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Japan’s representatives at the 2021 League of Legends World Championship, DetonatioN FocusMe, have had a tough, 0-2 start to their Group B run. They have lost against South Korea’s T1 and North America’s 100 Thieves, but that’s no reason to panic just yet. At least not, according to top laner Shunsuke “Evi” Murase.

A stolen opportunity

Considering DFM had previously beaten Cloud9 during the play-in stage, one of their best chances to start winning in groups was by beating 100 Thieves. However, Evi said his team couldn’t stick to their plan since his Gnar wasn’t strong enough at level six to overcome opposing top laner Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho’s Graves.

“We couldn’t stick to the plans we had,” Evi said. “We just kept getting pushed.”

Evi explained that even though his team picked more comfortable champions in the draft than yesterday, the in-game mistakes piled up rapidly.

“We gave them kill after kill, and that started to snowball,” Evi said. Yet, despite a pair of losses, there are still four games ahead. In them, Evi said DFM will look to focus more on the psychological side of the game to find an extra advantage.

“They’re human, they make mistakes,” Evi said. “I think we should be fine.”

Picking up new tricks in the group stage

In order to climb back, DetonatioN FocusMe are absorbing all the knowledge they can gather in the group stage. After all, the team is the first Japanese squad to ever explore this phase of the tournament, and it’s a wildly different environment, according to Evi.

“I feel the difference. Big time,” Evi said. “The level is very high compared to the play-ins.”

In particular, Evi pointed out that the pick-and-ban phase is particularly different compared to when he played among smaller regions. Additionally, opposing teams mercilessly punish every mistake, so staying sharp at all times is pivotal. That’s why Evi said his team is also trying to lean more on each other more going forward.

“We need to communicate well, all of our players,” Evi said. That’s the most important thing.”

But however daunting it might seem to suddenly play against potential world champions, Evi draws energy from the stacked field. Every opponent is a new challenge to overcome.

“I am excited to see how well I can play against each player,” Evi said. “I’m looking forward to every game ahead.”

The impact of DFM’s success on League of Legends in Japan

Whether Evi and his teammates manage to upset one of their Group B opponents or not, Worlds 2021 has already been a success story for Japanese League of Legends. As their region’s pride, DetonatioN FocusMe will help propel the development of the game in Japan, Evi said. But does that mean Evi himself wants to be a central figure in that development?

“There is no personal motivation to it to be an icon or anything like that,” Evi said. “I just want our fans to enjoy the tournament.”

Tom fell in love with esports in 2015 and has been reporting on multiple scenes since. In his spare time, he dwells on the Howling Abyss in League of Legends, or on the vast oceans in Sea of Thieves.
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