Deokdam shouldered the blame for DWG KIA getting eliminated from Worlds 2022

Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games

Following DWG KIA’s incredibly close set against GenG, Deokdam lamented his performance in both this set and through the year as a whole in an interview with Dexerto.

DWG KIA vs GenG was an incredibly close set, one that was almost a reverse sweep. Taking down the team that took the Summer Split title in Korea would have been a massive upset at Worlds 2022, and a huge step up from DWG KIA’s regular season performance.

But the reverse sweep wasn’t meant to be. Despite an incredibly close game 5, Damwon fell short. Seo ‘Deokdam’ Dae-gil, the ADC that DWG KIA picked up for 2022, has been getting a lot of flak for his performance.

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And, after talking to him, he wasn’t too happy with how he played, either. He didn’t even seem all that sad after the loss when we had the chance to interview him. Just…disappointed.

DWG KIA Deokdam was set up to be the “main character”

In games 1 and 2 of their set against GenG, DWG KIA opted into prioritizing Lucian/Nami for Deokdam. This put Damwon in a position where playing around their bot lane and trying to overwhelm Park ‘Ruler’ Jae-hyuk in the early game was their goal.

Unfortunately for Damwon, this strategy didn’t work as well as they would have liked.

“Initially, our counter to Yuumi was Lucian. We were hoping that would happen, letting them take Yuumi and so we could play Lucian. Turned out that GenG kind of knows how to snowball really fast with Yuumi, so we ended up banning Yuumi.”

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Yuumi, everyone’s favorite champion, was left open by Damwon for the first two games. Deokdam was put center-stage to try and counter one of the most dominant champions in the current meta, and, like many before him, he wasn’t able to pull it off.

Whether it was on Deokdam for not playing better or on DWG KIA’s drafting to have put him in that position to begin with, it’s hard to say. However, Deokdam shouldered the burden for having been a big part of DWG KIA’s loss this set, and expressed regret in how he played through the regular season as well.

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“All of my teammates and coaching staff trusted me, so they set up a playstyle and strategy where I could be the main character. But…both in the regular split and at Worlds, my performance in terms of execution was not on point. It’s a bummer, but, at the same time, I really appreciate their belief.”

Upon being asked whether or not he would ever be able to look back on his performance this year and be proud of it, Deokdam’s tune didn’t change.

“Not really. I think I made a lot of sloppy mistakes. I left a lot to be desired. We’re going to go back to the drawing board, watch the VoD, figure out what went wrong.”

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Forging a path forward

It’s important to keep in mind how far Deokdam has come as a player. From being loaned out to XTEN, a LATAM team, in 2019, to working his way through the LCK Challengers league, landing a spot on Nongshim RedForce as one of the best ADCs in the LCK through 2021, all the way up to playing for DWG KIA, it’s impossible to argue that he hasn’t worked hard to get where he is.

Not to mention, GenG isn’t exactly an easy opponent.

“I believe GenG is the strongest team right now, but I don’t want to say a different opponent would have made it easier for us, you know?”

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Deokdam made no attempt at trying to give any reason for their loss other than that he didn’t play as well as he wanted to. When asked what advice he’d give his younger self after this loss, he only wished that he had worked harder.

“So… I’d want myself to work harder and grind harder. I hope my 2019 self could have been a little more desperate.”

It’s important to note the interview wasn’t a somber one. Deokdam was very matter-of-fact about the way he delivered his answers, and he was well-composed for someone who just lost one of the most important sets of his life. He was in good spirits, and was incredibly gracious as an interviewee for giving such a candid view of his feelings after the loss.

The thing about Deokdam being unhappy with his performance is that the ball is in his court. If he wasn’t happy with how he played, he’s in the perfect position to fix that problem for next year.

That disappointment he felt is the kind that can deter players from reaching that upper echelon of competition, from practicing enough to become the best player they can be. But it can also stoke the fires that forge world champions.