DRX complete Cinderella run, beat T1 in Worlds 2022 final
by Brian Bencomo
SAN FRANCISCO -- DRX beat T1 3-2 on Saturday to win the organization’s first League of Legends World Championship and prevent T1 and star player Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok from getting their record fourth Worlds title.
The win was a culmination of DRX’s Cinderella run to the Worlds final. As the fourth seed from Korea, DRX were one of the unlikeliest winners of the League of Legends World Championship.
Kim "Deft" Hyuk-kyu, a League of Legends veteran in his 10th season, won his first world championship in his first appearance in the Worlds final. At 26, he became the oldest player to ever win Worlds.
Sign up for the next Nerd Street tournament!
The critical game in the series for DRX was Game 4 which they won easily after losing a heart-breaking Game 3 in which T1 stole two barons to steal the victory and go up 2-1 in the series. With the series tied 2-2, DRX won a dramatic Game 5 that hinged on them capturing a late-game elder dragon to win the game and series and lift the Summoner’s Cup.
Before beating T1 in the Worlds final, DRX lost to T1 eight times in four series across the spring and summer splits in League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) this year. That DRX beat T1 for the first time this year in Game 2 of the League of Legends Worlds final illustrates just how big of an underdog DRX was.
Read more: DRX head into Worlds 2022 final as Cinderella story of the tournament
DRX entered Worlds as Korea’s fourth seed with low expectations and were not even a consideration by most to reach the final. DRX had to compete in the play-in stage, and after making it through that, they also made it out of the group stage as the top team in their group.
The knockout stage is where DRX’s Cinderella story really began to take shape. In the quarterfinals, DRX beat defending Worlds champs EDward Gaming 3-2 in a reverse sweep after going down 2-0. In the semifinals, they took down the heavily favored Korean first seed and LCK summer champion, Gen.G.
DRX were the first play-ins team to reach the Worlds final, with LCK rookie Kim "Zeka" Geon-woo having a breakout tournament. But it was DRX top laner Hwang "Kingen" Seong-hoon who was named MVP after an incredible performance during the final.
Read more: A brief history of Faker at Worlds and MSI
Photo credit: Lance Skundrich / Riot Games
The Deft vs. Faker storyline was a microcosm of DRX vs. T1 in terms of it being a David vs. Goliath matchup. Both players are 26 years old, having debuted in 2013 and gone to the same high school. Yet one player was going for his fourth Worlds title, while the other was trying to lift the Summoner’s Cup in his first appearance on League of Legends’ biggest stage.
Lead photo credit: Colin Young-Wolff / Riot Games