DRX head into Worlds 2022 final as Cinderella story of the tournament

by Sage Datuin

Over 20,000 fans crowd the stands of a packed arena as all eyes are on the David vs. Goliath battle between the League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) first seed Gen.G and the LCK fourth seed DRX. On paper, the expectation was for Gen.G to move forward into the League of Legends World Championship grand final. Yet, the crowd could not stop themselves from cheering for the LCK fourth seed who made everyone a fan of theirs.

“DRX! DRX! DRX!” The crowd chants in unison after every successful DRX play, and even behind their noise-canceling headphones, the five players sitting on the stage can hear it. It was a moment that had eased any nerves that lingered for DRX and gave them the strength to carry out the upset victory over Gen.G.

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“The energy from the crowd was immaculate,” DRX head coach Kim "Ssong" Sang-soo said during the postgame press conference. “They were looking forward to our upset. They were looking at the storyline and we could feel their energy of them cheering for us. I think the players were able to get so much energy from the fans that it helped them release whatever pressure and nerves they had.”

The shift in performance from DRX’s first two games in their semifinal series compared to their last tell two different stories. Game 1 was all domination from the side of Gen.G, while DRX was hesitant in Game 2 but they did win.

Photo credit: Colin Young-Wolff / Riot Games

DRX acknowledged the strength of Gen.G, the LCK first seed going into Worlds 2022, and their place as the underdogs going into that matchup. Still, they felt nothing but confidence throughout their semifinal match because of their own preparation and the support of the crowd.

“Gen.G is in fact a very strong team, and we were aware of it,” Song said during the press conference. “But we’re always improving. Regardless of our opponent, we are always confident prepping against whoever we face, so we’re able to step up every time. We were confident and didn’t feel too much pressure.”

Read more: A brief history of Faker at Worlds and MSI

An unlikely contender to win Worlds 2022

When DRX won their match against Liiv SANDBOX to qualify as the LCK’s fourth seed at Worlds 2022, expectations were low. In fact, expectations were low for DRX AD carry Kim “Deft” Hyuk-Kyu, who believed that the team would not “make it past quarterfinals” if they played like they did to qualify for Worlds 2022.

Throughout the LCK spring and summer splits, DRX finished in fifth and sixth place, respectively. Going into the LCK Regional Qualifier, they were the last-seeded team up against teams that were viewed as heavy favorites for that fourth seed to Worlds. Yet, time and time again, DRX have continued to be the Cinderella story that has every League of Legends fan’s attention. Now, the LCK fourth seed is just one series away from being able to call themselves world champions.

One of the most talked about storylines for DRX has been the possible “final dance” for Deft, who is now heading to his first-ever Worlds finals. While many still question whether he will play next year, the only thing he is thinking about is what could be his championship-winning moment.

“I am trying not to think about next year at the moment,” Deft shared during the DRX vs. Gen.G press conference. “I will do my best to focus on the upcoming finals.”

Read more: T1 support Keria admits feeling more pressure at Worlds 2022

Photo credit: Colin Young-Wolff / Riot Games

DRX’s rise as the team everybody counted out has been one of the best underdog storylines in the history of League of Legends. Now, the only thing left to determine is if their story ends with a loss to T1 in the final or with them lifting the Summoner’s Cup. For DRX mid laner Kim “Zeka” Geon-woo, it has been quite the journey, but in his final words to the English press, he had one final statement.

“I think the whole journey of Worlds is like a drama or TV series with a great story,” Zeka answered when asked about what winning against Gen.G meant to him before continuing on, “But I don’t think our finale has happened just yet. The finals will be our finale.”

The Worlds 2022 grand final between T1 and DRX will be held at the Chase Center in San Francisco on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET.

Lead photo credit: Colin Young-Wolff / Riot Games

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