© Colin Young-Wolff / Riot Games
DRX secure their Worlds 2022 Main Event spot with a flawless Play-In run
DRX stormed their Worlds 2022 Play-In Group with five consecutive wins, a feat no other team pulled off – here's how it went down.
DRX have done something no other team at the League of Legends World Championship 2022 has accomplished so far – won every game they've played. In a thrilling series of five games played out over four days, the team from South Korea have taken on all comers and won each time.
We previously predicted that Group B wouldn't cause too much trouble for DRX, and the team didn't disappoint. Even going up against China's Royal Never Give Up, who won the Mid-Season Invitational earlier this year, and Europe's MAD Lions, a team that has caused quite a stir in their home league in just two short years, DRX didn't falter.
Now with their place at the Main Event secured, DRX are in the best possible position, with an incredible winning streak and experience on this year's Worlds stage before their opponents in the Main Event Group stage have even had a chance to play a single game. Let's look back at how they made it to this point.
The first hurdle
RNG were always going to be the toughest team to face in the Play-In, and drawing them for the first game was surely not what DRX wanted. The MSI-winning team may have taken some hits in the League of Legends Pro League after the departure of toplaner Chen 'Bin' Ze-Bin, but a resurgence in the LPL 2022 Regional Finals showed that they still weren't to be underestimated.
And the team set about proving that almost instantly, applying pressure in the top lane to take down DRX's Hwang 'Kingen' Seong-hoon three times and secure two drakes before the South Korean team could respond. But when they finally got a solid opportunity at 18 minutes in, DRX took it and ran, eliminating the entire RNG squad with only one death on their side. The fight wasn't over by a long shot.
Indeed, the teams kept trading objectives and kills, with a Baron steal by RNG answered with a truly incredible team fight in the Drake pit which saw DRX come out on top after losing almost the entire squad. From that team fight on, DRX kept the upper hand, and after a gruelling 42 minutes, stormed the enemy base and took down the Nexus. The toughest opponents in the Group were down – the way was clear for DRX to stomp the rest of the competition.
A dominant middle
What came next was a succession of three matches where DRX's opponents collectively managed to take down one tower. The South Korean team utterly dominated every match, winning each one in less than thirty minutes in a truly magnificent display of power.
The first match against Saigon Buffalo saw DRX score 11 kills on only three deaths, with the whole affair wrapped up in around 25 minutes. SGB couldn't even pick up a single tower in the game, such was the might of DRX.
Next up on the chopping block were Istanbul Wildcats, who at least managed to pull off a more spirited defence. In DRX's bloodiest match of the competition so far, IW managed to score 11 kills, while DRX took 25. DRX midlaner Kim 'Zeka' Geon-woo deserves a special shoutout for his role in the match, securing 12 kills (more than IW managed collectively) without a single death.
And pour one out for Isurus, who tried their best to be aggressive and were shut out at almost every turn. The game ended with DRX on a Baron buff, the Herald summoned in Isurus' base, and the minions basically doing all the work as DRX refused to close out the game to instead keep racking up kills on their opponents. The team were clearly feeling confident – but one last hurdle stood in their way.
The lion's roar
MAD Lions may not be the best team in the League of Legends European Championship, but they've certainly made a lot of noise for such a young team. Having joined the LEC in 2020, the team haven't missed a Worlds yet, and remain a formidable opponent in their home league. They managed to sneak into Worlds 2022 thanks to the LEC being granted an additional tournament place, but that didn't mean they'd be a pushover for DRX.
Like RNG, MAD chose to put pressure on the top lane early in the game, but ended up playing a much slower game over time, eventually moving all their energy into the bot lane instead. They had total control over neutral objectives, picking up two drakes, two Heralds, and the first Baron without much trouble from DRX. As MAD started to push down the lanes once more, DRX seemed to have finally met their match.
But, as we now know, that simply wasn't true. In a truly stunning turnaround, DRX pushed MAD's advance back, with Zeka once again pulling off an incredible performance chasing down individual players and almost completely wiping the team out as they fled. DRX continued to pick up kills here and there, even as MAD grew their gold lead and picked up the Soul Point.
But MAD's efforts were all for nought. Even with everything stacked in their favour, and a Baron just secured, MAD were simply outclassed by DRX's team composition and team fighting ability. With MAD decimated during the second Baron fight, DRX chose that moment to strike, strolling down the top lane and finishing off the game with minimal resistance in around 33 minutes.
If this Play-In performance is anything to go by, DRX have a very exciting Main Event ahead of them. They've proven that they can play aggressive short games and longer, more considered matches. They've proven that they know how to put together a powerful team comp. And they've proven that even when the tide is against them, they can still push through and take a win. Make sure to watch DRX at the Main Event – no matter what happens, you're in for an incredible match.