ShowMaker on returning to Worlds: ‘The experience of being a champion really means a lot in terms of how confident you are’

Expertise and progress are straight associated variables in principle. However when a participant has already eclipsed each competitor of their area with just some years of confirmed expertise, “progress” rapidly turns into “greatness.”

Coming off of a League of Legends World Championship title in 2020, DWG KIA mid laner ShowMaker is the bannerman for an ever-growing wave of the sport’s next-gen superstars. With an MVP award, a number of All-Professional accolades, 4 home championships, and the Summoner’s Cup all in his trophy case, the query for ShowMaker is easy: how a lot greater can one man go when he’s already reached the apex of his craft?

In 2019, ShowMaker proved he may compete with the giants of the worldwide scene when he and DAMWON Gaming reached the quarterfinal round at that 12 months’s World Championship. That prior expertise helped him safe the Summoner’s Cup in 2020, and now, in his third look at Worlds, ShowMaker is on the precipice of one more historic title. 

“Coming again in our third 12 months at Worlds, I believe we’re undoubtedly extra skilled,” ShowMaker advised Dot Esports. “Having the expertise of being a champion actually means quite a bit by way of how assured you’re or how one can address strain. I believe that’s the primary distinction this 12 months.”

Whereas some gamers feed off of tense moments, ShowMaker isn’t too proud to confess he nonetheless feels the stress. “I do really feel some strain, however I’ve by no means actually thought that strain has helped,” he stated. “I’m simply making an attempt to recover from it for probably the most half. I’ve nice teammates and I believe I’m coping with it fairly effectively.”

Photograph by way of Riot Video games

Fortunately for ShowMaker, the “nice” teammates pinned round him are a number of the most constant within the skilled scene. Other than (or maybe due to) their infallible outcomes on-stage, DWG KIA’s members have discovered endurance in not simply the eyes of LCK followers in Korea, however throughout the globe, as effectively. Because the begin of 2020, DWG KIA recorded wins in 181 particular person video games, probably the most by any group on the earth over that point, in line with League stats website Oracle’s Elixir

For the final three years, the DAMWON beginning League lineup has remained one of the secure on the earth. With simply two total roster adjustments because the begin of the 2019 season, DWG KIA has constructed greater than a profitable formulation round ShowMaker. The org has constructed a dynasty. 

This 12 months, although, DWG KIA confronted its largest roster shakeup instantly after falling short of the MSI title. Upon returning house to Korea, the group misplaced three of its first 5 particular person video games within the Summer season Cut up, inspiring higher administration to make a direct change to the beginning lineup. The group reactively sported a short-term lineup that featured ShowMaker within the AD carry place and reigning Worlds finals MVP jungler Canyon within the mid lane with substitute jungler Malrang filling his sneakers.  

DWG KIA would win three of their next four matches with their new-look lineup, prompting confidence from ShowMaker alongside the way in which. Even regardless of the group’s obvious post-MSI hangover, the MVP mid laner nonetheless knew a visit to Worlds later within the 12 months was on the docket. 

“I used to be anxious to the minimal [extent],” ShowMaker stated. “We weren’t doing too effectively again then, however we nonetheless gained quite a bit from the Spring Cut up. I knew that my teammates have been going to come back again, so I used to be extra on the assured facet that we have been going to Worlds than being concerned.”

Past the on-stage letdown on the MSI finals, in addition to the trickling points within the early levels of the Summer season Cut up, ShowMaker disclosed that lots of his relative struggles at MSI got here on account of his personal private well being. 

In an interview with Ashley Kang of Korizon Esports from earlier this 12 months, ShowMaker revealed he struggled with eczema in Iceland throughout the Mid-Season Invitational. Ultimately, ShowMaker’s eczema affected him to the purpose the place he “couldn’t sleep.” Mixed with basic stress and “abdomen aches,” in line with the mid laner, ShowMaker performed beneath his traditional best-player-in-the-world requirements at MSI. 

Granted, he had the very best KDA amongst all gamers on the event, in line with Oracle’s Elixir, and got here only one sport away from profitable all of it. But it surely wasn’t ok for the celebrity. Now, with Worlds being held in Iceland after a sudden shift in venue final month, ShowMaker got here well-prepared for the attainable resurgent well being and efficiency points that would plague him throughout the 12 months’s ultimate event. 

“We’re coming again to the identical nation that we have been at [during] MSI, so by way of getting used to the setting round me…I do know what I’m going into,” ShowMaker stated. 

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Photograph by way of Riot Video games/Getty Photos

From a extra gameplay-focused standpoint although, Worlds presents a completely totally different problem for DWG KIA when in comparison with MSI. Versus a area of 11 at MSI, Worlds is double the problem with 22 groups current from across the globe. After solely having to face off in opposition to the respective champions of every of League’s skilled areas at MSI, ShowMaker and DWG KIA are going through threats from all angles at Worlds.

Along with three different LCK squads on the event—every of whom aside from Hanwha Life Esports took one sequence off of DWG KIA throughout the season—top-tier contenders from League’s main areas are going to be gunning for the defending champs over the following three weeks. 

“Worlds has new groups from each different area,” ShowMaker stated. “I don’t suppose there’s a lot of something particular from MSI to assist me put together for Worlds proper now.”

On the very least, DWG KIA’s preliminary slate of opponents in Group A at Worlds consists of North America’s Cloud9, a group the LCK champions thoroughly and repeatedly drubbed at MSI earlier this 12 months. Within the 4 video games the 2 groups performed in opposition to one another earlier this 12 months, DWG KIA claimed victory in all however one, whereas ShowMaker posted a mixed KDA of 4.6 within the video games in opposition to North America’s Spring Cut up champions. 

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Photograph by way of Riot Video games/Getty Photos

“There are undoubtedly a number of nice groups on the market proper now,” ShowMaker stated of the Worlds area. “Our first precedence is to make it out of teams, however even after we do make it out of teams, I believe to be extra analytical in regards to the totally different playstyles every robust group has is our principal quest at this occasion.”

Since, DAMWON have posted a frighteningly spectacular match file of 19-3 on the World Championship. For ShowMaker, it’s apparent as to why DWG KIA’s success at Worlds 2021 isn’t a matter of “if,” however “when.” 

With one World Championship already within the bag, the clear-cut subsequent step for League’s present most dominant group is to hitch fellow Korean titans T1 and Samsung Galaxy as the one organizations to fly a number of World Championship banners. On the coronary heart of that quest is ShowMaker, who, after progressing to the highest of the League of Legends mountain one 12 months in the past, is en path to staying there via the sheer magnitude of his personal greatness. 


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