DRX moves stax to the bench

Prestigious South Korean organization DRX has announced changes to its Valorant roster. The team’s captain, stax, has been put... Owen | 27. May 2024

Prestigious South Korean organization DRX has announced changes to its Valorant roster. The team’s captain, stax, has been put to the bench.

Despite being one of the best teams in the region, DRX has failed to qualify for two consecutive Valorant events after disappointing performances in regional qualifiers. The squad barely missed out on both Valorant Masters tournaments, placing 3-4th place at the VCT 2024: Pacific Kickoff and 4th at the VCT 2024: Pacific Stage 1. 

As a result, the team has made a heavy decision to remove its in-game leader and long time member, stax. The 24-year-old has been put on the transfer list.

DRX’s official statement regarding the situation:

“After careful and lengthy consideration, DRX has made the difficult decision to replace Gutaek “stax” Kim from the starting roster to the bench status effective immediately.

Stax will remain a part of DRX as we head into Stage 2, but is granted permission to seek new opportunities as a restricted free agent.”

Judging from the statement, stax is still eligible to become DRX’s substitute player for the upcoming VCT 2024: Stage 2 event, but will likely not act as the team’s sixth-man. 

The community is saddened to hear this news, as stax is one of the most-loved personalities in the Asian region and has numerous international fans. 

The veteran has been playing with the core roster since June 2020, when the team was still playing under the name Vision Strikers. During his four year tenure, stax has achieved the following results:

  • 1st place at First Strike Korea
  • 3rd place at Valorant Champions 2022
  • 3-4th place at VCT 2023: LOCK//IN Sao Paulo
  • 2nd place at VCT 2023: Pacific League
  • 5-6th place at VALORANT Champions 2023

Unfortunately, stax could not lead the team to win any international tournaments. However, he has a cabinet of trophies in Korean tournaments. 

The roster had already been declining since the start of the year, but the nail in the coffin was DRX’s failure at VCT 2024: Stage 1. The South Korean squad had an extraordinary start to the event, going undefeated in their Group Stage campaign. 

However, getting the first seed did not do DRX any good, as they were immediately met by Paper Rex in the Playoffs, losing the series 2-1. 

They were sent down to the Lower Bracket for a second chance at qualifying for VCT Masters Shanghai, but lost against Gen.G in the South Korean derby. In the series, DRX took the first map, Bind. The next map was Sunset, and DRX led by as much as 8-4 and then 11-8, but lost the map and eventually dropped the series after three maps. 

With stax’s removal from the roster, most members from DRX’s original lineup have parted ways with the organization. Zest is currently playing for BLEED Esports, while Rb has moved to China to join Titan Esports Club.

The updated DRX lineup is as follows:

  • Yu “BuZz” Byung-chul
  • Kim “MaKo” Myeong-gwan
  • Jung “Foxy9” Jae-sung
  • Kang “BeYN” Ha-bin

The roster is left scrambling for a new replacement, and it is unclear whether a current member of the team will shoulder the responsibilities of leading the team. The two most recent additions to the roster, Foxy9 and BeYN, came from the team’s academy roster. Flashback is still sitting on the team’s bench and could potentially be moved back into play. 

Will they grab another prospect, or will they turn to experienced players?