DWG KIA started off their LCK Summer 2021 season with a comeback 2-1 win over T1. It was an emotional day for Kim ‘Khan’ Dong-ha, who returned to the LoL Park stage in Seoul to play in front of fans for the first time in two years.
It was the LCK Summer 2019 Finals when Khan last stepped foot on stage at LoL Park. Then on T1, he helped the organisation lift their sixth domestic title, and his fourth at the time.
Since then, Khan journeyed across the pond to China, where he couldn’t find success with then-World Champions FunPlus Phoenix, missing out on Worlds 2020 in catastrophic fashion.
However, he’s since returned to Korea to fill the void left by Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon — yet again bouncing between world champion rosters — and done a pretty good job of it.
While he took home another LCK title, Khan’s eyes were on Iceland. Falling one series short of finally taking home international silverware for the first time at MSI devastated the top laner, however his worries were washed away by a slightly emotional return to LoL Park.
“After we came back from MSI, this was our first match, so I was feeling a bit nervous. In addition to that, it’s been almost two years since I played at LoL Park, so I’m very touched by the fact that we can play in front of a live audience,” he said in the post-game interview.
Khan was a big reason behind DWG KIA’s clutch 2-1 win over his former squad. In Game 1, his Jayce was all over Canna’s Gnar in the top lane, proving to be a huge sidelane and teamfight threat.
Then, the 25-year-old showcased his clutch mechanics in Game 3 on Akali, with some smooth teamfighting to finish the series with an overall scoreline of 18/10/18 and two POG awards.
DWG KIA were helped by scheduling somewhat. They had some VODs of T1 to go through from their Wednesday game against Hanwha Life. It also gave the squad extra time to prepare for the new meta after returning from MSI.
“T1 already had a match against Hanwha Life and that provided us some information for us to come up with a tier list of the meta. We were able to have a lot of discussion about our strategy because of that,” he said.
This included putting new picks together like Xin Zhao and Karma for DWG KIA’s formidable mid-jungle duo Canyon and Showmaker.
The meta combination played a key part in DWG KIA’s Game 3 victory, helping the world champions navigate a tricky late game and give Ghost and Khan time to scale.
“Our mid-jungle duo still stayed solid, and looking at the champions we had versus them, their composition was really strong in the early game. We were feeling okay about it. As time went on, after a few early deaths, my Akali was not getting touched in the teamfights. We were just waiting for my power spikes,” Khan explained.
The victory is a good start to DWG KIA’s LCK Summer 2021 season, where the champions will be hoping to make it three LCK titles in a row come August.
However, that’s not what the world champions are aiming for. They want to reclaim the throne at Worlds 2021, and for Khan, finally put a Summoner’s Cup in that illustrious trophy cabinet.
“During MSI, we were not able to wrap up the tournament on a good note, but we were able to get another seeding for LCK at Worlds. We are saving up all our energy for Worlds so we can burst everything we’ve got [in China].”
DWG KIA next play KT Rolster in LCK Summer 2021 on Sunday, June 13.