DRX will be forced to field their Challenger squad for a week due to a COVID-19 outbreak on the main squad.

Chalk this one up to unfortunate circumstances. DRX, one of South Korea's elite League of Legends squads in the LCK, has been forced to compete with their Challenger team. And of course, it's due to COVID-19 yet again.

This time, the entirety of DRX's roster has come down with the disease, meaning they won't be able to play. And due to the way South Korea's quarantine rules work, the roster is just not able to compete online.

This means that Kim “Zeka” Geon-woo, Taeyoon, and Cho “BeryL” Geon-hee, Hong "Syosik" Chang-hyeon, and Hwang "Kingen" Seong-hoon will be riding the bench. Not an auspicious start for a roster already looking to redeem an abysmal summer split in 2021, where they finished 2-16.

A rough challenge ahead for DRX Challenger

The Challenger roster will have to compete against KT Rolster on the 9th and Hanhwa Life Esports on the 11th.

The DRX Challengers members will play for 5 consecutive days - the 7th, 8th in LCK CL, the 9th in LCK, the 10th in LCK CL, and the 11th in LCK. This also present an interesting challenge for DRX as a whole, as since their Challenger members will be on the LCK stage, they'll have to field their Academy team in the lower league, too. DRX Challenger is currently 1-11 in their own Spring Split, so it will be interesting to see how they adapt to even more pressure.

While unfortunate for the DRX roster, it could prove to be quite the opportunity for the young players on DRX's challenger squad. They will be forced, rather quickly, to level up and compete with the best in South Korea.

DRX is one of the most prestigious League of Legends teams in the world, having won two back-to-back titles in 2017 and 2018 in the LCK. Now it's time for their talent scouts to prove they knew what they were doing when they recruited this next generation.

Who's on DRX Challenger?

DRX Challenger consists of players that are mostly new to the organization. While there are a number of faces on the squad that joined last January, some of them are now substitutes.

DRX Challenger's current roster consists of:

  • Song "Clear" Hyeon-min - Top Lane
  • Lee "Peach" Min-gyu - Jungler
  • Song "SeTab" Kyeong-jin - Mid Lane
  • Son "Pleata" Min-woo - Bot Lane
  • Yoon "Jun" Se-jun - Support

DRX Challenger has a rich history of players being promoted to the main roster, so it's possible that this stage time could be highly beneficial to the roster. Both Taeyoon and Jun of DRX's main roster cut their teeth on DRX Challenger.

COVID continues to have a massive strain on esports

COVID-19 has had a massive strain on the esports industry, just as it has in other sectors. Many events have not been able to return to their normal standards of having crowds cheer on at stadiums around the world. That's not even mentioning the difficulty in throwing esports events at all without players getting sick.

Riot is certainly no stranger to this issue. Multiple players at Valorant Champions were forced to play from their hotel rooms when it became apparent that there was a small outbreak of the disease at the event. This issue carried over from the North American LCQ was forced to delay while Riot figured out another solution, ending up canceling the LAN and switching to online.

As an example, players at the Rainbow Six Siege Six Invitational recently tested positive themselves at the event.

There's also the issue of faulty PCR tests showing false positives, as was the case at Champions. This briefly caused a scare at the event, and even caused some players to comment that they didn't want to be at the tournament at all.

In short, this pandemic can't end soon enough. And it might be quite some time before we fully return to normalcy.

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