On Aug. 26, in the LCK regional qualifiers for the 2023 LoL World Championship, Dplus KIA defeated Hanwha Life Esports 3-1 and took the last ticket to Worlds. Through today’s win, Dplus KIA will head to Worlds for five straight years. After the match, Dplus KIA head coach Choi “Acorn” Cheon-ju and mid laner Heo “ShowMaker” Su joined the media for an interview.
How do you evaluate today’s match?
Acorn: Over the long schedule, we’ve come a really long way. I’m grateful to the players for doing so well. Although I wasn’t good enough, I feel that they carried me up here. I’m thankful to the coaching staff for working hard as we prepared. Also, I’d like to thank Bubbling, our Challengers team head coach, for helping me so much.
ShowMaker: Everyone worked really hard. There’s still some time left until Worlds, so we’ll prepare well so that we can gain positive results.
How did you prepare to face Hanwha Life Esports?
Acorn: We tried to ban Grizzly’s champions. If we divided Rell, Alistar, and Poppy through the draft, I thought our strengths would be maximized. ShowMaker played several different champions today, and I think we had an advantage in the champion pool.
Although you banned several jungle champions in game 1, you lost.
Acorn: We could have won, and we had our moments too. However, we weren’t able to get ahead enough in the early game. In the late game, it was critical when we slipped in a teamfight.
Some say that Dplus KIA’s late game is weak.
Acorn: The players have a wide champion pool, so we had a good draft scenario. That made it easier for us to play well in the mid-late game.
How did you approach today’s match?
ShowMaker: It was the same as yesterday: there’s nowhere to return if we lose. It felt that the laning was going well starting from the first game. I showed a disappointing performance in our previous match against HLE, so I thought if I played well, we would win. I’m satisfied that I did my role well today.
You’ll have to include a backup member for Worlds. Did you decide?
Acorn: I think it’s too early to say who.
What needs to be improved to get better results?
Acorn: Through the regional qualifiers, I think the team’s level is quite good. However, Worlds will be played on a different patch version, so it’ll be important how we interpret the meta.
ShowMaker: The more I play in international competitions, I feel that they’re really important, and we have to get good results in a short period of time. Everyone usually gets sharper. In the difficult process, I think we need Deft’s “unbreakable spirit”. I’ve played in many international tournaments with different people, but our practice was never smooth. There’s a lot to cover after a competition, and since Worlds is completely different from a regular season, we need to solve those situations well. That way, we could get good results.
When you started the regional qualifiers, were you confident that you’d get the No. 4 seed?
Acorn: As we practiced, I thought we had a good chance. At least 80%.
ShowMaker: I thought we would win if I played well, and it felt that my skillshots landed well today.
Why does Nillah appear often now?
Acorn: Nillah becomes a very good pick when picked with Alistar. Since the opponent picked a very straightforward charging comp, we picked Nillah. We had a good damage dealer in mid lane, so there wasn’t any pressure.
(To ShowMaker) What does Azir mean to you?
ShowMaker: It’s true that Azir was an unpreferred pick, but I felt some things recently, so I talked with Acorn and told him that I’m not that confident in playing Azir, but I’ll improve it enough to pick in the playoffs. I feel proud that I kept that promise.
There’s a chance that you’ll meet Daeny at Worlds. What do you think? What do you think about facing LPL mid laners?
ShowMaker: We know each other well. If we meet, I believe we’ll have a fun game. As for the mid laners, I think the LPL mid laners and LCK mid laners have different directions. The champion pools are different, and it feels different facing them in the laning phase, so I’m looking forward to it. Meeting other team players is always fun, and I feel that the LCK mid laners are much better than other regions, so I’m confident.
Any last comments?
Acorn: I’m sorry for coming around such a long way. We made it through the regional qualifiers with the players’ great work, so please keep faith in us and cheer for us.
ShowMaker: Thank you to the fans who cheered for us. There will be ups and downs at Worlds, but I’ll work hard so that we can become the last winner.