It only takes one tournament to revive a career. Esports.gg spoke to DRX Zeka ahead of the Worlds final.

From a player that was struggling in the LPL, to destroying the competition at the World Championship, Zeka has had one of the best career revivals in League of Legends history. Zeka helped his DRX squad shock the world and lift the Summoners Cup in a gruelling five-game series against Faker’s T1 side. Prior to the finals, Esports.gg’s Jordan ‘Marn’ Marney sat down with Zeka for an exclusive interview.

The meteoric rise of Zeka at Worlds 2022

Kim “Zeka” Geon-woo of DRX competes at the League of Legends World Championship Finals on November 5, 2022 in San Francisco, CA. (Photo by Lance Skundrich/Riot Games)

The magic of international competition is that it gives you the opportunity to change your fortunes and make a better career for yourself. Over the years there have been plenty of teams who exceed all expectations and push themselves further than before.

Zeka’s international debut at the Worlds 2022 was one of the best in League of Legends history. From a player nobody knew, to destroying the best mid-laners in the world, it’s hard to argue with those results.

Zeka was not on the radar of many heading into the world championship. He was a young player who had struggled throughout his short stint in the LPL. Zeka does not look back at his time in China fondly and felt his improvement only started once he returned home to South Korea.

What I feel now while watching my play in the LPL is that I was really bad. So at the time, I didn’t imagine I would come to this place [worlds]. After coming to the LCK and coming up against good players, I feel like I have been improving since then.

Zeka’s rapid improvement helped his side secure the fourth seed from the LCK at the 2022 League of Legends World Championship. DRX’s qualification was a shock to many with LSB and KT Rolster poised to book their ticket to North America. This wasn’t to be the case as DRX secured a game five victory over SANDBOX.

DRX’s qualification meant this would be Zekas’ first opportunity to play in front of a large international crowd. For many players, this would be a daunting task considering the domestic crowd size in the studio versus playing in large arenas. For Zeka, however, this only fueled him as he went on to have the tournament of his life.

I couldn’t believe I was playing in front of people at worlds, it was an indescribable joy that I was also able to get good results with my DRX teammates in this situation.

DRX and Zeka overcoming adversity against EDG

DRX reacts onstage at the League of Legends World Championship Quarterfinals on October 23, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Bruno Alvares/Riot Games)

A play that has been viewed a million times by now. Deft, a player who is competing in potentially his last ever League of Legends tournament, saw his incoming auto attack on the EDG nexus denied to a respawning inhibitor. This shocking moment allowed EDG to get back into the game and have a 2-0 lead over DRX instead of the series being tied at 1-1.

In competitive gaming terms, this moment was a ’tilter’. It would have been very easy and understandable for DRX’s mental to collapse in this scenario and feel sorry for themselves. After two gruelling games, they were staring down the barrel of elimination when in reality they should have had the momentum to put themselves in the driving seat.

DRX did not succumb to the heartbreak, however, as the Korean side battled back and miraculously reverse-swept the defending world champions in Edward Gaming. Zeka echoed that even though it was a shocking moment, he and his team knew they were the better side and could come back in this series.

Literally, I was out of my mind and all my teammates were too. However, we didn’t feel like we were inferior to EDG during the first two games. We thought we could if we did what we had to do and play our game.

Zeka now returns to Korea as a world champion at the age of 19. It will be exciting to see the next chapter in Zeka’s story as he now has to fight to remain on top of the mountain.

Stay tuned to Esports.gg for the latest League of Legends news and updates.

Jordan Marney -

Jordan Marney

| Twitter: @MarnMedia

Jordan "Marn" Marney is an esports journalist from across the pond. Marn specialises in telling stories about League of Legends and Call of Duty. Marn has been a passionate esports fan since 2014 and has written for publications Unikrn, Esports Network, ESTNN and The United Stand.