Nuguri on returning at Worlds: “I’ll tear through my enemies like a sword”

Damwon Gaming took down DRX in the LCK Summer 2020 final to secure the number one Korean seed at Worlds 2020.

Damwon Gaming has secured the number one Korean seed at Worlds 2020 with a dominant 3-0 sweep of DRX in the LCK Summer 2020 final. With the squad looking a cut above the rest, they’ve got their eyes set on leading Korea to their former glory at Worlds.

Damwon Gaming made a statement on Saturday night. Not only are they the LCK champions, demolishing DRX in the Summer 2020 final to secure their first bit of silverware, but they look like the force that could lead Korea to a 2020 renaissance at Worlds.

While DRX and Damwon looked on even footing earlier in the year, by the time Summer ended, it was clear who was Korea’s number one. Damwon has turned on the blasters from top to bottom, and it was clearly evident in their 3-0 sweep of the final.

DWG seemingly had answers for all of DRX’s drafts. In Game 1, DRX tried to get Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu’s Jhin online, but he couldn’t get through the tanky Ornn-Volibear top side Damwon drafted in response.

While DRX got ahead early in Game 2 thanks to a level 1 skirmish falling their way, Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon’s Jayce was not able to carry with the two kills he got. DRX’s top and bot lane fell too far behind as DWG snowballed their map pressure into a huge gold lead.

By Game 3, DRX were seemingly out of answers, and out of gas. Heo “Showmaker” Su got a quadra kill on Akali early, and from there, the wheels just fell off. Chovy’s Irelia kept DRX in the game for about five minutes longer than they arguably deserved, with DWG taking a slower, methodical approach to making sure they didn’t just lock up the win, but their first LCK title, and Korea’s number one seed at Worlds.

For a roster that has been living in the shadows since arriving in the LCK in 2019, the win is a monumental step for them. In their first finals appearance, they got some silverware in their cabinet.

It meant even more for Jang “Ghost” Yong-jun. The new AD carry has been grinding it out since 2016 on teams like CJ Entus, bbq Olivers, and Sandbox to try and make it to Worlds. He thought it couldn’t be done. However, he’s finally broken through.

“I’ve been a pro gamer for many years, and back then, I wondered if I have it in myself to make it to the finals. Today’s victory reminded me of those hard times, so I cried,” he said in the post-game interview.

He and support Cho “BeryL” Geon-hee have often been isolated as Damwon’s weak point. Ghost has made a point to play more utility-heavy ADCs like Ashe and Senna, but against DRX, he even got to flex his carry muscles, putting on solid Caitlyn and Draven performances in Games 1 and 3 respectively.

“Many people evaluated that our bot duo was weak, so we worked a lot on the bot lane, so that people would see DAMWON Gaming plays through the bot lane as well. We thought DRX would prepare a top game. What we discussed yesterday was that we’ll win a game with Caitlyn and another with Draven to win the championship. It worked out perfectly as planned,” he added.

Ghost secured four of the nine MVP votes for the series, but it wasn’t enough to take home the accolade. That instead went to star top laner Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon, who dismantled Choi “Doran” Hyeon-joon in every game.

While he is more well known for his aggressive playstyle, he has adapted his champion pool to include more tanks in recent times, giving the likes of Showmaker and Canyon a better chance to shine through jungle-mid.

“Whether I’m practicing or during matches, when we’re playing champions like Caitlyn and Ornn, I was told that I need to be very sturdy and be the defense that the team needs. When I’m playing a champion like Renekton, I was told that I need to be in sync with our jungler,” he said.

However, that’s not going to stop him from trying to flex at Worlds. “I played defensive champions that acted more as a shield for the team today. At Worlds, I’ll make sure to play more aggressive champions to tear through my enemies like a sword.”

Damwon will be looking for redemption in Shanghai, having lost in the quarterfinals to Europe’s G2 Esports in 2019. They’re arguably the best squad Korea has sent to Worlds since the SKT and Samsung rosters of old. It’s been a disappointing few years for Korea, but if any team is in the driver’s seat to lead Korea to a renaissance, it’s Damwon.

“Just as there’s much hope on our shoulders, there’s that much burden that follows with it. Now that we won our LCK championship, we’ll make sure to perform well at Worlds. We all have experience on the big stages now, so we got over our issues with nerves. We’ll prepare well to do well at Worlds,” Showmaker said.

“In recent years, the LCK teams did not do well in international competitions. We’ll perform on a level that makes us proud representatives of LCK’s 1st seed at Worlds.”

Heo “Showmaker” Su

The final LCK slot at Worlds will be decided on September 9. Afreeca, KT Rolster, T1, and Gen.G all have a shot at rounding out Korea’s representatives in Shanghai with the Regional Qualifier Bracket kicking off on September 7. The winner will join Damwon and DRX.

Translation Credit: Inven Global

PhotographyRiot Games
ProducerJosh Swift
Andrew Amos
Andrew Amos
After joining Snowball in mid-2018, Andrew "Ducky" Amos has fast become one of our region's best esports writers. Cutting his teeth in Oceanic Overwatch, he now covers all kinds of esports for publications globally. However, his heart still lays at home, telling the story of Aussies trying to make it big.

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