What better way to kick-off the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational with its most anticipated matchup, DWG KIA-Cloud9, squaring off to open its group stage, which returned after a one-year break due to the cancellation of the 2020 edition from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although both teams gave voracious blows onto one another, it was the reigning world champions that came out on top in a sub-30-minute contest.
DWG was headed by top laner and Player of the Game Kim “Khan” Dong-ha, who went 3/0/5 with his Gnar. He was accompanied by jungler Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu through his unorthodox Morgana pick, going 2/2/4 to counter Robert “Blaber” Huang’s Kindred; and AD Carry Jang “Ghost” Yong-jun from a 5/0/3 performance with Jhin.
The opening match of MSI started with an interesting draft that solidified a trend that made some champions particularly effective in Patch 11.9. Its most glaring pick was the game’s first pick, with DWG selecting Morgana, a regular support champion, for Canyon. This allowed him to clear his jungle very quickly compared to Kindred, which was manned by C9’s Blaber.
Nevertheless, C9 opted for a scaling draft to attempt to trifle the reigning world champions, choosing the Gangplank for top laner Ibrahim “Fudge” Allami, Varus for ADC Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen, and Viktor for mid-laner Luka “Perkz” Perkovic.
But supported by ShowMaker Su’s Zoe, Canyon surpassed Blaber’s farming efficiency, helping DWG to push across all lanes and building a lead in the macro game, evidenced by a 5,000 goal lead at the 20-minute mark.
Cloud9 didn’t want to cower back in defeat, though, for their Varus notched a double-kill in the game’s first skirmish, providing a win condition (slight but adequate at the time) should they work their cards right.
But the freight train of DWG’s might couldn’t be stopped in the end for they overran C9 to take the game a few minutes later. Top laner and eventual Player of the Game Khan started DWG’s superiority with his solo-kill on Fudge in the red jungle side and they subsequently snowballed soon thereafter.
The Mid-Season Invitational will continue today with Japan’s DetonatioN FocusMe and Latin America’s Infinity Esports completing Group C’s first round of games at 9:00 a.m. CST/ 2 p.m. GMT.