Not every decisive victory comes in the form of a vicious and bloody stomp. Slowly, gently, that is how a series can be taken, allowing the enemy mentality to deteriorate and languish until they realized that they had lost long ago, before the last game even started. DAMWON Gaming (DWG) didn’t “stomp” DRX, they exsanguinated them.
The first game produced the most even and bloodless of the three games, drafting a far-reaching counter-engage composition DRX had hoped to keep DWG at arm’s length with their controlling playstyle. Normally this strategy is quite effective, especially in the hands of a skilled Korean team, but DWG didn’t just have engage with their Kennen and Leona, but their Syndra and Jhin picks in particular drove a wedge into DRX- without any champions to really excel at taking space forward they acted sheepishly, allowing DWG to capture Dragon Soul and used the immense power of that to counteract the superior scaling on DRX.
A 0-1 start ignited the passion in DRX that led to them taking the lead in the second game of the series. DRX had both managed to rotate for solo kills as well as take a strong teamfight presence that allowed them to take the lead from DWG to the tune of 2,000 gold. Despite the previous errors from DWG, DRX’s decision to try and kill Cho “BeryL” Geon-hee highlighted a huge hole in their draft: once you’ve used your cooldowns to try and get through the thick line-up from DWG, how will you kill Jang “Ghost” Yong-jun on Aphelios?
It was apparent at this point that DRX weren’t just being outdrafted like they were in the first game, but the pressure from DWG was causing them to play against their own team’s strengths, opting to put champions that excel in skirmish environments such as Nidalee and Jax into a massive deathball team-fight against Ornn, Aphelios and Thresh. The final game sealed their fate as the bloodiest of the bouts, and the most tragic performance from DRX as DWG played them like a fiddle.
The DRX draft in game three, just like in game two, had apparent strengths that had a path to victory for the team if they could manipulate the flow of the game to their will. Namely, with Vladimir and Vel’koz, they had a deathball composition that could take advantage of a single bad five-man team-fight to take the game, but DRX’s mental strength had already suffered to a significant extent. Though they made trades in kills and objectives, DRX allowed DWG to string them along, enticing them into engaging 2v2 and 2v3 fights, often at the exact same time on different parts of the map. DRX needed a clean ace or something near it to truly take control of the game, but by playing into the fights that DWG wanted them to take they found themselves tugged like marianettes on a string, losing a 4v5 at Baron Pit that had them finally bleed-out the last game of the series.