T1 averted a potential reverse sweep in today's LCK Regional Finals, defeating Hanwha Life Esports 3-2 and securing a spot in the main stage of the 2021 League of Legends World Championship alongside fellow Korean teams DWG KIA and Gen.G.
For the most of the series, the team looked head and shoulders above their opponents, regularly outplaying their lane opponents in one-on-one engagements. This was especially true on the top side of the map, as Canna played Kennen versus Morgan in all five games, limiting his CS and ability to roam while also netting up many solo kills in lane. Canna and Oner were able to assist their other lanes because HLE was unable to build any map pressure through their top side.
Here's the official #Worlds2021 seeding information for the 4 qualified LCK teams!— LCK Global (@LCK_Global) September 2, 2021
1️⃣ @DWGKIA - Summer Winner
2️⃣ @GenG - Championship Points
3️⃣ @T1LoL - Regional Qualifier Winner
4️⃣ @HLEofficial - Regional Qualifier Runner-Up#LCK | #LCKWIN | #WeMakeLegends pic.twitter.com/Bhci9EgoXZ
The limited champion pool of HLE's support player Vsta was one of their main problems. He played Karma and Zilean in the first and second games, two champs with almost minimal engage potential. That meant Morgan, their top laner, was tasked with initiating teamfights despite falling down in lane in each game. When he was playing Gnar, he just lacked the equipment necessary to take enough damage in late-game teamfights.
Despite the team's top side's continued bad performance, Vsta was able to get his hands on the engage champ Rakan for games three and four, and the combination, boosted by the brilliance of his mid laner Chovy, led HLE to back-to-back victories. T1 managed to avoid a reverse sweep in the end, securing a spot in the Worlds group stage.
This will be T1's first Worlds appearance since 2019, when the organisation advanced to the semifinals before succumbing to G2 Esports, the competition's eventual runners-up. This could be the year they return to the international arena with a chance to win it all, with no G2 at Worlds this year and a 2021 T1 squad filled with four young mechanically skilled prospects and Faker in top form.