LoL: DAMWON KIA vs T1 – Worlds 2021 Semifinals Recap

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LoL: DAMWON KIA vs T1 – Worlds 2021 Semifinals Recap

The two Korean titans take to the Rift for a spot in the World Finals.

After weeks of competition, the 2021 LoL World Championship is nearly at its apex. Coming into this weekend, only four teams remained to battle it out in the Semifinals. The first match pitted the reigning World Champions DAMWON KIA against the iconic dynasty makers of T1. In the minds of many, this was expected to be perhaps the best series of the tournament yet, and would've been a worthy Grand Final. But only one of these teams could make the Final, and with both teams wanting to lift the Summoner's Cup with all their hearts, they had to do everything they could to defeat their Korean brethren!

Game One

A screenshot from the 2021 World Championship Main Event Semifinals broadcast, showing the Game One champion drafts between DAMWON KIA and T1 with a shot of the T1 LoL roster on stage above.

The first game of the series was a crucial one, and in the early game, it was neck and neck. Faker kicked off the action by Teleporting top to gank and kill Khan for First Blood. A minute later, DK made moves in the bottom lane to pick up two kills, though Faker returned top to help Canna get a kill this time. After this, things stayed quiet for a few minutes. That was until DK started up the Herald. Though T1 tried to posture for a fight, DK kept them at bay, taking the Herald and skirting away.

It seemed that with this move, DK took control of the game. They proceeded to dive the T1 bottom lane to claim two more kills, then used the Herald from before to take the First Tower bonus too. Now with a 3k gold lead, DK asserted control over the entire map, picking up a dragon and a second Herald. The next fight broke out at 18 minutes, as after DK used the Herald mid for tower damage, the teams danced around the dragon pit. A quick engage saw DK find a quick kill, which caused T1 to retreat and DK to take a second dragon.

Once again, the teams played for farm for a few minutes. The stalemate suddenly broke at 23 minutes, when a snap engage in the mid lane from DK resulted in the death of two T1 members. Seeing their chance, they immediately rushed to Baron. And after killing two more T1 members, DK secured the Baron. With it, DK was clinical, destroying tower after tower, and two Inhibitors too. As DK sieged the final top Inhibitor, an inevitable fight erupted, where DK routed T1 and Ace'd them before smashing their Nexus and claiming Game One.

Quick Stats:

  • Teams: DK-T1
  • Time: 28:58
  • Kills: 15-4
  • Turrets: 11-4
  • Gold: 57.7k-48.4k
  • Dragons: 3-0
  • Barons: 1-0

Game Two

A screenshot from the 2021 World Championship Main Event Semifinals broadcast, showing the Game Two champion drafts between DAMWON KIA and T1 with a shot of the DWG KIA LoL roster on stage above.

While Game One was an explosive start to the series, things slowed down significantly in Game Two. T1 did pull off early action by diving ShowMaker mid at only three minutes to kill him for First Blood. After this, the next fight didn't happen until 10 minutes, when a 4v4 happened in the top lane, where both teams limped away with a single kill. Shortly after, T1 used a previously taken Rift Herald to break some plates in the mid lane, while DK secured an Infernal Dragon.

Moving into the mid game, the teams met in the mid lane for a brawl at the 18-minute mark. It was another close fight, however, it was massive for DK as Ghost got a kill and his much-needed cash in on the Draven. He wasn't really able to leverage the influx of gold though, as once more the teams played slow, though T1 did continue to grow their lead slightly with a couple of tower kills.

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A defining moment of the game happened at 24 minutes when the teams met around the dragon. Here, a proper team fight broke out, and it was T1 who Ace'd DK while only losing three of their own. For the next 10 minutes, a tense dance was done around the Baron but no team could make a serious move on it. That was until 35 minutes, where DK tried to rush it down after T1 collectively backed. Sprinting back out onto the map, Oner was able to Smite steal the objective away then help lead his team to Ace DK again. With no one to defend, DK could only watch as T1 marched down mid and handed them their first loss of Worlds 2021.

Quick Stats:

  • Teams: T1-DK
  • Time: 37:05
  • Kills: 13-5
  • Turrets: 7-3
  • Gold: 66.2k-58.8k
  • Dragons: 3-2
  • Barons: 1-0

Game Three

A screenshot from the 2021 World Championship Main Event Semifinals broadcast, showing the Game Three champion drafts between DAMWON KIA and T1 with a shot of the teams on the Worlds 2021 stage above.

In Game Three, DK this time set up the three-minute First Blood, as Canyon ganked Faker to get the first kill for ShowMaker. Keeping up the tempo, DK tried to dive the bottom lane but didn't execute on it super well, resulting in a one-for-one kill trade. Shortly after that, T1 picked off BeryL to get a kill for themselves, though Canyon ganked top to assist Khan in killing Canna. For the next few minutes, DK kept ramping up, taking multiple objectives and a nice two-for-one kill trade at 15 minutes.

Once in the mid game, things quickly got shaky for DK though. They had the lead but T1 was matching them in their tower takes, and at 20 minutes, found a team fight near the Baron where they killed four from DK for only one in return. With the game on a knife's edge, the game slowed down significantly. Finally, at 27 minutes, T1 pulled the trigger on a mid lane team fight, where they once again killed four from DK, but this time, claimed Baron Nashor too.

Equipped with the Baron buff, T1 marched down mid and found a quick pick on Ghost. With the man advantage, T1 swiftly knocked down multiple towers before, though DK managed to save their Inhibitors. Though there were a couple of fights, T1 couldn't finish DK off as DK fought tooth and nail. Eventually though, T1 did secure the Baron after cutting down two DK champions. This second Baron was the nail in the coffin for DK, as T1 pushed down all three Inhibitors then slaughtered DK in their base. They then took the Nexus, and more importantly, the seires to match point.

Quick Stats:

  • Teams: DK-T1
  • Time: 37:41
  • Kills: 10-22
  • Turrets: 3-11
  • Gold: 60.8k-74.3k
  • Dragons: 3-2
  • Barons: 0-2

Game Four

A screenshot from the 2021 World Championship Main Event Semifinals broadcast, showing the Game Four champion drafts between DAMWON KIA and T1 with a shot of the Summoner's Cup above.

After losing two consecutive games, DK's backs were against the wall in Game Four. But that didn't phase the reigning World Champions at all. At five minutes, Canyon ganked mid to set up a kill on Faker for ShowMaker, though did lose his life in exchange to Oner. Three minutes later, DK also claimed a Rift Herald, then looked mid again. Three men strong, DK dove Faker under his tower and killed him. At the same time, Khan and Ghost managed to kill Gumayusi in the bot lane too.

Faker continued to receive all of DK's attention, as they dove him another time and used Herald to break open multiple plates. While T1 picked up the First Tower bonus top, it wasn't enough to stop DK's snowball. At 19 minutes, DK found a huge engage in the mid lane, where they went three-for-zero in kills on the back of a stellar ShowMaker LeBlanc performance. It just really wasn't Faker's game either as he got solo killed in the top lane by ShowMaker while the game went further out of T1's reach.

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With Baron on the cards, DK found yet another great fight. In it, they Ace'd T1 then slew Baron Nashor too. Regrouping on the map, DK was easily able to destroy a few towers and two Inhibitors before moving to dragon and claiming the Mountain Soul. At this point, T1 was far too weak to stand up to DK, and with one more fight, DK swept through T1 and blasted their Nexus.

Game Five. Silver Scrapes. It couldn't be any other way in the match between the two Korean titans.

Quick Stats:

  • Teams: DK-T1
  • Time: 30:02
  • Kills: 18-1
  • Turrets: 11-2
  • Gold: 58.9k-46.2k
  • Dragons: 4-0
  • Barons: 1-0

Game Five

A screenshot from the 2021 World Championship Main Event Semifinals broadcast, showing the Game Five champion drafts between DAMWON KIA and T1 with a shot of the DWG Kia LoL roster on stage above.

It all came down to this. One last game to make the World Finals, one last chance to pursue their legacy. As they had for most of this series, T1 started it off strong with First Blood when Oner ganked to kill Khan. At eight minutes, T1 pulled ahead slightly more with a Rift Herald take too. However, DK fought back when they sent three to the top lane to gank and kill Canna. While T1 used the Herald for plates, DK won a skirmish in the bot lane to find a kill and their first dragon.

The trades kept happening as the game transitioned to the mid game. Oner ganked and killed Khan again, while DK claimed the First Tower bonus with the Ziggs' Satchel Charge. Towers fell in both teams favor all across the map as the game geared up for a game-deciding fight. The 5v5 finally erupted near the Mountain Dragon, where T1 picked up two unanswered kills but couldn't stop DK from getting to Soul point.

Dynasty versus dynasty, to the end

After this, the teams poked and prodded at each other, though no one could make the huge play to win their team the game. Eventually, a scrappy 28-minute Baron attempt from T1 resulted in no kills, but low health bars, so T1 backed away. Unfortunately for them, Canyon was waiting in the wings to assassinate Oner. While Canyon died for it, he bought his team enough time to turn towards dragon and secure the Mountain Soul.

Even at this moment, the game was incredibly tense, with either team looking like they could win. Shortly after DK got Soul, T1, in a bit of desperation, rushed Baron Nashor. With the Aphelios and Azir they burned it down and claimed it. However, DK wasn't letting it go for free. They chased T1 down, and with beautiful team fighting, killed all five members. Seeing an opportunity, DK rushed the T1 base and got to Nexus towers. But with Gumayusi and Faker respawning, they just couldn't end the game.

A few more minutes passed until the Elder Dragon spawned. This fight would decide the game. Taking the initiative, DK started it and tried to rush it down. With T1 collapsing, Canyon Smite secured it and turned with his team for the fight. The Elder buff proved too much for T1 to deal with, and the reigning World Champs obliterated them in the river. All five from T1 dropped as DK once again rushed the base, but this time, took the Nexus.

T1's tournament is over, while DK moves on to take on the winner of the match between EDG and Gen.G in the Grand Finals.

Quick Stats:

  • Teams: T1-DK
  • Time: 35:54
  • Kills: 7-15
  • Turrets: 3-7
  • Gold: 58.0k-64.2k
  • Dragons: 0-5
  • Barons: 1-0

Images via Riot Games.

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Brandon Sturak
Brandon is a writer and editor for ESTNN with a passion for esports. He writes about League of Legends and esports generally, providing analysis and commentary on both. He is a founding member of Niagara University Esports, while being the previous mid laner and Head Coach for the NU Esports LoL team as well. Twitter @GhandiLoL