Until the second round of the Worlds 2021 group stage started, EDward Gaming seemed like a near-perfect team. They had a perfect 3-0 record in the first round, and their carries — Lee “Scout” Ye-chan and Park “Viper” Do-hyeon — showed spectacular performances. Viper, in particular, was like a machine, a flawless player.
However, in the second round, EDG were shaken up by T1’s smart draft and plays. Like in their first encounter, the teams played a very tight macro game, but the second time around, a couple of cards from T1 tilted the balance in their favor, starting with:
Card 1: Faker’s Twisted Fate
Faker’s cards came from places which EDG were unable to predict. T1 could have just taken the Dragon and played a slow macro game. It seemed Faker would have pushed mid lane or get rid of control wards, but he headed to the top inner turret. Although Li “Flandre” Xuan-Jun’s Jayce didn’t step too much forward, he was cut off due to Kim “Canna” Chang-dong and Faker’s sudden ambush. From this play, T1 started to find holes in EDG’s macro.
Faker’s cards continued to catch EDG off guard even in teamfights. He appeared in the front and back, and started fights with his gold card. Viper was deathless until this game, slain finally in a teamfight engaged by the GOAT.
Usually, when teamfights happen around Baron, teams keep in mind the champions that have AOE CC, like Kennen or Wukong, taking detours. But as you can see in the picture below, Kennen was on the frontline, so EDG prepared for an ordinary teamfight from the front. Faker dug into that weakness and it was his Twisted Fate and not the Kennen that went around and hit EDG from behind. As the teamfight was initiated by Faker’s gold card, EDG were caught off guard and fell.
Just like his namesake, Faker pulled out a fake play on EDG. While TF is a common pick for Faker, he was unpredictable on it — something that could be an ace in the sleeve for Faker against his toughest opponents at Worlds.
Card 2: Aphelios-Lulu
T1 also took EDG by surprise in the bot lane. In this game, T1 didn’t ban Yuumi and picked Aphelios and Lulu. As EDG picked Yuumi themselves, T1 picked up pace and pressured the bot lane hard and through this advantage were able to take down other lanes’ turrets early. This enabled Faker to move around more freely and also gave Aphelios a gold boost from taking the turret plats, which greatly strengthened Lee “Gumayusi” Min-hyeong.
Group B was almost headed for a tiebreaker for first place, and EDG may have wanted to return T1 the favor and show they can also play an Aphelios-Lulu bot lane — a composition they hadn’t yet played at Worlds — but 100 Thieves pulled out a dramatic upset, demolishing EDG’s bot lane. EDG had banned Lucian when they faced T1 but left it open against 100 Thieves, enabling a Lucian-Nami bot lane that dominated the game, and EDG had to swallow the hard pill of second place.
Yuumi? Aphelios? Lucian? EDG seemed to be confused against 100 Thieves.
T1 could have felt uneasy about not banning Yuumi, and picking Twisted Fate again, but T1 proved that their draft wasn’t wrong. They showed that Yuumi could be countered through macro, and that Faker’s Twisted Fate remains powerful.
Ryu “Keria” Min-seok had said that T1 still have many cards that could counter the Lucian-Nami bot lane. They were the first team to show Poppy jungle in the group stage, which disabled the opponent’s Lucian, and T1’s drafts are becoming more and more trustworthy.
EDG was one of the biggest favorites in this tournament, and as T1 defeated them, their draft could affect the knockout stage. In the later stages, teams would prepare cards to deal with T1’s aces, but we don’t know how many cards they have left.