The Korean esports League of Legends (LoL) Taeguk Warriors, competing at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games, are cruising to gold after reaching the quarterfinals without a major upset. It took them just 40 minutes to reach the quarterfinals. They dominated their opponents.
The Korean national LoL team defeated Hong Kong in the first game of Group A of the eSports LoL event at the Hangzhou Esports Center in China on Friday. South Korea, Hong Kong, and Kazakhstan were organized in Group A.
In the first match against Hong Kong, the Korean team consisted of Choi “Zeus” Woo-je, Seo “Canavi” Jin-hyuk, Chobi “Chobi” Jeong-hoon, Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk, and Ryu “Keria” Min-seok. Korea seemed to be caught off guard by Hong Kong’s early game, but they quickly took the lead thanks to their bottom duo. With the momentum in their favor, the Koreans continued to control the game until the 21st minute, when they opened up an engagement near the baron and racked up four kills to seal the win. After a quick cleanup in their home zone, Korea pushed into Hong Kong’s home zone and secured their first win in 23 minutes.
In the second game against Kazakhstan, the team made a lineup change, bringing in Lee “Faker” Sang-hyuk. And they crushed their opponents. The difference in power between Korea and Kazakhstan was staggering. Korea destroyed their opponent’s mid blocker in the first 15 minutes of the game, took a breather, and went straight to their home zone to seal the win in 17 minutes. Lee “Yone” Sang-hyuk led the way with 12 kills, one death and two assists.
It took Korea just 40 minutes to defeat both Hong Kong and Kazakhstan to reach the quarterfinals, which is why the word “dominated” comes up. Lee Sang-hyuk, who led the team to victory over Kazakhstan, said, “The game itself was not intense because it was a qualifier, but I felt like it was the beginning. I’m looking forward to the next match.”
The Korean National Team will now have a day to regroup before facing Saudi Arabia in the quarterfinals on Sunday morning. The quarterfinals will be a best-of-three series, which means that barring any upsets, South Korea is virtually guaranteed a spot in the final four. Their quarterfinal opponent will be “nemesis” China. Considered a strong gold medal rivalry, this is the de facto final. If South Korea knocks out China, they’ll be well on their way to the gold medal 레고토토.
Team captain Lee Sang-hyuk will have to settle a debt from the Jakarta-Palembang Games five years ago. Back then, when esports was a demonstration sport, South Korea lost to China in the final and had to settle for silver. This time, it’s a must-win. “China is very strong, and I want to play with a humble heart and no pressure,” said Lee Sang-hyuk. “I have regrets about the last tournament, but it’s a new challenge, so I will focus on this one.”
The players are in good shape thanks to the improved environment, including food and practice rooms, compared to the Jakarta-Palembang tournament. Now they just need to beat Saudi Arabia and defeat China to win the gold medal.