It takes a lot of hard work and effort to even make it to the LoL World Championships. For many, or should I say, for most pros, the pressure of playing on the grandest stage in LoL Esports gets to them, thus failing to showcase their true level of performance. Only a select few that can overcome their nerves and the pressure soars above the rest of their competition.
Kim “Zeka” Geon-woo is one of those select few. Starting from all the way back since the regional qualifiers, he and the rest of his team soared above the rest of not just their local LCK competition, but all the international competition as well. Much of DRX’s miracle run can be accredited to Zeka’s improvement as a player since the Summer, gapping Scout and Chovy in the process. Now, only Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok is left on his journey to lifting the Summoner’s Cup, so what’s his mindset heading into the Worlds 2022 finals?
You made it all the way to the finals. Did you expect to beat Gen.G, a team you never beat during the 2022 season?
I experienced a lot of upset victories since the regional qualifiers. The odds were always stacked against us, so I always believed that as long as nerves didn't get to us, we could beat any team.
Do you think that your upset victory over EDG in the quarterfinals give you the confidence boost you needed for the semifinals?
I think we started to gain momentum since the regional qualifiers, because our team has been consistently improving since then.
Your teammates all have experience in playing on the international stage. Was there anything they said that left an impression on you?
BeryL has a lot of experience at Worlds, and he told me that he knows the mentality of other teams. He told me that our opponent today [Gen.G] will feel even more nervous when we were ahead 2-1. That’s why I was able to play much more aggressively. If I saw the enemy make a mistake, I wanted to punish it harder, with more confidence.
Talk to me about the reverse sweep against EDG in the quarterfinals. What was that experience like for you?
This is my first time at Worlds, so everything was a first for me. At first, I was nervous, and everything felt awkward. However, the more matches I played at Worlds, I realized that I had good teammates, and a coaching staff that helped me in every way I can, so the nerves went away. I also gained a lot of experience in that process as well.
Did playing Gen.G at Worlds feel different than playing against them during the regular season?
Truth be told, I was worried about how we never beat T1 or Gen.G during the regular season, but because we improved as a team throughout our Worlds run, I wasn’t scared to face them. Gen.G’s a team that plays better the later the game goes, so we prepared our game plan around it. We patiently got dragon stacks, and emphasized on our laning phase because we knew how strong they were in lane.
There was a lot of attention on the lane matchup. What was playing against Chovy like in that series?
He was just as good, if not better than I expected. I definitely felt the pressure that he put on in-game. He had insane CS numbers, and was very aggressive, so playing against him was tricky. However, I had good teammates, so I was able to beat him.
This is my first Worlds, so I had nothing to lose. This meant that my opponents had more pressure on their shoulders, so I was able to play more aggressively.
Ahri’s not a champion that’s been picked a lot at Worlds this year, yet you picked him in this series. How come?
If our opponent is good at something, then it’s natural to learn it yourself.I didn’t really plan on playing Ahri at first. However, Gen.G favored the Ahri pick, so it was more like we stole their pick from them.
Ryze is a champion that started to get picked towards the latter half of the tournament. What can you tell us about the Ryze vs Galio matchup?
Galio has a hard time laning against Ryze, but once the laning phase ends, then I think Galio’s better. It all depends on the pilot.
Your final opponent is none other than Faker. How do you foresee the matchup?
I think Faker’s the best Ryze player out of any other mid laner at Worlds. He proved that he’s a very good player against JDG, so I’ll need to be thorough in my prep.
The crowd was cheering very loudly for DRX today. How did you feel absorbing all of their energy from the fans?
I was very nervous at first, but it felt really good to hear the crowd cheer for me. I thought to myself, “This is why I became a pro player.”
Our run is like an unscripted drama. There’s one episode left, and I hope everyone watches the final episode. If it’s like how most dramas go, we should beat T1.
Striving for perfection to achieve excellence in esports