The grand final matchup for the 2022 League of Legends World Championship is locked in. LCK fourth seed DRX secured their ticket for the final battle with a 3-1 victory over LCK champion and tournament favorite Gen.G. In the grand final, held on Nov. 5 in San Francisco, DRX takes on T1, who beat JD Gaming in the other semifinal.

Gen.G lands the first blow

Gen.G heavily targeted DRX in the first game’s draft phase. They banned Heimerdinger, Akali, and Ashe, while denying mid laner Kim “Zeka” Geon-woo his trademark Sylas by first-picking it for Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon. Both teams went for creative approaches in the bot lane: Gen.G chose Varus/Tahm Kench, DRX went for Miss Fortune/Soraka. The early game was quiet—only a clever roam from top laner Hwang “Kingen” Seong to help DRX get First Blood disrupted the laning phase. Nevertheless, Gen.G assumed control in the mid game. Top laner Choi “Doran” Hyeon-joon successfully dove Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu and, moments later, Gen.G cleaned up DRX in a fight for the second dragon. It was all Gen.G needed to get a firm grip on the game. They snowballed their lead steadily by taking towers and cleverly picking off DRX’s members. It wasn’t explosive by any means—Gen.G slowly suffocated DRX and comfortably won the first game.

DRX changed things drastically. They got their hands on the almost permanently banned Caitlyn, paired it with a Lux, and went for an Ahri/Kindred mid-jungle duo. Gen.G stuck to more common picks but matched Varus with Karma this time around. The first ten minutes went in Gen.G’s favor convincingly. Han “Peanut” Wang-ho beat DRX at every single step, running around the jungle to hinder DRX. Zeka found an advantage for DRX as he took a considerable lead over Chovy. That lead was a pivotal foot in the door for the team and they pried that door open further. DRX’s long-range composition forced Gen.G off objectives and slowly but surely, the gold lead swung in DRX’s favor. However, Gen.G understood that they had to play for the sidelanes to stay in the game, and they did so well. The slow and methodical game came to a conclusion at the Elder Drake. Jungler Hong “Pyosik” Chang-hyeon used Lamb’s Respite, Kindred’s ultimate, to prevent the dragon from dying to Peanut’s Smite. DRX won the fight and ended the game, tying the score.

Pyosik’s Kindred was instrumental for DRX’s victories in the second game. (Source: Chris Betancourt for Riot Games)

DRX domination

The momentum of the second game carried DRX forth in game 3. This time, they were on point from the very start. The bot lanes from both teams went toe-to-toe, but the top side made the difference. Pyosik and Kingen made the life of Choi “Doran” Hyeon-joon absolutely miserable with repeated ganks. Once Zeka hit level six on the Akali, his reign of terror began. Gen.G tried to secure the first drake and while they were successful, Zeka and his teammates sliced through them in the subsequent team fight. DRX accelerated but wasn’t reckless. They dove the bot lane with pinpoint accuracy and leveraged the advantage into a 3k gold lead by 15 minutes. As opposed to the second game, where Gen.G understood how to stay in the game, the LCK champion was completely routed in the third game. A masterclass Akali performance from Zeka, supported by Pyosik’s Viego, put DRX on series point.

Back against the wall and Worlds 2022 lives on the line, Gen.G changed up their strategy. They prioritized their top side in the draft, locking in Renekton, Viego, and Ryze. It paid dividends in the first half of the game. Doran had the better of Kingen and DRX struggled to get a hold of the game. Gen.G went blow for blow with DRX and climbed into the driver’s seat in the mid game. DRX became too eager and overstepped a few times, but Gen.G struggled to convert it into a big lead. When Gen.G hit its highest advantage, just 2.5k gold, DRX stabilized. From then onward, they were the ones hunting down the mistakes of their opponents. A fantastic pick from Pyosik gave DRX the opportunity to start Baron and to push in the lanes. Just like that, the stability Gen.G had found started to crumble. DRX slid back into their game 4 shape. They played around the dragons with incredible diligence, exhausting Gen.G’s resources as much as possible before committing to the fight. For the first time in 2022, DRX beat Gen.G in a best-of series and claimed a spot in the grand final.

A magical run for DRX

DRX continued an impressive run through Worlds 2022. As the fourth seed from South Korea, the team had to fight through the Play-In Stage to make it to the Group Stage. In the Group Stage, DRX bested LPL second seed Top Esports, LEC champion Rogue, and VCS champion GAM Esports to emerge as first seed. In the quarterfinals, DRX overcame reigning world champion EDward Gaming with a miraculous reverse sweep.

It is the first time that DRX reaches the grand final of the League of Legends World Championship. The same goes for their flagship player, Deft, whose long career has been decorated with many trophies except the most prestigious one. DRX support Cho “BeryL” Geon-hee reaches his third consecutive Worlds final in a row. In 2020 and in 2021, BeryL made it to the final with DAMWON, lifting the trophy on his first attempt.