A clash of Eastern titans: DAMWON and Suning seek to capture Worlds 2020 crown

Twelve regions. Over 3,400 games. One unbelievable season. It all comes down to this.

Photo via Riot Games

After a month of furious battles on Summoner’s Rift, we’ve finally reached the climax of an entire year of competitive League of Legends

This weekend, League fans will be treated to a battle between two of the world’s best teams in the finals of the 2020 World Championship. Each team has their own story to tell and every player will be fighting for a chance at gold and glory.

Before the tournament even began, DAMWON Gaming were touted as one of the favorites to win it all—and the Korean juggernaut hasn’t disappointed yet. The LCK’s first seed has only lost twice so far. This team has a chance to cement themselves among the best rosters in League history, while also returning Korea back to the apex of the international scene once again.

But China’s third seed, Suning Gaming, stand in their way. They’re undoubtedly the underdogs in this matchup, but that’s what makes their story so great. Most fans didn’t expect them to get this far in the tournament or stand up against teams like G2 Esports, JD Gaming, and Top Esports.

And yet they were able to overcome all the odds and are now three wins away from their first World Championship. Before this final showdown takes place, here’s a rundown of how both teams will stack up against each other on Saturday, Oct. 31.

Bin vs. Nuguri

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Two of the best-performing top laners will go head to head in one final battle to earn the title of world champion. There will likely be bloodshed between Suning’s Bin and DWG’s Nuguri considering the aggressive style both tend to use, especially when both players synergize in later teamfights. 

Eighteen-year-old Bin has been the most surprising out of the two players. While he’s known for his carry-orientated play, Bin will likely use scaling champions in the matchup against one of the most feared top laners in the world. So far, Bin has played champs like Jax, Gangplank, and Irelia in the top lane at Worlds 2020, which suggests Suning is more than willing to let Bin take over in the later stages of games. 

This couldn’t have culminated better against former Worlds runners-up G2 earlier in the tournament. Bin, arguably considered to be one of the most aggressive players on the top side of the Rift, destroyed the European side with his Gangplank. The Chinese top laner has three wins and one loss on his most-played champ at the tournament, according to Game of Legends

But it seems like even the best top laners in the world struggle against Nuguri, especially when he’s considered to be in a class of his own. The 21-year-old was crucial to the success of DWG during their meteoric rise last year following their promotion to the LCK. Contrary to Bin, however, Nuguri has found success on supportive champions in the top lane, like Lulu, but has also played Ornn and Sett to equal success. 

Aside from his 0-7 scoreline on Fiora against G2, in which DWG won the series 3-1, Nuguri has consistently outperformed his lane opponents during the LCK and the World Championship, especially during the mid to late stages. He’ll likely have his hands full with Bin, but the question of which player comes out on top will depend on the draft. 

Perhaps Bin could outperform Nuguri with his scaling champion pool. Nuguri, on the other hand, could beat him at his own game. One thing is for certain, though. This top lane matchup will be one for the history books.

Canyon vs. SofM

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This jungle matchup is like a retelling of The Tortoise and The Hare—if the animals had been in a cage match rather than a foot race. DWG’s Canyon is the tortoise with high CS numbers and insane DPM that make him a late-game damage machine but an unreliable ganker in the early game. Suning’s SofM is the hare with creative jungle pathing and a high first-blood percentage but creative tank builds that count him out as a late-game damage source in a meta that’s been dictated by carry junglers. 

In the age-old fable, it’s the tortoise who eventually wins the race through perseverance and a can-do attitude. League, however, doesn’t abide by the rules of fables. 

This is possibly the best jungle matchup we’ll see at Worlds with a clash of styles that will make early-game pathing a fascinating game of cat and mouse. Canyon’s early game plan is simply to acquire as much gold as humanly possible—even if that involves taxing ShowMaker’s minions—and snowball himself to atomic levels of damage on champions like Graves and Nidalee. 

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SofM’s approach is different and fairly unique to the junglers we’ve seen at Worlds. His laners are his top priority. If he’s going to be building his signature full-tank Lee Sin, he needs to ensure that his team has enough gold to do damage on his behalf. His creative jungle pathing is reminiscent of RNG’s famous loose cannon MLXG because farm numbers truly mean nothing when your top laner has 10 kills at 10 minutes. With the strength his laners have shown at the tournament (top laner Bin tops the damage charts at a whopping 545 DPM, for example), and the reliability of AD carry Huanfeng as a late-game damage source, SofM’s latter half of the tournament saw him finding his feet on supportive picks like Lee Sin, Jarvan, and Shen.

The outcome of this game will rely almost entirely on how these junglers perform in the early game. A jungler’s impact on the game is undeniable, especially at this World Championship, and this matchup is perhaps the best example of the many different ways in which the role can win their team a game. Canyon’s success relies on his ability to run away from SofM as fast as his legs will carry him, picking up a significant CS along the way. SofM will be chasing him through his jungle as though his life depends on it—or, at least, his hopes of a Worlds title. 

If Canyon can’t snowball the massive leads he’s been used to receiving so far at Worlds, then his team may end up looking a little lost. If SofM’s laners find themselves in bad matchups, or SofM messes up a gank, then he simply won’t have the late-game damage insurance for teamfights. Both junglers run a high-risk strategy. All that remains to be seen is who can reap the greatest rewards from it.

ShowMaker vs. Angel

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In what’s sure to be a battle between two of the top performers at this year’s World Championship, DWG’s ShowMaker and Suning’s Angel will square off in the mid lane. Despite these two players turning into household names over the course of the last few weeks, international experience between the two of them is hard to come by. ShowMaker’s appearance at last year’s World Championship marks the only previous international appearance for either player. 

And as a true “David vs. Goliath” situation begins to brew, all eyes will be on the mid lane. Whoever comes out on top in the year’s final best-of-five will do so through the efforts of their mid laner. Both Angel and ShowMaker have been focal points for their respective organizations throughout the World Championship and 2020 at large. 

ShowMaker has carried DWG to new heights throughout 2020, proving that the team might just have one of the most dominant rosters in professional League history. Angel took a team that finished 11th in this year’s LPL Spring Split all the way to the Worlds finals. It’s no secret that both of these players are capable of momentous feats. 

If Suning are going to finish the fight and pull off a massive upset this weekend, the team will have to play through Angel—just like they have throughout the entire year. 

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As Angel goes, so does Suning. The team has shown time and time again that they’re willing to funnel resources into Angel to secure victories. Against teams like JDG and Top, Suning found their victories as a result of Angel’s dominance on high-damage, burst-focused champions like Zoe and Akali. It’s no secret that Suning are willing to let their wins blossom from the successes of the team’s mid laner. Against DWG, the team will need to find ways to get Angel ahead and quickly begin the path to victory. 

When Suning win, Angel looks masterful—like one of the best players in the world, even. But in defeat, it’s hard for him to look worse. In Suning’s 11 wins at Worlds, Angel’s KDA sits at 12.3. But in the team’s four losses, that mark barely cracks 1.9, according to League stats website gol.gg. And although it’s easy to say that a player’s KDA will naturally fall when games get out of hand, Suning’s losses usually revolve around the premise of falling behind early. In three of Suning’s four losses at Worlds 2020, Angel had been behind in gold at 15 minutes and unable to recover from an early-game deficit. If DWG are going to catch Suning in a stranglehold this weekend, they’ll have to first constrict any semblance of a lead in the mid lane.

To make matters even tougher for Suning, Angel has never truly faced an opponent quite like ShowMaker in his career. While he’s been able to carry Suning to wins over opposing mid laners like Caps, Yagao, Knight, and others, no mid laner at Worlds 2020 has put on a performance quite like ShowMaker. 

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The DWG centerpiece has had the tournament of his life thus far. His 7.2 KDA is the fourth-highest among all players at Worlds and first among all mid laners, according to gol.gg. Additionally, he leads all qualified mid laners at the tournament in GPM with a mark of 432, while his 485 DPM is second only to Caps. 

But this level of success for ShowMaker isn’t anything new. Even though he’s been tearing up the Rift at Worlds, his success extends far back into domestic play in 2020. Since June 19, the start of the LCK Summer Split, ShowMaker has lifted DWG to a 48-7 record while posting a KDA of 12.6, the highest in the world over that span by a mile. 

In a scenario where DWG lift the Summoner’s Cup on Oct. 31, there’s excellent reason to believe that ShowMaker will be granted the title of tournament MVP. And if the world as a whole gave out an MVP award that spanned across all major regions, that nod would surely go to ShowMaker as well. Time after time, he’s propelled DWG across countless finish lines. And as the season comes to a close, there’s no doubt—whether it be from fans, analysts, or anyone in the professional scene—that he can serve as a catalyst for his team once again. 

Huanfeng/SwordArt vs. Ghost/BeryL

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Throughout Worlds, many people have been focused on both DWG and Suning’s powerful top side players—and for good reason. They bring the spice and excitement that fans want to see from some of the world’s best players. The most underlooked players on these rosters, however, have been their steadfast bottom lane talent.

On Suning’s side, Huanfeng has burst onto the international scene and made a name for himself on champions like Ezreal and Jhin. The 19-year-old has the third-highest KDA among ADCs at Worlds 2020 and also has the most kills of any player at the tournament, according to Oracle’s Elixir. He’s become a pillar that this roster can count on and he’s made plenty of great plays that will make any top 10 list in the future.

Former Flash Wolves support SwordArt will be competing alongside Huanfeng in the bottom lane. As a veteran with tons of experience on the Worlds stage, he’ll look to help guide his partner while also roaming and finding vision so that SofM can challenge Canyon. Together, this duo has become one of the best bottom lanes at Worlds.

On the other side of Summoner’s Rift, there’s DWG’s ADC, Ghost. He hasn’t been in the spotlight that often, but he’s been essential to his team’s success as one of the best weak side marksmen in the world. Right now, he has the third-lowest gold share of any ADC in the main event, a -112 gold difference at 10 minutes, and the fourth-lowest average share of team CS after the 15-minute mark, according to Oracle’s Elixir.

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Even though he doesn’t get a lot of resources or jungle pressure, Ghost has the second-highest KDA at Worlds. His strongest characteristic is that he can hold his lane by himself and remain stable enough to impact the game later on. He has the third-highest gold difference at 10 minutes of any ADC, as well as the third-highest average experience difference at 10 minutes, according to Oracle’s Elixir.

This stability gives DWG’s aggressive support, BeryL, the freedom to roam around and find picks alongside Canyon. The talented support loves to make cross-map plays with champs like Pantheon, while also grabbing vision for his team to dictate where they’ll be attacking next.

The bottom side is ultimately one of the more even matchups in this series, so a good draft will be key for any of these players to get an edge over the other.

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In a strange twist of fate, the grand finals of Worlds 2020 isn’t the matchup many fans expected. Suning have defied expectations at every turn, taking down previous favorites Top in a 3-1 series. Most League fans didn’t expect Suning to make it to the finals, but nobody can deny that they’ve earned their place in the elusive finalists club—a club that many teams spend years fighting to enter. 

DWG, however, have the weight of expectations on their shoulders by coming into the tournament as the first seed from the LCK. They’ve been tasked with the rejuvenation of Korea’s declining international reputation. After enacting their revenge on G2, who sent them home from Worlds 2019, the only thing left for DWG to do is to hoist that Summoner’s Cup and prove that they can provide so much more than just a strong domestic showing.  

There’s only one more series left in the 2020 World Championship. Just five games stand in the way of one team achieving the highest honor in League esports. The finals of Worlds 2020 between DWG and Suning will kick off on Oct. 31 at 5am CT. 

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