The 23-year-old departs the Korean powerhouse after initially being placed on the transfer list in December last year.
SOUTH KOREA – Kim “Zest” Gi-seok is no longer a part of DRX through mutual agreement and has entered free agency for the first time in his VALORANT career, as announced by the Seoul-based organization on Twitter. “Through mutual agreement, Zest’s contract with DRX has been terminated, and is now available as a free agent. To our founding member who gave it his all every day, we thank you sincerely for everything Zest.”
The move puts an end to a 43-month-long partnership between Zest and the Vision Strikers core, which allows him to explore his options in the market ahead of the new season without a buyout. His departure not only leaves Kim “stax” Gu-taek as the sole remaining original member of the historic Vision Strikers roster but also introduces a change in the team’s dynamics, as coach Kim “glow” Min-soo is set to step into the reserve role according to the recent update from the Global Contract Database.
This is the latest in a series of updates regarding the DRX roster, starting with the inclusion of Cho “Flashback” Min-hyuk and the benching of Goo “Rb” Sang-min and Zest, effectively downsizing their roster to just five playing members.
Zest, who was named APAC’s 17th Best Player at VALO2ASIA Awards 2023, has been an integral part of the DRX team since its inception as Vision Strikers in June 2020 where he would spend the following four seasons attending a total of six international tournaments and reaching a peak of a second runners-up at VALORANT Champions Istanbul 2022. He is one of the most successful players to touch the game to this day, as he helped shape Vision Strikers’ legacy with an impressive streak of 103 consecutive wins during the first year of VALORANT.
The departure of Zest from DRX follows the team’s struggle to replicate past international showings, where a 7-8th finish at VALORANT Masters Tokyo contributed to the slip down in rankings. DRX showed some encouraging signs at Champions Los Angeles, in which they took a map off of EMEA powerhouse FNATIC in a dominating fashion before Rb and Zest were absent in the following two OFF//SEASON tournaments.
As one of the most decorated Korean players to date, Zest has not revealed his next career move yet. However, he is currently registered for the upcoming Challengers Korea Split 1 Qualifier as part of a mixed team called ‘IAM’ that includes former F4Q trio members Chae “Bunny” Joon-hyuk, Kim “Efina” Nak-yeon, and Ahn “DoenmO” Seung-won.
DRX are now:
- 🇰🇷 Kim “stax” Gu-taek
- 🇰🇷 Yu “BuZz” Byung-chul
- 🇰🇷 Kim “MaKo” Myeong-kwan
- 🇰🇷 Jung “Foxy9” Jae-sung
- 🇰🇷 Cho “Flashback” Min-hyuk
- 🇰🇷 Pyeon “termi” Seon-ho (Head coach)
- 🇰🇷 Kim “glow” Min-soo (Coach/Reserve Player)
- 🇰🇷 Kwon “Argency” Soon-woo (Coach)
Cover photo courtesy of Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games