DWG KIA entered MSI 2021 as firm favorites. While Heo ‘Showmaker’ Su has his eyes set on the history-breaking moment — an opportunity to secure League’s first Grand Slam — the star mid laner admits the team needs to lift its performances to get there.
DWG KIA has done a lot of winning in the last 12 months. After a disappointing groups exit in 2020’s Mid-Season Cup between Korea and China, they’ve since gone on to win LCK Summer 2020, Worlds 2020, KeSPA Cup 2021, and LCK Spring 2021.
That leaves only one title between them and a historic moment in League of Legends history: MSI 2021. Winning this event will secure DAMWON League’s first ever Grand Slam — winning Worlds, MSI, and two domestic titles in the space of 12 months.
While some look to put an asterisk on that record — DAMWON’s Grand Slam would be split across calendar years — it’s an unparalleled achievement in League of Legends.
G2 Esports came within one series of doing it in 2019, only losing to FunPlus Phoenix in the Worlds final.
SKT came within a singular game in 2015, losing to EDG 3-2 in the MSI 2015 title before going on to win Champions Summer and Worlds later that year.
It’s something star mid laner Showmaker has his eyes on. It’ll be a record he can keep all to himself. Chovy, Rookie, Knight — even Faker — none of them will be able to leverage the prestige of a Grand Slam above him. That’s a pretty tantalizing thought.
“I am a very big believer in being the first of something, and that’s why we are working hard to win MSI,” he told Dexerto.
However, in their current form, Showmaker isn’t too sure whether DAMWON can keep that streak going.
While DWG KIA sit with a 5-1 record in the MSI 2021 Rumble stage, their close games against Cloud9 and MAD Lions are some cause for concern.
“It’s definitely a relief that we won all the games today, and we will go back and review the games to keep up our win streak,” he said.
There was one moment in particular in the Cloud9 game that put DAMWON on the ropes. The squad managed to secure Baron, but lost four of their members in the pit.
Trade offer: Dragon for Nexus accepted! #MSI2021 #DKWIN pic.twitter.com/84t9CLbcVF
— LCK Global (@LCK_Global) May 16, 2021
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Then, Cloud9 managed to secure Elder, with DWG KIA managing to find the right picks at the right time to keep their lead intact and end the game.
“Going into the fight, I definitely thought our team was struggling, so my focus was on doing my best and keeping the team together, playing in a way so other teammates can perform at their best,” Showmaker admitted.
“I think that’s the role of a mid laner, and that’s what I tried to do.”
It’s these shaky performances that have got pundits wondering if RNG — who were undefeated until yesterday’s upset against PSG Talon — is the better team at the event. Showmaker can “see why they think that,” but they have more up their sleeve.
“I believe we are not at our peak yet. I don’t think we are as strong as we were at Worlds last year. We’ve got some homework to do in order to bring up our performance.
“We’re getting picked off a lot in game when we’re trying to secure vision. Our laning phases aren’t going as well as we hope to, so we will work on those.”
With DWG KIA needing just one win to secure their spot in the knockout stage, there’s not a lot of pressure on them right now. However, they want to book themselves in for that final to try and complete the Grand Slam.
“We’re going to assume that we are in the final, and aside from us, I think it’ll be RNG,” Showmaker said.
DAMWON continue their MSI 2021 campaign against MAD Lions at 2pm GMT on May 17.