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Da Kun Gaming (DKG) have been crowned as the first-ever international League of Legends: Wild Rift champions after they defeated ThunderTalk Gaming (TT), 4-2, in the all-Chinese grand finals of the Horizon Cup on Sunday (21 November).
Both Chinese teams looked dominant en route to their showdown in the Horizon Cup grand finals. DKG topped Group A with an 8-1 record while TT had an 8-2 line to take Group B's top spot, which earned both squads direct seeds to the semi-finals of the Knockout Stage.
DKG defeated the Philippines' Team Secret, 3-1, to take the first spot in the grand finals while TT followed suit after outlasting Rolster Y from South Korea in a 3-2 slugfest.
The grand finals opened with TT taking an early lead through Guan-Yu "Chris" Lu shutting down his counterpart Fangjun “Huiba” Li in the jungle. However, DKG bounced back in the mid-game behind Muchuang “You” You dominance in the team fights. After denying TT's last ditch attempt at the elder dragon, DKG took the opening win of the series in 21 minutes.
While TT did their best to draft for late-game scaling in game two, DKG completely dominated the map and snowballed to an early gold lead behind an outstanding performance from Zhenyu “Wind” Qi. After an 18-minute stomp, DKG destroyed TT's Nexus and took a commanding 2-0 series lead.
TT didn't want to go out without a fight, however, and stormed back into the series by taking tight wins in a 19-minute game three and a 23-minute marathon in game four to tie up the series 2-2.
The pivotal fifth game of the series started with TT in control behind Peng “Feibai” Wenchao and Chaotao "S12K" Xiao. However, the gold flipped in DKG's favor after TT overcommitted in the bottom lane while attempting to take Huiba down, giving You the opening to take down a crucial TT turret.
DKG continued to outmaneuver their opponents to seized the reins in the series and get to matchpoint after only 17 minutes of action.
TT went all out in game six to force the finals to a decider, with Chris, Feibai, and Z defending against DKG's Huiba and Mochen "Emo" Fan in the early stages. However, DKG once again outmaneuvered their opponents when Yankai "YK" Hong discovered a flank to the rear of mid lane, thus enabling his teammates to punish TT's aggression.
With DKG having a firm grip on the gold advantage, TT staged an ill-advised counterattack that only sped up their demise. Despite TT's best efforts to hold out, DKG destroyed their Nexus at the 18-minute mark to take the 4-2 series victory and the Horizon Cup championship.
With their victory, DKG claimed the grand prize of US$100,000 and right to call themselves the champions of Wild Rift's first-ever international tournament.
Meanwhile, TT finish in second place with US$80,000 in consolation. While they fall short of the ultimate goal, it is a valiant showing for a team that was forced to make last-minute roster changes due to visa issues prior to the tournament.
Da Kun Gaming Wild Rift roster:
Yankai “YK” Hong
Fangjun “Huiba” Li
Muchang “You” You
Zhenyu “Wind” Qi
Mochen “Emo” Fan
ThunderTalk Gaming Wild Rift roster:
Zhou “Z” Tianjian
Peng “Feibai” Wenchao
Chaotao "S12K" Xiao
Yihan "Azure" Zeng
Guan-Yu "Chris" Lu
Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.
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