Liiv SANDBOX upsets DRX in first series of 2022 LCK Spring Split

Dove looks at home in the top lane.

Photo via Riot Games

The 2022 LCK Spring Split, South Korea’s League of Legends competitive season, kicked off with an unexpected win by Liiv SANDBOX over DRX today.

While DRX started the series in a dominant fashion, they faltered during the mid game when the team got picked off several times by SANDBOX players, who showed strong coordination and vision control. SANDBOX came back from an almost insurmountable 7,600-gold disadvantage and won the game following a crucial teamfight during the late game.

The second game followed a similar scenario, without the massive gold gap. While DRX took the advantage again during the early stage of the game, SANDBOX quickly gained the edge. The team was efficient with drake control and had strong engages spearheaded by jungler Croco on Xin Zhao in the mid game, who was voted MVP of the second game.

Screengrab via Riot Games

In this series, SANDBOX displayed strong mechanical skill and took the fans by surprise with efficient team play despite being a newly formed roster. Dove, who roleswapped from the mid lane to the top lane, was key to the team’s success with a strong performance on Tryndamere.

He was voted MVP of the first game and showed the coaching staff’s trust. “Our coach told me [to pick Tryndamere] so I did,” he said in the post-match interview. “I just pick whatever he tells me, even in scrims.”

SANDBOX’s coaching staff was improved from the last season with the signing of former world champion PawN, who likely contributed to the team’s winning performance today.

DRX showed strong individual skill throughout the series but had a lack of team coordination, which cost them both games. Top laner Kingen was picked on the sidelanes at times and was absent from crucial teamfights. They successfully narrowed the gold gap in the second game by playing it safe and punishing SANDBOX’s mistakes, but it wasn’t enough to tie the score.

DRX will have a chance to redeem themselves when they face off against Gen.G on Friday, Jan. 14. SANDBOX will look to continue their streak against Nongshim RedForce on Saturday, Jan. 15.