League of Legends has a new world champion. In the grand final of the event, held in San Francisco, LCK fourth seed DRX managed to claim the title in a legendary series against T1. The team completed their Worlds 2022 run, which started all the way in the Play-In Stage, by defeating their fellow LCK team 3-2.

T1 hits hard

Both teams pulled out iconic picks in the first game. On T1’s side, top laner Choi “Zeus” Woo-je whipped out the Zeus and mid laner Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok chose Azir. On DRX’s side, mid laner Kim “Zeka” Geon-woo picked up his Sylas—undefeated at Worlds 2022—and Cho “BeryL” Geon-hee locked in Heimerdinger. After just five minutes, DRX drew First Blood with a kill on Faker. But T1 answered immediately and hunted down bot laner Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu. Moments later, T1 bot laner asserted dominance even further by sniping the Cloud Drake with his Varus arrow. From there, T1 snowballed the game. They contested every objective and beat DRX in every single fight they took. Diligently, T1 pushed in the lanes and claimed two inhibitors by just 23 minutes. There was no force DRX could muster to turn the game around. Excellent engages from Zeus and Faker kept giving T1 the upper hand and the team comfortably took the lead in the series.

DRX switched to the other side of the Rift for the second game and adopted T1’s strategy of first-picking Varus. T1 was creative, however, and answered with an Ashe/Lux bot lane to outrange DRX’s composition. Though the early game was quieter this time around, the formula for the game felt familiar. T1 set up the neutral objectives earlier and better. An impeccable early game from Ryu “Keria” Min-seok on the Lux put DRX on the backfoot early, but the game was far from over. Fifteen minutes into the game, DRX found its footing. Fearless play from BeryL—once again on Heimerdinger—cornered T1 and DRX carries Zeka and Deft happily scooped up the kills. DRX completely took over the game. They were the ones who arrived at the objectives one step ahead of their opponents. They were the ones picking up the objectives, grabbing three drakes and a Baron.

But T1 was not ready to give the game up either. One misstep from DRX was all it took for T1 to take control of the game again. A phenomenal steal from Mun “Oner” Hyeon-jun put DRX on the backfoot once more. Ultimately, DRX’s tenacity prevailed. Deft found a perfect ultimate on Faker, DRX collapsed and leveraged their advantage to tie the series.

Nervous play from DRX

Game 3 offered fewer surprised in the draft phase than the first two games. Only DRX’s bot lane duo, the Kalista/Renata Glasc combination, stood out. The two teams danced closely around each other in the early game. DRX found successes on the top side of the map but T1 traded well. Lee “Gumayusi” Min-hyeong acquired a massive CS lead over Deft. Using clever macro play, T1 found tiny edges to take a gold lead. BeryL would have none of it, though. He played Renata Glasc as if it was a frontline tank and champion and harassed T1 endlessly. Though the game was tense, it was also extremely messy. Team members on both sides of the Rift were caught out unnecessarily. When DRX caught out Faker, they saw a window to snowball their lead and started off the Baron. Unfortunately for them, Oner had acquired a taste for stealing DRX’s objectives. The jungler swooped in and, benefitting from DRX’s poor coordination, stole the Baron buff. T1 pressed its advantage and laid siege to DRX’s base, ballooning their lead. The chaos continued minutes later, when T1 tried to secure the Cloud Soul. DRX jungler Hong “Pyosik” Chang-hyeon took revenge and stole the objective and the team rushed to Baron. Once again, though, DRX choked at the big purple worm. This time, bot laner Gumayusi sniped the buff away from under his opponents’ noses in a mind-blowing fumble from DRX. It was all T1 needed. They closed out the messy game and put themselves on series point.

DRX was on the brink of elimination in the fourth game and they took one more step toward their graves early on. Deft and BeryL struggled heavily in the bot lane and surrendered two early deaths to the side of T1. But early deficits meant nothing to DRX—they had been the underdog for almost the entirety of Worlds. They kept their heads cool and grouped up to find kills on T1’s players. T1 looked stunned. DRX top laner Hwang “Kingen” Seong-hoon haunted his opponents with an outstanding Aatrox performance. Pyosik had shrugged off his shaky performance of the previous game and fearlessly chased every kill with his Maokai. Everything just clicked for DRX. With their cleanest performance of the series so far, DRX leveled the playing field again and brought the series to a fifth game.

Silver Scrapes, golden medals

One last game stood between the world championship title for T1 and DRX. Both teams threw all cards on the table in the draft phase. DRX drafted Hecarim for the jungle and, out of nowhere, BeryL locked in Bard. T1 answered in the top lane, picking Gwen. The cadence of the fifth game was eerily similar to that of the other games in the series. T1 found an early advantage, this time by invading DRX’s jungle and finding an early kill on Zeka. It didn’t take long for DRX to reply, though. Another clean performance from Kingen on Aatrox got his team the first Rift Herald in addition to two kills. Though DRX didn’t have a big lead, they reigned over the biggest part of Summoner’s Rift. Only in the bot lane did they struggle, as BeryL’s roaming left Deft with only scraps to pick up.

Understanding the difficulty of their position, T1 challenged DRX more aggressively. It granted them a bit of gold but, more importantly, more control over the map as they reclaimed their own territory. It came in handy. DRX found four kills on T1 and rushed to the Baron. The Gumayusi curse struck again for Pyosik, as T1’s bot laner sniped the objective for the second time in the series. T1 shifted gear instantly and hammered down on DRX’s base. The Worlds 2022 lives and title hopes of DRX hung by a thin thread, but these hottest fires had forged DRX to be incredibly resilient. As the game became more and more about picking off individuals, the chaos grew. Drakes were traded for Baron, towers fell to push in lanes. DRX claimed the Mountain Soul and managed to hold off T1’s siege.

It all came down to the Elder Drake. Kingen had gone for a flank, backed up by an even longer flank from Pyosik, but the two were spotted by T1. After repositioning, DRX still managed to get the upper hand. A messy fight and an inspired chase later, DRX had everything they needed to knock down T1’s base and claim the Worlds 2022 title.