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Offscreen Warfare- How DAMWON Took Advantage of Early Game Misplays But In An Unexpected Way

MSI 2021 Group C

In DAMWON Gaming’s opening day win, a lot of fingers were pointed as to who messed up on Cloud9. Despite what appeared to be a jungle difference early in the game, Cloud9 found themselves unexpectedly in the driver’s seat with a composition looking to get to the late game.

Breaking down the play-by-play action of the game can sometimes tell a different story of how things are shown– how DAMWON failed to take advantage of their intended early game lead, how Cloud9 nearly pulled off the upset and how the players out of the spotlight told the story of the match.

0:45

The broadcast hops into the game at 0:43 seconds. Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu completes a “standard ward in the top-side river and recall” maneuver. Robert “Blaber” Huang does not get any vision while on the top-side — so it is unsure if Cloud9 pick-up this action.

Cloud9’s bottom lane pushes into the bottom side of the map, cleverly warding the area near the wraiths camps to give information as to where Canyon will be starting. Jang “Ghost” Yong-jun peeks out through the tri-brush on the bottom side of the map to get insight as to where the Cloud9 bottom lane is heading upon their return to their side of the rift.

1:10

Ibrahim “Fudge  Allami moves from the top lane tri-brush into the river landing strip brush, pushing Kim “Khan” Dong-ha out.

1:15

Cho “BeryL” Geon-hee returns to the red buff area with a red trinket to clear vision. Four members of DAMWON appear as a result – with Cloud9 now confirming Canyon’s jungle start.

1:38

DAMWON proceed to ping the red buff camp — signaling they know the start of Blaber’s first jungle path. With the DAMWON bottom lane aiding with the red buff, Canyon’s clear time is accelerated.

3:00

A ping is made into the mid lane by DAMWON as Heo “ShowMaker” Su continues to force pressure. Saving his wolves camp for last, Canyon begins to path towards the middle of the map. Fudge completes a recall to return and pick up an item without the cost of missing minions.

3:20

Kindred’s Mark of Kindred passive shows for the bottom scuttle crab. Blaber forgoes completing his blue buff as a result. The ward placed by ShowMaker in the mid lane is pinged out by Cloud9 and Blaber commits onto the scuttle crab. ShowMaker immediately begins to roam towards the river and Cloud9’s bottom lane looks to collapse as well. DAMWON’s bottom lane counters with an engage on the two versus two matchup. Instead of combatting, Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen and Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme retreat towards their turret. Luka “Perkz” Perković does not follow his lane and Blaber is forced to relinquish the scuttle.

3:40

With the knowledge that top scuttle will be a priority to trade, Khan proceeds to become aggressive in the top lane, shoving the lane as much as possible. Canyon runs across the map to secure the scuttle while Blaber recalls.

Despite the early game blunders, Cloud9 aren’t in that bad of shape — only down 300 gold after the bottom lane of Cloud9 is ganked by Canyon at five minutes. But there are continued slips that DAMWON punish.

6:00

Vulcan returns from the base to place a pink ward in their blue side jungle. Due to a previously placed ward by ShowMaker, he is pinged out. Due to another clever ward from DAMWON, his pathing towards the bottom lane is pinged out and it allows once again for ShowMaker and BeryL to punish — clearing Vulcan’s just placed ward.

6:20

Zven and Vulcan push in the bottom lane 2v1 to prepare for dragon. A recently based Canyon once again looks to sprint towards the dragon pit. Perkz channels his recall with the knowledge that he can teleport back in the help secure if need be. With his teleport down, Khan begins to shove in the wave to react to a potential teleport out of Fudge.

6:30

Blaber uses the lone pink ward available for Cloud9 on a river brush to provide vision of a potential collapse from the mid lane area. Beryl attacks the Scryer’s Bloom to provide vision of what is going on in the pit. Vulcan presses into the enemy jungle as a result and wards the brush just outside while Perkz channels his teleport into the mid-lane. Vulcan reacts and begins to roam mid.

6:40

Vulcan and Perkz look to lockdown ShowMaker in the mid-lane for first blood. However, DAMWON looks to surprise Cloud9. Both Ghost and BeryL move through the unwarded bottom lane tri-brush while Canyon sits on a blast cone waiting to strike.

6:45

Without placing a ward, the timing from DAMWON is perfect. BeryL peeks into the dragon pit to provide vision, Canyon completes the blast cone and flash combination over the wall to smite steal away the dragon. Blaber flashes away from the Dark Binding and Cloud9 looks to collapse. Unable to secure the kill onto ShowMaker, Vulcan and Perkz follow in pursuit. With Fudge unable to teleport in, Khan takes the time to roam into his enemy jungle, placing a trinket right by the spawning red buff of Cloud9.

6:55

After waiting out the Cannon Barrage and noticing Perkz going back to the mid lane, DAMWON look to re-engage. Vulcan spits the scuttle crab back towards the mid lane however Canyon still manages to steal as Blaber fails to finish. Once again, another missed Mark of Kindred stack. Cloud9 however are able to finally secure the first blood onto BeryL and the gold goes to Zven.

7:15

Blaber does not recall. Instead, he walks by a DAMWON ward, revealing that he is pathing through his blue side jungle. This is shortly pinged out by DAMWON. With waves still being forced down Fudge’s throat, Khan begins to make a move towards Cloud9’s red buff once again. This time, to steal the buff.

7:35

Blaber looks to clear his full red side jungle — starting with raptors. Khan pulls the red buff towards the brush, hiding away from the steal attempt. ShowMaker shoves in mid to potentially help — which tips off to Cloud9 that potentially something suspicious is going on. However, Fudge is recalling at this point in time with the wave crashing into DAMWON’s top turret. Blaber checks to see if he can potentially steal away the red with his smite, only to be slain.

All That Glitters

At 10 minutes into the game, they were only down 500 gold, a dragon and a rift herald yet to be used. The gank from Canyon that was meant to put Zven behind was wiped out by his first blood secure. On paper, Cloud9 were in a position to succeed. It even transitioned relatively well into their mid-to-late game as the gold was being funneled onto Zven. He and Vulcan would hold their own against the pressure that was being forced towards the bottom of the rift.

However, it is tough to ignore how Cloud9’s solo laners couldn’t necessarily hold their own without much outside pressure. DAMWON’s solo laners were the critical performers in their day one victory. Khan and ShowMaker did an excellent job of using the attention focused on other areas of the map and force their own agenda. While several mistakes can be pointed out regarding wave management and reactionary gameplay from Cloud9’s solo laners, one has to respect what DAMWON accomplished.

The game would come down to several team fight errors from Cloud9 and DAMWON getting back to business. It is a disappointing loss and should be treated as such as Cloud9 did an excellent job at working their way back into the match. Credit should be given to the bottom lane for their performance as well as Blaber for still managing to be influential in the game despite the early game disaster. And while Fudge’s woes are at times to be expected, it is somewhat concerning that a veteran like Perkz really couldn’t alleviate some of the pressure ShowMaker was able to exert.


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