Welcome to The Makers of Faker, a biographical series on Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok. This page will act as a guide to navigate the project, answer common questions, and provide background on the series’ creation.
To navigate the project, here are links to each of the currently planned articles as they’re released:
- Kang "Ambition" Chan-yong
- Bae "dade" Eo-jin
- Bae "Bengi" Seong-woong
- Kim "kkOma" Jeong-gyun
- Kim "Deft" Hyuk-kyu
The list will be updated as the articles are published, and more people are added. Until then, thanks for reading.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is The Makers of Faker?
The Makers of Faker is a large-scale profile of Faker's career, diverging from a traditional biography. In watching Faker compete since the beginning, and doing exhaustive research on him for years, I’ve found that his story doesn’t just tell his rise, but highlights many aspects beautiful about League of Legends, Korean esports, and gaming.
It’s not going to be a linear retelling. Instead, each article (or chapter) will cover one of Faker’s “makers” — figures that shaped or radiated the career of League’s greatest player. Articles will be posted in Korean on Inven, and in English here on Inven Global. Eventually, once the project reaches its conclusion, the hope is to publish the series as a book, featuring new artwork and exclusive chapters.
Who is going to be included?
Each featured figure met two criteria: an interesting and unique story, and significance in Faker's narrative. There will be no-brainer ones like Kim "kkOma" Jeong-gyun and Kim "Deft" Hyuk-kyu, but also more abstract relationships like with Lim "BoxeR" Yo-hwan. It’s obvious to include Faker’s iconic player-coach relationship or his schoolmate turned longest rival, but it’s worth including more obscure connections such as BoxeR laying the groundwork for the organization that helped Faker excel so much.
How long is this project going to last?
There are eight pieces in the initial batch, but the hope is that the project will extend past that. It all depends on the enthusiasm for the series, and if there are still cool stories to tell.
What makes the writer qualified to undertake a project like this?
First of all, hurtful. Second, the stories and insights of this project are not exclusively mine. In addition to my own experience having watched League of Legends since Season 2, and the Korean scene since OLYMPUS Champions Winter 2012-2013, I have interviewed as many people that are willing to talk on the subject as possible. People involved include casters, teammates, rival players, analysts, journalists, coaches, and others that have been directly involved with the most pivotal moments of Faker’s career. Additionally, much of the research has been gathered from reputable reporters and interviewers from the past ten years.
How should the series be read?
While all of them can be read together, each story will be a standalone story.
Some background on the project
If you’re even a casual follower of competitive League of Legends, I probably know what you’re thinking. “Yipee, more content about Faker. That’s never been done.”
As the biggest esports icon, Faker is no stranger to industry content. He’s the subject of countless documentary works, classic written pieces, cinematics, and an uncomfortable but hilarious series with one of the world’s largest streamers. He’s been the undisputed GOAT of the game and the face of the competitive scene for more than a decade.
So why do a project like this, with the ocean of work about him available?
There are many reasons. If you read the FAQ, you’d know that this project isn’t a traditional biography of Faker, but tells the stories (some known, some forgotten) that made him into the figure he is. However, a Faker piece is still a Faker piece — why the overarching focus on him?
Something that’s absent from esports is more ambitious historical content. Works like The Last Dance or The Breaks of the Game enrich the sports world, but similar projects are scarce in esports. Not only will it help preserve Faker’s narrative, but also uncover many of the interesting and unique surrounding stories of his career.
He’s built a legacy worth cataloging. In the first few games of his career, fans and analysts knew he was going to be special. By the summer of that year, he was already in discussion for being one of the greatest players in history, and jumped to the best ever by the end of it.
Since then, he has earned a case full of trophies from the game’s most competitive tournaments, led several different successful squads, and did so for a decade. With how many high-profile matches he’s been a part of, he’s easily the most storied player ever as well. By most metrics, he’s the greatest player the game has seen.
But what makes Faker different from a lot of other esports stars, both in and out of League, isn’t his dominance, but his influence. There has never been a superstar in esports that has shone as bright as him.
After his first Worlds win, Riot Games' ex-VP, Dustin Beck, dubbed him the Michael Jordan of League. Totally original, yes. It was the same as saying Lee "Flash" Young Ho was the Michael Jordan of StarCraft, or that Daigo Umehara was the Michael Jordan of Street Fighter. A cheesy and hackneyed comparison — a fun way of saying “This dude’s our best.”
However, with a decade of competition behind him, the comparison fits a lot more now, and not because of his higher amount of accolades. While you can argue that people like Daigo and Flash have excelled in their games (more challenging ones, too) to greater extents, neither has come close to Faker’s cultural impact. It’s the closest a competitive gamer has ever gotten to accurately fitting the Jordan comparison.
Like Jordan, Faker is “an accessible star who managed to maintain an air of mystique” and “a true champion who spearheaded the globalization” of his game. No other competitor in esports has had a comparable fandom. Tyler “Fionn” Erzberger — the most notable profiler of Faker — gives a powerful account of how beloved he is. “I’ve seen fans in Brazil jump from 15-foot barricades to try and touch Faker. I was in China, and there were 50 or so fans who trailed Faker’s team bus to his hotel in hopes of getting a photo of him walking into an elevator.”
In the times I’ve seen Faker in person, it’s the same: fans freaking out from being in the same room as him, journalists swooning from him walking by, and otherwise focused fellow competitors turning into giddy fans when asked about the prospect of playing against him. He’s a phenom unlike anyone else.
Esports needs richer storytelling — Faker fits the bill to do that. And more than that, he and the people surrounding him embody what makes esports so great. Each of the stories will highlight that.
So please enjoy The Makers of Faker.
I write. I rap. I run. That’s pretty much it.