T1 cruised to a 3-0 victory over Hanwha Life Esports on Friday in a quarterfinal clash of the 2021 League of Legends World Championship.
This series was not close on paper or on the Rift. A whopping 95 percent of viewers correctly predicted T1 to run away with the series win, but the way in whichthey did it was even more impressive.
Hanwha Life drafted poorly in Game 1, giving their already outmatched players a poor composition to compete with T1's aggressive early skirmishing style. While it was a low-kill game, T1 made the most of it by repeatedly targeting HLE jungler Kim "Willer" Jeong-hyeon, shutting him down and effectively giving T1 complete control of the map.
T1 was led by support Ryu "Keria" Min-seok, who put on a masterclass as Thresh, who roamed well and landed several key Death Sentences en route to a 1-1-8 KDA (Kills-Deaths-Assists) for 82 percent kill participation. There was little HLE could do but watch as T1 pushed into their base and took the Nexus in 33 minutes.
Game 2 was more of the same, with HLE drafting their lanes into poor matchups while T1 got everything they wanted to skirmish and teamfight early and often. Keria was again ever-present in this game, this time as Braum, making his presence felt across the map. After T1 picked up early kills, there was little HLE could do to respond as T1 took Game 2 in 29 minutes.
HLE's unlikely run from 8th place in the LCK to the Worlds Quarterfinals ended with a whimper in Game 3, where T1 blitzed through them. HLE's questionable drafts once again prevented their members from ever truly having a chance to compete against a mechanically and tactically superior T1, putting the nail in HLE's coffin before the first minion even spawned. Once the action kicked off, T1 did what they had been doing for the last couple of hours: roam and fight early to knock HLE on their backfoot, suffocate them out of resources and objectives, and overwhelm them in 30 minutes.
With the win, T1 advance to the Semifinals to face the winner of DWG KIA vs MAD Lions.
In the 2021 Worlds Main Event, 16 teams are competing in four groups based on seeding, contesting a double round-robin of best-of-one matches in the Group Stage. The top two teams from each group advance to the Knockout Stage, which consists of a single-elimination bracket.
Teams will be randomly drawn for the Knockout Stage so that first-place teams will oppose second-place teams, and no two teams from the same group will be placed in the same half of the bracket.
Matches in the Knockout Stage will be best-of-five all the way through the Nov. 6 grand final. The championship team will receive 22 percent of the total prize pool, which would equate to $489,500 based on the minimum guaranteed payout of $2,225,000.
The quarterfinals continue on Saturday with one best-of-five series:
Royal Never Give Up vs EDward Gaming
--Noah Waltzer, Field Level Media