For the first time in five years, two LCK teams will go head to head at Worlds finals. This year, T1 defeated LPL’s JD Gaming in their semifinals match, while DRX continued their miracle run and defeated Gen.G in theirs. Only a single Bo5 series remains until one team triumphs to lift the Summoner’s Cup, and due to the narratives behind the storylines, some are even calling it the best finals before it even began.
DRX, to say the least, had their fair share of turbulence throughout the 2022 season. Let’s take a look at what the 2022 season looked like for DRX, as well as some of the player narrative leading up to the Worlds finals.
From sixth place in the Summer split to Worlds finals
The hype behind DRX’s miracle run at Worlds this year did not come without the team’s fair share of their troubles. Do you notice anything different about the picture above? DRX’s first bit of internal struggles started when their original head coach, Kim “KIM” Jeong-soo, was sacked after just two weeks of being active on the roster. Many were shocked and bewildered behind the decision, and Kim “SSong” Sang-soo returned to the team once again during the middle of the Spring split.
The teams’ internal turmoil [plus COVID] seemed to reflect their performance in the Spring split. DRX finished fourth place in the Regular split, and was knocked out by Kwangdong Freecs in the quarterfinals of the LCK Spring playoffs. Their Summer split performance was even worse, when they barely made the Summer playoffs in sixth place, only to be immediately knocked out of the playoffs by Liiv SANDBOX in the quarterfinals.
While the DRX fans remained hopeful that the team even makes it to Worlds, many doubted their ability to even make it there as well. However, their miracle run began then and there, when they beat KT Rolster and LSB through the regional qualifiers after going to five games in both series. DRX proved all their doubters wrong back then, but even then, people had doubts on whether or not this team will make it far at Worlds.
The level of improvement that they’ve shown since the regional qualifiers continued to tap into the potential of the team, and the rate they were improving was unprecedented. From soaring through their group to make it to the quarterfinals, the reverse sweep against EDward Gaming in quarters, to beating Gen.G, a team they’ve never been able to beat in the 2022 LCK season, only a few days remain until their unscripted drama comes to an end.
“I am a Phenom” - The Zeka Story
“I am a Phenom” [“나는 준일하다”] was the solo queue IGN that he used in 2018. Funnily enough, it was an IGN that his current teammate, Pyosik, made for Zeka back in the day, because he thought he was a Phenom.
2018 was when he decided he wanted to become a pro League of Legends player, because studying didn't interest him. He quickly realized that he was talented in League, and this showed when he was scouted by KT’s academy team in 2019. He then made his way to the LPL in 2020, where he played in two teams, Vici Gaming, and Bilibili Gaming in the 2020 and 2021 season respectively.
In terms of his performance, he was definitely a late bloomer in both of those LPL teams. He struggled in both of the Spring splits during 2020 and 2021, but his skills blossomed during the Summer splits of those two years. He made his name known for his performance during the 2020 Summer with Vici Gaming, while he carried his team, Bilibili Gaming in 2021, to the LPL Summer playoffs.
His time in the LPL somewhat mimics that of his 2022 season with DRX. He’s shown potential during the regular split, but was never really considered to be the top mid laner in the LCK. However, the rate of improvement he’s shown since the regional qualifiers fully bloomed in the present day, where he hard-gapped many of his adversaries at Worlds.
Interestingly enough, both the mid laners playing in the finals, Faker and Zeka, were both scouted by Kim “kkOma” Jeong-gyun. It’ll be curious to see which of kkOma’s chosen will come out on top.
Eighth time’s the charm - The Mapo High Derby
Deft is a player with one of the longest pro careers in LoL Esports. Apart from the army of fans that he’s captivated over the years with his mechanics and his personality, he’s the player that most ADC players [both amateur and pro alike] idolizes. While his career may be extensive, this year’s actually the first time in his eight appearances at Worlds where he’s made it past the quarterfinals, let alone the finals.
His opponent is none other than T1, and it’s against none other than the GOAT of LoL, Faker. Deft and Faker are considered to be the most decorated players not just in the LCK, but in LoL Esports as a whole. It’s like watching Ash Ketchum face off against Gary Oak in the Indigo Plateau for the title of champion. The script could not write itself any better than this.
BeryL, The King Maker
For DRX’s support player, BeryL, this is his third consecutive year making it to Worlds finals. His first two appearances were with DWG KIA, where he beat Suning Gaming in 2020 to become a world champion, but unfortunately falling short against EDG in 2021. Now, he looks to make history against T1 and capture his second World title.
Striving for perfection to achieve excellence in esports