In a heated, back-and-forth series, defending world champions DWG KIA secured a 3-2 win over MAD Lions on Saturday to earn a spot in the grand finals of the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational against Royal Never Give Up.
DWG KIA started strong with a 26-minute win in Game 1. This contest looked like your standard DWG KIA game from the LCK, where they played well throughout the early- and mid-game before winning a few teamfights later on to put the encounter entirely out of reach.
Game 2 went the way of the MAD Lions, though they had to fight for it.
The contest belonged to DWG KIA early on, but a couple of key kills onto DK bottom laner Jang “Ghost” Yong-jun’s Kai’Sa gave MAD Lions a chance to build on their objective lead, taking several elemental drakes and towers. Despite DK winning a couple of later game fights after MAD Lions took objectives like Baron Nashor and the Cloud Soul, MAD Lions pushed through with a 4-for-1 fight. Led by bottom laner Matyas “Carzzy” Orság’s Xayah, who picked up a triple kill in the last fight as a part of his 10/5/4 KDA (Kills/Deaths/Assists), MAD struck back and took Game 2 in 35 minutes.
MAD Lions went on to take Game 3 in 34 minutes in a match that went back and forth. Both teams took turns taking control of the game, decided through teamfights throughout the contest. MAD Lions eventually won a 5-for-3 teamfight around 29 minutes in that gave MAD a Baron Nashor and an Infernal Soul, leading to a 34-minute win.
DWG KIA’s resident superstar, mid laner Heo “ShowMaker” Su, took over the series — starting in Game 4 as Sylas. ShowMaker was everywhere for DK, roaming constantly while putting the beatdown on his lane opponent, MAD mid laner Marek “Humanoid” Brázda. After a massive 4-for-0 fight broke out around 10 minutes in, the game was busted wide open, giving DK a 4,000 gold lead at around 11 minutes. This lead would only grow as ShowMaker continued to be a playmaker, ending with a 7/1/14 KDA for 81 percent kill participation as DK tied the series up with a 22-minute win.
With the series on the line, DK continued to roll in Game 5, though ShowMaker didn’t have to carry the load alone. All of DK stepped up, winning their individual matchups to take Game 5 in 23 minutes and punch DWG KIA’s ticket to the MSI Grand Finals for a chance to take down the LPL’s Royal Never Give Up.
The 11-team Mid-Season Invitational, which runs through May 23, is being held between the first and second splits of all regions. Teams were drawn into three groups based on seeding. Groups B and C are double-round robin while Group A is quadruple-round robin. The top two teams from each group advance to Stage 2.
Stage 2, the “Rumble Round,” consists of a double round robin from which the top four teams will make the knockout round. As in Stage 1, all Stage 2 matches are best-of-one.
The knockout round will consist of single-elimination semifinals and the final, with all three matches best-of-five. The championship team will receive 30 percent of the prize pool, which will be a minimum of $250,000.
–By Noah Waltzer, Field Level Media