‘Should have been easier’: DRX stagger into VCT Pacific grand final after game full of blunders

A chaotic marathon of a series.

DRX's BuZz holds up a fist on the VCT Pacific stage after DRX's win over T1.
Image via Riot Games/VCT Pacific.

With all 12 teams participating in VCT Masters Tokyo finally decided, all that’s left is to crown the champions in each of the three regions. Today in VCT Pacific, DRX got one step closer to lifting the league’s trophy, though it wasn’t an easy match.

DRX has never fallen out of the top spot through the regular season of VCT Pacific, but their loss to Paper Rex last week sent them to the lower bracket final in the playoffs.

The Korean team faced off against T1, another team based in Seoul, who have made incredible strides in the last half of the regular season. Today’s match went the distance, but DRX were able to narrowly finish it off 3-2.

The biggest news before the start of the match was that DRX would be returning to their original five-man roster for the opening map, taking out struggling youngster Foxy9 for veteran Zest.

In the post-match press conference, the team said that playing with Zest is naturally more comfortable for them since they have three years of experience with the same five-man squad.

Despite the celebrations on stage, DRX admitted they had some issues today.

“The match should have been easier than how we played, so I’m disappointed,” BuZz said in the post-match press conference via a translator.

MaKo also mentioned the buildup of mistakes in the game, which caused a lot of chaos.

“I’m sure the fans had fun,” he said.

DRX truly went back to their roots for this entire series, and they looked like an improved version of their LOCK//IN selves from earlier this year.

The series began on Ascent with a classic mirror composition that has almost completely solidified itself as the map’s meta. For DRX, BuZz went back on Jett, with Zest filling the initiator spot and playing Sova.

Coming into only his third match since the LOCK//IN tournament, Zest looked like he hadn’t missed a day on stage. His reaction time was crisp, and he wasn’t letting anything catch him off guard.

Arguably the biggest clutch of the day came just before the start of the second half, where MaKo once again flaunted his genius with one of the best Omen teleports we’ve seen all year. His clutch down 1v2 was just the cherry on top.

Despite being down 9-3 at the half, T1 ended up mounting a huge comeback and took Ascent, which was DRX’s map pick, 13-11. This map went on to set the tone for the entire series, as the action didn’t let up at all. DRX broke back on Fracture, taking a 13-11 win of their own.

After each team took their opponent’s map pick, DRX was dialed in for Haven, and put up another excellent 9-3 half. BuZz netted an absolutely massive ace, and DRX looked as good as ever on a map that used to be known as their main stomping ground. They went on to win the map, not letting the curse take hold, with yet another 13-11 scoreline.

As expected, T1 went with their “pizza slice” composition on Bind, which features Carpe on Gekko. This was the only map in the series that felt like a one-sided venture, as DRX made some seriously uncharacteristic mistakes here. From watching the wrong angle to peeking at the wrong time, not a single member of DRX ended up with a positive KDA on Bind. T1 took the map 13-6, sending the series to a decider on Pearl.

One of T1’s gravest mistakes today may have come before play even started on map five. In the aforementioned “pizza slice” strategy, which T1 had used just minutes before to dismantle Korea’s top team, xeta usually plays Viper, and ban plays Harbor. On Pearl, the two flipped their agent picks.

Though T1 were able to get the spike down on a regular basis, they kept falling short in the post-plants, with multiple rounds in the second half where DRX got defuses off while enemy players were still alive.

Sayaplayer still tried his best to keep his team alive and put up a huge ace in round nineteen, but it was too little, too late. DRX took Pearl 13-9 and advanced to the VCT Pacific grand final, a rematch against Paper Rex, starting 2 am CT.

About the author
Nadine Manske

Nadine is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She covers VALORANT and Overwatch with a focus on the Asia-Pacific region and marginalized genders in esports. Before joining Dot Esports as a freelance writer, she interned at Gen.G Esports and the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her favorite Pokémon is Quagsire.