Steal Talks Performance And What It Means To Have Japan In The Group Stage
Similar to the CIS’ Unicorns of Love in the past, the LJL’s DetonatioN FocusMe have begun to make a name for themselves at the international stage. Thanks to their captivating play at this year’s League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational (MSI), the team has begun to showcase that there’s more than just the “four major regions” and that minor regions are slowly elevating their play and are deserving of their merit.
DetonatioN FocusMe came into the tournament as one of the team’s favoured to make it out of the play-in stage. As more contested of the two groups, Group B had some strong opponents for them to face. The PCS’ Beyond Gaming, the LCS’ Cloud9, Unicorns of Love and the TCL’s Galatasaray Esports all were looking to qualify into the group stage.
The Japanese representatives had a rough start to the tournament as, although they were able to take care of Galatasaray, Beyond Gaming and Unicorns of Love respectively, they suffered a loss to Cloud9 in the middle of that. The loss came early on, meaning that Cloud9 were flawless in the stage and were looking to take a ticket straight to groups.
Fortunately for DetonatioN FocusMe, the North American representatives unexpectedly dropped their last match in what was an upset win for the Unicorns of Love. This allowed for a tiebreaker between North America and Japan to occur—the winner qualifies for group play without having to play a best of five.
Although DetonatioN FocusMe had a rough start on day one, they were able to turn it around on day two, looking like a completely different team. This team managed to catch a sleeping Cloud9 in the tiebreaker, allowing themselves to make it to Worlds for the first time in the region’s history.
Now in group play, the Japanese representatives look to continue to further the story they’ve built for themselves in the tournament’s Group A. This group contains one of the tournament favourites in the LPL’s Edward Gaming and the LCK’s T1, while also having North America’s one seed, 100 Thieves.
We had a chance to have a quick chat with DetonatioN FocusMe’s jungler, Mun “Steal” Geon-yeong after their loss against T1 in which he talked about his performance thus far, what it means to take the Japanese region into its first-ever group stage, and more via a translator.
Even though it was a loss, what are your thoughts on getting to play your first-ever group stage game at Worlds?
We’re happy that we’re able to play the first game at the group stage however, we were really destroyed, to be honest. I feel a bit sad at the moment.
On that same note, even though you’re Korean, how does it feel to be able to give the Japanese region some recognition on the international stage?
Steal is Korean, he’s been playing in the LJL for more than four years now but being able to have an LJL team advance to the group stage he’s really happy about that fact.
This Worlds is thought to be filled with a lot of great jungle talent. Where do you rank yourself amongst the junglers at this tournament?
To sum up today’s game, he feels like he played like trash, but he can’t say he was able to play his best. He’ll be able to improve tomorrow, but it’s not the best experience.
In another interview, you mentioned wanting to get back at DAMWON Kia for MSI. In that same vein, is there a team you wish to face off against the most? If so, which is it?
He really wants to play against LNG. He thinks Tarzan is one of the best junglers in the world. He really wants to go against him.
What are your goals for the tournament?
Currently, his goal is to get to the top eight. To be able to achieve that, there is a lot to do, but that is his current goal.
As this interview was conducted prior to DetonatioN FocusMe’s loss to 100 Thieves, the Japanese representatives look to turn around their 0-2 start when they face off against Edward Gaming on October 13.