Stop and think; have you ever seen a Raze quite like this?
With some of the best Raze mechanics in VALORANT and a style of play all his own, Kim "DoenmO" Han-mo is an exciting star on the rise.
Let’s get this out of the way now; fans all over the world need to keep an eye on DoenmO. Dominant with the judge, locking down chokepoints, and equipped with some of the most aggressive mobility we’ve ever seen with Raze, DoenmO has what it takes to compete on the world’s stage and likely will within the year. It is time for people to start to meet the South Korean Raze god that has slipped through the cracks.
With a breakout performance with F4Q during the open qualifiers for Challengers 2: Korea, DoenmO’s professional debut was one of the most exciting performances VALORANT esports has seen. He, alongside former professional Overwatch player Chae "Bunny" Joon-hyuk, narrowly missed qualification, dropping to NUTURN Gaming in the Round of 16. However, strong first impressions were made.
Right as the first few rounds against NUTURN Gaming came to a close, you can tell that they were well prepared for DoenmO’s aggressive antics at the start of Bind. Throughout the map, they constantly position away from the spawn barrier because they likely suspect DoenmO to blitz right off the line and look for trades early. However, that doesn’t stop him from being a gigantic thorn in their side. It is what DoenmO does in response that is eye-catching.
Take this clip, for example; right after winning the pistol, F4Q sends DoenmO straight-up A Short with a judge, a weapon while used in the west, isn’t as nearly as popular as it is in South Korea. While he does not find a single kill, he delays NUTURN’s push for nearly a minute straight. Even in the face of NUTURN being prepared, he continuously—throughout the rest of the set—is incredibly aggressive right off of spawn with the judge and is successful with it.
This enforces not only a thoughtfulness to his aggression but confidence in it.
In spite of all their preparation, DoenmO still dashes in and makes magic.
Past that, he continues to lock down spots on the map throughout the rest of Bind. For example, take round ten on Bind, DoenmO defends Hookah by himself through two Recon Arrows, a Boombot, one Aftershock, two Shock Darts, a Paint Shell, Owl Drone, Hunter’s Fury—and still is able to secure two kills. In terms of quantifiable value absorbed, DoenmO’s Hookah hold ate up roughly 800 credits worth of resources, and that’s without being able to put a value on things like signature abilities and ultimates.
DoenmO’s ability to create space with so little economic impact is impressive alone, but the skill at which he does it, often trading up kills, especially on his patented aggressive defensive pushes, are what sends him over the edge. He is the quintessential artist that makes things look easy. Is the judge overpowered? Does Raze need nerfs, or is DoenmO just too good?
This showcases what kind of player DoenmO is. Paired with some of his other highlights, he can easily become one of the most unique and impactful players not only domestically but throughout all of VALORANT esports. If this is something teams are going to have to deal with as soon as they lose a pistol round, it is incredibly difficult for anyone to start to build momentum on their own. It doesn’t matter if he opens with any early kills if DoenmO can stall out rounds for minutes at a time or eats up a litany of resources; that alone is valuable.
Again, the fact that this isn’t just some set play he runs on certain maps but a style he’s created and performing well with is a testament to his in-game IQ.
While this covers the lion’s share of his defensive rounds, DoenmO is also a big entry threat for F4Q when it comes to attacking. According to vlr.gg, in his stage debut against NUTURN Gaming, Doenmo led his team with 265 average combat score (ACS) with 140.9 average damage done per round (ADR). He isn’t just force-buying the judge every round; he is doing that and beating people with your average loadout while still outperforming them. To put that into perspective, he had the second-highest ACS, only second to NUTURN Gaming’s Jett player, Park "allow" Sang-wook. To be fair, ACS is a strong performance metric, but it does serve as statistical evidence to support that he isn’t some run of the mill entry fragger.
One argument against him that could be levied is the reliance on the judge. During his next outing, we need to see a bit more rifling to be able to tell exactly how complete a player he is at the highest level. Even if that’s the case, his mechanics on Raze are worth at least a cursory viewing.
The speed and confidence he rushes off of spawn would make phoon blush.
There is no doubt that DoenmO is a human highlight reel with a high IQ to boot, but the most exciting takeaway from watching him play is the daydream of what he could become if he was signed by a team with the resources to mould his style properly. If, for instance, he was given the right coaching, had a more fleshed out team flanking him, better facilitating his entry play and being able to slot in as this defensive powerhouse that he has shown he can be —then we could be witnessing a star being born right in front of our eyes.
Dump GameStop and Dogecoin at this point, DoenmO stocks are going to the moon.
Images via Riot Games