MSI 2022 Outlook Series | DetonatioN FocusMe (LJL) Preview
DetonatioN FocusME MSI 2022

MSI 2022 Outlook Series | DetonatioN FocusMe (LJL) Preview

A look at the LJL representatives ahead of their MSI 2022 run

With the 2022 League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational on the horizon, the League of Legends Japan League’s DetonatioN FocusMe are one of 11 regional champions from around the world that are getting ready for the biggest international event of the spring. While MSI 2022 isn’t the final stop for the season, the tournament is key for seeing where each region stands in the global hierarchy.

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Coming off their greatest season as a professional organization in 2021, DFM are heading back to international play with two brand new players alongside their long-time core.

DetonatioN FocusMe (LJL) MSI 2022 starting roster breakdown:

  • Top: Shunsuke “Evi” Murase | Signed in December 2017, formerly a member of Rampage.
  • Jungler: Mun “Steal” Geon-yeong | Signed in December 2017, formerly a member of Ever8 Winners.
  • Mid: Lee “Yaharong” Chan-ju | Signed in January 2022, formerly a member of Fredit BRION.
  • Bot: Yuta “Yutapon” Sugiura | Signed in April 2013, formerly a member of LD50 Gaming.
  • Support: Lee “Harp” Ji-yoong | Signed in December 2021, formerly a member of KT Rolster.

How they got here

DFM entered the 2022 season as the most successful team to ever come out of Japan. With a 2021 League of Legends World Championship group stage appearance, DFM had incredible expectations coming into the LJL 2022 spring season. Unfortunately for them, they had to face those expectations with superstar mid laner Lee “Aria” Ga-eul returning to Korea to play for KT Rolster.

The team also had to replace their support player and coincidentally did so with a former KT Rolster player, Harp. As for Aria’s replacement, DFM looked to Korea again for help and brought in Yaharong to take over the mid lane. Yet even with these two unknown quantities, DFM were the overwhelming favorites to repeat as LJL champions.

With the LJL returning to their 21-game season structure for the first time since 2019, DFM ruled the league. The team started off the season 10-0 before dropping their first game. They finished the season with a 19-2 record and easily qualified as the first seed heading into playoffs.

DFM only played twice in the playoffs, in the so-called “Juggernaut” round between the first-seed DFM and the second-seed Sengoku Gaming, DFM made quick work of SG in a 3-0 game sweep which automatically put them into the LJL 2022 spring final. SG rose up again to challenge them, and they even managed to take Game 1 before DFM pulled the series back into their control with two straight wins. But SG didn’t go away quietly, forcing a Game 5 before DFM clinched the series and another trip to MSI.

With a near-perfect season turning into a near-perfect playoff run, DFM are still the best team in Japan by a considerable margin.

Players to watch

All eyes have to be on the two new members of DFM, Yaharong and Hope.

Yaharong is filling the gigantic shoes Aria left behind. He hasn’t been the hyper carry for the team like Aria, taking a facilitator approach instead. According to Oracleselixer.com, Yaharong led all mid laners in the LJL in assists and, with it, KDA. He also led all mid laners in gold per minute, which may be due to his team’s success.

One interesting statistic regarding Yaharong is his lack of deaths. Yaharong, both in playoffs and the regular season, had the fewest deaths not only among mid laners but among all players in the entire league. In fact, Yaharong strung together a streak of seven games without dying once.

As for Hope, his new partner in the bot lane had been with DFM for almost a decade and only really played with three different support players during that time. Hope was the fourth player to support for Yutapon, and during the 2022 LJL spring split, Hope led all support players in player of the game awards.

When it comes to his impact in regards to Yutapon’s performance, there are many similarities in the stats this season when compared to last summer. However, there is one massive change in Yutapon’s performance and that’s the laning phase.

In the 2021 LJL summer split, Yutapon had an average gold difference at 10 minutes of 97. In 2022 LJL spring split, he had an unreal gold difference at 10 minutes of 569, which led all players in the LJL. With Yutapon’s laning phase getting a significant boost, look for these three players to be the main carries for DFM at MSI 2022.

How DFM can succeed at MSI 2022

For DFM, repeating their Worlds 2021 performance is a tall task — especially with Aria gone. Although Hope and Yaharong are exceptional replacements, it’s unclear whether the team’s new identity has changed for the better.

Looking at their MSI 2022 group, sneaking into the Rumble stage is not outside the realm of possibility. In fact, depending on who you ask, they might be considered a favorite to do so since Saigon Buffalo are their main competition. If DFM can maintain their level of play from the regular season, they have a great chance at making it into the second stage. But, if they play like they did during the 2022 LJL spring final, they will most likely finish third in their group.

 

Author
Image of Warren Younger
Warren Younger
ASU alum with a B.A in Sports Journalism, Warren is one of the premier TFT Journalists in the scene and is a decent TFT player as well who has peaked Challenger and has had multiple accounts in Master+ over all sets. Warren also specializes in other esports content including League of Legends, Valorant, Smash Bros, and more.