A team of rookies who joined the big leagues, dove headfirst into the Worlds stage, and shook the world by storm.
Do you know that cliché that you usually find in comics and tv shows? Historically, LoL teams that fit this cliché were all loved and remembered. Some prime examples of those teams are, SK Telecom T1 in 2013, IMAY in 2015, Samsung Galaxy in 2017, and Phong Vu Buffalo in 2018.
If you were to pick a team that closely fits into this cliche in 2019, it has to be this team. Earlier this year, this team promoted into the LCK from Challengers Korea, qualified for the 2019 LoL World Championship (Worlds) in that same year, and engraved their name into many fans around the world. Enter DAMWON Gaming.
If there’s a player on DAMWON that was the most consistent, it has to be their Mid laner, Heo ‘ShowMaker’ Su. After their challenges in 2019 have all concluded, we had a chance to sit down with him to talk about what he’s learned.
Winning the Gauntlet“The most exhilarating moment of the year”
The Game 5 vs. Kingzone (now rebranded as DragonX) is very memorable. When we’ve entered Game 5 after losing a game that was heavily in our favor, I thought to myself, “If I lose this next game, I really won’t be able to go to Worlds”, and my heart started beating really fast. After we destroyed their Nexus, my teammates and I all started yelling like crazy.
Even after we won, I still couldn’t believe the fact that we were able to go to the biggest stage of them all. Although we’ve finished the regular season of LCK Summer in 2nd, losing to SKT in an overwhelming fashion made me incredibly nervous. The win against Kingzone was without a doubt, the most thrilling moment of the year.
Head Coach Micro told me to just enjoy myself to the fullest at Worlds. Zero pressure and 100% fun. His words really gave me strength.
The unrivaled team of the Play-in Stages“There weren’t any easy matches.”
I thought that the Play-in Stages would be a breeze, but every single team were much tougher than I initially predicted. There were many matches where we were behind in the early game, so all games felt very hard. We were lucky. There were many matches that we should’ve lost, but won because of the mistakes that our opponents made.
The teams had very good early game plans. However, they set themselves behind with questionable mid game macro. Coach Kim kept reminding us that there’s a huge difference in macro, so even if we fall behind early, we can still win. So, we kept our focus and were able to smoothly transition into the late game.
The Play-in Stages really helped our team. Through it, we were able to shrug off stage pressure, and had time to adjust well in the international stages. However, next time, I want to start in the Group Stages (laughter).
The Defending World Champions & The Kings of NA“Winnable”
The atmosphere in the Group Stages was vastly different from that of the Play-in Stages. Not only the stage itself was a lot bigger, there was a lot more cheering from the crowd as well. There are incredible players in both Team Liquid and Invictus Gaming. After our loss against TL in our first match, I thought to myself, “So this is what Groups is like”.
I vividly remember laning against Rookie. Although I’ve met Rookie in solo queue in numerous occasions, there was a huge difference in meeting him at a tournament. He practically led the team to lifting the Summoner’s Cup. When Rookie was playing Lucian, even the smallest movements showed that he wanted to kill me. He was very good.
Even still, I think I played pretty well against Rookie. If our champions were swapped, I’m confident that I can pressure him as he pressured me. I think I’ll at least be able to go 50/50 against him? (laughter)
TL was a very seasoned team. I realized that after we lost our first match. I was very surprised when they lane swapped as well. However, looking back on it in a bigger picture, I feel that we lost because we played poorly, and they lost because they played poorly.
The journey of ‘The Cliché’ halted by ‘The Villain'
We honestly thought we’d beat G2. Honestly, we thought about how we were going to beat SKT after we beat G2. This is because we had a good scrim record against G2, and their in-game performances weren’t that good against Griffin. However, on stage, they were almost like a different team.
Their setups for dives were incredible. Caps kept roaming top and bottom to gain advantages, and from that, they just kept snowballing. They didn’t play like that during scrims against us...
I should’ve played better to keep him locked down in lane… Even until the day before the match, we were confident that we could beat them, but for our Worlds tenure to come to an end like this… I was left with so many regrets.
Some teammates said that we did well to make it all the way to the Quarterfinals, but some were really sad that our journey at Worlds has come to an end. For myself, I was really sad that it ended much earlier than expected.
From a rookie to becoming a real ‘ShowMaker’“I’m only left with the desire to play on bigger stages.”
There were many things that I’ve experienced for the first time. I think that if I’m given second chances, I think I can play much better. I won’t get cold feet from the loud audience, get scared by the enemy, and want to play better by utilizing everything I’ve learned.
I think I can play much better next year. My desire and passion to show myself is there, and while other teams are rebuilding their rosters, we’re sticking together. We’ve made it to the Quarterfinals this year, so our goal is to make it past the Semifinals, the Finals, and even winning the whole thing.
I’ll try even harder to make it past the Semifinals next year. Thanks to everyone that cheers for us, and I’ll make sure to repay your kindness with heightened performance.
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