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Esports: South Korea continue to dominate

It is crunch time at the League of Legends World Championship 2022, with just three teams remaining at the event after T1 defeated JD Gaming to reach Sunday’s final.

It was a barn-burner of a match which left us scrambling for breath and the same could be on the cards as DRX take on Gen.G for the final spot in Sunday’s $2,225,000 match.

We are now guaranteed an all-South Korean final, but will it be Gen.G or DRX meeting their domestic counterparts in the fight for the Summoner’s Cup?

Gen.G - The pride of South Korea

Gen.G entered the League of Legends World Championship as the main hope for South Korea after a dominant performance against domestic opposition in the regular season.

T1 were unstoppable in the Spring Split, posting an 18-0 record, but Gen.G were well clear of the rest in second after going 15-3. The pair served up a ding-dong encounter in the Spring Playoffs, with T1 taking the trophy.

In the Summer Split, it was Gen.G that became the leading force, losing just one series (to T1) in a 17-1 domination. They made no mistake in the playoffs either, smashing T1 3-0 in the Summer Final to wrestle back control of the LCK.

Their 2022 rampage has continued at Worlds and, after an opening-day defeat to RNG, they have won seven series in a row. They were forced to dig deep to defeat DWG KIA in the Quarterfinals, but given that was another domestic encounter, it was entitled to be close with the teams knowing each other so well.

Does that mean we can expect the same here? Given the head-to-head between these sides, it would be impossible to suggest so.

Fairytale on the ropes

The success of DRX at Worlds 2022 has been nothing short of a fairytale, given some lacklustre performances back home in the regular season.

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In LCK Spring, an 11-7 record was a much-improved performance after a dismal 2021 campaign, but they failed to carry that improvement through to the Summer. Granted, a 9-9 record should not be scoffed at, but they only made Worlds after scraping into the play-in stage after a 3-2 win over KT Rolster in the LCK Regional Finals.

That seemingly lit a fire under their belly, however, as they went flawless in the aforementioned play-in stage to reach the main event and after a 5-2 group stage, they saw off Edward Gaming to reach the semifinals in a heart-warming success.

Looking strictly at their Worlds performance, you would struggle to fathom why a giant-killing DRX are outsiders. The head-to-head tells the story, however.

Domestic dominance

Gen.G are 1/9 and, given their dominance over DRX in 2022, it is no surprise. The teams have faced each other on four occasions and each renewal has resulted in a 2-0 victory for Gen.G.

If we go back even further to 2021, the story just keeps getting bleaker. Granted, they did win a series over Gen.G, but that only takes the head-to-head record to 7-1 in the last two years.

With that knowledge, it is very tough to see a way that Gen.G fumble this series. DRX have a strong squad, with the likes of BeryL and Kingen putting up huge performances during Worlds, but Gen.G’s individuals may prove a class apart.

Doran, Peanut, Chovy, Ruler and Lehends have all played their part in a remarkable campaign for the roster and that has extended into Worlds. On paper, they have the more experienced roster too and that may play into proceedings, given the size of the occasion.

The way to go

Odds of 1/9 for Gen.G are very understandable, given the head-to-head scoreline and the way the teams have performed throughout 2022.

Gen.G to take the series 3-0 is 5/4 and that is likely to be the market that many people utilise. Although the head-to-head would paint this as a potential blowout, it should not be forgotten how tough and tenacious DRX have been at Worlds.

They were no match for Gen.G in the domestic season, but they have been a different force in North America and it would be a surprise if DRX went down with a whimper. At 15/8, a 3-1 victory for Gen.G could be the way to go.

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