“Forget ShowMaker. Forget Perkz. Forget Caps… oh, he is not even here. Aria is the hero!”
At MSI 2021, DetonatioN FocusMe took a win against Cloud9 and almost won against the 2020 World Champions DWG KIA. Now, DFM are marching forward to make it to the group stages for the first time in LJL’s history. At the center of DFM’s leap, there is a hero — Lee "Aria" Ga-eul — carrying the team from the mid lane. Inven Global had the opportunity to talk with Aria about their experience and the goal going forward in Worlds.
When did you know that you were going to win the game against GS tonight?
I always go into a game with the mindset to win the game. Our game started smoothly, so I thought we wouldn’t lose the game if I played well.
Out of the new champions appearing at Worlds, Urgot is by far the most surprising champion to appear. Was having essentially two major carries like Urgot and Aphelios the reason why you appeared to play safer against the TCL representatives?
Urgot was a pick made on its own. We planned to focus on the bot lane with Aphelios and Thresh, but Evi made his own game by making solo kills at the top lane. I thought we wouldn’t lose if we were careful not to fall for their trick, so we just kept farming CS in the mid lane.
So as the top lane was pushing well and the bottom lane was on track, was your plan to stay 50:50 in the mid lane?
Yes. Mid lane was the only lane our opponent could try to attack, so I focused on dodging explicit ganks.
Your 2021 no-death record on LeBlanc got broken yesterday. Did you or your teammates react to it after that death?
I knew that I didn’t die much with LeBlanc, but I didn’t realize that I had the 2021 no-death record until yesterday when I saw the record on Twitter. I don’t really care about KDA either, so it is a bit disappointing, but that’s about it.
Did your teammates know about the no-death record?
They told me about the record after the game against Unicorns of Love was over. They said that we wouldn’t lose the game if I got to play LeBlanc.
There is a famous meme of “Forget ShowMaker. Forget Perkz. Forget Caps… oh he is not even here. Aria is the hero!” used for promoting LJL and DFM at 2021 MSI. Caps didn’t make it to Worlds, and Perkz is in the same group as you in the Play-in stages. What do you think about the meme, and do you think you are the best mid laner in the play-in stage?
It’s great that a lot of people became my fans because of that video. That meme made me a lot more memorable to people. I think I am at least the second-best, if not the best mid laner in my group. Including both groups, I don’t think I am the best but still one of the better mid laners. I want to make it to the group stages, so that I will do my best tomorrow. Let’s see how I perform.
What was the feedback that the team received after day 1? What were some of the positives and some negatives?
I am not sure about the feedback that other teammates received. I was disappointed in myself because I kept missing skill shots. I will try to improve my skill accuracy.
Who do you think is the best mid laner in Worlds, including both the play-in stage and the group stage?
I think the best mid laners are ShowMaker, Chovy, Faker, and Doinb, not in a particular order. I believe they have different strengths.
How did the level of competition, especially in the mid lane, meet your expectations this year?
I did not think about it from that perspective. Personally, the game against C9 was very disappointing, and the other two games were fine. I don’t think it was too bad.
What are the aspects that make you not satisfied with the game against C9?
Overall, the draft was a failure because there were miscommunications. That was the biggest problem to start with. Personally, I could have played better but died too easily in the mid lane and lost the initiative.
Tomorrow, DFM plays against Beyond Gaming. What are some of the things that the team needs to improve from day 2?
I think Doggo is the best player in Beyond Gaming, so I am very aware of him. We are currently 2-1, and Beyond Gaming are 0-2. We can definitely win with the momentum we have.
DFM has been a staple name in the LJL and has continued to represent the region of Japan for many years. How do you think you’ll react when DFM finally manages to get to the group stages this year?
Personally, I am already happy to be playing in the Play-in stage because it’s my first Worlds. I don’t think I can be happier than making it to the group stage.
What are the goals — for yourself and the team?
Personally, I never want to be behind in my lane. For the team, we want to make it to the group stage. Overall, it’s a common goal.
It seems like mid laners especially hate falling behind in the lane. What do you think the reason is?
It could depend on the player’s tendency, but if a mid laner falls behind, the whole team is pushed into a difficult spot. That’s probably why mid laners don’t want to be behind.
Lastly, a word to your fans.
Thanks to the fans who support me and write messages, I get the energy to play well. I can’t appreciate my fans enough.
Striving for perfection to achieve excellence in esports