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Esports League of Legends

LoL Worlds: The Future of DFM and the LJL

Detonation FocusMe

This year, Detonation FocusMe (“DFM”) represented the Japanese LJL at the World Championships. They placed through the play-ins, but ultimately fell short to the Chinese third-seed, EDward Gaming (“EDG”). They lost the series zero-three, but overall their performance at Worlds exceeded the expectations of LJL representatives. DFM showed clear weaknesses and also had some things they did right. They show signs that though Japan is among the weakest regions, they are improving and becoming international competitors.

The LJL’s Worlds Legacy

Detonation FocusMe
LJL logo. Photo via LoL Esports.

The LJL has always had an infamously bad time at international events. No team from this region has ever even played in a best-of-five series in an international setting. Rampage, the LJL representatives the last two years, have disappointed fans of the region. There wasn’t much hope for DFM this year, especially because last time they were seen at Worlds in 2015 they were equally disappointing.

That was why it was so exciting when DFM started to threaten top teams in the play-ins. They took two fairly convincing wins away from KaBuM! e-Sports (“KBM”). DFM also seriously challenged Cloud9. They were convincingly winning the majority of their game on day one, but lost their lead and the match in the end. The game showed that DFM wasn’t a mere pushover, and helped prove that wildcard teams are real threats.

DFM has been known in recent years for dominating the LJL during the regular season of the split. Unfortunately for them, they’re known just as much for poor playoff performances blocking them from Worlds. This was not the case this year, and DFM found moments of brilliance among some of the world’s top teams. They certainly fought hard to overcome the expectations many had for the team and for their role as the LJL representatives.

Detonation FocusMe Leading the Way

Detonation FocusMe
DFM members moving forward. Photo via LoL Esports Flickr.

Though the only team they beat was KBM, members of the lineup showed they deserved to be there. Shunsuke “Evi” Murase, DFM’s top laner, was a star in his own right. His Urgot performances were stellar, and he was one of the primary reasons DFM was able to challenge C9. There were even arguments made for him as one of the best top laners of the play-ins. Yuta “Yutapon” Sugiura, the ADC player, found success as well. He had great performances on Varus and Ezreal, and boasted a 5.0 KDA in the play-ins group stage.

Despite DFM having many weaknesses, they did show some definite strengths. Their mid-game team fighting was great in their wins and they had decent skirmishing. It wasn’t quite enough or to the level of EDG’s, but it was visible in their wins and their heart-breaker against C9.

The LJL surely shows signs of improvement this year. The region’s players are becoming better and establishing themselves as elite caliber. DFM, as the representative, managed to seriously challenge one of the major regions’ best teams and make it to the knockout round. DFM made history for their region this year. They’re taking small steps, slowly improving over the course of years. It will be up to them, or whoever can best them next year, to go even farther and bring more attention to the LJL.

To watch the 2018 World Championships, visit Riot Games’ Twitch channel. For more information on the tournament, teams, standings, and players, visit www.lolesports.com.

Featured image via LoL Esports Flickr.

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