The Worlds 2021 quarterfinals start on Oct. 22 with T1 vs. Hanwha Life Esports in the first match. As a rematch of the Worlds qualifier finals that took place in September, just 50 days prior, there are now higher stakes on the line for two LCK powerhouses: whichever team wins guarantees themselves a top 4 finish.
T1: One step closer to the #4
T1 are a team with an unmatched legacy in LoL esports. From nine LCK titles to three World Championship wins, one player has stood at the center of T1’s success: Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok. He’s now back with more fresh talent in his team, and they’re coming into the knockout stages on a high note. The performance they’ve displayed throughout the group stages showed that they can play the game through any lane they want and have put on a very solid performance.
The most important matchup of the series will be once again focused on the mid lane. While the narrative of "Faker vs. Chovy" is what adds spice to the matchup, it’s also because of Twisted Fate being the key mid lane champion in the meta. One of the biggest strengths that Faker has displayed throughout the group stages is how he utilizes vision. When Faker plays TF, it feels like a whole different champion.
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It’ll be up to how well Faker will be able to do against Jeong "Chovy" Ji-hoon, a player that’s known to "lane kingdom" even in a losing matchup. While Faker’s nowhere at his peak, he’s still in the best form he's been in years.
HLE: Another LCK all-kill in quarters for Chovy and Deft
The nickname "Chovy Life Esports" came from Chovy’s almost superhuman ability to carry games. One of, if not the best mid laners in the world, he couples pitch-perfect mechanics with the monstrous ability to win the laning phase every time, regardless of match-up.
Does this mean that HLE are a one-man show? Definitely not. HLE would never have survived at Worlds, let alone even make it to the tournament. HLE’s bot lane of Deft-Vsta has also gradually been looking better, and HLE’s rookie jungler, Kim "Willer" Jeong-hyeon, fresh out of LCK Challengers, has also been surprising many people with his solid performance on the Worlds stage.
The performance that HLE put on throughout the second round robin of the group stages looked as if they were being smart in their macro... well, excluding the tiebreaker against Royal Never Give Up. They’ve shown that they have really high highs and really low lows. If HLE have figured out a way to consistently perform at a high point, then Chovy and Deft will finally be able to beat an LCK team at the Worlds quarterfinals and step that much closer to becoming champions.
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