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In what could be the biggest upset in League of Legends (LoL) history, Chinese underdog team EDward Gaming (EDG) outlasted South Korean titans DAMWON Gaming KIA (DWG KIA) 3-2 in the grand finals of the 2021 LoL World Championship to claim this year's Summoner's Cup.
EDG won their first-ever world championship title while denying DWG KIA their second-straight title. This caps off an incredible breakout year for the organisation, where they broke their Worlds quarterfinals curse before making their first-ever semi-finals and grand finals appearances.
In their last five appearances at Worlds, EDG notably got no further than the first round of the Knockout Stage.
This year's two finalists followed very different paths to the grand finals. DWG KIA took the quickest route, breezing through the Group Stage, then routing the MAD Lions in the Knockout stage before outlasting T1 in the semi-finals, 3-2, to go to the Grand Finals.
On the other hand, EDG took the long road, settling for Group B's second seed in the Group stage after an upset loss against 100 Thieves, before defeating fellow Chinese team Royal Never Give Up in a grueling 3-2 quarterfinal encounter.
Finally, they eliminated Gen.G Esports in another 3-2 match to advance to the grand finals of Worlds for the first time in the organisation's history.
The finals began with EDG stunning DWG KIA in a 35-minute game one. However, the defending champions were able to bounce back and claimed comfortable wins in games two and three to take a commanding 2-1 series lead.
With their backs against the wall, EDG dominated DWG KIA in a 33-minute game four to force the finals to a deciding fifth game. Despite a valiant last stand by the defending champions, EDG dominated game five to secure the 3-2 upset and claim their first-ever Summoner's Cup.
With their victory, EDG claimed this year's grand prize of US$489,500 and are the first Chinese team to raise the Summoner's Cup since FunPlus Phoenix did so in 2019.
EDG's victory is also especially rewarding for support player Tian "Meiko" Ye and mid laner Lee "Scout" Ye-chan, who have been with the team since 2014 and 2016, respectively. Scout also claimed this year's Finals MVP honors.
Meanwhile, DWG KIA have been denied a spot in the history books as they fail to win their second-straight Summoner's Cup.
T1, formerly known as SK Telecom T1, remain the only back-to-back LoL world champions after winning in 2015 and 2016. DWG will receive US$333,750 in consolation as this year's runners-up.
EDward Gaming roster:
Li "Flandre" Xuan-Jun
Zhao "Jiejie" Li-Jie
Lee "Scout" Ye-chan
Park "Viper" Do-hyeon
Tian "Meiko" Ye
DAMWON Gaming KIA roster:
Kim "Khan" Dong-ha
Kim "Canyon" Geon-bu
Heo "ShowMaker" Su
Jang "Ghost" Yong-jun
Cho "BeryL" Geon-hee