds.
What about G2 Esports?
I feel like they had a really rough side of the bracket. If anyone had to choose which team they wanted to avoid, it would have been DAMWON Gaming. On top of that, we have seen a very polarized G2 at Worlds. When they are winning, they are looking really dominant, with fast-paced plays, closing out games quickly. On another hand, versus DAMWON, they were full of individual mistakes, it was much more difficult to get ahead in the early game to have a chance in the mid-game.
To me, it is a bit sad to see it, but they had an insane run this year, even though people had more doubts about the level of G2. The team looked the strongest in the match they needed the least, versus Gen.G. They still showed that they are a very strong top-five team in the world.
Back to highlights...
In terms of really interesting games, I would highlight Suning vs Top Esports was the most contested series we had at Worlds this year. Both teams knew each other, but Suning surprised Top Esports with unexpected picks and overall really strong drafts throughout the series. They have been the biggest surprise of the tournament because no one expected Suning to be a contender for the finals.
Despite them doing really well in Groups, every series that they have played so far, they have been framed as the “non-favorites” and every single time they have defied their status, beating Top Esports, the number one seed in their region. I don’t think we give this enough importance. The general public doesn’t seem to care so much about the LPL narratives…
We take Suning Gaming for granted. Looking into this weekend's upcoming series against DAMWON, the majority seems to think they will lose...
With Suning making it into the finals, we have seen Angel, who despite not being the highlight Mid Laner of the championship, performed out of his mind. Angel had a really good performance against Knight, who is considered to be one of the best players in the tournament.
Suning has a really clear style of play, and while I would not favor them in finals, they have a really lovely narrative, DAMWON has had a perfect run so far, showing very little weaknesses. In this sense, Suning is a more polarized team. They have really big champion pools and are not scared to draft outside of the Worlds comfort zone, Angel and Bin have been consistently good. Every player in the team seems to have a really good understanding of the early-to-mid game phases, and this is where they can punish DAMWON, who focuses more on the early and late game phases.
"People coming from a really rough situation [...] become very strong mentally. You can see it in Huanfeng, that he is clearly not taking anything for granted, and Worlds is the place to prove his strength."
Touching on the subject of storylines, I would say that we have arguably two very strong stories at Worlds finals this year. There’s DAMWON Gaming attempting to bring back the world champion title to the South Korean region for the first time in three years, and the lions of Suning Gaming, with the underdog story, plus Huanfeng’s rise to glory. Have you gotten invested so far?
Looking back at traditional sports history, there are multiple cases like these. People coming from a really rough situation, and by the same means that allow them to overcome that difficulty, they become very strong mentally. You can see it in Huanfeng, that he is clearly not taking anything for granted, and Worlds is the place to prove his strength.
We need to highlight more LPL and LCK players, because they are often left with what seems to be a lack of a backstory, and the reality is that this is so far away from the reality. They have so many driving stories, interesting family backgrounds, and on top of that, the cultural difference. The more we dive into that, the more invested the community will be in the LPL and the LCK.
Tell me about your Pick’Ems: Are they doomed?
My Pick’Ems have been tainted by emotional choices… I put both EU teams making past the quarterfinals...It’s more exciting to see G2 and Fnatic fight for the finals spots! Overall, the results of Worlds are not that surprising. DAMWON performed as expected, but Top Esports fell a bit short.
And what about your finals prediction?
I would say 3-1 DWG, but I am hoping it’s a 3-2 so we have a really nice series.
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