We’re nearly at the end of the League of Legends World Championship 2022, and it’s been one wild ride. This tournament has had a number of its favorites knocked out, and there’ve been a number of records broken – with more on the line in the final irrespective of who wins. Before that, let’s look back at some highlights from the semi-final stage.
DRX’s dream run breaks record
DRX are living out their Cinderella story. A fire burned within from the moment they arrived for the play-ins in New Mexico, and continued to blaze as they defied the odds. From there, they advanced to the group stage in New York, traveled to Atlanta for the semi-final, and will now book their flights to San Francisco. This, the Grand Final, is their final Worlds destination, and they’ve arrived in style.
For the first time in history, a team to qualify from the play-ins has made it as far as the final. If DRX win, that’s another – and even more remarkable – record broken. But the LCK fourth seeds have surpassed expectations at every step, most recently against favorites Gen.G.
DRX have faced GG a total of eight times during the spring and summer splits of the LCK, but have not managed to defeat them once. Now, on the Worlds stage, they defeated them 3-1.
GG completely outclassed them in the first game. Within the first fifteen minutes, they’d already killed Deft twice and Zeka once, besides nabbing a tower, a dragon, and a herald.
Ruler laid waste to them, killing Pyosik, kingen, Zeka and Deft again to clear the way before taking the top nexus himself with the aid of Chovy and Doran. It was all over in 30 minutes.
DRX seal best-of-five after trailing 0-1 in the semi-final vs Gen.G
DRX played it cool the next game, showing intent to farm and gain advantage as they have done so many times in this tournament. Aside from Ruler taking out BeryL right at the start, the first twenty saw no kills but GG were ahead with two dragons, two towers and a herald.
A skirmish saw Deft and kingen take out Peanut and Lehends, and from there they gradually pulled the game back, grabbing eight towers and five dragons in total. The third game had a rather more lively start, with DRX taking 11 kills in the first 15 minutes, Pyosik accounting for three of them.
A triple kill at the 23-minute mark by Zeka took care of Ruler, Peanut and Chovy; by then DRX had a solid lead. Superstar Zeka ended the game with seven kills and took out the top nexus himself.
DRX went into the fourth game with a two-match lead. This match was mostly even up until the 20th minute, after which Pyosik went on a rampage. He got rid of Peanut and Doran, then grabbed two barons and a dragon to set up the resurgent DRX with an unassailable lead.
Destruction from Zeka, Deft, and Pyosik turned the series on its head, all of whom accounted for 13 of DRX’s total 15 kills and broke records that have stood since the Worlds was first instituted in 2011. Whether they walk away from the grand final as winners or runners-up, it takes nothing away from everything they’ve achieved at Worlds so far.
T1 are on the verge of making history
T1 were always one of the title contenders heading into the tournament but were somehow underdogs among the LoL Worlds favorites – most fans thought they would probably be outclassed by the likes of the LCK winners GG, or the LPL’s JD Gaming and Top Esports.
But at the end of the day it’s T1 who have gone the distance, while all the other three League of Legends Worlds teams are nowhere on the map.
We can devote an entire thesis to Faker, but here’s a quick summary of this season’s achievements: he has become the first to play 100 games at the Worlds, and got the most kills at Worlds – 353 – when he slayed Sylas of Cloud9 to surpass the previous record-holder Uzi.
He has been part of four finals – and three World championship victories – as well as two semi-finals. Faker’s now about to create history by attending his fifth World final.
T1 toy with JD after conceding 1-0 lead
T1’s semi-finals followed the same trajectory as DRX’s. While the odds weren’t exactly stacked against them in their match-up against JD gaming, they always leaned toward the latter.
But they, too, stole three games in a row and the series after conceding a lead in an incredible comeback. A team fight in the 26th minute saw T1 taking the lead, two double kills by Zeus, setting them well up to even the score. They steadily pulled ahead in team fights and tower attacks, and Zeus took the bot bonus in the 34th minute.
Game three started out on a much more bloody note, witnessing 12 kills within the first ten minutes as JD sought to take back their lead. Things were tight right up until the 30th minute, with neither team willing to step back from the offense. Gumayusi went on destruct mode in the final team fight, taking out Kanavi, Yagao and Missing, while Zeus and Faker went for the last remaining towers and nexus.
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The adrenaline was visibly pumping in game four, with T1 needing just one more win to seal their final spot and JD starting to panic. But while they put up a fight at the start, it all went south for JD after the first ten minutes.
They were flattened in the team fight around the mid tower, and T1 were able to seize it easily. Gumayusi’s triple kill saw 369, Hope, and Missing all taken out, and Oner could take the baron. This game was short and brutal, T1 taking 30 kills and ten towers to wrap up the game in the 25th minute.
LCK teams showcase quality, LPL favorites fizzle out
The Korea-based teams have been a class apart at the LoL Worlds 2022. All four LCK representatives made it to the playoffs, and two of them will square off at the Grand Final.
GG were dominant throughout the round robin, and for a while it looked like 2022 was going to be the year they secured both their maiden LCK title, as well as their first Worlds title. But their struggle to get past DWG in the quarterfinals shed a cloud over those hopes, and they crumbled in the semifinals against DRX.
A lot was riding on the four LPL representatives, but one by one, they all dropped out of the race. Surprisingly Top Esports was the first to go at the group stage, one of the biggest upsets in a tournament that’s been full of them, while Edward Gaming and Royal Never Give Up crashed out of the quarterfinals.
JD Gaming was the LPL’s last hope, but T1 stood firmly in the way. No one has been able to match the LCK’s quality and depth, and it’s quite fitting that two of their teams will face each other for the Worlds title.