DRX have surpassed their previous best finish in an international Valorant Champions Tour tournament. The Korean esports franchise have advanced to the semifinals after defeating Fnatic in a reverse sweep.
While both franchises have attended almost all international VCT tournaments, they have both never won the tournament. Fnatic never seemed to go past second place, and DRX, on the other hand, have always struggled to move higher than the playoffs. DRX have seemingly put an end to their top-six curse.
During the first map of the series, Icebox, DRX noticeably struggled against Fnatic’s efforts. However, the actions of their two star players, Yu “BuZz” Byung-Chul and Goo “Rb” Sang-min, helped the team finish the other two maps strongly with a 2-1 win.
Icebox was Fnatic’s map pick to kick the game off with. The British esports had previously suffered a loss to FURIA on the map during the tournament’s group stage. However, the map has been a strong pick for the team this year.
Fnatic were able to put up a better performance on the map against DRX, who had yet to play Icebox at the Champions and had only played it a handful of times in the entirety of the 2022 season.
The EMEA came into the map strong and had Nikita “Derke” Sirmitev start off the pistol round with a 4K. By the third round, his champion, Chamber, had secured his ultimate.
DRX did not go down without a fight on the map, despite Fnatic’s four-round lead. Halfway into the map, the Korean team were able to reduce the gap between their opponents with a 7-5 scoreline. DRX were unable to keep up their performance in the second half and only added two more rounds to their score, with Fnatic winning the match 13-7.
The 20-year old Fnatic player, James “Mistic” Orfila, gave an impressive performance during the map. He made the difference in a number of situations with his supportive gameplay and executed his Sage walls on the map expertly.
The second map, Ascent, was DRX’s pick. The match saw the teams include Jett when deciding their composition, despite the duelist being unpopular during the VCT Champions.
Emir Ali “Alfajer” Beder was Fnatic’s star player for this match, as evidenced by the audience’s continuous chant of the player’s name. In addition to playing in his home country, Alfajer also out-fragged Derke.
Despite Fnatic being the obvious crowd favorite and them winning in the previous match, DRX ended up winning the map with a 14-12 score after forcing an overtime. The victory can be attributed to the efforts of BuZz and Kim “MaKo” Myeong-Kwan, who earned both wins for the team during overtime.
The third map, Fracture, saw DRX in even better form, and the team earned a pistol round win on defense. With the use of Chamber, BuZz carried on his impressive play while Rb aggressively used Neon during the map.
Alfajer also made use of Neon, but he was unable to make as much of an impact as Rb with the agent. Fnatic tried to keep up with DRX’s play in the second half by shuffling rounds, but Alfajer’s lack of impact with his agent proved disastrous for the team.
DRX won three rounds consecutively during the map and ended it with a 13-9 scoreline. Rb also notably reached a 21/15 KDA at the end of the map. The team closed the series against Fnatic with a 2-1 score and were able to go further than their previous finishes in an international VCT tournament.
DRX will take on FunPlus Phoenix in the lower bracket semifinal fixture on September 16. The top Esport betting sites has DRX pegged as the close favorite to win the game with $1.86 odds. A win for the Korean side will see them edge closer to the grand finals.