DAMWON Gaming brings the Summoner’s Cup back to the LCK in dominating fashion. Questions arise when a team runs through the World Championship with only three losses like what made this team so dominant and how does this team compare to past champions.
Obviously, this team’s macro play and fundamentals are second to none. Yes, this team can mechanically outplay any competition. Canyon and Beryl were the best performers on the team and outclassed the rest of the world. Regardless, a major, and arguably most important aspect to DAMWON’s dominance is their flexibility, specifically Nuguri and Showmaker.
During the summer season, DAMWON’s mid laner led all LCK mid laners by participating in 71% of the team’s kills. He participated in 59% of kills, the third-lowest amongst mid laners at the World Championship. During the summer season, DAMWON relied on Showmaker to move around the map with Canyon to gain early advantages. During the World Championship, DAMWON asked Showmaker to anchor the mid lane more often while Beryl and Canyon impacted the map. This change does not mean Showmaker regressed or that DAMWON abandoned their regular season play style, however. The semifinals against G2 showcased this flexibility perfectly. In games one and four, Showmaker’s Twisted Fate roamed and impacted the map. In game three, Showmaker’s Syndra stayed in lane and pressured Caps, preventing him from impacting the map.
Nuguri’s flexibility is proven by his champion picks in the World Championship compared to the summer season. Nuguri’s highest played champions during the summer season were Jayce, Camille, and Renekton. The team used the early priority he gained with these aggressive picks to shut down enemy top laners. Nuguri’s highest played champions at the World Championship shifted to more supportive and teamfight picks like Ornn, Kennen, and Lulu. These picks allowed Canyon and Ghost to carry early skirmishes and late fights.
With all that said, how does this team stack up to world champions in the past? Analysts unanimously agree that 2014 Samsung White and 2015 SK Telecom had the two most dominant runs in the history of the World Championship. First, when comparing DAMWON’s match record, the 2020 champions fall below the two mentioned teams as Samsung White only lost two games and 2015 SK Telecom only lost one. DAMWON also falls below the two teams in overall KDA. DAMWON’s 1,940 gold differential at 15 minutes falls short of only Samsung White’s impressive 3125 gold differential at 15 minutes.
When comparing other stats like baron control rate, first tower rate, and average game time, one can make a case that DAMWON has the best objective control in history. All this being said, Samsung White’s 2014 run is without a doubt the best team in history. No team has ever dismantled the opposition the way Samsung White did. However, DAMWON made a case as the second-best team in the history of the World Championship. Even though 2015 SK Telecom only lost a single game, DAMWON tops them in nearly every statistic. When looking at the level of competition, DAMWON overall played stronger competition as JGD, DRX, and G2 were all stronger teams than 2015 EDward Gaming, ahq, Origen. Looking back, the only comparatively strong team SK Telecom played in that tournament was ROX tigers. When taking all of this into account, including the summer split, this DAMWON Gaming run sits only behind 2014 Samsung White.
Sources: Photos by Riot Games, Oracle’s Elixer
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