Dignitas' victory over 100 Thieves last weekend is the biggest upset of the young 2022 League of Legends esports season so far. DIG, a team projected to be a bottom 2 by many analysts were able to topple the defending LCS champion in 100 Thieves 2-0 in the quarterfinals of the 2022 LCS Lock In, but how did they do it?
With the power of the Triforce, of course.
Triforce of Power — Toàn "Neo" Trần
The top triangle of the Triforce is the Triforce of Power, and of all the members of the Dignitas squad in the match against 100 Thieves, the possessor was Neo, without a doubt. The DIG marksman has quietly been one of the strongest AD carries in the LCS for over a year, and against 100, he proved he could stand on his own two feet without the likes of star support Zaqueri "aphromoo" Black by his side.
In the first game against 100 Thieves, Neo kept the team in the game with stellar play on Ezreal regardless of whether Dignitas was on the losing side of the fight. It was ultimately dragon stacking — ensured primarily by the excellent teamfight positioning of Neo around the dragon pit — that allowed DIG to stay in the game long enough to edge out a win. Neo then followed up his Ezreal performance with a dominant, deathless Aphelios game to the tune of a 5/0/6 KDA.
While every player played a part in DIG's victory, Neo's immaculate play as the team's primary damage threat was easily the strongest individual performance on the day, especially considering the proficiency of 100 Thieves AD carry Victor "FBI" Huang and support Choi "huhi" Jae-hyun.
Triforce of Wisdom — Kim "River" Dong-woo
The bottom-left triangle of the Triforce is the Triforce of Wisdom, and as far as this series is concerned, it belongs to River. The DIG jungler showcased intelligent pathing throughout the series, including a heads-up sneak past 100 Thieves' top river Rift Scuttler to secure first blood in the top lane with the help of Aaron "FakeGod" Le.
As the series progressed, River noticed the tendency for 100 Thieves jungler Can "Closer" Çelik to initiate plays around his strong bot lane duo in the laning phase. After a narrow win in game 1, River adapted and helped make game 2 far more convincing of a win for DIG.
"I feel like they tried to make a lot of cheesy plays on the bottom side of the map in the second game like trying to invade our jungle," River explained in a post-match interview with Inven Global. "However, I don't think their plan really came together because we caught up and started countering them pretty well. After that, I realized they were going to play from the bot side and that I could stop their strategy. We were able to turn things around from that point."
The performance was even more impressive given the fact that River arrived in the US midway through the Lock In and only had two days of practice before his first match with DIG the day before the 100 Thieves series. River attributed DIG's impressive cohesion to the team trusting in his shotcalling after he began to figure Closer's pathing out.
"When I started practicing with the rest of the team for the past couple of days, my playstyle was a little different from the team's playstyle, so I was really worried," River explained. "However, today, I tried to shotcall and everyone wanted to play around me. I think overall the other players followed my calls and it worked out pretty well, so I think from now on, we can just working on developing synergy between the team and myself. I think it's going to be a good season this year."
The majority of DIG's damage came from Neo, but the party wouldn't have even gotten started in the bot lane if not for River's intelligent pathing, quick adaptation, and shotcalling that led his squad to victory.
Triforce of Courage — Ersin "Blue" Gören
The bottom-right triangle of the Triforce is the Triforce of Courage, and no one deserves to be bestowed with it more than Dignitas' mid laner. Blue has been subject to brutal criticism after signing with DIG before he even played a game, but he showed an impressive amount of resolve in the series against 100 Thieves.
In game 1, Blue was targeted mercilessly by Closer in the mid lane, but managed to maintain a near 30+ CS lead for the majority of the laning phase despite multiple deaths in the early game.
In game 2, Blue was a primary damage threat for DIG alongside Neo, going 7/0/6 on Zoe, a champion he had stolen Baron Nashor on against Immortals in the previous week. Support Vincent "Biofrost" Wang confirmed in an LCS broadcast interview that Blue had stolen the Baron despite playing with an injury he sustained shortly before the match.
Blue was not the strongest player on Dignitas against 100 Thieves, but after the amount of criticism that was sent his way before he even had a chance to play a match could have sent him into a tendency to avoid risks and play as safely as possible. Instead, Blue has continued to go for plays and make any sacrifice to provide the largest impact he can on the game, and the way his level of play improved throughout the series against 100 Thieves is an indicator of his mental resilience.
Every member of Dignitas contributed something to the team's massive upset against 100 Thieves, but the three Wielders of the Triforce were at the heart of the victory in ways that were impressive in a vacuum, but even more miraculous in their respective contexts. 100 Thieves was far from perfect on the day, and whether DIG will be able to maintain this form remains to be seen, but as far as what Dignitas have proven for now, River said it best:
"We know that we're not in the bottom tier."