Mako opens up about the changes in the team and their mentality as they mounted an amazing comeback on Ascent.

DRX debut match at Valorant Champions Istanbul saw them mount a very improbable comeback against FURIA. Down 4-12 in the first map, DRX won 8 rounds in a row to take Ascent to overtime. And then they won the map. Coming in as one of the strongest teams at VCT Champs Istanbul, early glimpses of their gameplay should be warning signals for their opponents. A recent role swap on the roster has unlocked more firepower and better chances of victory for the South Korean roster. Esports.gg’s Rohan Samal caught up with DRX Kim “MaKo” Myeong-kwan after their 2-0 victory over FURIA.

Rohan: Congrats on the win MaKo. Ascent was one of the most exciting map I’ve ever seen in Valorant. How was the team’s mentality as you guys mounted that 4-12 comeback, one round away from a loss

MaKo: Well first, when we were 9-3 down in the first half we thought we have to win the pistol round in the second half because or else it’s going to slip out of our hands and it’s going to cost us the first map. But then we didn’t end up winning those pistol rounds and I think it was 3-11 down and the second half so you know, we thought we were going to lose and it felt like everyone was just kind of giving up on the first map, ready to go into the second one. And we didn’t have high expectations for Ascent at that point. 

But then we also have a history of making huge comebacks from 3-11 in the past. So maybe we thought why not give it a shot. It’s not like we have something to lose, we’re probably going to lose this anyways. But as soon as we let the pressure kind of brush off on us it started going really well and then we ended up winning the first map and the series of course.

We have a history of making huge comebacks from 3-11 in the past. So maybe we thought why not give it a shot. It’s not like we have something to lose, we’re probably going to lose this anyways.

DRX Mako on the team’s comeback after being down 4-12.

Rohan: You talk about how you guys were almost ready to accept defeat in map one but then the comeback just happened and you went on with it. Who is the player on the team that keeps motivating you don’t give up you know let’s continue don’t give up?

MaKo: Well, surprisingly it was Stax that actually said those words you know. ‘Let’s just give up, you know, give it up. And let’s play the next map.’ But I don’t think he meant it in a really direct way. It was like him telling us that you know we got nothing to lose. So let’s try our best and try to win as many rounds as possible.

Post-Match Celebrations

Rohan: Yeah, speaking of Stax, after the map 1 he stood up and he were shouting ‘vamos’ loudly to the opponents? We also saw him shadowbox Onur style. Talk to me about the story behind that – did you guys think about those celebrations before the match?

MaKo: No, we don’t really prepare those celebrations or those reactions. But it’s just that we got so inspired by some of the coaching staff being really animated with their reactions. For example it was Guild esports and also the Leviatán coaching staff yesterday. So, I think for Stax, it was on the fly but he got really inspired and he wanted to do the same as well.

Rohan: You know the first map towards the end I think it is overtime, the score being 12-13 and BuZz on his Jett just went in mid and he got four kills. That risky play seemed to speak volumes about his confidence? How was he feeling during the match? 

MaKo: Well, I think in the first half, it took a little bit of time for him to come online so we saw him kind of losing his confidence a little bit. So we told him that you know, don’t worry about it we’re there for you just do what you usually do and go frag, go grab some kills and pop heads and he did exactly that. And you know, it kind of snowballed from there and then you know, we ended up winning the first map.

The Rb and BuZz role swap

Rohan: So recently Rb and bars have changed the rules on the team. And obviously BuZz looks incredible, we saw it in the series today. But how has the team structure changed around these role changes and is there anything that specifically affects MaKowith these changes?

MaKo: Well, it doesn’t affect me that much. It hasn’t really changed the structure of how we play. But I think that, you know, those two Rb and BuZz went through a lot of changes, too. And the reasons as to why we started implementing those changes with those two was because we wanted more firepower, and we thought BuZz  could provide us with that. And also, it’s just Rb is a super flexible player, he can play whatever is needed.

What this role swap does for us is that we can be more aggressive and we have a lot more options when we’re kind of taking over the map, entering the site and looking for those picks

DRX Mako on Buzz-rb role swap

And we felt like Rb had better understanding of other champions, compared to BuZz and you know, BuZz also used to play duelist as well. So we thought those changes and the role swaps might be appropriate for us and it seemed to work. And what this role swap does for us is that we can be more aggressive and we have a lot more options when we’re kind of taking over the map, entering the site and looking for those picks. And, you know, it just affects a lot on how many options we have in terms of our execution.

DRX MaKo: “I think the teams that did not have to go to LCQ, the teams that already qualified before LCQ probably prepared a little bit for Pearl, but I don’t think most teams are super prepped for this map”

Kim “MaKo” Myeong-kwan of DRX competes at VALORANT Champions 2022 Istanbul Groups Stage on September 2, 2022 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

Rohan: I want to talk to you a bit about Pearl which is being played in international events for the first time at VCT Champs.  What are your thoughts on Pearl? Is it balanced competitively and what changes would you like to see on the map?

MaKo: Well, personally, since there’s not much footage of Pearl from other teams, I really think, in the beginning, it’s going to revolve around more aims and shots and stuff like that and duels as well. And in general, in the competitive scene, I think, because there’s not a lot of footage, it’s going to be very interesting. And a lot of teams here will be hiding Pearl for a while, as well.

So it would be a very bold move to kind of pull that out early in the Champions.. And I think the teams that did not have to go to LCQ, the teams that already qualified before LCQ probably prepared a little bit for Pearl, but I don’t think most teams are super prepped for this map.

Rohan: Maybe DRX will pull out Pearl in the tournament?

MaKo: Oh yeah ofcourse! We’re always ready.

Rohan: Your next match will be against the winner of 100 Thieves and fanatic Which team do you want to face next?

MaKo: Well, personally, I would say Fnatic. You know, I really want to take them down but thinking logistically and realistically I think going up against 100Thieves would be a lot better for the team.

Featured Image Credit: Valorant esports twitter.

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Rohan - Content Editor

Rohan

Content Editor | Twitter: @rohan_esports | Twitch: rohan_3105

Started esports with Dota, moved to CS, then OW, back to Dota 2 and now a bit of Valorant. I love city-building games, have spent hours in Cities:Skylines only to have the traffic defeat me. Love travelling, an admirer of fine movies, writing a sci-fi novel in spare time and coding (Javascript)