The Road to LoL Worlds Finals 2023 gets closer and closer to its destination. As we prepare for the most important match of the League of Legends year, we wanted to make a series of articles to get you up to speed on the match-up with Road to Worlds Finals 2023.
In order to achieve this goal, we decided to opt for a different approach than the usual "Match Previews". We'll go over each individual match-up, giving you all the historical context, narratives and stats needed.
Junglers - the captains of the early game. These are the voices that decide how battles begin and influence the war that unfolds in the following 25 to 35 minutes.
This is the match up preview for T1 Mun "Oner" Hyeon-Jun and WBG Wei "Weiwei" Bo-Han.
Weiwei spent a long time in the trenches before ever even seeing glory with his own eyes. He's role-swapped to ADC, has been loaned out and, despite playing in the LPL since 2019, had never even attended an International event before Worlds 2023.
Weiwei played for Suning as a Jungler in 2019 and an ADC in Spring 2020. A few months after he was replaced, the team made it to the Grand Finals of Worlds 2020 with one hell of a dark-horse run.
He stood and watched his previous teammates experience glory while he was loaned out to Victory Five.
In 2021 Weiwei left what had been his home for 3 years and went to play for BLG. Yes, the team you now know from their MSI and Worlds runs this year. But had you heard of them before?
The jungler represented the organization between Summer of 2021 and Summer of 2022. He left the team on December 20th. While he sat at home, team-less, he saw BLG rebuild the roster around the phenom Top laner Bin. You know how the story goes, right?
Image via Riot Games
While Weiwei was in free agency for a whole split, his previous team finished second in LPL Spring Playoffs and went all the way to the Grand Finals of MSI 2023, convincingly beating both LCK representatives.
Sometimes we have to feel like we're truly being messed with for the Universe to gives us a break, and that's exactly what happened to Weiwei.
Weibo Gaming, the newly formed super-team was not working. They decided to change things up by replacing their jungler, the legendary MSI winner Karsa, and that's when Weiwei's phone rang. This was his first true opportunity to experience glory, instead of seeing it happen as soon as he left a team.
He wasn't an upgrade on paper, not even close. WBG had a worse regular season and an equal finish in playoffs. They weren't even expected to make Worlds 2023 in the first place. But after an unexpected run through LPL Regional Finals, here they are.
The cursed Jungler was blessed with the easiest path to Semi-Finals that his team could've had, and who stood in front of him then? The BLG organization that had attained glory and fame as soon as he had left it.
Now Weiwei's going to play in the LoL World Finals 2023 in his first international tournament ever, in a dark-horse run oddly familiar to the one done by Suning before they rebranded as Weibo Gaming.
Who's watching from home now?
Oner, the captain
Oner, much like Gumayusi, is a fruit of T1's tree of giving. He joined T1 when he as 17 and started being prepped as the team's future jungler from the get-go. This was likely not an easy objective to aspire towards, as the team's jungler situation was an unknown.
The role seemed to be in a perpetual revolving door of big and small names alike. Clid, Haru, Cuzz, Ellim. Where could Oner come in?
The Jungler was the last member of the current T1 line up to play an official game in the LCK. He made his debut against Liiv Sandbox in Spring of 2021. In what felt like a year of experimentation and growing pains for the roster, he kept splitting time with Cuzz and Ellim.
Oner became the full-time Jungler of T1 as Playoffs came around and made it all the way to finals. He helped the team make Worlds 2021 through Regional Finals and managed to get a top 4 finish at his first International outing.
As 2022 came around, the five men line-up that we know today crystallized. No more substitutes, no more chaos. Just pure dominance. They swept the Spring Regular season 18-0 and 3-1d GEN in the Finals, getting their first (and only) title.
Image via Riot Games
They narrowly lost go RNG at MSI in the first International Finals Oner attended. Expectations put T1 as overwhelming favorites, but MSI finalists in their first Split as a full line-up was still very respectable.
Yet. that was not enough for these players. When interviewed by Korizon's Ashley Kang back in January of 2022, Oner said that he wanted "to win every title. Spring, Summer and Worlds." In a cursed monkey paw scenario that's weirdly opposite to Weiwei's, he would get close to winning all of them, but would end the year with a single title under his belt.
Since then, T1 have attended a total of 6 finals and they've still only one the first one, 2022 LCK Spring Playoffs. They were the favorites to win MSI 2022, Worlds 2022, 2023 Spring (with their impressive 17-1 Regular Season record). The team's performance noticeably diminished in these Finals, and Oner was no exception.
He's made it to yet another Grand Finals, at the biggest stage in League of Legends, no less. Is he ready to follow in Weiwei's footsteps and break his own curse?
The two early game Captains
There's not much in common between these guys' career champion pools outside of a tendency to go back to Viego whenever they feel like it. Yet, they serve very similar roles to their respective squads, which gives them some draft similarities at this tournament.
Their stats at Worlds 2023 are extremely similar (damage% and Damage per minute are almost identical) and they share two very crucial picks in their pool: Rell and Poppy.
Here's what Oner has played at Worlds 2023 so far:
Image via Games of Legends
He's played Jarvan as often as he could and has had some incredible performances on Rell, including in this latest series against JDG.
T1 places a lot of importance on level one invades in order to put Oner with an early advantage and with as much information as possible regarding the enemy jungler. The way they executed this plan in Game 1 of their Semi Finals was flawless.
Image via Games of Legends
Maokai is Weiwei's Jarvan, and vice versa. He places as much priority on Rell as Oner does and plays it to an equally high level. Both of these players thrive in early game skirmishes and this champion is perfect for that exact purpose.
Although Weiwei has three games on Poppy versus
Oner's one, it's important to highlight that the champion was perma-banned by JDG on all four games in their series against T1.
These two players will head into Sunday's drafts fighting for priority on Rell and Poppy, if either of them makes it through the ban phase.
They are the spark that ignites the fire in both of these teams.
Oner's performance on Rell in game 1 against JDG started the Top lane snowball that dismantled the LPL team. The day before, Weiwei was dominating Xun as Poppy in Game 3 of their series, snowballing TheShy's Graves to stratospheric levels.
Neither of these guys are the stars of the show, but the show will not happen on either without them throwing the fireworks first. The early game battles between these two will be utter bloodbaths, and what more can you ask for?
Weiwei's curse has been broken, but will he let Oner get rid of his?
Featured image courtesy of Riot Games.
If you enjoyed this article, follow the author on X @mushwrites
For more content like this, keep an eye on our LoL page