The first finalist of the 2022 League of Legends World Championship has been found: LCK second seed T1. In their semifinal against LPL champion JD Gaming, T1 suffered an early loss but stabilized quickly. They progressively grew in strength throughout the series and ultimately overcame their enemies with a 3-1 score.

JD Gaming opens fiercely

The much-anticipated series kicked off with a close tug-of-war between the two titans. T1 drafted the Lucian/Nami bot lane, which needed to get ahead early, whereas JDG went for a more late-game-oriented composition overall. The game exploded after eight quiet early minutes. T1 targeted JDG’s bot lane and traded 2v1 in kills. JDG used that moment to secure the first Rift Herald and gank the top lane twice. The game went even for a long time—an advantage for JDG, as their composition was destined to win the late game. T1 was at the mercy of JDG in the mid game, being kept alive by fantastic Nami play from Ryu “Keria” Min-seok. The LPL champion ran across Summoner’s Rift in full control as Bai “369” Jiahao and Wang “Hope” Jie blew T1 to bits. But T1 didn’t roll over. A great engage from top laner Choi “Zeus” Woo-je made the game dead even again and sent the battle into mayhem. Chaotic fights of high individual skill went back and forth, but JDG’s coordination remained superior. They overcame T1 at the Elder Drake and closed out the game.

T1 had found their momentum, though. In fact, it seemed that the South Koreans felt confident, as they locked in Faker’s signature Ryze and Zeus’ signature Yone. JDG met their opponents with some creativity of their own. 369 countered the Yone pick with the first Maphite of Worlds 2022 and a Bel’Veth for Seo “Kanavi” Jin-hyeok. Once again, the teams tangoed in close proximity for a long time. JDG tried to shut down Zeus early on but paid dearly for it—T1’s top laner brilliantly outplayed his opponents and turned every fight around. T1 put its foot down after fifteen minutes of posturing. Unfazed by his enemies, bot laner Lee “Gumayusi” Min-hyeong blasted through JDG’s lineup with his Lucian. T1 played JDG dizzy. They used Faker’s Ryze ult creatively to start objectives and to move their team around the map quickly, leaving JDG to eat the dust they left behind. Confidently, T1 tied the series.

Keria Worlds 2022 T1
Keria greets the fans at Worlds 2022. (Source: Fernando Decillis for Riot Games)

The T1 hammer of justice

It seemed T1 had found its footing in the draft department. They once again relied on the Lucian/Nami bot lane, but went for a full roaming style on the top side of the map. Faker locked in Ryze, Zeus went for Gangplank to influence the map from everywhere with his ultimate, and their champions were glued together by Mun “Oner” Hyeon-jun’s Nocturne. But 369 stifled T1’s plans early on. JDG’s top laner bullied T1 and became incontestable. Though that was all that was going in favor of the LPL squad. T1 was in full control of the rest of the map. Once the map opened up, those advantages quickly tipped the scales towards T1 across the entire game. The team played perfectly around their composition. They split-pushed to spread JDG out, and then struck the individuals down one by one. The whole T1 squad worked in perfect harmony to put themselves on series point.

If the third game seemed one-sided, the fourth and final game was a complete stomp. Desperately clinging to their tournament lives, JDG threw the Worlds meta out of the window and opted for a Jhin/Karma bot lane. Unfortunately for them, it also tossed their Worlds 2022 lives out of the window. It was T1’s game and it followed the formula of the past two games to perfection. T1 played their lanes diligently, with Gumayusi and Keria smashing the bot lane. At fifteen minutes, T1 shifted to fifth gear and ran over JD Gaming. Faker had a phenomenal performance on Azir, shuffling his opponents into their graves on multiple occasions. Gumayusi pierced the hearts of all LPL fans with Varus, set up by outstanding play from Keria. T1 had achieved perfection as a team in the fourth game and booked their ticket to the grand final.

The LCK wins Worlds 2022, but which team?

T1 now advances to the fifth world championship final in the organization’s history. Although they lost the last world championship final they reached, in 2017, they won three before. With legendary mid laner Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok on the line up, T1 lifted the trophy in 2013, 2015, and 2016.

It is now guaranteed that the Worlds 2022 title will be handed to a South Korean team. On the other side of the bracket, LCK champion Gen.G takes on DRX in the second semifinal for the second ticket to the grand final. The series between Gen.G and DRX will start at 10 PM CEST on Sunday, Oct. 30, at 10 PM CEST. You can watch the series live on the official LoL Esports site.