DRX got their Worlds 2020 campaign off to a great start with a dominant victory over CIS Wildcard team Unicorns of Love. While star mid laner Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon wasn’t at the front of the DRX pain train, his Worlds 2019 experience will become crucial in the later stages of the tournament.
DRX, despite being one of the bastions of hope for Korea, are one of the most inexperienced teams at Worlds. Two of their players are total rookies this year, and for three, Worlds is their first international LAN event.
However, there were no first game jitters in their affair against Unicorns of Love. While the CIS Wildcard team could prove to be a surprise in Group D, DRX were not caught off-guard.
There was a distinct draft and player gap from the get-go in the best-of-one set. Hong “Pyosik” Chang-hyeon was all over the map on Nidalee, hunting down Kirill “AHaHaCiK” Skvortsov’s Evelynn in his jungle early on.
However, it was a kill on Lev “Nomanz” Yakshin that really set the ball rolling for DRX. An 1,000 gold lead before six minutes spiralled into 5,000 by 13 after DRX continued to plow down UOL no matter where they stood on the map.
Jungler Pyosik (13/1/6) and support Ryu “Keria” Min-seok on Pantheon (6/3/8) picked up 19 of the team’s 22 kills in the bloody affair, with Chovy playing a more supportive role on the Sett mid. The 30 minute game ended up being one of the shortest on Day 1 of Groups, as DRX set the tone for the rest of their Worlds campaign.
It was also a drastically different DRX that appeared only in LCK 2020. The rookie squad has often been criticised for being just the Chovy show, but there was no such theatrics against UOL. It was a cross-map affair, and it was all something Chovy took in after his 2019 failure with Griffin.
“2019 was a great experience for me, as I was able to grasp exactly how it feels to play at Worlds. 2020 Chovy, based on the experience that I went through last year, it’s a process for me to know how to push through this Worlds process, and I’d like to perform even better,” he said in the post-game interview.
He learned plenty from his time on the now-defunct Korean squad. Being the star of the show at Worlds last year meant Chovy had to play his own game. Now though, he can adapt better to the playstyles of others, like Nomanz, exploiting the weaknesses of his enemy laners.
“Not in terms of pulling off different playstyles, but we would rather learn how to play into a given situation and how to play into certain situations — that’s what we learned.”
However, given the rest of his group, Nomanz might be the weakest opposition he could face. He’s still yet to face the Left Hand of God, Top Esports’ Zhuo “Knight” Ding, widely considered to be the best player at Worlds 2020.
He didn’t get the chance to play against the Chinese star at MSC. Chovy is ready for the task at hand though. While he’s weary of the accolades of the LPL Summer MVP, the Korean mid laner has had the same titles attached to him.
“I also agree with what other people think about Knight, I think he’s a great player. In order to perform well against Knight, I’ve really got to try and boost my performance.”Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon
Worlds 2020 continues on October 4 with Machi Esports taking on Team Liquid at 7pm AEDT. DRX face off against Top Esports in their next game on October 6 at 12am AEDT.