If Deft is to bow out, what better way to do it than winning your first Worlds title?
In just over 13 hours, two Korean powerhouses in T1 and DRX will step onto the stage at the Chase Center in San Francisco, California. Both teams had to overcome many demons to reach the pinnacle which is the World Championship finals.
For one player, this 2022 event could be his last. Deft is rumored to be hanging up his keyboard and mouse at the end of the season, leaving behind a storied Korea as one of the best players in history. Ahead of the finals, Esports.gg's Jordan Marney got the opportunity to hear from Deft.
Deft remains coy on retirement
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 23: Kim "Deft" Hyuk-kyu (L) and Hong "Pyosik" Chang-hyeon of DRX react onstage after victory against Edward Gaming at the League of Legends World Championship Quarterfinals on October 23, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)
One of the biggest stories surrounding the 2022 World Championship was the status of legendary AD Carry Deft. Many have considered this tournament to be Deft's 'Last Dance'. If he is to bow out after this event, then he would have done so in style. Deft finally achieved his goal of reaching a League of Legends World Championship final.
Now, all that stands in his way of clinching his first world championship is T1 and Faker, the greatest of all time, who is fighting for an unprecedented fourth championship - his third on North American soil. When asked about his future, Deft remained coy on the prospect of retirement as he acknowledges his accomplishments in 2022.
I don't know about retirement yet because I felt a lot of accomplishment as a player this year. If I don't have the confidence to play as I do now next year, I think I'll stop because its a nuisance to other players.
How DRX put together a strong Worlds 2022
It is safe to say no one would have predicted DRX to be competing in the finals at Worlds. The roster is filled with strong players across the board, but there was no spark that put them over the edge in comparison to other rosters in the LCK and also LPL.
It went as far as teams such as KT Rolster and Liiv SANDBOX favored ahead of them in the regional finals. It is safe to say many question marks about DRX have been squandered. They have put together a remarkable campaign, slaying down LPL and LCK powerhouses in Gen.G, Edward Gaming and TES along the way to reach San Francisco.
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 30: DRX reacts with excitement onstage after victory against Gen.G at the League of Legends World Championship Semifinals on October 30, 2022 in Atlanta, GA. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)
DRX felt stronger in every department with the likes of Zeka and Pyosik having the tournaments of their lives. Zeka in one tournament has revived his League of Legends career with monstrous performances across all stages of Worlds. Chovy is categorically the best mid-laner in the world and potentially the best player. The young gun however had other plans, outplaying Chovy in lane for four straight games which is unheard of.
Deft explained what helped DRX come together to put up a strong showing.
I don't think I did something in particular. It was effective that all the team members gained the trust in each other and had a winning mentality as we went through the LCK regional finals, which is going on so far without much anxiety in any situation.
Deft reflects on his top three moments
Deft has had a storied career and will go down in history as one of the greatest players to play the game. If Riot introduces a League of Legends Hall of Fame, Defts' name will certainly be on the list. When asked, Deft looked back at his greatest memories and listed the top three moments in his career.
First, I want to pick the moment when I joined Samsung Galaxy and won the championship for the first time. Second is the time I went to EDG and the LPL and had a new experience. Last, I would like to pick one that lead me to this position after returning to DRX without giving up even though I was injured in 2020.
It is truly poetic that if this is Deft's last dance, he is going out on top by reaching the League of Legends World Championship finals. Deft is a player that is loved by everyone. LCS caster Emily Rand mentioned on the analyst desk how he leaves a good impression on every player he has come across and that everyone wants to play with Deft because of how liked he is.
Esports.gg will have live updates of the 2022 League of Legends World Championship grand finals between T1 and DRX as the best-of-five plays out.