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Not to be mistaken with a League of Legends Champions Korea post-season, T1 have taken out Hanwha Life Esports in the first 2021 League of Legends World Championship quarterfinals series in a quick 3-0. T1 will go on to face the winner of the quarterfinal series between DWG KIA and MAD Lions next weekend for a chance to return to the Worlds Finals after so many years without making it that far.

Upcomer League staff have put their heads together to respond to the series and preview the upcoming knockout matches for the rest of the event.

Did the series go according to your prediction?

Tom: I did expect T1 to win with comfort, though I had not anticipated this much of a stomp. I had hoped that Hanwha Life would at least take one game to give the illusion of competition, but this was a slaughter. All the progress Hanwha had made throughout the tournament disappeared, and T1 struck mercilessly.

Warren Younger: Pretty much. I expected Chovy to put up some sort of fight but yeah, T1 is just miles ahead. Unfortunately, the Hanwha Life Esports that showed up were the eighth place League of Legends Champions Korea version.

Faker and Chovy stand together before their quarterfinals match
Faker and Chovy stand together before their quarterfinals match. | Provided by Riot Games/Getty Images

E.G Kant: Yeeeep. I predicted 3-1 but thought it could be 3-0 due to T1’s blistering form and rumors of their terrifying scrim performances. I also expected T1 to not get surprised like in their Regional Finals series. I suppose I expected a bit more from Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon and Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu, however, but credit to T1 who didn’t just play well individually, but also extremely well as a team.

Rashidat: Actually no because I was praying to the Church of Chovy and I forgot Faker was the god. I did expect T1 to win but not with a clean sweep. HLE did not even put up a fight for the most part and the repeated Varus picks into Aphelios in this meta was quite confusing.

Who was series MVP?

Tom: My vote goes to Moon “Oner” Hyeon-joon. He was everywhere he needed to be in order to send Hanwha Life’s players back to the fountain. He accelerated his team’s advantages and was the oil on the machine in this series, steamrolling over his enemies.

Warren: Everyone stepped up and in series like these, it’s hard to pick a player because everybody just outclasses their opponents. But if I had to single out one player, Ryu “Keria” Min-seok stepped up big time. We all knew that the mid lane matchup was going to be hype but HLE’s other win condition relied in their bot lane. Keria shut that idea down. His Thresh was so clean in Game 1 and 3 and he also had an almost 100% kill participation in Game 2. Keria came into the event as one of the best supports in the world and he made his case in this statement series.

E.G: I agree with Warren, it’s very hard to pick a singular MVP considering how interlinked a lot of T1’s great plays were. Though if left to me, I’d probably pick the jungler Oner. It’s the old ‘better jungler wins’ cliche, I’m aware, but coming into this series there were question marks on if HLE could match T1 in top and jungle, and both were found wanting today. Oner’s Talon and Poppy pick were incredibly disruptive to what HLE wanted to do around objectives and teamfights, and in my eyes, a critical factor to T1’s utter dominance today.

Rashidat: For me, it is none other than Lee “Gumayusi” Min-hyeong. Not many young players can come into a lineup with huge shoes to fill and deliver perfectly. He is also the only player to have finished the series deathless with a 13/0/17 Kill/Death/Assist ratio. He simply owned the bot lane matchup and doing so against a veteran like Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu deserves applause.

Who do they have the best shot against in semis?

Tom: MAD Lions, easily. DWG KIA have been in top shape so far, barely slipping up. MAD Lions got to the quarterfinals by the skin of their teeth and will have to make a miracle happen if they want to beat DWG KIA in the first place. Even if they manage to do the seemingly impossible, they still have the most exploitable flaws compared to DWG KIA. MAD Lions’ early game and meta read are incredibly shaky, and we’ve seen T1 punish that against Hanwha Life.

Younger: On paper, it’s MAD Lions. With DWG KIA being as dominant as they have been, T1 would probably much rather play against MAD instead of the defending world champs. With that said, if MAD Lions do beat DK and it’s convincing, then either are going to be scary for T1. But T1 are looking really good. Looking forward to either outcome.

Kaiser stands at the front of MAD Lions at Worlds 2021
Kaiser intends to lead his team to victory against DWG KIA in the quarterfinals. | Provided by Riot Games/Getty Images

E.G: At first glance, it’s a no brainer. Despite being the LEC champions, MAD Lions are looking like lion cubs right now as they face the titans in DWG KIA. Even if DWG go 3-2 in that series, they should still be the favorites against T1, unless they have an untimely internal collapse, but I digress. MAD, however, have proven for the entirety of 2021 that their greatest strengths lie in long best-of series, rather than best-of-ones. They gave DWG a run for their money at MSI 2021 and if MAD somehow overcome DWG here, it’s possible we will have an incredible semis to look forward to.

Rashidat: I would say MAD Lions because even though I think T1 has one of the best macro games, DK look one step ahead of everyone. Since it’s about their best shot, then it is definitely the MAD Lions. With their controlled early game and macro out-plays, it will be difficult for MAD to take down T1 even in teamfights.

Prediction for tomorrow’s series? (RNG vs EDG)

Warren: I did not want this series to happen in the quarter-finals. For Edward Gaming, they came in as the tournament favorites and have not lived up to expectations during the group stage best of one format. But EDG has been so good in best of fives all year. The scary thing is that Royal Never Give Up also has. It all depends on who shows up more. EDG and RNG are on similar levels and the team that wants it more will emerge victorious. If both teams play at the same level though, EDG have the edge. I expect a banger of a series but EDG should win this.

EDG 3 – 2

EDG currently sits undefeated in Group B of Worlds 2021
EDG is the resounding favorite against RNG among Upcomer staff. | Provided by Riot Games/Getty Images.

Tom: Though EDG enter the series as their group’s second seed and RNG did top their group, the power dynamics are completely different. EDG had an actual competitive group and did show flaws there, while RNG limped across the finish line in what should have been the freest group they could have dreamed of. Nevertheless, the series should be exciting and a close affair. RNG plays through Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-Hao extremely well. EDG is a more well-rounded team overall, though, and I expect them to walk away with the win. People under 16 should probably avert their eyes as Lee “Scout” Ye-chan will murder his mid-lane opponent Yuan “Cryin” Cheng-Wei on the Rift.

EDG 3-2

E.G: I mentioned in the Pick’Ems roundtable that I will uncharacteristically support Edward Gaming in this series. I know, the curse and all, but I want to believe in EDG. Takes a curse to break one! EDG and RNG are historic rivals and should know each other well. Both have proven that if given time, they can become very scary in best-of series. I expect EDG to win, but can see RNG winning it as well, and I’m predicting a full five-game series.

EDG 3 – 2

Rashidat: I think a lot of people have mixed feelings on the LPL, especially EDG after their Week 2 performance at Worlds 2021. However, I still favor them here and think they will shake that off and head into this series looking stronger. EDG just looks like the better team and have more win conditions. When RNG’s top and bot lane players are not having an impact, they tend to struggle and i think EDG will look to punish this a lot.

EDG 3-1