On Saturday, November 5th, the League of Legends team DRX pulled out a surprise victory against three-time world champions, T1, narrowly winning the best of 5 series, 3-2, at the 2022 League of Legends World Final in San Francisco.
DRX’s run could truly be considered a Cinderella story, with DRX being the first team to ever win the world finals coming in from the play-ins stage. Their journey to the finals was no cakewalk, having defeated many more accomplished and favored teams along the way. They began by sweeping through the play-ins stage, coming first in their group with a perfect record of 5-0, before moving onto the groups stage. Despite being overwhelmingly viewed as the underdog, they managed to place first in their group, moving onto the knockout stage. Finally, in the semifinals, they beat EDG, the previous world champions, before facing off against T1.
The build up to the finals was electric–T1 looked unstoppable. Their team was filled to the brim with young talents, all of whom looked like they could take any challenger down. Zeus in the top lane dominated every matchup he was faced with. ADC Gumayushi, along with his support Keria put on incredible performances to silence the doubters. But the main star and leader of the team had to be Faker. Arguably the greatest League of Legends player ever, representing T1 in the midlane. With three world championships to his name, people were dying to know if this would be his fourth.
Although most fans rooted for their clear favorite T1, many people had been charmed by DRX’s underdog story and wanted to see them complete the miracle run. However, perhaps the most interesting story was the fateful encounter between old high school classmates, Faker and Deft. Both having debuted in the pro leagues at the same time, they now fought for the World Championship. Needless to say, people were on the edge of their seats in anticipation as the games began.
In the first game, T1 grabbed a convincing victory in only 31 minutes. Faker was on one of his signature champions, Azir, and despite getting the first death of the game, he ended the game with a KDA (a player’s kills, deaths, and assists) of 7/1/2. All of T1 played spectacularly in that game, with Oner making huge plays in the early game and Zeus and Faker carrying the team fights late game.
DRX, however, did not take this defeat sitting down and clawed their way back in game 2. They started off shakily, losing multiple early skirmishes. However, they managed to recover and even out the kills to 6-6. This evenly matched game continued on until a decisive Baron fight that left Zeus, Faker, and Gumayushi dead. Then, with only Oner and Keria to defend, DRX swept through T1’s base and took a tight 46-minute game 2.
With the score tied 1-1, DRX took an early lead in game 3. However, after two decisive Baron steals from T1, one from Oner and one from Gumayushi, the tides shifted in T1’s favor. Gumayushi and Keria played outstandingly, with Gumayushi on Varus stealing objectives and Keria supporting the team with Karma. Eventually, the game ended with a victory for T1.
It began looking bleak for DRX in the fourth game. With T1 up 2-1 in the series and having just secured the first two kills, they needed a miracle to win. That miracle came in the form of top laner Kingen and Jungler Pyosik. They put on a show in the top lane and ended the game 5/0/5 and 4/0/6, putting DRX on their backs and bringing the World Finals to a decisive fifth game.
The final game began, and both teams were trading back and forth. DRX won a team fight in the midlane, but Gumayushi clapped back with a Baron steal. It was neck and neck until the 40-minute mark when the Elder Dragon spawned. This fight would determine the outcome of the game.
DRX had a clear advantage in team fights because of their mountain soul, and because of this, Faker and Zeus ended up abandoning the Elder Fight, instead opting for a teleport backdoor. Kingen was quick to react and teleported as well to defend. Kingen held them off with his Elder Buff, and Deka recalled and killed Faker and Zeus. With only Gumayushi left, DRX was storming the T1 base. Despite his best efforts, Gumayushi failed to defend against the empowered team of DRX. Finally, after a 42-minute thriller, T1’s nexus came crashing down, and DRX was crowned the 2022 League of Legends World Champions.