How Zeka emerged as a star amid DRX’s world championship run

DRX was meant to be a rebuilding team full of hopeful rookies and retreads from other teams with minimal fanfare. The highlight of the team was supposed to be Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu playing out the rest of his storied career before moving on to military duty, retirement, or just an indefinite hiatus from professional play. DRX was supposed to bow out against Chinese League of Legends Pro League (LPL) behemoths and superior teams who regularly beat them in League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) after qualifying in the play-ins. They were supposed to drown in groups.

Instead, DRX are the world champions of League of Legends. Deft placed the icing on the cake of their storied career with the biggest prize of them all and the rest of the roster received their well-deserved flowers. And yet, after all that, it was one of those rebuilding pieces that had the potential to be great that emerged as the star of the team and the best story of the entire competition: the 19-year-old mid laner. year-old Kim “Zeka” Geon -wooing.

Register for the next Nerd Street tournament!

The soft-spoken teenager was the catalyst for his team’s success throughout the League of Legends World Championship. The team’s momentum in fights long after the laning phase almost depended on the playing ability of their inexperienced mid laner. While most of the credit goes to the meticulous scouting and training in the DRX camp, Zeka’s emergence as one of the best mid laners in the world seemingly happened overnight, and no of his big game abilities only seemed like a fluke.

Zeka raises the all-new Summoner’s Cup. Photo credit: Colin Young-Wolff / Riot Games

The first step to success for Zeka was the comfort choices. Throughout the tournament, DRX was careful to select specific champions to ensure their star player felt comfortable. He played 13 Ahri games during the LCK Summer Split, so she became a symbol of strength for him. Akali, Sylas, and Azir did the same despite inconsistent win rates throughout the year. He needed the necessary control and understanding of the champions he mastered to forget that there was an important tournament match going on and it showed. Whether it was his chase and mic with Sylas or his plays and assault with Akali, Zeka played like it was nothing.

“Everything was a first time for me, and every moment has meaning for me. I am so happy,” Zeka said. “My confidence comes from all the good words from my teammates and the coaching staff.”

Read more: DRX finishes Cinderella’s run and beats T1 in 2022 Worlds final

His second important factor in growing within the tournament is to understand and learn from the competition. Talking about it, he admitted that he learned from all his opponents while playing then. Despite nerfs or last few misses or even outright loss of lane, he knew there was always something to be gained, and he had veteran leadership behind him to remind him to keep pushing forward. Drafts every second game or a loss reflect a champion he was proficient at despite having match knowledge or lane advantages. But the desire to learn from his peers was paramount to his rapid improvement.

He not only survived a row of opposing mid laner assassins, he thrived and destroyed them. The list included: Zhuo “knight” Ding from Top Esports, Lee “Scout” Ye-chan from EDward Gaming, Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon from General G, and finally, the greatest of all time: Lee “Faker” Sang- of T1 hyeok.

Chovy and Zeka come out before their teams semi-final. Photo credit: Chris Betancourt / Riot Games

It was his first Worlds and he faced the greatest player in the game’s history, Faker, and in a grand final no less. Difficult cannot begin to describe the task. His relentless pressure and macro play with Sylas and then the knockout blow with Azir hasn’t been the show stealer of previous series, but he has more than held his own against one of the game’s greatest players. is thanks to his pressure and confidence to push forward in fights for a chase or one more engagement that allowed DRX to bully T1. In his post-game interview after DRX took care of Gen.G, a team that destroyed them time and time again, he was quick to point out that his confidence and fearlessness in the game stemmed from encouragement. of the coaching staff and the team.

Read more: Worlds 2022: The best players in each position

This was after bullying one of the best technical players in the game in the mid lane, Chovy. He spoke into the mic without hesitation and didn’t stutter when he thanked his teammates.

Chovy spoke about his young competition in the mid lane saying, “I always thought he was a talented and strong player. His biggest improvement was his ability to outdo himself during Worlds.

Whatever made him want to go solo for a final carry or press further without vision and isolate the baselines or punish an overextend in the mid lane to take full control of the wave of creep was due to the combination of the biggest green light in League. of Legends history and the trust his teammates had in him, especially Deft.

Deft and Zeka were interviewed together after their semi-final victory. Photo credit: Colin Young-Wolff / Riot Games

“I respect Deft for everything he does and I have to learn from everything he does,” Zeka said.

He’s a man of few words, but a champion of the game, nonetheless. Victory against T1 could ultimately be his coming out party, but the best can yet come for the LCK’s newest gem. This could be the start of a new era in the middle lane in Korea.

Main photo credit: Colin Young-Wolff / Riot Games

Leave a Comment