Da Kun Gaming Wild Rift team lift the Horiozon Cup after their tournament victory
Da Kun Gaming Wild Rift team lift the Horiozon Cup after their tournament victory

Da Kun Gaming beat ThunderTalk Gaming in All-China showdown at Horizon Cup

by Xander Torres

Wild Rift’s first international tournament, the Horizon Cup, was filled to the brim with upsets and crazy mechanical outplays. In the final, it was a battle between two Chinese champions -- Da Kun Gaming and ThunderTalk Gaming. Da Kun Gaming qualified for the Horizon Cup as the champion of the Spark Invitational, a tournament for teams outside of the League of Legends Pro League, but proved they were anything but amateur in a decisive 4-2 series win over the LPL’s ThunderTalk Gaming.

Da Kun Gaming dominated the group stage with a perfect 4-0 series record before defeating Team Secret 3-1 to make it to the final. Against ThunderTalk Gaming, who also dominated their group stage with a 4-0 record, the train didn’t stop. Da Kun Gaming swiftly took the first two games and matched ThunderTalk Gaming teamfight for teamfight.

ThunderTalk often struck first in the early game on the back of early aggressive plays from jungler Chris, but Da Kun Gaming always ended up finding an equally powerful play to swing the game back. Jungler Fangjun “Huiba” Li was the lifeblood of Da Kun Gaming during the tournament and continued that trend during the series, but ultimately, he just believed in his teammates.

Photo credit: Riot Games

“I think my strength is that I have four members that are stronger than [my opponents],” Huiba said.

Huiba amassed a scoreline of 22/17/46 during the series, playing games on Jax, Lee Sin, Kha’Zix, and Vi. Huiba continued to farm efficiently and scale as a primary carry, but with three games on the split-pushing Jax, he adapted to ThunderTalk Gaming’s focus on hard engage during the series by supporting his team through side lane pressure. Huiba was modest during his team’s post-victory interview, but as shoutcasters Grandon “Gamernissem” Oh and Leonard “Omo” Loh pointed out, he solidified himself as the strongest jungler in the world.

Despite Da Kun Gaming opening with two strong wins, ThunderTalk Gaming managed to strike back with two wins of their own, largely on the back of their star mid laner Zhou “Z” Tianjian. Z was pressured in the first two games, but showed up big on Orianna to pull back major teamfights. Even so, Da Kun Gaming’s mid laner Muchang “You” You did not waver and Da Kun Gaming struck back to take the following two games for a 4-2 series win.

“Actually, I thought Z was a pretty good player in the mid lane, so I’m pretty satisfied with my performance for this round,” You said.

Da Kun Gaming cemented themselves as the best team in the world, but players like ThunderTalk Gaming’s Z and Peng “feibai” Wenchao stood out as world-class players in their own right. At the end of Wild Rift’s first international tournament, Chinese representatives from two different tournaments faced off while stars cemented themselves in Year Zero of Wild Rift esports.

Photo credit: Riot Games

“We hope the Chinese mainland region can keep the top spot,” Da Kun Gaming’s coach said about the end result.

Chinese fans have a lot to look forward to when it comes to the future of competitive Wild Rift. Not only did Da Kun Gaming showcase their strength, but they also showcased their style. Players like Huiba and You were incredible during the tournament, but they also admit that they might have had a bit too much fun.

“First off, I need to thank all the fans back home watching,” Huiba said. “Thank you for your support all the time. At the same time, I think I made a lot of mistakes during the finals, so I’m sorry and disappointed for them.”

Da Kun Gaming remained humble as they answered questions and hoisted the Horizon Cup under bright lights, but their smiles told the whole story. Da Kun Gaming are Wild Rift’s first international champions and the undisputed best team in the world.

Lead photo credit: Riot Games

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