Roster Analysis: Damwon Kia rebuild around Canyon & Showmaker

After not quite making it in 2021, Damwon Kia decide to shake up their roster. If one looked at... | 8. December 2021

After not quite making it in 2021, Damwon Kia decide to shake up their roster. If one looked at Damwon Kia’s 2021 results without the organization’s name, people would say that they were successful. Once they put the name plates back on, however, they would be a bit disappointed.

Both domestic championships, and making it into the finals of both international events, but falling short in the fifth game. Due to their reputation as the 2020 world champions, it is entirely expected of them to dominate as they mostly retained their world championship roster. Only Jang “NugurI” Ha-gwon left, replaced by Kim “Khan” Dong-ha.

Damwon Kia had some struggles

Despite relatively successful results all year, they still had their struggles. Their bottom lane of Jang “Ghost” Yong-jun and Cho “BeryL” Geon-hee had problems both in and out of lane, but often their relatively weaker laning often bled over into other parts of the map. At the Mid-Season Invitational, this was rather obvious as they had problems with some of the other bottom lanes.

In the summer, this caused Ghost to bench himself, which caused a ripple effect in the team. Heo “ShowMaker” Su temporarily swapped into the bottom lane, with Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu filling in for the mid lane, and Kim “Malrang” Geun-seong subbing in as their jungler. This iteration of the squad had very mixed results. In the end, Ghost went back into the main roster after a break, and the team went back to its “normal” form.

After defeating T1 3-1 in the summer, analysts and experts were unsure about their strength as they dominated the LCK playoffs, but most of their known problems remained. In the World Championship, they made a clear statement in the group stage by going 6-0. They then dominated the LEC Champions the MAD Lions 3-0. They were first challenged in their summer final rematch against T1 in the semifinal, where T1 had very shrewd support counter picks. Damwon won out in the end in game 5 to go against the LPL champions EDG. They had a back and forth series, but they eventually lost in the final game.

Roster Reconstruction

After their loss, some changes were inevitable. Khan had to retire as he was about to go on his mandatory military service in South Korea, and some thought that this roster had, more or less, run its course. Eventually, the other changes were finalized– Ghost left to join Nongshim Redforce, and BeryL went to join DRX. Damwon Kia then went to acquire former Nongshim RedForce bottom lane Seo “deokdam” Dae-gil and Kim “Kellin” Hyeong-gyu, widely regarded by many to be a top three bottom lane in the LCK in 2021, propelling them into narrowly missing out on a Worlds spot.

The team then went to sign former Gen G substitute Noh “Burdol” Tae-yoon. Burdol is known as an aggressive player who has a tendency to pick carries. While he did not exactly have the best showing at Worlds 2021, he is a very promising young player. With some elite level players with him on the team, his growth is to be expected.

ShowMaker and Canyon have remained with the team, and they are well known for being one of the best, if not the best, mid and jungle duo in the world right now. With them being the cornerstone of the team, they could immediately be assumed to be a title contender in the LCK. With the amount of talent that is present in this squad, this team will be a threat from the draft as any player could carry.

If this team does well, surely they will have yet another incredible run during the season.