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League of Legends

DRX Wins Worlds 2022 over T1 in Five-Game Thriller

Zakaria Almughrabi

After a month of some of the best League of Legends ever played, Worlds 2022 has come to a close. DRX has defeated T1 in 3-2 fashion, completing the best run in Worlds history. The LCK fourth seed were the first team to ever go from Play-Ins to the Finals. Almost no one thought that DRX would win Worlds when the tournament began, but they pulled off the incredible feat in the end.

DRX Win Worlds 2022

Image Credit Riot Games

Defying the Odds in Playoffs

DRX’s Worlds run saw the team go undefeated in the Play-In Stage before topping their Group with a 4-2 record thanks to a tiebreaker win over Rogue. In Quarterfinals, DRX faced elimination after what would have been the most tragic moment in Worlds history. EDward Gaming’s Inhibitor respawned when Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu was a millisecond away from sealing the game in DRX’s favor.

Despite the atmosphere of defeat looming, DRX clawed back from an 0-2 start, locking in the second ever reverse sweep at Worlds. After taking down the defending World Champions, DRX had to battle Gen.G for a spot in the Finals. The LCK’s first seed had not lost a game to DRX the entire year, making them overwhelming favorites.

Again, DRX flipped the script on its head. They fell in game one before winning three games in a row. Almost every member of DRX performed at their peaks, especially Worlds rookie Kim “Zeka” Geon-woo in mid. With the defending LCK Champions out of the way, all that was left for DRX to win Worlds was beating the most successful organization in League of Legends history, T1.

The Finals Begin

Game one of the Worlds 2022 Finals kicked off with a dominant Azir game for Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok. Together with Mun “Oner” Hyeon-jun’s Lee Sin, T1 shut down Zeka for the first time all playoffs. Their team composition, which included Yone, Varus, and Renata Glasc, allowed T1 to shut down DRX’s dive composition. The result was an early 1-0 lead for T1.

DRX would not be intimidated. They ran back three of their same champion picks in game two: Zeka’s Sylas, Hong “Pyosik” Chang-hyeon’s Viego, and Cho “BeryL” Geon-hee’s signature Heimerdinger. This time, DRX remained competitive throughout the entire game. The longest game of the series culminated in a Baron fight where DRX collapsed on T1. The resulting kills let DRX push down mid and tie the series.

Brutal Mistakes Cost DRX

Game three saw a similar draft from both teams. T1 kept Oner on Graves and Faker on a mage in Azir. DRX matched with another Viego Sylas combo. Again, DRX was able to find their favorable mid-game skirmishes and amassed a gold lead. Right when it looked like DRX had their decisive pick onto T1 and a free Baron, disaster struck.

DRX lost back-to-back Baron secures with Smite and Rend. One was to a well-timed Smite by Oner, while one was to a Varus arrow from Lee “Gumayusi” Min-hyeong. Since DRX wasn’t able to close out the game in time, Deft’s Kalista got outscaled and T1 was stronger in the end game. DRX missed their chance to get on match point, letting T1 take the 2-1 lead.

Unshatterable Mental

To any other team, throwing a game like that on the biggest stage in League of Legends can break them. For DRX, they had been through worse just two weeks prior. Knowing that that game was in their hands, DRX loaded into game four with clear heads. Their comp was a reverse of T1’s from the previous game. This time, they had the Azir, Varus, and even a Maokai for scaling.

But the most important piece of the puzzle for DRX was Hwang “Kingen” Seong-hoon’s Aatrox. Wielding the highly-contested pick, Kingen shredded through T1 in teamfight after teamfight. Even after T1’s Kalista Soraka bot lane got rolling early, they couldn’t contend with Kingen’s World Ender. 28 minutes was all it took for DRX to once again tie the series, sending Worlds 2022 to a Silver Scrapes finale.

Saving the Best for Last

Going into the final draft of Worlds 2022, DRX threw a huge curveball. They left Caitlyn, the most banned ADC of the entire tournament, open on red side while banning her best lane partner in Lux. Not wanting to blind Caitlyn without Lux for fear of a planned DRX counter, T1 opted to take away Cait’s second-best support in Karma. DRX jumped at the chance, picking up Caitlyn and Azir for Deft and Zeka.

Now with support counter pick, BeryL needed a champion that could lane with Caitlyn while also staying useful later in the game. His answer was Bard, an off-meta pick that had only been picked ONE TIME throughout the entirety of Worlds. With the team comps locked in, DRX and T1 loaded into game for the final time of the year.

DRX Complete the Run

This game was hyper competitive throughout the entire early game. At the 20-minute mark, T1 held a small 1K gold lead. It was then that DRX found Oner, Faker and Ryu “Keria” Min-seok in the mid lane for three easy kills. DRX turned towards the Baron, which would have certainly put them in pole position for the championship. Instead, lightning struck twice, as Gumayusi stole his second Baron of the series with a Varus arrow.

The game continued in back-and-forth fashion for another 15 minutes. With the gold dead even, T1 made the decision to give DRX Mountain Dragon Soul in exchange for the second Baron. Using the buff, T1 amassed a 3K gold lead over the next five minutes. It would all come down to a game-deciding Elder Dragon fight.

As the timer ticked to 40 minutes, both sides lined up in bot river. Deft’s Caitlyn and Zeka’s Azir had a huge range advantage, poking down T1 to critical levels. Knowing that they couldn’t win the fight, Faker and Zeus went for an all-or-nothing double Teleport into DRX’s base. DRX quickly finished the Elder and rushed back to recall. However, T1 were on a path towards the Nexus. The only player who could get there quickly was Kingen on Aatrox with his own Teleport.

Using the Elder buff, Kingen 1v2’ed the T1 solo laners. With Oner and Keria falling in the Elder fight, DRX was able to triumphantly march down mid and claim the Worlds 2022 trophy for themselves.

Worlds 2022 Ends on a High

Worlds 2022 was one of, if not the best World Championship that League of Legends has ever seen. From the diverse meta to the high level of the playoff teams, the esport has never been better. Few even entertained the thought that DRX win Worlds, yet they actually made the Cinderella run happen, and things could hardly have ended on a higher note. Enjoy it while it lasts, because it will be hard to top Worlds 2022, even in its next full decade of play.