DRX became Korea’s first team to qualify for Worlds 2020, taking down Gen.G in the Summer 2020 playoffs. However, while the rookies might have locked down the second seed, they’ll be looking to go one better when they take on Damwon in the September 5 final.
Six hours. Five games. A three-hour pause. Two patches. One spot at Worlds locked. Those are the numbers behind DRX’s monumental victory on Sunday night, securing them a place at the League of Legends 2020 World Championship.
They managed to take down Gen.G 3-2 in an intense series that almost had to be postponed due to global server outages, coming back from a 1-2 deficit after the three-hour pause to clean up the series.
DRX’s star mid laner Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon was once again the shining light for the young squad. The now-experienced mid laner can now gear up for his international comeback, after carrying the organization to their first Worlds appearance in history.
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He was the MVP of all of DRX’s wins against Gen.G. First he put on a Lucian clinic, demolishing Gwak “Bdd” Bo-seong in lane before carrying the momentum into the late game, where he clinched 10 of DRX’s 16 kills.
There was a saving grace for Gen.G with Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk picking up a Pentakill on Senna, however it wasn’t enough to get the series off on the right foot. Gen.G did manage to bring it back though, dismantling DRX in Games 2 and 3 to force the rookies onto the ropes.
Disaster then struck. The series was delayed by three hours due to global server outages, leaving the players — and the series — in limbo at the scores locked at 2-1 to Gen.G. Instead of postponing the series, the two teams opted to play the game on live servers, swapping from Patch 10.16 to Patch 10.17.
“Both teams urgently discussed options for continuing, such as rescheduling the match or proceeding on the live server. Following both teams’ agreement, we [will] arrange the remainder of the match to be carried out on the live server,” Riot Korea said in a statement.
Gen.G’s momentum was gone, DRX had the chance to mentally reset, but there were still two games to go. On the live servers, the pauses didn’t stop — first for settings, and then another pause a few minutes into the game as fans spammed the players’ new accounts with invites and notifications.
However, DRX didn’t let the distractions faze them. Chovy once again put his foot on the gas, partnering with jungler Pyosik to keep Gen.G at bay across the map. His flawless 7/0/3 Ekko mid helped tie the series back up, and he continued the form with a slightly rocky Sylas performance in Game 5.
The final game was as messy as you’d expect from a series that had been dragging on for six hours. It was scrappy, fights were breaking out across the map, and macro was out the window. While Gen.G managed to secure the Ocean Soul, and Ruler on Kalista tried his best to carry his team to a win, Chovy managed to shut him down at the penultimate Baron fight, booking his ticket to Shanghai in the process.
“I’m pretty much satisfied [with my performance],” Chovy told LCK casters after Sunday’s win.
“When we gave up that dragon, it was because I played badly. I was angry at myself. At the next fight, we won the fight. I thought, ‘why did we win this fight?’ I was just dealing damage and we just won, so I thought my teammates did really well.”
The win was a surreal feeling for not only Chovy, but his teammates. For Pyosik and Keria, they’ve never been to Worlds. Doran rode the bench for Griffin in 2019, never getting the chance to play on stage in Europe. For them, the chance to go to Worlds — and try and turn Korea’s fortunes around at the international level after years of mediocrity — is huge.
“It doesn’t really feel real now, but seeing my teammates’ reaction — I guess this is really happening.”
“Pyosik hugged me as soon as we won. When I turned around, the bot duo was crying. Seeing them, I thought, ‘why are they crying as if we lost at the regional qualifiers?’ I guess they are smiling now.”
The series will arguably always be marred in controversy though. With DRX pulling out two of their three wins after the patch change, critics have voiced concerns about competitive integrity. Chovy brushed it off though, saying he was focused on the task at hand, even double checking the patch notes to see the exact changes before Game 4.
“I’m not sure about other players, but for me, I wasn’t really bothered too much. I was checking the patch notes and seeing if anything changed, and I was trying my best to just focus on the game.”
There’s still one task that awaits DRX though. They might have secured a spot at Worlds, but there’s an LCK title on the line. They’ll face off against Damwon Gaming on September 5 for a chance to get the coveted first seed. For Chovy, it could be his fourth time lucky at finally getting some silverware for himself, and he’s quietly confident.
“I’ve always lost in the grand finals, so I want to show something better this time around. I’m feeling pretty confident. We are now playing online, so maybe this could be my chance.”
Translation Credit: Inven Global