Where VALORANT goes, DRX follows. With the chance to play in front of the crowd at VALORANT Champions Tour Masters Copenhagen on the line, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that DRX would get the job done and secure playoffs. Their three match bout against FunPlus Phoenix ended with the South Korean side jumping out of their chairs in excitement.
With the win, DRX continue their undefeated Stage 2 streak during VCT Stage 2. Regionally, the South Korean powerhouse didn’t drop a single map. FPX have been the only team capable of bloodying the juggernauts. DRX also continue their streak of making playoffs at international Masters events.
Still, the one thing that’s eluded DRX is a deep playoffs run on LAN. At Masters Copenhagen, it could just be their chance to erase that narrative.
“I know there’s some misconception about our team that our team is only focused on set plays and being tactical as a team, but we’re trying to be more flexible and we’re training that way,” DRX coach Seon-ho “termi” Pyeon said in a post-match press conference. “Because of that flexibility and creativity, I think we’re going to go further this time.”
Misconception or otherwise, DRX have come to be defined by a certain play style. The team relies heavily on Kim “stax” Gu-taek’s initiators — Breach, KAY/O and Skye — to set up their strategies.
“They are a really good team,” Mathias “SEIDER” Seider, FPX’s substitute at Masters Copenhagen, said. “Super good at using their utility. Very structured.”
In contrast to his temporary teammate, FPX’s veteran leader Kyrylo “ANGE1” Karasov wasn’t impressed by DRX’s gameplay during the best of three.
“It was hard, but it wasn’t because they are good,” he said. “I think they just got lucky we didn’t have enough time to prepare. … There’s nothing surprising. Their meta is like the European meta some time ago.”
FPX vs. DRX
On Haven, the first map of the Group B upper bracket series between FPX and DRX, FPX’s Andrey “Shao” Kiprsky put forward a massive performance that helped propel his team to victory. The 22-year-old Russian found consistent impact through multi-kills and clutches.
“I used to play LANs before,” Shao said. “Playing games, everything’s simple.”
It was the first map DRX have dropped a map throughout the entire VCT stage. Unfortunately for FPX, they weren’t able to replicate their success on the next two maps, both of which DRX took 13-6.
“I strongly believe we learn more from the defeats than the wins,” DRX’s Kim “Zest” Gi-seok said. “I think we were supposed to win [Haven], but unfortunately we lost it. We’re going to recover and learn much more from it, and we’re not going to let anyone take our maps.”
FPX still have a chance to recover and secure playoffs. They go on to play the decider match in Group B, facing off against the winner of XERXIA — who they already narrowly beat in a best-of-three — against Northeption.
“I don’t think we care who we play,” ANGE1 said. “Any way, it’s going to be the better team because they’re playing each other. XERXIA is fun to play against.”
As for DRX, they’re sitting pretty as they wait for the Masters Copenhagen playoffs. The extra time will be helpful to prepare for some of the strong teams they may have to face, most of whom they’ve already played on the world stage before.
Tensions are already brewing between DRX and Paper Rex as the prospect of the two teams facing off once more becomes more and more likely. DRX have consistently gotten the better of the Singaporean team in their previous meetings.
“I want to face Paper Rex again because I’m familiar with the team,” Yu “BuZz” Byung-chul said. “I think it’s time we face them again and defeat them.”