Today is League of Legends star Kim ‘Deft’ Hyuk-kyu’s birthday. Today, Deft celebrated his special day in a way few could ever dream of doing: reverse-sweeping his old team – the team he was last in North America with at a LoL Worlds championship – to secure his spot in the Worlds 2022 Semifinals.
After five of the most exciting games of pro League you’ll see all year, Deft and DRX punched their tickets to Atlanta with a 3-2 victory over reigning world champion EDward Gaming. This is only the third reverse sweep to take place at Worlds, after Top Esports vs. Fnatic in 2020, and Beyond Gaming vs Galatasaray Esports during last year’s Play-In Stage.
DRX came into today’s series very much the underdog, with many expecting it to go its opponent’s way in an identical fashion to the first two quarterfinals ties: a quick 3-0 and an early night. The team certainly showed some jitters in game one, with mis-executions here and there helping EDG secure the victory.
Things got infinitely worse in game two, as one of the most unfortunate inhibitor respawn timings we’ve ever seen in pro play prevented Deft from landing the killing blow on the enemy Nexus during a do-or-die play. EDG subsequently secured both the Baron and the Elder Drake, and, well, 2-0 to EDG.
However, while many would have tilted off the face of the Earth after coming so disgustingly close, DRX’s mental resilience – which The Loadout had previously spoken to head coach Kim ‘Ssong’ Sang-soo about – persevered. The first two games had been winnable, so it was time to actually win one. Here, Deft had a pop-off Draven performance, which helped DRX get a win on the board.
With the team now firing on all-cylinders, DRX took game four cleanly, prompting the Silver Scrapes to play. Then, in game five, Kim ‘Zeka’ Geon-woo happened. The prodigal midlaner solo killed Lee ‘Scout’ Ye-chan – Deft’s former teammate back in that 2016 Worlds run – not once, not twice, but four times. Not even the brilliance of Park ‘Viper’ Do-hyeon – who himself had a standout series – could match Zeka’s impact.
As EDG’s Nexus exploded for the final time, the Worlds 2022 Semifinals teams were finally decided in their entirety. Atlanta’s State Farm Arena will play host to LPL first seed JD Gaming as it takes on LCK second seed T1, while reigning LCK champion Gen.G will take on the freshly-qualified DRX.