T1 are, without a doubt, the most decorated LoL esports organization in the world. They hoisted the Summoner’s Cup in ‘13, ‘15, and ‘16. In all Worlds appearances, T1 have reached at least the semifinals. They haven’t been to the finals since 2017, but they are finally back on the biggest stage of the year.
“I never left.”
In ‘19 and ‘21, Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok reached the semifinals at Worlds, which is a great feat, but somewhat underwhelming for the living legend. Due to these results, he has to fight against the doubts toward him. Is he washed out? Isn’t he too old? Isn’t it time for him to retire? However, Faker has proven that he is still one of the best.
Objectively, Faker did have slumps. There were times that he showed inconsistency in his tightrope-walking plays, but as always, Faker proved himself through his in-game performances.
At Worlds 2022, Faker slowly warmed up through the group stage. As the stage got bigger, he got stronger. Starting from the knockout stage, Faker’s presence in the game was huge. The mid lane gap was clear in T1’s victory over RNG, and his Ryze pick and macro shined over JD Gaming.
There is only one more step left for Faker to break his own record. After all, he did tell us, “I never left.”
First-ever to win Worlds as a player and a coach?
Yes, Faker is a legend in himself, but in all of Faker’s world championship runs, Bae “Bengi” Sung-woong was beside him. In ‘17, ‘19, and ‘21, when Faker failed to win Worlds, Bengi wasn’t there, but this time around, he’s back as the mastermind of T1.
It was just before Worlds started when Bengi was named the interim head coach of the team, and the transition seems to be successful. With Bengi steering T1, many people have been impressed with the drafts — T1’s drafts have often been pointed out as the team’s weakness before Worlds.
If T1 wins Worlds, Bengi will stand aside Faker with four World Championships, yet with another achievement — he will become the first-ever to win Worlds as a player and a coach.
The bot laner age curse
Up to now, the bot laners of all world champions were 21 years old or less, and Lee “Gumayusi” Min-hyeong was the only bot laner that fulfilled this condition since the semifinals. About the “age curse”, Gumayusi showed confidence by saying, “I’ll continue it this year, and I’ll break it next year.”
Gumayusi is always confident, and he has been proving his confidence in this Worlds. He is ranked no.1 in average kills during Worlds 2022 and is 2nd in KDA, following his bot lane buddy, Ryu “Keria” Min-seok. During the group stage and quarterfinals, he only died six times in nine games, and went deathless in seven of those games.
The Worlds 2022 journey is nearing an end as the grand finals of Worlds 2022 is right around the corner. T1 and DRX will clash to determine the best team of 2022 in San Francisco on Nov. 5.
All images by Riot Games