Why every VALORANT fan should be paying close attention to DRX’s Pacific dominance

If you haven't been watching VCT Pacific, it's time to start.

Photo by Lance Skundrich/Riot Games

Few VALORANT teams around the world have been as powerful this year as South Korea’s DRX. The team has a long history in the game and has continued to build up its consistency to the point of complete dominance in the new VCT Pacific League.

DRX’s consistency becomes even more impressive when we look at teams in the other two leagues, where players and organizations have struggled to adapt to the VCT’s new structure. Even some other teams with similar rosters and organizational practices have failed to adjust to franchising.

So what is the secret to DRX’s consistency and linear improvement? And how much should teams in EMEA and America fear the Korean star roster?

Photo by Colin Young-Wolff via Riot Games

First, it’s important for English-speaking audiences, who may not be able to watch VCT Pacific matches due to the time zone, to understand just how powerful DRX has been in the Pacific League.

Until week five, the squad hadn’t even dropped one map.

DRX’s first map loss came against Gen.G, a newly established team that moved the longstanding organization’s VALORANT home base from North America to Seoul after franchising. Gen.G has been looking incredibly strong, and some of their players previously went through DRX’s system before there were more Korean teams in the VCT circuit.

DRX’s second map loss came this week against RRQ, but they still won the match overall and defeated the Indonesian team in the third map with a 13-2 scoreline.

DRX was formerly known as Vision Strikers, and they were one of the first teams not from a Western country to get heads turning on the international VALORANT stage. The Korean team went up against some of the best American and European teams in 2021, which at that time mostly featured former CS:GO professionals.

Vision Strikers signed with DRX in January of 2022, and the roster hasn’t undergone any major changes since then. The steady roster allows players to build in-game chemistry and friendships in everyday life. This is just one part of the puzzle that has allowed them to stay at the top for so long.

DRX has a clear communication structure and procedure when they get on the VCT stage. Their in-game leader, Stax, is one of the best in the business, but the organization emphasizes that communication goes far beyond the players themselves.

Photo by Colin Young-Wolff via Riot Games

“The most important thing for us has always been clear and transparent communication between players, coaching staff, and the general staff,” said Can Yang, DRX VALORANT’s CEO. “The meta doesn’t only change in VALORANT, but also for our players’ daily lives.”

This has allowed the roster to grow together through the transition from the old VCT structure to the weekly matches in a franchised league. This already puts them ahead of teams that came together for the first time in the aftermath of franchising in late 2022.

But besides their core roster—Stax, MaKo, BuZz, Zest, and Rb—DRX has also slowly been bringing in new talent to make the team even better.

If you haven’t gotten a chance to tune in to any of DRX’s recent Pacific League matches, you might not even know who Foxy9 is. The young player is the newest Korean VALORANT star who has finally appeared on stage after a long wait. Though he was signed to DRX at the end of 2022 and traveled with the team to LOCK//IN, he didn’t play a map in the professional league until March.

Foxy9 is just 18 and has shined with his fearless playstyle. On stage, he looks like he isn’t afraid of anything. He has slowly been coming in for Zest on certain maps for DRX and has been dubbed “the new Korean Jett.”

“DRX is always looking to grow our talent as a team by primarily focusing on what each player needs at a specific time,” Yang said. “Additionally, as you may have seen in one of our social media posts, we are also keen on scouting for new prospects and will not shy away from spending our resources when it comes to their development.”

Aside from the resources being funneled into the staff and players behind the scenes, DRX is also devoted to the team’s fanbase. Now that the VCT Pacific has a physical home at the S-Plex Center in Seoul, DRX fans gather every week to cheer the team on.

DRX’s fan meeting after their match against Gen.G gathered a large crowd, with fans waiting in line late into the night.

So what’s next for DRX as they continue their season towards Masters Tokyo?

The team looks like they are nearly guaranteed a spot at the major VCT event in June as long as they continue to succeed through the playoffs. There hasn’t been another team in VCT Pacific that has even come close to looking so strong. Even though Gen.G took one map off of DRX, the scoreline was a close 13-10, and DRX still won the match with a 13-7 and 13-4 on the other two maps. Gen.G, largely considered the second-best team in the Pacific, could barely keep up with DRX.

Every other match for DRX has been a cakewalk.

Through this streak of impressive matches, DRX has continued to set high goals.

“In terms of our goals for the season, it was initially to win the entire VCT Pacific League without dropping a map,” Yang said. “Of course, during our match against Gen.G Esports, that goal was shattered, so we are a little bit disappointed.”

Yang said the team’s new goal is now to win every one of their Pacific League matches, aiming for a perfect season. Though he didn’t mention anything about Masters Tokyo, it’s likely the team will again set lofty goals for themselves there, too: the Americas and EMEA should be paying attention to the Korean team bulldozing through their opposition here in Seoul.

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.