Members of DRX shared their thoughts in a press conference after the VCT LOCK//IN semi-final match versus LOUD.
BRAZIL – LOUD, the reigning world champions from Brazil who have been on an incredible run of form since late last year, eliminated DRX in a series that lasted all the way to the fifth map last night, 3-2 (Pearl 13-5, Icebox 13-8, Split 7-13, Fracture 7-13, Ascent 13-8). Despite losing the match, DRX showed incredible resilience by rallying from a 0-2 deficit to equalize the series at 2-2 before falling short on the final map.
After the match, DRX attended a post-match press conference to share their thoughts on the experience of playing in São Paulo, key takeaways from the event, and future plans for the starting lineup.
“I felt like we were kind of in the middle of a football stadium with so much energy and just a lot of love from the fans,” Byung-chul “BuZz” Yu said when asked about the Brazilian crowd at LOCK//IN, highlighting the impact that the crowd had on the team, with their enthusiasm and support being truly incredible. “Despite the loss, it was a great opportunity to meet the fans, build experience, and have great memories.”
Moreover, the DRX team shared their thoughts on their overall evaluation of the match and the takeaways they gained throughout their stay in Brazil. In particular, head coach Seon-ho “termi” Pyeon explained that they learned a lot and had numerous takeaways to build on. He also shared his reasoning for putting a bold prediction earlier that DRX would reach the semi-finals, saying that the big moment was after they defeated C9.
“We thought other matches would be easier, and I felt like if we defeated LOUD today, we could possibly win the whole thing, so it’s a little bit of a bummer that didn’t happen today. And even [though this is a kickoff tournament], we learned a lot, and we had a lot of takeaways.” termi said.
Kim “stax” Gu-taek also mentioned they were able to compare themselves against other teams from other regions and “had a better understanding of the meta and the compositions that other teams would be running in the future.” He also stated that the Pacific league would be tough, with strong contenders, and it would either be that they would dominate or have a tough time.
One of the interesting questions was asked by Declan Mclaughlin of Dexerto about DRX’s starting lineup moving forward and whether Kim “Zest” Gi-seok would continue to be part of it. “No, not at all,” termi stated that nothing has been set in stone as of yet. Moreover, he underlined that the possibility of switching out players is not limited to Zest alone, as any player might be subbed in or out.
“We’re still trying different things with Zest, Jung “Foxy9” Jae-sung, and the roster [as a whole]. It isn’t only applied to Zest; anyone could be switched out or subbed in. Foxy9 could just be subbed in for any players on the team.”
This decision to utilize Zest grabbed the public’s attention, particularly after a prior interview between Yinsu Collins and stax suggested that Zest would be moved to a sixth-man position to allow Foxy9 to “play 99.9%”. This decision seems to have been overturned by the head coach.
When asked to elaborate on his reasoning behind choosing Zest over Foxy9 in a pre-event press conference, termi explained that the team has been scrimming extensively with Foxy9 since he joined the roster, indicating that the initial intention was to have him as part of the starting five. However, the 36-year-old believes that the 2022 lineup with Zest has performed well in the past, including the recent second runners-up placement at Champions 2022. In his view, the roster is still stable and consistent, and he does not believe they lack anything that would require a change.
“Well, we have been scrimming a lot with Foxy9 ever since he joined our roster, but from what I think, we did pretty well last year, finishing third in Champions, and I do not think that our roster lacks anything. We are stable, and we are consistent.”
Continuing with the tournament, LOUD has secured their place in the grand final on Sunday, and the last spot will be determined tonight between Natus Vincere and FNATIC. “All of them are really strong teams,” BuZz commented. “They are all really solid teams. So I think it just depends on who had the better breakfast, who had a better sleep the day before, and who’s really feeling it on the day [to win the tournament].”
Cover photo courtesy of Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games