The League of Champions Korea (LCK)'s top seeded team at the 2020 League of Legends World Championship, DAMWON Gaming, has beaten the LCK's second seed, DRX in a 3-0 sweep. In doing so, DAMWON advance towards the semifinals, where they are set to encounter the winner of Sunday, Oct. 18's matchup between G2 Esports and Gen.G.
DAMWON Gaming outpaced their opponent across all three games and capitalized on DRX's mistakes during teamfights and during objective setups. Although DRX offered stiff resistance during Game 1, DAMWON maneuvered around objectives and amassed crucial leads and overcame them. However, they did not have to overexert themselves as much in Game 2 and Game 3, which came down to team fighting.
Their victory was a reenactment of the 2020 LCK summer split finals, where DAMWON swept DRX for the first time in 2020. When asked whether their familiarity with their opponent was a factor, DAMWON's head coach, Zefa, refuted that statement; "We won because we were so aware of the knowledge of what to pull off at any given situation, not because of the knowledge about the opponents," he said.
DRX were reactive during the first game as they anticipated DAMWON's early-game moves, but their attempts at halting DAMWON yielded mixed results. Although their opposition at Minute 12 around Rift Herald backfired with DAMWON scoring two kills, they successfully prevented a top-side towerdive on Doran's Jayce two minutes later. However, such acts of resistance lost their fierceness when DAMWON secured Infernal Drake soul and Baron Nashor, and a crucial mispositioning by Pyosik (on Kindred) culminated in a 3-0 trade, the Elder Drake and another Baron Nashor, then DRX's Nexus collapse at the 38:09 mark.
Following their loss on red side, DRX swapped to playing on the blue side and unleashed Doran's Jax as a counter to DAMWON's composition, which included a damage-heavy backline (with Graves and Aphelios doling out damage). Their plan initially worked as DAMWON misused their crowd control tools in a 19-minute teamfight behind the Drake pit, allowing Jax to wreak havoc. But that was not to last as their opponent's patience paid off at the 27-minute mark as Nuguri (Ornn)'s timely knock-up provided ample room for his backline to deal damage to the tune of a 5-0 ace, an Ocean Drake and Baron Nashor. From then onward, DAMWON controlled the game's pace and eroded DRX's defenses, with the game ending after 26 minutes of play.
With their backs against the wall, DRX unleashed Chovy's Vel'Koz and Doran's Vladimir, attempting to throw DAMWON off balance. However, DAMWON's composition (Ornn, Kindred, Orianna, Ashe and Pantheon) allowed them to hold the initiative on skirmishes and teamfights as well as to scale into the lategame. Despite DRX's best attempts at accelerating the game in the first 15 minutes, they were unable to secure a significant advantage - with DAMWON's 2-0 trade around the mid lane at Minute 18 serving as the point of no return for DRX. By minute 25, DAMWON's lead ballooned from 1k to 11k as they controlled Drake spawns and Baron Nashor, and crushed their matchup in teamfights.
Despite DRX's best efforts at preventing a repeat sweep (the first sweep occurring at the LCK summer finals), their preparation was not enough against such a foe. "We didn't really prepare anything unorthodox," head coach cvMax said on the press conference. "We tried to pull out the things and strategies that we're used to, and the matchups that we have practiced a lot. The draft we saw today was based on the scrim results and what we prepared so far, so I'm a little bit bummed that everything went as we've kind of predicted, and also realize that there is a lot left to be desired."