DAMWON Gaming added yet another title to their rapidly growing collection as they defeated Nongshim RedForce in the finals of the KeSPA Cup. Can anyone stop DAMWON or will they be the next big LCK dynasty?
With the LCK spring split on the horizon, there is just one more thing for the LCK teams to take care of before they go at it again - the KeSPA Cup. This winter tournament, hosted by the Korean eSports Association, has been a staple event in South Korean pro League of Legends since its inception in 2015. In December, the ten LCK teams were separated in two groups, with the best three teams from each groups going to playoffs. The finals saw the two top teams from group A - Worlds and 2020 Spring Split champion DAMWON Gaming and Nongshim RedForce, the former Team Dynamics - clash once more.
On their way, the 2020 summer champions had beaten Hanwha Life Esports, while Nongshim had taken down Liiv Sandbox before sweeping the top team from the other group, KT Rolster. DWG won the single match they played in the group and came in as the heavy favorites, but could Nongshim find a way to an upset?
As it turns out, the answer was a clear “no”. DAMWON came strong with a dominant performance in game one, using their composition to demolish Nongshim’s scaling picks and punishing their opponents across the map. The champions had their foot on the pedal and were nearly 10K gold up at the 20-minute mark before taking an early mountain soul. When they secured the Baron 28 minutes in, it was all over.
NS Redforce had a better early game in the second round, but despite their initial gold lead they were unable to exert map pressure. DAMWON took the first two drakes and in a fight 17 minutes in won a clutch teamfight to secure the third and the gold lead.
Their opponents put up a long fight for the last one, but once again the favorites managed to secure the dragon soul and assume full control of the game and end it shortly after the Baron. The final game only offered more of the same - an okay start for the challengers and DAMWON eventually wresting control of the game and not letting go.
When it was all said and done, the series was a sweep for DAMWON Gaming and the result matched what was happening in the games themselves. Their macro game was just too clean for Nongshim on the map and showed the immaculate teamfighting we had learned to expect from the LCK elite. The departure of Jang "Nuguri" Ha-gwon in the top lane was not an issue as the veteran Kim "Khan" Dong-ha looked on point in his return to Korea. With the LCK 2021 Spring Split starting this Sunday and DWG being the first team ever to win the Summer Split, Worlds and the KeSPA Cup back to back, their form gives the other teams reason to worry. As for NS RedForce, they looked outmatched today, but in the groups and their previous games they showed they are not to be trifled with. If they can build up on their success in the regular season, we can expect a lot from them.
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