After rumors surrounding DRX AD carry Deft’s mandatory Korean military service had threatened the veteran’s future in professional League of Legendsthe legendary ADC hinted at a possible return to the scene in 2023.
In the latest episode of DRX’s self-published documentary series, “DRX Adventure,” Deft was shown speaking candidly about his impending mandatory military enrollment and how he may have temporarily circumvented his conscription.
“I did not disclose this to anywhere else yet, but I have somewhat resolved issues regarding my pending military service,” Deft said in the episode, according to a translation by Kevin Kim of KORIZON Esports. “I kept the thought that I may compete for next year all to myself up until now.”
Korean men must enlist in the military by the time they are age 28, while service lasts approximately two years. Deft is currently 25 years old and is the second-oldest player in the LCK behind T1 mid laner Faker, who was born five months before Deft.
In 2020, a law was passed in South Korea that allowed notable pop culture figures to postpone their conscription until age 30. The law was originally written with global K-pop group BTS in mind but also applies to esports professionals.
Deft, a 10-year league veteran, has played three of the last four seasons with the DRX organization and could return to the LCK stage next year. His contract, along with the contracts of DRX’s entire starting lineup, is set to expire in November of this year, according to the league global contract database.
Last season, the Korean league Scene lost an iconic player in DWG KIA top laner Khan, who retired from the game to fulfill his mandatory service in the Korean military. Khan came one game away from winning the World Championship in his final season but was ultimately denied the Summoner’s Cup by Edward Gaming.
Deft and DRX will fight to keep their season alive in this week’s LCK Regional Qualifier when they play an elimination match against KT Rolster on Friday, Sept. 2.