The 2022 League of Legends World Championship has locked in its final semifinalist. In a historic clash between defending world champion EDward Gaming and LCK fourth seed DRX, it was the South Korean team who emerged victorious. After being down 0-2, DRX showed incredible resilience and reverse-swept the EDG 3-2 to settle the series.
EDward Gaming’s guardian angel
DRX threw the gauntlet at their opponents from the get-go; they blind-picked the Ashe/Heimerdinger bot lane they had made their name with at Worlds 2022. The answer from EDG came on the top side, where Li “Flandre” Xuanjun opted for Kennen. The teams traded evenly throughout most of the game. DRX leveraged their composition well to secure drake after drake and had control over the map, but their gold lead never exceeded 1.8k gold. EDG stayed in the game primarily through phenomenal Azir play from Lee “Scout” Ye-chan. He had already made fight-deciding plays in the game when he went all-out and flipped the game in EDG’s favor at the fourth drake. EDG secured the Baron off the back of the turnaround and hammered on DRX’s door. Hwang “Kingen” Seong-hoon tried to split-push with Fiora, but his efforts were stopped by EDG, who then teleported to the base of DRX and closed out the first game.
Up one game, EDG decided they could afford to give DRX Aatrox—the most-contested pick at Worlds 2022—in order to ban Ashe. This time around, it was EDG who controlled the early game. A few good roams from Zhao “Jiejie” Li-Jie on the Sejuani on the top side got EDG rolling. DRX stayed level-headed, however, and once again had much better approaches to objectives later on. Cho “BeryL” Geon-hee walked right up to EDG and kept throwing spanners in their work, endlessly harassing the LPL team with his Heimerdinger. Deft punched holes from afar, and DRX took a commanding lead. But EDG had their own marksman rampaging full steam ahead. Park “Viper” Do-hyeon found perfect picks on DRX and pulled his team back into the game.
It all came down to one of the tensest moments in League of Legends history. EDG started the Baron and was almost guaranteed to take it. Deft used the opportunity to teleport to his enemy’s base, attempting a backdoor. Bot laner tore through the Nexus towers and was just one hit away from victory when EDG’s top inhibitor respawned and made the Nexus invulnerable. EDG returned to their base in time to kill Deft and then rushed to DRX’s base, closed out the game, and put themselves on series point.
Slow and steady gets DRX back in the series
DRX felt pressured to change up their strategy entirely with their Worlds 2022 lives hanging by a thread. Jungler Hong “Pyosik” Chang-hyeon picked his signature champion Kindred. Deft went in the complete opposite direction and drafted Draven—his third-ever game on the champion. EDG saw DRX draft an all-damage composition and crafted their own, opting for Fiora, Graves, Viktor, and Kalista. The two teams tangoed endlessly. It was EDG who found the early lead as Jiejie and Scout asserted their dominance on the Rift. But DRX waited for Deft to cash in his stacks and, once he did, swung the map back in their own favor. EDG felt the pressure of Pyosik’s scaling Kindred and tried to force a push in the mid lane, but DRX put its foot down. Deft’s auto attacks carved holes in the bodies of EDG. Another team fight followed and sealed the deal. DRX bounced back from their narrow loss in the second game and held onto their tournament lives.
EDward Gaming had lost control over the series and DRX’s mentality was ironclad. Another slow and steady game followed, but this time EDG never got far ahead. Their Lee Sin/LeBlanc combination did exert a decent amount of pressure before the fifteen-minute mark. They played for the top side once again and found some gold through the Rift Herald. DRX held its breath and slew the first two drakes. As the map opened up, DRX accelerated. They busted through EDG’s towers and perfectly understood where to be on the map. On EDG’s side, Scout tried his hardest to keep his team in the game. The mid laner blew up DRX’s players but didn’t receive the support he needed from his team. DRX kept its composure and tied the series.
DRX domination seals the deal
As close as the past three games had been, the fifth and final game was a one-sided affair. In the mid lane, where Scout played Akali and Kim “Zeka” Geon-woo played Sylas, it was the latter who came out on top from the start. A fantastic play from Zeka got him first blood and he used the momentum to go berserk. In line with the series so far, DRX claimed control of Summoner’s Rift and bounced between the lanes to farm towers and drakes. EDG was on the backfoot for more than thirty minutes. The only sparks of hope for the LPL champion came from Viper, who faced DRX with unwavering confidence and dealt as much damage as he could. But DRX did not give way. An outstanding Ocean Dragon-steal by Pyosik granted DRX the Ocean Soul, which was all they needed to complete the reverse-sweep.
DRX is the final team to qualify for the Worlds 2022 semifinals. They join LPL first seed JD Gaming, LCK second seed T1, and LCK first seed Gen.G in the top four of the tournament. Next week, DRX plays against Gen.G for a spot in the Worlds 2022 Grand final.