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With Worlds 2022 about to begin, the League of Legends Japan League’s DetonatioN FocusMe are one of the 24 teams from across the world that are making their way to the biggest event of the year. Every team entering the League of Legends World Championship have the same goal: to stand at the top uncontested and hoist the Season 12 Summoner’s Cup high.

The most storied franchise to ever grace the LJL is once again heading back to Worlds 2022. However, their path here was contested as they look to take what they learned over the summer split and try to make it through to the group stage for the second straight year.

DetonatioN FocusMe (LJL) Worlds 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

After yet another succesful split in the spring of 2022, DFM qualified for the 2022 Mid-Season Invitational ready to give international fans another look at the darlings of Worlds 2021 where they became the first Japanese team to ever qualify for the group stage at a League World Championship. This time, though, their roster looked a little different; gone was their superstar mid laner Lee “Aria” Ga-eu who found a place on League Champions Korea’s KT Rolster. His replacement was yet another up and coming Korean mid laner Yaharong. Speaking of KT Rolster, their new support Harp was a KT product as well. The new look team had no challengers in their region but struggled immensely at MSI 2022 as they picked up only one win in their group.

Heading back to the LJL for the 2022 summer split, the team still looked like they would be the only true contender for the title. However, that was about to change. Although Sengoku Gaming did finish second place in spring and took DFM to five games in the spring finals, many didn’t think they would be able to match that performance. But not only did they replicate it, they surpassed their expectations and also DFM. In the 2022 Summer regular season, SG finished with a 19-2 record, the same as DFM and both of DFM’s losses were to SG. As a result, DFM did not enter playoffs with the number one seed, SG did.

Many were excited to see a true test for DFM entering playoffs but unfortunately for everyone that is not a DFM fan, the team waved off any sort of notion that there was a team on their level. In the “Juggernaut” match between SG and DFM to decide who would automatically qualify for finals, DFM 3-1’d SG. When SG made their way back to the finals for their rematch, DFM 3-0’d them. DFM easily punched their ticket to Worlds 2022, despite the hype SG brought into the playoffs.

Players to Watch

DFM’s two players to keep an eye on are Yaharong and Harp, the two new Korean imports that joined the roster this year. At MSI 2022, the two didn’t have the best international debut and expectations of DFM quickly vanished as the team didn’t look nearly as good without Aria and their old support player Yang “Gaeng” Gwang-woo. However, both were much improved over their second split with the team in summer. Yaharang actually tied for second in the league in player of the game honors while Harp, despite being a support, placed in the top 10.

When it comes to stats, both players were a clear cut above their peers. According to Oracleselixir.com, both Yaharong and Harp placed one and two in the KDA rankings among all LJL players. Yaharong in particular was disgusting in summer posting a 17.8 KDA across the 21 regular season games. The next closest mid laner posted a 7.7, a 10 KDA gap. And in the playoffs, Yaharong led all players in Damage Per Minute as well.

How DFM can succeed at Worlds 2022

DFM once again finds themselves in the play-in stage at Worlds 2022 and they find themselves in the easier of the two groups by dodging Royal Never Give Up as well as DRX. Based off of last year, it’s not crazy to think that DFM can place in the top three in their group. In fact, they are the arguable favorite to secure the third place spot which would grant them a spot in the Play-In Knockout stage.

While qualifying for the group stage is much harder this year, the team has a non-zero percent chance to make a best-of-five upset against one of the major region teams. While that is still a long shot, their likely ceiling is a 3-1 loss to either DRX or RNG in the qualification match. But if MSI 2022 DFM shows up instead of Worlds 2021 DFM, then the team could miss the knockout stage altogether.

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