The Grand Finals of Worlds 2023 are less than a week away. 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.
Our second match up is the ADC duel between Lee "Gumayusi" Min-hyeong and Wang "Light" Guang-Yu. The two soldiers of the bot lane serve similar purposes in their teams, but have had a vastly different road leading them here.
Guma has been to multiple International Tournaments already and, mainly due to having spent his whole career in T1, is a name familiar to fans around the World. Light, on the other hand, is a name that is new for those who don't really follow the LPL, despite having had a pretty lengthy career already.
A Light in the darkness
Light has been in the shadow of the massive legacy of LPL ADCs. When he joined the League in 2018 with Team Snake, Jian "Uzi" Zi-Hao and Yu "Jackeylove" Wen-Bo were the carries to watch. The first was the de facto
best ADC the LPL had ever seen, while the second was on his way to win the World Championship. Lin "LWX" Wei-Xiang joined the conversation when he dominated the entirety of 2019 at FPX, winning his own Summoner's Cup.
He chose his new home in LNG in an attempt to get out of the bottom half of the LPL. In 2021 he finally succeeded, but the shadows of better ADCs kept blocking his path. He lost to Park "Viper" Do-hyeon's EDG in Summer Playoffs and, despite making Worlds for the first time ever, he bombed out of Groups, losing two games to MAD Lions.
When Light made Regional Finals yet again in 2022, Chen "GALA" Wei's RNG kept him out. New ADCs kept showing up in his region and stepping over him in their road to success.
Image via Riot Games
The creation of the Weibo Gaming Super Team was Light's chance to step out of the shadows. He had an impressive roster alongside him. Two World Champions in Liu "Crisp" Qing-Song and Kang "TheShy" Seung-lok, two MSI winners in Li "Xiaohu" Yuan-Hao and Hung "Karsa" Hao-Hsuan. This had to be his chance, right?
Viper had left the region, Uzi was in and out of retirement, GALA was lost in a struggling RNG line-up and Jackeylove's TES just couldn't make it work. But neither could Weibo.
The would-be Super team landed slightly above the middle of the pack and weren't even expected to make Worlds, yet here they are.
Light took down Uzi's EDG to even reach Worlds 2023, rose above Zhao "Elk" Jia-Hao's BLG in the Semi-Finals and now stands against Gumayusi's T1 in his first ever Grand Finals at an International Tournament.
In an interview
with dGon, he said: "at the beginning of my career, I wasn't acknowledge as one of the best ADCs in the LPL. Now I'm getting recognized and I'm able to prove myself."
Took you a while Light, but the stage is set. It's time for you to show what you're capable of.
Gumayusi, the chosen one
Guma's story is one worthy of fiction. A young prodigy trained from the start in the most successful LoL organization of all time. He joined T1 (then SK Telecom) as a trainee when he was just 16 years old. He stared watching his brother, Lee "INnoVation" Shin-hyung-- a legendary Starcraft II pro-- play LoL during Season 2, at only 10 years old.
Much like Light, he look towards past heroes for inspiration. He grew up watching Uzi fall again and again against the team he now played for. He joined the LCK under the reign of Park "Ruler" Jae-hyuk and Kim "Deft" Hyuk-kyu, two masters of their craft, and played his first game for T1 as a replacement for Park "Teddy" Jin-seong, a great ADC in his own right.
He made his debut at the LCK 2020 Regional Finals, winning a series against Afreeca Freecs before being brought down to the harsh reality of defeat at the hands of Ruler. Defeats at crucial stages would be something Gumayusi would have to get used to.
But victory was the conclusion that he got more acclimated with. T1 made it to Worlds the year after. Their Splits weren't incredible, but for such a new and young team, they were respectable. Under Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok's leadership, the T1 that we'll see at the Gocheok Sky Dome began to take form.
READ: Road to Worlds Finals 2023 – Crisp vs Keria preview
Gumayusi had Ryu "Keria" Min-seok, the undisputed best Support in the World at his side, and success soon followed. He made it all the way to Worlds Semi-Finals in his first International Tourmanent, but was defeated by Damwon Gaming.
Image via Riot Games
This only made them come back stronger in 2022. Guma's T1 went 18-0 in the LCK Spring 2022 season and dismantled GEN in the playoffs, giving the young ADC his first title.
His first international finals came right after at MSI, alongside his first crushing defeat, at the hands of none other than GALA, who'd prevent Light's qualification for Worlds just a few months later.
This was the first of six finals that Gumayusi would lose in a row. Worlds 2023 is the seventh finals for this T1 roster, which is an incredible achievement in and of itself, but also a shadow that looms over the team.
In an interview
with Ashley Kang, Guma said that he "wants to beat [all the bot lanes at Worlds]".
Only one stands in your wake now.
Same role, different job
Light is a traditional LPL carry. He plays a stable lane with conventional picks. His most played champion at Worlds is a Aphelios, a pick with which he is 5.0. He favors the late game carries that ensure a victory when the matches drag out, and that is shown by his stats.
Image via Games of Legends
He has the highest DPM of his team and is tied with TheShy for Damage%. He is the late game insurance, the janitor.
Guma, on the other hand, is the first rock that T1 throw. He has much lower DPM than Light and is behind both Choi "Zeus" Woo-je and Faker in DPM and Damage%. He plays lane-dominant champions, ADCs with utility and serves a crucial role in T1's early snowballs.
Image via Games of Legends
When Light's shift starts, Gumayusi is already heading home with a job well done.
This stark contrast in playstyle and objectives make this bot lane matchup extremely interesting. As pointed out in our previous Road to Worlds Finals article, Keria is the better support of the two. When it comes to lane, Gumayusi is undoubtedly the best ADC in the head-to-head.
But winning lane isn't what Light does at Weibo, neither is it what they ask of him. Wei "Weiwei" Bo-Han's gameplan has revolved around TheShy for this entire World Championship. Light's role in this match up is to lose graciously, wait his shift, and get to work when he has his items at the ready.
The question is: will Gumayusi let him get there? From what we've seen at this tournament, no, he won't. But we know these two players bring their own shadows to the stage, so only time will tell.
Light is trying to stay true to his name and join the pantheon of LPL ADC World Champions, finally stepping out of the darkness.
Gumayusi is fighting to break the Finals curse, bringing a happy ending to this initial era of his career.
Who can leave their shadows behind at Gocheok Sky Stadium?
Featured image courtesy of Riot Games.
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